CAMEROON 15 January, 2021 — Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President and Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee Member who also chairs the CAF women’s Committee, Isha Johansen has joined FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and other African Member Football Association (FA) Presidents, and global entrepreneurs and dignitaries in Yaounde, Cameroon to witness the opening of the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN TOTAL) in Cameroon.
(Photo: Isha Johansen and FIFA President)
Initially scheduled to have taken place in April 2020, the tournament was postponed to January 2021 due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The Confederation of African Football gave the green light for the African Nations Football Championship in Cameroon to take place with spectators with COVID-19 measures implemented.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrived in Yaounde on Friday morning ahead of start of the Championship, Cameroon 2020. The SLFA President met Infantino at a meeting ahead of Saturday’s start of the tournament for home-based players in Africa and are expected to discuss African football development and SLFA’s efforts to continue to implement its football development projects despite the covid-19 challenges.
Johansen is also meeting with a number of global football stakeholders including the pride of the African Continent and global icon, Cameroonian Samuel Eto who is also a CAF Ambassador and from the host country.
(Photo: Isha Johansen and Samuel Eto)
Johansen attended Friday’s CAF Executive Committee meeting before witnessing the event to crown Issa Hayatou as the honorary President of CAF. The SLFA President alongside FIFA President and other football leaders will be present at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde for the opening CHAN match between Cameroon and Zimbabwe.
Speaking from Cameroon, Isha Johansen shared her experience of rebuilding and rebranding football in Sierra Leone amid COVID 19 and how football is still both a challenge and opportunity. She praised the government and people of Sierra Leone for the progress made, commending FIFA and CAF for the unflinching support to the development of football in Sierra Leone and Africa at large.
“It’s a new dawn. Africa deserves better, Sierra Leone deserves better, and I am committed and determined to change the game for the better and to being able to become football leaders of today and tomorrow. We are working with the real game changers, in promoting football for peace and maintaining integrity. We are changing the narratives for good”, said Johansen.
Johansen called on football stakeholders to raise the game and promote peace and integrity in football. She said football breaks the vicious cycle of poverty and promote peace. It is the most powerful tool that communities and young people have to change their future.
In a remarkable story of resilience, hope and women leadership in football, Johansen who is also the owner of FC Johansen and CAF Executive Committee member is pursuing her vision of taking Sierra Leone football to the world.
Isha Johansen currently serves as President of the Sierra Leonean Football Association. She is the only female president of a football association in Africa, and one of only three female FA presidents in the world. She credits her father’s passion for the sport as her inspiration and the start of her lifelong involvement in football. In 2004 she founded the internationally successful youth team – FC Johansen, using football to provide structure, training, education and opportunities for children displaced by Sierra Leone’s civil war.
She is a vocal advocate for good governance in the sport and is the first woman to have served on FIFA’s Security and Integrity Committee and as well as FIFA’s Women’s committee.
Johansen is the first Sierra Leonean to Match Commission or officiate a Fifa World Cup tournament (Women’s World Cup 2015 -CANADA).
(Photo: Isha Johansen and Issa Hayatou, CAF President)
(Photo: Isha Johansen and Anthony Baffoe, Ghanaian born Bundesliga international footballer star, currently CAF Deputy General Secretary
(Photo: Isha Johansen and Daniel Alexander “Danny” Jordaan South African FA President)
(Photo: FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Issa Hayatou, CAF President)
(Photo: Isha Johansen and Augustin Senghor, Senegal FA President)