Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura became the first woman and first non-European to be appointed in 2016 as FIFA Secretary General. Before working at FIFA, she had spent more than two decades working for the United Nations as a diplomat.

The Senegal-born will leave her role at the end of 2023 after seven years of service which she played a pivotal role in transforming and restoring FIFA’S  credibility and breaking barrier  in women’s football under leadership.

How will  Sierra Leone remember Madam Samoura after leaving FIFA at the end of the year? She can be remembered in Sierra Leone for her conflict resolution roles, her quest to help bring sanity into  the beautiful game of football in  the country. Her support for Fashion for Change and the Mano River Union For Peace initiative  cannot go unnoticed: using football as a tool to promote positive social change in the West African Country.

Confliction Resolution Roles in Sierra Leone

Madam Samoura visited Freetown in 2016 to resolve tension between Sierra Leone Football Association Local authorities and the government.

At a period marred with infighting  in Sierra Leone Football, FIFA disapproves of governmental interference in the running of football and has banned several countries in the past for such actions.

The world governing body also gave staunch backing to then SLFA president Isha Johansen, who was released without charge after being detained by anti-corruption officials in September.

The only female football president in Africa spent a night in custody in Freetown after failing to attend a hearing set up by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 7 September, whereupon she was arrested.

The SLFA’s vice-president and secretary general were arrested as well but also later released without charge.

All three denied wrongdoing during their questioning by the ACC, with Johansen saying her innocence in ‘any allegations involving corruption or related offences are undisputed.’
With documents and computers having been removed by armed police and ACC officials from the SLFA office, FIFA said it was monitoring the situation.

A memorandum of understanding was later signed during Samoura’s visit, set up by an investigative committee approved by FIFA. Many could describe this period as a dark chapter in Sierra Leone’s Football History.

On April 2021, Samoura was also in Sierra Leone to support the Sierra Leone Football Association’s Football For Peace initiative with the Mano River Union and UNDP in Sierra Leone. Samoura had served in Sierra Leone during the country’s Civil war as a United Nations diplomat. The rationale behind the initiative by FIFA Council Member Madam Johansen seek to kick start a pledge that will strengthen economic development ties between the sub regional countries [Sierra Leone , Liberia, and Ivory Coast by using football as a common force for Peace and Reconciliation

Fashion For Change And the Commissioning of Football for Reform Training and Skills Centre

Fashion for Change is a non-Profit Organisation focused on using the fashion industry as a medium to bring about change in a society with a particular focus on female inmates.

On the 27th April 2021, Fatma Samoura and Isha Johansen Paid a visit to the Freetown Female Correctional Center. They took with them gifts of footballs and playing kits .The female inmates presented them with gifts and of handmade accessories. An unspoken bond was instantaneous bond was formed between the women and the inmates.

Football was going to be the driving force and the tool Samoura and Johansen would use to enhance Positive Change and Gender empowerment.

June 2nd, 2023 saw the handing over of a newly constructed Football for Reform Trainining and skills center that will be equipped with sewing machines, some specifically for intricate embroidery.
The commissioning of the football for reform training and skills centre was done by the former president and her team, a centre that was constructed with support from “ Fashion for Change” and FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura. Fashion For Change is an initiative using Football as a tool to promote social Change and Positive rehabilitation.

During the unveiling ceremony, Madam Johansen reveals that she is the driving force behind this but nothing works alone. She thanked the Fashion for change group for their tremendous support. She pointed out that the rationale behind setting up skills centre is about reforming the inmates using football.
Madam Johansen states “I want to thank the officers , I want to thank the correctional Centre. This is a correctional Centre. It has it rules and regulations . The women who stays here are offenders and it is not for us to say they are right or wrong. These are women and men who should not be in society at least for now but never has there been a time when Col. Ngaujah, Madam Suzan and every other officers here restricted us


In her words of encouragement to the inmates Samoura states “I believe that this is not only the beginning in terms of your rehabilitation and empowerment , and that the sky will be your limit”

Madam Samoura has been a strong supporter of the need for reforms and Gender Empowerment for the young girls in the correctional Centre. Both women in their private capacities have given financial support to the Centre for the young women, Samoura had earlier, made a generous donation of five thousand dollars to the inmates.

Production in this new skills training facility will vary with items such as clothing, accessories, household, to football jersey and training Kits for female teams at club and national level

The Confederation of African Football [CAF] will also provide licensed coaches and referees courses to the correctional center as football’s contributions to empowering young women through football.

During her reign as SLFA  President, Madam Isha Johansen, on the 22nd May 2021 at a press conference held at the Bintumani Hall, Aberdeen Freetown, officially announced four (4) new FIFA Approved Artificial Turf Projects to be carried out across the country simultaneously in a bid to improve the country’s Football infrastructure which many have commended her for.

The 4 venues to be given a face lift under the said projects are; SLFA Academy (Kingtom), Approved School (Western Area), Lungi Central Field and the Coronation Field (Bo).

The FIFA Council Member further announced the decision of the SLFA Executive Committee to transform the Port Loko Town Field into a state of the art (26,000 capacity) playing facility which will eventually be the country’s Football Federation Stadium.

Meanwhile, on the 5th July 2023 the Current SLFA President Thomas Daddy Brima has disclosed in a Ordinary Congress that his Executive committee will soon implement these Projects.