FREETOWN (AFP) – The first female president of Sierra Leone's football federation said on Monday her election signified the "dawn of a new era" in the sport and vowed to boost the women's game.
Isha Johansen, 48, ran unopposed in Saturday's election for the presidency of the Sierra Leone Football Association after her rival candidates were all disqualified.
"I am looking forward to a more healthy and renewed football in Sierra Leone," she told reporters in the capital Freetown.
"People should expect a president who will encourage the development of football, bringing in more education, as there are so many young kids who want to play football but dont want to go to school.
"We shall also see female football grow."
A local committee set up by FIFA had disqualified former Inter Milan and Monaco striker Mohamed Kallon as he had not been a recent Sierra Leone resident, while Rodney Michael and Foday Turay were ruled out for links to gambling.
Johansen, who founded and runs the Sierra Leone Premier League side FC Johansen with her Norwegian husband Arne Birger Johansen, said the disqualifications followed the letter of the law and she appealed for unity within the sport.
"I have stretched forth my hand, an olive branch, and I have asked for peace and sanity to prevail, and have asked for calm and for all bickering and fighting to stop so that we can all work together," she said.
Johansen will be one of two female football chiefs in the global game, alongside Lydia Nsekera of Burundi.