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banner Friday, 14 December, 2001, 17:45 GMT
Kallon takes his chance
Mohammed Kallon talks exclusively to World Football
Mohammed Kallon celebrates another goal for Inter
Top of the scoring charts at Italian league leaders Inter Milan isn't Ronaldo, Christian Vieri or Alvaro Recoba, but a young striker from Sierra Leone.
Mohammed Kallon talks exclusively to World Football's Celina Hinchcliffe about racism, homesickness and keeping Ronaldo out of the team.

"I'm not really worried about Ronaldo coming back from injury" he said.

"I'm trying to do my own thing and give my own contribution to Inter Milan.

"Everything is going fine, and I'll be happy when Ronaldo comes back so he can give his own contribution to the team as well.

"We actually played together against Lecce a couple of weeks ago.

"We started very, very well but he got an injury and had to go off. I was very sad about it".
Kallon is looking forward to playing alongside Ronaldo
Ronaldo waits to return to the action

Mohammed Kallon has played for six different clubs in Serie A and B, but says he hasn't experienced the racism which has blighted Italian football.

"In Italian football the supporters boo all the black players, but I don't think they are doing this because they are racist.

"It's just to distract the attention of the players.

"I'm used to it now. I've been here five or six years and it doesn't bother me - I'm too focused".

And what about another notorious Serie A feature - diving?

"This is something that's been going on for a long time.
Mohammed has waited six years for his dream move to Inter
Mohammed is top scorer at Inter Milan

"But I don't think the players are doing it deliberately, sometimes the defenders are very rough".

His goalscoring exploits have earned Kallon a nomination for the African Player of the Year Award.

"The mere fact that I have been included among the best African players is enough for me" he said.

"I appreciate it very, very much.

"If I am part of these three best players then I will be very, very grateful".

But there has been disappointment for Mohammed this season after Sierra Leone failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations.

"I always give regard to those players who are from countries like Ghana and Nigeria because they have large populations and good organisation.

"I'm from Sierra Leone and as everyone knows I love my country but my country is so small and we've been having a war for the last ten years.

"But now things are getting better, and I think in the future we can come back as we were before.

"I was disappointed not because of the football but because of the war.

"That's why I am praying this fighting will go away and we can have a peaceful world".

He's also trying to do his bit as an African abroad, like one of his heroes, Liberia's George Weah.

"I respect him so much.

"He is doing great things for Africa and is trying to put Africa on the map.

"I am doing my own thing now, I'm just trying to help other young players from Africa because a lot of them are talented and could do something in Europe".
George Weah was another African who made his name in Milan
George Weah in action for Liberia

Mohammed has even set up two football teams called FC Kallon in Gambia and Sierra Leone.

"This is the only way I can give my own contribution to African footballers" he said.

"I don't only support Sierra Leone because I would love to see an African country as the best in the world".

But he says it's hard being away from Africa and his home for so long.

"I miss everything.

"Sierra Leone and Africa are everything to me.

"I miss my family, my friends and the whole of African football.

"When I was playing in Africa, football was my hobby and I could do whatever I wanted on the pitch.

"But now we have to concentrate on other things like tactics!"

You can hear all of Celina Hinchcliffe's interview with Mohammed Kallon on World Football on Saturday 15 December. Check local listings for exact times. Or you can use the audio link at the top of the page.

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Mohammed Kallon
'I miss everything about Africa'

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