Prior to choosing his squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Sunday in Cameroon, Sierra Leone coach John Keister claims he received death threats.

A day before revealing his 28-man team, the 51-year-old got two threats about the participation of particular players, which he reported to authorities in the west African country.

“I think it’s very, very sad that it has to come to this,” Keister told BBC Sport Africa.

“Whatever walk of life you are in, nobody deserves that.”
Keister added: “I don’t think it should get to that point where my life is being threatened because people feel players should be in [the squad] – and if they are not, this is what they are going to do.”

During his playing career, the Manchester native played for a number of British teams, including Walsall and non-league Margate, and was capped by Sierra Leone from 1997 to 2003.

This is his second stint as national coach and has guided the Leone Stars, who are rated 108th in the world, to their first tournament finals since 1996.

“We have come a long way [so] there’s no reason for [the death threats],” added Keister.

“I’ve got family, I look after these boys and I have a job to do. It gets me angry and for me, where I have come from and my background, I feel there is something I need to do about it.

“Regardless of the job, I need to do something about it.”

In Group E of the Nations Cup, his team will meet holders Algeria, Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea.

Two names that stands out in the list are former England defender Steven Caulker and former Middlesbrough striker Kei Kamara who is 37 years of age.

Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah declared that he is a Sierra Leone citizen and he is happy with the country’s qualification for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

This statement gave hope to some Sierra Leoneans hope of seeing the defender at AFCON but unfortunately he won’t be there.

He could however still turn out for them later in the future despite playing for England’s youth teams.