It has been puzzling my mind for years whether sports in sweet Salone is being taken seriously as our counterparts in the sub-region and even the world beyond.
I pose this teaser for the simple fact that when a country lacks a sporting policy then it is doomed to woefully fail. Sporting Directors over the years have come and gone but not one had the slightest idea of having a sporting policy that would stand the test of time.
Countries in the sub-region that are creating an impact in sporting competitions globally have a direction in which they groomed their potential athletes.
But not in Sierra Leone, where successful sporting directors had been paying lip services to the various sporting disciplines. And yet they expect the athletes to perform miracles when they grace international competitions.
For years now, not a single sports director had ever presented a draft sporting policy that would direct the pace for rapid growth. All they seemed good at is traveling from one sporting competition to another at tax payer’s expense.
How long shall we lovers of sports be treated in such shabby manner that has seen the decline of almost all the sporting disciplines in the country?
Why can’t our sporting directors come up with a sporting package that would lead this country from its doomed stage?
Today all sporting disciplines are being run by the grace of God, with coaches that are training these potential youths with little basic education in the modern tactics of the game. All what our coaches depend on is past knowledge of the game.
Sorry to say, this is a vast generation gap. Infact some of those that are claiming to be coaches these days did not even excel to that level when they were players in their respective disciplines. Another sore aspect is the fact that there potential students lacked the basic education in their respective field.
This is the reason why a sporting policy is urgently needed, in which it would spell out the direction of sports in the country. We urgently need a sporting policy that would take sports to the primary schools with properly trained and qualified physical health instructors teaching the toddlers the basics that they would grow up in life with.
This reminds me of the policy adopted by the late Sports Minister S.A. Fofanah when he introduced the junior squad for all first division clubs that usually had their matches before their seniors. Indeed that aspect changed the future of football as the likes of John Ajina Sesay, Abu Gbator Sesay, John “Little John” Johnson, etc that matured through the ranks until they found themselves into Leone Stars.
Alas that’s not the scenario today, most of the home based that find themselves in the national team to say the least lack the basic rules like their counterparts in yester years. Simply because they are hand picked from the various leagues around without being properly groomed.
I am quite sure if Salone is to make a u-turn in the near future, the FA should urgently start thinking seriously of having clubs in the Premier League having a junior team that would precede matches like in the days gone bye, that produced a formidable national team that was fully matured when they were summoned to duty at national level.
Until this criteria is met I am of the opinion that Salone football will continue to decline.
The soccer academy that was built by the former FA President Justice Tola-Thompson should have stood the test of time for our youths but it is sadly in a deplorable state. The purpose it was meant for has been dented and we only hope that some sense would be drawn into the heads of those responsible to find a suitable person that would come to their aid and have the academy up and going again.
Another aspect I would like to see included in the sporting policy is that relating to the upgrading of our coaches in terms of their skills. Regrettable they are the abandoned lot as they are seldom exposed to modern day technology.
The present trend would not help in the stride towards achieving a brighter growth for the discipline that we all loved so well.
It is also sad to read that there exist some bad blood between the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) over sponsorship of the national team. Indeed it’s sad to hear that SLFA is considering not sending the U-20 team to Algeria after that remarkable win past weekend.
The reason is the usual jargon that there is no money from government to sponsor their return leg, what a shame and what a disgrace.
It’s no hidden secret that government is responsible for the national team, so why the hitch now? If the reason advanced by “Leone Sports” in that article “who is killing football?” Sports Director, Bai Kabia was quoted as saying that “SLFA should learn to always inform us on time about their activities/plans.”
If that is the situation, then SLFA must take the blame for the hiccup a situation that has befallen this nation for quite some time now. One is of the opinion that the SLFA should have overcome that aspect of its administrative blunder now and see reason that dialogue is of the essence these days.
However, one is appealing to the Ministry and the Sports Director, to at least swallow their pride and make sure that they assist SLFA to ensure that our U-20 players make the trip to Algeria next week.
As I poised the question Sports: Whither Which Direction, I humbly plead with the FA to realize that if they fail to plan properly they are bound to fail woefully, a word to the wise is quite sufficient.