Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura urged Sierra Leone to bid for the 2018 Under-17 Women’s World Cup despite Uruguay having been cleared to host the event

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie, BBC Sport, Freetown

The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) says it is now focusing on staging a regional football tournament after establishing Uruguay will host the 2018 Under-17 Women’s World Cup.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura surprisingly asked Sierra Leone to bid for the global event during her visit to Freetown last month.

However football’s world governing body says the decision taken in May by its council to approve Uruguay as the hosts remains unchanged.

Despite the apparent blunder by Samoura the SLFA has taken encouragement from her request.

“It has opened our eyes and encouraged us to bid for an international tournament in the near future,” SLFA director of competitions Sorie Ibrahim Sesay said.

“We want to start at regional level before thinking about moving to the continental and global levels.”

Sesay says the SLFA has already approached West African Football Union (Wafu) to host the regional body’s under-20 male tournament next year.

“Our President Isha Johansen has already expressed our intention to host the Wafu U-20 tournament during a recent Wafu meeting held in Dakar,” he explained.

“We hope to have support from the Sierra Leone government to make it happen.”

“If we have a good tournament we’ll consider bidding to host a continental junior or youth tournament then a Fifa competition.”

Indeed hosting a global tournament at such short notice would have been a challenge for Sierra Leone as it currently has just one stadium cleared to host international matches.

This year’s Under-17 Women’s World Cup was hosted by Jordan and was played in three cities at four stadiums.

Sierra Leone had only hosted two recognised international competitions before and that was the now defunct West African sub regional Amical Cabral Zone II tournaments in 1984 and 1993.