The Sierra Leone Senior Female National team (The Female Patriot) are to represent Sierra Leone in the ICC T20 Senior Female World Cup qualifying tournament in Botswana. In lieu of the above tournament, the association has long since presented a budget for the tournament to the National Sports Authority (NSA).
The budget is to cover allowance for the contingent, air ticket for additional officials and players. While waiting for the government to approve and release the fund for the tournament, less than two weeks to the tournament news broke out that the Sports Ministry have decided not to fund any female national team again including the Cricket team.
The NSA Directors categorically stated that if they fund the female cricket team other female teams will like them to do the same thing for them and the fund is not available.
The statement went on that the NSA Directors have decided not to fund any female tournament again be it local or international and that they will only now fund tournament that involves men.
This news came as a surprise to the cricket executive who were with the full hope that government will fund them to represent the country in the World Cup qualifying.
It was difficult for them to break this news to the Ladies who are so determine to qualify Sierra Leone for the female World Cup tournament.
Normally, ICC provides tickets for 14 players and two officials and the allowance for the players will be the responsibility of their government.
The Chairman of the association said he doesn’t know how to break this news to the ladies with the fear that they will lose the zeal they have for the tournament.
Apart from the above tournament, the female team will be also representing Sierra Leone in the Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament and the World Cup qualifying tournament would have been good test matches for the Commonwealth Games qualifying matches.
It would have been better if the government would have said borrow from somewhere, we will refund it when the team return Francis said.
He went on that if they use the money from ICC meant to develop the game to pay allowance for the players, ICC will frown at them and if they failed to take part in the tournament they will be suspended.
Most sports personalities have said if this decision stands, female sports in the country will die out as it will be unfair to give money to the men and live the women out.
The question everybody is asking now is whether the government is aware and in support of NSA on this decision. Few months back, the cricket female team visited President Bio at the State House and presented to him the laurels they have won for the country during and before his regime.
The same presentation was done to the Vice President at his office. Both President Bio and his Vice President Juldeh Jalloh promised the ladies that the government will do their level best to fund them to win more laurels for the country.
The fans said for such a statement to come from a government institution is unfortunate and it means they no longer care for female sports development in the country.
The female Cricket team are to depart on the 5th September to Botswana to acclimatized with the weather of the country. The contingent needs to add two more players in case a player or two are tested positive of the COVID-19 decease.
The delegation also needs at least one official and a journalist to cover and give full report on the tournament. The other doubt is very recently NSA gave allowance to female athletes, female coaches and officials for the Olympic and the Paralympic Games so why not do the same to cricket who in any case will return home with laurels. S
SALONE TIMES Sports will continue to investigate and come out with more findings on this decision. SALONE TIMES Sports also talked to the NSA media Man Eric Fomba who said he is not aware of the decision, noting that the budget is with the NSA Finance Director to look into it.