Nations Cup draw is tough for Leone Stars


…SLFA Director of Competitions

April 10, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.

The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) Director of Competitions, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay, has conceded that Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations 2017 qualifying draw is a difficult one for the national team Leone Stars.

Sesay, who was giving his reaction after the draw was made in Cairo, said it is difficult for Sierra Leone because the national team will be facing the defending champions and the host nation.

“Ivory Coast will be pushing harder because they want to secure qualification in order to defend their title. For the tournament host, Gabon, despite matches against them will not score any points but they might want to prove a point,” Sesay said.

Pierre Alain Mounguengui, President of the Gabon Football Federation, said he is satisfied with the draw and the chance given to them to host the tournament.

He told cafonline: “I’m satisfied with the draw and the choice of our country as hosts by the CAF Executive Committee. It was not an easy decision. We had two other bidders, Ghana and Algeria. Ghana has a big experience not only in football but organisation of tournaments. Ghana has hosted the AFCON three times – 1978, 2000 (co-hosted with Nigeria) and 2008. Also, Algeria is a great country and organized the AFCON before with huge success. To be chosen at the expense of the two countries, it’s a huge satisfaction for us.”

Leone Stars will face the title holders Ivory Coast in Group I and also Sudan and the tournament host Gabon – who gained automatic qualification – but their matches in this group will only count as friendlies with no points awarded.

Leone Stars will first travel to Khartoum to face Sudan on the weekend of 12, 13, 14 July 2015, before hosting the holders Ivory Coast on 04, 05, 06 September 2015 in Freetown, and then travel to face Gabon on the 23, 24, 25, 26 March 2016.