The Super Eagles of Nigeria will host the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a 2021 AFCON qualifier in Benin City on Friday.
It is a Group L matchday three encounter between the two West African countries.
And looking forward to the game, Completesports.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI lists seven interesting facts about the Leone Stars.
– First international match was against Nigeria
Sierra Leone’s first match was at home on 10 August 1949 against Nigeria, which they lost 2–0.
On 22 April 1961, they again hosted Nigeria and just like in 1949 they lost this time a 4–2 scoreline.
– Last appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1996.
The last time Sierra Leone qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1996 hosted in South Africa.
It was their second appearance at the tournament and they were grouped alongside Zambia, Algeria and Burkina Faso.
However, the Leone Stars crashed out in the group stage after finishing third with one win and two defeats.
– Have made only two appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations
The Leone Stars of Sierra Leone have only made two appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations in their history.
Their first appearance was at the 1994 edition in Tunisia where they faced Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire in the group stage.
A 4-0 defeat to Cote d’Ivoire and a 0-0 draw against Zambia saw to their exit at the tournament.
They qualified for the next edition in South Africa in 1996 and just like the previous tournament, they were eliminated in the first round.
–Highest and lowest ever position in FIFA World Ranking
The Leone Stars’ highest ever position in the FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking was 50th which was in 2014.
The lowest which they have ever dropped to in the monthly rankings was 172 and that was in 2007.
And in the latest rankings which was released on 22 October 2020, they currently occupy 120th spot.
– Only achievement in football is the Amilcar Cabral Cup
Sierra Leone’s only achievement in football is the now defunct Amilcar Cabral Cup which they won in 1993 and 1995.
The Leone Stars beat Senegal 2-0 in the 1993 final before edging Mauritania 4-3 on penalties after regulation time ended 0-0, in the 1995 edition.
The Amílcar Cabral Cup which began in 1979 was an international association football tournament for Western African nations.
The competition originally was played on an annual basis until 1989, since then it has been played on a biennial basis with the last edition held in 2007.
– Star forward Kei Kamara fled Sierra Leone to United States due to civil war
As a kid, Kei Kamara fled war-torn Sierra Leone and migrated to the United States with his family in 2000 and is now a USA citizen too.
Kamara currently plays for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Minessota United where he has so far netted one goal in seven games.
He is a forward with rich goal-scoring history in the MLS. In the 2019/2020 season he scored 17 goals in 38 games for Colorado Rapids.
During his time at Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018, he made 28 appearances and scored 14 times.
And at New England Revolution he scored 19 goals in 52 outings in the 2016/2017 campaign.
He retired from the Leone Stars last year under former coach Sellas Tetteh because he didn’t like his methods. He has just been recalled by new head coach coach John Keister.
– Forced to withdraw from 1998, 2000 AFCONs due to the Sierra Leone Civil War
The Leone Stars were denied the chance to qualify for the next two Africa Cup of Nations in 1998 in Burkina and in 2000 co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria as a result of civil war.
The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government.
The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.