June 23, 2017 By Sahr Morris Jnr
Sierra Leone long push to reach at a higher level of international cricket recognition has been rubber stamped on Thursday, June 22, thanks to a unanimous voting decision at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual conference held at the Oval in London.
The new status ended Sierra Leone 17 years spell as an affiliate member of the ICC, a position which they occupied since 2002.
Confirming Sierra Leone new statues, the ICC media statement reads: “The Membership Committee will consider all future requests for membership – full and associate – against an objective set of criteria.
“In addition, Affiliate Membership has now been removed leaving only full and Associate Members, with all previously categorised Affiliate Members becoming Associate Members. Other changes to the constitution include the appointment of a Deputy Chairman, who shall assume the duties of Chairman, Shashank Manohar, when he is unable to fulfill his duties.”
Speaking to Concord Sports, Francis Samura, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Cricket Association said: “Being an associate member of the ICC is SLCA biggest achievement in its history. Congratulations to the people of Sierra Leone. This will come with so many challenges, playing standards, domestic structure and governance.”
The news was also welcomed by ex-players and former all-rounder, Mustapha Kallon,who was thankful to all the players, officials including the chairman, Bourne Coker for the relentless effort towards achieving this goal.
Kallon, who now coaches one of the junior sides said: “We are pleased to achieve this. We should now try our best to maintain this and ready for the challenge. May God bless all those who have done their best for this and we need to be very serious about this. We all should show unity and team work.”
Chairman of SSLCA Board of Directors, Beresford Bournes-Coker, who represented the country and all other Africa Affiliate members in the conference, said he was pleased to fulfill his work as that was why he was selected by his colleagues to propose to the ICC on behalf of the Africa affiliate members.
Bournce-Coker said the top 40 associate members in the world would now have voting rights in the ICC.
He said Sierra Leone will be ranked amongst those 40 nations, adding that this is not only good for Africa Cricket but also for the Sierra Leone Cricket Association.