Winger Issa Kallon made his Sierra Leone debut in one of the biggest stages in Cameroon as Sierra Leone fought for a 2-2 draw against Ivory Coast and was instrumental from the word go on his first international match for the Leone Stars.
The new Leone Stars weapon had a frustrating time watching from the bench in the goalless draw against Algeria at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on January 11. The Leone Stars first game back at the AFCON since 1996.
Matchday two, he was subbed on in the 73rd minute to replace Maohmed Buya Turay against the Ivory Coast. His smartness, techniques and agility went viral after the 2-2.
In the Leone Stars final Group E match, he was again a substitute in the 1- 0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea. He was an immediate impact after he replaced Kevin Wright in the 75th-minute. His creative movement helped Sierra Leone earn a spot-kick, but unfortunately, the spot-kick was missed by veteran striker Kei Kamara in the 85th-minute.
A Sierra Leone goal could have put them through to the knockout stage of this year’s continental competition for the first time in their history.
The 26-year-old striker who played his football with Cambuur in the Dutch tier said he was pleased with his effort but wished for more playing time on the pitch.
“I am pleased to be part of a great squad, but playing time was not a lot,” Issa Kallon told FSL News in Douala.
“I didn’t expect going to AFCON and only played 35-minute. I am doing well in the Dutch Top-tier in Holland, and for me to sit on the bench every day – was very difficult.”
“I know I can help the team get a better result like in the last game when I came on won a penalty. I just had the feeling the coach was not really aware of my qualities to give such small game time. But, I am happy that in those small minutes, I was able to show myself to my team, the coach and my country Sierra Leone of what I am capable of.”
The result also means the Comoros Islands are through as one of the best third-placed finishers after their surprise 3-2 win over Ghana last Tuesday.
“The penalty miss is difficult to take it could have changed everything for us,” Sierra Leone coach John Keister said.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone contingent safely arrived in Freetown late on Saturday after what many described as an impressive outing in Cameroon despite their early exit.
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