Sierra Leone coach John Keister announced a 26-player squad, plus eight players on standby ahead of their Total Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021 Group L matchday 5 and 6 qualifying matches against Lesotho and Benin.
Sierra Leone faces Lesotho at the Setsoto Stadium on Saturday March 27, then hosts Benin three days later at the Siaka Steven’s Stadium in Freetown.
Leone Stars skipper Umaru Bangura who turns up for Xamax FC in Switzerland have been recalled after missing out the team’s last match in Freetown against Nigeria due to injury.
Bangura will lead Sierra Leone defense together with long term absentee David Simbo, who is currently unattached but returns to the squad with huge experience, and George Davis who plays for SKN Polten in Austria.
Key highlights of the squad include Randers FC forward Alhaji Kamara who scored a brace against Super Eagles in Sierra Leone’s historic 4-4 comeback last year, and Swedish based twin brother Alhassan and Alusine Koroma who plays for Real Balompedica. Also, East End Lions duo Masalakie Bangura and Alpha Kamara who will be searching for their first senior international cap.
Notable absentees include experienced defenders Alie Sesay (Zira FK), Mustapha Dumbuya (Tampa Bay Rowdies) and Osman Kakay (QPR) as well as Anderlecht forward Mustapha Bundu.
Over uncertainty on the availability of some of the invited oversea players, Keister has already announced eight home-based players, namely Kemson Fofanah, Musa Noah Kamara, Momoh Conteh, Abdul R. Conteh, Ibrahim Mansaray, Ibrahim Kamara, Mahmoud Fofanah and Raphel Koroma on standby as possible replacements.
John Keister said his focus is on rebuilding the Leone Stars team, but he believed anything can happen in the process.
“I trust this squad. It’s a blend of overseas based and local players, young and experienced. This is no mistake owing to some of the travel laws on oversee players, but we are set to make history for our country”, he stressed.
Sierra Leone needs to win both clashes against Lesotho and Benin to have a chance of reaching next year’s Total Africa cup of Nations after over two decades of absence. Their last appearance dates to the 1996 edition in South Africa.
So far, after four matches played, Sierra Leone lies third in Group-L with threepoints, behind Benin and leader Nigeria on seven and eight points respectively, while Lesotho remain at the bottom of the group with two points.
Goalkeepers: Mohamed N. Kamara (E.E-Lions), Unisa Conteh (FC Johansen), Abdul Bundu (Bo Rangers)
Defenders: Umaru Bangura (Xamax FC), Yeami Dunia (E.E-Lions), Kevin Wright (Orebo SK), Abubakarr Samura (FC Kallon), Lamin Conteh, David Simbo (Unattached)
Midfielders: John Kamara (Kesla FC), Rodney Strasser (Turun Palloseura), Mohamed Medo Kamara (Unattached), Prince Barrie (Bo Rangers), Alusine Koroma (Real Balompedica), Saidu Fofanah (FC Kallon), Alhassan Koroma (Real Balompedica), Masalakie Bangura (E.E-Lions), Alpha Kamara, Abu Dumbuya
Forwards: Kei Kamara (Minnesota United FC), Kwame Quee (Vikingur Reykjavik), Mohamed Buya Turay (Hebei China Fortune FC), Alhaji Kamara (Randers FC), Christian Moses (FC Linkoping), George Davis (SKN Polten)