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MATCH OFFICIALS FOR U-17 SIERRA STARS VS THE GAMBIA.

FROM LA COTE D’IVOIRE.
Sehi Adrien-Referee.
Zohore Pregnon-1st Asst. Referee.
Sadoumou Ettien-2nd Asst. Referee.

THE MATCH COMMISSIONER IS FROM SENEGAL.

MARCH 31ST 2000
Dangerous Signals...
Leone Stars In Disarray

If the present confusion among members of the Technical team of Leone Stars is not immediately addressed, it is likely that our chances of qualifying into the group matches of the African zoneof the World Cup will be slim.

Investigations carried by this press revealed that trouble started in the camp of the Technical team last Tuesday between the Team Manager, Paul Kamara and Head Coach, Abdulai Garincha Sesay over the issue of selecting the players.

Our sources revealed that Paul Kamara insisted that two players, defender Osman Tolo and striker Abdulai Kaloga be dropped in the final selection. Coach Garincha, the sources stated, refused to adhere to Paul Kamara’s dictates on the grounds that by virtue of his position, he is in a proper position to assess the players more than the Team Manager. The situation came to a head when both men nearly exchanged blows at the stadium.

When this press contacted, Mr.Kamara for his reaction, he described coach Garinchia as “obstinate and has no vision for the national team.” He said Garincha feels too good to take instructions from him. “He is not even a one star coach. So who is he not to follow instructions from me? I am the head of the technical team; so I must ensure that my plans and strategies for the boys are serious implemented. I do not want to be a failure in the end,” Mr. Kamara angrily stated.

He condemned coach Garincha for failing to interprete his vision to the boys. “The man cannot even implement my proposals to the players, so I find it extremly difficult to work with someone that is narrowminded,” he said.

He further disclosed that he has already registered his protest to the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) which Garinchia claimed to be responsible to only.

Efforts by this press to reach coach Garincha proved futile.

U-17 face Leone Stars today

The National U-17 football team, Sierra Stars, will this afternoon engage with their senior counterparts, Leone Stars, at the National Stadium in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter.

The match is important for both sides as they prepare for the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations qualifying matches. The Coach of the U-17, Nahim Khadi, disclosed to this press that his boys are ready to cause an upset in today’s match.

“I have absolute confidence in my boys and I believe this time we can take on any opponent, considering the rigorous training the boys have undergone”, he said.

“We have played more than five test matches with top division one clubs and we won all, including the current champions, Blackpool whom we thrashed 4-1 last week. Leone Stars will be no exception come today’s match,” he stated, adding, “My aim is to ensure that Sierra Leone get its rightful place in the continental soccer map. I have the potential talents in my team and come April 15, the public will know exactly what I have been saying as we take on the Gambians in Freetown.”

On the other hand, Leone Stars are confident of taking the junior side since the match is the first and probably the last before their departure to Sao Tome on Monday. “We shall do everything possible to prove to the nation that we are worthy ambassadors,” a veteran player disclosed to this press yesterday.

FIFA sponsors Leone Stars Trip

The World Football governing body, FIFA, has agreed to finance the national team Leone Stars’ trip to Sao Tome and Principe for next weekend World Cup clash.

FIFA has consented to pay for a twenty-two man delegation including eighteen players and four officials to Sao Tome and Principe.

The four officials in the trip include the two coaches, Garincha and Christian Cole, Dr.Obi Frazer who will also be leader of the delegation and team doctor and Saidu Mansaray who shall act in the capacity of Secretary General and Team Manager. The team is billed to leave Freetown on Monday April 2 with no sports journalist.

In a brief chat with Mr. Chernor Ojuku Sesay who is the President of The Sports Writers' Association of Sierra Leone(SWASAL), Chernor Ojuku Sesay, disclosed that the Minister of Youths, Education and Sports, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie in a meeting at the National Stadium on Wednesday pleaded with Mr Ojuku Sesay for his members to show understanding on their present plight for, as he put it, “It is not financed by the government but by FIFA and they dictated who and who should be in the trip. We cannot even take the Secretary-General nor the President of the SLFA along because of this”.

Ojuku Sesay is decided to consult his members on this latest development so as to see what line of action they should take. As result, he is conveying an emergency meeting of all sports writers today at the Presidential lounge of the National Stadium at 5:00pm.

Women’s league begins tomorrow

The National Women’s League competition will commence tomorrow at the Oxley field grounds in Freetown.

According to the Secretary-General of the association, Miss Emrica Browne, there will be a match past of al the participating teams from the Annie Walsh School via Kissy Road, Upgun roundabout, Cline Town junction, Fourah Bay Road on to the Oxley groudns.

Various dignatories are expected to grace the occasion and Mrs. Rosaline Gabio who is the guest of honour is expected to take the kick off.

The opening match will be between East End Lions and Kissy United. The comic match between women in sports and FAWE has been called off because of the failure of the latter to respond to the invitation.

Blackpool are charity champs

Mighty Blackpool Sports club on Sunday proved supremacy over their arch-rivals East End Lions when they walloped their opponents 3-0 at the national stadium in a replay match in honour of the late Alusine Deen.

Lions were in perfect control of the midfield in the first15 minutes of play. However from that moment onwards, this once organised midfield became a shadow of itself as Mighty Blackpool dictated every pace of the match. Blackpool’s ferocious attack yielded dividend in the 42nd minute when the ever-improving star, Balay Balay, capitalised on a Osman Toto blunder to send home a perfect grounder that deflected in the legs of Medo Milla to beat the stranding Lions goalie Sheikh Sheikh for the curtain raiser. This was the state of affairs in the first half.

The second half became more of a Blackpool affair as the likes of Pikin Marrah, Pa Ernest and Balay Balay proved too much for their opponents through their excellent passes up front. Midway into the second half, Ajami increased the tally for his side through a perfect header that left the entire Lions defence stranded.

Lions’ efforts for a consolation were further frustrated by the inability of its strikers to do perfect finishing, coupled with the fantastic defensive play of Blackpool’s ace defenders, Captain Charlie Wright and Lansana Mark Fish Alpha.

The last nail to the Killers’ coffin was hammered home by Blackpool’s new comer in the 87th minute which many football analysts described as one of the best in recent times.

At the end of the match sports commentators remarked that football is gradually improving in the country, compared to some few months back.

Don’t underestimate Sao Tome & Principe

OPINION
By Sorie Ibrahim Sesay

Early next week the national team, Leone Stars, will leave Freetown for SaoTome and Principe for the first leg encounter in the preliminary rounds for the 2002 African World Cup qualifying zone.

Many, including our football administrators, have dismissed the Indian ocean Islanders with a wave of the hand, considering them to be an easy work-over for our boys. As a result, the preparation programme which should have included the invitation of two or more professionals to the team has been totally neglected on the grounds that the home-based players “should go and prove their mettle”.

My investigations revealed that the decision by the SLFA to send an entirely home based team for this match is far above proving their mettle. It is, I learnt, due to the unavailability of funds requested from the government to enable them (SLFA) bring home our foreign-based players. In fact ten professionals were initially intended to be invited. And up to the time of writing this piece, I understand that the entire trip is being financed by the SLFA with no helping hand from the government.

Let me hasten to state here that I should not be misconstrued as being against the involvement of home-based players in the trip, but at the same time considering the peak at which African soccer has attained, one should not risk taking an entirely home-based squad in such a significant away match in which the home side can do everything possible to cause an upset.

Perhaps one or two examples could help to substantiate my assertion. In the 1988 African Cup of Nations, the Black Stars of Ghana risked filling a home-based squad against Leone Stars in Accra which they lost 2-1 and in spite of bringing all their professionals including Abedi and Opoku, they could not offset that defeat in the second leg in Freetown. Morocco will never forget their experience of being victims of over-confidence against the Eagles of Mali in the1990 Cup of Nations qualifying rounds. A strap team was sent to Bamako for the first leg and the Atlas Lions lost 3-0. The assembly of the Mustapha Hadji and others in the return leg in Casablanca only worsened the situation as the Malians stood their grounds and held the Mighty Moroccans to a 0-0 draw. And in the recently concluded African Cup of Nations, no one will imagine that the lowly-rated Red Devils of Congo could hold the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a goalless draw right in front of the lather’s home turf, nor would anyone believe that the already dismissed Hawks of Togo could beat the eventual champions, Cameroon, in the last group match.

It is no secret that modern football requires talents backed by lots of international exposure. This was clearly demonstrated in the recently concluded Cup of Nations in which 85 percent of the players taken to the finals are all from foreign clubs. The problem with our preparations is that there are not enough competitive matches in terms of a proper league season to enable our players fit in with international football competitions. So taking these boys who, for several months now lack competitive matches is tantamount to putting our chances of qualifying at stake.

Don’t tell me about bringing the professionals in the second leg in Freetown. Let us imagine (May God forbid it) that Sao Tome score a 3-0 victory at home in the first leg. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to offset such result in Freetown.

I wish to emphasise here that SaoTome and Principe though new in the continental soccer map should not be under-rated by the football authorities. In fact their champion club SANTANA FC is still in the running for this year’s champion league, after they have created the greatest upset in the preliminary rounds. In future, the authorities should realise that every match is important and that all preparations needed for an international match should be put in place in order to avoid a risky venture.

COFA U-17 League

FC Lezo meet Don Bosco today

FC Lezo will this afternoon face their Lungi based counterparts, Don Bosco, in the U-17 category of the Central One Football Association league competition at the practising pitch of the national stadium.

The results of the match between Freetown Vikings and SS VEDA in the U-14 category were not available at press time.

Here are results of matches played in both categories so far.

Anti Drugs 4 vs Paddys United 2
Lions U-17 1 vs Columbia 0
Koto Stars 0 vs Super Bronz 0
Texas United 1 vs Central Milan 1
Bonarparte 1 vs Seaside United 2
New England 1 vs Clinetonians 2
Marican 1 vs Mount East 1
Kamtoko 2 vs Real Friends 3
Sierra Rangers 0 vs Real Friends 3
Medicated 1 vs FT Vikings 3
Susan’s Bay 4 Grassroot 2
Jamaica Brothers 1 vs Sierra Rangers 4
Eastern Juniors 7 vs M. Rovers 1

SUNDAY MARCH 26TH 2000

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LEONE STARS TEAM MANAGER
No professionals for Leone Stars

MARCH 27TH 2000

Less than two weeks from now the national team, Leone stars will engage their Sao Tome and Principe counterparts for the 2002 African world cup qualifying series. Considering the significance of this away encounter, our sports editor, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay met the team manager and head of the technical committee of Leone stars, Mr. Paul Kamara at his Short street office to find out how prepared the team is for this great show down. Please read on:

Pool Sports(PS): You will be playing Sao Tome and Principe in less than two weeks from now, what arrangements have you put in place in terms of inviting our foreign-based players?
Paul Kamara (PK): We have no intention of inviting professionals for this match. I believe we have enough local talents to take on Sao Tome. We are not underestimating our opponents, but we want the locals to prove their mettle. It is a seeded match and there is no need to waste more money in bringing these professionals home. If anyone of them is interested in making the trip to Sao Tome he should be prepared to come home and join the training with his colleagues and if he proves well, we can include him in the team. Let me emphasise here that if a player does not play test or training matches with the team and decides to fly straight to Sao Tome, he shall only be doing so at his own risk, because that player would not be included in the team.

PS: What are the results of your training with the boys so far?
PK: The training has so far yielded dividend, I can assure you. After two weeks of intensive military training the stamina and speed of the boys have increased to suit the new kind of formation we intend to introduce in the team which is completely different from the previous systems. And one thing I want to mention here is that we will not allow any favouritism and biased selection in the squad. I believe this has further motivated the boys to put them in competitive spirit. We are trying to instill the sprit of patriotism and nationalism on the players by not only singing the national anthem and pledge everyday but by stressing that they do everything possible for this country. Let me further state here that the SLFA has consented to pay monthly salaries to both the players and coaches apart from other benefits that makes the training more attractive. Over and above we have instilled some sense of discipline in the boys and to make them realise that no player is indispensable in the team.

PS: You mentioned that the SLFA has agreed to pay the players and coaches their monthly salaries, but there is one very important issue which has been totally neglected by the FA, that is the provision of medical facilities for the players and other logistics, what have you done to ensure that these basic needs of the boys are met by the soccer authorities?
PK: I had a meeting with the SLFA officials last Friday in which I raised this concern of having a medical doctor during our training sessions. We want to discourage the idea of a player waiting for several hours in medical clinics when he has to report back for training in the evening. The (SLFA) has assured me that modalities are being worked out to ensure that their problems are solved.

PS: Recently, you announced the final twenty-five for the team. And as you said, these players are expected to play one or two friendly matches before their departure. What arrangements have you made to ensure that the team plays these warm-up matches on time?
PK: Our priority is to ensure the physical fitness of the players. As you said, we have selected the final twenty-five to start up the new formation I mentioned earlier which we believe they will acquaint themselves with. Back to the friendly matches, we hope to play one against Western Area combined, which shall include some of the players we dropped and the junior U-17 national team within the next few days. We hope to name the first team against Sao Tome and Principe before we leave Freetown for the nation to know the starting line-up and the substitutes.

PS: One of the policies you recently announced was to introduce to the team some local coaches of first division clubs from time to time to train the boys, do you have any coaches in mind for this programme?
PK: This was what I had in mind and this explains why I held a meeting with the coaches association asking them to give me three coaches for such a programme. But unfortunately they did not CO-operate. I am looking for those that will CO-operate and they shall be allowed to train the team once a week to give the boys different kinds of training. We should realise that we do not even have a star coach not to speak of a five star coach, which requires ten years’ university work. We intend to bring these local coaches on board to share our ideas so that at the end of the day all of us will share in the team’s victory.

PS: Any last word to the general public?
PK: The problem is always finance. If we want to qualify for both the world cup and the African Nations cup, I want to appeal to the business community to help the team both financially and morally. And I want to assure them that any amount donated will be used in the interest and welfare of the players and coaches. To the rest of the sports loving fans, whatever advice you have about improving on our current techniques or making a donation please contact the office of the “For Di People” newspaper office at 1 Short Street or telephone on 228071.

SLFA Speaks On Female Team

At a joint meeting of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) and representatives of the Fourah Bay Amatuer Football Association (FAFA) at the latter’s grounds, it was resolved that the female league start without further delay.

The SLFA northern representative, Mr. Sheka Bangura, noted that they had taken the league out of the Stadium as a result of unavoidable circumstances. He called on participating teams to be committed to the game so as to produce a better side that would eventually represent Sierra Leone. He also stated that SLFA now is poised to improve the game at every leve, including the female side.

On his part the Secretary-General of FAFA lamented that though his association was an old affiliate of SLFA, it has not realised much benefit. However a negotiable point was reached at and SLFA representatives promised to seriously look into the case of FAFA. They also contemplated of drawing a ‘gold project’ for the development of the FAFA grounds Though fixtures are yet to be released, the teams are now in active training for this great showdown.

The two new comers, all school teams, Municipal FC of Municipal Secondary School Kissy Dockyard and Ahmadiyya Female FC of Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, are in high spirit to emerge victorious. Speaking to the Sports Director of Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Mr. Abdul Karim Sesay, he noted that he has no hesitation for his team. “I have a composed team drawn only from our school pupils, but I assure you we will make our mark, come the league”, he boasted. He called on match officials to be fair in the handling of all matches and not to consider any team as a minus in the competition.

The coach for Municipal, Mr. Kamara, was quick to disclose that he has beautiful stars that will carry home the giant trophy. He stated further that he was satisfied with his team which has been together for two years before a decision was reached to register it as a club.

ATHLETICS

NOOR House Are Champs
By Unisa Deen Kargbo

Noor House, with colour Blue were recorded winners of the 27th Track and Field events of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Freetown, organised at the National Stadium on March 13 and 14 this month. They scored an over-all mark of 636 followed by Ahmad House, colour green with 592 marks. The third position went to Mahmoud House, colour yellow with a score of 503. Tahir House, white colour, was fourth with 391 marks whilst Nasir House was fifth with 388 marks. According to analysts, the sports meet recorded the largest crowd in the history of track and field events in the country. This was also the first victory of Noor house, as the victors over the years have been either Mahmoud house or Ahmad house.The sports meet was conducted over a peaceful atmosphere with competitors showing their determination to carry the day.

In his speech, the principal, Alhaji M.P. Bayoh, admonished the students on the need to be social and called on them to show their talents for the progress of the country. He boasted that every year Ahmadiyya contributes both sports and academic products to the nation.

The first event was the 5000 metres boys open which was won by Mohamed Conteh of Tahir house.

Mamie K. Lahun of Noor House displayed her sporting prowess, beating the second place to a distance of about 800 metres.

Rebecca James of Noor House clinched both the high and long jumps for senior girls. Marie L. Koney emerged victorious in the 400 metres 800 metres, and 1,500 metres senior girls. Noor produced the fastest female and male runners, Aminata L Kargbo and Gibrilla P. Bangura respectively. Aminata won the 100 metres Hurdles, 200 metres and 100 metres dash. Gibrilla won the 110 metres hurdles, 200 metres and 100 metres. The 4 X 100metres relay and the All House relay were wins for Noor House.

Adams Sillah of Mahmoud House proved to the best senior boy, winning the 100m, High Jump and was runner-up in the 2000 metres, long jump and 300 metres. Aminata Turay of Mahmoud House won the 400 and 800 metres intermediate girls. Augusta Cole of Ahmad House won the 200 metres and was runner-up in the 100metre 800 dash for intermediate girls. Thomas Coker of Ahmad House won the 400 metres senior boys. In the tripple jump, the only jump was recorded by Alhassan Kamara of Nasir House. The Schools highest jumper was Bankole Morgan of Ahmad House.

At the end of the Sports meeting, thousands of the fans who had converged at the Stadium were over the major streets in the jubilant mood. Others were even beated by the 11p.m curfew because of the distance to their homes.

Lowcost “Nations Cup” Begins April 2 This year’s edition of the LOWCOST “African Nations Cup” to be organised by the Lowcost Site II Sports Association (LOSSA) will commence on April 2 this year.

According to the Secretary General of the Association, Alhaji M. Kamara, the essence of the tournament is to promote youth soccer in the Community in particular and the country as a whole. He disclosed that the sixteen teams needed for the comptetition have already registered with the association and their country’s name and colours shall be determined in today’s meeting at N334 Lowcost Housing, Kissy with them. Mr. Kamara stated that the competition shall take a full Cup of Nations format with the 16 teams divided into four groups of four each with the winner and runner-up of each group going to the quarter finals.

Asked what preparations have they put in place to ensure a successful tournament, the chairman of the association, Mr. Foday Daboh, disclosed that effective maintenance of the Lowcost Site playing field had been going on for the past few weeks and he is optimistic that everything will be in place before the start of the competition. “We are no strangers in terms of organising such tournament and I can assure you that all will be right a week before the tournament begins”, he optimistically stated.

On his part, the Financial Secretary, Mr. Mamie Sankoh, asked for the total cooperation of the participating teams to ensure a successful competition. “If we have your cooperation, the sky will be our limit,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources have intimated this press that unlike previous competitions organised in that pitch, the Lowcost Site II organisers are determined to introduce trained and qualified referees for the tournament to ensure that the rules of the game are interpreted to the letter.

U-17 Coach Selects final 25

The Coach and Team Manager of the National U-17 squad, Mr. Nahim Khadi, last Friday released the final twenty-five players for the team, out of the forty-five players recently invited for training.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Football Association, SLFA, Coach Khadi stated that after three weeks of selective training and a few test matches, he had selected the players for intensive coaching in preparation for next month’s African Cup of Nations qualifying rounds against the Young Scorpions of the Gambians. Here is the full list of players and their respective clubs.

Bo Rangers

1. Idrissa Bangura
2. Wurie Jalloh
Golf Leopards
3. Abdul Rahman Jalloh
4. Sullay Kargbo
5. Gibrilla Woobay

East End Lions

6. Mohamed Jalloh (Sheikh
7. Ibrahi,m Kamara
8. Mohamed Mansaray
9. Yusuf Conteh

Ports Authority

10. Hadiru Sesay
11. Osman Sankoh
12. Muwahid Sesay
13. Yusuf Sindeh

Mighty Blackpool

14.Ibrahim Kargbo
15. Bockay Koroma
16. Daniel Foday
17. Albert Foday
18. Daniel Taylor

Old Edwardians

19. Alusine Mansaray
20. Abu Kargbo

Diamond Stars

21. Sullay Jalloh
22. Aziz Bah

Real Republicans

23. Alimamy Jalloh
24. Momoh Rogers

Wellington People

25. Mohamed Sesay

Meanwhile, Sierra Stars thrashed Ports Authority 3-1 at the National Stadium practising field last Wednesday after taming the Police team 2-0 two days earlier. The team is expected to play more warm-up matches in the provinces with top first division clubs within the next few weeks

Weightlifting

Two new records set
By Legally Cole,
Freelance Journalist.

MEGA BASE GYM in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Weightlifting Association organised an inter-gym contest on 16 March 2000 at the Mabela Fishing Complex.

Twelve Gyms took part in the contest. On the Junior Bench Press Category, Alimamy Sesay of Peace Keeping Force Gym emerged winner, having lifted 160kg. Musa Kamara of Home Base Gym and Abu Bakarr Bazzy were declared second position, each lifting 150kg at second attempt.

On the Intermediate Bench Press Category, Issa Bangura of Mags Gym was declared winner, having lifted 165kgs. Robin Thomas of Mega Base Gym emerged second, lifting 160kgs at first attempt and Mohamed Kargbo of Power Rangers Gym also lifted 160kgs at second attempt.

Tension arose when the weightlifting strong guys took to the podium for the Olympic lift in the Snatch, Clean and Jerk category.

Busief Omarr of Bronx Gym broke the national record of Joseph Belon of Baimbrace Gym in the snatch, clean and Jerk with an aggregate 220 kg.

Busief Omar snatched 90kg and then in the clean/jerk category, lifted 125kg to set a new national record of aggregate 215kg.

Mohamed N’forsor of Mega Base Gym also snatched 90kg and in the Clean/Jerk category lifted 120 kgs with an aggregate of 210kgs.

Sulaiman Kanu of Peace Keeping Force Gym broke the national record of Sanford Goba of School of Iron who lifted 200kg two years ago at the national stadium.

Sulaiman ‘Kombo’ Kanu lifted 205 kg to set a new national record in the senior bench press category.

Abdul Kanu of Peace Keeping force Gym who lifted 180kg and Murray Jalloh of Intervention Force Gym who lifted 170kg came second and third respectively.

National Women’s League Begins April 1

The Secretary-General of the National Women’s Football Association who is also Secretary to the Secretary-General of SLFA Emrica Browne has disclosed to this press that this year’s national league competition will commence on April 1 at the Fourah Bay Grounds in Freetown.

She stated that the competition shall comprise nine first division sides including the two newly promoted ones. They are Soccer Angels, Soccer Queens, Prisons, East End Lioness, Ascentonians, Kissy United, Freetown Red Skins, Ahmadiyya and Mucipa Starlets.

Miss Browne pointed out that the essence of the tournament is to spot out talents for the national team in readiness for the Cup of Nations qualifying match against Burkina Faso scheduled for June this year.

She acknowledged the fact that the league will commence far behind schedule considering the competitions ahead, but at the same time, she expressed optimism to put in place a formidable squad within the next few weeks after the commencement of the league.

Meanwhile, the technical committee of the Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA is expected to name a coach for the female national team, Sierra Queens, any time from now, this press can authoritatively state.

Sources close to the SLFA Secretariat intimated this press that Ports Authority, coach Derick Boison, may likely be appointed to take over the team. Other sources stated that his appointment will bring out a clash between the female national team and his club which is participating in this year’s WAFU cup.

Blackpool Off To Bo

Mighty Blackpool Sports Club left Freetown last Friday for the Southern Provincial town of Bo to play two friendly matches over the weekend.

Sources close to Blackpool Secretariat indicate that the team will play Nepian Stars and Bo Rangers on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The trip is part of the team’s preparation for this year’s WAFU competition.

Blackpool who have automatically qualified for the second rounds of the competition following a bye in the WAFU draws held two weeks ago in Abidjan, are also expected to play some warm up matches against the national U-17, U-20 and Leone Stars early next month.

Unconfirmed sources state that plans are well underway to have the team travel to Guinea for further warm up matches against the Guinean Champions Association Sportif de Kaloum (A.S Kaloum) in April.

It could be recalled that two weeks ago, one of the Country’s WAFU cup qualifiers, Ports Authority travelled to Bo on the same vein.

NAHIM KHADI SPEAKS!

MARCH 15TH 2000

Few weeks ago, the Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA in a move to prepare the country U-17 squad for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations qualifying rounds appointed one of the country’s most successful trainer, Nahim Khadi, as Team Manager and Coach for the team. Sorie Ibrahim Sesay reached him at his residence last Tuesday to find out how prepared was to meet the challenges ahead. Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Pool Sports (PS): Congratulations though belated on your appointment as Coach and TM for the U-17.
Nahim Khadi (NK): Thank you.

PS: What are your immediate plans for the team, considering the competitions ahead in a few months’ time?
NK: We are trying to get the best 25 players out of those we invited recently. Some of them are just reporting for training this week due to their club commitments. My first approach in the team is to have a four hour training on a daily basis to teach them the basic techniques of the game. It is not an easy task especially to teach these techniques to the boys at this stage. They are fit in terms of stamina but their technical aspect is zero. Coming back to the preparations; we have already played our first match against the police team which we won by 2-0. I just want to appeal to government through the youth, Education and sports Ministry to take the game back to the schools. We should launch the operation. “Catch them young” if we are really aiming at developing the game.

PS: You will be playing the Gambia mid next month and they have already played a friendly international against Senegal, do you have plans to do the same?
NK: It all depends on Finance. I think with the meagre resources of SLFA it is difficult to have any, though we may be very much interested in that. However we intend to play 15 or more practising matches within the next two or three weeks. It is from there that we will be able to correct our mistakes and see the areas that need to be improved.

PS: There is always the problem of including over- age players at this level. What effort have you made to ensure that no over- aged player is included in your team?
NK: First we look at those who have played in the senior national side and the past U-17 competition to ensure that we do not bring them to the team. I believe we are under the age limit and I can assure you that we will have no problem in that regard.

PS: What is your relationship with the boys and how are they responding to your training programmes?
NK: So far I will say it is cordial. I learn from them and vice versa since no one is perfect.

PS:..... And what about SLFA, have they been responding to your request in terms of providing logistics for the boys in training session?
NK: I am thankful to them (SLFA) for giving me the opportunity to serve my country. I have been away for a very long time and for such an honourable body to give you such appointment, it means I have some thing to deliver for this nation. They know what I am capable of doing and by God’s grace I believe we shall succeed. My records speak for themselves. They (SLFA) are making their assistance towards the team, so far we have no cause to complain. We too have been appealing to sports loving people to render their own assistance.

PS: On which terms were you appointed as Coach and Team Manager, are you on contract or been paid?
NK: I want no reward, all I want is to bring laurels to this country. I am not sure SLFA have been paying coaches in the past. I refer you to the sports council for details. My ultimate goal is to win.

PS: People say you are an untrained and unqualified coach and therefore should not be given such appointment, do you agree with that?
NK: It is simple, I have never attended any coaching course in my life and I have no certificate to the effect. I heavily relied on my follow up of modern football which I intend to put into practice. It was without a certificate that I took Leone Stars to the finals of the Zone II cup in Dakar in 1986. I am the only TM sacked in this country for producing results because since my appointment then, I didn’t loose a match. Even without a certificate you will see what I will produce. With all their certificates, tell me, what have they done to improve the game in the country? Few days after starting training the U-17, I have began to realise results. I am throwing an open challenge to those so-called certificate holders to bring their team and play my side for the public to judge.

PS: It was rumoured that you rejected the same appointment you are now holding, the U-17 at Leone Stars, any comment?
NK: No one offered me a job, it is all rumour. The SLFA offered me what I accepted.

PS: You may have an edge over the Gambians in your first clash, but your next fixture against Ghana, if you qualify, will be very much difficult a task. Are you and your boys intimidated by this fixture?
NK: Not really, We believe in training. There is no magic in football. If you train hard you will perform. There is the adage that says “practice makes perfect”. We are not mere participants. We are determined to take any opponent in the competition be it Ghana or otherwise. We are not afraid of anyone.

PS: And your last word?
NK: I want to appeal to the public to exercise patience and support the team. I extend an open invitation to them to see my training sessions in order to make their suggestions to build a better U-17 for the country.

MARCH 13TH 2000 - SPORTS NEWS!

U-17 WARM UP MATCHES...
SENEGAL THRASHED GAMBIA; GAMBIA AWAITS SIERRA LEONE

The Gambia U-17 national team,Young Scorpions, last week suffered a 0-1 defeat at the hands of their Senegalese counterparts in Dakar as part of their preparatory matches for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations U-17 tournament.

According to reports reaching our sports desk from Banjul, The Gambia, their football association has lined up some international friendly matches for their junior side in readiness for their first leg encounter with Sierra Stars of Sierra Leone mid next month in Freetown.

Reports further indicate that the boys’ performance in Dakar was impressive and plans are underway to get them with one or two friendly encounters against their Bissau Guinean counterparts or Mali before the end of this month.

The Gambians seem to be taking no chances for this year’s qualifying rounds and it was further reported that the entire team has been camped in an area outside Banjul until after their match against Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has commenced effective training last week under the auspices of coach and team manager, Nahim Kadi, for next month’s encounter with Mali.

This press shall, in subsequent editions, carry an exlusive interview with the U-17 coach Nahim Kadi on his plans and preparations for both the Gambian encounter and the ECOWAS U-17 tournament scheduled to take place in Lome, Togo in October this year.
Stay tuned.

FIFA Okays South Africa’s Visit

A high powered delegation of the world football governing body, FIFA, has completed its visit on the facilities provided by the South African government in their bid to host the 2006 World Cup tournament.

According to FIFA spokesman Cooper, the team was impressed with the professional proposals submitted to them in Johannesborg, and they hoped that South Africa could translate them into reality.

The team was entertained last Saturday in a clash that included the South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates in Durban, one of the proposed venues for the tournament.

“So far we are impressed with what we saw. We only hope that the authorities would work hard to improve on the facilities if South Africa is to get the bid,” the team told a sport journalist in Johannesborg last week.

Meanwhile, former African footballers of the year, Roger Milla of Cameroun and Abedi Pele of Ghana were in South Africa to persuade the FIFA delegation about that country’s bid.

The team has visited other World Cup bidders such as England, Germany, Morocco and South Africa.

COMMENTARY

Sallieu Kamara Missed The Point

By Sorie Ibrahim Sesay

Last Friday, this press carried a commentary challenging the inclusion of two players in the national team, namely, Solomon ‘Politics’ Yambasu and Ibrahim Gbengbeh, all of Wellington People football club.

Of course, that commentary did not go down well with the self-styled Secretary General of that club, Sallieu Kamara, considering his reaction in the For Di People newspaper of Saturday, March 11.

However, Sallieu’s attempt to defend his boys’ inclusion in the national team only made him tell the greatest lies of the millennium. Perhaps Sallieu did not properly digest my commentary before launching his baseless defence for his players who, by all intents and purposes, have no business in the team. For expediency sake I will straightaway expose Sallieu’as lies in his unsubstantiated charade to discredit my views on the issue.

I stated in my commentary that memories were still fresh in the minds of soccer fans that this was the same goalkeeper [ ‘Politics’] who in the African U- 17 World Cup qualifying rounds allowed three cheap goals to be scored by the Malians right in front of our home crowd. Sallieu contested that statement as misleading and stated that the cheap goals I was referring to were conceded by Small Atouga and that Politics was only given the opportunity to man the posts in the return match in Bamako, Mali. Sallieu went on to lie that despite the fire-power of the Malians, Politics never conceded a single goal.

I believe Sallieu did not check his records first before putting pen to paper. Or perhaps Sallieu hardly attend any match at the national stadium except those of Wellington People football club. Let me therefore educate him on the said Shooting Stars- Mali encounter here in 1998 of which he is totally ignorant. First, Solomon ‘Politics’ Yambasu was the first choice goalkeeper in the first leg encounter in Freetown during which one of the scored goals travelled between his legs.

To say that Small Atouga manned the posts in that encounter is really unfortunate for someone who claims to be the Secretary General of a “division one” football club, and a sport writer. Small Atouga did not even dress for that encounter, and the substitute goalkeeper in that match was Brima Bangura, “Songbon” To say again that “Politics” was given the opportunity to man the post in Mali is the most fallacious argument ever made in the new millennium In fact, Politics’ disgraceful performance in Freetown urged coach Dyfan who was in charge of the team to drop him from the trip. He was never taken to Mali as Sallieu Kamara claimed. Brima Bangura alias Songbon manned the posts in Bamako, and Small Atouga was the substitute goalkeeper.

Furthemore, to state that despite the fire-power of the Malian attack, he [Politics] never conceded a single goal was a disappointment. Sallieu missed the point because he wanted to misinform the public. The second leg in Bamako ended in a 1-1 draw. So Sallieu’s definition of not conceding a single goal is not in any football dictionary. I will refer Sallieu to Coach Dyfan and Bai Bai Seay of the Independent Observer newspaper who accompanied the team to Bamako to get his facts straight. I will, in subsequent editions, publish the full line-up of the players to disprove Sallieu’s trash.

Sallieu should be matured enough to know that nobody is against his Wellington People or the apppointment of Paul Kamara as Team Manager of Leone Stars. What we are saying should not be misconstrued to mean otherwise. I believe that as partners in the development of the game, one has to make objective analysis of issues relating to football. This press has received many letters condemning Mr. Kamara’s appointment as team manager on the grounds that it was a ploy by SLFA to silence his vibrant pen which has exposed the corrupt practices of the football association.

I am of the view that Mr. Kamara himself is not above criticisms especially if they are geared towards the progress of the game. So why should Sallieu take offence for a commentary which merely aimed at exposing some of the old practices of our technical committee? The days when players were invited to the national team on sentiments are over. Sallieu should and must know this.

MARCH 10TH 2000

WAFU preparations get underway as Ports Wallop Nepian 5-0

Ports Authority Football Club on Sunday thrashed Nepian Stars of Bo 5-0 at the Coronation grounds in Bo as part of their preparations for this year’s WAFU competition.

It was a one-sided affairs as the Waterfront Boys demontrated superiority over their inexperienced opponents. By half time Ports were already three goals up, thanks largely to goals by Chicabala and Captain Hassan Milla Sesay.

Though the home side made some initial goal scoring attempts at the start of the second half, the Waterfront boys proved too much for them. Nepian Stars goalie was only a shadow of his former self as he was nervous between his posts throughout the 90 minutes duel.

Earlier on Saturday, the match between Bo Rangers and Ports Authority ended in fiasco as supporters of the home side invaded the pitch 15 minutes into the second half of play after the Rangers goalkeeper, Idriss Kamara, was shown the red card for a violent contact on a Ports Authority striker in the six yards box. Goalie Idriss became infuriated and attempted to attack the referee.

It was in the event that supporters who considered the referee’s decision as unfair took to the pitch. Had it not been for the timely intervention of some security personnel, the referre would have been seriously mobbed by the angry fans.

The match was however rescheduled to play on Monday after Ports Authority insisted that they could only play if adequate security was provided for them by the organisers. The results for that match were not available as we went to press.

Pat Sheriff undergoes successful surgery.

Popular Sports commentator and Television presenter, Pat Sheriff, has undergone a successful leg operation over the weekend.

According to reports gathered by this press, four trained medical doctors performed the operation. It was further reported that Pat is fast responding to treatment and it is very likely that Pat will spend less time at the hospital than was expected.

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