By Mohamed Fajah Barrie in Freetown
Leone Stars head coach John Keister has announced his provisional squad for their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations crucial qualifier against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in Monrovia on June 18.
The squad is dominated by home-based players as several key foreign based players are unavailable for selection.
Coach Keister read out his list comprises 26 home based and 12 foreign based players during a press conference held at the Sierra Leone FA headquarters at 21 Battery Street, Kingtom, Freetown on Monday 5th June 2023.
Explaining the reasons for the absence of some key players, coach Keister said that China based Issa Kallon is finding it difficult to join the national team since moving to China, while Alex Bangura based in The Netherlands has decided to take a break from the national team.
He further stated that England based Sullay Kaikai asked to be left out for personal reasons and Jonathan Morsey playing in Greece wants some time off to rest. He went on to state that another player plying his trade in England Osman Kakay is injured while Alhassan Koroma based in Spain is suspended for picking up two yellow cards in two previous matches of the qualifiers.
Coach Keister further lamented that Alie Conteh known as N’zozi, the top scorer in the ongoing Sierra Leone Premier League has an administrative issue preventing him from playing for the national team, and the issue has to be sorted out by his club and his agent.
He also explained that Steven Caulker, currently recovering from a surgery, is included in the list, but will have to be assessed to ascertain whether or not he’ll be fit to play.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone FA acting secretary general Mohamed Benson Bawoh confirmed during the press conference that Leone Stars will engage their Liberian counterparts in a friendly match in Monrovia on June 13 five days before facing the Super Eagles.
He added that two training camps will be set up ahead of the group A match with Nigeria. The home players will depart for Bo where the first training camp will start on Tuesday, and they’ll be later joined by the foreign based players.
Players that will be making Coach Keister’s final 25-man list will leave for Monrovia on June 11 for second and final training camp.
Goal Keepers: Mohamed Nballie Kamara (Horoya FC), ibrahim Sesay (Bo Rangers), Donald Kamara (East End Lions), Saidu Fatamata Kamara (Mighty Blackpool)
Defenders: Steven Caulker (Unattached), Emmanuel Samadia (Hapoel Rishon LeZion, Israel), Daniel Francis (Austria Klagenfurt, Germany), Abu Bakarr Samura (Bo Rangers), Eshiek Kamara (Bo Rangers), Juma Bah (Freetownian SLIFA), Edward Fornah (Luawa FC), Alpha Turay (FC Kallon), Prince Barrie (East End Lions), Lamin Conteh (FC Johansen)
Midfielders: Alusine Koroma (Real Balompedica Linense,Spain), Rodney Michael (Monar Ba, Montenegro), Kamil Conteh (Gateshead FC, England), Bello Edward Yilla (Mighty Blackpool), Abu Bakarr Barrie (Diamond Stars), Joseph Cleveland (Ports Authority), Abu Dumbuya (Freetonian SLIFA), Saidu Bah Kamara (Bo Rangers), Mohamed Kamara (East End Lions), Mohamed Kabba (Bo Rangers), Saidu Fofanah (FC Kallon), Ballie Kamara (FC Johansen)
Forwards: Mustapha Bundu ( FC Andorra, Spain), Augustine Williams (Charleston Battery, USA), Augustus Kargbo (FC Crotone, Italy), Alhaji Kamara (Randers FC, Denmark), Idris Kanu (Barnet, England), Daniel Karim (FC Kallon), Forbie Thomas (Mighty Blackpool), Santigie Sesay (Mighty Blackpool), Abu Kommeh (Bo Rangers), Mousa Noah Kamara (Bo Rangers), Bureh Koroma (Mighty Blackpool), Emmanual Ansumana (Old Edwardians)