SLFA send U20 team to Ghana amid row with sports ministry

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Freetown
Sierra Leone's sports minister Paul Kamara

The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has taken a team to Ghana to play an African Under-20 Championship qualifying match while a row continues with the country's sports ministry over who controls the team.

The sports ministry wrote to all relevant authorities, including the country's immigration department, to stop the SLFA-controlled team from travelling but has failed in its attempts.

Each body named a rival coach for the team ahead of Saturday's second round second leg encounter in Tamale.

The SLFA insists Alimamy Turay is still in charge of the under-20 side, despite an announcement by sports minister Paul Kamara last week that he had been sacked.

The minister named former Sierra Leone international Atto Mensah as a replacement for Turay, after the 2-0 defeat at home last month in the first leg of the tie against Ghana.

Deputy sports minister Ismail Al Sankoh Al Conteh told BBC Sport: "We are not happy about the situation and I'm totally disappointed.

"It's a big slap to the sports ministry and I must admit that we're embarrassed. But we know what to do when the team return."

A statement released by the sports ministry on Monday warned players not to refuse to attend the training session scheduled for Tuesday morning by coach Mensah.

"Invited players are to attend training sessions or face sanction by the ministry of sports from taking part in all national team training sessions and matches for Sierra Leone," the statement said.

"Any team or club preventing the players from attending the scheduled training sessions shall be suspended indefinitely by the ministry of sports."

However, none of the players adhered to the ministry's demand.

Kamara was also involved in another dispute with the SLFA just last week.

He prevented SLFA executive committee member Morrison Sannoh from travelling with Leone Stars for their 2015 African Cup of Nations tie in Swaziland.

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