E.E Lions, 2 Others Battle Over CAF Competition

By Ayodele Deen-Cole

A serious controversy has ensued within the administration of the Premier League Board (PLB)  and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) over which local football club should represent the country at the 2020/2021 CAF Championship, organised by the confederation of African Football (CAF).

The Competition which is organized annually is being played by the defending football champions of each CAF representing nation, including Sierra Leone.

However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious setback for the PLB and SLFA as they are yet to complete the ongoing Premier League whose champion should have to represent Sierra Leone at the 2020/2021 competition.

Last year, PLB defending champion, East-end Lions were not eligible to play, as the competition was held when the nation was under FIFA suspension. Currently, three Premier League clubs, the defending champion – E.E Lions, last year’s runners up, F.C Kallon and the current league leaders, Bo Rangers Football Club are in frantic discussion with the two secretariats to find a way of registering a team for this year’s competition before the CAF deadline elapses for the competition in August this year, the previous deadline was in May this year.

Speaking to the media recently, the Manager of Bo Rangers Football Club called on the PLB and SLFA to register and put them forward as this year’s champion to represent Sierra Leone as according to him, they are the current PLB league leaders in this year’s competition which has only been played almost half way due to the preventive restrictions put forward by government to curb the spread of the virus.

The Bo Rangers Manager also noted that the facts that the CAF deadline is getting closer` and the premier is yet to recommenced are some of the reasons why PLB and SLFA should allow them to represent the nation, otherwise, he said, Sierra Leone will have no representative at the 2020/2021 CAF football clubs championship.

However, the Deputy Chairman for E.E Lions football club, Alpha Rashid has an opposing view to the Bo Rangers suggestion. He told the media that before sending the current league leaders, the PLB and SLFA must ensure that they complete the first round.

According to Alpha Rashid, E.E Lions are only few points away from the league leaders, adding that if the remaining first rounds matches are played they have a big chance to triumph over Bo Rangers and officially qualify to represent the nation.

He urges the SLFA and PLB to dialogue with NACOVERC to find ways of completing the first points matches before the CAF deadline, adding that even if it will cost playing the matches behind closed doors.

Another representative from F.C Kallon, Tunde Scott called on the SLFA and PLB to play the remaining first round matches, following which, the winner will be chosen represent the nation.

In their response, the Head of Communication at SLFA, Ibrahim Kamara stated that they are working round the clock to resolve the issue and register the nation for the said competition.

He revealed that the country has been absent from the said competition for some years now, adding that the current government wants to change that trend. Ibrahim Kamara further disclosed that they are currently in discussions with the presidential task force and the NACOVERC to find ways of restarting the first rounds so that they would have an ultimate winner.