Christian Dauda, the team Manager of Leone Stars, has stated that the 2-1 friendly defeat to Mauritania, at the Stade Cheikha Boydie, Nouakchott past Friday, was a good test for the boys ahead of the back to back matches against Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.
The match was Sierra Leone’s first since a 1-0 defeat in Benin on Matchday two of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers back in November 2019.
Leone Stars started gradually in the match that was played behind closed doors. They conceded after a poor defensive display, but John Keister’s men regrouped and showed some toughness just before FC Kallon’s midfielder, Hassan Milla Koroma, scored his first international goal to level the game in the 30th-minute after the host’s opener from Amadou Niass in the 20th-minute.
In the second half of play, substitute Hemeya Tanjy scored the goal that secured the winning for the home side.
Speaking to Night Watch Sports from Nouakchott, TM Dauda said, as far as he was concerned, Leone Stars is in a build-up process, and he can’t expect things to happen overnight, taking into consideration football has not been playing all this while due to the COVID-19. In fact, the players didn’t have much training before the match.
“We have to rebuild the team and that will not happen immediately. It will take some time, but, as far as I am concerned, it’s a good test for our boys who had not been training as a team compared to our opponents, Mauritania, who have not only been to together for long time but also they’ve played and put up an impressive performance in the previous African Cup of Nations in Egypt,” he said.
He added: “We used to defeat Mauritania years back in the Amílcar Cabral Cup (Zone 2) tournament but, for now, they are a different team. They’ve improved a lot. Personally we gave opportunity to the boys and they’ve put a very impressive performance despite there is still a room for improvement. I believe that the boys will do well in the next friendly match on Tuesday against Niger, before we play with Nigeria in the double-header encounters of the AFCON qualifier in November.”
“John has done a very good job to put these boys together within the short time. They are improving, and we have a young and promising squad. I strongly believe that, in two to three years’ time, they will be a force to reckon with in Africa,” the Manager continued.
“It’s a development process, and it will take time to achieve our goal. I am very optimistic ahead of our match against Nigeria,” he emphasised.
He also confirmed that the foreign-based players will not feature in Sierra Leone’s other warm-up match against Niger on Tuesday October 13th 2020, at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying next month.
“The foreign-based players will not be part of Tuesday’s match against Niger. They will depart for their various clubs because we want to give chance to the home-based players to have the opportunity the showcase their talents,” TM Dauda stated.
He concluded by calling on Sierra Leoneans to come on board and give their total support to our darling Leone Stars. The team is in the rebuilding process and that everyone should exercise patience during this transition period.