Sierra Leone have been dealt a huge blow after one of their finest goalkeepers, Alhaji Daida Conteh, passed away on Sunday.
Reports indicate that the net-minder passed away in a hospital in Freetown at the tender age of 25 and the country is mourning his death.
Conteh was playing for Guinea’s Ashanti Golden Boys de Siguiri and recently received a number of call-ups to the senior team, but was yet to secure a place in the international side’s first team.
The BBC has it that the keeper was part of the Leone Stars 18-man squad for their 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya last month.
However, he dropped out the night before the match due to poor health and national team coach, John Keister has spoke of their loss.
“Conteh was not impressive in the last day of training because something was wrong with him,” Keister told BBC Sport.
“I even told one of my assistants about it. This forced me to drop him from the squad. We’ll surely miss him. I always liked him because he was humble and always good to be around the Leone Stars team.
“He was a clever boy and had a goalkeeper’s height and good goalkeeping abilities.”
On the other hand, a number of Leone Stars’ internationals have also been playing tribute to their fallen team-mate.
“It’s very sad to wake up and hear news like this,” said former Norwich city and Middlesborough striker Kei Kamara.
“Alhaji was such a great person; being a college graduate and a footballer is a hard thing to do and he was able to accomplish that. My prayers to his family.”
The goalkeeper is yet to be buried and was one of few educated Sierra Leonean players with a degree, having graduated from Fourah Bay college at the University of Sierra Leone.
Conteh featured for three Premier league clubs in Sierra Leone – East End Lions, Kallon FC and Diamond Stars of Kono.
Meanwhile, he also represented two clubs in Guinea such as Fello Star de Labè and Ashanti Golden Boys de Siguiri.