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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 17:30 GMT
Gray is offered Sierra Leone job
By Piers Edwards

Nahim Khadi
I think we will qualify from our group. I'm not scared of any of our opponents. I'm not scared of anything in Africa
Slafa boss Nahim Khadi

Sierra Leone have offered the job of national coach to former England international Andy Gray.

The president of the Sierra Leone Football Association (Slafa), Nahim Khadi, asked the former Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur player on Friday if he will take up the post.

But Gray, who travelled to the country to help out with some football development programmes, said he will respond to the offer on Monday.

"Andy Gray is my number one target," Khadi told BBC Sport on Friday.

Khadi plans to install Gray as coach and make the existing boss, John Jebbor Sherington, his assistant for the Leone Stars' qualifying campaign for the 2008 African Nations Cup finals in Ghana.

Sierra Leone were drawn in an all-west African group alongside Benin, Mali and World Cup finalists Togo.

Slafa's bid to appoint Gray, who won his only England cap in 1991, as the new coach is part of a wider plan to lead the national team to Ghana 2008.

"My executive committee and I are really determined to put Sierra Leone on the map," Khadi explained.

"I do believe I will take Sierra Leone to the Nations Cup in Ghana. I have the potential and I have the quality players."

Mohammed Kallon is the most famous Sierra Leonean player in the world, with the former Inter Milan striker currently playing his club football in Saudi Arabia.

As is the case with many African nations now, there are also plans to invite players with Sierra Leone roots to represent the country.

Nigel Reo-Coker, who captains English Premiership side West Ham United, has a Sierra Leonean father who works as a doctor in the West African nation.

Andy Gray
Andy Gray won his only England cap against Poland in 1991

Reo-Coker recently told the British press there was a possibility he would switch allegiance from England, where he has captained the Under-21's, to the Leone Stars.

"The choice is his," said Khadi, who used to play for the national team himself.

"He's wanted here: all the papers and radio write and talk about him, and everybody's begging him to come and represent his country."

Khadi will travel to England next month where he intends to talk to Reo-Coker and recruit former Torquay United manager Leroy Rosenior and Sheffield United's Steve Kabbah to his cause.

Both have Sierra Leone heritage and the hope is that Kabbah will choose to play for Sierra Leone at international level while Rosenior will pass on his coaching knowledge.

I am determined to put Sierra Leone on the map
Nahim Khadi

Sierra Leone's footballing fortunes were ravaged during the decade-long civil war, which ended in 2002.

"We used to beat teams like Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast," he explained.

"It's because of the war that football went down but we have started building up again and we have an abundance of talent in Sierra Leone.

"I believe we will qualify from our group but we need to improve our tactical game."




SEE ALSO
Sierra Leone champs sack coach
20 Feb 06 |  African


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