September 21, 2018
By Sahr Morris Jnr
Over the recent international ban warning from the world football governing body, FIFA, some Sierra Leoneans have joyfully welcomed the said threat, believing that would be the solution to end the long-lasting impasse in the country’s most followed sport.
The world governing body on Thursday, September 20, issued a warning to Sierra Leone that the country risks an international ban following the visit of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at the Sierra Leone Football Association Secretariat after the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum.
The ACC’s visit was a follow-up to their instruction via the Sports Ministry that both the embattled SLFA boss, Isha Johansen and her Secretary General, Christopher Kamara, to step aside pending investigation into the abuse of office and misuse of public and donor funds.
However, the recent development which saw FIFA’s threat of international ban and immediate suspension, has been welcomed by Sierra Leoneans on different social media platform including several WhatsApp groups that housed the SLFA scribe, Media Officer and other SLFA executive members.
Popular editor, Thomas Dixon reacted: “If it’s for me, let FIFA ban us.” Dixon’s comment was supported by Bocakrie Sama Banya, Sierra Leonean international businessman based in Germany who said: “Exactly, if they call for the arrest and subsequent removal of Spanish FA president, yet they have the guts to dictate to us. Why they never dictate to the FBI?” he asked.
Journalist John Mansaray said: “For me one thing that both FIFA and Isha have deliberately ignored is the simple fact that before she was elected to that office, there was somebody and not only that, she contested with some other capable individuals. The simple reason she should always remind herself that the office has time limit that requires another capable person to be elected.’
“So by virtue of that she should have given up that office long before now if she wanted to keep to her integrity. Let the woman give way please Madam Johansen do us that favour.”
“Corrupt, FIFA are threatening us with ban. Can they take this to RFEF?” asked young lawyer, Ibrahim Sorie and further added: “Let them ban us because the last five years has been worse than ban.”
“There’s nothing about objectivity in this.This is a national consciousness awakened by FIFA’s bullying tactics. We are tired and we care less about the implications. Let FIFA ban us and it’s even absurd to think that FIFA should control our internal dynamics in so far as our laws are concerned. There’s SLFA because there’s Sierra Leone and our laws are very crucial and fundamental. Let the right things be done. Let them ban us until the outcome of the court’s case.”
Former SLFA Media and communication man, John Konteh said: “FIFA directives are not Sacrosanct as long as you are able to provide enough justification to tell them what they asked.’
Alhassan Idrissa said: “FIFA this FIFA that my left foot, four years without domestic football is more terrible experience than a rogue FIFA ban. They can ban us for all I care but this rogue SLFA has proven to be a shitty disaster and they deserve zero empathy from Sierra Leoneans and thus, they have to GO by any means. Not even a FIFA ban can save them this time.”
President of Sierra Leone Reporters Union, Amadu Lamaran Bah stated: “FIFA ban will be the best thing to ever happen to Sierra Leone Football. Their funds are the main reason why Isha still want to hold on to power and continue to be around, so cut off the source of the confusion and let solve our problem in the next two years.”
“Good thing is Sierra Leoneans have agreed for FIFA ban. Besides Cricket and Volleyball will represent us internationally until we fix football problems.”
Bah’s comments was also supported by former Sierra Leone national team striker, Paul Kpaka: “Best case scenario, a FIFA ban can’t be worse than what we have now. Playing in international competitions which has been nothing but abysmal for our nationals.Let the ban be imposed, we will go back to the drawing board, restructure our football administration, concentrate on our local league and rebuild for the future.”
The recent correspondence from FIFA reads: “We request the SLFA to provide a detailed report on the current situation by no later than Monday 24 September.”
“Recent developments, if confirmed, would … have to be brought to the attention of the Bureau of the Fifa Council for consideration of sanctions, including immediate suspension.
“It was reported to our services that on 18 September, the premises of the SLFA were apparently intruded by the ACC, allegedly with the collaboration of the Ministry of Sports and accompanied by armed forces,” added the letter signed by Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura.