Not surprisingly, Leone Stars have conceded four goals in the ongoing African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The root cause of the problem has thrown up lot of theories and Postulations from football fanatics in the country which are pointing at the team’s porous defensive structure.
For a team that looked so promising at the 2021 AFCON competition in Cameroon to have slipped so cheaply to concede four goals from Guinea Bissau and Super Eagles of Nigeria calls for critical re-evaluation of not only the technical crew and its tactics but also the defensive personnel.
For years now ,Leone Stars have been struggling to get experienced sturdy defensive players who can protect and dictate the course of matches.
Then came Steven Caulker who has shown early signs of leadership qualities. Indeed, Steven leadership role became more prominent during Leone Stars participation in the celebrated 2021 African Cup of Nations. He is a player with a great influence to his team mates. Every member of the team, the coaches and even the fans look up to him in times of crisis; when things seems to be wrong.
However, Coach John Keister need to urgently pair the National Homebased team captain,Abu Bakarr Samura (Lucio) and Steven Caulker to form a perfect defensive chemistry .
Samura is the current captain of National Leone Stars B team. The experienced defender was very instrumental in helping Sierra Leone to qualify for the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
However, Samura was dropped from the National Senior male team during the competition. After AFCON Competition, coach Keister has left out the defender in all his Leone Stars matches. Most observers believe Samura qualities were so pronounced in Sierra Leone encounter with Benin, Lesotho and Nigeria. After the former Captain, Umaru Bangura got Injured, Samura was the immediate replacement that cutt off a majority of the supply lines to many fast-playing strikers against Sierra Leone in the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
In recent history, Sierra Leone boasted the likes Umaru Zingalay Bangura Mohamed Medo Kamara and Kei Kamara. They symbolised the philosophy, the complex and texture of the team. They provided leadership on and off the pitch. Most observers believe that the present Leone Stars Squad lacks very good defensive structure.
Leone Stars highly rated Defender Alex Bangura should not be left off the hook in terms of solving Leone Stars current defensive crisis. The left back has recently return to training after missing out in Sierra Leone opening AFCON Double header with Nigeria and Guinea Bissau.
Bangura was ruled out of the Sierra Leone’s opening Afcon matches as a result of ankle injury he sustained during a training session with his Club SC Cambur.
The Cambur Defender was rule out for up to six weeks. Sierra Leone will face another doubleheader in match Day 3 and 4 against Sao Tome and Principe in the Group A race to Ivory Coast 2023.
Hopefully, the left back will be available in Sierra Leone’s next crucial encounter against Sao Tome if Coach Keister will invite him for national duty.
Bangura, 22 made his Sierra Leone debut against Togo at the Mardan Stadium on the 29th of March during Sierra Leone training camp in turkey,.
The presence of the Left Back in the Leone Stars squad would serve as a major boost to Leone Stars defensive problem.