Thursday Jul 18

Sierra Leonean players honoured in London as Sullay Kaikai wins best young player award

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie in London


Young Player of the Year Sullay Kaikai's parents receive award on his behalf

Past and present Sierra Leonean footballers have been honoured by Sierra Leone in an impressive colourful ceremony held at the prestigious Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London on Saturday night September 19, 2015.

Top dignitaries including the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to United Kingdom Edward Turay, Martin Davies formerly of the BBC and BBC TV Sport presenter Piers Edwards were in attendance to grace the two in one event which also commemorated the 5th anniversary of Sierra Leone

There were impressive cultural dance performances produced by Demasokhi group and a fashion show display which really entertained the targetted audience.

A total of 17 past and present footballers picked up awards and certifcates, 14 of which were lifetime achievement awards. (See full list of recipients of lifetime achievement awards at the bottom).

The 2013 and 2014 Sierra Leone Player of the year gold glittering trophies and cerificates were given out to representives of the winners Umaru 'Zingalay' Bangura and John Bankole Kamara respectively.

Both Bangura based in Belarus and Kamara who plays in Greece didn't make it to the event due to club commitments.

The duo didn't pick up their trophies in Freetown because of the outbreak of the ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone.

The Globalkall Young Player of the Year award given to a young player of Sierra Leonean heritage was won by Crystal Palace's Sullay Kaikai who has just been loaned to Shrewsbury Town.

Kaikai was voted by readers of Sierra Leone defeating two other short-listed players
Arsenal's Glen Kamara and Alie Sesay of Leceister City.

He was not at the ceremony to pick up his trophy but sent his two parents Sullay Kaikai Jr and Navo Kaikai to collect his prize. 

He however, sent a video message which was played for the audience to hear.

He said: "Unfortunately I'm not able to receive the award in person tonight due to footballing circumstances."

"I'm currently playing for Shrewsbury Town on loan and therefore I'm out of London and I would not be able to make it in time due to my match.

So on my behalf my parents will do the honour by collecting it for me."

"I'm very humbled by the award and I would like to thank every one that voted for me.

Please continue to show your faith in me as I would try my hardest to make Sierra Leone proud. Thank you."

Kaikai's mother Navo Kaikai who went on stage with her husband to receive the trophy and cerificate from Kingsley Odame-Danquah, a representative of the sponsors of the event Globalkall,  said they were proud to be at the event to receive a prize on behalf of their son.

"It's a privilege and honour to stand here to receive an award on behalf of my last child, my baby, " Said Navo Kaikai.

She added: "He was excited when we told him that we were coming to this award ceremony."

"He's been to Sierra Leone several  times, even last year we were in Sierra Leone in May. He went and practiced with the national team and we went with the coach."

"Even last week we got an email from the President of the SLFA asking Sulaiman to go and play for the Under 21 national ream but unfortunately on Tuesday he was called upon to go to Shrewsbury on loan.

So that was why he didn't go and could not make it to this event."

"It's better to be the mother of a footballer, so when the footballer is not around she receives the award."

Prizes were given out to Craig Bellamy Foundation and the sports wear manufacturers Hummel for their contributions to Sierra Leone football.

An official of Hummel, Jan Borup Jensen, flew all the way from Denmark to receive a crystal shield and certificate in the event.

The Craig Bellamy Foundation owned by former Liverpool, Manchester City and Wales international Craig Bellamy runs a football academy in Sierra Leone and Hummel were formerly kit suppliers for Leone Stars.

Among former footballers who were available on the night to pick up their lifetime achievement awards were former Leone Stars captain John Sama and Atto Mensah who traveled to London from Netherlands.

Both Mensah and Sama expressed happiness for being honoured and thanked Sierra Leone for recognising past and present footballers.

"I'm pleased to receive this award and I'll keep it. It's an honour to be recognised," said Sama after receiving his award.

Mensah and Osman Tolo Sesay who played for several teams including East End Lions also received posthumous awards on behalf of late Ishmael Dyfan and Brima Atouga Kamara respectively.

Mensah gave a touching tribute to Dyfan after receiving the award and a certificate.

He said: "Dyfan was a brother, friend, and hero and was a good man.

"He was the best till I came to Sierra Leone.  People think we were rivals but we were never rivals, we were rather brothers," said Mensah.

"We should try to honour our heroes when they are alive," he advised.

The other trophies for the lifetime achievements winners were received by their representatives at the event.

Idrissa 'Toras' Bangura formerly of Mighty Blackpool now stays in London was among ex-footballers who graced the ceremony.

The Chief Executive Officer and main content provider of the website Mohamed Fajah Barrie introduced new awards, Sierra Leone Goal king of the year and best coach of the year.

The goal king award takes effect this year but not the same for the best coach award.

The best coach award only takes effect when local football competitions organised by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) resumes based on criteria set out by the Sierra Leone Technical Committee.

Speeches were made in the event. High Commissioner Edward Turay made a short speech while the Director of Sierra Leone  Sulaiman Jabati spoke about the 5th anniversary of the website and the journey so far.

List of past and present players honoured at the event.

2013 Best Player of the year – Umaru Bangura

2014 Best Player of the year – John Kamara

2014/2015 Globalkall Best Young Player of the year-Sullay Kaikai

Special Lifetime Achievement Awards commemorating our 5th anniversary.

Mohamed Kallon 
John Sama
Atto Mensah
Ibrahim Koroma (Junior Parade) Lamin Conteh (Junior Tumbu)
Abu Bakarr Kamara (Tostao)
Ibrahim Bah
Osaio Marah
Abdulai Sesay (Decox)
Kemokai Kallon
Kama Dumbuya 
Umaru Deen Sesay
Ismail Dyfan (Posthumous)Brima Atouga Kamara (Posthumous)

Outstanding Contribution to Sierra Leone Football

Craig Bellamy Foundation


Sierra Leone trophies awarded on the night


Chief Patron HE Edward Turay


Sierra Leone Awards organisers cutting the cake 


De-Masokhi dancers


Young Player of the Year Award picked up by Sulaiman Kaikai's parents


BBC's Piers Edwards presenting Outstanding Contribution Award trophy to Hummel's Jan Borup Jensen


Izelia Fashions


Jan Borup Jensen(Hummel), The Bittars(, Frank Magnus Cole(President SWASAL)




John Sama being presented with his Lifetime Achievement award by BBC's Piers Edwards


Atto Mensah with his Lifetime Achievement award


De-Masokhi performers