Sahr Morris Jnr.
The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has withdrawn the senior national female team, Sierra Queens, from the African Women Championship (AWC) qualifiers. The Queens were expected to face Nigeria’s Super Falcons on February 14 in the first leg of the preliminary round in Abuja before hosting them in Freetown on February 29.
Head of the SLFA media unit, John Konteh, confirmed to Concord Sports the Football Association’s decision but was unable to give reasons for the decision to withdraw the team’s participation in the qualifiers.
However, a reliable source close to the SLFA presidency said the decision was due to the team’s lack of preparedness for the tournament.
“The FA president decided not to further engage the senior team because we are not well prepared, and she believes the girls are not ripe enough for the tournament because no female league is currently being played in the country,” the source said.
Another reason given was that the FA does not want the team to face a similar embarrassing result as the national U-20 against their Nigerian opponents few months ago.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone’s withdrawal implies Nigeria’s Super Falcons have now progressed to the next round of the qualifiers without kicking a ball.
Sierra Leone was one of the 25 teams that were expected to participate in the qualifiers, out of which the top three teams – Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Cameroon in the 2012 edition – have already drawn bye into the second round.
The top three teams in the competition will automatically qualify to represent Africa in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.