Johansen to be first female president of SLAFA


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Isha Johansen is set to become the first female president of the Sierra Leone Football Association.

The 48-year-old Johansen, who owns local club FC Johansen, is running unopposed in Saturday’s election because all her rival candidates have been disqualified.

The elections had been scheduled for last year, but were postponed several times because of disagreements over who is eligible to stand for the presidency.

Last December, FIFA formed a local committee to conduct the election. But the committee disqualified candidate Mohamed Kallon, a former Inter Milan and Monaco striker, because he has not been living in the country recently. The committee also disqualified Rodney Michael and Foday Turay for links to gambling.

That leaves Johansen, who has been involved in local football since returning from overseas and even started her own team nine years ago.

Johansen is married to the Norwegian Consul in Sierra Leone, Arne Johansen. She is also the head of Women of Excellence, which annually recognizes women who have contributed to the socio-economic development of the country.

Despite making history in Sierra Leone if she is the first female to lead the national football federation, Johansen would not be the first in Africa. Lydia Nsekera is the head of the Burundi Football Federation, and Izetta Wesley is the former leader of the Liberian federation.

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