“Disappointment is an element of sport. Even though we do not embrace the outcome” Coast Keister
By Alpha Kamara-USA
Sierra Leone’s national soccer team coach Coach-John_Keister is trying to calm fans down after Leone Stars early exit at the AFCON2022. The fans of Leone Stars are still furious after their team crashed out of the competition on Thursday Jan. 20th. The team lost to Equatorial Guinea by a goal to zero in their third match in the first round. Renowned striker Kei Kamara missed a crucial penalty close to the end of the match. That penalty if scored would have put his nation into the competition’s next stage of 16.
In Freetown some fans rushed to his house up the hills of the capital to vent their anger. They were calmed down by the police. Others rant on social media with deep emotions describing the striker as selfish and dictatorial. On his social media page, 10-Kei_Kamara expressed his appreciation for representing his country at the AFCON22. “This is the beautiful game. Make sure you give it your all and have no regrets. It was an honor to fly the country’s flag (green, white and blue) in Cameroon at one of the best tournaments in the world. Sierra Leone I love you and thank you for the celebrations,” Kamara wrote.
Leone Stars coach John Keister applauded his countrymen for giving them the confidence and support throughout during their time at the AFCON2022
“A score and 25 years ago, we watched from our quiet homes in cheers and support of other African countries as they rivaled and unshackled each other. Back then, we celebrated the winners but gave in so little to the losers. It never felt as real as it should have until 2021-2022 when the introduction of a rekindled set of spirited vibrant young men (Leone-stars) rejected the chains of relegation and qualified to the AFCON,” Keister said.
What a joy and we have made in changing the Narrative around the world of football for which Sierra Leone was labeled a non-contender, he added. Keister stressed that what we have done as a group going into AFCON was not only getting results on the pitch, but as a way of reigniting a once lost flame as a team as well as country. But also cautioned the fans.
“Disappointment is an element of the sport. Even though we do not embrace the outcome, our presence and manner in which we competed and put to test their names as defending champions or giants of Africa is no more a scare to us. We believe that we have earned the necessary tools needed to prepare well the next time we compete,” he added.
“We’ve worked so hard and we will keep working to do our best to represent Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans. I know that the results secured from Algeria and Ivory Coast raised aspirations so high and made our presence in the AFCON seemed rather like a fairy tale story. Nonetheless, we continue to strife harder and harder to get us back to a place with no surprises but victory and victory to the end. Keister ended by thanking the critics and promised to make necessary changes. Sierra Leone put up a wonderful performance at the AFCON2022. They held defending champions Algeria to a goalless draw and the Ivory Coast to a 2-2 draw. But they were eliminated by Equatorial Guinea during their final match of the first round with 2 points.