The captain of the Senior National Female Team, Martha Conteh, has stated that there is light at the end of the tunnel for female football in Sierra Leone.
The sum of Nineteen Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand Leones (Le 19,524,000), which is the equivalent of Two Thousand US Dollars ($2,000), was given to each of the senior National Female team squad as their outstanding payment of allowances owed to the Senior National Female players who represented the country in the WAFU Female Tournament, that was hosted in Sierra Leone in February 2020.
The soccer Queens told Night Watch Sports that the payment was timely and also it was a motivating factor to not only them but also for those that wanted to quit the game because they believe that there was no future for female football.
“This development will motivate us and also inspire others to continue training hard. This is a clear manifestation that there is a light at the tunnel for female football in Sierra Leone,” she said.
She added: “I feel good. First of all I want to say thanks to the Ministry of Sports, the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) and, above it all, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio for this wonderful support towards female football. This is the first time female footballers were given such huge amount of money in the history of women football, not even great stars like Musu ‘Pele’ received such huge amount of money in their entire career. So really it’s a blessing in disguise for us”.
She went further to state that they hope the Ministry of Sports will collaborate with the Football Association to work hands in glove to develop female football in the county.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on those responsible for women football to start organizing female leagues across the country, taking into consideration FIFA prioritizes female football and the fact remains that CAF is now organizing continental competitions for female league winners and runners up,” Conteh stated.
“There are many players out there who want to play football but because there is no league they are not showing interest in the game but, as soon as they began to organize female league you will see the massive turn out in female football. The Soccer Queens Skipper continued, “Female leagues are playing in other countries and they are seeing potential players who are now playing professional football in Europe and elsewhere. So we are kindly appealing to SLFA, WAFA and other regional associations to please focus on organizing female leagues. I know that we are starting all over again. So let us put all the structures in place so that we can have formidable national teams in all the categories.”
“Some parents are reluctant to allow their girl child to play football because there is no development in the game. Trust with the latest development, I believe some parents are willing to let their girl child play football.”
“We are very happy to see our mentors, especially our legend Musu ‘Pele’ Bangura, who has been called to be part of the process to develop football, which I believe will inspire most of the young girls to play the game. Let other female legends come on board to assist in developing female football. When women lead women it will help a lot because some parents will be more comfortable to see their girls work with women than men,” she stressed.
He also appealed to mothers, who felt that football is only meant for men, “I am a university graduate but I focus on playing football and I believe, with football, I will achieve my goal. Women are making the mark in football. Women like Martha of Brazil can boast of having everything in life. So allow your child to play football. You will never regret it all,” Martha concludes.