Maryland Captures Ishmael Dyfan Trophy

28 July 2007 at 18:05 | 1625 views

By Elson Hedd.

All roads led to Philly this past Saturday when the annual Sierra Leonean soccer tournament was held in grand style.
Sierra Leoneans residing in the United States drove, flew and walked just to grace the occasion.

The ever impressive Maryland soccer
team were the proud winner of the tournament and were presented with the Ishmael Dyfan trophy. They defeated California by penalty
kicks and they(California) in turn got the Brima Attouga trophy.

In attendance were about 3,000 mostly Sierra Leoneans including some former Leone Stars players namely:- Sento Johnson, Mazolla,
Leslie Allen, Akie Noah, T.K. Mahmoud, John Dumbuya, Chairman Foday, Sylbil Decker, Aliman, DD Abu, Abu Dyfan just to name a few.

According to Sento Johnson, former Captain of Leone Stars and Real Republicans, the idea was initiated a couple of years ago to bring
Sierra Leoneans together once a year in a picnic like environment to showcase their soccer skills.

Initially, he said, it started with three states ( New York, Maryland and New Jersey), but has now risen to 14 namely:-New York,
New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Georgia, Delaware, North and
South Carolina. He said he expects more states to join during the next tournament , which will be held in Texas.

The tournament kicked off at about 10:15 a.m. with the states divided into four groups. Two groups had four states whiles the other two groups
had three states. The top two states in all four groups qualify for the quarter finals.

This year’s tournament did not escape its own share of disturbance. Towards the end of the tournament as the "old lolo"
(old leone stars players) were being called,getting ready for their comic match with some former players of lone star (Liberia’s national team), a gunshot was heard which threw people into pandemonium. It was later learnt that a young Sierra Leonean boy had fired the shot because he
had an argument with another boy.

Organizers were forced to call the police, who arrived with a couple of squad cars with an helicopter hovering above. Upon seeing the police, the shooter
fled on foot but not before throwing the gun into a trash bin. As he ran he was chased by well meaning Sierra Leoneans, who held and handed
him over to the police.

As it was getting dark, organizers were forced to cancel the comic match but went on with the finals between Maryland and California. Maryland
eventually emerged winners on penalty shoot out following a ding dong battle that saw both teams making inroads into each other’s defence.

To close the day’s tournament there was a dance held at the Lancaster Hall in north east Philly where medals were presented to former Leone
stars players present.

The organizers of the tournament also include Darlington Tucker, a former Leone Stars player. They have been highly commended for such a good tournament and for bringing together Sierra Leoneans in peace and friendship.