|Freetown's Historic Parade Field|
Most youths who grew up in or around Central Freetown would know the parade field, located behind tower hill towards the direction of Mount Aureol and in the geographical vicinity of of the Circular Road Cemetery, the Central Statistics Office, Model and Albert Academy schools.
Parade Field is a crucial part of the historical legacy of sports in Serra Leone. Many outstanding players in Sierra Leone honed their skills on the Parade Field before they were ready for the big leagues at the Country's National Stadium. Currently, with the rampant sale of land in Freetown, this is the only major field left for the entire central and some western parts of Freetown. When we were students at Fourah Bay College, most of our games with the second division teams in Freetown were played at Parade, as it is commonly known.
The land on which the Parade Field is situated is reportedly owned by the defense ministry and our sources inform us that the government, through the Minister of Defense, Rtd Major Pallo Conteh, intends to sell the land to a group of Fula businessmen. which would be a terrible disservice to youth development.
Being the only major field left in that area of Freetown, the Parade Field is a very busy football field for children, youths and lower division teams in the area. If sold to businessmen this would be a substantial blow to to sports development in the area, as many of the great football players in central Freetown develop and perfect their skills at parade.
For a government that prides itself on youth development, the sale of Parade would be a terrible mistake. The President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is always stating how he views the youth as his base and goes out of the way to express great concern for the youths who he wants to make a priority in his second term. The President should therefore not let Minister Pallo Conteh sell this land at all, as that would be a terrible injustice to the powerless youths in the area.
The source informs us that the negotiations are not yet finalized, but given the many dubious land deals that characterize Sierra Leone and the strength of the rumors, he believes that only direct intervention of the president would now stop the sale. We hope this rumored land sale will not be true as it will adversely affect future football development in the country.