After securing successive victories over Mali and Ghana, the Sierra Leonean ladies were only left with the task of defeating the host nation, The Gambia, which they did by securing a nine wicket win.
Amid the team’s victory, players feel abandoned by the Government of Sierra Leone.
By Alhaji K. Tarawally
In the first place, the team travelled in a bus by road, to and from the tournament, with many suffering from swollen feet; especially on arrival in The Gambia. On the contrary, their Ghanaian counterparts travelled by air.
What seems to be of more concern was how the country’s regulatory Sports Ministry failed to provide the requisite financial support to the team, prior their historic triumph in Banjul.
Speaking to AYV newspaper, former Public Relations Officer, who also travelled with the team, Bockarie Alieu, confirmed that the failure of the Sports Ministry to provide financial support for the country’s national female team put the lives of over fifteen national cricket heroines at a huge risk.
He said they were near a gruesome road accident around the Gambia-Guinea border during their six-day horrendous road journey to Freetown.
He said several months ago, the Cricket Association notified the Sports Ministry, but that the required financial support for the trip was not forthcoming.
Mr Alieu said the team was therefore left with one option to be at the event.
The team left for the Gambia, a day ahead of their opening first match with their Ghanaian counterparts, who flew in and out with Bellview Airlines.
He disclosed that they arrived in the Gambia with most of the cricketers’ feet swollen, due to the long road journey and difficult sitting positions in the bus. He said if the Government should have provided the requisite funding, they would have taken an airplane, as all the participating countries did on their way to and from the competition.
Bockarie Alieu, the former Public Relations Officer further asked: Why must Sierra Leone always be seen as the poorest country in the world?
In an interview with AYV TV, Zuher Kudsy, an international sports expert said, he was amused by the brilliant performance of the ladies in their matches played against other top African teams in the tournament. He said they have proven to be true ambassadors of Sierra Leone, flying the country’s flag in another man’s land.
He emphasized that the Sierra Leone Government should provide significant financial boost to the Cricket Association, to encourage rapid growth of female cricketers in the country.
Mr Kudsy stated that the team succeeded because of the individual quality and passion they had. He expressed satisfaction over the team’s historic performance in The Gambia.
Prince Macaulay, an international football scout, also urged the Government of Sierra Leone to render worthy support to the Sierra Leone Cricket Association for the continued development and sustenance of the sport.
He recalled that cricket was the best sport in Sierra Leone which has previously won huge glory for the country, adding, “now that females have emerged in the game, it’s a plus for the Association”.
Sierra Leone was the tournament’s favourites and they matched up that tag in scooping the highly converted trophy.