The foundation stone for the future headquarters of the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone was laid on 13 November 2022, a ground-breaking ceremony that has definitely gone down in the annals of the African Olympic movement. This initiative is part of the project to build the headquarters of African National Olympic Committees and it makes it abundantly clear that ANOCA and its President, Honourable Mustapha Berraf, are always true to their word.
The ceremony was chaired by ANOCA President, Dr Mustapha Berraf himself. Secretaries General of African NOCs and Mr Yassine Yousfi, Head of the Entourage Unit and official of Olympic Solidarity Africa, took an active part in this landmark event, as did the President of NOC Sierra Leone, Dr Patrick Coker, the event’s.
Speaking on the occasion, President Berraf said: ” I would like to say that I am very happy on behalf of all the members of the African Olympic Committee. I am here to tell you that we are very proud to start this series of projects that will allow our people, our Olympic family to work in good conditions. It is also important to work in good conditions. We know and we are aware of the hard work that all the Secretariats General and all the Presidents and all the members of the Olympic family do. But I also believe that we need to give our people the opportunity to work and develop in better conditions.”
The ANOCA President went further to say: ” And now we have to move on! No more expulsions from certain structures that belong to governmental structures. As it is the case every time there are epidemics or there is a big national problem. We understand that they have priorities. Ebola, Covid-19, we have to protect our people from all that! In any case, the IOC President has understood the issue very well and is also very concerned with your development. And he has said over and over again that he is very happy with what you are doing in your Olympic Committees. On my personal behalf, on behalf of ANOCA, on behalf of all the members, I thank you! I encourage you to keep up with the wonderful work you are doing in the NOCs. Thank you all! I should be one thanking you! I wish to tell you how proud we are of you!”
All other speeches made on the occasion were in the same line. Beginning with the President of the host NOC, Dr Patrick Coker: “To whom much is given, much is expected. I only have two things to say, the first one is short but it is very big. That is, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Thank you to ANOCA, thank you to Olympic Solidarity, thank you to Zaidi mouna our Consultant, thank you very much. Second thing is our commitment; I want you to know, believe and accept that NOC Sierra Leone is committed to make sure that when next you come here, or even before you come here you will see something that you will be proud of.”
The NOC headquarters building under construction is a two-storey building covering an area of 250 square metres per floor. It will house the various services, including a meeting room and several offices on the ground and upper floors.
In his remarks, the NOC headquarters construction Project Coordinator, ANOCA Treasurer General, Eng. Habu Ahmed Gumel said: “On the basis of the design, we agreed that $100,000 will be allocated to each NOC to support them, to help them so that they can have their own office. I am happy to say that this project has the approval of the Executive Board of the ANOCA, it has the approval of the General Assembly of ANOCA because it was all presented to these two bodies.”
The Treasurer General underscored that a circular was sent to all NOCs that do not have offices so that they can apply for this funding. He noted that ” For the year 2022, we received 21 applications, and out of the 21 now, those that they have their documents ready, we have 9 for this year, we have at least 9 out of the 21 because you have to submit all the documents, you have to submit all the all the necessary certificate of occupancy in the name of NOC, and any other documentation before we can consider you to move ahead with the project.”
The 9 countries whose documents are ready are: Benin, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Eswatini, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Eng. Habu Ahmed Gumel did not fail to express ANOCA’s thanks to the IOC and its President: ” Let me seize this opportunity to thank the IOC President Dr Thomas Bach for all the support he is giving to ANOCA and who our President (Mustapha Berraf) knows very well and is always having meetings with him. This particular project is 100 percent supported by Dr Thomas Bach, the Olympic Solidarity people, and it is a very important project, and we are grateful to the IOC, grateful to the Olympic Solidarity, your team, I am grateful to Dr. Thomas Bach.”