The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has confirmed that the national team, Leone Stars’, planned international friendly encounter against The Flames of Malawi will go ahead on 22 March at the National Stadium in Freetown.
The match was earlier in doubt following huge financial demand by the sacked Sports Minister, Paul Kamara, for the use of the stadium.
However, SLFA media officer, Abu Bakarr Kamara, Tuesday confirmed to Sierraloaded that an agreement had been reached between the Sports ministry and the SLFA and that the match would be played next Tuesday.
He said: “I can authoritatively confirm that the match will go ahead on March 22 at the Siaka Steven [National] stadium and we are already on preparation before the arrival of Malawi.”
General Secretary of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Suzgo Nyirenda, on the other hand said the team would depart Lilongwe on 20 March via Ethiopia and would arrive in Freetown on 21 March.
Nyirenda said: “The team will leave Malawi on March 20 to play a friendly against Sierra Leone on March 22. This game will help the team to tune up because we failed to secure a friendly apart from Sierra Leone.
“We cannot manage to secure a friendly match easily with high profile teams in the absence of agents who need at least US$10,000 or US$15,000 fee.”
Sierra Leone and Malawi will use the friendly match as a dress rehearsal for their 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Gabon and Guinea on 25-26 March respectively.
The Guinea match is a crucial clash for the Flames, who are third in group L with just a point, three points behind leaders Swaziland, while Sierra Leone’s clash against Gabon will not score points as the Gabonese are the 2017 Nations Cup host.
Sierra Leone’s clash against Malawi will be the first meeting between the two sides in the millennium, the last time the two sides met was in a July 1978 friendly tie which the Tigers won 5-0.