Many Liberians were shocked by the sad news of the defeats of the National soccer team, the Lone Star at the hands of Burkina Faso and Ghana’s Black Stars in the on-going WAFU sub regional tournament which began on Friday, April 9, 2010 in the Nigerian |State of Ogun.
The WAFU Tournament, being played in the cities of Abeokuta and Ijeobodeh, is featuring eignt national teams namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Guinea, Liberia and host Nigeria. The Lone Star is grouped with Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo in the tournament comprising national teams with home-based players and five professionals.
Reports monitored here from Nigeria disclosed that the Lone Star received six goals, losing three goals to one to Burkina Faso and three goals to zero to Ghana.
And there is very little hope among Liberians for a comeback against Togo today in its last game in the group stage. Even a win against Togo may not be sufficient enough to pave its way through to the next stage, unless by a wide goal margin, something many soccer fans see as very impossible considering the team’s dismal performance so far in the tournament.
Such discouraging news of our team’s unimpressive performance leaves Liberians to wonder as to what’s really happening to football at the national team level. Who is really doing what to our national team?
We are all cognizant of the fact the Lone Star is managed by the Liberia Football Association or LFA, why the Liberian government, represented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports remained the owner.
But from all indications, including the humiliation the national team is currently under-going in Nigeria despite its long time preparations for the WAFU Tournament, we are beginning to sense something very negative.
In the process of selecting the players, I am told that the Ministry of Youth and Sports was the so authority and not the LFA.
And the Deputy Minister for Sports at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Marbue Richards is reported to have exercised his authority, owing to his connection with the President of Liberia, to do the selection to the dissatisfaction of officials of the LFA.
Unfortunately, Minister Richards who actually played the game in the seventies and served in several capacities, including President of the I.E Majestic Sports Association is today placed in a position to undermine the growth and development of our national team.
What the officials of the Youth and Sports Ministry must be made to understand is that the Lone Star is not owned by a single individual or group of people in Liberia, but all Liberians, and those decisions regarding the team must be made by those charged with the responsibility to manage the team.
And that is the Liberia Football Association. If the Musa Bility administration at the LFA must make the change it promised us during his campaign for the leadership of the FA, it must put its feet to the grand and expose those who try to undermine football development like Marbue Richards and his likes.
Liberians must also help the FA in ensuring that that soccer governing body succeeds in restoring hope to Liberian football.