By Sahr Morris Jnr.
President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), Isha Johansen, has returned home from England with several goodies, including an invitation for two grassroots coaches to travel to the North London Club, Arsenal, for a Level One Coaching Course.
The marriage between the SLFA and Arsenal Football Club started sometimes last year in Switzerland when an organisation called ‘Football is more’ invited the FA President as Guest Speaker to talk on football development in Sierra Leone.
In her presentation in front of club directors from Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City among others, Madam Johansen made an appeal to bigger clubs and associations to come to the aid of her country’s football. Arsenal was the first to adhere to this call and in January 2014, sent two Grassroots coaches (Matthew and Abdul) for almost three months in Sierra Leone to work with deprived children in several communities in the country.
Meanwhile, on her arrival in Freetown, the FA President described Arsenal as a family club dealing with young disadvantaged kids and youths. She noted that her objective is to see that “Arsenal plant a seed in Sierra Leone”.
Sierra Leone is the first country in West Africa that Arsenal have dealt with directly, especially in the grassroots sector. According to the Arsenal Community, a larger contingent of four senior coaches would be sent to the country and stay longer to work with Premier League clubs in Sierra Leone.