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banner Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 16:30 GMT
Kallon has high hopes
Mohammed Kallon (right)
Kallon (right) in action for Inter against Ipswich
Mohammed Kallon has vowed to watch the Nations Cup finals despite Sierra Leone's absence from the tournament.

Kallon has been making waves in Italy's Serie 'A' where he has taken full advantage of Ronaldo's absence to cement his place in the Inter Milan side.

But like most African stars nothing would please him more than being an active part of next year's Nations Cup circus in Mali.

"Of course, the disappointment of not qualifying is there, but I'm an African and will watch the matches on television," Kallon told BBC Sport Online.

"I'm from a small country and we've been at war for a long time. But there's peace now and I hope that in the near future Sierra Leone will be playing in the Nations Cup."

The Leone Stars have only appeared twice at African football's showpiece, Tunisia '94 was their first outing followed by the 1996 edition in South Africa.

I feel flattered that some people have even compared me to George Weah.
Mohammed Kallon
Kallon, then aged 16, made history as the tournament's youngest ever player.

Hopes now abound that the Inter hitman will help transform his West African country's football fortunes in the not-too-distant future.

"There's a big burden on me to help Sierra Leone because there are so many young and talented players there. I feel flattered that some people have even compared me to George Weah.

"I respect Weah and all he's done to develop Liberian football. He's the best player ever in Africa and I'm only trying to emulate him."

Best players

Kallon currently sponsors two football clubs, both named FC Kallon, in Sierra Leone and Gambia.

He was recently named in a Fifa squad of 22 best players whose countries failed to reach the 2002 World Cup finals.

"I'm a young player and those two teams are my own contribution in helping other young players in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in Africa."

See also:

02 Nov 01 |  Africa
Cabral Cup hit by withdrawal
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