01 September 2015 11:42
Sierra Leone coach, Sellas Tetteh says his mission in the Day Two clash of the Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 qualifier against holders Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday, 6 September 2015 in Lagos “is to get a respectable result for his side”.
The 58-year Ghana-born trainer told cafonline.com before his team’s departure for Lagos for the Group I encounter billed for the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Nigeria’s economic capital, “I’m aware of the huge challenge of playing against the Elephants, but we cannot underrate ourselves in this match. In Football nothing is impossible.
“I have been working with the local components since my arrival in Freetown and I am so far satisfied with their output. Until I have a perfect blend with the foreign based players, I cannot tell you the strength and weaknesses of the team”.
Tetteh made history by guiding the Ghana U-20 side to victory at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the first by an African team, had a short unsuccessful stint at the helm of Rwanda between 2010 and 2011.
Ahead of his debut game in charge of the Leone Stars, the Ghanaian has defended his choice of 13 locally-based players in his 20-man squad for the crucial encounter against the reigning African champions.
“These boys have done quite a good job in training sessions and as a coach I have a responsibility to expose them to such games. I want to give them more opportunities to learn from their mentors especially the foreign-based players. This will bring development and progression in Sierra Leone Football.”
Sierra Leone suffered a lone goal defeat against Sudan in their Group I opener last June in Khartoum, and Tetteh reckons a herculean task of bringing back the Leone Stars to winning ways.
“I am taking over a team whose morale has been at the lowest ebb and not won matches. My duty is to help the team from its loosing trend and restore confidence into the players.”
The soft-spoken Tetteh, appointed on a three-month contract has dismissed claims that the absence of the current African player of the year and Elephants captain, Yaya Toure has weakened the strength of their opponents.
“I definitely don’t believe so. Cote d’Ivoire is a strong side with lots of talented players. You don’t expect to assemble all these big stars at a particular moment. The absence of Yaya Toure won’t make us to believe it will be an easy task nor will it change the fate of the game.
“As I mentioned earlier, we are preparing well and ready to have a respectable result against them” he said.
On his short stint with the team ahead of the match, he said “as a coach, I’m bound to face challenges. Tough challenges like this bring experience. I would have loved to have a longer period to know these players well, but this has also inspired me to dig ‘deep into my arsenal’ to have a respectable result”.
Tetteh further admitted that the Sunday tie which has been moved to Lagos as a result of the CAF ban on Sierra Leone on the Ebola virus is a huge challenge to his first assignment.
“I really would have loved we play our matches in Freetown but the current circumstances are beyond our control. It is a big challenge but we have to face it a get a respectable outcome” he concluded.
The Leone Stars lost 2-1 and 5-1 to the Elephants at the same stage of the qualifiers of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Goalkeepers: Solomon Zombo Morris (US Quevly, France), Unisa Koroma (East End Lions FC)
Defenders: Umaru Bangura (Dinamo Minsk, Belarus), David Simbo (Nijran FC, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Kamanor (FC Kallon), Ibrahim Kamara (FC Johansen), Abu Kanu (Mighty Blackpool), Kemson Fofanah (Eat End Lions FC), Abu Suma (FC Johansen)
Midfielders: Mohamed Kamara (Bolton Wanderers, England), Yeami Dunia (FC Johansen) Sorie Barrie (FC Johansen), Abu Sesay (OPS, Finland), George Mattar (FC Johansen), Kwame Quee (FC Johansen), Alfred Saquela (Central Parade FC)
Forwards: Mohamed Bangura (AIK Stockton, Sweden), Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew, USA), Lansana Kamara (FC Kallon), Christian Moses (FC Kallon)