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Wonder Boy talks to The Pool Sports

Two months ago, Mohamed Wonder Boy Kallon was at the centre of press bashing for allegedly championing a players’ revolt against officials of the Sierra Leone Football Association. To know more on this, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay reached the country’s most expensive player last Friday.

In the ensuing interview, Kallon gave a detailed analysis on a number of issues ranging from problems in the Leone Stars and his future ambition. Please read on.

Pool Sports (PS): Before the trip to Nigeria in June, there was a players’ revolt against the SLFA over the payment of allowances and it was alledged that you masterminded it. What is your reaction?

Mohamed Kallon (MK). It was a unamimous decision from all the players in the team. What happened was that on our arrival at the heliport, the officials decided to give $350 to each player. Thirteen of them signed for the amount. But before then, I had asked the team captain to tell us what we would get for the trip. He told me to wait until we arrived at the heliport. When I was given my perdiem, I rejected it after consulting my colleagues. So it was not a one-man decision as people were made to believe.

PS: Some people described you as being rebels and unpatriotic because you demanded so much from the FA.

MK: That is very unfortunate for people to describe us that way. Candidly, we are not demanding much from the FA. I paid my air tickets to attend calls and no refund were given. I am paid an amount equivalent to Le20m for every match I played for my club. So why should I forgo such an amount to play for Le500,000 back home? In actual fact I love my country more than the money they are giving me. We want the FA to give what is due to the players to motivate them. On the whole, it was unfortunate for some people to describe us as rebels.

PS: On the match against Ghana, there were blames and counter-blames by both the players and the technical staff for the defeat. Tell me in your candid opinion what really went wrong.

MK: To be frank, we were committed to win that match. The problem was that we were introduced to a system that was entirely new to the players. I believe that was fault No 1. You cannot introduce a system within a day or two to a match. During the match, we insisted on a change of tactics, but they insisted that we should continue with it. I further suggested the 4-4-2 formation, but that was again rejected by the coaches. On it whole, the technical team was to blame for the defeat.

PS: Is it true that you and other members of the team were not on speaking terms with the former Team Manager?

MK: The man had been writing all sorts of things in his newspaper about me but I never questioned him about that. I don’t believe we had any quarell.

PS: How do you react to the allegation that you are pompous and arrogant?

MK: That is their opinion about me, but in actual fact I am not. I have never abused anyone since my school days, nor did I fight a colleague. I envy or lie to nobody. I am not saying that I am perfect, but I believe such a behaviour will be of no benefit to anyone.s

PS: There are allegations that a former national team coach instigated you to make huge demands from the FA in order to sabotage the then technical staff. Your reaction.

MK: Personally, I love my country and I am always ready to deliver the goods when I have the opportunity. Nobody can mislead me to this. I think they are refering to Dyfan. To be frank, he has never said anything like that to me. Dyfan has always advised me to do my best for Leone Stars. Even when I arrived recently, I asked him why he had not taken the appointment. He said that he was waiting for the right time. I pleaded with him but I could not change his mind at the moment.

PS: Tell me, what are the solutions to the problems fo the national team?

MK: First, the SLFA has to appoint somebody that commands respect and who will be able to control the players. Secondly, they should draw a specific programme particularly on what is to be paid to each player for every match. They should not wait till the eleventh hour. Thirdly the introduction of new players in the team should be an important factor. They should maintain the old stars who are matured and experienced for international competitions. If that is done,t he team will definitely succeed.

PS: What are our chances in the World Cup, considering the two defeats we suffered recently?

MK: This is just the beginning. We still have a long way to go. You all know that we have not been together for the past two years. I don’t consider losing an away match as being out of the race. We still have to play at home and we stand a chance to win and qualify.

PS: At present, you hold the record as the country’s most expensive players. Are you really carried away by this?

MK: (Laugh) That is what I’m always fighting for, to be at the top. Really, I dont think that would change my attitude to people. I don’t even know my worth even if I am paid Le100billion.

PS: It has not been easy with you in playing professional football in one of the world’s toughest league competitions. Tell me, are you really intimidated at this stage?

MK: I am not intimated by some of the big playes like the Baggio and others. I respect them but that doesn’t mean I fear them. My fear initially was the capacity crowd in some of these Italian club stadia. I’m happy that I have got used to it all. So I fear no one.

PS: I understand that you have left your club, Reggina, for another Seri ‘A’ team. Could you please tell me your new club and the terms of the transfer?

MK: I am going on loan to Vicenzia since I am still with Inter Milan. Vicenzia is paying 50% which is about $6m to Inter Milan for one season. If at the end of the season, I prove well, then, they will enter into fresh arrangements with them.

PS: Back home, your fellow countrymen have organised themselves into a fan club inorder to promote your image. How do you see such a move?

MK: I believe they have taken the correct decision. I was not expecting that, but I knew that one day it will happen. If other countries are forming such fan clubs for their players, I expect my people back home to do the same. I’m happy and ready to give my fullest support.

PS: Some people criticized you for opening a fan club in The Gambia rather than your homeland and at the same time making giving assitance to foreigners rather than Sierra Leoneans. Your reactions.

MK: I want people to understand that a footballer does not form his own fan club nor does he own it. He is only consulted after its formation. It has been natural to me to render my assistance to everybody irrespective of race or nationality. Candidly speaking, I have less time back home because of the war. This explains I spend most of my time in The Gambia. Having played rigorous league matches, I need a place to relax myself; and the Gambia is my alternative after Sierra Leone. That notwithstanding, I am ready to assist my country in my own little way. I went to UNICEF to assist my country and they have printed some T-Shirts with “Stop The War”inscriptions. I think these are just some of the ways to demonstrate that I am a patriot.

PS: Tell me, what are your plans for the future?

MK: First, I want to open a Football Academy at Lungi which shall host up to 150 students between the ages of 11 and18. These students shall be under the supervision of a local coach and a foreign one which I intend to come with. I also intend to build a clinic, a school and football pitch in the area. I have drawn all my plans and I’m just waiting for the go- ahead.

PS: Who will give you the green light?

MK: Myself

PS: Apart from football, what sports do you like to play?

MK: I love athletics, basketball, Volleyball, tennis, etc. I have always been following them. I was an athlete during my school days. But I believe football is my priority for now.

PS: Your last word.

MK: I have personal respect for every Sierra Leonean. I am one of their key players from whom much is expected . I know it is painful for the two defeats we suffered recently. But that has happened. I am appealing to everybody to put that at the back of their minds and pray for the better. I believe one day our turn will come. And finally, I dedicate my achievement to my family, my fan club, the Colisee family and the entire nation.


Football Club’s Workshop - My Expectations
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay

The Council of Football Clubs (CFC), an umbrella organisation comprising all registered first and second division clubs, will be holding a workshop on Sunday, August 27.

The purpose is to brainstorm and map out strategies for the way forward for soccer in Sierra Leone, the nation’s most popular game.

It came as no suprise to some of us as such a workshop is very necessary. I have been championing such an exercise.

It is an open secret that the present Tolla Thompson led executive, since its assumption of power in 1996, has never succeeded in organising a proper national league competition, which is no fault of theirs. The rebel war, the May 25, 1997 military coup and its subsequent incidents, the February 1998 ECOMOG intervention and the January 6, 1999 rebel invasion of Freetown are the principal factors that caused the failure to organise a proper league. To many, it is in fact a feather on the cap of the present executive to be able to organise mini matches and participate in international competitions.

The issue of organising a proper national league is important. But what form will this league take? This is the big question that the Council of Clubs must seek to address in a very fair and objective manner.

The system of relegation, which is the best form of competitive football, is yet to be actualised. This is simply because there are certain members within the executive who are sponsors of poorly rated clubs that might be the first causualities.

The Council of Football Clubs must come out with a policy that makes relegation from first division to second division mandatory.

It must also be made clear that anybody who is holding any position in any football club is ineligible to be an executive member.

The Council of Football Clubs must be bold enough to tell its members that running a football club is quite different from running a provision shop.

There are certain so-called first division clubs that are just a one-man show. The players is these clubs are not paid. They depend on gate-takings which in most cases are very minimal. This should not be the case. Modern football speaks money. You pump the money, you get good players. If you don’t have the cash, forget about running a team.

On the question of electing the SLFA executive, the onus lies on this Council of Football Clubs. The members of the CFC are familiar with the characters and inputs of almost anybody that is interested in becoming an executive member. The Council members with the powers to vote must ensure that personal relationships or sentiments are buried for the sake of the nation. If members think a particular individual or group of persons is not fit to serve in the executive, there must be no compromise.

The nation must come first before any personal affiliation.

If the CFC fails, this generation and others yet unborn will shower the blame on them.

I wish the CFC a very successful delibration and look forward to positive recommendations.

“We’ll eliminate The Gambians” ...Coach Boison

The head coach for the country’s WAFU representatives, Ports Authority, has expressed his optimism to eliminate their Gambian counterparts, Hawks, in next weekend’s encounter in Freetown.

In a brief chat with The Pool Sports after returning from The Gambia last Wednesday, Coach Derick Boison said that his boys would carry the day here in Freetown.

“We had four clear chances against The Gambians which would have translated into goals, but luck was not just on our side,” he said.

He commended The Gambians for having a formidable side which, according to him, will not be underestimated. “They have four players from their U-17 team and one of their prolific strikers, Ato, is hitting the headlines both in their league and the CAF U-17 competition,” h e explained.

Though he comended the entire Ports squad for their remarkable performance against the Hawks, he gave special praises to goalie Brima “Small Attouga” Bangura who he said was the man of the day.

“Attouga is really at his peak and I can assure you he is one of the best in the country at present. I really wonder why he has not been invited to the national team,” he said.

He said though The Gambians acknowledged the fact that they have no chance of winning the second leg in Freetown, that should not deter the Ports Authority team from doing their homework.

“I know they want to surprise us in our own turf but we are making everything possible to turn down such surprise,” he explained.

Coach Boison expressed his thanks and appreciation to Sierra Leoneans based in The Gambian for their support which he said went a long way to motivating his boys. “We really made them feel proud by our performance and our determination now is to ensure that we reach the final stages in Togo.

By Chernoh Ojuku Sesay

Members of the Sport Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new executive.

As the outgoing President of the Association, I will be failing in my duties if I do not comment on the elections and give an objective and unbiased assessment of the candidates aspiring for the various positions.

At the last general meeting, I told members that SWASAL had attained a peak which must either be maintained or raised to higher heights, but we should never allow it to drop to the lower ladder. It is therefore the responsibility of every member to ensure that all hands are on deck to adhere to that clarion call. Some of us have spent our time, energy and resources to bring SWASAL to what it is today. We will therefore not allow sentiments or personal relationships to drive us away from commenting on the realities.

This brings to mind the names some people aspiring for some of the vital positions in SWASAL, most especially Mani Sorie of The Redeemer, who I understand, is aspiring for the Secretary-Generalship. I want to ask if members have actually taken a thorough look at Mani and the position he is aspiring for.

First, I am to be convinced whether Mani is a Sport Reporter of The Redeemer Newspaper. This is because, since that newspaper came to existence, I have never read a single sport story in that paper. It never carries sports.

The appearance of Mani in public is in fact an insult to our membership if he is elected Secretary-General. A man with a single red neck-tie, one pair of trousers, and a shirt or sometimes a long blue-faded robe always worn on Fridays, should not in the first place dream of becoming SWASAL’s Secretary-General. The shoes he usually wears he always borrows from Keshi, a friend of mine at Lowcost. How can we then allow such a man to be our association’s Scribe?

SWASAL is a respectable association. We therefore need people with integrity and charisma to handle our affairs, and not mediocres. Let’s meet there on Saturday and do the rest.

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay

Leone Stars can do it if, and only if . . .

Very recently, I wrote a sports commentary which many thought triggered the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) authorities to go into real action by suspending some members of the technical team.

That commentary was to me, an objective assessment of what was then operating in the Stars’ camp. However, the commentary was misconstrued by colleagues in a local tabloid as a deliberate and wicked play to see Paul Kamara, the then Team Manager, out of the scene. The paper repeated its usual style of calling me a rebel. But that doesn’t bother me anyway. One thing about most Sierra Leoneans is that everybody must think and look the same way.

But I’m sure that if everbody thinks the same, then nobody thinks at all.

I have nothing against Paul Kamara. In fact, I have always been praying for his success. Therefore, if he is in a position of which he is doomed to fail, it is my responsibility to tell him the fact and nothing but the truth. The best friend of anybody is the one who tells you what is beneficial to you and not what interests you.

That is not my style. I am not a bootlicker. I tell anybody the truth, no matter who you are. Because, as far as I am concerned, Sierra Leone comes first beore any personal relationship.

I stated in that commentary that most of our professional players were not happy with Paul Kamara as TM and were ready to sabotage him. One thing I know for sure is that when a player is determined to sabotage a technical team, he can do it through dismal performance and unnessary monetary demands. It happened with Leone Stars against Nigeria and Ghana.

Now Paul Kamara is out of the way. We saw the wonderful performance of Leone Stars against Togo. And most importantly, we saw the pivotal role plaed by Mohamed Kallon, both on the pitch, out of the pitch, before the match, during the match and after the match. The nation saw the total commitment of the players on the pitch. I bet my life, if Paul Kamara were still the TM of Leone Stars, Togo would have defeated us here. That would have been a disaster not only for SLFA and the government, but even Paul Kamara’s life would have been at stake, knowing fully well what was the anticipation of Sierra Leoneans. The players played with no preconditions of money or anything. They said they were ready to accept anything government offered them. So you see. Now Togo have been defeated here at home. Is that all? No.

Leone Stars still has a big hurdle to jump. The second leg in Lome is in two weeks. And from all indications, the Togolese are well prepared to embarrass Leone Stars by all means, before, during and even after the match. We must therefore start our homework now.

After further investigations, I have again arrived at the conclusion that the only way for Leone Stars to continue its winning laurels is to maintain the appointment of coach Ishmail Dyfan. The players have great respect for him and he too has tremendous authority over the players. Some of us know exactly what Dyfan told the players before the match which made them put everything behind and play their hearts out. Therefore, the authorities must stick to their decison of appointing Dyfan as counterpart coach to Christain Cole.

The performance of the team as a whole is appreciable. However, the team must be strengthened upfront. Players like Junior Tumbu, Chernor Mansaray and Amidu Karim must be invited to join the team for the second leg in Togo.

The Togolese defence needs aggressive strikers to keep them very busy. The best way to defend two goals is the determination to score more goals. Therefore with the presence of the three to team up with the likes of Gbanalokoh, Mohamed Kallon and IB, Togo will get the shock of their lives in Lome, come September, 3.

Tumbu, Cherikokoro, Amidu Karim for Togo

Three sensentional foreign-based players are expected to beef up the attacking machine of Leone Stars for the second leg match against the Hawks of Togo in Lome scheduled for weekend.

According to some technical expariates who witnessed the match last Sunday at the national stadium, even though the team played well in the first half, the attacking machine was a shadow of its former self throughout the second half. They therefore suggested for the re-inforcement of the attack.

“We need a swift attacking machine if we are to contain the Togolese in thier own turf. And the only strikers we expect to do the trick are Tumbu, Chernoh Mansaray and Amidu Karim,” one of them confided to this press.

He further stated that he is not opposed to the efforts of Abu Gbanalokoh and Ibrahim Bah in last Sunday’s match.

“But candidly speaking after their substitution in the second half, there was virtually no striker upfront to increase the tally, much to the advantage of the Togolese,” he said.

They further cautioned the authorities not to underestimate the Togolese at home.

“They may reinforce their side in the second leg and cause an upset. That is why we have to becareful with our preparation, especially so when the home side have vowed to win at all cost and go through to the next stage,” they said.s

It is in the light of this that we want the government to intervene by giving financial assistance to enable these players participate in the return leg.

Meanwhile, Italian-based player, Mohamed Kallon, will live Freetown today and he is expected back early next week for the trip to Lome.

“Qualifying for the Nations Cup is our priority and I will do my best to ensure that we accomplish this great task,” Kallon told members of his fan club yesterday at his residence.

Athletes Cry Foul!

Members of the Sierra Leone Athletics contingent who recently returned from the All African Games in Algiers have complained of total neglect by the SLAAA to meet with their obligations.

According to one of them who prefered anonymity, the SLAAA have abandoned them since their return from Algiers. “None of the officials have met us to know our problems. We have no coach during our training sessions and everything just seem to be centred on Leone Stars,” he said

He spoke of the non payment of their allowances by the officials.

“We were told that we would get our perdiem out of the amount on the refund tickets, but up to this moment, we have not received a single cent from them,” he said.

He also said that what had dampened their spirit was the fact that up to this time, the SLAAA are keeping tight lips on the Olympic games in Sydeny. “We don’t even know our fate for the competition and non of the officials have said a word to us on the issue,” he said.

When this press contacted the Secretary-General of the SLAAA, Mr. M.A. Kamara, he disclosed that plans were well underway to give the athletes their perdiem.

“What has held up the whole business is that we are yet to receive any money from the refunds of the air tickets. Immediately we get the money, we shall give them,” he said.

On the Sydney Olympic games, Mr. Kamara confirmed to this press that two athletes, Alpha Bullet Kamara and Ekundayo Williams have been registered and are sure of making the trip.


Leone Stars! Lebanese rain cash

Members of the Lebanese Community led by its President Samir Hassaniyeh Monday donated on behalf of the Lebanese Community in Sierra Leone, Le10,000,000, (ten million leones) three air tickets for match officials from Conakry and five footballs.

Before the presentation, the Lebanese President said the present generation of Lebanese in Sierra Leone are born and bred here and they are always willing to share our sorrows and celebrate our success. “In pains we are with you and we will continue to contribute in whatever way at any time we are called upon,” Samir reieterated.

Samir added that they were not coerced by anybody to donate to Leone Stars as it was their responsibility to assist the national team.

He advised that the cash donated be properly utilised to satisfy the needs of the players, by feeding them well and paying them so they will be physically and mentally fit for the match against Togo this Saturday.

He promised that the Lebanese Community would turn out en masse at the stadium on Saturday with their drums and other musical instruments to give their physical and moral support to Leone Stars.

The Minister of Youths, Education and Sports, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie on behalf of the government expressed appreciation to those he described as “Sierra Leoneans with Lebanese descent” for the wonderful gesture. He said as a Ministry in charge of Sports it is their responsibility to ask for help from any where, which is not an act of blackmail.

Dr. Wurie disclosed that the Ministry recently went as far as Europe to solicit funds for Leone Stars and have just received a cash donation of $5,000 and a new set of kits including boots and jersies. He also mentioned the US$11,000 donation by First Merchant Bank to Leone Stars when the team nearly aborted the Nigerian match. He promised that all monies donated to the national team will be thoroughly utilised and properly accounted for.

The Chairman of Leone Stars Fund Raising Committee, Lawyer Edward J. Akar appealed to all journalists to bury their selfish interests and join forces for the success of Leone Stars on Saturday. He said people should not cry down players when they make demands for money. “It is their right. Good players all over the world are always controversial and should not be branded as rebels. Players like Ronaldo, Beckham, Shearer, etc, are always controversial. But people reason with them,” Akar said.

All the heavyweights in football were present, including the Director of Sports and his team from the National Sports Council, SLFA scribe, Alimu Bah and his Executive, Journalists, past and present Leone Stars Players as well as club officials.

Ports goes to Banjul Today
By Yayah Bilal Turay

Sierra Leone’s WAFU representatives, Ports Authority Football Club moved to camp at Lungi on Sunday in preparation for their match against The Hawks of The Gambia.

Ports Authority have played a series of test matches against East End Lions, Professionals and Leone Stars, in an effort to defend the green, white and blue on the first leg of the quarterfinals with Hawks FC on August 19, 2000 in Banjul.

Speaking to The Pool Sport, Ports Team Manager, Mr. Nat Thomas said, “We are looking forward to the Ports management to make the trip a successful one”, adding that his boys are in high spirit. Mr. Thomas boasted that Ports are the best team in Sierra Leone and that all soccer loving Sierra Leoneans should pray for them.

Sepaking to the youngest goal keeper of the team, Brima Bangura alias Small Attouga, he said, “this is my time to have a space in the national team,”

Central defender Ibrahim Chicabala Mansaray said they were going for a victory and that the Gambians would not find it easy from them.


Leone Stars Crisis, The Way Forward
By Chernoh Ojuku Sesay

It is no longer a secret to most football lovers that the national team, Leone Stars, is in a deep crisis. This crisis, from my personal investigations, contributed largely to the dismal performance of the team in their recent two away matches against Nigeria and Ghana.

As president of the Sport Writers and their representative in the SLFA Executive, one of my major responsibilities is to serve as a watchdog. The root of the crisis, from my investigations is due to the personal rift between Ishmael Dyfan who is former Coach of Leone Stars and Paul Kamara, the current Team manager of Leone Stars.

This personal rift has extended to the national team with certain key players taking sides. Whether wrongly or rightly, players like Mohamed Kallon, Kemokai Kallon, Junior Tumbu, Gbanalokoh, Mohamed Kanu, Alhpajoh Bah, Francis Zappa Koroma are in total support of Ishmael Dyfan. They want him reinstated as national team Coach and Paul Kamara sacked as Team Manager. These players are not in a cordial relationship or even on speaking terms with Paul Kamara. They are therefore ready to perform badly at any time they are called upon, as a way of venting out their protest.

What I have highlighted above are facts. Paul Kamara’s past publications in his For Di People newspaper, are also considered too harsh by these players. This is the second problem. Some of us who have been very frequent at the national stadium and do rub shoulders with these players will confirm that these players have no nice words for their Team Manager.

This is worrying to us and of course to all Sierra Leoneans. The fact is that if this problem continues, the disgrace is not only for Paul Kamara but also for the nation and its people.

The SLFA Executive too is in a state of dilemma. The Executive is seemingly finding it extremely difficult to take any decisive action either against the players or Paul Kamara. They cannot sack these players because they are considered indispensable for now and they are also afraid of what might be the reaction of the public. Paul Kamara’s dismissal too, the executive might find it difficult for fear that he might resort again to his adverse attacks against the SLFA, a reason many considered as the basis of his appointment to the position of Team Manager.

What is the way forward?

First, there should be a target for the national team. We are presently engaged in the World Cup qualifying competition. The fact is that we cannot qualify from that group when one carefully and objectively analyses the countries we are grouped together. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have more resources put at the disposal of their various national teams and have quality players than we do.

Therefore qualifying for the World Cup must not be our target at present, but merely participating to gain more experience and finance.

Our target must therefore be The Nation’s Cup. We are no strangers in this competition. We have consecutively qualified for its finals in 1994 and 1996. Our present group, if the right thing is done at the right time, is the best chance for us to make it to Mali, 2002.

We have first to eliminate Togo. That fight kicks off in Freetown on August 19. But with the present crisis, can that dream be achieved?

I say No. Some of our key players have already intimated that if Paul Kamara continues to be the Team Manager, they will not even honour any invitation to play for the national team. Can we afford this? Can the home base players, who are totally in support of Paul Kamara do the trick? Not now. They cannot withstand the might of Togo at this present time when no competition league is on. We need those players. If I were Paul Kamara, I would simply tender my resignation in the interest of the game and the nation as a whole. But if Paul fails to see the reality and take an honourable exit, then he must be shown the door.

But I want Paul to see reason. Ninety percent of the present SLFA executive is totally opposed to his appointment. This I can assure Paul. He must therefore see reason. The nation cannot afford to lose any other match at present. If that happens the reaction from the public will be very, very hostile.

I rest my case.


Director of Sports Meet Kudsy
By Sorie I. Sesay

The Director of Sports, David Woobay, last Wednesday invited the Sierra Leone Soccer Ambassador to the Middle East, Zuher Kudsy, to discuss details of his appointment which was made a few months ago by the Sierra Leone Football Association.

Sources close to the Director’s office state that the talks were an indication of government’s intervention to strengthen the appointment.

A sports analyst intimated this press that Kudsy’s appointment should not be limited to the Middle East only as there are few countries in that region.

“We want the government to generalise it by appointing him as soccer ambassador to all countries as he may be soliciting assistance from them,” the analyst said.

When this press contacted Kudsy, he confirmed the meeting, stating that he needs the collective efforts of every Sierra Leonean.

Mighty Blackpool Resumes Training
By Bilal Turay.

After their defeat by Ports Authority Football club during the WAFU competition for the Eyadema trophy, Mighty Blackpool have decided to resume training.

Speaking to The Pool Sports, the Team Manager, Ibrahim S. Mansaray said that after the WAFU competition, he went on leave. He however stated that since the ECOWAS competition is on the pipeline, it is time Blackpool started training so that his team could win the trophy.

He confirmed that Charlie Wright is the captain of the team as he was choosen by his colleagues. Mr. Mansaray dismissed rumours of a split in the team as rubbish and unfounded.

He appealed to supporters and sympathisers to bear the flag and support their team to victory.


by Saidu Koroma

Kindly permit me space in your newspaper to vent out my personal opinion on what I believe is leading to the overall decline of football in this country.

Sir, your objective analysis in your widely read newspaper particularly in sports has urged me to highlight certain issues that will be of concern to the nation if football is to develop.

The football association, we understand, gave all the necessary logistics to the present technical team. This is was the statement of the team manager, Mr. Paul Kamara, on the media about his VISION. As such, we believe there should have been NO EXCUSES from him on the poor performance of the team.

There is a saying that goes like this - SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE. Mr. Paul Kamara has no business absolutely in the technical team, not even on the technical committee of the football association.

Some of us were fortunate to hear on 98.1 radio station when the team manager spoke of a system : 5.4.2 = 11+1 goalkeeper = 12. The game of football is an an eleven side game.

The peace programme on 96.2 on sport was a very wise idea initiated by the producers in which we had both Dyfan and Paul Kamara.

We were surprised to hear the profile of Paul Kamara on his playing career. Sir, if we are not serious about football, then let’s forget about it for the moment and think about something else.

How could our team manager talk about him being a left footer, playing for Edwards Secondary School, not even a club, him nicknamed Gerd Muller and playing for FBC. No coaching experience at club level up to national level. That clearly gives a VERY BIG ZERO for his appointment to the highest technical position of team manager of a national team.

Sir, in the interest of peace not to have a repeat of that unfortunate peaceful demonstration on Foday Sankoh that led to the loss of 18 precious lives, we kindly asking the football association in their own interest to get rid of this man before things get out of hands.

I thank you very much for your concern in publishing this article.

Saidu Koroma, Freetown.

NOC denies allegations

The president of the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone, Henry G. Moore, has denied recent allegations of having converted twenty tickets meant for the athletes for the forthcoming olympic games in Sydney. These allegations were made by Emeric Cole against the Association.

In an interview at his Howe Street office, Mr. Moore described the allegations as baseless and untruthful. He said such accusations did not only tarnish the image of the national association but the country as a whole. He explained that there are basic rules for entry of participants to the olympic games.

Mr. Moore stated that initially the International Olympic Committee provided tickets for six athletes and two officials, stating that the NOC does not select competitors for the olympic games but that the various national associations like the Tennis Athletics, Boxing, Cycling and Weightlifting present names of their competitors that have met with the qualifying standards of the game to NOC .

“It’s based on this we prepare accreditations for the competitors,” he said. He further stated that the Organising Committee of the IOC pay for the tickets of the athletes after crosschecking with the various associations to ensure that each of the accreditted competitors meet with the qualifying standards of the game. “We have no business in selecting athletes; allwhat we do is send the names of competitors to the IOC, based on the information we receive,” he explained.

He denied Emeric Cole’s claim that the NOC have squandered $20,000 meant for the SLAAA for participation in the Algiers games. Mr. Moore stated that the Athletics Association asked them for assistance to honour the games.The NOC gave them $12,000 out of the $20,000 standby funds which the IOC asked them to use.

He described Mr.Cole as an unpatriotic person who is bent on destroying the chances of his colleagues. “Cole wanted us to include him in the team for the Sydney games, but we are not responsible for the selections of these athletes,” Mr. Moore stated.

Meanwhile, Mr Moore has disclosed to this press that 19 out of the 26 accreditations for the forthcoming games in Sydney have been received by the NOC and the remaining are expected next week. He also said that they had received response from the IOC to send in competitors for the Weightlifting competition. “We also hope to receive positive response for the Tennis and Thriathlon soon,” he said.

“I’ll Go For Second Term”... Tolla

The President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Tolla Thompson, has disclosed to this press that he will go for a second term in the forthcoming congress scheduled for September this year. Justice Thompson stated that unlike the previous years in which tendered his letter of resignation from the FA, this time he would not in spite of what he described as the callous propaganda against him and his executive.

“Besides,” he went on, “I have started a project which I want to see it completed.” He said the Football Academy whose construction is well underway will be of immense benefit to the development of youth football in the country and that it is his intention to see it completed.

He said he believes in hardwork and that anyone who wanted to contest against him in the next elections is free to do so.

One the allegations of corruption, Justice Thompson, stated that people are getting the wrong perspective about the FA. “The public is using the Saramady Kabba scandal to whip us. “In actual fact my association is not corrupt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tolla Thompson is expected to leave Freetown today for Cairo to attend the CAF Congress. He promised to effectively put across Sierra Leone’s case against Togo. CAF is expected to take a decision on the issue on the 29th July 2000.

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