ANSC Challenge World Cup Grand Final Preview: Sierra Leone Vs Thailand 

Sierra Leone and Thailand will face off in the 2024 ANSC Challenge World Cup grand finale on Sunday, with both teams set for a landmark history. 

By Magdalene S. Konneh

Sierra Leone intends to lift the ANSC Challenge World Cup for the first time when they tackle Thailand in the grand finals scheduled for Sunday, 25th February 2024, at Potts Park in Yagoona.

The Sierra Leone side began the competition with a bang, maintaining a five-game unbeaten streak and defeating the likes of Nigeria, Bosnia, Syria, Lebanon and Cape Verde on their journey to reach the finals. 

Since Yusif Kamara took over the team as head coach, Sierra Leone has improved massively with a run of wins and only fell short in the NSW African Cup finals when they lost to South Sudan 4-0. 

The team has since recovered from that misfortune and looks forward to overpowering Thailand to win the Challenge World Cup as a precious gift for the community. 

Sierra Leone and Thailand have met twice before in the tournament, clashing in the 2021 semi-finals, with the Lion Mountain Boys walking away victorious following their 5-4 win on penalties as goalkeeper James Kobba became the hero after making critical saves to send his side to the finals.

In 2023, the two sides met on the group stage, with Sierra Leone edging the Thais 2-0. 

This is the second time the Sierra Leone community has reached the grand finals. The team will learn from their mistakes in 2021, when they lost 1-0 to Holland at Parry Park in Lakemba, with optimism to set an impeccable imprint on multicultural football. 

“Winning the Challenge World Cup will be a massive gift for the community. We know reaching the grand final is already an achievement, but our aim is to win the trophy”.

“As a team, we want to write history for our community. We are going into the match with one goal, which is to win. We have the players, and we can lift the trophy on Sunday”.  

“All the old players and those who recently joined us have created a huge impact on the squad, and they are determined to complete the story”, the gaffer, Kamara, said. 

Sierra Leone Captain, Ahmed Jabbie with the runners up trophy in 2021

Thailand, on the other hand, has a vast scoring prowess, beating Italy, Qatar, India, Korea and Niger as they navigate their way to set up a final against Sierra Leone. 

The potential Golden Boot winner for this year’s tourney, Takuma Hirano, who has scored 13 goals for Thailand, is confident to take on the Sierra Leone defence, delivering for this side in the finals.   

“It has been an impressive tournament so far, and we are determined to finish the work. For us, playing in the final is a special thing. We know Sierra Leone has a great record against us, but we will be breaking that barrier on Sunday”. 

“We are approaching the game with calmness, no panic at all. We must play our style of football, and we will be ready to make an upset. Our squad is confident, we play for each other, and we score goals”. 

“Also, we know they have a quality team with top and huge players, but we can match them as a group”, the Thai’s goal puncher, Hirano, mentioned. 

Meanwhile, it has been rumoured that former FC Kallon midfielder Musa Mansaray will return to the Sierra Leone squad, having missed the last few matches due to injuries. 

Established in 2019, the ANSC Challenge World Cup provides a platform for players from different cultural backgrounds to showcase their skills, engage with the broader community and promote social inclusion.

It is a unique event that takes place annually in Australia, and it has quickly gained popularity among football enthusiasts and community members alike. 

What sets this tournament apart is its focus on promoting diversity and inclusivity in football. It is a reminder that football can unite people from different backgrounds and create a sense of community and belonging. 

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