Isha Johansen is to bid for re-election as Sierra Leone’s FA president despite saying she suffered ‘intimidation’ and ‘discrimination’ during her first term.

Africa’s only female FA president took charge in 2013 and her reign has been blighted by controversy, infighting and the Ebola crisis.

“I have decided to run for a second term in office – after careful deliberation,” Johansen told BBC Sport.

“I would like to finish what I started. There is unfinished business.”

“Considering Ebola took away two years and the remaining two years were marred with controversy, infighting, boycotts and all kinds of weird and wonderful antics by those who oppose my leadership, we have still managed to achieve quite a great deal.”

Johansen lists an increase in coaches, both male and female, better playing surfaces and improved national teams among her feats.

The Sierra Leone FA (SLFA) should have held elections on 3 August but these were delayed by Fifa until integrity checks on current and potential SLFA executive members are carried out.

Match-fixing inquiry

Football’s world governing body is due in Freetown next week to pave the way for new elections and address a match-fixing inquiry.

Johansen believes her decision to back the inquiry into whether Sierra Leone’s World Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008 was fixed has created many of her problems, which include an arrest and a court injunction.

Since 2014, eleven officials and four players have been suspended by the SLFA pending investigation. They have all denied wrongdoing.

“Are the intimidation and harassment because of the match-fixing? Maybe it is because certain people believe I instigated it,” she refuted.

“I believe it would probably not have been so aggressive and antagonistic had the impending match-fixing inquiry been dropped.”

“(But) if it has been alleged that this has been going on, we owe it to the country and world to prove that Sierra Leone is clean of these allegations. If it did indeed happen, then those who are guilty will be brought to book.”
Last year, Johansen spent a night in custody when detained by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) after failing to attend a hearing, whereupon ACC officials and armed police raided the SLFA secretariat.

The ACC said it was investigating the use of funds received by the SLFA, with Johansen later released without charge.

Last month, Sierra Leone’s High Court briefly froze the local FA’s assets after ordering a court injunction which has since been lifted until Fifa’s visit.

The injunction was sought by SLFA rivals who felt Johansen’s mandate had expired after last month’s elections were delayed.

“I expect that after this declaration, there are going to be intensified moves to further intimidate me but these things don’t bother me anymore,” she added.

“I refuse to be intimidated. If you have nothing to hide, why run?”

Fifa recognises the Johansen-led SLFA leadership until elections are conducted.

Earlier this year, Johansen was elected onto the Confederation of African Football’s Executive Committee.

At least, one other candidate – Sanusi Bruski Kargbo, chairman of East End Lions FC, has declared.

By Piers Edwards BBC Sport

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