September 18, 2018
By Sahr Morris Jnr
The Ministry of Sports have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) for what they described as ‘propaganda antics’ over the unfortunate situation that left the national youth U-17 team stranded in Dakar, Senegal.
Sierra Leone u-17 squad, Sierra Stars, were knocked-out of the West African Football Union (WAFU) qualifiers after losing both group matches to Guinea Bissau and tournament host, Senegal respectively.
Since their elimination, the delegations were asked out of their hotel as the team’s duration to stay had expired since last Friday.
However, the team’s media officer, Sulaiman Stom Koroma, took to social media with an article titled: “Twenty (20) Children stranded in Senegal after U17 qualifies.” The story stated that twenty Sierra Leonean children and 9 officials were currently stranded in Senegal, after being neglected by the Ministry of Sport.
In reaction to the said article, the acting Public Relations Officer of the Sports Ministry, Festus J. Lahai said that was just another move by the SLFA to give a bad face of the Ministry to the public.
He admitted: “Before the team’s departure, the Ministry had earlier presented their budget to the Finance Ministry but to date government is yet to give a single cent and we agreed with the SLFA who said they will pre-finance and government will reimburse.”
“On Monday morning the Minster and his deputy had talks with the acting SLFA President, Brima Manzolla Kamara over the said issue and even engaged the Sierra Leone Embassy in Senegal to salvage the situation for later reimbursement and another option was for the Senegal F.A to do the same in an event the Sierra Leone Embassy is constrain,” Lahai said, adding that they were surprised to have seen such a post from the Media Officer who accompanied the team.
However, the acting SLFA President, Brima Manzolla Kamara and other members of the SLFA has distance themselves from the said social media article, but the team’s media officer confirmed his article had the blessing of the Head of Delegation, Alie Badarr, who is also an executive member of the SLFA.
Meanwhile, the Senegalese FA late in evening hour of Monday agreed to accommodate the U-17 team till Friday when they will depart for Freetown.