Support For Sierra Leone FA President
More and more concerned citizens are coming out in full support of Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President Issa Johansen in her lone, brave and dogged fight to restore sanity in the country’s football, which has been suspended because of government interference.
FIFA suspended Sierra Leone due to interference in the running of the game when government isolated incumbent Johansen and her deputy Brima Mazola Kamara as well as assistant Secretary General Abdul Rahman Swarray and, instead, appointed their own people.
Johansen and Kamara are facing charges brought by the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), who demand that the duo must vacate their positions until their case has been concluded. The duo denies the charges brought against them.
In fact, the only time that Johansen’s case was brought to court, the court drastically reduced the 10 charges brought by the ACC to a mere three that she is now facing. But since then, there has been no movement regarding the finalization of the case.
“Sierra Leoneans are forced to settle for an illegal and unrecognized (by CAF and FIFA) National League that will not take them to the CAF Champions League and one has to wonder why,” questioned Abdul Kabba, CEO of a Financial bank.
Kabba poses the question after FIFA had set up a Normalization Committee and a Road Map before the country could be re-admitted. But a Premier League Board has been installed, which has started a league championship that appears to be unconstitutional.
“All the football stakeholders who are running the league, particularly the Chairman of the illegally constituted Premier League Board, are notorious and prominent anti-SLFA President Isha Johansen,” continues Kabba.
“They were behind the court action against the legally recognized SLFA and sabotaged all attempts to organize a league recognized by FIFA and CAF. And the current government gives them an unprecedented amount of money to run the league?”
Another concerned and visibly angry Sierra Leonean – Umaru Fofana – questioned why Johannsen’s case has dragged on for 18 months if they are serious about ensuring the case is finalized and the country’s football can move forward.
“Why delay in finalizing this case when FIFA’s next congress is coming up in June where, hopefully, if the case if finalized, perhaps Sierra Leone’s suspension could be lifted at the Congress?”
Kabba painfully asks if it was worth it for State President Maada to have the country suspended during a period when CAF had increased the number of participants in the 2019 African Nations Cup tournament from 16 to 24 when they stood a more than 50% chance to have also qualified.
FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, who visited the country recently, issued a statement that the world controlling body would wait for the completion of Johansen’s case before further measures could be considered, including the lifting of the suspension, if it is deemed appropriate.
In the meantime, FIFA has demanded that Johansen and her executive committee be returned to power with immediate effect and that she should be allowed full authority over the association including presiding over the association’s banking transactions
FIFA also demands the conclusion of a match-fixing investigation involving 15 players and officials who have been indefinitely suspended since 2014 as well as the implementation of an integrity test on elected officials and a roadmap that would lead the elections of a new SLFA executive committee.