February 23, 2015 BySahr Morris Jr.
Sierra Leone’s hopes of competing in the forthcoming All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo still hang on thin ropes as the country’s Chef de Mission, Unisa Deen Kargbo, Sunday departed the country to attend the Games’ Chef de Mission meeting.
Despite an earlier assurance from the Deputy Minister of Sports, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, that the country will compete in the Games, there are serious doubts about this becoming a reality due to the country’s huge debt it owes to the Games’ organisers.
Till the departure of the Chef de Mission last Sunday to Brazzaville, there was no positive news from the Sports Ministry nor the other authorities concern over the settling of Sierra Leone’s debt.
However, the only chance open for Sierra Leone to participate in the Games will be dependent upon Kargbo’s success in persuading the Games’ organisers to waive the country’s debt. Failure to get a waiver means the Sierra Leone government would have to pay, otherwise no athlete from the various sporting disciplines will be allowed to participate in the third All-Africa Games.
Sierra Leone’s failure to take part in the Games could be a devastating blow to the Sports Ministry whose deputy minister had boasted that participating in the All-Africa Games was a top priority of his ministry, and that they are working very hard with the other authorities concern to see that the country’s flag flies in Brazzaville.
“The Games are part of our programs and it is one of our topmost priorities,” said Conteh. “We are aware of the debt and as a ministry we are working very hard to see how payment could be made to allow our athletes compete with others in the Games.”