Amidst Challenges, Leones Stars Will Triumph
Over the recent international window, soccer fans across the world were thrilled to some good football games though some were drab and boring. Sierra Leoneans also had the opportunity to see their darling and toasts Leone Stars in three friendly matches for the first time after their heroics in Guinea against Benin that secured qualification for Cameroon 2022.
On the eve of their departure for Morocco, there was storm in a tea cup over the disbursement of Le 6 billion by government to bankroll the friendlies. Some people said the amount was outlandish and the contingent too large for as they put it an ‘ordinary friendly’.
As usual with the clairvoyants in the government of President Julius Maada Bio, the team left and participated strongly in three friendly matches in Morocco. The results are mixed but the prospect and lessons learned are enormous for us a nation. It was money well spent and we got value for our money.
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Sports everywhere is capital intensive and requires proper planning. The entire country went agog when Leone Stars qualified for the African Cup of Nations tournament for the first time in a quarter of a century. Government made a commitment to the team that it will do everything possible to give them a very good preparation in order for Sierra Leone flag to be hoisted high in Cameroon.
As is usual with the government of President Julius Maada Bio, it followed up on the promise and disbursed Le 6 billion to the NSA for the team’s participation in the just concluded friendlies in Morocco. This is not a government that pays lip service to promises but one that follows them through. It breathes life into words and actualizes dreams.
For the duration of the friendlies, Sierra Leoneans had an opportunity to see their team in action against some of the continent’s best and up and coming teams. We had a chance to see new players don the green, white and blue jersey. The technical team had a perfect platform to blend the new players with the older ones. New players came with new tactics and formations.
Except if you’re a naysayer who would wish bad for your country, but an investment of Le 6 billion on a national team for preparation for a major tournament is an investment worth its weight in gold. The results – a draw, a win and a controversial defeat- adds to our credentials and a possible effect on our world ranking.
Leone Stars will be going to Cameroon not as mere spectators but a threat to any of the so-called giants, and the preparation is long overdue. The Le 6 billion was certainly worth every penny.