By Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally
Sierra Leone is in the spotlight once again with the latest happening in the world of football. Now the twist in the anti-graft’s legal action against the Sierra Leone Football Association consequent to standing down the current executive headed by Isha Johansen is that the world football governing body FIFA had slammed a ban on all footballing activities in Sierra Leone.
The government began negotiations with the very Isha led executive about the possibility of overturning the decision in a meeting held at state house on Monday, chaired the chief minister Professor David Francis.
Apart from proposals for a team to travel to FIFA’s Zurich to have a table discussion on the dispute, the hopes of the country to partake in the current AFCON qualifiers are dashed in the air. FIFA rescinded pleas from the West African country stating that unless the current executive is installed and takes control of the FA’s account and the secretariat, the ban remains intact.
The debate among football loving fans was the impact the FIFA ban would have on the country. Many said Sierra Leone is performing poorly in soccer looking at the records in the late 1980s and 90s.
Football governance is almost always laced with corruption, lack of transparency and accountability. But maybe the Sierra Leone authorities have started smelling the rat that a FIFA ban means more than the argument of doing well in organised competitions. In fact, one of the pledges in the campaigns for the presidency was to make sure that Sierra Leone’s Leone Stars should start to win competitions thereby bringing good laurels home.
This ban now stands in the gap to put an end to that very dream. Others argue that the ACC must stand tall in fighting corruption and the SLFA is no exception.