DECEMBER 8, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Deputy Minister of Sports, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, has blamed the downfall of the national team, Leone Stars, to the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA)’s continuous confrontation and fighting with stakeholders, sports journalists, fans and government authorities.
According to Conteh, the SLFA administration headed by Madam Isha Johansen – since it took over the reins of football in the country – has constantly engaged in disputed with members of the football family; a development he said has had a huge negative effect on the national team.
“The continuous disrespect and disregard by the SLFA of the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council, especially on actions and decisions reached at meetings on issues to promote football, is affecting the growth of football in the country,” Conteh said, citing several examples including the appointment of Atto Mensah and John Sama as coaches of the national team and the selection of an artificial turf for the country’s home matches during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
He said: “The Sports Ministry agreed with the SLFA to play our home matches in Morocco or Ghana, but the FA went ahead and finalized arrangement with DR Congo to play our home matches there, against the fact that we are to host them. The encounters in DR Congo were devastating…”
According to the deputy minister, another issue that brought disunity in the Leone Stars team camp was the choice of team jersey, which he said the SLFA proceeded to secure with an ill-advised sponsorship.
“They went into an arrangement with a company called AMS without consulting the ministry or disclosing the package of the sponsorship,” said the deputy sports minister. “Sierra Leone used those jerseys in all our matches without any explanation from the FA on the package of the sponsorship, for which some of the players were not happy about. These are some of the reasons responsible for the downfall of football under the current FA.”
Conteh added: “The SLFA is in the habit of creating bad blood among the players and technical team thus destroying the good plans on pre-matches arrangements.”