In September 2022, Sierra Leone saw the exciting launch of the very first professional women’s football league.

With a new Premier League Women’s Board being appointed to oversee the six-month long season, 12 teams across the country will compete against each other to win a cash prize and trophy for their club. 

The opening match took place in the Northern city of Makeni with the home team, Mena Queens, suffering a 1-0 loss to the Kahunla Queens of Kenema at the Wusu Sports Stadium. The First Lady Fatima Bio was reported to be in attendance with the crowd, as she is one of the nation’s renowned advocates for the development of women’s sport. 

President Bio was also among the supporters and remarked that ‘it is an honour’ that a large majority of the ladies competing in the league are from the Bombali District.

Despite the excitement, there are many challenges the league will face, such as logistical travel barriers and inadequate venues for the matches. In the early 1990s attempts were made to launch the women’s game in Sierra Leone however no success was reached, and efforts were stunted by financial constraints and the breakout of civil war.

Nearly three decades later, it is hoped that the league will do far better and also manage to boost the success of the national women’s team. 

Due to the lack of club level football, Sierra Leone has struggled to compete on the international stage in recent years. Fans were particularly disappointed when the national team did not qualify for the recent 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations, but these struggles show exactly why the country needs to work hard at promoting girl’s and women’s football at grassroots level.

Speaking on the first professional women’s league league, the SLFA President Thomas Daddy Brima, said that he believes ‘girls in Sierra Leone should be able to take advantage of this opportunity’ and use it as a catalyst for their involvement in the game. Representation is no longer just on TV for the girls of Sierra Leone, but also out on the pitches across the entire country.

It marks a promising time in history where football fans across the nation will be looking forward to a display of the best female talent these clubs have to offer.

Featured image courtesy of Eduardo Fonseca Arraes via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. License details found here.

By Emilie Mwanza

Founder of Beyond The 90. Trainee multimedia journalist based in Preston.