By Abubakarr Kamara | The AfricaPaper
Freetown, Sierra Leone – Sellas Tetteh, Sierra Leone’s head coach, has named a 21-man squad for both home and away encounters against Chad in the first preliminaries of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The Leone Stars will play away in N’djamena on Oct.10, while the return leg will be in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, three days later. CAF placed a ban on Sierra Leone home matches in Freetown due to the Ebola epidemic, that claimed more than 13,000 lives in the country as a whole.
“This team is full of potentials and after working with the local contents for a while, I think it’s important to include more foreign based players with experience,” said Coach Tetteh. “We are going to Chad to get a very good result that will put us at a vantage point for the second leg encounter.”
The 58-year Ghanaian trainer had included 15 foreign-based players on his list. But due to injuries and rejection, he was left with 11 foreign-based and 10 home based players.
MLS highest goal scorer, Kei Kamara resigned from the national team few days ago while Shrewsbury Town’s Sulay Kaikai rejected the invitation. George Kweku Davies, and David Simbo also pulled out in the eleventh hour due to injuries.
“I’m very much disappointed that Kei had to pull out at this crucial moment. Yes, he was part of my game plan but now that he has made such decision, I have no alternative but to move ahead,” said Tetteh. “Yes, I have confidence in this squad and I’m convinced they have the potential to do great things. As for those injured, it’s all part of the game. We are moving forward.”
The away leg in N’djamena will be Tetteh’s second time serving as head coach since he took over in August on a three-month loan agreement between the Sierra Leone Football Association and the Ghana Football Association.
In September, the U-20 World Cup winning coach called up 13 home-based players in his 20-man squad against the reigning African champions, Cote d’Ivoire and drew goalless in Port Harcourt.
Meanwhile, the 28-man delegation has left Freetown for Chad this morning and are expected to arrive in N’djamena on Wednesday morning.
Goalkeepers: Solomon Zombo Morris (US Quievilly, France), Mohamed Kanu (LPRC Oilers-Liberia), Unisa Koroma (East End Lions FC)
Defenders: Umaru Bangura (Dinamo Minsk, Belarus), Mustapha Dumbuya (Patrick Thistle-Scotland), Sulaiman Bangura (Unattached), Mohamed Kamanor (FC Kallon), Kempson Fofanah (East End Lions FC), Yeami Dunia (FC Johansen), Abu Suma (FC Johansen), Sheriff Suma (Raevan-Azerbaijan)
Midfielders: Mohamed Kamara (Bolton Wanderers, England), John Kamara (Aris-Greece), Abdul Sesay (OPS, Finland), George Mattar (FC Johansen), Kwame Quee (FC Johansen), Alfred Nyuma (Central Parade FC)
Strikers: Abu Kanu (Mighty Blackpool FC), Alhaji Kamara (Norrkoping-Sweden), Mohamed Bangura (AIK Solna-Sweden), Christian Moses (FC Kallon-Sierra Leone).
The AfricaPaper: Abubakarr Kamara, based in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, is The AfricaPaper’s West Africa Correspondent.