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MARCH 22ND 2001

Government Gives SLFA Seven Days Ultimatum

The Ministry of Youth, Education and Sports has written a letter to the Sierra Leone Football Association asking the FA to submit a written report within seven days on the following: 1. Why Leone Stars lost the match against Sudan 2. What are the future plans of the FA for the progress of football in the country and 3. An explicit breakdown on the income and expenditure of the matches against Liberia and

Sudan including monies from FIFA.

The letter states that government has decided to take this action because of the recalcitrant attitude of executive members of the FA to meet with the Deputy Minister of Sports.

The SLFA executive met yesterday to respond to government’s request but the outcome of the meeting was not known up to the time of going to press.

Government Bans Premier League

A letter from the National Sports Council, signed by the Acting Director of Sports, M.A. Kamara has instructed the SLFA not to kick off the National Premier league scheduled to start this Saturday at the National Stadium.

The arguement forwarded by the Council is that Freetown United Football club, whose Chairman, Saidu Mansaray, who is also Deputy Director of Sports in the National Sports Council, has asked for arbitration. The letter states that because of the pending arbitration, no league must start until the matter is addressed at a date to be announced later.

Soccer fans view this action by government as a direct way to kill football in the country. “How can a pending arbitration of one club stop a whole national league, because of Saidu Mansaray. This is very, very unfortunate,” angrily remarked , the Team Manager of one of the Premier clubs.

Awoko Is A Damn Traitor

One individual who can best be described as a traitor and a very dangerous element within the football circle is, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay alias Awoko.

A traitor because, Awoko as a member of the present executive, is always the mover of motions during executive meetings. He is such an Orator that he speaks with vigour to convince other members to tow his line. Once that decision is taken, Awoko is always the first to isolate himself.

Series of examples can be outlined. But the most recent one is the sacking of Nahim Khadi and the other two coaches.

After Leone Stars disgraceful defeat on Saturday, Awoko was the first to call for an emergency executive meeting on Sunday. At the said meeting, Awoko was the mover of the motion calling for the immediate dismissal of the Technical team. He advanced various reasons among them that Nahim Khadi has no technical know-how; that NK has failed both Lions, the U-17 and Leone Stars. A unanimous decision was taken to sack NK and the coaches.

Ironically, immediately after the said meeting, Awoko was the first to telephone Nahim Khadi to tell him that he’s been sacked but that he was opposed to the action. Awoko did not only stop at that, himself and Nahim Khadi have been knocking at Press doors to give wrong information to journalists just to tarnish the image of the association. This is unacceptable and very ungentlemanly.

Awoko has the absolute right to oppose any motion and even resign if he is a man with principles. But failing to do it and embark on leaking certain information taken at executive meetings to the press is the worst any gentle being can do.

Last Monday, Awoko, Nahim Khadi and a journalist (name withheld for now) were caught red-handed at his First Foreign Exchange office, locked inside and gave nasty, wrong information about the FA to the journalist. He allegedly gave the journalist Le100,000 (one hundred thousand Leones) to carry on his job. Can anyone imagine this?

Some of us have no benefit from this FA. We are involve because of the love of the game. We keep spending our time, the pages of our newspapers, energy and money for the progress of the game. We are therefore not prepared to allow a single individual to bring the game into disrepute.

Awoko has so many flaws. But what is more frustrating is the failure of Justice Tolla Thompson to check the excesses of Awoko. Justice Thompson and the rest of the executive must bear in mind that they were elected by Congress and anything that goes wrong, Awoko always has an escape route. The blame will lie on him (Thompson). Awoko must not be allowed to be dictating the pace of football. He is just an individual. He must be checked, if not football will die. Sports Commentary

Leave Sheka Bangura Alone

By Sorie I. Sesay

One of the reasons which has contributed to the present disgraceful state of this once noble profession of Journalism is the unneccessary press bashing orchestrated by members of the profession. Today, the general public have lost total respect and disregard for members of the fourth estate because of the simple fact that members no longer discuss issues of national development, but rather resort to personal attacks on decent individuals who have built their reputations for a long time.

This brings to mind the various press attacks on the SLFA Financial and Acting General Secretary , Sheka Bangura which has been going on for the past two weeks. Let me hasten to state at this point that this piece is not meant to mount a defence on recent financial allegations on the SLFA, but rather to highlight certain issues which have been seriously misconstrued by colleagues of the profession. I feel pity for poor Sheka Bangura who many have been used a scapegoat to these allegations.

Since Sheka Bangura was appointed Acting Secretary General of the FA, following the departure of the substantive holder, Alimu Bah, some myopic individuals,whether due to ignorance or otherwise, have argued that Mr. Bangura should not double as Financial Secretary and General Secretary of the FA. They said since the two are sensitive positions in the FA, one person should not be entrusted with the two positions. But I want those who are advancing such arguments to look at the present set up of CAF and FIFA, the two leading world Football governing bodies. Take for instance, CAF, General Secretary Mustapha Fahmy, he is the administrative head of all financial matters of the confederation. There is nothing like a Financial Secretary, Treasurer or what not in both CAF and FIFA.

There are well established Committees in which the General Secretary of the association is always in attendance.

Besides, it has been made clear time without number that Bangura is only acting in the capacity of someone who will be back at any time from now. Do we expect the FA to employ an outsider to the job when there are competent individuals within its fold to perform such duty?

To say Sheka Bangura is not fit for the job is not only an understatement, but an insult to the dignity of the SLFA executive who mandated him to act in that capacity. As a human being, I agree with others that Sheka Bangura is not perfect, but does that warrant someone to say or write all sorts of negative things about him to tarnish his image and character? That is absolutely unfair.

Furthermore, I would say it’s unfortunate to regard Mr. Bangura as a novice in terms of football administration. For the records, Sheka has been in the centre of Football governance both at national and district levels as far back as the early 60s. For expediency sake, I will not delve in details on that, but a typical example was that in 1982 Sheka Bangura was at the helm of Port Loko District Football Association administration, when they ensured that the district team, Bai Bureh Warriors qualified for that year’s African Cup Winners competition, only to be eliminated by Guinea’s Horoya Athletics club. Would you regard such a man who has spent over three decades in football administration with lots of experience in the game as a novice? I believe only a fool would think otherwise.

Coming back to Sheka’s statement aired over Radio 98.1, Sports programme last Sunday ,that the present technical staff will be sacked should they fail against Nigeria, I want people to understand that Sheka Bangura is not the spokesman of the FA, and what he said on that programme was his personal opinion.

I believe as an individual he is entitled to his opinion. And people must understand that Mr. Bangura is not SLFA. The SLFA executive is comprised of ten members and one man’s opinion should not be interpreted as the general views of all. Sheka can say that but what if other members disagree?

One will agree with me that Sheka has not been treated fairly by people, in order words he is just an unfortunate victim of unfortunate circumstances. Please live Sheka Bangura in peace.

MARCH 15TH 2001

Basketball Gets National Team Coach

The President of the Sierra Leone Amateur Basketball Association,SLABA, Mr John Bosco Kuyateh has intimated the Pool Sports that the National Sports Council in collaboration with the SLABA has appointed British born Alex Forman as Head Coach of the national basketball squad.

Mr. Kuyateh described the new Coach as an intelligent young man with lots of experience in the game. He said Coach Forman specialised in Basketball Coaching programmes at his University in Britain and came to spot his coaching talent through his excellent handling of the Young men sports club, which he said has been transformed by him to one of the best Basketball squad in the country.

Mr. Kuyateh maintained that through the efforts of his association, a foreign company has already volunteered to honour the salaries and allowances of the Coach. “We are doing all in our powers to ensure that Basketball becomes the leading sporting activity in the country:, he promised.

He further disclosed that the national basketball team has recently received an invitation to participate in the Zone II national basketball tournament in Bamako, Mali this year. He said they are yet to receive further confirmation from the organisers since their reply expressing their intention to particpate. “We are working in preparation for that tournament.

Mr. Kuyateh however pointed that priority will be given to school going children whom he said shall make up the future national team. “We want to ensure that we have a well disciplined national side”, he concluded.

Aftermath of Sudan Encounter... Nahim Khadi and crew sacked!

The Executive of the Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA,on Sunday reached a decision to sack the entire technical staff of the national team, Leone Stars following the team’s disgraceful performance last Saturday at the National Stadium.

According to a release by the SLFA, the Head Coach Christian Cole,Assistant Coach Daniel Toes Koroma and the Team Manager Nahim Khadi have been sacked,effective, Monday, March 12..

The release further states that the following appointments have been made in acting capacities with Obi Metzger as head coach to be assisted by Jebor Sherrington. Mighty Black Pool’s and U-20 Team Manager, Ibrahim Mansaray has been appointed as the new Team Manager to be assisted by Mr. Sanusi Savage of Ports Authority.

These moves have been widely welcomed by football fans who attributed the disgraceful performance of the team last Saturday to some serious technical blunders.

Boxing - Tiwana, Police Fire Force, Army to Clash
By Bilal Turay

The Sierra Leone Boxing Association has called on all the local boxing clubs to participate in thier competitions to be organised at least once a month.

Speaking to this press, the president of Sierra Leone Boxing Association, Mr. Edward John Akar, said it high time they prepare their local clubs for national and international competitions, as it was agreed by the association.

He said Sierra Leone have been invited to the World Senior Boxing championship to be held in Belfast, North Ireland, from 1st - 11 June, 2001. He said as part of the prerparation, the association has thought it fit to organise local clubs like Police, Prisons, Army, Fire force, and Tiwana inorder to spot talents for the national team. Mr. Edward said the association is presently preparing the estimate to be presented to the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie before the end of the month. SLABA is also expecting invitations from the third Commonwealth World Boxing Championship later this month, and in the All African Championship in 2004.He said boxing will soon be recognised after football, as the association plans to promote the national Boxing team in not too long a distance future.

He called on the old and new boxers to join the association through local clubs. Sport Cmmentary

That Crowd Violence: A Bad Scene
By Sorie Ibrahim Sesay

Last Saturday, an ugly incident occured at the National Stadium when spectators threw missiles to the tantan track expressing their anger against what they described as the poor performance of the home side, Leone Stars, against their Sudanese counterparts. The incident came immediately after the Sudanese have scored their second goal.

In as much as I sympathise with the concerns which resulted to the incident, I do not subscribe to the arguement that it was the best way of expressing such emotions considering the penalties that usually accompany such events .

African football have in recent times manned with lots of crowd violence ranging from the 2000 African Cup of Nations in Nigeria, the African Cup of Nations Women in South Africa, the African Champions league in Accra and more recently that of ours at the National Stadium.

Spectators must be aware of the fact that both the World and African Football governing bodies have emphasised the need for international matches to be played without crowd troubles.

To see spectators in our own country behaving in a manner contravening such principles is really unfortunate.

As stated earlier,such behaviour could lead to the imposition of long time ban on the stadium or heavy fine to Football Association from FIFA .

People should reflect their memories in 1992 when CAF imposed an indefinite ban on our National Stadium forcing the national team to play most of its international matches in neighbouring Guinea. The high cost of playing these matches in that country greatly contributed to the present poor financial status of our Football Association. So can we afford to get a similar penalty from FIFA at a time like this when the authorities are so reluctant to even foot the cost of a trip out side the country for a match?,

I want to appeal to spectators to exercise restraints in future, though painful as it was last Saturday . Such behaviour will only lead us into more troubles with the international football governing bodies who will have no respite in imposing heavy .fines and penalties. A word for the wise is enough

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