A 21-man FC Johansen delegation will depart Freetown for Zurich today, Monday August 1, on board SN Brussels to take part in the Swiss U-16 Cup scheduled for August 4-7 this year.
The team bid farewell to Sports Minister, Paul Kamara, last Friday at his Bishop House office, National Stadium in Freetown.
The delegation comprising fifteen players and six officials will make the trip and have been invited to the tournament as the only special guest team.
Twelve teams are expected to compete in the tournament with FC Johansen as the second team from Africa to ever take part in that country’s annual soccer event.
The teams have been divided into two groups of six teams each, and FC Johansen are in Group A alongside FC Luzern of Switzerland, Manchester City team, Liechtenstein and two German sides: VFB Stuttgart and SV Weder Bremen.
Group B comprises Swiss teams: St. Galler Oberland and FC Zurich, Team Vorarlberg, SK Rapid Wien, Vlf Wolfsburg (Germany) and Liverpool. FC Johansen is scheduled to play its opening game against FC Luzern on Thursday August 4, and will play its second and third group matches against VFB Stuttgart of Germany and Liechtenstein the following day.
Their third and final group matches will be against another German side, SV Werder Bremen and Manchester City respectively.
Presenting the delegation to the Sports Minister, Head Coach, John Keister, ex-Sierra Leonean international, presented his boys with promising words.
“We are here to bid you farewell and seek your blessings. I also want to present my boys to you making the trip to Zurich,” said Coach Keister.
He added: “We are going out there as a group; we’ll try to do our best to make Sierra Leone proud.” In his response, Minister Paul Kamara admonished the FC Johansen players to do well in Zurich and made it clear to them that they are going there as ambassadors.
He said: “I’m very happy for FC Johansen for going to represent Sierra Leone once more and I urge the players to give off their best
because you are going there as our Ambassadors.”
“If you do well, the Sports Ministry will make sure that you’re
treated like heroes. We’ll be watching not only your performance at
the tournament, but the way you behave as well”.
The Minister Paul Kamara also commended the co-sponsor of the team, Isha Johansen.
“I’m proud of Isha Johansen for not only promoting football in Sierra Leone but also for boosting the youths in soccer,” said Minister Kamara. He added: “She is the first woman in Sierra Leone to do so much for football and she has created lots of opportunities for young players and we must recognize that”. FC Johansen had participated in four other youth competitions before in Scandinavia and USA including the Mitnordick Cup in Sweden, Gothia Cup in Norway, Las Vagas Mayor’s Youth Cup Tournament in USA, and also played a friendly match in Spain against Real Madrid’s youth team.