Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 January 2022:
Leone Stars were the toasts of Cameroun and the whole of Africa today after their scintillating, magnificent and stunning performance against Africa Champions Algeria, whom they came close to beating in their blockbuster opening match in the ongoing Africa Nations Cup competition.
The drama and fireworks-filled match at the Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroun, ended in a thrilling goalless draw, sending Sierra Leoneans all over the world into raptures of joy.
Though Algeria had the better of ball possession, they were not the better side and did not in any way outplay or outclass the brilliant, stubborn, and unyielding Leone Stars, who created many scoring opportunities of their own and striker Alhaji Kamara even swung a shot that smacked the crossbar and rebounded into play in the first half when Leone Stars proved really dangerous on the counter.
That Sierra Leone even had a goal disallowed for offside showed that Leone Stars had a great part in this match and were unlucky not to have won, done in by wild finishing in vantage positions.
Leone Stars’ form was very impressive. Always performing better against giant African teams, they went toe-to-toe with the outstanding Algerians whose squad was studded with famous soccer professionals from the big leagues in Europe.
They defended well, thanks to the excellent performance of a backline marshalled by former England defender Steven Caulker and goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara and when they attacked, it was with boldness and impudence as they refused to be awed by the overrated African Champions. They passed the ball brilliantly and confused the Algerian defence many times and if their finishing had not been erratic, Leone Stars would have sprung the biggest shock in African football in recent times.
Buya Turay, Alhaji Kamara. Kei Kamara, Kwame Quee , Sullay Kaikai , Bundu were ponderous in attack and the Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi could be seen on the touchline issuing furious instructions to his side as the underdogs threatened to break the long-unbeaten record of the Algerians .
When the Algerians unleashed waves of attacks on them, Leone Stars remained calm, confident and disciplined and repelled the Algerian offensive led by Manchester City’s Riyard Mahrez , Baghdad Bounedjah, Slimani, Fegouli and Yacine Brahimi who also found goalkeeper Kamara unbeatable.
(See stunning video of goalkeeper Kamara below)
It was an assured performance by the Leone Stars that portend of better things to come.
If Leone Stars play like this against the Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea, there is nothing that will stop them from qualifying from their group.
Algeria: M’Bolhi – Atal, Mandi, Bedrane, Bensebaini – Mahrez, Brahimi, Belkebla, Belaili – Slimani, Feghouli
Sierre Leone: Kamara – Kakay, Caulker, Bangura, Wright – Kamara, Quee – Buya Turay, Kamara, Bundu – Kamara
God bless the Leone Stars.. Good luck against the Ivory Coast; You will need it…Defend vigilantly and the game is yours…they are going to attack with speed so get ready to defend..
As a realist, Leone Stars bringing home the trophy seems a bit over optimistic. Nonetheless, i am certain our boys will continue to acquire additional sportsmanship laurels as was the case in the opening match. Bravo to my new found sport hero, the man of the match, our goalkeeper, who happen to be the junior brother of a friend of mine, for an impeccable performance. Coming Sunday, the Ivorians should expect nothing but grown men in the pitch, represent the GREEN, WHITE & BLUE.
The desert foxes, as the Algerian national team was held to a goalless draw by the mighty Leone Stars. Although it was a team work performance by the Leone Stars, maybe special consideration and credit should go to our goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara. To me he was the man of the match that was able to keep the Algerians ball attempts on goal out of the net. He frustrated the Algerian players to the point they knew even if they wriggled passed every Leone Star player on the field, there is one person that was determined to stop them at all cost. If that game was the semi finals or Finals, now we can be confident we have a goalie that can stop balls from the spot kick if it goes to penalties. No pressure Mr Kamara.
Algeria have come up with all sort of excuses from their lackluster performance, from the tropical hot climate in Douala, to the game been played under humid conditions, that is not favourable to the desert foxes. I was bit taken back when I read some of the Algerian players making such nonsensical excuses. Algeria is not sharing boarders with Scandinavian countries like Denmark or Norway, but for crying out loud the Sahara desert which covers half of their country . As one of their star players Belkeba, puts it, they should stop making excuses and try and improve on their performance. As countries progress on the group stages, usually is the favourites on paper that are shown the door first. Confidence building starts with the opening games.
The Leone Stars have sprung a surprise, and going forward that will just boost their morale. When you think in recent times Algeria, have won most of their international fixtures, you got to take your hat off to the Leone Stars for finally breaking that winning streak and bringing them down to earth. We Sierra-leoneans should be proud of our country and the performance by the indomitable Leone Stars we’ve seen so far. This team is full of hungry lion cubs, and will settle for nothing but victory all the way. I can’t wait to see the Sierra Leonean national team lining up for the finals. All I will say for now God help their opponent because the African nations cup is coming to Freetown. And there after will tour every corner of our country in an open bus parade.!
Kudos to our Darling Leone Stars for their wonderful start. I personally believe that it’s necessary to field in our top goal scorer in our local league. He will definitely shock the world as our local goal keeper Mohamed Kamara did.
Wishing you “God’s Speed”.