People of Sierra Leone especially football fans are still waiting and want to know the venue for Sierra Leone’s national team, Leone Stars matches to be played or whether Leone Stars will chose to back off.
To decide on this, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) made up of officials from the Ministry of Sports, National Sports Council, Sierra Leone Football Association and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Sports, held a meeting in the Ministry of Sports which was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Sports Al Sankoh Conteh who is presently Acting Minister Of Sports on Tuesday 19th August 2014.
In his opening statement to all present in the meeting, the Acting Minister of Sports said he was happy with the turn-out of members of the LOC to make it possible to attend the meeting.
He further stated that the Ministry of Sports is fully in support with the SLFA to make sure that the National Team – Leone Stars participate in the CAF Group Stage and subsequently qualify for African Nations Cup scheduled to take place in Morocco 2015.
He said that the SLFA and Ministry of Sports must be seen working together in promoting Football in Sierra Leone both locally and Internationally.
Al Sankoh Conteh was also surprised to notice that the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), Isha Johansen and the Secretary-General Christopher Kamara, were absent in the meeting at a time like this, when the Ministry of Sports and the Sierra Leone Football Association should be working together to find a suitable venue for Leone Stars home matches.
He said for instance when other Sports disciplines are called to meetings, all the Executive members are always present and it therefore helps the Ministry of Sports to make a decisive and joint action in the interest of the country – Sierra Leone.
In response to the Acting Minister of Sports, the Vice President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Brima Mazolla Kamara, said the absence of Madam Johansen, is that she is not part of the Local Organising Committee.
”We report back to her at the end of every meeting”.
Sorie Ibrahim, Director of Local and International Competitions, in his update said the away match between Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone scheduled for 6th September in Abidjan is a foregone conclusion because if Ivory Coast refuses Sierra Leone entry to play the match on their soil, then they must be ready to find a neutral venue or the points would be awarded to Sierra Leone. He urged all present in the meeting not to even deliberate on pulling out of this competition because it would take us back so much so, that Sierra Leone would be considered ”A non-Football Nation”.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Sports, Honourable Martin Bangura said he is under serious pressure as to whether Sierra Leone will participate in the competition or not.
He suggested that the SLFA should always consult the Ministry of Sports when it comes to an issue like this involving the National Team – Leone Stars.” Consulting and working together does not mean that you’re subordinating yourself to the other”, stated Honourable Martin Bangura.
As time is not on the side of Leone Stars for a venue for their home matches, all avenues are ready to be exploited now collectively by the Ministry of Sports, National Sports Council, Sierra Leone Football Association and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Sports, because Sierra Leone cannot afford to lose its best FIFA ranking 50TH and 7TH in CAF ranking.
Those who know about Football know what this means to Sierra Leone as a nation.
It was finally resolved in the meeting that since the Sierra Leone Football Association has made a series of blunders, such as not going through the Ministry of Sports or Foreign Affairs and International co-operation to play Sierra Leone home matches in Ghana.
The second option should Ghana turn Sierra Leone down would be Morocco, which the Head Coach, Jonathan Mckinstry had earlier suggested in a comprensive and detailed report he submitted to the Minister of Sports; Deputy Minister of Sports; The Permanent Secretary of Sports; President; Secretary General and Technical Director of Sierra Leone Football Association.
It was also resolved that the President Ernest Bai Koroma be involved in the negotiations for an artificial home for Leone Stars all home matches. Immediately, after the meeting the Deputy Minister Al Sankoh Conteh, Martin Bangura and Amadu Fofana went to State House to book an appointment to meet with the President.
By Bernard Turay
Thursday August 21, 2014