Kallon quits Leone Stars captaincy

19 October 2008 at 01:41 | 3619 views

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie
BBC Sport, Freetown.

Sierra Leone striker Mohamed Kallon(photo) has resigned as captain of Leone Stars, following his team’s exit from the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

His decision to quit came just days after Leone Stars were hammered 4-1 by Nigeria - ending the team’s hopes of reaching the final qualifying phase.

The 29-year-old said he was resigning because his dream of ensuring that the Leone Stars qualified was deliberately frustrated by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

"There have been persistent administrative lapses and interference with the team by the SLFA that has resulted in us being eliminated," Kallon said in his resignation letter to the SLFA president.

He added: "The SLFA failed to put [in place] the necessary mechanisms for the team, despite repeated requests and gentle reminders from me.

"I’ve been doing a lot to develop the game in my country and ensure that Leone Stars qualified but the team was deliberately frustrated by the SLFA.

"I think in the interest of my footballing conscience and for the sake of the development of the game in Sierra Leone, this is right time for me to quit the captaincy."

Kallon said he is still willing to play for Leone Stars if needed, but not as captain.

The SLFA Secretary General Alimu Bah has denied all the allegations made against his association by Kallon.

"I deny that we had administration lapses in dealing with Leone Stars as alleged by Kallon," Bah told BBC Sport.

"If ever there was a time we were to qualify for a major tournament this was the time because the Sierra Leone government provided financial resources to the team.

"Also the Leone Stars coach [Ahmed Kanu] had 100% independence in carrying out his functions.

"After all Kallon’s assistance to the team, it is not the best way for him to bow out.

"We’ll encourage him to continue [to play] with Sierra Leone. This is not the time for a blame game but the time for better planning for the future."

Kallon took over Leone Stars’ captaincy in 2001 against Liberia in Monrovia.

However, he failed to lead Leone Stars to a major competition.

He made his international debut against Gambia in Freetown during the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.