“To play for your country is a dream”
Photo Credit- FC Zurich/Keystone
Where his love for the game of football came from . . .
“I came from a football family, it was there that I started my football because everybody played.”
His feelings on the current FIFA-imposed ban on Sierra Leone . . .
"In Sierra Leone, seventy percent of the people love football, so to see this situation going on like this, everyone is hurt. We are not happy with the situation. "
His comments that the players are the ones suffering the most . . .
“In this kind of situation, it is mostly the players who suffer because in Sierra Leone, many children want to play football and for more than four years now, our league is not playing, so it is difficult to get people to go and scout players. They are not running football the right way. It is difficult for the boys to get the opportunity to become a professional player, so we need to do something very, very fast to mend this kind of problem.”
What the reaction has been in Sierra Leone, to the national team’s ban . . .
“Yes the last time I was there, a few months ago, for the AFCON game against Ghana, I was there to play and then they said that we cannot play the game because of this problem. Everybody was frustrated you know and it was hoped that from that time, perhaps they would fix things, but now we have the confirmation that we are out of the AFCON competition. That is really bad news for us football players.”
How he sees this being resolved, so that the ban can be lifted. . .
“I don’t have any idea when this thing is going to end. The situation is just quiet and we don’t get any information from anyone there. So we just know that they are still on the same case again, so it’s difficult to know what is going on.”
Just trying to focus on club football with FC Zurich and not worry . . .
“Yes, to play for your country is a dream, all footballer players love to play for their country, their national team. So for now, I just have to focus on my club and see what happens.”
His enjoyment at playing his football in Switzerland with FC Zurich . . .
“I have been here for two and a half years now so it is going well, I am happy. I am trying to enjoy my football and do well, I am happy with the situation.”
Was a move to Europe always the dream?
“Yes, that is every player’s dream in Africa, playing in Africa you do not have the opportunities, so you at least just want to break through as a professional. That is everyone’s dream in Africa, so I am lucky to be one of those players.”
How far away Sierra Leone is from having a top-quality football structure . . .
“The thing is that we have many good players with talent and young boys coming up. But with the situation that we have in our country, it’s really not organised, so it’s difficult for those boys to get to their future. Just imagine, if the league has not been playing for more than four-five years, what future do you have as a player? It is difficult for you to make it. We were just lucky because the time when I was playing in Sierra Leone, everything was going well. But for the last four or five years, it’s difficult for every player. Even if they were brought to Europe, they have not been playing for the past four or five years. They have to make sure those kind of things stop and that they put the right people in the right places. They need to think about the football, that’s the most important issue.”
Whether the future of the national side looks bright . . .
“Yes, when you look at our team, we have young players, we have talented players. Sierra Leone FA just need to make sure that they put things in place and organise everything to make the next step. We have very, very good players and for me, I am very proud and happy. It was a dream come true to play for and captain my country. I am just trying to do my best, to see that everyone appreciates what I did.”
His hopes for 2019 . . .
“Well, the thing is, if I am looking at how things are now, I can’t think about that because what is going on down there, is really really slow. So I do not know how long it will take us to get back with the national team. So I am not too focused on that. I am just focusing on my league and the Europa League. Then once we get news from the FIFA or from them, then we can start to focus on 2019.”
His message of encouragement to young players back in Sierra Leone . . .
“The only thing that I can say to the players is that they just have to keep the faith and keep working hard because this situation cannot go on forever. I hope to see this very, very soon.”
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