President George Manneh Weah, in a tradition that ensures that there are peace and harmony, has kept his promise and this time, to former soccer star, Musa H. Shannon, former vice president for operations at the Liberia Football Association (LFA).
In his latest selection of Liberians to the board of the Liberia Airport Authority, (LAA), President Weah did not forget the young man who, once living in the United States, chose to return home to play for the national soccer team, Lone Star, when he was in his prime.
Shannon, who has served for eight years as VPA of the football house under businessman Musa Hassan Bility, was last week appointed as a board member of the Liberia Airport Authority, along with Esther Paegar and Sandra Williams Glay, deputy managing director for operations.
Though Shannon served for eight years as VPA under Bility, he had his eye one level higher, the presidency of the LFA. At the time, three candidates, including Shannon qualified to contest the post.
During the elections held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Shannon secured 13 votes, while Mustapha Raji secured 16 votes. Contestant George Solo, who got the least number of votes, threw the elections into confusion when he sought relief at the courts. In the end, after FIFA and CAF involvement, it was clear that Shannon and Raji were going for a runoff. After some deliberations, Shannon surprisingly announced that he was withdrawing from the runoff. And his reason: “… for the love of the game.”
However, inside sources revealed to the Daily Observer that favoring Raji’s leadership and not wanting to introduce hard feelings into the administration of football in the country, President Weah held a brief meeting with Shannon, promising to tap him for another time and another place.
And with the elevation of Shannon now as a board member of the LAA, President Weah has kept the bond of friendship with his friend, who told sports journalists during the LFA Presidential Elections, that ‘he cannot leave football because football made him,’ a sentiment that can also describe President Weah.
When he was at the LFA, Shannon carried out his functions with dedication and so when the Ebola epidemic broke out, he secured US$15,000 from his Swedish friends and carried awareness campaigns throughout Monrovia, with support from many former soccer players.
Later the LFA decided to give each of its executive committee members U$1,500 with the intention to carry out Ebola education in their various communities. However, no sooner had the money landed in Shannon’s hands when news came that the money in question had been misused.
Shannon, being a clever politician, said he returned the money to the LFA, while many of the executive members promised to repay the money through installments from their periodic honorariums from the LFA.
“So the president realized that Raji and Shannon were the best contenders for the LFA presidency and there was the need for some sports-politics,” said a long time follower of football politics in Liberia.
“I think Shannon realized that the president meant good for Liberian football and therefore, withdrawing ‘for the good of the game’ was the most effective means to bring unity,” he said.
Now Shannon has been appointed to one of the most important boards in the country, said a former football club owner in Monrovia. “As a businessman himself, Shannon should now ensure that policies to guide the LAA administration are supervised with integrity,” he said.
Another former manager of soccer told the Daily Observer that, while he believes in Shannon, he also knows that “Football is Shannon, and Shannon is football.”