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UEFA soccer expert speaks on women’s football in Liberia 

By Naneka A. Hoffman 

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) in collaboration with Union of European Football Association (UEFA) has started a four-day capacity building for Grassroots Women’s Football in schools. The training runs from June 29 to July 2, 2022. 

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper in Monrovia, UEFA Expert Hesterine De Reus, stressed a need to create opportunities for talented females, adding, adding “If we can create opportunities for girls who can play football then more girls will come and the Women’s Football will get better.”

The former Australia Coach Hesterine said the purpose of the training is to help coaches, school teachers, volunteers and parents to organize football and allow their kids to play the game to move Women’s Football forward in Liberia.

She explained that though she didn’t spend much time in Liberia, but knows a little about challenges in Liberian football, which she noted, is quite different from Europe, noting that the next thing in football is “we can organize it everywhere.”

Coach Hesterine pointed out that the economy of Liberia is challenged, saying “When we train children in soccer, especially in Africa, we have to provide food and water for them, even at some extent paying for players’ academic programs with education for schools, which is a big challenge. All these things are not happing in Europe.”

Notwithstanding, she said children in Liberia like football a lot so, she will help them.

She further observed that sometimes some coaches are seen as obstacles to the development of players because they want to teach all aspects of the game at once. She thinks that it is not correct for some grassroots players. 

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She says for children to develop their minds on football, they need access to opportunity to play for a while when coaches organized the game, which according to her, is a big step forward for Liberian coaches.

The UEFA expert in women’s football stated that the primary objective of the training is to create lot of opportunities that will be achievable for grassroots coaches in order to create a space for more girls to play football in Liberia.

She observes that Liberians are loving people, who always want to learn new things, adding though she has not spent longer time in the country, but the two visitations in the development of women’s football signifies a cordial relationship that made her to understand that Liberian children want to play football, but it comes with economic challenge which is quite different in Europe.

Meanwhile, Coach Hesterine stated that Africa has lot of talents, President George Manneh Weah, who rose from the slum and became Africa and World’s Best Footballer, is a practical example that speaks to the fact that there are good and talented people in Liberia.

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