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Jan/20/05. Sierra Leone international striker Mohamed Kallon has joined many other African players plying their trade in France. He talks exclusively to Ibrahim Dabo about football in France, Italy, links to the British Premier League, football in his country Sierra Leone and some of the issues affecting its progress.

 

Football in France may seem to be going on well so far for Mohamed Kallon who moved to AS Monaco FC last summer after spending most of the previous season on the Inter Milan bench in Italy. Ranked among Africa’s top players in Europe, Kallon has previously played for a number of clubs in Italy where he gained much experience. Prior to his arrival in France, he was linked to a number of other clubs but with the UEFA Champions League in his mind, the France move seemed eminent.

 

The striker is currently the leading goal scorer in the league with ten goals and having created an impact with his club so far, he sees the move to Le Championnat as a good one. “So far, when you think about all the problems I've had in Italy and all the rest, God helped me make a good decision to come to Monaco and I think I appreciate everything that has happened from when the season started to now,” said Kallon.

 

However, it was tough for him to quickly adapt to the French system of playing because his role has been changed, something he says he has now been able to deal with. “When I came to Monaco, they changed my way of playing, they have changed my position and I now play in the midfield. The football here [in France] is different so it was difficult for me when the league started - like two to three months into the league but now it's ok because I have adapted and I am presently the leading goal scorer,” said the 25-year-old.

 

Many consider the Italian league as one of the toughest leagues and having played there during most of his career, Kallon admits that football in Italy cannot be compared to France. “The Italian league and the French league are completely different leagues. Football in Italy is different, the mentality is different, the tactics and the football are actually different and they take the games much more seriously. The way they prepare for matches here is different. They play individual football, individual skills and everyone does what he is capable of doing because everybody has his own mentality when playing football,” he said.

 

Monaco is already through to the semi-finals of the French League Cup and the striker is without doubt looking forward to start winning honors with the club. “Yes, yes, that is one of my targets,” he says. “That is one of my projects for this year and if we get to the final of the League Cup, it would be a big opportunity for us to win because we beat Caen 5-2 last weekend [in a league match] and we have to play them again in the semi-final [of the league cup]. Although it is going to be a different game, I believe we would be able to beat them and make it to final.”

 

While the striker may be enjoying his first season with Monaco, he pointed out that the club is always involved in major competitions, which is one of the reasons keeping him happy there. “The most important thing is that they always participate in one of the most important championships - the [UEFA] Champions League or the UEFA Cup and in the league, they are always competing with the other teams to become the champions,” he said. 

 

Kallon has often been linked with a move to the English Premier league, Birmingham City been one of the clubs interested in him. Birmingham boss Steve Bruce declared not too long ago that he admires the African striker. A move would have helped reinforce his striking force at the St. Andrews grounds.

 

The striker admitted that Birmingham was interested in him but dispelled any possible move to the premiership outfit. “I am happy, really happy for the interest Birmingham has showed in me because their manager called me, my manager and also contacted Monaco to seek a possible transfer but Monaco could not accept the deal and I also refused to go there. With one of my main focus being to play in the champions league, I don't think I was ready to move,” he said. Kallon has played for Monaco in the champions league where he has already recorded a goal.

 

Nevertheless, the striker admires the premier league so much and will consider a move if he gets an offer from a top side. “Yes, I would like to play in England because it will be a very big opportunity for me and it will also be a very good experience for me, but you never know. Anyway, let's see what happens but if I get any big club and big offer from England, I will be interested in playing there. But for now, I am in Monaco and I believe this is a very big team, a very ambitious team, young team that is just improving,” he said.

 

Kallon has enjoyed some amount of success at professional level during his career but however, football in his home country Sierra Leone has not been moving too well lately. In 2003, football in the country was at a standstill for several months as a result of an impasse among stakeholders in the game, which culminated into a change of leadership in the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

 

The national team has failed to live up to expectation and being a key player in the national team, Kallon said seeking his country’s interest is what got him deeply involved in a move to get things right in the football association. “I was 100% involved in the campaign and I was on the opposition side for us to change the former SLFA executive because I am seeking my country's interest. I believe Nahim Khadi [present SLFA president]  is one of the people that have done great things for football in Sierra Leone because during his own time, everybody saw the contribution he made to Sierra Leone football,” he said.

 

Many people blamed the former football association executive for contributing to the lack of progress of football in the country. Many may also be concerned whether the new changes in the football association would really bring much change that is expected to see progress in the game.

 

“For now the league has not yet started but the FA Cup is currently in progress and now in the semifinal stages. Then when the international competition begins with the African Championship, then after they start the league... I believe from now to next year when we begin to play the competition, the qualifying rounds again, we would be able to judge them and see whether or not they [the FA] are doing a good job but for now, they are doing very well,” said Kallon.

 

The striker is without doubt aware of his role and contribution to the national team and was quick to note that playing for his country is something he enjoys most. “I am a footballer and I have so much interest for Sierra Leone or Leone Stars because I love my country so much and football is only what I can give to my country. Playing for my country is one of my happiest moments because that is one of the things that give me great satisfaction."

 

"And for my fans in Sierra Leone, whenever I play, the satisfaction I give to them is what increases their love for the game."

 

Sierra Leone football fans may also be concerned about the future of the national team and how soon it would impress and qualify for international competitions. With the joint qualifying rounds for both the African Nations Cup and the World Cup ahead, the team has to prepare to fully participate in the competition in 2006.

 

However, the striker is still hopeful that he could achieve something with the team Leone Stars. "My wish and willingness is to take Sierra Leone to one of the highest levels in football,” he said. “Football is an unpredictable sport. I will never take the Nations Cup or the World Cup off my mind but time is moving on and one cannot play the game for a very long time," he noted.

 

Presently, there are not many Sierra Leoneans playing top level of football abroad, which is one of the aspects that would make the team's chances of qualifying for big tournaments a more complex task. However, Kallon noted that even when his football career is over, he would still show support to his country so that it would excel to higher levels. "If I can't do it [to qualify for the nations cup or world cup] within my own time, when I am actually playing football, I would still be around to support and do everything I can to enable my country to participate in one of the biggest competitions in the world," he said.

 

The West African country has suffered during a decade of civil war. This may have affected the progress of the game to some extent. The level of football has dropped and Kallon highlighted some of the factors affecting the national team's progress.

 

He cautioned that people should stop using the impacts of the war as the sole reason for the team’s failure asserting that politics should be restrained from the game. “One thing that I have always wanted people to make up their mind and stop talking about is, when they keep saying it is because of the war [that the team has not been progressing]. The war has been over in Freetown for some time now as everybody understands but some people tend to switch from football to the political side,” he said.

 

“Politics should be avoided in football and coming back to the sport in Sierra Leone, some of those that are involved in the sport are the ones involved in politics because they used their political influence to exploit the sport. They misused the Football Association funds and because they are politicians, they eventually win the case in court, which caused the level of football to decrease."

 

"Then secondly, I will blame journalists in the country because they criticize the sport so much that people loose interest to go and watch the sport. Because if the players are coming to play football [for the national team] and they criticize them, it makes people loose interest in the sport - so these are the few things affecting the sport in Sierra Leone.”

 

The country has previously qualified for the African Nations Cup in 1994 and 1996 where they failed to cross the first rounds on both occasions. Sierra Leoneans will be waiting to see what package the Leone Stars could offer in the near future with qualification for the Nations Cup being the foremost objective.

 

 

Monaco FC Website: 

Mohamed Kallon's Profile


24/03/04.  Enthusiasm has filled the air as Arsenal is desperately seeking to win the English Premier League this season in a dramatic style. Much has been talked about the English giants who are yet to loose a premier league match this season - having already played 29 - as they have held on to an incredible form so far.

Currently topping the table by twelve points and judging by their outstanding performance, seemingly, it is now widely believed by many that the gunners are well prepared to continue producing good results in their remaining matches and probably continue their premiership unbeaten run to eventually win the championship.

It could also be realized that the team is very much prepared to prove many of critics wrong. My colleague, Stewart Coggin (SoccerAge.com Intl Chief) shares his views exclusively with me on the current form of the team.

While many football lovers might be wondering where the secret of the team's success lie, Stewart Coggin has some of the answers: "The great form of Thierry Henry, the settled back four and the remarkable team spirit are some of the main reasons behind the success. Kolo Toure has proved a vital player for us this season, and few would have predicted that. Jens Lehmann -barring a couple of embarrassing errors in goal- has been another boost."

Very much composed, Frenchman Arsene Wenger and his boys might be aware that such form is also accompanied with the desire and thirst for winning trophies, but, can they really win any? "This Arsenal team has the right balance of pace, power, technique and flair to achieve big things." Says Coggin.

However, Arsenal's unconvincingly slow start in this year's UEFA Champions League raised sentiments that their participation in the top competition would again be a failure as they nearly crashed out during the early stages.

Nevertheless, a sound comeback has left them in contention for the championship and they have regained great confidence, high momentum and winning spirit.

Having now reached the quarterfinals, the question is whether their European campaign will culminate in the winning of the competition: "Yes, I genuinely believe Arsenal can win the Champions League this season," says Coggin.

But they might face tough challenges ahead: "I think Milan are the greatest threat to them achieving this. I would also say Real Madrid are a threat, but I'm not sure they have a strong enough defence to go all the way. Arsenal have this deep inner belief these days, and this will help them go far," he noted.

Undoubtedly, striker Thierry Henry has been in magnificent form this season. Presently the leading goal scorer in the premier league with 21 goals, Henry has been the lynchpin of a deadly attack spearheading the team in their run to triumph and with his undoubted skills; he has created an impact in every match he has played this season. "I do think Henry is now the world's greatest player," admits Coggin.

"He is surely the most spectacular. His dribbling abilities, his pace and superb technique dazzle defenders week in, week out. Not just in the Premiership either. We all saw what he did to Javier Zanetti and the Inter defence at the San Siro...," he concludes.

Henry's hot form this season may have caught the eyes of many European club presidents including Real Madrid's Florentino Perez. The 27-year-old striker was the closest opponent to French compatriot, Madrid's Zinedine Zidane - in the 2003 FIFA World Player of the Year Award. Many pundits and football lovers are predicting him to deservedly win the next World Player of the Year Award.   







Sebastian Beierling
'we (The Addicted) would be honored to come to Africa. The power of Africa's heritage would be of great inspiration to the band and the mix between their British sound and their naturally Italian style could be well appreciated.'

'The Addicted's British sound is blended with a Naturally Italian Style'

23rd.Oct.2003. Exclusive Interview With Seb Beierling, Manager, Dreaming Management, a company overseeing a young Italian Band -Addicted-. Mr. Beierling is a former Serie A special reporter for SoccerAge.com - Italy.

IBRAHIM DABO: The performance of African players in Italy is however sometimes affected by racism and this applies not only among fans but certain clubs as well. How difficult is it to fight racism in Italy?

SEBASTIAN BEIERLING: It is becoming a rather serious problem that should be long gone from football all over the world. Unfortunately Italy is going through a time where it is having to adapt to the constant arrival of foreigners from poorer countries and this is proving difficult. Furthermore the government is doing nothing to solve the constant hooligan behavior of the fans of both the Serie A and B teams leaving the crowds free to attack any one they want, both verbally and physically. This factor goes alongside the growth of the neo-fascist groups that live side by side with the hooligans making life very difficult for African players, but not only for them.

Al Saad Ghaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi and captain of the national team as well as deputy president of the Libyan Football Federation, joined Perugia during the transfer season. Would you say his move comes within the realms of the investments the Ghaddafi family has in Italian football in recent times?
Personally I consider this move a joke. We are talking about the Serie A, one of the most difficult leagues in the world, if not the most difficult, and Perugia sign a mediocre player such as Al Saad Ghaddafi. This move is solely a financial one, connected to others the Ghaddafi family have made (such as buying shares in Juventus), which underlines the confusion in Italian football (Roma and Naples allowed to play in their divisions even if they failed to pay the inscription fee within the deadline and a second division with 24 teams because the government decided so after a extraordinary voting session that brought the politicians back from holiday: something that the war on Iraq didn't).

Which African player has impressed you most recently?
It will definitely have to be Obafemi Martins; a player that has the potential of becoming a world class striker.

Italy has been well known for their defensive style of playing. Is this a key factor that led to their early exit in the last World Cup?
Definitely, even if Italians are still blaming the referee Moreno. One has to admit that Moreno was not up to refereeing a match at the World Cup, Italy has only itself to blame for not having beaten S. Korea. The attitude of the manager is that of one who scores a single goal (preferably in the first 10 minutes) and then 11 men defend for the remaining 80: which is a ridiculous tactic when one considers the immense talent the Italians strikers have, Totti, Del Piero, Vieri and Inzaghi to name a few.

Their exit from the World Cup was however later overshadowed by the top achievements of Italian clubs in the Champions League and UEFA. Is it worth noting that Italian sides have regained momentum in Europe?
Italian teams have understood that they are not the best in Europe any more and they are working on their attitude, a complacent one in the past, in order to change this. Last season's Champions League final is proof of an immense improvement even if one will have to wait and see if they can confirm this performance again this year, or if it was just a one off thing.

The wave of financial constrains have also been blowing among Serie A clubs recently. Top players such as Alessandro Del Piero and Paolo Maldini have accepted cutbacks while about 20 Lazio players have accepted to see their contracts extended in which part of their salaries will be paid for via shares in the club. Are cutbacks or the latter for example, the only way to solve such obstacles or is this problem likely to continue?
This problem is destined to continue when teams like Roma, Naples, Lazio and others with financial problems are still allowed to take part in the Serie A or B. Unless the Lega Calcio decides to take a real stand and clean up Italian football throwing anyone out of law out of the professional Leagues no matter who they are, this will never change.

The recent acquisition of Chelsea by the dynamic Russian Billionaire oil Tycoon has shown that there are people still committed to pumping money into soccer. Do you think the acquisition was a worthwhile deal despite what we hear in terms of clubs finances?
If one has money to throw away then buying a team and signing the top players from all over the world is certainly an fun game to play. Unfortunately there are not that many Roman Abramovich in Serie A and so we are stuck with the Geddafi's who pay to play.

On to a soccer unrelated topic; you are presently the Manager of Dreaming Management, which promotes the ' Addicted', a young and promising Italian band. How would you rate this group?
Even if they are all Italian (apart from the singer who was born in London) their music has to be defined as British rock, influenced by the likes of the Who and the Rolling Stones. They are, at this present moment in time, on tour in London and are playing numerous gigs, with 2 extremely important venues on Friday the 24th [Oct] and Saturday the 25th [Oct]. Time will tell how far they can really go, but they have the potential to go all the way and find themselves on the same levels as their idols.

Suppose I have a program in Africa, am I welcome to invite this group to perform in their usual Italian style, which I am very sure many people might like out here?
Of course! And we would be honored to come to Africa. The power of Africa's heritage would be of great inspiration for the band and the mix between their British sound and their naturally Italian style could be well appreciated.

Thanks a lot for your special time Mr. Beierling. What are your last words?
Thank you Mr Dabo for this pleasant interview I enjoyed answering your questions and I would like to wish you the best of luck for the future.

Related link:
>>
The Addicted




Miatta T. Dabo
'It is important that judges or law professors or anyone involved in international law or any kind of international human rights class be schooled on what exactly happens in "international" law.'
>>
Miatta's Profile
Miatta T. Dabo (FV)

25th.June.03. No matter what, without hard work, no viable amount of success would be achieved whether in business or administrative sectors, etc. However, if success in life was synonymous with hard work, then Miatta T. Dabo would amply deserve it.

Being a model, Miatta was among the participants in the Miss
Sierra Leone USA beauty pageant 2003 which was held in Washington D.C. on June 21st. She won the first runner up position and she feels really good, as one of her aims was to raise funds for children in the Sierra Leone Orphanage home.

As one would start to think that this young talented beauty focuses only on modeling, Miatta - with a lot of courage and determination in hard work - is rather more ambitious with a proffession in law and accountancy.

Coming from a Country that had been greatly affected by a decade of civil war, she has also been a panelist on law club panels educating judges about the war in
Sierra Leone
and its effects on international communities. She is also a 'passionate child advocate' and also works with several human rights organizations.

With a lot more in mind, this devoted young prodigy talks exclusively about her career, how she felt on winning the first runner up in the Ms.
Sierra Leone USA 2003 and lots more.

IBRAHIM DABO: Now, how was it like to represent your Country in the Miss Sierra Leone/USA Beauty Pageant 2003?

MIATTA T. DABO: It felt really great. I am very proud of my culture and heritage and use every opportunity I get to show that talent, beauty and history of Sierra Leone.

How did you feel winning the 1st runners-up spot?
My goal in participating in the competition was to raise money for the children in the
Sierra Leone Orphanage home. I work with amnesty international, children international, equality now and children international. The focus of these organizations, includes in pertinent part, promoting the interests of underprivileged children in developing countries. As a passionate child advocate, ending up as first runner up is winning what I set out to achieve and that is raising funds for these innocent children. Moreover, I am sure that Ms. Sierra Leone USA 2003 will work to achieve the goals of the organization and work toward helping the plight of the orphans.

Also been an attorney and accountant, do you really enjoy being a model?
I love being a model. Its very very different from being an accountant and a lawyer. Because, law and accountancy are such conservative professions, I use modeling as an outlet for my fun, creative and free spirited nature.

You were the first student at Morgan State University to graduate from their 2 year MBA (Masters in Business Administration) program in 1 year in 1998. With a lot of hard work, was this initially what you expected?
Well, I set out to graduate in one year because I was tired of school and just wanted to get it over with. It was intense but it was actually the best experience of my life. God really got me through it. Everything fell into place as the right classes were offered at the right time and my colleagues and teachers were very supportive. I had expected to work hard and I enjoy working hard. It didn't hurt that most of my professors were former professors from undergraduate classes.

Graduating as a business student, what inspired you to do law?
I have always loved law - I guess I was inspired by perry mason - I probably did not feel like I was ready to go out into the workforce.

One of the worse atrocities on mankind in the last century, occurred in your Country during a decade long civil war. Thousands of people were killed and about 1,500 (young & old) had their limbs amputated. Don't you think more awareness should be created by concerned citizens to help the displaced?
Of course, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Its so sad that the impact of the war is an afterthought in places other than
Sierra Leone. Our priorities have shifted so much and we have become so selfish that all we worry about are our finances and immediate family. I have said this before and continue to stand by it -- the need for reform and peace in a country plagued with ignorance, war, destruction and mass genocide is great. Raping, killing, mutilating and intimidating innocent civilians is wrong and those who partake of such atrocities should pay dearly for their actions. It is a basic tenet of humanity that we as Sierra Leoneans work together to help the plight of the land that we love--"our Sierra Leone."

Being a panelist on law club panels, you have been educating Judges about the war in Sierra Leone and its effects on International Communities. Can you please tell us more about this significant move?
It is important that judges or law professors or anyone involved in international law or any kind of international human rights class be schooled on what exactly happens in "international" law. Speaking on such panels allows me to put a face with the theory. It allows the judges to understand exactly what the international court is all about.

A lawyer, accountant and model; a combination of three major professions. Don't you get too occupied at times?
No, not professionally I don't. I love all three and enjoy them immensely.

How do you spend your leisure times?
Dancing, hanging out, movies, reading, sleeping or writing.

What are your last words?
The children are our future and it is our implicit duty as humans to make sure they have access to education, food, shelter and clothing. Thank you Ibm.

Miatta was Ms. Sierra Leone International in 2004.
>>
Miatta's Profile


 

 


PIER LUIGI GIGANTI
'penetration of 3G services in this area [African Countries] will also depend on the arrangements in place for granting UMTS licenses in such countries.'

Pier Luigi Giganti (Senior Engineer, H3G - Italy)

-Jan.03- Pier Luigi Giganti - International Billing Programme, Head Of Balance Manager, Provisioning And Mediation, IT Development - H3G Italy. Mr. Giganti is a former OSS Design Consultant - Hutchison 3G UK

Ibrahim Dabo had the opportunity of conducting an exclusive interview with Pier Luigi Giganti, who has vast knowledge and experience in the field of telecom. While responding to questions, Mr. Giganti talks exclusively about Hutchison 3G and its services, the difference between the Third Generation Mobile services and that of the present technology and football. READ INTERVIEW


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