State Lodge, Freetown, Sunday 8 September 2019 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has invited Leone Stars, its technical management, the football association and ministry of sports to remind them of what a victory against Lone Star means for Sierra Leone.
The full national team for a return leg of the 2022 World Cup preliminary qualifier, who looked very fired up ahead of the match later in the day at the National Stadium in Freetown, were welcomed by the First Lady, Fatima Bio, who disclosed that the presidency was very passionate about a winning that would qualify Leone Stars.
Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, said the solidarity ahead of the game was indicative of the power of sports to unite a footballing family in a footballing nation, adding that there had been differences in approaches but expressed hope of surmounting all challenges once and for all. He thanked the President for investing in the premier league and supporting their recent encounter in Monrovia.
President of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Isha Johansen, observed that inviting the players for a talk with the president just hours before the match was a huge gesture of motivation. She assured of the confidence of the players and promised victory.
In his brief remarks, after singing the national anthem together, President Bio called on the players to make a powerful representation on the field as ambassadors whose national service transcended region, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. He told them of his story of a footballer and sports-loving family, before extending an invitation of the team and management to State House after they would have qualified.
“As players, you should play for the land we all love. I call you here today to tell you that we are a football-loving nation and to inspire you that we can do it. We depend on you to win and qualify because the hope of the nation rests on you.
“I want us to be proud of ourselves by doing the good things. We should fight on the field to put our nation on the continental level. Let us put on our best to make our nation happy once again,” he urged.
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