Sierra Leone bans two players for disrespecting ministerBy By KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 19:19
Sierra Leone`s captain, Ibrahim Obreh Kargbo, and his fellow Leone Stars striker Kei Kamara have been handed an indefinite suspension by football authorities who accused them of indiscipline.
A joint statement by the ministry of Youth, Employment and Sports and the Sierra Leone Football Association banned the two players indefinitely from representing the country in all international matches. In addition, Captain Kargbo was stripped off his captaincy.
“The decision to suspend the two players is as result of indiscipline and also frequent contempt on the minister coupled with other inciting and derogatory statements by both players towards football officials and other inciting and threatening remarks on air against football authorities,” part of the statement reads.
Reports are linking the decision to an ongoing problem between the Sports minister, Paul Kamara, and players of the national team who are dissatisfied with the way the minister is handling football matters.
They have recently been reported expressing grievances over issues surrounding payment of their air tickets, match fees and bonuses, among others.
This has resulted in all the players refusing to shake hands with the minister after a home match with Cape Verde in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which they`d won.
The minister is also at loggerheads with sports journalists over similar issues.
No replacement for Kargbo has been named so far, but his assistant, Umaru Zangalay Bangura is being name as a possible successor.
Football analysts have warned against the implication of the sacking of the two key players ahead of a crucial Match with Tunisia.
For Kei Kamara, who plays his club game with US side Sporting Kansas City Wizard, this is the second time he has been banned from playing for Leone Stars by the SLFA, according to reports.
The sacked captain, Kargbo, who plays with Inter Baku PFC in Azerbaijani as midfielder, was quoted as denying any wrong doing.
"Kei Kamara and I have done nothing wrong. We didn't make any inciting statements or threatening remarks against anybody," he said.
"All I did as captain was to pass on messages we agreed on to the ministry and SLFA officials.”
The former captain also alleged that they were abandoned by the Sports Minister and the FA while at camp last month.
"Our colleagues are not happy about the decision taken against us and they've vowed to boycott Leone Stars' future matches until the SLFA and Sport Ministry reverse their decisions," he warned.
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