Don’t Kill Sierra Leone Football!

24 June 2007 at 08:51 | 1059 views

By Sorie Sudan Sesay, Freetown.

I fervently hold the view that sports journalists should
not be part of any executive of the Sierra Leone
Football Association (SLFA).

This is not because I wanted to be selfish, but
principally because I believe as watchdogs of the
society,accepting such appointments could only easily jeopardise and compromise
one’s neutrality and objectivity.

This was basically the reason why on two occassions I
had to reject appointments to serve in the Public
Relations Committee of the Sierra Leone Football
Associaion (SLFA) under the Justice Tolla Thompson and
Nahim Khadi executives respectively. This is also the
reason why I had to resign as President of the Sports
Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL).

I would have loved working with Justice Thompson
despite being a staunch critic of his administration.
I saw vision in him (remember he established the
football academy); his only problem was that he
allowed himself to be misused and white-washed by
ill-motivated people working around him.

Nahim Khadi(photo) is even worse - apart from the fact that
his administration is marred with high level
corruption both at national and international levels,
he is surrounded by ill-experienced and half-baked
sports officials who know nothing about the way foward
to arrest the declining state of football in the country.

When I say Nahim’s administration is marred with high
level corruption both at national and international
levels, those reading between the lines know what I
mean. In case you forget, let me remind you of recent
allegations made by the Chairman of the Nigeria Football
Commission, Amos Adamu, accusing him of converting
monies meant for the setting up of his secretariat
into personnal use.

With all these happenings, it is only the press that
should have been in a better position to guide those
running the affairs of the game. Therefore, serving at
the PR Committee of the SLFA is only for selfish
reasons rather than nationalistic reasons.

In a post- war country like ours, the people of Sierra
Leone need football, they cherish it to the extent
that it is, in my opinion, the most pleasant entertainment in modern
history, but unfortunately, it is in a declining
state here.

Imagine our neighbours Guinea climbing
upwards over the years, just look at Mali - they used
to be our underdogs when it comes to the Amilcar
Cabral Zone Two Tournament. Needless to mention
The Gambia. All these countries have developed rapidly
in FIFA football rankings, while Sierra Leone
continues to depreciate. Instead, international
football games shown on screen continue to gain tremendous
attention locally.

To me, two reasons are responsible for this. Firstly,
many sports journalists have deliberately decided to
take sides with the FA even as things go wrong at the
detriment of the country.

Sierra Leonean international Mohamed Kallon, who plays
in France with AS Monaco, had to personally attack
heavily on air his General Manager, Abdul
Rahman Swarray who serves at the SLFA PR Committee to
desist from using his station Radio Kalleone to defend
Nahim and his executive.

Kallon was a major financier of the Nahim campaign and the
fact that he has parted company with him means something
is going wrong somewhere.

The other reason for our football decline is the FIFA clause which forbids
government from taking punitive actions against FA
executives despite the fact that the government is
itself pouring huge sums of money into the game.

This clause gives football officials the audacity to
run things their own way with reckless abandon not
for the love of the game but simply because of selfish
and ulterior reasons which have the tendency not only to
kill the game but to put Sierra Leone on a fast backward track

If you ask me, I will personally recommend that
government disband the entire executive and let FIFA place
a ban on us. WE can then use the opportunity to
put our house in order and come out strong after the suspension.