Sierra Leone football is at a cross road at the moment as the Minister of Sports, Paul Kamara has told the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) to pay One Hundred and Twenty-four Million Leones (Le 124, 000, 000) instant before they could be allowed to use the Siaka Stevens Stadium for the friendly encounter against Malawi and the AFCON 2017 Qualifiers against Gabon on the 21st and 28th March respectively.
The letter signed by the Stadium Manager, Musa Sesay stated that the SLFA should change the CAF date of 28th March as the stadium has already been booked.
“The 28th March 2016 has long been booked by Original TBS for a Musical show. Therefore we advise that SLFA choose another date within the normal dates of CAF and FIFA for the match between Sierra Leone and Gabon,” the letter stated.
Apart from paying Sixty two Million Leones per match, the SLFA should be responsible for electricity, produce “NRA Clearance, Police Clearance, Fire Force, Red Cross and payment in advance is required before confirmation of your booking”.
Interestingly, the SLFA had earlier requested for the use of the Siaka Stevens Stadium for the Referees Fitness test and was told to pay Three Million Leones (Le 3, 000, 000). What could have triggered the cost in less than 48 hours is what many Sierra Leoneans are pondering over.
This is the first time after Ebola that Sierra Leoneans will be having the opportunity to witness an international match at home after playing over 16 matches outside Sierra Leone.
The Sports Minister had earlier stated that government will not put a cent on national teams’ engagement until the SLFA President, Madam Isha Johansen leaves office.
Lately, the Sports Ministry ordered the SLFA to allow a 7-man working committee whose mandate is to identify delegate for the next SLFA congress, to spearhead the organization of international matches as well as running the administration of the SLFA.
According to the SLFA, the President and her team have secured funding for both matches but will not be able to afford the exorbitant changes levied by the Sports Ministry for the use of the Siaka Stevens Stadium for national assignment.