Sierra Leone’s Sports Minister, Ahmed Khanou has started his first big drive towards resolving the long and unhealthy dispute within the country’s football.
Minister Khanou and his National Sports Council (NSC) team engaged both members of the stakeholders faction and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) executive whose president was absent due to international assignment for the first time.
According to Minister Khanou, several issues were deliberated on during the three hours meeting which he admitted was a follow-up of the mandate given to him by the President of the nation coupled with a request made by the FIFA scribe in ensuring lasting peace is achieved between the football factions.
He said: “We were able to start theprocess because after our November meeting with the FIFA Secretary General I asked the stakeholders to forward their grievances to the Ministry and we decided to take it from there which was why we had the meeting today and I can say it went well.”
The Sports Minister further revealed that the issue of match-fixing was also thoroughly deliberated on because it is one of the paramount issues surrounding the ongoing dispute.
“On the match-fixing issue it was agreed by all that it is a concern we are not going to drop, a well constituted body should be setup to probe and bring to book all those who are found wanting,” Ahmed Khanou said adding that another issue that was looked at was the failure of the Johansen’s administration in observing and respecting SLFA statutes.
Sierra Leone football has endured and still faces a long stalemate since August 3, 2013 when Isha Johansen was elected as the country’s first female President in a controversial election that saw two of her main contenders; Rodney Michael and former Inter Milan striker, Mohamed Kallon, disqualified 48-hrs before the elective congress due to said violations of FIFA statutes.
This could be the last throw of the dice to solve the Sierra Leone football issue as several attempts have been made by both internal and external bodies, including the country’s President, His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma to resolve the dispute but to no avail.