24 July 2012

Sierra Leone: Diamond Stars Win Salone Premier League Title

The Diamond Stars of Kono have written their names in the history book of Sierra Leone football by becoming the first provincial team to win the Sierra Leone National Premier League title.

The Gem Boys, who were the league's biggest money spenders, were able to beat off the stiff contention put forward by Kallon FC for the 2011/2012 Premier League title finishing with 50 points from 26 matches, three more points ahead of Kallon FC.

The history makers had to wait till the final day of the league thanks to their 2-1 Freetown City FC win at the Wusum ground in Makeni whilst their title rivals Kallon FC only managed a 2-2 draw against East End Lions in Freetown.

Former Freetown City FC defender, Kemson Fofanah gave Diamond Stars the lead in the 31st minute with Musa Bambamba Fofanah doubling the lead to 2-0 but the 10-man Freetown City FC battled to pull one back through striker Mark Kamara which saw the match end 2-1 in favour of the eventual champions.

However, Diamond Stars coach, who was a former Sierra Leone national team's defender, Lamin Bangura attributed the team's success to hard work and sponsorship.

The former Central Parade coach said the club's sponsorship from mining company, Koidu Holdings, played a key role in their lifting the title because they were able to secure the signature of good players who helped gave the team a facelift.

"We were the best sponsored team in Sierra Leone and that transformed into winning the title. Truly we deserved to win the title because we played well for it throughout the campaign," Coach Bangura said adding that he was delighted to be the first coach to take the premier league crown to the province.

Diamond Stars' success implies that they will be the country's representative in next year's Confederations of Africa Football, CAF Champions league.

Though it would be their first appearance in the CAF champions' league, Diamond Stars have represented Sierra Leone in both the non-operational Africa Cup Winners Cup and the CAF Cup tournaments.

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