I hardly do write on football, nor do I normally spend time watching one, except when the mighty and wonderful Arsenal most often exhibits their professionalism in the game of football over Man U that I would spare my time to see good football being played. And so, even when my younger brother would at times want to make mockery of Adebayor, I would almost laugh out my intestine because, even the best player in Man U cannot be compared to any player of Arsenal, the Gunners.
Not only that, even when Man U at times attempt to show good football, that could not be compared to that being shown by Arsenal because, even Wenger, not Fergusson , knows how to select a team for any competition. Anyway, just an aside.
However, our football body, SLFA shall be having its next congress where it is expected that a new president shall be elected to mann the affairs of football in the country for the next couple of years to come. I have been compelled to look at current happenings with regards the contest for the presidency for the Sierra Leone Football Association. Two are actually contesting for that hot seat. One is Dr Foday ‘Bangso’ Bangura and the other, the current president for the FA, Nahim Khadi.
This means, politics is at the centre of all activities within the SLFA body and in this sense, efforts are now being embarked upon to discredit the chances of one particular candidate from winning. Dr Foday ‘Bangso’ Bangura has been referred to as a party card holder of the SLPP and so I ask what is wrong with that. When Nahim Khadi, an APC card holder was elected some years back and interestingly though, during the days of the SLPP, nobody looked at him from the point of view of his support for the APC and so it came as no surprise that, even when he [Nahim] emerged winner, nobody questioned his political belonging.
In fact it was only when the SLPP was removed from power through the ballot box that Nahim began crying the then government down, that, he was never given the chance to take football where he wanted it to be. I am of the view that until and unless we forget about party issues when it comes to the development of the country, and especially football, we are bound to remain where we are as a country in terms of the current status of football. The APC should not encourage this attitude from Nahim and his co-horts, whether he is APC or not, he has proved to be a failure as far as football issues in Sierra Leone is concerned.
Football, I want to believe should not be looked at as a place where somebody could come in, and then pursue his personal business at the expense of the nation, and this is what used to happen within the Sierra Leone football Association. Nahim tried his best to develop football in the country but he failed to do so because, he was unable to put in place the needed structures for such an ambition.
Now to the issue of ‘Bangso’ being a supporter of the SLPP. I personally see nothing wrong with that, and I think the issue should be his ability to perform. The questions we should be asking for now is whether Dr Foday Bangura could perform or not and to this end I want to believe he can perform. The football stakeholders should not allow a repeat of what occurred few years back in Makeni where they were forced, allegedly though to take bribe under oath that they were going to vote Nahim Khadi. Indeed they vote him but now they must have regretted their decision to vote Khadi.
The development of football must be paramount in every Sierra Leonean and what we have seen under the regime of Nahim could best be described as unbelievable, to say the least. Whether Dr Bangura had a meeting with SLPP in Kenema should not, in my opinion be an issue. Dr Bangura has been in charge of projects worth millions of dollars at the National Commission for Social Action for years and unto the time of writing this piece, there had been no report of corruption perpetrated by Bangso. But I wonder if likewise could be said of Nahim.
I had access to the blue print of Nahim Khadi and the Manifesto of Dr Foday Bangura when both of them were canvassing for that presidency years back .What I noticed after four years of Nahim’s presidency is that, most of the promises that he made were never fulfilled. And am perturbed that Nahim is again asking for another term. This is actually unbelievable.
The stakeholders must be mindful of what awaits them. They must not betray their conscience as the development of football in the country depends largely on the decisions they are going to reach in the not too distant future. We have seen the presidency of Nahim Khadi and the extent to which he has helped in destroying football in the country.
People like Mohamed Kallon have scarified a lot for football in the country but such efforts have been dampened by the very people that are put in charge of football in the country.
We have heard or read of corruption in the SLFA setup but since Nahim believes in the policy of his party, that party members should not be made to suffer, he paid deaf ears to calls for him to resign and give chance to the progress of football in Sierra Leone.
People like Alimu Awoko have all played a stake in taking football to its current status, football has almost died, this is no secret and I intend no bad in saying such word, but it is true. Nahim must not bank on his connection with the APC. Politics must be taken out of the game of football because, it is one of the many ways of uniting a people in a country that is divided. Ivory Coast being an example, we saw the role that was played by Drogba of Chelsea in unifying that country.
So when people tend to use their political connections in pursuant of their egocentric gains, it comes as disturbing news indeed if for no other reason but the fact that, what we went through as a nation could be largely blamed on such tricks. Nahim need not do such.
If he is loved and trusted by the stakeholders, then so be it, but if the opposite happens, then let us allow the stakeholders to decide.
Even the Minister of Sport I want to believe will not encourage people to be always relying on their political connections. In fact, the minister has tried his best in giving life to the game of football and no wonder that our national team has been doing well of late. The government, it seems has been going the extra mile in promoting football, so let those who are clamoring for the presidency stop what they have started or else…