Football fans in Sierra Leone are now breathing a sigh of relief as news of the reawakening of the country’s national league kick starts on 27th January after some 4 year lull. This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Sierra Leone Premier League Board, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai Esq. in an exclusive interview with this medium.
Though the ban on the participation of Sierra Leone in any international competition is still in force, the Chairman believes that this is the time to tap the resources and talents of its youths playing in the various football clubs.
The Chairman maintained that in a bid to create jobs for the youths, especially those involve in football and other aspiring young talents, they have engaged the various teams and have arrived at a decision that the players should be held on contract basis like their counterparts in the other countries including those seen in the international clubs.
Modalities were worked out for each player to be paid on a monthly basis. This he said will help to motivate the players to give their best.
Speaking to the Board Member and Communications Director of the Sierra Leone Premier League, Alhaji Komba, he reiterated the stance of Chairman Saffa Abdulai that the players need to be cared for. He also disclosed that since the ban is still in force effectively preventing Sierra Leone from taking part in any international competition, it is the view of the Board that this league, which is scheduled to kick start on the 27th of January, will present the much needed opportunity to assess the players and get a very good squad for any football engagement after the ban is lifted. It will further create jobs for them as they will be paid on a monthly basis.
Chairman Saffa Abdulai earlier maintained that the Board has been engaged in the reformation of football in the country and during this process they were able to impress on the clubs that each player should be on contract as it will motivate them and will provide a source of income for them unlike the had-hock situation that existed before. In this regard the seed money provided for the clubs can be used as a start to pay the players. Players will now be properly cared for by their respective clubs.
Alhaji Komba further disclosed that this is a reawakening of football in the country. Following the dismal performances of the national team in the international scene before the ban, many citizens have been calling on the association to go back to the drawing board and restructure the football in the country. This, he stressed, the board through its Chairman, has been able to do. It was also disclosed that certain football promoters are willing to spot out talents which could be improved for international signings.
The Premier League, he maintained, will follow the calendar of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) which ends in June/July.
Enthused by this revelation, football loving Sierra Leoneans say that this is a welcome development and lauded the Chairman for taking the initiative to ensure that the players benefit from their associations with any club. This, they maintain, will be create the requisite atmosphere for football to thrive in the country, as seen in international clubs across the world.
They praised Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai for bringing back the premier League and creating the opportunity for youths to grow.
They expressed hope for the development of a better football family in the country devoid of all sentiments but that of the progress of the game in the country and the ability of the national team to win International laurels.