Sierra Leone’s Alfred Sankoh explains why he chose the Faroe Islands

Sierra Leone international Alfred Sankoh is determined to win a league title in the Faroe Islands

Sierra Leone international Alfred Sankoh says money and a chance to play in the European football League prompted him to move to the the Faroe Islands

The 31-year-old midfielder moved to NSI Runavik ahead of offers from second-tier clubs in Norway and Turkey.

He has signed a two-year contract as a free agent with the top-flight league club, who will be playing in the qualifying rounds of next year’s Europa League.

His last club was Norwegian second-tier side Nottoden, where he spent just two months last season.

“I’m happy that I have chosen the Faroe Islands because the wages there are much more better than all the offers I got from Norwegian clubs in the second-tier,” Sankoh told BBC Sport

“I’m 31 years now, so I need better wages rather than better leagues and my new club have offered me a longer contract of two years, and also I’m going to play in the Uefa Europa league qualifying stages.”

“Of course I also know a bit about the Faroe Islands as they’re part of Scandinavia.”

Sankoh featured for two Norwegian clubs Ultern and Stromsgodset between 2007 to 2012 before returning to the Scandinavian country at the end of last season after stints in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

During his spell with Stromsgodset he played in both of their 2011 Europa League third round qualifiers against Atletico Madrid which they lost 4-1 on aggregate.

Already acclimatised

Sankoh says his time in Norway means that he is already acclimatised and ready for the conditions in the Faroe Islands.

“Well the weather in the Faroe Islands is similar to the one in Norway and I even find the weather on the islands better as there is not much snow compared to Norway,” he said.

“Of course the weather is different from Sierra Leone where I started my career. I hate playing football under the sun because it saps away all your energy.

“So I prefer the cold when I play but to live a normal life I prefer the sun.

‘I also don’t have problem with the language spoken in the Faroe Islands as they speak Danish.

“I went to school in Norway to learn how to speak the Norwegian language when I arrived there in 2007 and the Norwegian language is similar to that of Danish, so i can understand Danish.”

Sankoh’s only winners medal so far in his career came when he won the Norwegian FA Cup with Stormsgodset in 2010 and he is desperate to win a first league title.

“I’m going to give out my best and my ambition is to help Runavik win the league and go much further in the European qualifying,” he insisted.

Leone Stars hopes

Sierra Leone midfielder Alfred Sankoh

Sankoh has been capped 12 times by Sierra Leone and his last match for Leone Stars was their 1-0 away loss to Ethiopia in the an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September 2018.

The match was later cancelled by Confederation of African Football after Sierra Leone were suspended from international football by Fifa. The suspension was lifted in June 2019.

But could the move to the Faroe Islands reduce his chances of a return to the national team?

“I don’t think playing in the Faroe Islands will be a problem for me to be recalled to Leone Stars because is still a professional league and the team is competing in Europa League qualifiers,” he insisted.

“Last year I played in Norway and I wasn’t called up and also our national team sometimes doesn’t seem to call on players because of the strength of the league they play in.

“What’s important for me is that I’m happy with what I have achieved in my career in terms of what football has provided for me.”

Sankoh’s career began in Sierra Leone where he played for three Premier League clubs FC Kallon, Old Edwardians and Ports Authority before moving to Norway in September 2007.

He spent half a season in the Norwegian lower divisions with Ullern before joining top-flight Stromsgodset where he spent four seasons and scored seven goals in 79 appearances.

Sankoh moved to Turkey in 2012 to join second-tier outfit Sanliurfaspor before signing for Khazar Lankara in Azerbaijan’s top-flight two years later.

He went on to feature for two other Turkish clubs Balikesirspor and Denizlispor, Saudi Arabian outfit Al Jabalain and Majees of Oman.



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