January 29, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.
A date has finally been agreed by the warring factions in the football family for the holding of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) annual congress following a meeting yesterday between President Ernest Bai Koroma and the rival SLFA factions at State House in Freetown.
The new date for the congress is April 16 – 17, 2015.
It could be recalled that both factions had earlier failed to agree on a date in a similar meeting with the President at State House on Monday, and President Koroma – in his capacity as Head of the National Sports Council (NSC) – again summoned the warring parties yesterday to communicate to them the agreed date (April 16 to 17) for the staging of the long overdue congress.
A source at State House told Concord Sports that the embattled SLFA president, Madam Isha Johansen, had opted for the last week in April for the holding of the congress. But this request, the source said, was stoutly repudiated by the other side, and by extension the President.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL) will handle all proceedings and activities in the run-up to the congress.
Yesterday’s meeting was the third attempt by President Koroma – who has not hidden his disappointment with the abysmal state of football in the country and the simmering power struggle within the SLFA – to resolve the impasse in football before and during the Isha Johansen-led executive, which was controversially elected in August 2013.
In reaction to the new congress date, Secretary General of the Alhaji Unisa Alim ‘Awoko’ Sesay-led interim executive, Kasho J. Holland-Cole, said they are happy to finally get a stated date for the congress.
“We the stakeholders are more united than ever, we are happy for the date and we are looking forward to the congress,” said Holland-Cole. “Congress is more important to us because we need to address several issues regarding the running of our beautiful game.”
It could also be recalled that 40 out of 47 delegates, including 12 Premier League clubs, had signed a resolution to impeach the Isha Johansen executive in an extraordinary congress purportedly held via a tele-conference on 20th December, 2014.
The stakeholders had also resolved to appoint a 9-man interim body led by Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay to run the affairs of the association until June 2015.
The resolutions won the approval of the Sports Ministry but neither Madam Johansen nor FIFA recognised the interim executive.