Ex-Sierra Leone coach laments Leone Stars deja-vu


The former Sierra Leone coach Lars Olaf Mattsson in photo has called the national team’s current managerial row as nothing new. The 59-year-old Swede says that the familiar problem keeps emerging because there is a lack of leadership and unnecessary interference.

Mattsson held the post for two years before quitting in a cloud of controversy as both his employers – the SLFA and the government said they never received his resignation.

Football Sierra Leone contacted Mattsson who is the present manager for Swedish third-flight league Division 1 side IK Oddevold in an exclusive interview to give an insight as a former coach and on the continuous row between the Sports Ministry and the Sierra Leone Football Association.

Lamenting on the subject at hand Mattsson said: “This is tense – is out of order. The people of Sierra Leone love football dearly but there are no end product because it is clear the Ministry and the SLFA can’t work amicably.

“There is leadership problem as to who is in charge and that has been a recurrent subject in Sierra Leone football.

“When you miss chances to develop as a nation, you lose because other nations are putting their houses and knacks together.

“Everyone around football in Sierra Leone is getting dismayed with the same story.

“It’s all not new to me I experienced it when the two bodies turn aside over me and Christian Cole who should coach Leone Stars in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers,” the Swede recalls.

Mattsson at the time was appointed by the Sports Ministry who are also at the centre of the current controversy with FA for appointing a new coach. Mattsson was initially not recognised by the FA ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

SLFA’s backed coach Christian Cole selected his provisional 33-man squad, whilst Mattsson, who was not accepted by the FA, named a 24-man squad.

Regardless of all the controversy in his time in charge the Swede guided Leone Stars to four victories in eleven competitive games all at home. Away from home he lost three and four draws.

Sierra Leone face an uphill task to qualify for 2015, they gave away a lead to lose 2-1 to Ivory Coast in their first match in Abidjan before they were flattened 2-0 by the DRC Leopards and with the present coaching dilemma they will have to be at their best to match a strong-minded Cameroon side on Saturday at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé.

By Alie Bittar


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