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Steven Caulker: Ex-Liverpool defender thrilled by Sierra Leone captaincy

23:05 GMT+3 04/04/2022
Sierra Leone celebrate vs Ivory Coast.
The 30-year-old is excited about his new role with the Leone Stars while hoping to learn from his predecessor

Steven Caulker has expressed his delight following the announcement of him being the new captain of the Sierra Leone national team.

The former England youth international took over the role from Umaru Bangurawho who led the West Africans for seven years. 

Caulker took over the Leone Stars armband in the win over Congo Brazzaville and a defeat by Togo in Turkey, as well as a triumph against Liberia in a non-Fifa sanctioned game.

"I want to thank Umaru for what he has done," Caulker told BBC Sport Africa.

"He has done an incredible job in getting the team to where we are today and I hope that I can learn from him and still reach out to him for his guidance on leading the team to success.

"We are looking forward to the 2023 Afcon where we can showcase ourselves on the highest platform in Africa.

"So the ultimate goal is to qualify for back-to-back tournaments and to go there and get out of the group stage and show the nation and the world what we are about.

"I believe the nation already knows what we are about, they've supported us for a long time and we hope to reward them with success.”

"We also have the Olympic Games qualifiers to look forward to this summer as well with our slightly younger team,” he continued. 

"I want to be a part of all of these, be part of the building process of football in Sierra Leone, so it's not just about the senior national team.

"I want to see success in Sierra Leone on and off the pitch. So I take this role seriously, it comes with a lot of responsibility."

Caulker's appointment comes just over three months after he was cleared by Fifa to represent Sierra Leone at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations where he featured in all three matches.

Meanwhile, Bangura claimed he was not contacted by the country's football association and only found out he was being replaced after receiving a press release.

"I received the news with shock and disbelief," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"I feel I have been treated with disrespect because nobody discussed it with me. I only found out about it after people forwarded the SLFA press release to me. I'm disappointed."