Liberia: Anatomy of an MVP

Invincible Eleven Forward Sidiki Kromah (L) receives the LFA 2021/22 MVP award from LFA former Vice President Musa Shannon  

— Did Sidiki Kromah Merit the LFA 2021/22 season’s top individual prize?

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) awards ceremony for the 2021–2022 season has concluded with several awards being presented. It was a happy occasion with new flavors added to spice things up from the previous edition, despite a few flaws, especially in time management. 

Thank you to Cllr. Jeror Cole Bangalu, Chair of the Awards Committee, and his group, particularly Benita Urey and Cypha D’King, two innovative and goal-oriented event planners who were appointed to the committee earlier this year by LFA President Mustapha Raji, the event was superb, to say the least. 

People take pride in receiving prestigious awards, and some are even more motivated to do so because of the rewards they often include. As a result, these awards are frequently the subject of controversy, and the just-completed LFA award is no exception.

The Male MVP was the most contentious of the many awards given out, in contrast to the Women's MVP, Bountou Sylla, whose performance sets her apart from her rivals, who also had a standout season in 2021.

Sidiki Kromah of Invincible Eleven won the title of male MVP before Farsedu Logan, the captain of the champion Watanga, and Shekou Sheriff of LISCR.

After the announcement of the three nominees in each category, the awards’ controversies began. Many people argued that the IE forward shouldn't have been nominated because his current club, IE, fought and avoided relegation through the relegation playoff while his former club, Monrovia Club Breweries, now Global Pharma, were relegated. 

Additionally, some football followers argued that Prince Zawoh who scored the most goals during the league calendar, year should have been one of the top three nominees.  

How were the nominees nominated?

The MVP and other individual award winners have historically been chosen by LFA alone, based on the expertise of its technical arm and competition department without any form of nomination and voting from coaches, captains, and journalists.

Kelvin Potis, formerly of BYC, was the last recipient of the MVP award through that system after BYC won the 2018 league championship. Trokon Myers, one of his teammates, finished the league season with the most goals scored.

A brief award presentation took place on the field following BYC’s 4-2 victory over LPRC Oilers in the Final to present the end-of-season awards.

The football association ultimately decided that it would be a good idea to increase the level of competition in the league, hold a more elaborate award ceremony, and make the season-ending award more desirable by providing a car as a prize for the MVP.

The FA established the current system, which is used internationally and allows jurors including coaches, captains, qualified sports journalists, and the general public to vote for the best in each category.

There is, however, a slight variation. In contrast to the esteemed Ballon d'Or and FIFA Best Awards, where the nominees are presented to the jury with statistics and a standard of what the jurors should take into account when making their decision, the LFA leaves its voting system open and gives the jury the power to nominate and then vote.

In the Ballon d'Or voting system, the criteria for the selection process include the player’s individual and team performance in the calendar year, the talent and sportsmanship of the player, and the player’s overall career.

In spite of this, even if those criteria were added to our voting procedure, our jurors would still make their selections based on different standards, just like the international jurors, and there would still be disagreements unless one of the nominees stood out from the rest due to their individual, team, or sportsmanlike performance.

Did Sidiki Kromah Merit the being named MVP?

According to Bleacher Football, the MVP award should be decided by asking which player would cause his or her team to lose the most games or drop the most places in the standings if you could magically remove them all from their teams and have them start the season over.

This might be considered in some areas as everyone might have their own standards. What is Liberia’s standard, then? I am quite certain that ours is just left open and there must be a standard going forward.

The MVP award is not only given to players who rank among the top scorers because some players have a greater impact on the team — regardless of the team’s composition — due to their superior ability to elevate those around them.

The 2021/22 league season saw many players, not just the top goal scorers, have outstanding seasons and deserve the prestigious award, but only one of them received it after the jury’s decision.

No matter how the 2021/22 league season went for forward Kromah’s team, his individual brilliance was impressive, and his absence from some of his team’s games could be felt. He scored 13 goals, one fewer than Prince Zowah, who had the most. 

The award would have been well-deserved even if it had gone to his competitors or other excellent athletes including Frank Allison, Prince Zawoh, and Chauncy Freeman who were unlucky enough to be among the top three nominees.

Sidiki Kromah was the jury’s top pick, and he deserves it like the other outstanding players do, despite the fact that other outstanding players’ performances significantly influenced their teams’ success in the league and the FA Cup, which was an added advantage to being picked as the MVP.  

Full List of Award Winners:

MVP- Male

Sidiki Kromah, Invincible Eleven

MVP- Female

Bountou Sylla, Determine Girls 

Best Coach Women’s Division 

Robertson Werner, Determine Girls

Best Coach- 2nd Division

Jasper Ben-Felix, Cece United (Now with Nimba Kwado)

Best Coach-1st Division: 

Robert Lartey, Bea Mountain 

Best Referee- Male 

Hassan Konneh

Best Referee- Female 

Sylvina Garnett

Fair Play Team- Male

Nimba United 

Fair Play Team- Female

DC Shooters

Best Electronic Journalist 

Thomas Kojo, Freedom

Best Print Journalist  

Joseph Vincent, New News

Best Social Media Journalist

Joseph Vincent, Liberia Sports International 

Fan of the Year- Male 

Walter Samuel Johnson

Fan of the Year- Female 

Peaches Johnson, LISCR FC

Best Defender - 1st Division 

Kemoh Kamara, Bea Mountain

Best Defender- 2nd Division

Theodore Gould, Cece United

Best Defender- Women’s Upper Division

Magaret Stewart, Determine Girls

Best Goalkeeper- 1st Division

Allenton Sembeh, Bea Mountain

Best Goalkeeper- 2nd Division

Jeremiah Karpeh, Jubilee FC

Best Goalkeeper - Women’s Division

Jackie Touah, Determine Girls