By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Sierra Leone FA is desirous of making Nigeria a makeshift home again when they play hosts to Chad in their 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary qualifier in October, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Leone Stars of Sierra Leone only recently played their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against African champions, Cote d’ Ivoire, in Port Harcourt which ended in 0-0 draw. According to the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), Isha Johansen, her association is looking forward to having the game played in Nigeria irrespective of the venue.
Johansen who is her country’s first female football association president and second in the world only to Burundi’s FA President, Lydia Nsekera, revealed this to Completesportsnigeria.com.
“Nigeria was the perfect host and Port Harcourt was just amazing when we played Ivory Coast,” Mrs Johanson told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“It was a historical moment for us in Sierra Leone football, playing our first home match at a neutral venue, and I believe it was a historical moment for Port Harcourt and Rivers State as well.
“We are definitely looking at the possibility of playing our Chad match which is the 2018 World Cup preliminaries in Nigeria. I hope I am not being too presumptuous in believing that Nigeria has found a new pet football nation; Sierra Leone,” Johansen said with laughter.
The amiable administrator who is her country’s first female publisher before the war in Sierra Leone, of a magazine called ‘Rapture’ and producer of the Sierra Leone Airways in-flight magazine called KABO, also thanked the Rivers State government and people of Port Harcourt for playing the good host on Sunday, September 6.
“I would once again like to take the opportunity of thanking the Governor of Rivers State for his kind and warm gesture before, during and after the match.
“The NFF President is just a blessing to your country and to football in your country, that is all I can say. He is not only a man with a vision, but he has the interest of the nation at heart.”
The Leone Stars’ game against Cote d’Ivoire was initially planned to be played in Lagos, but Johansen maintains any part of Nigeria will be home provided the team are playing on a good pitch.
“Nigeria is Nigeria as far as Sierra Leoneans are concerned, and I would again like to think that Nigerians everywhere share the same fondness for Sierra Leone. So it does not matter where we play, as long as there is a decent pitch to play on,” the SLFA boss stated.