Canada News

Edmonton Leone Stars beat Britannia to clinch city championship

15 August 2009 at 21:21 | 1527 views

By Abayomi Charles Roberts (PV General Editor) in Edmonton,


Call it Goals Galore in a Vital Victory. It was just that, as Sierra Leone’s soccer ambassadors in Edmonton, Canada, on Tuesday 11th August 2009, beat opponents Britannia 6-3. It was their last game, crucial to clinch the Division Three (Pool B) championship in the annual league organized by the Edmonton District Soccer Association.

Our boys, with 27 points from 13 matches, were one point behind then league leaders Belmac United who had 28 points. The latter had played all their 14 games. The clash with Britannia was Leone Stars’ do-or-die challenge. So the three points they earned that Tuesday evening at Henry Singer Park sealed the deal. The victory means they will play in Division Two next summer. Leone Stars have been competing in the eight-team pool since the squad was registered with EDSA a couple of years ago. This season was their best outing. They won nine of their 14 matches, drew three and lost only two games. Their totals were 30 points, 55 goals in favour and 30 against.

The squad(photo) also boasts of the league’s top scorer, centre-forward Salami Kamara. He was on target nine times in the 14 games. The league is played outdoors, in a home-and-away round robin format. Belmac United finished runners-up. They too won nine matches but lost one more game than Leone Stars. Other teams in the pool were (in order of standings, by August 12, 2009) Androssan Strikers, Knights FC, Santos and Real River Bend. Verdcom SC brought up the rear, having lost all their matches.

Now back to details of that triumphant Tuesday in northeast Edmonton, courtesy of the Green-White-and-Blue boys of this Canadian metropolis. Slippery striker Abu Bakarr Kanu (aka Bee Kay) drew first blood in the 28th minute to put Leone Stars ahead. Britannia equalized five minutes later. Stars’ goalie Jacob Tamba misjudged a volley near his right goalpost and had to be replaced by agile Harrison Collier due to injury he (Jacob) suffered. "This was a must-win match; the boys played like real champions," Team Manager and founding coach Foday ‘Odoma’ Samura beamed as he bragged to The Patriotic Vanguard after the final whistle.

Referee Christian Ivanescu sent off one Leone Stars player but that did not deter the team. Tactical changes in the second-half by Head Coach, Amidu ’Orlangba’ Kamara saw Captain Gibril Kargbo, Derek Walker and Kelivin Kamara crowding and dominating the midfield. Coach Amidu soon brought in crafty Osman Samura as Leone Stars smoothly switched to cruise control. A lefty, Osman made mince meat of the Britannia defence, to net two brilliant goals. Bee Kay also scored one more goal. Front man Salami Kamara had one goal of his own, as did defence ace James Kondeh Mansaray.

Other top notch goal poachers were Muctarr Cole who scored eight times while Emmanuel Noonoo had six to his credit. Edmonton Leone Stars players/officials include Mustapha Turay (Secretary), Alimamy Papani Samura (Treasurer), Prince Thorpe (Caretaker), Ibrahim Keita, Yusif Kamara, brothers Ansu and Damian Marah, Abdulai Sall, defender Jonathan Momoh and Technical Adviser/Media consultant John Elliot.

Notables, former players and supporters (including several non-Sierra Leoneans) in the crowd were Kelvin’s dad Mr. MK Kamara, Emmanuels’s sister Juliana, Ivan Jackson, Mohamed Sall, and David Jackson and his wife Mabel. There was also Mr. Michael Kabia a former teacher at Govt. Model School in Freetown. A striker himself as a student of Njala University College in the 1980s, Mr Kabia was quite impressed with Edmonton Leone Stars’ performance.

There are plans for the team to play against their Liberian counterparts in Edmonton before the end of this summer.