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Under-17 club off to Mauritania  

By: Naneka A.  Hoffman 

Liberia’s Under-17 males’ football club and delegation have left the country for Mauritania to participate in the West African Football Union (WAFU) Nations Cup finals in Nouakchott.

Liberia Football Association (LFA) President Mustapha I. Raji, has urged the Under-17 team to represent the country properly by setting record in Liberian football. 

Mr. Raji said the Under-17 team can emulate examples of the under-15 and under-17 teams that won the Gothia and Dana cups in Sweden and Denmark from 1997 to 1999.  

Speaking on Tuesday, 27 September at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia ahead of the team’s departure for the WAFU Zone ‘A’ under-17 Nations Cup qualifiers in Mauritania, the FA president recalled that was a great team and many of the players went on to play for the senior national team but they didn’t get an opportunity to play in WAFU or the African finals. 

He said the current Under-17 club now has the chance to qualify for the African finals and onto the World Cup finals, adding that most of them started with the under-15 that went to Guinea in May 2021.

He noted the club has taken many tests in the form of friendlies with teams across all divisions in Liberia and international clubs, so the WAFU is now their final exam. 

He urged the boys to go and make Liberia proud and set their own record so that Liberians can be proud of them and begin to talk about them.

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However, he cautioned the players not to be distracted by promises from agents to take them to Europe, assuring them that they are the new dream team for Liberia. 

Head coach Ansu Keita thanked the government and the LFA for the support and opportunity given him to serve the Motherland.

Coach Keita said they have three objectives going to Mauritania, saying if they can’t win the WAFU, then they must qualify for the African finals or if they can’t win the African finals, then they must qualify for the World Cup finals. And if they can’t win the World Cup, then they must reach the grand finale. 

LFA Executive Committee member Ivan Brown, who chairs the technical development committee, told the players nothing is impossible to achieve in football with determination and discipline. 

Mr. Brown said he’s optimistic about what the players can do, and noted that they did it in Austria in June. He warned the team to manage their diet and avoid creating Bomi Hills on their plates when it comes to food, stressing they have to train on time and sleep on time. 

He said everything in football is time and has rules, so players may joke when it is time to joke, but shouldn’t be distracted by praises while expressing hope the players will return home in flying colors. 

Also Speaking, Captain Darlington Mitchell promised to qualify the team in Mauritania, adding that they will not make Mr. Raji shame.   

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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