Sports

As one legend bows out, another steps in to “RAISE THE GAME”

23 September 2013 at 23:54 | 1810 views

By John Lappia Konteh, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

It may appear to some that Sierra Leone football is at a cross roads and to some that the game loved by all and sundry is self-destroying and heading for destruction.

To the short sighted and myopic, that’s just how it seems because of the darkness they have been shrouded by and the fallacies they have been told. But certainly, with illumination comes real time imaging and with real time imaging comes clear sighting.

One such person who was blinded by fallacies and covered with vague plans is Sierra Leone’s best ball-player, Lamin “Junior Tumbu” Conteh. Junior Tumbu had been in the dark since returning from Malaysia to his beloved home land, Sierra Leone. But thankfully as he puts it, he has been enlightened and showed the way by a well-meaning Sierra Leonean. Tumbu in his playing days was dreaded and revered by opponents and his team mates. His mesmerizing runs and dribbling skill was a rarity and unique only to him, that his mere putting on of his team jersey raised the spirit of his team in the dressing room. In his hey days, East End Lions and the National Team Leone stars were always certain that the spectacular was bound to happen when he is around.

And Junior Tumbu, being the legend that he is, has lived up to that billing by doing the spectacular at the Football Academy grounds in Freetown on Monday 23rd September 2013 by pledging his support to the Isha Johansen led executive of the Sierra Leone Football Association.

Making his statement in the office of the President of SLFA and in the presence of executive members (photo), Conteh said that growing up, his life was on the street, but he had a special passion for football and has always showed up when it comes to footballing matters. He said “playing for the national team for me came with a lot of responsibilities and that includes buying tickets for colleagues. He said “even though some of my team mates will be acting up and refusing to show up when called upon, I will always play the fatherly role to persuade and prevail on them to come and represent the country.”

Conteh says that’s the same spirit he is coming onboard with to serve the executive of the football association and football in Sierra Leone. Conteh said: “When I came back home, I made a vow not to meddle in the politics of the game, but to observe the trends because my life has been on the streets and my interest is in the growth of the game in all aspects, from the local league, to the national team.” Although attempts were made to rope Conteh into the politics of football, he stood his ground and took an uncompromising stance that his interest is not the politics of the game but the growth of it.

He said to the President of the FA: “I don’t like what is going on and I don’t like the fact that people are trying to stop the game from playing thereby denying the youth the opportunity to play and be exposed. I have seen that your executive is interested in the development of the game and that is why I have come forward today to pledge my support to you and your executive for the furtherance of football in Sierra Leone.”

Responding, the President of the football association said that, Conteh’s move is breaking news to her executive and her executive was not elected to wreck and destroy the game. She said “we are going to do our best to develop the game and bring people onboard to help strengthen relations.

Conteh will be on tour with the President of the FA on Wednesday of the regional head quarter town of Makeni when the republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces football team will be locking horns with Kamboi Eagles in the ongoing Sierra Leone Premier League at the Wusum grounds at 4:30pm.

SLFA President Isha Johnasen (left) and football icon Junior Tumbu.

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