Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, pictured here at a press conference in May 2018, last week declared rape and sexual violence a national emergency.

Everyone wants their team to get through to the final round of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon… but apparently no-one wants it quite as much as Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio.

In a match against Benin tonight, the Leone Stars need to get at least a 1-0 victory – or to win by a two goal margin if they concede a goal – in order to go through, while Benin just needs a draw to qualify. It’s 25 years since Sierra Leone last made it to the AFCON finals – before many of the current team were even born.

So, while he was visiting a training session, the President decided to really inspire the team, promising each player $10,000 (100 million leones) and a parcel of land if they qualify. He spoke to the BBC’s Mohamed Fajah Barrie.

“We’ve done it before and we can do it again… ours is a football loving nation and we have to make our people proud.”

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Benin players have refused to play in protest after several of their players were alleged to have returned positive Covid-19 tests, according to Super Sport.

By BBC with agencies