Sierra Leone retires No. 5 in honor of late legend Sesay

Umaru Din Sesay

During a Premier League match between Mighty Blackpool and Wusum Stars at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown, the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has announced that no player of the national senior men’s team (Leone Stars) will again don the number five (5) Jersey.

The decision according to SLFA is to honor the late Umaru Din Sesay, the iconic ex Leone Stars captain for his tremendous services to the nation.

Umaro donned the said jersey number (5) while representing the Green, White and Blue nation from 1975-1979, when he eventually announced his retirement some four decades ago.

The 77-year-old passed away on Wednesday 22 May 2021 in Freetown after a short illness.

Though he never played in the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup, Sesay is hailed in Sierra Leone among the greatest footballers to have donned the colors of Leone Stars.

He will be remembered for his distinguished defensive and goal scoring skills, plus the outstanding leadership and discipline he exhibited on and off the pitch.

l-R  Late Umaru Din Sesay and Brima Manzola Kamara  (Wilson's)

Umaru joined Sierra Leone's elite club Mighty Blackpool from Topido FC in Kenema in 1965 and enjoyed an unprecedented nineteen glorious seasons with the "Tis-Tas Boys."

In 1968, the experienced defender also represented Mighty Blackpool at the continental stage during the club's maiden appearance at the preliminary rounds of the 4th edition of the African Cup of Champions Clubs (now CAF Champions League), before shining home to win eight (8) FA Cups plus five (5) National League titles.  His effort at every game saw him maintained the Mighty Blackpool captainship until 1986. 

Personal laurels include three Special Lifetime Achievement Awards for his outstanding contribution to Sierra Leone Football in 2015, 2016 and 2019.

SLFA presenting retired no5 jersey to Din's son (Wilson's)

Leadership off the Pitch

Sesay offered exemplary service in his brief spell in 1997 as the first ex-footballer to be appointed Minister of Sports of Sierra Leone.

He also played a key role in the negotiation between the Sierra Leone and Chinese Government for the construction of the Sierra Leone National Stadium in Freetown.

“Umaro is a fantastic player, a great leader and a sharp penalty shooter. He had never missed a penalty throughout his career,” said Brima Mazzola Kamara the former SLFA first Vice President and immediate successor of Umaro as team captain of Leone Stars in the presence of SLFA and government officials, referees, coaches, club managers as well as past and current national team players who paid tribute to the fallen hero.