Keister demands more from Sierra Leone against Sao Tome and Príncipe

Sierra Leone head coach John Keister expects an improved performance from his players in the return leg against Sao Tome and Príncipe at the Adrar Stadium in Agadir, Morocco on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 3 pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The Leone Stars had to battle back from behind twice to clinch a 2-2 draw with the Falcons and True Parrots at the same venue on matchday 3 in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Wednesday’s stalemate left Keister’s side third in Group A after picking up just two points from their opening three matches and they need to beat the minnows this weekend to stand a chance of progressing to the Afcon finals in Ivory Coast next year.

The West Africans are winless in their last five games since beating Congo 2-1 in a friendly 12 months ago, having suffered heavy defeats to South Africa (4-0) and DR Congo (3-0) in September 2022 as part of their preparations for the double-header against the island nation.

Keister admitted they were made to pay for a slow start in midweek and not capitalizing on their plethora of chances after managing just eight shots on target from 15 attempts at goal.

“This result is difficult to take in. We got ourselves to blame. We didn’t start very well in the first half and we caused ourselves some problems,” he said.

In the second half, we didn’t take the chances we had and this is the cruel side of football.”

Sao Tome and Príncipe registered their first point of the qualifying campaign following drubbings at the hands of Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria in their first two matches, where they shipped 15 goals and scored just once.

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Adriano Eusebio’s team had scraped by Mauritius 4-3 on aggregate in the preliminary round and they would have been thrilled with the result against Sierra Leone, having not been in action since the June qualifiers.

Winger Harramiz Soares acknowledged they were disappointed not to come away with all three points after taking the lead twice through Luis Leal but insists the players can take heart from a hard-working display.

“It was a tough game and we knew we were playing a tough team with more experience than us. But we worked hard and got a good result,” Harramiz said.

“Of course, we would have loved to win but it was not possible. Now we focus on the next match.”

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