Mattsson quits Sierra Leone job as FA deny knowledge

Sierra Leone football team
Sierra Leone football team

The Sierra Leone coach Lars Olof Mattsson has quit his post after two years in charge of the team but there is confusion over his resignation.

The 58-year old Swedish manager claims he has already tendered his letter of resignation to both the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) and the Sports ministry. But the two bodies say they have not received any resignation letter from him.

SLFA spokesman Sorie Ibrahim Sesay told BBC Sport as far as they are concerned Mattsson is the Leone Stars coach.

"We still consider Coach Mattsson as our coach because we are yet to receive any letter from him. We only read about his resignation from the Swedish press.

"We expect him to behave professionally. If he wants to resign, he should communicate to us directly as we are his employers not the Swedish press. We'll react when he writes to us," Sorie Ibrahim Sesay said.

The resignation letter, which BBC Sport has seen, was addressed to both the SLFA and the acting Director of Sports in the Sports Ministry, Alphan Coker, via an email dated Wednesday 27 March 2013.

In the letter, Mattsson cites the problems the Leone Stars had leading up to their 2-1 defeat to Tunisia in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers last weekend. He also refers to the fact that he had no contract with the SLFA.

The letter reads:

"The time has come for me to offer my resignation as head Coach of the Sierra Leone national football team.

"All the problems we had before our latest game against Tunisia helped me to make up my mind. No preparations with friendly games, no contract with the FA. All the changes in the squad, weeks ahead of the Tunisia clash, made it an easy decision.

"No National Coach in the world would accept to be treated like this. Nobody communicated with me - so I do feel you understand my choice to withdraw from all missions with the Sierra Leone national team," the letter concludes.

Mattsson elaborated further in an interview with the Swedish football website, "fotbollskanalen.se" on his reasons for quitting his post, saying he had been very close to resigning several times but had stayed on for the sake of the players who he says are great to deal with.

He also mentioned their 2-1 defeat to Tunisia which he blamed on a lack of preparation. He stated that the list of players he sent to the Sports ministry and the SLFA for the Tunisia game was diluted, claiming some of the players he wanted had been deleted, and a player he had not invited had been brought in.

He also referred to a player who was in Tunis for the match, but had a passport which had expired in February - a fact Mattsson claims he only learned about an hour and a half before the game.

Mattsson - the former Swedish Under-20 manager - is quoted as saying:

"I can write as many books as I wish about my experience as coach of Sierra Leone. What a pain it has been and I cannot hold on anymore. It is so terribly strenuous".

Mattsson took over as Sierra Leone coach in February 2011.

His time in charge was marred by controversy from the moment he was appointed because of a disagreement between the SLFA and the sports ministry. The SFLA had backed local coach Christian Cole to take charge and felt Mattsson had been imposed on them. An agreement was eventually worked out and the Swede was given the job on a permanent basis.

Mattsson took the West African nation from 129th in the FIFA rankings to 63rd - their current position. He also came close to qualifying the team for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Under the Swede, the Leone Stars played eleven competitive games, winning four matches - all at home. Under his guidance they lost three - all away - and drew four (three away and one at home).