January 14, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jnr
Sierra Leone international and PAS Lamia midfielder, John Bankole Kamara,has been voted the sierraleonefootball.com Player of the Year for 2014 by viewers of the website.
The announcement, which was made by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh at a well attended ceremony on Tuesday at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) headquarters, Campbell Street in Freetown, saw the Greece-based player become the first midfielder to scoop the yearly award.
Like the previous two awards which were won by striker Kei Kamara and defender Umaru ‘Zaingalay’ Bangura, Kamara pulled the highest number of votes to scoop the award. He saw off competition from four other internationals on the shortlist – Sweden-based pair Alhaji ‘Andriano’ Kamara and Alhassan ‘Crespo’ Kamara, David Simbo based in Sudan and former winner Umaru Bangura.
According to the Editor of sierraleonefootball.com, Mohamed Fajah Barrie, Bankole Kamara pulled 32% of the votes recorded from over 20 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australasia and America, beating ‘Andriano’ Kamara by just 1% of the votes as the latter pulled 31%.
David Simbo finished in third place with 24% of the votes, whilst striker ‘Crespo’ Kamara followed in fourth with 10%, and ‘Zaingalay’ Bangura with just 4% of the votes.
Kamara, a former Tadamon Sour midfielder, in 2014 joined Greek second tier club PAS Lamia after a two-year spell with Apollon Smymi. In October 2014, he was stopped from training with Lamia on the advice of the Greek Health Ministry following fears over the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. But after several interventions from football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA, he was later allowed to join the team and on his return, he wore off a t-shirt saying: “We Are West Africans, We Are Not A Virus”; an action which saw him face disciplinary action from the Greek football authorities.
Kamara made his Sierra Leone national team debut in 2013 and has appeared in both FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches.