Sierra Leone has received pledges of support from the leaders of the highest governing bodies of football in the world and in the continent of Africa to develop the beautiful game in the football mad nation.
Â President of the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino and the ConfÃ©dÃ©ration Africaine de Football, CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe, have called on His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio and promised to improve on the countryâ€™s football infrastructure to be able to host the African Cup of Nations.
The vows to develop the game from the football giants came against a backdrop of acrimony and animosity that has rocked the football family in Sierra Leone in the past decade. Â
Sierra Leoneâ€™s Minister of Sport, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, welcomed the delegation from the football world governing bodies, saying that it was history in the making that the country was hosting the sitting presidents of FIFA and CAF for the first time.
â€œI am not surprised. You must have heard about governmentâ€™s assiduous strides and relentless efforts at developing and supporting football from the grassroots to the national level,â€ he noted, adding that the present government had supported sport, particularly football, more than all others in the history of Sierra Leone.
While introducing the visitors, the President of Sierra Leone Football Association, SLFA, Isha Johansen, said that their visit was as timely and historic as it was meaningful to the country. She thanked them for choosing Sierra Leone as one of their three Africa nation tours, the others being CÃ´te d’Ivoire and Liberia.Â Â
FIFAâ€™s President Infantino told the gathering that it was an honour and a pleasure to be in Sierra Leone, saying that they were very committed to helping and supporting Africa shine in the world.
â€œWe know how important football is in Africa. Football is talent, football is passion in Africa. In Sierra Leone, in particular, football is not just a game, football is life. I think the time has come where we have to move forward and look into the future.
â€œFIFA and CAF stand for due process, for integrity, for democracy and to make sure that we can once again put aside all negativities that have tarnished the image of football in the country in the last few years. Let us move to promote a positive and united approach because we need unity in this country,â€ he urged.Â
The Swiss and Italian national, who has been president at FIFA since 26 February 2016, also called on all stakeholders to work together to make football very attractive and a way of life. He said everyone needed to work together for the development of the country, particularly in Sierra Leone where football was much more important.
CAFâ€™s President Patrice Motsepe first thanked President Bio for his honesty, integrity and brotherly exchange of ideas, before calling on all to work together and with him in the best interest of football and a beautiful country.
He confessed that the President represented a new breed of leadership not just for Sierra Leone but for Africa, adding that the country had also produced exceptional football players and expressed hope that it would continue to produce great players. He pledged CAF and FIFAâ€™s commitment to supporting Sierra Leone with the requisite infrastructure to host the African Cup of Nations in the not-too-distant future.
In a brief statement, President Bio welcomed the Presidents of FIFA and CAF to his beautiful country, noting that football remained a fashion that the people of his country loved and cherished.
â€œIt is one of the uniting forces in Sierra Leone. We are a very polarised when it comes to politics, but when it comes to football you can see the passion, you can see the joy. It is a different Sierra Leone, especially with football,â€ he assured.
He also stated that normally when passion clashed, there were always bits of challenges, but emphasised that the country looked forward to an SLFA leadership that would move the country as a nation. He advised that the people should not be deprived of the game that every Sierra Leonean loved.
President Bio further stated that besides the politics of football and the few challenges with regard to infrastructure, the people of his country were friendly and good. He called on the leadership of the two world football governing bodies to invest in the infrastructure of the game in the country.
â€œOn behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone, I want to thank you and would like you to come again. Thank you for coming and you are welcome to Sierra Leone,â€ he concluded
Orange SL Introduces 4G+
By Feima Sesay
Orange SL the leading telecommunication company in the country has Introduced a new 4G+ internet service for its customers that could double twice the speed of the 4G service.
This new service has further given Orange SL a competitive advantage over all telecoms operators in the country through the launching of the unique 4G+
Â The disclosure was made by the head of legal and corporate affairs for Orange SL Madam Haffie Haffner during a press briefing held at Hill Station in Freetown.
She further told journalists that while the company looked forward to launching 5G network, it had taken the lead to introduce the new service to ease internet communication.
Madam Haffner also informed journalist that over 30 sites in Freetown have got the service, and customers could access it adding that Orange had come a long way in the corporate world and that within five years, they have achieved the highest quality of service in the country.
Madam Haffner said when Orange SL took over in 2016, the company was faced with number of challenges, but they had been surmounted through committed leadership.
She also touched on the viability of the company`s public relations portfolio, adding thatÂ Orange SL took pride in an elaborate and viable Cooperate Social Responsibility(CSR) which had been transformed into a foundation headed by Chief Executive Officer and that the foundation would be launched in June this year.
Through the foundation Orange SL has been given back to society.
Jestina Betts head of the foundation also spoke about most of the achievements recorded by the foundation since it was set up.
The Foundation Director further informed the press that the unit was fully functional since January this year.
She went on to state that the foundation was however tested by COVID-19 pandemic but it emerge stronger.
Madam Betts further that, the foundation worked with government in the area of the Free Quality Education flagship project, adding that the corporation with government in the education project came after the company pledge to work with government for five years.
The ties she said between the company and the government witness the construction of three Early Childhood School Centre in the Provinces that is amounting to Le1.6 billion.
She further told the gathering that apart from its investment in the Free Quality Education project, the company also invested in maternal health services to save the lives of pregnant women, lactating mother’s and under- five children.
Madam Betts said quite recently, Orange SL launched one of the most ambitious maternal health project in the biggest slum community, Kroo bay amounting to Lee.6 billion. The launched of the maternal health project was to complement effort in free health care policy.
The investment of resources in the maternal health project was promoted by the alarming rate at which women and children are losing their lives.
The company she said also took Ebola kids to SOS school in Freetown with annual budget of Le235million. She said 300 million which was donated by Orange office was used by the Foundation to help Sierra Autistic Society, National school for the deaf and dumb, Milton Margai School for the blind amongst others.
She disclosed further that the foundation would establish a women digital center for skill training which will cater for women and girls who had dropped out of school and that the center is 90% completed and would be first leading technology school for women in the country.
The head of Corporate Social Responsibility Orange SL Annie Wonie Katta also spoke about their usual Orange Social Venture competition that will commence soon and therefore encourage more women to apply. The application should be done according to her locally and internationally. The first winner will earn le1000 million with 6 month free internet subscription