Football's Fambul Tok

Minister of Political and Public Affairs Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay (center) poses for the camera with Mohamed Kallon and Isha Johansen after the "fambul tok" held at the ministry in Freetown on Friday, March 14. Football is the most popular sport in Sierra Leone.

Political action finally broke the impasse between Sierra Leone Football Association President Isha Johansen and the former national football team captain, Mohamed Kallon, when the two high-profile adversaries sat down in a meeting Friday called by Ministry of Political and Public Affairs at the old government building called Youyi (means friendship in Chinese).

After the talks, Johansen and Kallon agreed to work together in the interest of football and stay off legal action.

Kallon had filed assault charges against Johansen at Adelaide Street Police Station following an incident on Thursday, March 6, at the Sierra Leone Football Association Academy in Kingtom, after an FA Cup game involving Kallon's team, Kallon FC Junior.

The same day, Johansen also filed charges against Kallon at the headquarters of the Operation Support Division of the Sierra Leone Police at Brookfield, Freetown. Few days later, Kallon was detained by the police for about seven hours for questioning and released on a Le50 million ($11,000) conditional bail.

Almost a week after the incident which stirred buried tensions from the FA presidency election, the impasse had deepened forcing the governing body of football in Sierra Leone to release a statement Tuesday, March 11, saying it had referred the matter to the Disciplinary Committee of the FA to make recommendations.

On Friday, the nation’s Ministry of Political and Public Affairs announced that it had intervened in the dispute in accordance with its mandate. The news release read:
The Ministry of Political and Public Affairs intervened in the impasse between Mr. Mohamed Kallon and Mrs. Isha Johansen in accordance with its statutory mandate i.e. “to intervene in socio-political conflict in the most objective manner aimed at building and consolidating the peace, promoting harmony amongst members of the public and also in supporting and promoting good governance”.

With the Ministry’s intervention, the matter has been amicably resolved without any party claiming a social capital.


- Both parties have agreed to work together in the name of patriotism for the furtherance of football in Sierra Leone with sincerity of purpose.
- Mrs. Isha Johansen and Mr. Mohamed Kallon have also resolved to stay off legal action in relation to the matter and have committed themselves to cooperate to ensure that they refrain from engaging the
-. Media in any negative propaganda regarding this matter.

SLFA spokesman John Konteh told BBC Sports Mohamed Fajah Barrie that Kallon and Isha apologized to each other at the meeting.

"The matter has been resolved and it's good for the peace and stability of the country and the passion of the youth," Konteh reportedly said.

“They have decided to work together. Isha has accepted to take leadership and she has asked Kallon to help the SLFA in the technical area.

"Meanwhile, the SLFA will review its earlier decision for its disciplinary committee to investigate the matter."

Three weeks after her election as president of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Johansen visited the home of home of FIFA. In an extensive interview with FIFA dot COM on women and youth in football in Sierra Leone, Johansen said:

“Every football association, every president, would be looking to showcase their national team on a world platform. But long-term would be to see that youth football grows to a decent level. I came into football through youth football development, with my own team that I had. I would like to leave Sierra Leone football with that legacy of having known that we’ve promoted and developed youth football to a very decent state.”


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