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Currently ranked 152nd in the world, Sierra Leones national football team, the Leone Stars, have had very little success in major tournaments, having never participated in the World Cup finals, while their only two appearances in the African Cup of Nations in 1994 and 1996, both ended in first round exits. It was during that time (1996), that Sierra Leone achieved their highest ever FIFA ranking 51st.
Their most recent qualifying campaign the 2010 World and African Cup qualifiers, also ended in failure, although by no means in disgrace as the Leone Stars ended equal on points with second placed South Africa (Nigeria topped the group).
Two victories were achieved, a 1-0 home win over South Africa in Freetown and a 2-1 home win over Equatorial Guinea. A 0-0 away draw against South Africa was also a good achievement for the once civil war-torn country.
The players in the national team squad are dispersed all over the world, with the team members playing in countries such as England, Sweden, Norway, The United States, Germany, Belgium, and Italy, where the 19-year-old midfielder Rodney Strasser is on the books of AC Milan and scored on his debut in December 2008.
Quite a few of the current national team players also play in the local league the Sierra Leone National Premier League, consisting of 14 clubs, and which was founded in 1967. Mighty Blackpool (11 titles) East End Lions (nine titles) and are the biggest and most successful clubs. Both clubs are from Freetown, and no club outside the capital has ever lifted the trophy.
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