Ministry of Sports Official denies CAF ban
The acting head of media at the ministry of Sports, Dalton Shyllon, has refuted reports that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Sierra Leone from hosting international matches.
“CAF did not ban us but only gave prerequisite conditions which the Sierra Leone Football Association, the Ministry of Sports and the Stadium Management must address before hosting any International Football matches”, he said.
He complained that though the letter was sent on the 27th February 2021 to SLFA by CAF it was only submitted to the Ministry of Sports on the 1st of March 2021 with a deadline stipulated for the 4th March 2021.
He agreed that the stadium was overdue for thorough maintenance and rehabilitation, but noted that as a government and ministry they had done extremely well with regard to the maintenance of the stadium and making it much better as compared to the previous years, which is why the Ministry together with the Chinese Government had initially amended the problem by erecting pillars around the structure in order to strengthen the Stadium. Mr Shyllon further stated that the vicinity of the Stadium and National Youth Commission has always been kept clean and tidy.
He disclosed that in December 2020 the Chinese Delegation payed a courtesy call to the Ministries of Sports, Lands, Water Resources and Energy and Power, on the subject of rehabilitating the Stadium with a grant of $USD 40 million, which according to the Acting head of Media, would commence effectively in May, adding that other mini stadiums will also benefit in future.
Though necessary preparations are in place to mend the problem, many diehard Leone Stars supporters expressed disaffection for not hosting pending international encounters between Sierra Leone and Lesotho on the 27th March 2021; and Benin on the 30th March 2021.
“As a Ministry we are making the necessary plans to address the issues, but we are not sure we will meet the deadline put out by CAF; we are however giving options for the games to be hosted in our two immediate neighboring countries or Ghana; and notwithstanding the problem we are faced with we are assuring citizens that we will emerge victorious”, he assured.
Meanwhile, the national stadium remains an eye sore with a rather worn out pitch, cracked walls unsanitary toilets and a fallen commentary room among others.
By Emmanuel M Kamara & Evalyn HH Cole
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