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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Kallon gives up captaincy
Mohamed Kallon
Kallon has been captain for 16 months

Italian-based Mohamed Kallon has decided to hand over the captaincy of the Sierra Leone national team to fellow striker Lamin 'Junior Tumbu' Conteh.

Kallon announced the decision during a reconciliatory meeting between the country's foreign-based players and the Sierra Leone FA.

Kallon, who was made captain 16 months ago, said he was very pleased to be handing over the armband to Conteh.

"Lamin Conteh is my senior and I think he is supposed to be our leader," the Internazionale player said.

"He is a player that deserves respect because he has done a lot for his country and he is well respected among the Leone Stars players."

Conteh told BBC Sport Online that he was very happy to take over from his country's best-known player.

"I appreciate Kallon very much and I'm proud of him because he respected me," Conteh said.

"I know it is not easy to lead a national team but I promise I would try to do my best."

Conteh refused to play for the national team during the qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup because of a disagreement with the country's FA.

The matter - his outstanding claim for $2,700 - has now been settled.

Conteh is one of the longest serving players in the national team, making his debut in 1990.

He was part of the team that represented Sierra Leone at the African Nations Cupfinals in 1994 and 1996.

Conteh currently plays his club football for Al-Wahda in the United Arab Emirates and has plied his trade in the Belgian, Portuguese and German leagues.

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