Port Loko, SIERRA LEONE – A group of six spirited Sierra Leoneans, all under the age of 30, have embarked on a mission to revolutionize their nation’s football scene and redefine the dominance of foreign leagues within the country.
Led by Lansana Jacob, the group aims to elevate the popularity of local football, combatting the overwhelming dominance of European football. Through a dedicated social media platform, their blog, “Sierra Leone Players All Over the World,” these young enthusiasts are fostering a renewed interest in homegrown football.
Musa Jabbie, a member of the team and also a player for non-league division side Moyeba Eagles, emphasizes their passion for local football as the driving force behind their initiative.
“Our vision is to create an environment where Sierra Leoneans are as well-informed about local players as they are about international stars,” explains 28-year-old Jabbie.
The team, which comprises footballers like Sulaiman Conteh from Bai Bureh Warriors in the ongoing Sierra Leone Premier League, alongside graduates and enthusiasts such as Mohamed Tamba, Thomas Baio, and John Kargbo, strives to bridge the gap between local and foreign football by engaging fans through various online activities.
Founder Lansana Jacob, also a coach for Moyeba Eagles, outlines their strategy—a unique Premier League prediction offer aimed at fans. “We used to donate internet data to lucky winners based on Premier League predictions. Though we faced financial constraints this season, we plan to resume this initiative,” Jacob assures.
While enthusiastic about their efforts, the team faces financial hurdles. “Last season, we spent a total of Le10 million funding our prediction offer, pooling contributions due to our unwavering passion for soccer,” discloses Jacob.
Despite challenges, Sulaiman Conteh remains dedicated, balancing his roles as a Premier League player and a blogger. “It’s a tough jungle, but I maintain a low profile about my dual roles. I avoid linking my posts directly to my identity as a player,” shares Conteh.
Reflecting on their growing popularity, Jabbie, with a background in Development Economics and currently pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Development, expresses optimism. “In the next five years, our blog will be the country’s primary source for football news,” he predicts.
Jacob, noting their expanding media presence, anticipates growth. “With 41,000 Facebook followers, 205,000 group members, and 496 WhatsApp group members, we aim to be the go-to platform for football updates,” he forecasts.
The allure of foreign leagues has diminished local football’s following in Sierra Leone. However, these enterprising young Sierra Leoneans are resilient, aiming to alter this narrative. While the path ahead is arduous, their determination and youth may hold the key to transforming their dream into a reality. AIM/8/1/2024