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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sierra Leone captain Umaru Bangura set to continue national team career

Umaru Bangura has been included in Sierra Leone’s squad for their upcoming matches as he decides to continue his international career.

Bangura, who plays for the former Swiss champions FC Zurich, was considering his international future after angry fans vandalised his house in Freetown in September.

The attack happened after the Leone Stars captain saw a crucial stoppage-time penalty saved as they lost to Liberia in a World Cup qualifier.

“I have decided to continue playing for my country after I spoke to my family, the Sierra Leone FA and government officials as well as other other key stakeholders in football,” the 33-old-year told BBC Sport.

“I love my country, I have put everything behind me now and my focus now is to qualify Leone Stars to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.”

His home has since been repaired by the Sierra Leone Football Association.

Sierra Leone will open their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with matches against Lesotho at home on 13 November and then Benin three days later.

The defender is among 15 foreign-based players selected by Sellas Tetteh and they will join 22 home based players who started training three weeks ago.

Tetteh will hope that strikers Mohamed Buya Turay and Kei Kamara can continue their club form at international level.

Turay won his first ever league title with Swedish side Djurgarden last weekend and also finished as the league’s top goal scorer while USA-based Kei Kamara was Colorado Rapids’ highest goal scorer in the 2019 MLS.

Goalkeeper John Tyre currently based in Canada returns to the squad for the first time since March 2016, when he was called up for friendly international against Malawi in Freetown which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Striker Musa Noah Kamara, who was the top goal scorer in the 2019 Sierra Leone league, has been dropped from the home based squad as he has been suspended by the Sierra Leone FA for professional misconduct.

Sweden-based defender Ishmael Koroma, who featured in Leone Stars’ last two matches against Liberia in September, has been omitted.

Sierra Leone will play Lesotho behind closed doors to comply to Fifa orders following a number of incidents linked to the World Cup qualifier against Liberia in Freetown in September.

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