Leone Stars players shaking hands with the then Deputy Chairman of the NPRC Julius Maada Bio prior to match against Niger in 1995

The Amilcar Cabral Cup was an international tournament for West African nations; Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauretania, Senegal & Sierra Leone. The tournament ran from 1979 till 2007 and is now defunct.


Leone Stars

1993 Winners, Amilcar Cabral Cup in Sierra Leone – 1st time

1994 Finals, Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia – 1st time

1995 Winners, Amilcar Cabral Cup in Mauritania – 2nd time

1996 Finals, Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa – 2nd time

1993 to 1996 can be considered a golden period for Sierra Leone football. No other Leone Stars teams had before or afterwards achieved these series of results. Winning the Amilcar Cabral trophy twice and qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations twice. All this was achieved under the aegis of the NPRC regime and two foreign coaches, Armenian coach Raymond Zarpanelian and young Swedish coach Roger Palmgren. We shall look at the squads and statistics during this period.

Young prodigy Mohamed Kallon was in the Leone Stars squad at 16 for the 1996 African Cup of Nations in South Africa and capped it all by scoring for Leone Stars.

1993/1994 Squad

Coach – Raymond Zarpenelian

GK Brima Kamara – East End Lions

GK Osaio Marah – KVK Tienen – Belgium

DF Vannie Bockarie – Kamboi Eagles

DF Kemokai Kallon – AS Kaloum – Guinea

DF Abubakarr Kamara – East End Lions

DF Mohamed Kanu – VC Eendtracht Ailst – Belgium

DF Basiru King – Union Douala – Cameroon

DF Mohamed Mansaray – K Boom FC – Belgium

DF Abdulai Sesay – Ports Authority

MF Lamin Bangura – Horaya AC – Guinea

MF Abdul Thompson Conteh – Georgetown Cobras – Guyana

MF Lamin Conteh – K Veerschot – Belgium

MF Abu Kanu – East End Lions

MF Amidu Karim – Mighty Blackpool

MF Ibrahim Koroma – K Boom FC – Belgium

MF John Sama – Gezan Attuhama – Saudi Arabia

MF Matthew Tieh – Mighty Blackpool

FW Leslie Allen – FC Mbilinga – Gabon

FW Kassim Conteh – East End Lions

FW Brima George – Diamond Stars

FW Musa Kanu – KSC Lokeren – Belgium

FW John Gbessay Sesay – Vitoria Setubal – Portugal


1993 Amilcar Cabral Cup – Sierra Leone

26/11/1993 Sierra Leone 1 Guinea 1

30/11/1993 Gambia 1 Sierra Leone 1

Semi Finals

03/12/1993 Sierra Leone 2 Mali 0


05/12/1993 Sierra Leone 2 Senegal 0

Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

19/08/1992 Sierra Leone 1 Algeria 0

04/10/1992 Guinea Bissau 0 Sierra Leone 3

08/11/1992 Sierra Leone 2 Senegal 0

09/04/1993 Algeria 0 Sierra Leone 0

24/04/1993 Sierra Leone 2 Guinea Bissau 0

11/07/1993 Senegal 1 Sierra Leone 1

Sierra Leone64209-1+810
Guinea Bissau60062-18-160

Sierra Leone qualify for finals for the first time ever ahead of Algeria and Senegal.

Leone Stars disappointed in the finals in Tunisia, they were crushed 4-0 by Ivory Coast and drew 0-0 with eventual runners-up Zambia, exiting at the group stage.

Final Statistics for this group over the two competitions show;

Played 12 Won 6 Drew 5 Lost 1 Goals For 15 Goals Against 7 Goal Diff +8

1995/1996 Squad

Coach – Roger Palmgren

GK Brima Kamara – East End Lions

GK Osaio Marah – KVK Tienen – Belgium

DF Ibrahim Bah – Ports Authority

DF Lamin Bangura – ASEC Abidjan – Ivory Coast

DF Kewullay Conteh – Atalanta BC – Italy

DF Gbessay Bangura – Spanga IS – Sweden

DF Abubakarr Kamara – Ismaily FC – Egypt

DF Francis Koroma – Diamond Stars

DF Ibrahim Bobson Kamara – Mighty Blackpool

DF Ibrahim Kamara – Motherwell – Scotland

MF John Sama – Visby IF – Sweden

MF Amidu Karim – Shebin El Kom – Egypt

MF Ahmed Kanu – Endracht Aalst – Belgium

MF Musa Kanu – KSC Lokeren – Belgium

MF Raschid Wurie – K Beerschot – Belgium

FW Lamin Conteh – SV Meppen – Belgium

FW Gbessay Sesay – Vitoria Setubal – Portugal

FW Mohamed Kallon – FC Lugano – Italy

FW Musa Kallon – Sportul Studenesc – Romania

FW Abu Kanu – Spanga IS – Sweden

FW Mohamed Sillah – Lommel SK – Belgium


1995 Amilcar Cabral Cup – Mauretania

18/11/1995 Sierra Leone 2 Guinea 0

20/11/1995 Sierra Leone 2 Guinea Bissau 0

22/11/1995 Senegal 1 Sierra Leone 1

Semi Finals

Sierra Leone 2 Cape Verde 0


Sierra Leone 0 Mauretania 0

(Penalties Sierra Leone 4 Mauretania 3)

Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

04/09/1994 Ghana 4 Sierra Leone 1

16/10/1994 Sierra Leone 3 Congo 2

08/04/1995 Sierra Leone 1 Ghana 0

22/04/1995 Congo 0 Sierra Leone 2

Sierra Leone43017-6+16

Sierra Leone qualified for their 2nd ever Afcon finals

Finals Group Stages

15/01/1996 Sierra Leone 2 Burkina Faso 1

18/01/1996 Algeria 2 Sierra Leone 0

24/01/1996 Zambia 4 Sierra Leone 0

1995/1996 Statistcs for the 2 competitions show:

Played 9 Won 5 Drew 1 Lost 3 Goals For 20 Goals Against 17 Goal Diff +3

1993 to 1996 Statistics show;

Played 21 Won 11 Draws 6 Lost 4 Goals For 35 Goals Against 24 Goal Diff +11

Mohamed Kallon, youngest scorer in 1996 Africa Cup of Nations

An impressive set of results overall. The 93/94 results were better than 95/96. Amilcar Cabral was won twice in succession as wellas qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations. Kudos must be given to the organisation of coaches and players. Apart from a very young Mohamed Kallon, there were no Kama Dumbuya’s, Amadu Kargbo’s, Ishmael Dyfans, Mazzola’s, Christian Coles… This group of players out-did them all and are still the greatest achievers in the history of Leone Stars.

Irish Times article on Leone Stars first victory in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations 1996 against Burkina Faso

Kallon strikes blow for youth

Tue, Jan 16, 1996, 00:00

THE youngest ever player in the tournament, Mohamed Kallon, hit a last minute goal for Sierra Leone for a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso, their first ever victory in the African Nations Cup, yesterday.

Swiss based substitute Kallon was found free at the far post after good work by Lamine Conte and Amidu Karim. The 16 year old tapped the ball home for further celebrations after he had earlier beaten Nigerian Daniel Amokachi’s record as the youngest player to play in the event. Gbessay Sesay opened the scoring in the 10th minute for Leone, but Aboubacary Ouedraogo equalised 20 minutes from time.

Stronger and sharper during a first half played in 33 degrees centigrade, the Leone Stars were seldom troubled by opponents who caused the upset of the preliminary rounds when eliminating Morocco.

However, the Burkinabe never lost their shape, and they were finally rewarded for consistent pressure when the unmarked Ouedraogo slammed a cross into the net off the hands of Kamara in the 70th minute.

Shocked into action, the Leone Stars recovered their composure and created several chances before Kallon finished off a move started by Conteh, one of the most impressive players on view, with less than a minute to go to full time.

Victory took Sierra Leone to the top of Group B with three points, followed by seeded countries Zambia and Algeria with one each.