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Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 16:26 UK

Bangura set for Sierra Leone debut

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie
BBC Sport, Freetown

Alhassan Bangura
Bangura's international debut had been delayed by UK residency complications
Watford midfielder Alhassan Bangura is set to make his long-awaited international debut for Sierra Leone against Nigeria on Saturday.

Leone Stars coach Ahmed Kanu told BBC Sport that the 20-year-old was given a call-up for this weekend's 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and has flown straight to Abuja from London.

Coach Kanu is hoping that Bangura will lift his squad as they prepare to face the Super Eagles.

"I'm pleased that I now have Al Bangura in my team and I hope he will bring more life to the team," he said.

"I've seen him playing for Watford and he is a player I like. He has told me that he's ready to give his best for his country."

Bangura's international debut had been delayed by lengthy efforts to establish legal residency in England.

He was facing deportation back to Sierra Leone last year but won an appeal to stay in Britain after he was granted a work permit.

However, he will not be able to play Leone Stars home matches in Sierra Leone, as he has said he fears his life would be in danger in the country he was forced to flee.

Bangura made his debut in English football for Watford in April 2005 and went on to play 16 games in the Premier League in the 2006/2007 season.

He is among 12 foreign based players that will face the Super Eagles this weekend, in the final group match of the first round stage of the qualifiers.

Other key foreign-based players available are the team's captain Mohamed Kallon, Paul Kpaka, Ibrahim Kargbo and Kewullay Conteh.

But three players will be missing due to injury worries. They are Romania-based Julius Woobay, Finland-based Samuel Barley and USA- based Ibrahim Koroma.

Coach Kanu has played down the absence of the trio saying that he has replacements for them.

Leone Stars are second in Group 4 behind Nigeria with seven point and need to avoid defeat to stand a chance of qualifying for the next stage of the qualifiers as one of the best eight second-placed teams.

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see also
Bangura backed by players' union
12 Dec 07 |  Watford
Bangura pens new Watford deal
19 May 07 |  African
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
22 Jun 08 |  African

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