Victoria Conteh has made history as the first female head coach of a Sierra Leonean top-flight men’s team.
Conteh signed a two-year contract to manage East End Tigers, who play in the Sierra Leone Premier League.
Conteh becomes the second female coach on the continent to coach a top-flight after Ethiopian Meseret Manni’s stint with Dire Dawa in late 2015.
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Conteh, 45, is the only Caf ‘A’ licensed female coach in Sierra Leone.
“We’ve decided to appoint her because she’s qualified and that’s the bottom line,” East End Tigers’ owner Victor Lewis told BBC Sport.
“It shouldn’t be a man or woman thing; it should be about who is qualified to do the job.
“We’re happy to secure her services and we believe her appointment is good for the women’s game.
“She has a two-year mandate and we’ve given her the target to finish in the top four and we are very confident that she can deliver.”
Conteh’s first game in charge was against favorites FC Kallon on Saturday, December 21. She guided Tigers to come back for a 1-1 draw and maintain their record of having never lost a game to Kallon in the league.
Not new to the men’s game, Conteh is a former Sierra Leone International and Captain of East End Lioness. She also served as Head coach of both Sierra Leone’s U-17 Women’s team and Sierra Leone Police Women’s team, reports Cafonline.
Conteh is also a CAF Instructor.
“My success in football, as a female coach in a male-dominated sport has however been linked to my passion and knowledge gained over the years. I’m super energized now than ever and very much determined to bring more laurels to my new club throughout my 24-month contract”, she said during her unveiling.
Conteh further noted in a BBC Sport interview that: “I’m happy and proud about the appointment and I welcome it with open hands.
“This is a surprise Christmas package for me because I wasn’t expecting it.
“I know it’s not easy for a woman to serve as coach in the top flight in Sierra Leone but I’ll cope with the pressure and I’m determined to do well.”
East End Tigers have never won a Premier Division title in their history, but Conteh wants to change that.
“My target is to make history by becoming the first woman coach to win the top-flight. I’m determined to do what some of the men coaches can’t do.
“I know it’ll not be easy, but I have confidence that I’ll deliver. I have what it takes to do that,” she said.
If Conteh succeeds, she will be following the footsteps of Chan Yuen-Ting who is the only female coach to have won a top-flight title when she won the Hong Kong Premier League with Eastern in 2016.
“I hope this will be my stepping stone to a higher height,” she said.
“I hope to continue coaching in the top flight and my dream is to one day coach the Sierra Leone men’s senior national team Leone Stars.”