INTERVIEW RAISE YOUR GAME Volume 1 ∞ Issue 2 2015 INTERVIEW WITH COACH SELLAS TETTEH: SIERRA LEONE’S HOME LEAGUE MUST BE REVITALISED Head Coach Sellas Teivi Tetteh was loaned to the Sierra Leone Football Association for three months by the Ghana Football Association (GFA). During his three match stint with the Leone Stars, they secured four out of nine available points (a win, draw and a defeat), and most fans are of the opinion Tetteh would be able to build a successful team if he was given the job full time. FOOTBALL IS MORE! RAISE YOUR GAME THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE SIERRA LEONE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION Volume 1 ∞ Issue 2 2015 Coach Tetteh: My stint will end on November 15 and I will go back to Ghana and see what happens next. Whether I return or not, is left to God. I’m very happy that the fans are beginning to see that there is every need for a rebuilding process in Sierra Leone. Stakeholders in the game must come together and support the team if positive results are to be achieved. SLFA Media: You have been in charge of the Leone Stars for less than three months and played three official matches, what have been your highs and lows during this short spell? Coach Tetteh: I would say my high point was the draw against the reigning African Champions, Cote d’Ivoire. I am the first head coach of a Sierra Leonean team to take a point from the current champions. Cote d’Ivoire have won six out of their six meetings with the Leone Stars; a hundred percent record. During my tenure, we were able to achieve a draw. My lowest moment was when we conceded a goal in our home match against Chad in Port Harcourt. That was the goal that took us out of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers. SLFA Media: Looking at the current blend of players in the Leone Stars, do you think there is a future for this team; especially the home based players? Coach Tetteh: Technically, they are very good individual players. There is real talent in this team and I am very happy to have worked with them on and off the pitch. What is lacking is the availability of the national league due to the Ebola epidemic but with the necessary resources, facilities and a competitive national league post Ebola, I am confident that this team will go places. At this point in time, the foreign based players - especially those that play regular football are extremely important because they formed the nucleus of the team. If the home league is reactivated and made competitive, the situation would be reversed. SLFA Media: You will be going back to Ghana after November 15, would you come back to be in charge if called upon? Coach Tetteh: I’ve enjoyed a very good working relationship with the SLFA, Its president and all the EXCOs. Whether I return or not is in God’s hands. The power of women’s football By Isha Johansen My father, one time chairman of the East End Lions, transferred his unconditional love for the club and the sport to me, making football my lifelong inspiration. There have been significant advances made to develop women in football – the success of the women’s world cup 2015 is evidence of that. Nevertheless, it remains highly unusual for a woman, and particularly an African woman to have found such enduring professional fulfilment in the sport. Throughout my career, I have become acutely aware of the extent to which our continent’s vulnerability to disease and disaster, combined with poverty and lack of access to health care, employment and education, disproportionately affect the women of Africa. Earlier this year, I worked with other Sierra Leoneans on a project which will use football to help reduce the marginalisation of African women both in their immediate societies and globally. We call it Powerplay. It has two main objectives. The first is an annual Powerplay forum which will explore and find concrete ways to empower women and girls in Africa through football. The second is for FIFA, CAF, and all the African FAs to become signatories to the Powerplay Memorandum of Understanding – committing to giving African women and young girls a voice through football. Both these initiatives have received overwhelming support from FIFA and the CAF and we look forward to contributing to a more equal society where my sisters and I can stand shoulder to shoulder with our male counterparts, sharing in the development of our continent. Earlier this year, I worked with other Sierra Leoneans on a project which will use football to help reduce the marginalisation of African women both in their immediate societies and globally. We call it Powerplay. Newsletter produced by Memuna Forna & Erika Perez-Leon Isha Johansen, President of the Sierra Leone Football Association has campaigned against match fixing and relentlessly pursued the need for good governance in football administration. An investigation into match fixing is now imminent. Crucially, it has the backing of FIFA and our Government, who have officially endorsed Rtd Major Palo Conteh’s appointment as Chairman of the committee. Match fixing undermines the sport’s integrity, alienates fans, reduces opportunities for legitimate funding and ends promising careers. It attracts other criminal activity – money laundering, drugs smuggling, extortion and violence. If we do not destroy it now, it will destroy our growing football industry, our young players’ hopes and our country’s reputation. On a happier note, we are delighted to announce that FIFA has chosen Sierra Leone to be the next recipient of the “FIFA 11 for Health” programme. This is a great opportunity for our young people. Welcome to SLFA’s second newsletter of 2015. In July, as Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola gained ground, we were able to restart many of the programmes that had lapsed due to the disease, and introduce new ones. Activities are targeted at every area. The Powerplay initiative to increase women’s participation in football in Africa gathers strength, winning support internationally. In Kenema, at the invitation of Mayor Joseph Kelfala, we attended the official turning of the soil for Kenema’s first stadium; and started training and fitness for referees – a programme which will be run nationally. We also held a training day at the SLFA headquarters, addressing the important issue of child protection; and the U13 Isha Johansen Youth Community Shield – a regional football festival - took off in a triumphant celebration of youth football. One of the misconceptions I regularly encounter is that lesser-known countries like ours are unlikely to be vulnerable to match fixing. If anything, the evidence shows that this makes us an attractive target. For the past two years SLFA Sierra Leone’s footballing family owe a special thanks to the loyalty of LEOCEM whose sponsorship ensured our continued participation in AFCON and the World Cup qualifiers. SLFA is also deeply grateful for the generosity of the Algerian FA who waived many of our costs when we played in their country; the Ghanaian FA, whose loan of Sellas Teivi Tetteh as a caretaker coach for the Leone Stars gave us such a boost; and the Nigerian FA and the Governor of Port Harcourt who provided Port Harcourt for our home matches. We have been proud of our national teams. Retired Leone Stars international professional, Kei Kamara summed up something of their achievement when, after the Leone Stars drew 0-0 with Ivory Coast, he tweeted: “It’s not normal 2 celebrate a draw but when it’s against the best team in ur continent, u be thankful #LeoneStars.” The odds have made it almost unthinkable for our national team to play on the world’s stage - no government funding, the lack of regular training sessions because of Ebola and the absence of every team’s biggest booster – a home crowd on home turf. Nonetheless, the spirit of unity and solidarity shown by even our opponents on and off the pitch has been a true indication of why football is so much more than a 90 minute game. Isha Johansen www.slfa.sl | email@example.com the spirit of unity and solidarity shown by even our opponents on and off the pitch has been a true indication of why football is so much more than a 90 minute game.