Sierra Leone-Liberia Tie Still on Course Despite Request for Postponement
Freetown, Sierra Leone – The second leg tie between Sierra Leone and Liberia is set to still go ahead at 16:30 GMT (4:30 local time) despite a request for postponement from the visitors. The football match is the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier second leg.
Liberia won the first leg in Monrovia 3:1 on Wednesday, September 4 and the returned leg is scheduled for today, Sunday, September 8. But on Saturday, September 7, the Liberian players were attacked by angry Sierra Leonean fans at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The Liberia Football Association (LFA) wrote football’s world governing body to postpone today’s second leg for the safety of its traveling delegation, including the players and technical staff, following violent scenes in Freetown on Saturday.
The Liberian team’s coach, Peter Butler, was compelled to call-off his training session at the Siaka Stevens Stadium after angry fans threw sticks, stones, water bottles and urine on the players.
Three persons have been recognized by the LFA as Sierra Leone’s team manager, a personal body guard to Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) president Isha Johansen and a journalist only identified as “Mr. Large”.
In a September 7 letter to Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura, LFA secretary-general Isaac Montgomery registered, in the strongest term, the violation of the regulations governing the qualifiers and Fifa statutes on the safety of visiting association.
But Fifa instead mandated match commissioner Mohammed Sanusi of Nigeria to obtain a written guarantee from Sierra Leone that the visitors and their traveling fans will be secured before, during and after the match.
Johansen and SLFA competitions director Ibrahim Sorie went to stadium during the fracas, but was unable to cool down angry fans, who were told by local media that their team were “cheated” in Monrovia.
According to our Sport Editor, the Sierra Leonean authority finally wrote the commitment to protect the Liberian delegation.
However, he said despite committing to protect the Liberian national team players and fans, Sierra Leoneans were still continued their violent action toward Liberians and their players when they got to the stadium this afternoon.
FIFA is yet to comment on the issue but from all indication the game will still go on.
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