By Gary Anderson

August 3 - johansen SFLAIsha Johansen has been elected unopposed in the Sierra Leone Football Association (SFLA) Presidential elections following a long running saga that last week saw her three opponents disqualified from running.

Johansen (pictured top) joins Lydia Nsekera of the Burundi Football Federation (FFB) as the only two female Presidents' of national football associations in the world, but her appointment to the role has been dogged by controversy.

Following the resignation of former President Nahim Khadi last year due to illness, elections to find a replacement were due to be held in September but rows over the eligibility of candidates delayed elections, forcing world governing body FIFA to step in and appoint an interim body in December 2012 - the SFLA Normalisation Committee - to run football operations and oversee football elections in the African country.

Johansen, 48, had been running against former Sierra Leone Premier League chairman Rodney Michael, businessman Foday Turay and former Sierra Leone international star Mohamed Kallon in the election race, but last week all three were disqualified from running for the post by the Normalisation Committee for allegedly breaching SFLA rules.

Michael and Turay were alleged to have breached Article 25 of the FIFA Code of Ethics which prohibits the involvement in any betting, gambling or lottery activities connected to football, while former Inter Milan and AS Monaco player Kallon did not meet residency requirements set down in the SLFA Constitution, according to the interim body.

Former Sierra Leone international Mohamed Kallon left says that Isha Johansens appointment is politically motivatedFormer Sierra Leone international Mohamed Kallon (left) claimed that Isha Johansen's appointment as head of the country's Football Association is politically motivated

All three disputed the accusations, and Kallon reacted furiously following the decision, which has subsequently been backed by FIFA, and accused those behind it of being politically motivated, referring specifically to Sierra Leone's Sports Minister Paul Kamara, who publicly backed Johansen's campaign.

"I don't want anything to do with Sierra Leone football again," said Kallon, who has 35 international caps, scoring 14 goals.

All three banned candidates boycotted the elections held in the capital Freetown.

Following her appointment, Johansen, who set up her own Sierra Leone Premier League FC Johansen in 2004, called for an end to the fall-out from the year-long saga and welcomed the contribution of the three disqualified candidates to the future of football in the country.

Isha Johansen SLFA PresidentIsha Johansen claimed that she wants a new period of peace and stability after today being elected the new President of the Sierra Leone Football Association

"I want to use this holy month of Ramadan and this opportunity to extend my hand of peace to Rodney Michael, Mohamed Kallon and Foday Turay," she said.

"I'm the winner but I don't consider them as losers.

"We can work together because I don't have all the ideas - I appeal for the anger to stop.

"In the next three months we'll be holding an extraordinary conference to map out the way forward, we'll have a blue print."

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