‘Iron Lady’ Johansen promises to fight on


Isha Johansen, the Sierra Leone FA president, says she is determined to confront her opponents after a strong bid by rival members to oust her executive.

Speaking for the first time about the impasse – in an exclusive with insideworldfootball.com – Johansen did not mince her words.

“What are they trying to achieve except to destabilise?” she said. “The giveaway is that they lifted the ban on those accused of match-fixing. They want us out so that this does not go ahead.

“These people ran Sierra Leone football for two decades and are not interested in discipline or integrity. They have made a mockery of the constitution.

“If the opposition to my administration is so overwhelming, why not wait until our official congress?”

The 50-year-old Isha Johansen, who is possibly the only woman currently to head a football association on the continent, took office last year and had vowed to fight against corruption, including match-fixing and betting syndicate.

However, the Ministry of Sport in Sierra Leone has now backed rival stakeholders who have lifted the match-fixing suspension of players and officials alleged to have been involved.

They include Rodney Michael who was contesting the hot seat against Mrs Johansen.

Michael’s association with a sport betting company is one of the reasons he was disqualified by an interim body which was set up to organise the SLFA election.

In an earlier interview with American broadcaster CNN, Johansen had reiterated her stance to fight her detractors.

“In a country where football and gambling go hand-in-hand, Johansen’s zero tolerance was a hard pill to swallow.

“If people choose to gamble as a recreational pastime, well that’s up to them,” she was quoted as saying.
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“But you cannot have people in high administrative offices participating in gambling or betting. It’s a no-no.”

By Alie Bittar


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