November 23, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jnr
The Secretary General of the World football governing body (FIFA), Fatma Samoura, has urged the Government of Sierra Leone through the Sports Ministry to resolve the long and unhealthy dispute in the country’s football.
In her two days visit aimed at restoring peace within the Sierra Leone football family and ensuring that there was no political interference in the day-to-day running of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), the FIFA scribe called on the country’s sports minister to show leadership and resolve the turmoil through dialogue.
She said: “I am calling on the minister to show his leadership to bring the football family to a round table for peace and sanity to prevail in Sierra Leone football and not for anyone personal gain or ego.
“We should give our youth the opportunity to play our beautiful game, the game we all love in an adequate environment. I want football to consolidate the peace and political stability in the country and I will be happy after my departure that all parties will put aside everything and focus on promoting the game,” she urged.
The former senior United Nations (UN) official who was also Country Director for World Food Programme (WFP), Djibouti and Cameroon, said only dialogue could resolve the existing football problems.
Minister of Sports, Ahmed Khanou, assured the FIFA scribe that the Government remains committed towards the development of football in the country and pledged to work towards bringing lasting peace in the country’s football.
He said: “The government and the Sports ministry will continue to play its leadership role and will not interfere into the affairs of running the game. My ministry will ensure we put an end to these problems within the football family.”
Sierra Leone football has endured and still faced with the long stalemate since August 3, 2013 when Isha Johansen was elected as the country’s first female president in a controversial election that saw two of her main contenders; Rodney Michael and former Inter Milan striker, Mohamed Kallon, disqualified 48-hrs before the elective congress on the pretext of violating FIFA statues.
Several attempts have been made by both internal and external bodies, including the country’s President, His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma to resolve the dispute but to no avail.