By KABS KANU
A group of thugs attacked players of the national team of Liberia–The Lone Stars–during their practice at the Siaka Stevens Stadium yesterday , casting doubt on tonight’s big World Cup clash between them and the national team of Sierra Leone, the Leone Stars.
According to videos of the attack, recorded and spread on social media by the Liberian players themselves, thugs allegedly pelted them with stones as they practiced at the rain-soaked stadium. The players quickly abandoned the practices and retreated into their bus where they started recording the event. The video showed the thugs around the bus, menacing the Liberian players and officials in the bus.
What is going on in Africa??Now Sierra Leoneans are threatening our players 🤦🏾♀️ LFA please don’t allow our boys on that field and hope FIFA is watching this🤦🏾♀️😡Boycott the game and send the video to FIFA. #Nonsense Sierra Leone!!!
Posted by Grace Hawa Weah on Saturday, September 7, 2019
SIERRA LEONE POLICE ARRIVE AT THE SCENE
Posted by Kpah Sean Sherman on Saturday, September 7, 2019
At various times, the sounds of stones hitting the bus could be heard in the recording with the Liberians loudly screaming for help . It happened that there was no security presence at the stadium at the time, but Police in riot squad appeared later and quelled the ugly situation. The Liberian , who claimed to have been held hostage in their bus by the thugs who refused for the bus to leave, stayed in the vehicle, which later left the stadium for their hotel. They further claimed that their bus driver and an official had been injured but no photo or video of the injures were shown.
SLFA PRESIDENT ISHA JOHNHASSEN AND ANNOYED LIBERIAN OFFICIALS
The attack which took many people in the country by surprise, has been widely condemned by Sierra Leoneans across a broad spectrum of the social media. Even the Publisher of this newspaper (COCORIOKO } Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, strongly condemned the attack and described it as a shame . ‘It was totally unnecessary and uncalled-for to attack the Liberian players. This is only a football match between two brotherly and friendly neighbouring countries. In sports, one team has to win, ” he added .
The attack does not reflect the emotions of the people of Sierra Leone as could be seen from the widespread condemnation it continues to receive from Sierra Leoneans in the social media. This was just the lawless acts of a group of youths looking to create trouble. As a newspaper, we hope they are identified, arrested and punished severely.
Liberians on the social media were livid about the attack and called on the football governing body, FIFA to cancel the game and reschedule it on neutral grounds.
Liberia won the fist leg of the match at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium in Monrovia last Wednesday.
Both the Lberian and Sierra Leone football associations released public statements on the event.
SLFA PRESS RELEASE
Saturday, September 7 2019
The Sierra Leone Football Association reacts to allegations of threats against the Liberian National Team
Following reports of threats and intimidation today by some Sierra Leone football
supporters towards the Liberian National Team during this afternoon’s training ahead of
tomorrow’s FIFA pre-qualifiers, the Sierra Leone Football Association wishes to inform the public that it unequivocally disassociates itself from any form of violence or
intimidation in football.
The isolated event which is making the rounds in social media is an unfortunate reflection of one of the ills in football that the SLFA strongly advocates against.
The President and Executive of the SLFA have visited the National Team at their premise to give assurances of their safety and would like to use this platform to
apologize to the Liberian Football Association and the People of Liberia for any anxiety and safety concerns today’s incident may have caused.
The SLFA wishes success and a good match in the spirit of good football in tomorrow’s return leg of the FIFA World Cup pre-qualifiers.
© Bryan Randall CEO
Partnership for Nation Building
Sheik Sama Kamara Wow that’s a shame, this is totally understandable. And as a Sierra leonean I just want to say sorry on behalf of my beloved country.
This act does not in anyway represent who Sierra Leoneans are, and does not in anyway reflect our character.
Who the hell are these lawless elements to enter the field of play and disrupted the practice of a National team of a sovereign country? Are they crazy?
Who gave those barbarians the audacity to act in such a reckless manner in a broad day light in total disregard of the football authorities and law enforcement agencies?
Even when the SLFA President Johansen, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay, coach Sorie, and other SLFA officials, Police officers are trying to restore discipline and orderliness, the bushmen never heeded, it’s a shame!
Where is the love?
Sierra Leoneans and Liberians are considered one people. For goodness sake,We are more than that. Even though sanity is restored,
The government has a lot of work to do, to not only explain to the Liberian government and people but to the international community and football stake holders in the world at large. This is what some of us have watching develop, and have been condemning, and calling for it to stop.
What do you expect? It’s a bad example copied: when people including a government minister and immigration officials coupled with some hooligans can disregard the presence of law enforcement agencies to be precise Police personnel and destroyed elections properties and voting materials with absolute impunity, what do you expect?
Our government should without delay repair the damage done to the Sierra Leone Liberian relationships and prosecute the culprits without delay.