A two-day old-timer football tournament has been set beginning Saturday to commemorate the 40th anniversary celebration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the Willis Knuckles Sports Stadium in Zubah Town, Duport Road, Paynesville.
Dubbed “The ECOWAS 40th Anniversary Soccer Tournament,” is part of a series of integration activities lined up to reflect on the success stories of ECOWAS towards enhancing local participation and promoting economic and social integration among member states including Liberia.
On May 28, 1975, 15 West African countries met in Lagos, Nigeria, to sign the ECOWAS Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Lagos. These fifteen countries were Benin, Burkina Faso (then known as Upper Volta), Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The ECOWAS Treaty, which created the Economic Community of West African States, was intended to promote cooperation and integration within West Africa and to eventually establish an economic and monetary union.
The tournament is organized by the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Amb. Babatunde Ajisomo in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Participating old-timer teams are traditional rivals, Alpha and Independence as well as Barnersviile – the current champions of the Liberia National Old-timer Association (LONA).
Other participating teams include Paynesville, Sinkor, Bame, Lakpazee and Bench FC.
According to reports, the teams will feature celebrities such as Senator George M. Weah, Joe Nagbe, and T. C. Gould of Alpha; James Debbah, Frederick Cole, Alexander Cheneken Freeman, and Friday Jean Roberts of Independence and Bank Manager John Davies and Sam Chibli of Barnersville.
Others include Kelvin Sebwe, Neto Leighe, Jonathan Boye Charles Sogbie, Dionysious Sebwe for Paynesville; Ben Saydee of Bame and AFL Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Daniel D. Ziankahn Jr. of Lakpazee among other celebrities.
According to Saturday’s fixture, Independence will host Bench FC, beginning at 10:00am and Bame meets Alpha in the second game. In the 3rd and fourth games respectively, Lakpazee faces Sinkor and Paynesville lock horns with Barnersville.
On Sunday, the winners of the four games will clash during the semi finals and subsequently the quarterfinals and then grand finals.
According to the organizer, the tournament will be graced by the Minister-in-Charge at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh, the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Liberia- Amb. Babatunde Ajisomo, among other Ambassadors, diplomatic missions, and high ranking officials of government and the ECOWAS Community.
A brief program will be held before the games and will be followed by an official kickoff by Amb. Babatunde Ajisomo.