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Match-fixing allegations:

Sports Ministry lifts suspension on players & officials  

March 11, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.

The Sierra Leone Sports Ministry, through the National Sports Council (NSC), yesterday (Tuesday March 10) announced the lifting of its indefinite suspension slammed on four players and 11 officials on allegation of match-fixing.

Former Sierra Leone national team captain, Ibrahim ‘Obreh’ Kargbo, was amongst the 15 players and officials suspended by the ministry and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) in a joint press statement issued on 16 July 2014 on allegation of match-fixing.

The said officials and players were alleged to have fixed a 2010 World Cup preliminary qualifying fixture between South Africa and Sierra Leone – a match which was played on 21 July, 2008 and ended in a goalless draw.

In a press statement released yesterday and signed by the Acting Director of Sports, Saidu Mansaray, the ministry said the decision to lift the suspension was taken to ensure that the planned April 17-19, 2015 SLFA congress is devoid of any conditionality.

The release reads: “In support of the move by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who is also President of the National Sports Council, to solve the impasse in football and to ensure that the SLFA congress scheduled for April 17-19 is devoid of any conditionality, the Ministry of Sports/NSC has decided to lift the suspension imposed on players and officials until further notice.”

The ministry went on to warn the SLFA members that no obstacles to the holding of the slated congress will be tolerated, and that all members must ensure they meet their financial obligations before going to congress.

Reacting to the news, Chairman of the Western Area Football Association (WAFA), Abdul Hamid Kanasieu, said he is pleased with the development but cannot comment further as his focus is on the forthcoming April congress.

“Am ok for now, let’s forget about this and think about the congress which is my priority as head of the biggest football constituency in the country,” he said.

In July last year, the SLFA and the Ministry of Sports said in a statement it had received “credible and tangible information” on the alleged involvement of the 15 players and officials in match-fixing.

The 11 officials are Abu Bakarr ‘Sweet Kay’ Kabba, Abdul Hamid Kanasieu, Alhaji Nasiru Deen Othman, Morrison Sannoh, Abdul Kabia, Sheriff Newland, Bernard Sorbeh, Alimamy ‘K-Foot’ Turay, Alphan S. Koker, Victor Lewis, and Rodney Michael; whilst the four players include: Christian Caulker, Ibrahim ‘Obreh’ Kargbo, Ibrahim ‘Marcel’ Koroma and Samuel Barlay.

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