Nahim and his London Deals

12 July 2007 at 04:57 | 1307 views


By Sorie Sudan Sesay, Freetown.

I still remember how Nahim Khadi, President of the
Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) tried in vain to
convince me on the rationale behind the appointment of
London-based Turkey United Coach, Leroy Rosenior as
Head Coach for the national team Leone Stars.

Khadi has special interest in England. Apart from
doing business there, his son, known here as Junior
Khadi, himself one of Leone Stars foreign-based
players, is also based there playing part-time
football with mini leagues.

Rosenior’s temporal or whatever appointment with
Leone Stars is nothing good to write home about and
believe me, it continues to be a mystery not only to
the thousands of Sierra Leonean football fans, but
also the local press who had persistently called for
convincing explanations on the details of the

The Sierra Leonean London-based technician came at a
time not many people needed him. The local press
questioned his competence especially not being among
the world class coaches with high standards and credentials.

It was a month away to the national team’s crucial qualifier against Hawks of Togo and instead of the technical staff being left to concentrate on its tasks ahead, Khadi went ahead to disband that technical staff in order to impose Rosenior on the team.

You now see why his appointment raised many
questions than answers.
That done, Rosenior had two uphill tasks: to secure
convincing victories against the Hawks of Togo at home
and the Eagles of Mali away. He never achieved that
dream, instead that of his litmus test turned out to
be disasters, losing 2 - 0 against Togo and 6 - 0

Rosenior quit two days after, but a letter from the
Ministry of Youth and Sports, among other things,
issued a 6-week ultimatum for proper clarification
from the Sierra Leone Football Association, regarding
the circumstances behind his appointment.

Come to think of it, there are several other factors
responsible for the outcome of those matches, some of
which are linked to the reasons behind his dramatic
departure back to England.

Of course, nobody should expect
Rosenior back to Freetown to take over a national team
whose FA President had to call for police intervention
in order to settle unpaid allowances to players;
nobody should expect the former third division club
manager to take back a national team where players and
officials do not see eye to eye.

All said and done, Nahim Khadi’s vast interest in
England deserves to be questioned. If you doubt
this, let’s take a review of the appointment also of
Andy Gray, a former premiership player.

Unlike Rosenior’s low-key appointment, that of Andy
Gray was as lousy and controversial and was greeted
with intense sentiments from the local press. And
unlike Rosenior, Gray did not perform a single
national duty for which he was contracted for.

The press later said he was engaged in oil
exploration business with the FA President and that
the so-called appointment was a pretext.

The same controversy and mystery could be said of the
Leone Stars - Leyton Orient deal that followed a
friendly between a national team and a non-division
English club.

The date for the match was very
untimely. The London trip that saw 16 of his 17-man
contingent from Freetown rejected British visas, came
under serious criticisms from the local press.

And by all indications, the Leone Stars - Leyton
Orient match was non-competitive and unnecessary,
because the bulk of the players who make up the team
did not form part of the team that featured two weeks
later against the Togolese. Does that make sense? A
big NO!

So why the fuss about these London deals? This is a
question for the Nahim Khadi executive.