Kenema City, Eastern Province, Friday 28 February 2020 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has officially turned sod for the construction of a Diamond Blade artificial turf in Kenema District, eastern Sierra Leone.
With a lifespan of twenty years, the $960,000 artificial turf donated by World’s football governing body, Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, is a high-quality artificial football grass designed by Eden Grass in Holland, specifically for Kenema District. When completed, the facility will bring Kenema into the spotlight as a destination for international football matches.
Before turning the sod, President Bio said that Sierra Leone was a football loving nation, the reason his government was promoting and supporting the growth of football to enable its citizens realise their fullest potentials in the discipline. He encouraged the people of Kenema to take care of the facility and to prolong its lifespan for the general good of the country.
He said that the long division among football authorities had been responsible for the country’s low performance in football, noting that a lot of talents were being destroyed because of that disunion. He, therefore, urged the various football authorities to put their differences aside and work towards the development of the sport in the country.
The President also used the opportunity to condemn violence in sports, saying that football was a game of peace and love. He again commended FIFA, the Sierra Leone Football Association and the Ministry of Sports for their efforts at delivering on the project.
Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis, said that football was important not only because it provided employment for youth but was also a tool that would bring social cohesion in the country. As a native, he spoke of their delight to host the facility, adding that they were also excited with the development efforts of the New Direction Administration.
Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, commended President Bio for his passion for sports, adding that the turf would help the growth of football in the district. He, therefore, called on those concerned to make good use of the facility.
President of the football association, Isha Johansen, said that the facility was the property and legacy of Kenema District that was meant for the development of football in the district and the country. She commended FIFA and the Government of Sierra Leone for their support to the project.
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