State House, Freetown, Tuesday 4 January 2022 – The Sierra Leone national football team, Leone Stars, has called at State House to bid farewell to His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Fatima Bio ahead of the 2022 African Cup of Nations, AfCON, in Cameroon.
Vice Captain of the team, Mohamed Kamara, thanked the President and the people of Sierra Leone for their support and opportunity to play for the country in the main international men’s association football competition in Africa and assured that they would play as a team to make the country proud.
Head Coach, John Keister, said the process that led to the selection of the 28-man squad was hectic and challenging, adding that he was convinced that the team was the best to represent the country in the AfCON competition. He thanked the government for their unprecedented support in promoting and developing football and other sporting disciplines in the country.
Team Manager, Babadi Kamara, said the greatest honour of every player was to play for their country, saying that the people of Sierra Leone had supported the players all the way. He, therefore, admonished them to win and make the nation proud.
“Your Excellency, thank you for your contributions toward football. The players are willing to play and will not let you down,” he assured.
In a brief good luck message, First Lady, Fatima Bio, said she was happy because greatness, through football, was coming to the country. She added that the success behind every football team was a result of hard work and dedication. Madam First Lady, therefore, urged the team to put smiles on the faces of Sierra Leoneans.
“As you go out to play, the nation will be watching. The whole world will be watching. Use this opportunity, therefore, to play for the country and for your future,” she noted.
In a brief farewell statement, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio said he was glad to say goodbye to the national team in a special way, adding that the country had been in the wilderness for 25 years. He, therefore, said that they should go to Cameroon with the only objective of winning the trophy.
“Go into that field and make Sierra Leone proud with success. We have started making our presence felt on the global stage. Go and continue on that path,” he concluded.
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