Leone Stars – We dae yagba dem!

The Sierra Leone national football team

“Keep dreaming, even when people laugh at your dreams or tell you that they are impossible to achieve. Keep believing in yourself.” Tobin Heath

Leone Stars is the nickname for the Sierra Leone national football team, which was formed in 1949 and played its first international match against Nigeria in Lagos in the same year. During the early years, Leone Stars participated in regional tournaments and friendly matches against neighboring countries.  Sierra Leone gained independence from British colonial rule in 1961, and in the following years, the national team faced numerous challenges due to limited resources and infrastructure, and political instability. Despite these difficulties, Leone Stars continued to compete in regional tournaments, and tried to establish themselves on the international stage.

The 1990s marked a significant period of improvement for Leone Stars. The team qualified for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in 1994, held in Tunisia. Although they were eliminated in the group stage, it was a notable achievement for Sierra Leonean football.

Over the years, Leone Stars have had talented players who have represented the country with distinction. Some notable team members include Mohamed Kallon, Julius Wobay, Ibrahim Teteh Bangura, Kei Kamara, and Mohamed Bangura.

Like many national teams in Africa, Sierra Leone has faced challenges over the years. However, efforts have been made to improve the football landscape in the country, including development programs, coaching initiatives, and infrastructure projects.

Leone Stars have had their highs and lows, but they continue to represent Sierra Leone on the international stage. With ongoing improvements in infrastructure and football development, there is hope that the team will achieve further success in the future.

Leone Star (named after the Sierra Leone national team)

When the Leone Stars play, I struggle to watch. My heart is in my mouth, and I’m too invested.  By God, em power… with the right support and investment, we will improve our football infrastructure and player development, and enhance our competitiveness on the international stage.

I’ve created a cocktail – Leone Star – in honour of our national football team. It is made using star fruit, pineapple, gin, prosecco, and honey. Perfect for pre-match nerves or post-match celebrations, you’ll find the recipe in the Tipples section on page 218 of my cookbook, Sweet Salone.

Inspirational quotes for chefs and footballers, from footballers.

“Surround yourself with good people. Surround yourself with positivity and people who are going to challenge you to make you better. If you just kind of let yourself stay alone and be by yourself, the negative, it is just not going to help you. You can control two things, your work ethic and your attitude about anything.” – Ali Krieger

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pelé

“A champion is someone who does not settle for that day’s practice, that day’s competition, that day’s performance. They are always striving to be better. They don’t live in the past.” – Briana Scurry

“You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be.” – Christian Pulisic

“You can overcome anything if, and only if, you love something enough.” Lionel Messi

“Whatever brings you down will eventually make you stronger.” Alex Morgan

“I don’t have time for hobbies. At the end of the day, I treat my job as a hobby. It’s something I love doing.” – David Beckham