Leone Stars Prepare for Big Match Sunday

16 May 2014 at 07:10 | 14185 views

By Abu Bakarr Kanu.

Several home based players of the national side have expressed their determination to win the match against ShilangSemnikati of Swaziland when they meet in the first leg of preliminary rounds of the 2015 African Nations Cup on Sunday in Mbabane.

Ports Authority’s sensational midfielder, Nathaniel Tongovala alias “Anderson” stated that Coach Jonathan Mckinstry has done a perfect blend of young and experienced players to give them the edge over their opponents. “So far, I’m impressed with the level of preparation, and the winning spirit amongst us, and we are very much hopeful that the result will be in our favour” he prayed.

Goal keeper, Ismail Koroma alias “Jorjor” said, he’s delighted over the opportunity accorded him, noting that, he has put the disappointing result against the Ghanaian Under-20 side behind him as he now focus on the match before him.

“We are more purposeful and we’ll give our utmost best to realize our dream. Football is a hard game and one has to sacrifice and fight harder to get results,” he stated.

Kambui Eagles’dependable player, Fayah Kobba said they remain positive maintaining that they have a huge task to surprise the hosts in their backyard.
However, Turkey based professional, Alfred Zagalo Sankoh has treated the tie with some amount of caution. Zagalo believes that African soccer has grown over the years with no under dogs at the moment.

“In fixtures like this upsets do occur as it has been the case over the years, however commitment, determination and discipline are key to our success, we must approach the match with the seriousness it deserves,” he noted.

The midfielder is a little bit disappointed with the absence of key players in the squad like Mustapha Dumbuya, Crespo, Simbo who have been ruled out due to injuries.

In a rather confident mood, former Leone Stars Coordinator, James Fofanah alias “Jay Jay”stated that the withdrawal of the two FA officials has not, in any way dampened the moral among the boys but was quick to appeal for peace between the Ministry of Sports and the Football Association as he wants Leone Stars to play in major international events.

He thanked President Ernest Bai Koroma for making the trip possible and stressed that the long transit has nothing to do with the team.

The team leaves Lagos Thursday evening for the commercial city of Manzini Swaziland via Johannesburg,and the match will be played on Sunday 18th May in Lobamba.

Meanwhile Leone Stars’ coach Jonathan Mckinstry has revealed that his major objective is to qualify the national team for the 2015 AFCON.
Speaking to SWASAL journalists in Lagos, Nigeria, the coach added that his next objective is to raise a competitive side that would be the country’s future.
He described Sunday’s clash as his first step of the long journey he intends to take conceding that African football is never an easy game.

He said he would employ an attacking minded system,by moving the ball around making it the “staple diet of Leone Stars” that would eventually qualify the country.

“Supporters pay for excitement, the players enjoy attacking football and I would provide the atmosphere and the character for that,” he assured.
The ambitious coach stated that he had done his assignment well by getting enough information about his opponents through videos of their last participation in the Cosafa Challenge Cup and the recent drubbing of Botswana.
Apart from that Coach Mckinstry disclosed that he has made his selection on a wider pool of foreign based players who have regular playing times with their respective clubs.

“The key point is to get all of them together, no point of speaking to chosen few, we usually sit and talk with one voice and no player is told of what he needs to do,” he said.

On the injuries that has hit the squad, he said they have tried to create balance to overcome the emerging issues by planning ahead all the time.

“I believe we have quality players who would always fill the void whenever we have misfortunes, it is an opportunity for the young players to grab and those that would impress will always have the chance to be invited and play” he emphasized.

He continued that his squad is bias-free having chosen five players who played in the WAFU competition in Ghana. “It doesn’t matter where they play, the fact remains you are always invited if you are good enough” he added.
Coach Mckinstry called for a little bit of patience among Sierra Leonean fans as he continues with his rebuilding project.

James Fofanah, alias Jay Jay.

Leone Stars coach Jonathan McKinstry.