Opinions' free; Facts are sacred
WEDNESDAY JULY 12TH 2000
Sierra Leone’s national team, Leone Stars, were on Sunday whitewashed 5-0 by the Black Stars of Ghana in the World Cup qualifying series.
Sierra Leone has played two matches, losing both, conceding seven goals and scoring none.
Players interviewed by this press at the Staduim hostel before their departure to Accra expressed their unwillingness to play under the Team Managership of Paul Kamara.
The Team Captain, Mohamed Kanu and Lamin Bangura said the appointment of Paul Kamara was politically motivated and that the man was not working in line with them. “He nearly went into blows with Mohamed Kallon at the Mammy Yoko heliport. We are not prepared to work with him. Moreover, what technical know-how does the man possess to make him Team Manager of a national team?” the players said. When asked further why did they not put their grievances to the Executive, their reply was, “We will make them know”.
Some football analysts saw the dismal performance of the players in Accra and their persistent demand for money as an act of sabotage to kick the Team Manager out.
They argued that no matter who is at the helm of the natinal team, as long as there is no competitive national league in the country, nothing sober will come out of the national team.
Some stated that ninety-percent of the so-called professionals are clubless and are not even fit to play in the national team. “They just fly in and tell lies about where they are playing when they are not even featured in City Council teams”.
Ports to face Hawks F.C. of Gambia
As the WAFU competition enters the semi- finals stage, Ports Authority football club of Sierra Leone will meet Hawks football club of The Gambia 12th August, 2000 at the National Stadium in Freetown.
Hawks football club is one of the best clubs in The Gambia. Speaking to this press, the team manager of Ports Authority, Mr Nat Thomas said they are now preparing for the Gambians as football today is not a new thing to his boys adding that they intended to go to camp when funds are available, and are expecting the Ports Management to assist the team. Mr. Thomas said they are confident of victory and that they are determined to crush Hawks F.C of Banjul.
Mr. Thomas said international competition is not new to his boys (water front boys) adding that the Eyadema trophy will surely fall to Ports’ hands. We are ready for it. He said his boys are in top spirit as plans are underway for series of test matches to keep the boys fit for any regional competition.
The chairman of Ports Authority F.C. Mr Mohamed Bah revealed that this was the time for all Ports supporters, both old and new, to come together to push the club ahead. He added that they should encourage the players to get good results.
Mr. Bah said at this stage the Ports management will surely assist the team to qualify due to the commendable performance of Ports against Blackpool. He said they will surely succeed as the team is full of young talents like Buba Kamara, Hassan Milla, Ibrahim Chicabala Mansaray, Shama Sesay, Abdulai Decox Sesay.
********MONDAY JULY 10TH 2000**********
One of Sierra Leone’s youngest professionals, Mohamed Dabundeh, has expressed his disappointment over the way the Sierra Leone Football authorities are marginalising potential upcoming footballers.
Speaking to Pool Sports, Dabundeh stated that it was unfair on the part of the authorities to be so preferential in their invitation of professionals. He maintained that they were also professionals playing First Division soccer in their countries of play, and their standard had no marked difference from those they always clamoured for.
“We are not out there playing for our personal glories only. Whatever gains we make are a laurel for the country. We are soccer ambassadors in our own rights for this country,” Dabundeh confidently emphasised. He mentioned the names of people like Zuher Kudsy, Ramzy and Kemokai as references that can attest to his standards. “I am not boasting but I am confident of myself in the field of play,” he affirmed.
Dabundeh also stressed that footballing in modern days was not one of names. He stated that it was high time the authorities relegated favouritism, and instead go about looking for credible young footballers. He also suggested the idea of the appointment of a roaming football ambassador, who would be scouting Sierra Leonean footballers abroad based on their consistency of play in their various clubs.
“I was really disappointed when I was not called to the national squad this time round. I used my club’s resources to come here with the hope of being given the opportunity to contribute to my country,” Dabundeh lamented.
However he expressed the hope of being given such an opportunity one day, a day which he very much looks forward to as a challenge.
Mohamend Dabundeh played for Diamond Stars as midfield defender up to 1996 when he was first called to the national team. His first exploit with Leone Stars was in Liberia against Lone Stars. He won his contract to Lebanon immediately after then. He is currently playing for Ali Saidda in Lebanon, a division one club, which are the current champions.
Blackpool fires back.
Popular Lebanese businessman and Trustee of Mighty Blackpool, Mr. Habib M. Basma, has said that he sees no reason why supporters of the club should think of changing the present executive and the technical staff .
In an interview with POOL SPORTS, Mr. Basma stated that supporters should not blame the coaches for the poor performance of the players, since, according to him, “the best coach in the world cannot succeed in training a team that lacks determination. These are the same coaches that helped us to win the championship last year with victories over the same Ports Authority that eliminated us.”
Mr. Basma continued by saying, “Our club is poor; so we canot afford to pay for expartriates or even local coaches better”.
On the present executive, he disclosed that as far as he was concerned, they are doing a good job. “It is better to deal with the devil you know than the angel you do not know.”
He atttributed the club’s elimination from the WAFU competition last week to the lack of commitment on the side of the players.
He congratulating Ports Authority on their victory and prayed and hoped that the team return with the Eyadema WAFU trophy to the country.
He further wished Leone Stars the best of luck in this weekend’s World Cup clash in Accra against Black Stars.
“We want out boys to prove to the world that in spite of the problems back home, our country is still a force to reckon with in terms of football.”
Olympic day run observed.
The National Olympic Committee observed the Olympic Day Run in Freetown last Sunday, July 1, 2000.
Hundreds of participants joined the celebration from the Bank of Sierra Leone to the national stadium.
In his keynote address, the president of the National Olympic Committee in Sierra Leone, Henry G. Moore, said that the occasion was the first Olympic day run in the new millennium, adding that the increasing number of wars around the world caused by political and religious conflicts is plunging the nations into very serious problems.
According to Mr. Moore, rather than going to school, youths in the poorest countries go into combat while women and children endure extremely difficult conditions. Mr. Moore said the year 2000 had been declared as the International year for the Culture of Peace, and that the IOC had organised a six roundtable sports festival for culture of peace and the observance of the Olympic truce. The NOC President stated that the remarks and recommendations of these round tables had been endorsed by the International Board and the General Assembly of the National Olympic Committee held in Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil from the 24th to 27th May, 2000.
He said the building of a peaceful and better world through sports and the olympic ideals is one of the priorities of the olympic movement, and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone is currently planning a walk for peace in which they hope to invovle the public at large, athletes, sports leaders, government officials and other dislinguished personalities.
Leone Stars edge Ports 2-1
The national team, Leone Stars, played a test match with Ports Authority on Monday July 3, 2000 at the national stadium main bowl.
This was in preparation for the world cup elimination series as Leone Stars will meet their counterparts, Black Stars of Ghana at the Accra Stadium this weekend. Ports Authority lost by 2 goals to 1.
Abu Gbanaloko Kanu and Ibrahim Bah scored for Leone Stars while Ports Ace attacker, Shemah Sesay, netted Ports’ only goal.
Speaking to The Pool Sports, Leone Stars team manager, Paul Kamara, said the test match with Ports Authority was to keep the boys fit for the weekend encounter, adding that he was confident that Leone Stars would be going for a win and not a draw.
Mr. Kamara said the selection of the Leone Stars was purely based on fitness, adding that some players are not physically fit, but are gradually improving and that the technical team had done its job.
Hesaid the professional players were well determined to play for their country and that the foreign coach, Drascovic eyed Shemah Seasy, Ibrahim Chicabala Mansaray and Small Atouga from Ports Authority football club.
Meanwhile, Leone Stars will leave for Ghana on Thursday July 6, to honour their World Cup encounter with the Black stars.
These Players Are Not Indispensable
A twenty-five man contingent of the National team, Leone Stars, left Freetown last Friday to honour a World Cup fixture against the Black Stars yesterday in Accra. At the time of writing this piece, the result of that match was not available. But what is certain is that before the team’s departure to Ghana, the Sierra Leone Football Association, SLFA, were at daggers drawn with the players’ over their demand of $1000 as appearance fees. This of course did not include other charges if they win or draw.
Though a member of the technical staff confided in me before their departure that the matter had been ‘amicably resolved,’ concerns were raised by the general public as to why these players persistently continue to request such a fabulous amount from the bankrupt FA to honour national calls. Their attitude has opened a Pandora’s box among football fans.
Some contest that the players’ attitude is unpatriotic and has no difference from the rebels fighting against the people of this country. They argue that the players should have shown some understanding to both the FA and the government at this moment of our crisis in which sports is not a priority.
Others say that the players’ demands were legitimate, considering the risk involved in honouring national calls vis-a-viz the nonchalant attitude of our sporting authorities towards former players of the national team.
It is based on this premise that I want to add my voice as a contribution on the this issue.
But before that, I totally disagree with the assertion that a former national team coach is operating behind the scene by instigating the players to make these demands from the FA. I believe each of these players is matured enough to take decisions on their own. Besides of what benefit will this be to this individual if that is the case? My investigations reveal that far from being instigated, some of these players feel very uncomfortable to work with some members of the FA and its technical staff. Therefore the only way they could express that is by making these demands. We should learn to call things by their proper names rather than pointing accusing fingers at people thereby making them scapegoats.
I subscribe to the view that the players’ demands were legitimate, since it does happen all over the world. However my bone of contention is the manner and time in which these demands were made. Tell me, why did these players have to wait until at the airport to demand $1000 from the FA for their trip to Lagos? And considering the huge financial loss incurred by the FA in its preparations for the Ghana/Togo match which never materialised, why should they again demand another exhorbitant amount for their trip to Ghana? The hard fact is that some of these professionals consider themselves indispensable in the team. Therefore whatever problems or demands they make to the FA, they are sure of their places in the team when it comes to competitive matches.
These players should realise that they earn more respect in their respective foreign clubs when they are invited to national calls; thereforee they should put the country above all else. Our authorities have taken too much from these players.Now is the time when they should act swiftly in order not to bring the game into disrepute. We have to tell these players that irrespective of our present predicament, we can still go on without them.
Everyone will agree with me that our chances of reaching the World Cup finals are very slim. So why continue to entertain rubbish from unscrupulous individuals in a competition in which we are just there to make up the numbers? Over to you SLFA.
It is against this backdrop that I want to implore on the FA and government to stand firm and take a decisive step against these unscrupulous players in order to put this nonsense to a halt. In the first instance, the FA and the government should mount an investigation among the players to ascertain the troublemakers. Those found culpable banned from being invited to future national calls. More home-based players should be invited to camp to augment the team. Other foreign-based players who are ready to see reason with the country should be encouraged in the team.
Reactions To FIFA, CAF Decision On Sierra Leone.
FIFA and CAF decided in the last two weeks that Sierra Leone should not lost their home matches against Ghan and Togo in Freetown for what they attributed to the “insecurity situation” in the city. To get the reactions of people, our sports editor Sorie Ibrahim Sesay and Yayah Bilal Turay contacted the following important sporting personaliteis.
A Bias Decision.
I view the whole decision as completely bias.It should how bigger nations continue to punish smaller nations with impunity in Africa.We have hosted several internaitonal matches in Freetown.
And besides, the referees for the Togo encounter were already in Freetown, if they are talking about security situaiton of being unsafe. Let us wait on the CAF decision on this issue. I think the problem started right by allowing FIFA to dictate to us on the Ghana match. It is a big disavantage to our boys to swap the venue.We could not have reached this situaiton if we have insisted earlier to FIFA.I am appealing to SLFA not to rest on their oars and fight to finish on this unfair decision on us.They should do it through government.
I want to appeal to government to interer
issue in order to save the country from this
Freetown is safe.
I think Freetown is safe enough to host
international matches notwithstanding the war,
sound ridiculous for Ghanaians to say that the
country is not safe when we have a good number
at UNAMSIL,who are in charge of security.I will
here since I do not want to complicate myself.
I view the entire decision to be unfair. I agree that we are at war, but tell me how many visitors that has been harm in this country. Take for instance, the behaviour fo the English fans against the Germans in the just concluded Euro 2000 and of course the killing of English supporters in Turkey, what action has FIFA taken against these nations? None.
They are using the advantage of Sierra Leone
a small nation with no backing.
This does not mean well for the country.
the game has been totally politicized by FIFA.
Ghana taking about Freetown being unsafe when
Ambassador is right in the city together with
troops in UNAMSIL. These people should have
from the city if the impression they are giving
insecurity in Freetown is anything to go by.
and CAF insist that we should not pay our home
here, we should withdraw competely from the World
Too Much Politicking
In the first instance, FIFA should have contacted the UN to get their feedback on the security situation before taking such a decision. But that was not done. I think FIFA is biased. We have hosted several international matches in Freetown without hitches. So why are they taking about security situation in Freetown. I think the game has been politicized. If these bodies insist that we should not pay our home matches here I suggest that we withdraw from these competitions, since we too want to watch the performance of our boys in our home town.
Attouga - One year away from the post
Brima Attouga Kamara, popularly known as “THE GUY” is one year away. July 7 marked the first anniversary of the death of Sierra Leone’s most famous and glamorous goakeeper in recent times.
It was a shock to many fans, both at home and abroad when news broke out that Attouga was dead. He died in Egypt where he was playing professional soccer with Al-Mansoura football club.
What was more tormenting to fans was the fact that Attouga was holidaying in Freetown a week before the sad news was aired. He was seen in town healthy and kicking with no sign of illness. On his way back to Egypt, he took along with him, Edward Abulay Sesay, one of East End Lions’ deadly strikers,who reports indicate, is doing wonders in Egypt. Attouga was buried in Freetown on Sunday, July 18 at the Kingtom Cemetry after a well attended funeral service at the Central Mosque. People from all walks of life turned up to pay their last respect to a fallen hero, unprecedented in the history of Sierra Leone.
Attouga is still missed by many football lovers especially when the national team, Leone Stars, is in action. Whenever a goal is scored against Leone Stars, the unanimous cry from spectators is always, “if na Attouga bin dae dae, dar ball nor bin for go goal”. (If Attouga had been there, that ball would not have been a goal).
Attouga was friendly and very philanthropic. No wonder, whenever he walked along the streets of Freetown, crowds of children would chant, “Attouga, Attouga, Attouga”. We in The Pool newspaper join the entire Sierra Leone populace to continue extending our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, especially his wife Marilyn and daughter.
Attouga, may your soul rest in perfect peace.
MONDAY JUNE 26TH 2000
Saidu “Shemah” Mansaray became a hero last Saturday when he scored two vital goals against Mighty Blackpool in the second leg of the WAFU competition, to take Ports to the quarterfinals stage.
The first came in the 30th minute after an off-side trap failed Blackpool defenders for Shemah to drive close to the goal keeper and blast the opener. Few minutes later, Goalie Balu Thomas was in an advantage position to dribble past three players, but little good it did him as Hassan Milla intercepted his pass and made a clever pass for goal poacher Shemah who wasted no time to score a brilliant goal that left Blackpool in a quandary.
Right from start, Blackpool were on top as they dominated the match and the players were so eager to score but thanks to the acrobatic display of small Attouga.
The Liberian referee denied Blackpool’s opportunity in the first half with a clear penalty and a last minute goal which he disallowed.
Ports Authority will now proceed to the next stage and if they go through, they will qualify for the semifinal in which the four teams will travel to Togo for the finals.
This is the second time Blackpool have failed to proceed to the quarterfinal stage in the WAFU competition.
FIFA Rejects SLFA
Football World governing body, FIFA, has rejected a letter by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) protesting against Ghana’s proposal to host the first leg encounter in the ongoing World Cup qualifying campaign, in Accra.
According to FIFA, the Ghanaians have nothing to worry about as SLFA’s request has been given a red card, and that Sierra Leone will meet Ghana on July 8, in Accra while the second match will be played next year in Freetown after the situation would have hopefully improved.
FIFA’s proposal to let Sierra Leone honour the match in Ghana has been turned into a decree, but according to SLFA President, Justice Tolla Thompson, he was disappointed because they had already prepared to host Ghana in Freetown as the situation was calm.
Ghana made this request after Leone Stars’ splendid performacne in Nigeria though with a 2-0 loss.
It could be recalled that Leone Stars have deprived Ghana two times from proceeding to the World Cup and the Ghanaians are afraid of losing their first match.
WEDNESDAY MAY 31ST 2000
Female cup of Nations . . . Sierra Leone withdraws
The Sierra Leone national female football team, Sierra Queens, has withdrawn from this year’s African Cup of Nations qualifying series.
This decision was reached on Monday during a meeting of the executive of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).
According to sources close to the FA secretariat, the team’s withdrawal was due to the lack of funds as the present SLFA cannot finance the team in their August encounter against the Black Queens of Ghana.
This decision has automatically qualified their Ghanaian counterparts to the second rounds of the competition without kicking a ball.
It was only a few days ago that Sierra Queens’ counterparts, Burkina Faso announced their withdrawal from the tournament on similar grounds.
The Black Queens of Ghana now await the winners between Mali and Mauritius and the eventual winner will qualify for the finals in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Meanwhile, it was also agreed in the meeting that the national female soccer team would participate in the first WAFU female tournament to be hosted in Togo in December this year. This tournament shall comprise the four WAFU semi-finalists.
$10,000 FOR LEONE STARS COACH
The Sierra Leone Football Association, SLFA, has agreed to pay its expariate coach USD10,000 (ten thousand dollars ) for a two month contract to train the national team, Leone Stars.
The Yugoslav coach, Dusan Draskovic, who is expected in town tomorrow, June 1st, is also entrusted with the responsibility of training our local coaches within the period under review.
The Coach’s contract commences on June 1st and ends on July 31st. Dusan’s first task is to ensure that our boys give a good account of themselves in their next month encounter against the Super Eagles scheduled in a little over two weeks’ time. He will also be in charge of the team against Togo in the preliminary rounds in the African Cup of Nations tournament scheduled for July 14 in Freetown and July 31st in Lome.
Frank Manja of Reebok is believed to be the brain behind this contract.
African clubs competitions weekend results (28.5.2000)
28.5.2000, Bamako, Djoliba (MLI) / Esperance (TUN) 1-1
28.5.2000, Luanda, Premeiro Agosto (ANG) / Lobi Stars* (NGR) 0-1
28.5.2000, Maputo, Ferroviario (MOZ) / Africa Sports* (CIV) 1-2
“ Kinshasa, Motema Pembe (RDC)/ Hearts of Oak* (GHA) 2-0
“ Dakar, Jeanne d’Arc* (SEN) /Raja (MOR) 1-0
“ Sable de Batie* (CMR) /Highlanders (ZIM) 3-0
pen 4-3 Sundowns* (RSA) / Nkana (ZAM) 0-0
Vital’O (BUR) / Al Ahly* (EGY) 2-1 CAF Cup
Mazembe (RDC) . JS Kabylie* (ALG) 2-0
Coton Sport* (CMR) / Mtibwa (TAN) 2-0
Iwuanyanwu* (NGR) / Awassa City (ETH) 2-1
Dwarfs* (GHA) / Wydad (MOR) 2-0
CA Bizerte (TUN) / Stade Abidjan* (CIV) 4-1
Compagnie Sucriere (SEN) / E.S.S.* (TUN) 2-1
Ismaili (EGY) qualified due to the withdrawal of Hay Al Arab (SUD)
Nchanga (ZAM) / Kaizer Chiefs (RSA) postponed to 24.7.2000
Cup Winner Cup
Etoile* (CGO) /Club African (TUN) 2-0
Sagrada (ANG) / Ndiambour* (SEN) 1-1
Zaqmsure (ZAM) / Canon* (CMR) 0-1
Supersport (RSA) / Ittihad* (LBY) 1-0
Coffee (ETH) / Zamalek*(EGY) 2-1(pen 2-4)
Stade Malien (MLI) / JS Tenere* (NIG) 0-1
Rayon Sport (RWA) / FAR*(MOR) 2-1
Ste Louisienne* (REU) / El Merreikh (SUD) 2-1
Clubs with an * are the ones qualified
SLFA elections in August
The Council of First and Second Divisions clubs last Sunday agreed to hold a congress for the elections of officers of the Sierra Leone Football Association.
According to Mr. Foday Turay, Secrertary-General of Cenegal FC, the clubs decided to give time to the present executive to concentrate on their international assignments scheduled for June and July this year.
He said they also agreed that the football season should commence in September and a workshop which shall comprise other sporting bodies like sports journalists, coaches, referees shall be held to work out modalities on the development of the game in the country.
Mr. Turay further said that also expected to be discussed at the proposed workshop is the reviewing of the present SLFA constitution.
Also discussed was the issue of the clubs’ participation in the WAFA proposed league competition. It was agreed that WAFA should present their financial status before the next congress.
It was further agreed that SLFA should finance the proposed workshop since, according to club officials, “it is geared to develop the game”.
MONDAY MAY 29TH 2000
Three weeks ago, the national U-17 were eliminated in the current Junior African Nations Cup in Banjul. As a result of this, many soccer fans have expressed their concerns over the fate of the boys. To know more, our Sports Editor, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay, reached the determined Team Manager and Coach of the side, Nahim Khadi, at his residence in Freetown before his departure to London for a coaching course. In the ensuing interview, he vividly explained his immediate and future plans for the team and his determination to answer to national calls. Please read on.
Pool Sports (PS): The report we had from Banjul was that your boys put up a fantastic performance against their opponents despite their elimination. As head of the technical aspect, what did you think went wrong?
Nahim Khadi (NK): Our scoring power was lacking. I believe we should have had a long term training programme particularly when we introduced a new system which will take them some time to be used . The good news about it all is that I am going for a four weeks’ coaching course.
PS: Where do you intend to do such training programme?
NK: In England. I have contacted Steve Cooper of Crystal Palace and Godwin Stukam of Coventry City to assist me in goal scoring facilities.
PS: Now, what will be the fate of the team in your absence, or is it not the usual way of dumping the boys?
NK: I have in mind to continue with the training session, but the resources are not there, so I cannot do further than that.
PS: In less than three months’ time, you will be travelling to Guinea Bissau to defend the U-17 ECOWAS championship, what preparations have you in place for such tournament?
NK: We always believe in crash programmes. That is players are invited only two weeks before the actual competition. Government should give a more serious approach to the training of the national teams. Take for instance, we are playing Nigeria on the 17th June, and the team is to start effective training only two weeks before that date. Do you think that really makes sense? It doesn’t. Our Coaches should make their stance clear to the authorities that such training period is very short, so that they will not carry the blame in future when things go wrong. To the tournament in Bissau, I hope to start my training programmes, with or without government support, immediately I return. We are planning a self help programme for which I hope to contact other sporting personalities to make their inputs to the team. Coupled with my little resources, I believe we can move forward.
PS: There are rumours from football quarters that the present U-17 team will be playing in the August U-20 championship against Ghana. Would you be in a position to take such responsibility if called upon?
NK: As I always say, I believe in what I will do for my country. If SLFA call me to take such responsibility, I am more than willing to do so. I also believe that I have a lot to do in the development of the game in the country. I want the schools to know that I am always willing to assist them in their training sessions at anytime when called upon to do so.
PS: Why the schools?
NK: It is there that we start to develop the game. Most of us today are products of school teams.
PS: And your last message.
NK: I want to appeal to supporters, spectators and journalists that the goal to achievement is not too far. We cannot be fairly judged on two matches. We are ready to bring results in the future. I thank everybody and special thanks to the POOL Sports for the support and courage they have given to me.
Council Of Clubs Meet
The Council of First and Second Division Clubs last evening met at the office of the Acting Chairman Unisa Alim Sesay to map out strategies for the development of the game.
In a brief discussion with this press, Mr. Sesay disclosed that one of the priority items on the agenda was how best they could organise themselves for the forthcoming SLFA congress.
Though the outcome of the meeting was not known as we went to press, what was certain was that each first and second division club sent two representatives and they should have the mandate to speak and take a decision on behalf of the team.
It was the first time in two years that such a meeting was held. And observers here described it as timely particularly when the present SLFA executive have run out of their mandate and hence the need for elections.
WEDNESDAY MAY 24TH 2000
Kudsy becomes Sa. Leone Soccer Ambassador
Popular sports guru and analyst, Zuher J. Kudsy has been appointed Sierra Leone’s Soccer Ambassador for the Middle Eastern countries.
The appointment letter from the Sierra Leone Football Association mandated Kudsy to tour the Middle East countries and get more information on the Sierra Leonean players in that region and most importantly to seek funds on behalf of the Association.
Many Sports analysts and fans interviewed stated that the appointment of Kudsy as Soccer Ambassador was long over due and added that the appointment letter need to be revisited so as to broaden his coverage.
“Kudsy must be made Sierra Leone’s Soccer Ambassador not only for the Middle East but also the entire world. He is honest, has knowledge about the game and most importantly knows a lot about Sierra Leonean players all over the world,” a fan said.
Sports Writers interviewed remarked that the Football Association must have recommended Kudsy to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports so that the Ministry could effect the appointment in a government letterhead to make it more powerful and respectable.
Leone Stars Mama buried
As the nation is gearing up to face its World Cup and Nations Cup challenges which are commencing next month, the renowned caterer of the National Football team, Marie Sesay commonly called MA suddenly passed away last Sunday and was buried the following day at the Kissy Road Cemetry after prayers at the Madingo Mosque.
Family sources said Aunty MA did not report ill before going to bed and were shocked to learn that she could not wake up in the morning, only to be found dead in her bedroom.
MA was the most popular female figure among the Leone Stars players. She had been catering for the national team for the past ten years and sometimes dipped in her own purse to provide food for players in camp on loan for the association to pay her later.
Many sports personalities including the Executive of the Sierra Leone Football Association led by President Tolla Thompson, Sport Council officials, Sport Journalists, representatives of football clubs attended the funeral service.
May her soul rest in perfect peace and may her death be a sacrifice for more success for the national team, Leone Stars.
FRIDAY MAY 19TH 2000
Against Super Eagles...
The Team Manager of Leone Stars, Mr. Paul Kamara, has intimated that plans are underway to have the national team play series of friendly matches against their Guinean and Gambian counterparts before their match against the Super Eagles in Lagos scheduled for mid next month.
In a brief chat with this press, Mr. Kamara disclosed that what has held up their plans particularly in terms of preparation is finance. He said he hoped to contact SLFA and the government to enquire as to what is in the coffers for the team’s venture. “We cannot undertake any effective programme without money. I believe when that is put in place, our boys can deliver the goods,” he said.
The team manager also stated that what has further delayed the preparation programme is the non arrival of the foreign based players who, according to him, will form the bulk of the team against Nigeria and other World Cup matches. “As soon as they arrive, we will kick off with the programme. Now that we know the European league season will end within the next few weeks, I believe our boys will be well on time to train together as a team for proper coordination,” he said.
Asked why he chose to play Guinea and The Gambia, Mr. Kamara argued that both are very good sides and can prove a real competitive match for Leone Stars.
“In fact Guinea are one of the qualifiers in the group stages and they have a very good side to test the ability of our boys. As for The Gambians, though not to standard comparatively, their recent form is enough signal that they are a soccer house in the making,” he said.
“The idea of the national team playing friendly matches with our local clubs should be discouraged as this will not in any way determine their strength. It is for this that I want government to do everything possible to have us play at least one or two international friendlies to get our boys set for the great showdown in Lagos next month,” he said.
Sierra Leonean heads Sports Charter
Ibrahim Bangura, Secretary-General of the Sierra Leone Karate Federation who is presently based in London was on March 5, 2000 appointed Chairman of the European African Sports Development Charter in the United Kingdom.
Bangura’s appointment was made by the President of the Union of African Karate Federation, Mr. Jintiaz Abdulla who was in London on a working visit at the time.
Bangura, according to his letter of appointment, will represent the Union of African Karate Federations at all European continent and other international activities as the president of UFAK deems necessary.
Bangura will also represent UFAK for all commercial and other sponsorship opportunities.
“Yayah is still with Lions”...Awoko
The Chairman of East End Lions Football club, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay has disclosed to this press that as far as he is concerned, he believes Yayah Jalloh is still a Lions, player.
In an interview at his First Foreign Exchange Bureau two days ago, the chairman stated that there are basic rules governing the transfer of players from one club to another and it is only when such conditions are fulfilled that one can say the player has transfered.
He pointed out that there has been widespread rumours that the club’s ace midfielder has left the club for Old Edwardians. “All what I can tell you about him (Yayah Jalloh) is that he is still with us (Lions) and until final arrangements are reached satisfactory by both parties nobody should say otherwise” he said.
“Old Edwardians officials have contacted me expressing their interest for the player and I have explained my position on behalf of the club to them. But from then, no one has ever met me on that issue. So if they are claiming that the player belongs to them, they are making a grave mistake. And they will be shocked to see him with Lions,” he said.
He however concluded that they as officials have no intention to hold on to a player beyond his wish. If a player is ready to leave, we are prepared to let him go provided the proper channel is reached. Lions is a big club and I believe it is the intention of every successful player in this country to play for the team. So why should we continue to hold on to a player when others want to come?” he queried
Meanwhile, effective training session continues at the club’s Kissy practising field in preparation for the forthcoming snap league competition.
MONDAY MAY 15TH 2000
FROM ZONE II WITH TEARS
It is no longer news that Leone Stars got an early exit from this year’s Amilcal Cabral Zone II tournament in Cape Verde. But what are the circumstances that led to this early elimination? Chernor Ojuku Sesay narrates. Late Arrival
Leone Stars left Freetown at about 14:30 GMT on Thursday, May 4, the day the team was billed to play against Senegal in the second match.
The Paramount Airlines flight which was chartered through the collaborative efforts of the government, the Ministry of Education, Youths and Sports and the Sierra Leone Football Association had a stop over in Banjul before arriving in Cape Verde at 7:30pm.
The first shock came when, thirty minutes after the disembarking of the contingent, no football official from the Cape Verde Football Federation was around to receive the team as it was the usual courtesies.
Reasons: The airport in which we landed was the wrong airport which was in another Island in Cape Verde called SAL’
It took us another five hours before a contact could be made with the authorities in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde. The team finally reached the correct venue at about 4:30 a m on Friday, May 5, thus missing its first match.
Secondly, the National Sports Council in Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Sports woefully failed to communicate with their Cape Verdean counterparts to explain explicity when the team would arrive and why the delay.
Despite the frantic efforts by the delegation to convince the authorities of the Union of Zone II Football (Uzoofoot) to reschedule the match between Leone Stars and Senegal, it never worked; rather, the earlier decision reached to award three points and two goals to Senegal was announced.
This decision dampened the spirit of the Leone Stars players who had vowed to do their best and live up to expectations, despite the non payment of their allowances.
LEONE STARS VS CAPE VERDE
On Saturday, May 6, as the players were preparing to dress up for the crucial match against the host country, Cape Verde, news was aired of an impending attack by rebels to Freetown. This news further worsened the problems.
The players entered the field down-spirited and performed badly on the pitch. The Cape Verdeans, knowing fully well the low morale in the stars camp, coupled with their 1-1 draw result in their first match against The Gambian, entered the field with determiantion, commitment and a mission to accomplish.
The Cape Verdeans dictated every pace of the match and spectators might have lost their counts had all the Cape Verdean misses turned to goals. They got their only goal in the 40th minute of the first half. Five minutes after recess, Captain Kemokai Kallon, who was playing the central defence, was given the marching orders.
It took extra mother luck and fervent prayers to save Leone Stars from what could have been an historic goal feat for Cape Verde.
LEONE STARS VS GAMBIA
This match was the determining factor. Its outcome would decide which team would join Senegal who had already qualified with five points with a goal advantage over host country, Cape Verde.
The Gambian, with three points, needed to beat Leone Stars by a two goal margin to qualify, thereby throwing Cape Verde out of the competition.
The Cape Verdeans had already predicted that Sierra Leone will give away the match to The Gambia because both countries are Anglophones. The Gambians too were nursing a similiar notion. The match ended 2-2.
The result aggravated The Gambians as both players and officials were seen expressing their anger against their Sierra Leonean counterparts.
“You people are not friends. We gave you a match in 1993 in Freetown and our president bought you airtickets for your entire contingent in 1997 just for you to participate in the zone II tournament in Banjul. Your plans to camp in Banjul for your World Cup match against Nigeria next month will never materialise; you better find another venue,” the players and officials of The Gambian team were heard threatening.
However, despite the anger, the outcome of the match cost The Gambians dearly; the entire Cape Verdeans in the stadium were sent in a joyous mood as they were seen carrying Sierra Leone players and congratulating officials.
Leone Stars were supposed to leave Cape Verde on Thursday, May 9 as the team had aleady been eliminated but due to persistent pleas from the Sierra Leone delegation to the Cape Verdean authorities the stay of the team was extended to another two days.
When it was becoming clear that our departure from Praia was uncertain due to the security situation prevailing then in the country, the Cape Verdean authorities, after consultations with the Sierra Leone delegation, volunteered to fly the team to Guinea-Conkary at their own expense. The Cape Verdean authorities paid US$13,500 to undertake that venture.
The Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Alimu Bah received the team in Conakry and both flew over to Freetown on Friday, May 12.
Chernor Ojuku Sesay is Managing Editor of The Pool Newspaper. He accompanied the Leone Stars Team to Cape Verde in his capacity as President of Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone.[SWASAL]
Guinea Conakry hosts next Zone II
Technical experts of the Zone II member states met in Praia to review the achievements of the organisation’s proposals expected to have been implemented in the past two years.
Out of the fourteen projects enlisted for implementation, only five were successfully accomplished. The rest, according to the report submitted by the Uzoofoot Secretariat, were not implemented due to the non-cooperation of some member states.
Member states in arrears were also not spared in the report, singling out Senegal and Guinea Conakry as the notorious debtors. Senegal owe the organisation 5.5 million Franc and Guinea - Conakry owe 4 million Franc. Third is Sierra Leone with a debt of 1.6 million Franc and Guinea Bissau owing just 800 Franc. The rest of the member states,- The Gambia, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Mali are described as the “good boys”
Meanwhile, the experts have proposed eleven new projects to be implemented within this year and next year when the next Amilcar Cabral Zone II tournament will be held in Guinea Conakry between November and December.
Cape Verde are Zone II Champions
The host country Cape Verde on Sunday defeated Senegal one nil to clinch the Amicar Cabral Zone II trophy for the first time since the inception of the tournament in 1979.
Guinea came third after beating Mali 2-0 on Saturday.
The first time Cape Verde reached the finals of the Zone II tournament was in 1991 in Senegal. They lost one nil to Senegal in the finals.
The following countries have won the tournament
since its inception in 1979: Senegal (1979, 1980,
1983, 1984, 1985,1986 and 1991) Guinea-Conakry (1981,
1982, 1987 and 1988) Mali (1989 and 1997) Sierra Leone (1993 and 1995).
MONDAY MAY 1ST 2000
This year’s bi-annual Amilcar Cabral zone II tournament is scheduled to kick off on Thursday May 4 at the Cape Verdian capital, Praia. All the eight participating countries are expected to honour the event.
Back home, our authorities (government) are still dragging their feet as to whether or not the national team should participate in these political games organised by the OAU sports branch, the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa (SCSA), for what they described as the lack of funds.
Recently the organisers in Cape Verde sent a two-man delegation to Freetown which explained to our government the need to participate in the tournament, something the government acceeded to. The Sierra Leone delegation is expected to arrive in Cape Verde latest tomorrow, May 2.
However, it is disgraceful to learn that where as Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia have already consented to honour today’s date, the fate of our national side, Leone Stars, is yet to be determined by the government.
We have said it time without number that no nation can succeed in terms of football without the asistance of the government. So if the government is reluctant to honour even its own political games, I wonder what will happen to the World Cup and the Nations Cups tournaments in which we have consented to participate.
Perhaps the lukewarm attitude of the government towards the promotion of sports especially football is borne out of ignorance. Other than that, I see no reason why they should even consider a withdrawal from an all important African Unity tournament, considering the fact that this competition will serve as a dress rehersal for our national team when it begins the campaign for the Cup of Nations and World Cup competitions.
Our authorities should realise that in order to build a formidable national team, priority should be given to our locally based stars to prove themselves in international competions. And in an unfortunate situation like ours in which no league matches have been played for the past two years, the only opportunity left to our home-based players for international exposure vis-a- vis engaging in competitive matches is through the zone II tournament. Depriving them of such opportunity is like saying they should continue to wallow in their unfortunate plight.
That is why we will continue to tell the government that zone II is a priority and they should do all in their power to honour the tournament.
If they could send a team to the 1998 Banjul tournament while they were in exile, why should they not send one now that they are at the helm of things? Or at they telling us that they are only part of the Organisation of African Unity when they need their support? I believe it is a big no.
If this government does not intervene to rescue the situation, the SLFA has nothing to do to the effect. After all the SLFA has been persistenly crying for government’s assistance to honor their international assignment but to no avail.
The government has made lots of promises to develop football since their return to power. It is high time these promises were put in practical terms by honouring this zone II tournament.
Alpha Wurie and his deputy should rise from their slumber and tell the government that our participation is a priority and it must be done. A word for the wise is enough.
The Pool Newspaper
Third Floor Suite,
No. 1 Short Street
Sierra Leone, Africa.