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banner Monday, 12 February, 2001, 17:32 GMT
Italy-based pair lead Leone Stars
Mohammed Kallon is the key figure for the Leone Stars
Sierra Leone have invited eight of their foreign-based players to face Liberia's Lone Star in Monrovia in a crucial World Cup qualifying match on February 25.

It is a critical match if the side are to have any hope of making an impact, after having lost their first two games.

A 2-0 defeat by Nigeria was followed by a 5-0 thumping from Ghana, but both those games were away from home, and the last was way back in July last year.

The Leone Stars - as the Sierra Leonean national squad is known - now hope the likes of Italy-based pair Mohammed Kallon and Kewullay Conteh, who play with Serie A club Vicenza and Serie B side Venezia, can help them break their duck.

That pair are due to be joined by Mustapha Sama (Sweden), John Keister (England), Lansana Alpha (Bosnia), Kemokai Kallon (Lebanon), Alphajor Bah (China) and Abdul Thomson Conteh (USA).

Training camp

These players are expected to arrive in training camp by February 15, ten days before the clash with Liberia.

Major absentees already are the UAE-based Lamin 'Junior Tumbu' Conteh, Mohamed Sillah of Turkish team Vanspor, and the Leone Stars' captain Mohamed Kanu, who is based in Belgium.

John Keister has received a call
Coach Christian Cole told the BBC it would be difficult to invite too many foreign-based players, and then not play them all.

He said: "Some of these players can do better in other matches, and when those come round, I'll invite them.

"With Lamin Conteh, for example, he plays better at home than away, so I'll only consider him for home matches."

Money 'owed'

However, the BBC has learned that an invitation was extended to Conteh but it was turned down because of a long-time clash between the player and the FA.

Conteh claims the FA owes him $2,000 and he will not return to the national team unless that money is paid to him.

Two more foreign-based players, who have not been named in the squad, are already in Sierra Leone and are training with the squad.

Francis Koroma and Abdul Rahman Sesay are based in Sweden, where it is close season now, and were in Freetown on holiday.

There are already 27 local players in the camp, including eight from Mighty Blackpool.

Meanwhile, Gambian referees have been assigned to officiate the match with Liberia, while the match commissioner will come from Mali.

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