By Bampia James Bundu: Strategic Communications Unit – MIC
The Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, has assured Sierra Leoneans that the government of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio is poised to support the country’s senior male national team, Leone Stars, physically, morally and financially, as they prepare for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
He gave the assurance at the weekly government press conference in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Youyi Building, Freetown, on Thursday, 24th June 2021.
The Minister described Leone Stars’ latest AFCON qualification as a dream come true; recalling that the last time Sierra Leone participated at the continent’s biggest football showpiece was 25 years ago in 1996 when President Bio’s military NPRC government was in power.
He expressed profound thanks and appreciation to the President for his immense support to the country’s football and other sporting disciplines and commended him for inspiring the national team with ambitious promises which motivated the players to qualify for AFCON 2022.
He also thanked the President for fulfilling his promise to the team by providing $10,000 plus a plot of land to each of the players and the technical team.
This, Minister Nyelenkeh pointed out, helped boost the spirit of the team ahead of the Benin match and will further motivate them as they prepare for the tournament proper in Cameroon.
He explained that when he took over at the Sports Ministry he inherited 35 sporting disciplines but can now boast of 49 registered sporting disciplines in the country, which according to him, clearly shows the level of commitment this government has towards sports.
He assured football loving fans that once the COVID-19 cases subside and NACOVERC gives clearance the national league which has been suspended will resume.
When asked how prepared is the national team for AFCON 2022, the Head Coach of Leone Stars, John Keister, said it was too early to say, but promised to communicate it to the public in due course.