Sierra Leone captain Umaru Bangura has admitted that they the players are the ones affected the most due to the country’s suspension from international football.
Last month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana was cancelled after the country’s FA failed to get a FIFA suspension lifted
Sierra Leone Group F contest away to Kenya this month is extremely doubtful as the Fifa suspension on Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) remains in force.
“The suspension is affecting us the footballers as we’re the ones suffering the most,” the FC Zurich defender told BBC Sport.
“This isn’t good for us. We feel disappointed because we know it has a negative effect on our football careers.”
Fifa has maintained that Sierra Leone will remain suspended until the alleged corruption trial against SLFA’s boss Isha Johansen and sec-gen Chris Kamara are concludes.
The 31-year-old, who made his international debut in 2006, was already in a training in Freetown preparing for the matches when he received news of the ban.
“Some foreign players including me were already in camp in Freetown when we heard the sad news about the suspension. We didn’t feel good,” he explained.
“Other overseas players were at different airports to fly to Freetown from their respective countries where they play their club football.”
Bangura, who missed the Ethiopia defeat in September, is calling on all the parties involved to work towards having the suspension lifted in time for their next qualifier against Kenya in Nairobi on 17 November.
“It’s always a special feeling when you play for your national team. We’re hoping that the suspension will be lifted,” said Bangura, who has had stints in Norway and Belarus.
“If the suspension isn’t lifted in time for the Kenya game, then it means we no longer have any hope of qualifying for the finals in Cameroon.
“It’ll end the hopes of the ageing players in the team to ever play in the Nations Cup finals. For these players it’s either now or never.
Kenya top the group with seven points from four matches, three points ahead of second-placed Ethiopia.
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