The Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, has read through the release issued out by the media wing of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) and has noted with utter dismay the remarks made against his person on his visit to the Kenema Field where FIFA artificial turf project was supposed to have been underway.
In the press release, the SLFA blamed the Minister of Sports for have not consulted with them on the latest development bothering on the project and that the Ministry of Sports is not ‘privy to recent official decisions’ made by FIFA.
To this disconnect, Minister Nyelenkeh said he does not think it was necessary to have involved the FA in visiting the construction site in Kenema. “As a supervisory body, I have the legitimate right to do so,” he outlined.
On why the project was brought to a halt, the SLFA press release states that the break comes from decisions based on “temporary security measures in view of the COVID-19 global crisis with the climate conditions also being a major consideration.”
Replying to claims on his lone visit to the Artificial Turf Project in Kenema, Minister Neyelenkeh pointed out as saying: “It was based on the conversation that ensued between me and Chris. I called him up two weeks ago, inquiring about the progress of the construction project in Kenema. He replied that the contractor had abandoned the job and had made his way out of the country without the knowledge of the FA. This is what prompted our visit to the site in Kenema.”
The above response provisionally holds a shift in view when scaled against the FA’s claim that the Minister is not privy to recent development from FIFA.
Regarding what he saw during his visit to project site, Minister Nyelenkeh said he was disappointed because of the expectations of the people. “When you consider the day of turning the Sod which was on February 29, 2020 to date, by my estimation the work should have taken effect. But as I speak, nothing tangible has happened to the construction project. Even the drainages they started erecting have not been completed. A portion of that has started collapsing because of bad job,” he revealed.
During the minister’s visit, he met a few members of the Kamboi Eagles Executive, journalists, and other well-wishers of the town, who also expressed disappointment with regards the manner in which the construction is being handled.
The Ministry of Sport has been particularly questioned on why making a visit to a project site that bears the mark of the SLFA, a sporting discipline with a mandate on its own.
Regarding the above, the minister said the SLFA does not have the moral high grounds to question their visit and that besides; all 36 sporting disciplines including SLFA are under his supervision.
“And with all due respect to SLFA, I want to crave their indulgence to please continue to maintain the good relationship that has been existing between us. Our visit to Kenema was never a witch-hunt as some people may have perceived it and besides I did not cast aspersions or shift any blame on SLFA, but I made reference to the prevailing pandemic (Covid19) and the contractor for abandoning the job which has struck a serious blow to the project. So where have I gone wrong? If the FA fails to furnish us with information of any nature that has to do with this discipline, we will go for it as a supervisory ministry and make it public,” he surmised.