Assa Mady Kaba, who supervised grassroots soccer development that helped the Liberia Football Association to organize its sub-committees across the country, died February 26 in Monrovia after a protracted period of illness.
Known popularly as ‘Chairman,’ Kaba led the Central Monrovia LFA Sub-Committee to produce players who became national heroes.
It was at the Central Monrovia LFA Sub-Committee that Liberia Black Star, coached by Henry Brown, produced players including the Sebwe brothers – Kelvin, Dionysius, and Tom – and their cousin Thomas Kojo.
It was through Kaba’s insistence that sub-committees sprang up in communities in Monrovia, where Young Survivors FC came to be and joined the West Clara LFA Sub Committee of soccer legend George Manneh Weah and Joe ‘Thunder’ Nagbe.
With the cooperation of the Liberia Football Association, ‘Chairman’ Kaba led a soccer youth revolution where he would visit all communities, particularly when he became head of the Union of the LFA Sports Committees (ULFASCOM).
The LFA, under Chairman Samuel Kanyon Doe and Vice Chairman Willis D. Knuckles, put resources through ULFASCOM to bring up young people because they believed then that Liberia’s place in soccer would be successful once much was paid to the development of the young people in their communities.
When former Liberia Basketball Federation (LBF) president Cletus S. Wotorson was appointed vice chairman, after Mr. Willis Knuckles who had resigned due to “policy differences,” he too joined Kaba to continue where Knuckles left off.
Chairman Kaba had the belief that developing footballers from their youth was the best method since they could easily accept instructions and therefore avoid issues that might distract them and endanger their future as sportsmen.
A highly religious man (Chairman Kaba was of the Islamic faith), he worked with friends and others, always remembering that he was a leader for a particular reason; that is, to serve humanity. Chairman Kaba’s home was open to any footballer, and he would offer his last to alleviate another man’s suffering.
At the Charif Pharmacy on Randall Street where he worked as a pharmacist, he provided assistance from his own resources, and many footballers and sports journalists were never out of his home.
Though in later years he bemoaned successful footballers who never turned around to assist those they left behind up, he was convinced that as a Muslim whatever good he did for another human being was because, as the Holy Quran says, “Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (gardens of eternity), underneath which rivers flow. They will abide therein forever, Allah will be pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.” (Holy Quran Al-Bayyinah 98: 7-8).
And sincerely, I am convinced that Assa Mady Kaba, who was interred as per Islamic tradition after prayers at the Newport Street Mosque, was one of the righteous and I pray that Allah will be pleased with him.