Sierra Leone coach John Keister readies home-based players for Afcon qualifiers

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Sierra Leone Media
The Leone Stars last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 1996

Sierra Leone coach John Keister is pinning hopes on home-based players when they resume their 2019 Afcon qualifying campaign with a trip to Ethiopia in September.

After drawing 0-0 with Liberia in an international friendly match on Sunday, Keister was left pleased with his locally-based men who dominated the squad.

Defenders Alie Sesay of Swedish second-tier side IK Frej and Mustapha Dumbuya, who turn out for Scottish side Partick Thistle were the only foreign-based players who started against Liberia.

“Most of the senior boys are back at their clubs now for pre-season, so it is difficult to bring them in if it is not a Fifa calendar friendly match,” Keister said.

“But then again it doesn’t stop us from working with the boys back home which I think should be the base. It is a big opportunity for these home-based boys.

“It gives them the belief that they have got an opportunity to get into the seniors when and if required. That was an important match in terms of their development. Now we have an idea of them if we need anyone and how we can go about it.

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“I have said this project with the home-based players is a project of two years. It is not for tomorrow. Going into the Afcon is a different and they understand that. We need to look at these for the future. The future is about these boys.”

Having started their Afcon journey with a 2-1 home win over Kenya, Sierra Leone travel to Ethiopia hoping to maintain their fine start.

Keister hopes for another warm-up match before they face Ethiopia.

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