By Barrie Alpha
Out of the forty nine (49) local Sports Associations in the country that bought registration forms, only the Sierra Leone Cricket Association (SLCA) and the Sierra Leone Scrabble Association (SLSA) have met the criteria set by the National Sports Authority (NSA) for registration, according to the Director of Participation and Sustainable Sports, Steven Keifala.
Making this disclosure on Monday September 14th 2020, during a meeting held between the NSA and the presidents and secretaries of the various Associations at the Atlantic Hall, Siaka Steven Stadium, Steven Keifala said 49 Associations bought the forms, 38 forms were returned while 11 forms were not returned and, out of the 38 forms that were returned, it was only two forms that met the criteria for registration.
“It’s only Cricket and Scrabble Associations that have registered with the NSA. Few Associations had double applications, for instance, from different people/executive. These are the Muaythia, Mixed Martial, and Weight and Power Lifting Associations. Also someone is serving as president for three Associations and secretary for another Association, another person is serving as president for two Associations and person serving as president for one and adviser for another Association,” he said.
“One Association bought forms but could not fill them because their former president could not give them any document to aid them. They have complained to the NSA,” the Director maintained, adding that “Sierra Leone is a sporting nation; therefore a lot of new Associations have emerged, including Life Saving Society, Teqball, Qatch, Thiathon, Bone-To-Bone and Rugby.”
He went further to appeal to Associations to make sure that they register their Associations as he believes things will never be business as usual. “We make laws for us to change. We don’t make laws to stay where we are. The NSA, we are here for the people of this country and the development of sports in Sierra Leone. We should also all work together to achieve that goal,” he stated.
“If you applied for registration, you need to get those things they are asking for as requirement. You must be able to relate to your other colleagues in the Association. It’s to protect your members and not the NSA. We don’t want an Association owned by a single individual; we want accountability,” Keifala stated.
Giving the keynote address, NSA’s Executive Director, Kenneth Brima, said: “For a long time the activities in sports were good, some were not good. With the NSA in place that shows you that the government is serious about the development of sports in this country.”
“If you consider countries like Ghana, they have emerged as great sporting nations through their National Sport Authority. That was the intention of the government to promote sport, so that we cannot only be participating in sport but also to win medals. And to go to that level, we need to put our house in order, which are the reasons why we put those things as the criteria, which we expect the Associations to meet,” said he.
“I know it’s difficult for most of the Associations, but we have to do it if we want to meet the standards of other countries,” he said.
“The NSA, we are here to support the Associations, we are talking about the sports basket funding. If we need to rebrand sports in this country we must get the required funds needed. The burden on the government is too much, so that is why they are creating the sport development fund. The ministry is working tirelessly with NSA to make sure that, at the end of this year, we would make our budget and send it to government. That will make the NSA have sufficient funds to sponsor the different Associations,” Dr Brima stated.
“I am really pleading with all Associations to please take the extra mile to meet these criteria. Of course we know what is happening now in the world.”
“We’ve already written two letters to NACOVERC to ease the restriction on the ban on sport. The second letter I wrote was actually to ease restriction on the national football team. To start training behind closed doors, because we are in a competition with other teams who have already started training. I can assure that the NACOVERC and Government are taking it very seriously. Perhaps, with few days, there will be positive results. We want changes. I can assure you that, without hesitation, any Association that has problems, we will find it very difficult to register that Association because sport is about peace. I am asking you again to go and solve your problems to yourselves,” he concludes.
He extended the registration deadline to September Friday 25th 2020.
Statements were also made by the Director of the National Institute of Sports, Manley Spaine, and Director of Cooperation, Alie Sesay.
By Barrie Alpha