Brisbane welcomes a huge number of Sierra Leoneans who converged from different states across Australia to celebrate the 62nd Independence Anniversary of their country from Friday 28th-30th April 2023.
The Independence celebration is an annual event organized to bring Sierra Leoneans in Australia together with participants enjoying their time playing football, attending cultural exhibitions and parties, and also getting the opportunity to meet old friends.
Sierra Leone gained its independence from the British Colony on April 27th, 1961. Though the country is still struggling to catch up with other nations in terms of development, some of its citizens are always proud of the little they’ve achieved and hope for a brighter future, while others are expecting more to be done.
Hence, every year, Sierra Leoneans all over the world celebrate with mixed feelings. But for those in Australia, it’s an event to bring the community together.
This was the first time descendants from Sierra Leone were able to meet in one state since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. There was a huge turnout of people and the event was partly successful with the football tournament being held to revive the old rivalries among the participating states.
In this year celebration, six teams including the host Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide all competed for the ultimate trophy in two days of competitive football played at Park Ridge. The states were drawn into groups of two, with the teams playing against each other and the top two qualifying straight to the semis.
However, a well-composed Adelaide side emerged as champions following their 2-0 win over Brisbane in the grand finals. Adelaide had a smooth run in the tournament winning all four matches with ease.
The jubilant champions sang songs of praises for their resilience and effort displayed against their opponents and hope to defend their trophy next year.
The host did their best in organizing this year’s events, but many of the attendees are not impressed with some aspects which they say were very poor.
One key area was the officiating of matches, most of the referees, especially the linesmen were inexperienced, and it raised a lot of issues with inconsistency in some critical decisions they made during the matches.
Meanwhile, there was no clear information about who would host the next Independence celebration. According to rumors, a few states were bidding for the hosting right, but the majority want Sydney to stage the next celebration.
Sydney has the largest number of Sierra Leoneans in Australia and they have a vast knowledge in organizing such events. Well, winning the hosting right will be of no importance as they’ve threatened to withdraw from the Independence Celebration Committee with an intention to host it separately starting in 2024.