Sierra Leone Withdraws From U-20 FIFA Women's Qualifiers
The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has withdrawn its national U-20 team from the qualifying series of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup due to lack of funds. Sierra Leone was expected to host the Falconet of Nigeria in Freetown on 19th February for the first leg encounter before heading to Nigeria for the return leg in a fortnight but that has now been scuppered.
According to the SLFA technical director, Sam Obi Metzger Snr., the Football Association decided to pull out of the qualifiers due to the unavailability of funds to finance the entire campaign.
"We have written to CAF and FIFA informing them of our withdrawal," Metzger said. "It is because of lack of funds. We do not have enough money, so we've decided to concentrate on the female U-17 and Leone Stars' 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers and a couple of subsequent international matches."
However, it is yet unknown whether or not the withdrawal of Sierra Leone from the qualifiers could lead to a fine and sanctioning of the U-20 team by CAF. But SLFA public relations officer, Sorie Ibrahim Sesay, maintained that they will not face any fine "because we've withdrawn in time as stipulated in the regulations".
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had already invited 30 players ahead of the match. They started training on January 20 at the National Stadium in Abuja. The news will be a welcome one for the Nigerians who will now make progress to the next stage of the qualifiers without kicking a ball.