Home / SPORTS / How Sierra Leone emerged African football champions in Bremen
Ibrahim Jellow lifts up the trophy, which was presented to him by Bremen's Mayor Carsten Sieling (center). The team from Sierra Leone won on penalties against Cameroon and celebrated the title exuberantly / Photo: Courtesy of Sofia Leonidakis

How Sierra Leone emerged African football champions in Bremen

After five exciting weekends of quality football and the accompanying tension and fun, Sierra Leone beat Cameroon 5:4 to become winners of the 13th African Football Cup in Bremen on Sunday (11 August). It was however not easy for the Sierra Leoneans as they achieved their hard-won victory after a penalty shoot-out.

Senegal had it easier at the third-place match as they walloped Togo 4:1.

It was an exciting final, which took place at the Pauliner Marsch, even if tension-soaked. Until the 85th minute, the players from Sierra Leone were more than able to live up to their billing as favourites. The team, captained by Ibrahim Jellow, led Cameroon by 2-0 and already looked like the sure winners. But then Cameroon reduced the margin to 1: 2. And just moments before the end of regular time, referee Lennart Wolff (Bremer SV) gave the Cameroonians a penalty kick. Cameroon’s Junior Chi took the responsibility, scoring for a 2-2 equalizer. The Sierra Leoneans were to emerge victorious in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

A total of 16 national teams, representing their countries of origin in Africa, had been battling in Bremen since 7 July for the most prestigious African community sporting trophy in Germany.

In addition to the action on the football pitch, numerous kiosks supplied the approximately 5,000 visitors with food and drinks from the African continent while African music boomed from the speakers. It’s again a very successful tournament and the organisers, Pan-Afrikanischer Kulturverein e.V. (Pan-African Cultural Association), can pat themselves on the back for a job well done!

Politicians and officials praise the tournament as a good advertisement for the city of Bremen. On the sideline, many celebrity spectators were amazed by the quality of play at the final. Werder President Hubertus Hess-Grunewald, for example, spoke of “many good kickers at regional league level”, and Bremen’s mayor, Carsten Sieling (SPD), was pleased with the performance of the two finalists of the competition.

The participants in the African Football Cup Bremen represent members of the 9,000 strong African community in Bremen. One of the aims of the tournament is to give young African players the opportunity to showcase their talents, according to Chief Tala Awolola, chairman of the Pan-African Cultural Association.

Felix Dappah

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