Leone Stars Coach, John Keister Addresses Sierra Leoneans After AFCON Exit
Leone Stars Coach John Keister has addressed the public after the team’s exit from the African Cup of Nations tournament.
Keister the gaffer was hosted at the AYV Television station where he did a personal evaluation of the team’s performancen at the 2021 AFCON competition.
Keister started by emphasizing that as a country we couldn’t ask for more in relation to Leone Stars Performance. He recalled when he took over the Leone Stars team that his mantra was to transition and to qualify the team for the African Cup of Nations.
Keister further reminded the public that this is the beginning of the development of Sierra Leone Football. He cited that going to Cameroon is the introduction of Sierra Leone to world Football. He mentioned that Sierra Leone went to the competition to compete and as a coach he will look at the bench marks and and how the team can enhance its performance during subsequent editions of the tournaments.
The Leone Stars Coach confessed of being pleased with the support provided by the government and others well wishers. However, Keister reminded the public that when we talk about preparation in Football nothing is 100% percent. He highlighted that what they have tried to do as a technical staff is to try to make out of the best of what they have. He confirmed that yes, there werechallenges, but the team’s performance in the AFCON is a manifestation of what they have been doing as a technical team in terms of preparation.
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He further explained the rationale behind Camping the team at home. Though there were concerns from members of the public that some countries were going to Qatar but he beleives everyone is different. He justified that the decision to regrouped at home before departing to Cameroon is as a result of the similar climatic condition between Sierra Leone and Cameroon. He further stressed that the decision to camp home is also to give life to the nation supporters before departing for Cameroon.
Keister was asked about the challenges he was facing during The AFCON, he stated that they will look at obstacles internally after the submission of his final report. He emphasized that he doesn’t like to make excuses as a coach. He further pointed out that he will revisit and hopefully look at what will make Sierra Leone better. He however that confirmed that Sierra Leone Football is miles away in term of football development.
Coach Keister pointed out that sometimes when the team go into competition we don’t focus on performances but result because we all want progression.
However, the gaffer cited that we normally missed the difference between performance and result.
As for him, the team performed very well in Cameroon considering Sierra Leone absence for last 25years in the competition.
He stated that they went to Cameroon playing against champions of Africa Algeria and Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea a team many believes we do have record over. However, he pointed out that Football is not about records.
Keister clarifies the penalty missed saga .He believes that Umaru Bangura and Kei Kamara are the two most experienced players in the pitch. He added, that the captain Umaru Bangura normally takes penalty. However, he gave Kei Kamara the honour to take the penalty and we have to trust his decision. The gaffer thinks that Kei is brave enough to take the penalty though he missed. However, he disagrees with the unfair reaction of the public towards Kei Kamara.
The coach further clarifies concerns raised by one of the players Issa Kallon in relation to lack of playing time. He pointed out that he understands the Player’s concerns as a former Footballer. He assured that Issa Kallon will have his playing time .
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However, he emphasized that he has been working with a group of players that has been doing very well and Issa is one of the players he integrated in the Leone Stars squad.