Isha Johansen has become only the second female leader of a national governing body after being appointed as the new president of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).
Johansen was elected unopposed in what has been a controversial process that has seen three other candidates disqualified from standing. Ahead of Saturday’s elections FIFA decided to support the decision taken by the SLFA’s interim committee to disqualify Mohamed Kallon, Rodney Michael and Foday Turay from the presidential polls. Johansen’s first task will be to ensure the resumption of league football in the West African country after clubs staged a boycott in the wake of the bans handed to the three presidential candidates.
“I want to use this holy month of Ramadan and this opportunity to extend my hand of peace to Rodney Michael, Mohamed Kallon and Foday Turay,” said Johansen, according to BBC Sport. “I’m the winner but I don’t consider them as losers. We can work together because I don’t have all the ideas – I appeal for the anger to stop. In the next three months we’ll be holding an extraordinary conference to map out the way forward, we’ll have a blue print.”
Johansen joins Burundi Football Federation (FFB) president Lydia Nsekera as the head of an African national governing body. Nsekera created history in June by being elected as the first-ever female member of FIFA’s powerful Executive Committee.