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  Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Sam Obi Metzger
Sierra Leone's national football team manager Sam Obi Metzger
An attempted coup in the Ivory Coast has left Sierra Leone's national football team stranded in a rebel-held city as violence rages around them.

Coach Sam Obi Metzger responds to your questions.


Political turmoil in the Ivory Coast has led to the abrupt end of the eight-nation West African Football Union (Wafu) Championships.

Eight countries are trapped in the crossfire of conflict between mutinous soldiers and the country's elected government.

Sam Obi Metzger is the manager of the Lone Stars, Sierra Leone's national team, which lost 0-1 to Senegal in the tournament's opening game in Bouake.

His players would have had their second game against Ivory Coast on Friday, but have now been confined to their hotel until the situation improves.


Waheed Alabede, Nigerian in USA

Is there any kind of support for these military guys from the few people you must have come in contact with?

I don't really mix myself with politics, and we have been trapped in the hotel, so we cannot judge what is going on outside.


Sopirinye Jaja, Nigeria

Even if things normalise, will you still play your next match? And what do you think about your team's loss to Senegal?

We are happy it has been cancelled, we would not want to play after everything that has happened. All we want to do now is get out of here and go home.

We were a far better side against Senegal, we had the backing of the crowd but we missed a lot of goals, and I don't think the score reflected the game well.


Dididor, Sierra Leone

Are you having any food and what is the action you are going to take? Will you continue playing after this?

The food is dwindling day by day but I have sent a friend, who is staying in another hotel, to try to get bread and other food for the boys. But we have not heard from him yet and do not know if he can get back to the hotel.

The hotel has rationed the food a lot so we are not getting much at all, just a little bit of bread for breakfast and a small amount of rice and maybe a bit of chicken.


Bernard Blake, USA

How ready are our boys for international competition? And if not, what are we doing to get our team to the second level?

The FA is trying and the government is now trying to improve the situation. We have a new minister of sport and he wants to put plans in place to improve the game in Sierra Leone.

But we are coming out of a very bad political situation and the minister is trying to make sure the boys get what they need and are motivated.


Selwyn Walker, USA

What is the criteria to play for Sierra Leone and who can they contact?

If he is a Seirra Leonean and he wants to play for his country then he can come home and we will look at him. If I am satisfied with him then he could play for his country. We have no barriers. He would have to come home first if he is not an established player though.


Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso, USA

My question is concerning the future of football in Sierra Leone in reference to Tunisia 2004. How do you see the Sierra Leone team doing in Tunisia 2004?

I am very hopeful that we will qualify. If we have the support of the players, if all of the players are present, I think we can beat any team to qualify because in such high level competitions you need all your profesionals. But if players turn down the chance at the last minute to play for their country then it will be difficult.


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