It is no doubt that our tiny Salone has quite a lot of laudable things to proudly talk about and even write home about. Sure our country shares the West’s current recognition that indeed Africa is doing well in terms of development on many fronts. So much efforts are being made to address the burning issues of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Granted also that we had the Athens of West Africa which today has scores of international alumni spread all over the continent. Granted also that we have the world’s third natural harbor, and third highest mountain in Africa or so.
The commonality between all these is that they are either natural or belong to the past that perhaps only the old will care about as they are the ones who live on remembrance. In this global environment each country needs to carve out some kind of niche if it does not relegate itself to countries appearing on the verge of disappearance.
Definitely you do not need to be a football fanatic to know that Salone is yet to have a breakthrough in the area of moving up in terms of building on initial successes on the African continent, let alone on the world scene. Look don’t tell me that you are not aware of the current bad blood that seems to be flowing between the government through the ministry of youth employment and Sport and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA). One thing I have noticed for a very very long time is that the football governing Body is always having a lot of problem within its ranks. But now it seems they are at a very unpleasant headlong with the government as it were.
Another angle which complicates the whole jig-saw puzzle is the role of FIFA. Without being judgemental I really think FIFA is being too powerful for even a whole sovereign state. Whatever good faith is behind this, I think FIFA should work collaboratively with governments.
So many times FIFA has exercised its powers to the embarrassment of African states. I think there are problems with this kind of posture.
Take Togo when their African nation’s cup team was attacked and someone even died the Confederation of African Football placed a ban because their president withdrew their team in protest. Can you imagine! Their big brother FIFA behaves in a more arrogant way. They are always threatening to place bans on African governments which they see as interfering.
In recent pasts FIFA cow-towed both the Nigerian and Ghanaian governments for this so-called interference. To me all this looks like a kind of blackmail.
The truth is that when our teams fail the first blame goes to the government of the day before they turn to the FA. It is quite strange that FIFA and CAf take decisions that take precedence over what government says. Granted that no government should play politics in sports…Yes, but are we saying that governments cannot work hand in hand with FAs to make sure foot ball or sports in general is promoted? I just can’t get it.
When you look at the current seeming animosity between the sports Ministry and the FA, one wonders if football will move in any positive direction.
Think hard on this… it is actually about who is right or wrong but simply how best stakeholders can cooperate and support each other in order for sports to move forward. Do we need a stand-off between the New ministry of Sports and the FA? No we don’t, all we need is proper understanding between them.
As a nation struggling to survive we need to put our act together and put up an Excellent show for the whole world to see and admire.
I think somebody needs to intervene and see that things do not get out of hand. Football is just too big a game that it is foolhardy for any nation to play around with it.
I am one person who used to think that sierra Leoneans are devoting too much time and commitment to international sports while crying down their local sports, but really can you blame them? In a country where recreation is hardly available and if available it is a luxury people definitely have to look for alternatives even if these make them less patriotic.
Generally Disc jockeys refer to their seats as hot seats, but I think there are hotter seats in this nation. Just look around and you will see quite a lot like that of the FA President.
Why is it that people who hold that position hardly leave that seat smiling? You can go down memory lane and you’ll see that it has always been hotter than hot.
This has always been a problem. It does not look like the nation has ever been satisfied with the way the football business has been run. No sooner a new person is elected to the position than people try to expose pitfalls here and there. How long…why can’t we find positive ways to correct issues? For the SLFA the solution has not been putting new executives in positions. So what do we do? We cannot let the game rot given the premium placed on it. I believe a country’s team stature goes a long way to sell the players. We should by now know that West Africa is a footballing region and its countries only need to go a little bit of the extra mile to know this. With the cry over youth unemployment, football can help a lot. We all know that football pays so much.
It is always very uncomfortable for people to live in the fear of the unknown.
I think there is a kind of stalemate or dilemma partly created by FIFA. We need to clearly understand what FIFA refers to as political interference in the game. This is the sticking point! Sierra Leoneans who are anxious to address youth questions have cried for three years to have a separate ministry for youth and sport. Now that it is here it behoves us all to take good advantage of it rather that render it unnecessary.
The impasse between the SLFA and government, if allowed to go on, can definitely further kill football.
There seems to be a lot of personality issues that needs to be cleared once and for all.
If it blows out in our faces, then FIFA in its characteristic behavior might step in and slam a ban. Of course we are down so you might say a ban will make no difference, but I think it does. While the RA cannot be seen as a state on to itself, at the same time I believe government should also exercise some amount of flexibility as the stronger force
The problem we have at hand is like the tsetse fly on the scrotum. You leave it there, it will suck you to death. You hit it, you will crush your testes.
So you see the issue needs some restraint on both sides. It is not just to exchange words here and there.
Stakeholders need to sit down and talk. Let it be for the sake of the game. For every surprise in life one should be able to improvise just so as to solve the problem.
By S. Beny SAM