By Eric Lansana

Waking up this morning accepting the reality of daylight robbery in African football is hard to swallow. We “Leone Stars” came to the Ivory Coast determined with the perfect game plan to defeat them and gain qualification for the 2017 African Cup of Nations but we were robbed of our victory.

We matched them all the way and in fact were in control of the game for most periods even before and after they scored from the round of play. Kei Kamara equalised with a brilliant diving¬†header and shortly after that Kwame Quee no:7 was brought down in the 18 yards area which deserved a straight penalty and a caution but the referee ignored the call and waved play on. Had it been on our home grounds (Freetown), penalty would’ve been awarded and we would’ve scored from the spot.

We took that on the chin and told the guys to just keep going forward which they did. The killer blow came in the closing minutes of the game when the ball crossed the line and the ref refused to award the goal by instead blew the final whistle with a minute still remaining on the clock. The Ivorian players could not even celebrate after the final whistle as they knew we were the genuine winners.

The beauty of football is that it has a bitter sweet taste and sometimes you experience both within the period of one game like yesterday. We were robbed of qualification but we are proud of our team as we gave a good account of ourselves. With all their multi million pounds players they were humbled by our lions on the pitch and were were better than them throughout.

When I took over as Team manager a year ago, I made a promise that we will put an end to the ivorian winning streak against us which we’ve done successfully.

My first game was against Ivory Coast last September in a goalless draw and yesterday was a one all draw. I’m at peace with myself and I thank God almighty for the wonders performed throughout this one year for me as Team manager and the entire team as a whole. We have restored some pride and dignity to the nation in terms of FIFA ranking and performance. I am proud to be part of this development and I hold my head up high.

I say a big thank you to all those who have supported us in diverse ways and especially the fans who came all the way to Ivory Coast for the match last night.

To God be the glory.

P