L-R ALPHAN KOKER,AG.DIRECTOR OF SPORTS,NSC; AL SANKOH CONTEH,DEPUTY MINISTER OF SPORTS; DR. PATRICK COKER, NOC PRESIDENT; ALHAJI DR. FADLU-DEEN,NOC; MRS. PAMELA WILLIAMS,NSC; JOSEPH NYANDE,NOC.
The National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone delegation headed by the President Dr. Patrick Coker has met with the Ministry of Sports on Friday 13th June 2014 in the Deputy Minister’s office at Bishop House Freetown to brief the Ministry about plans and arrangements for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games schedule to take place in Scotland, United Kingdom.
In his opening statement, the Acting Director of Sports, Mr. Alphan Koker thanked the Deputy Minister, Mr. Al Sankoh Conteh for making it possible for the meeting to be held in his office. He said that at a time like this when the Commonwealth Games is just round the corner a meeting between the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone is very important.
He wasted no time and went straight to the update on the allowances for the various Sporting Disciplines that should participate in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games during the summer of 2014. Mr. Koker informed members of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr. Conteh that the sum of Four Hundred and Twenty-Five Million Leones (Le. 425,000,000.00) has been provisional budgeted for the NOC to enable them to effectively take part in the Games. He emphasized that the above stated sum of money was a Proposal on paper and subjected to scrutiny by the Ministry of Finance before payments would be made.
The President of the National Olympic Committee, Sierra Leone, Dr. Patrick Coker in his statement was quick to raise his worries about the slow pace of releasing monies to the NOC. This he said always dampens the high spirited Athletes during international games. He said that when it comes to Football encounter everyman power and forces are used to get the money needed, but when its Athletics’ money is not available’’. He appealed the Government through the Ministry of Sports to do all in their powers for (WE) NOC to get this money on time so that they would prepare earlier and leave the shores of Sierra Leone for Scotland, United Kingdom.
Dr. Coker also suggested that he would want the Sierra Leone Team to leave one week before the official opening of the Games so that Athletes would sufficiently acclimatised themselves to the United Kingdom’s weather.
On the issue of National attire and colours, Dr. Patrick Coker furthered suggested that a meeting should be called by the Ministry of Sports inviting all Sporting Disciplines taking part in the Commonwealth Games to discuss the National colours and the various technical accepted standard attire.
The Chef De Mission, Mr. Unisa Deen Kargbo gave an update of his frequent travels in and out of Sierra Leone since his appointment. He disclosed that he would leave the shores of Sierra Leone to attend the Games on the 8th July and the General Delegation including the Sierra Leone Team on the 13th July. The Conference of Ministers of Sports will be held on the 21st July and the official opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is on the 23rd July.
Mr. Kargbo stated that some Journalists have been granted accreditations and they would attend the Games at their own expenses. He also informed the Deputy Minister, Mr. Al Sankoh Conteh about the China Games which would commence after the Commonwealth Games.
Mr. Joseph Nyande said that this is one the best meetings between the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL). He suggested that the NOC-SL and the Ministry of Sports should collaborate and organise National Games when we return from the Commonwealth Games. ‘’We need to organise National Championship’’ stated Mr. Nyande. He also pointed out that the NOC-SL and the Ministry of Sports have less than one Month to prepare before the National Team leave for UK.
Mrs Pamela Williams said that the various Sporting Disciplines should prepare and send their budgets for their various Technical styles and Attire so that the Ministry of Sports and National Olympic Committee would not under budget.
The Deputy Minister of Sports, Mr. Al Sankoh Conteh who deputised the Minister of Sports Mr. Paul Kamara, said we should start working on the proposed budget now and not to wait for the eleventh hour being that we have specific dates and deadlines to meet. We must work towards these dates so that we would not late. The Deputy Minister subscribed to the suggestions made by Dr. Patrick Coker that the Ministry called a meeting of all Sporting Discipline to discuss the various Technical Attire to be worn by Athletes in the official opening and during the events.
In his concluding statement, the Deputy Minister said that the meeting was fruitful and ‘’as a Ministry we would try to do our best to give the NOC-SL all what they want so that their trip to Scotland, UK would be a successful one’’.
BY BENJAMIN PRATT
MINISTRY OF SPORTS
13TH JUNE 2014