The Lone Star of Sierra Leone is back in the African Cup of Nations thanks to a narrow victory on Tuesday, but how precious it is against Benin (1-0), at the Lansana Conté Stadium in Conkary, Guinea.
A game that was scheduled and rescheduled, Covid cases prevented kickoff on several counts, accusations and CAF interventions, finally the return and final game to determine the last ticket for AFCON 2021 is now known.
As expected both teams engaged in high gears from the blast of the whistle. The first chance of the match came in the 6th minute when Beninese Jordan Adéoti's shot was saved by Mohamed Camara. But this was not enough to scare the Sierra Leoneans who were moving forward in a thoughtful manner, breaking from sporadic counter attacks.
The captain, Umaro Bangura and his teammates, supported by a strong community of supporters, pushed and put Benin in difficulty. They were even rewarded in the 20th minute following a handball by Kaled Adenon in the penalty area. The referee then whistled the penalty. Kei Kamara stepped up and scored. One goal that will go down in history as one that relaunched Sierra Leone's AFCON quest after 25 years in the waiting.
Despite the push of the Beninese, the score remained unchanged. Benin (3rd, 7 points -1) remained at the quayside and Sierra Leone (2nd, 7 points 0) snatched the last ticket thanks to its better goal-average (0 against -1). The Lone Star will then accompany Nigeria (1st, 14 points +7) to complete the list of 24 teams to participate at next year's Africa Cup of Nations competition, Cameroon 2021.