Fresh from their 2-1 victory over Kenya in the African Nations Cup qualifier in Freetown on June 10, the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) and Sports Ministry are now focusing their attention to the African Nations Championship qualifiers, CHAN.
Sierra Leone will start its quest to reach Kenya 2018 when they take on the Teranga Lions of Senegal in the first leg qualifiers on the weekend of 14-16 July before travelling to Dakar for the return fixture the following week.
And according to the Team Manager, Christian Dauda, (pictured), both bodies are committed to ensuring that the country excels in next month’s doubleheader.
“I can confirm to you that SLFA and the Sports Ministry are working harder to help the head coach Abubakar Tostao Kamara and the rest of the technical excel against Senegal next month,” Dauda said and admitted that the Senegal tie is going to be another tough outing in Freetown but upbeat the boys can pull through another good result.
“Is going to be a tough game against Senegal as always in African Football, no match is an easy game. But, I have to trust the technical department to assemble the best of our home talents,” he said.
The passionate Team Manager also commends the senior team for their notable victory over Kenya. “I want to appreciate the senior squad after a job was well done over the Kenyans, Dauda added.
“Defeating the Harambee Stars was the only way forward to kick-start our Cameroon 2019 qualifying campaign. However, the SLFA and the Government have set a new focus on the forthcoming continental event,” He told footballsierraleone.net.
The CHAN – is a tournament for locally-based African players featuring in their own country’s domestic leagues – will be staged in Kenya from 12 January to 4 February 2018.
The winner of the double-legged tie will face the winners of the Guinea-Bissau and Guinea clash in the second round with the first leg billed to take place between 11 and 13 August, and those of the return leg the following weekend.
Kenya 2018 (also referred to as CHAN 2018) will be the 5th edition of the African Nations Championship.
Sierra Leone was knocked-out from the 2016 tournament in the preliminary round by Mauritania thanks to a 4-1 aggregate win. The Mauritanians won the first leg 2-1 at the Nouakchott Stadium and six days later they registered a 2-0 victory at the same venue.
The home-based Leone Stars chose to host their home leg in Nouakchott because Sierra Leone was unable to host international games due to the Ebola outbreak in the country which forced an international ban on all football and sporting activities in the country then.
In 2014, Sierra Leone was eliminated from the qualifiers in their own backyard by Guinea. The Guineans forced Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Freetown as the first leg in Conakry ended in a goalless draw.
Senegal, on the other hand, has participated in the final phases of CHAN in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016. In 2014, they were eliminated by Mauritania (1-0 and 0-2) and in 2016; it was the Guineans who pushed them away.
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