Sierra Leone coach John Keister unveiled on Friday his 26-man squad that will face the Squirrels of Benin for their crucial Group L decider.
The match will be played on Monday, June 14th at Lansana Conte Stadium in Nongo, Guinea.
The two teams will be battling for the last spot in the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021, to join 23 already qualified teams for the next year’s tournament in Cameroon.
A 1-0 win will be enough for Sierra Leone to qualify. But should Benin – who just need a draw to book their flight to Cameroon – score, Sierra Leone will need a two-goal margin win at least to qualify and end their 26-year AFCON hiatus.
Keister admitteed that “there is no pressure. Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, and there is no discomfort within our squad.
“This squad is a blend of both young and experienced players, I’ve rationally selected 11 local and 15 foreign-based players. Thankfully despite the numerous challenges, we succeeded to arrange a camp and let our players train together in Freetown since last Monday,” he underlined.
“What I need now is support from our fans at home and abroad. Already there is huge willingness among the players and the whole nation wants us to qualify. So I’m on to guide the team to get the best result against Benin and proceed to Cameroon next year.”
Former Crystal Palace forward Sullay Kai Kai, LA-Galaxy inform forward Augustus William, Central Parade’s skipper Kassim Turay, U-20 skipper Abdul Razack Conteh and Idrissa Kanu are among the group of debutants that will be hoping to make their first international appearances for the Leone Stars alongside forward Kei Kamara and Denmark based Alhaji Kamara who netted twice against the Super Eagles in Sierra Leone’s historic 4-4 comeback.
Notable absentees include home-based skipper and regular left-back Yeami Dunia of East End Lions, SKN-Polten’s Kelvin Wright and Mohamed Buya Turay due to injuries, plus striker Musa Noah Kamara (the current highest goal scorer in the Sierra Leone Premier League) and midfielder Rodney Strasser.
The qualifiers Group L encounter was earlier scheduled on March 30 at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, but was eventually postponed by the AFCON Organizing Committee.
Goalkeepers: Mohamed N. Kamara (East End Lions), Francis Koroma (Mighty Blackpool), Ibrahim Sesay (East End Tigers)
Defenders: Umaro Bangura (Xamax, Switzerland), Osman Kakay (QPR, England), Lamin Conteh (FC Johansen), Rafael Koroma (FC Johansen), Abu Bakarr Samura (FC Kallon), David Janneh (RSLAF), Ibrahim Mansaray (FC Kallon), Abdul Razak Conteh (East End Lions)
Midfielders: John Kamara (Keshla FC, Azerbaijan), Alusine Koroma (Real Balompedica Linense, Spain), Kassim Turay(Central Parade), Mohamed Medo Kamara (Unattached), Kwame Quee (Vikingur Reykjavik, Iceland), Saidu Fofanah (FC Kallon), Brince Barrie(Bo Rangers), Alhassan Koroma (Real Balompedica Linense, Spain), Augustus Kargbo (AC Reggina 1991, Italy),
Forwards: Kai Kamara (Unattached), Sullay Kai Kai (Blackpool, England), Alhaji Kamara (Randers FC, Denmark), Mustapha Bundu (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium), Idrissa Kanu (Peterborough, England) and Augustus Williams (LA Galaxy , USA)