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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Swedish coach keen to stay on

Lars Olof Mattsson
Mattsson is keen to stay with the Leone Stars

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie
BBC Sport, Freetown

Lars Olof Mattsson is keen to coach Sierra Leone for the remainder of their 2012 African Cup of Nations campaign.

The Swedish coach is contracted to take charge of the Leone Stars only for their next game away to Niger on 27 March.

A local cement company will pay the former Sweden under-21 coach $10,000 for his one-off assignment.

But the Swede, 56, told BBC Sport that he would like to be around until Sierra Leone's final qualifying fixture.

"I'm happy to take over and hope to be given the opportunity to be in charge for all the team's remaining matches," Mattsson said.

"I'm aware that the Niger game is important and we must win it to have a chance of qualifying for the finals.

"The remaining matches are important too and I'd like to complete the job instead of leaving the team halfway through the qualifiers."

Sierra Leone's sports minister Paul Kamara told BBC Sport that they too would be happy for Mattsson to stay but for lack of money.

Mattsson said he started preparing for the Niger game before travelling to Freetown.

"I've been following the progress of Sierra Leonean footballers in Scandinavian where I live and other countries in Europe.

"I've met some of them and have spoken on the phone to the players in Cyprus, Azerbaijan, and Rodney Strasser with AC Milan in Italy.

"Most of the players are young and that's good for the Leone Stars."

Mattsson is the second Swede to coach the Leone Stars after Roger Palmgren who guided the team to the 1996 African Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.

Sierra Leone currently lie third in qualifying Group G behind South Africa and Niger, after draws against Egypt in Cairo and South Africa at home.

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see also
Sierra Leone hires Swedish coach
25 Jan 11 |  African
Kallon set to leave China
24 Dec 10 |  African
Bellamy's academy delivers hope
05 Jun 10 |  African
Nigeria line up Sierra Leone game
02 Feb 11 |  African

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