Authorities at the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) have named former Lone Star midfielder Joe ‘Thunder Armstrong’ Nagbe, 50, as chairman for this year’s National County Sports Meet; a nationwide multi-sports event, which involves the 15 counties.
The principal head of sports at the MoYS, Deputy Sports Minister G. Andy Quamie, made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer recently in his office at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
The Sports Bureau of the ministry has the statutory responsibility to develop, formulate and coordinate national sports programs, as well as facilitate and monitor the activities of all national sports associations and federations, including sports-related institutions.
By Nagbe’s appointment, the former defensive midfielder and former captain of the senior national team, Lone Star, now heads the organizing committee of the sports event, which is planned and executed by the MoYS in collaboration with authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
Mr. Nagbe played professionally in Africa, Europe and Asia for over 19 years. He played for Union Douala, AS Monaco, OGC Nice, Al-Jazira Club and Persiba Bantul.
In the domestic league, he last played for the Invincible Eleven (IE), and was a teammate to George Oppong Weah, now President George Weah on IE and the senior Lone Star.
Upon his retirement in 2008, Mr. Nagbe was subsequently employed by the Liberia Football Association (LFA) and the MoYS respectively.
He was the physical trainer of the senior Lone Star team and head coach for the U-20 Lone Star. He is the current senior monitor and adviser assigned with Sports Bureau of the MoYS.
He told the Daily Observer that his organizing Committee has begun early preparation on the organizational framework of this year’s County Meet, including the theme, logo, rules and regulations.
Unlike the other past County Meets, Mr. Nagbe said this upcoming event will include football (male), kickball, basketball, track and field (athletics) and volleyball, as well as women football.
“In this year’s County Meet, we will resume the participation of first, second and 3rd division players to give the game interesting and honeyed taste,” Mr. Nagbe said.
He said hopefully beginning next week, the organizing team will inspect stadiums in the host counties, as well as engage the technical teams of the five disciplines and subsequently the leaderships of the various counties.
Nagbe said this year’s grouping will be regional, and the formal opening ceremonies will be held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, while the traditional closing will be done at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, where finals of football, kickball, and all stages of athletics (track and field) will be held.
He said that Grand Bassa will play host to Sinoe, Margibi and River Cess Counties; Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru and River Gee games will be played in Harper, Maryland County; Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount County will play in Montserrado County, while Lofa County will play host to Bong and Nimba for the preliminary or group stages of the football and kickball editions.
As for this year’s trophy, he said the winning county returns it the following year, or will keep it only after three consecutive wins.
The County Meet is held from December through January of the following year, with the underlying goal to primarily foster peace and unity among the citizens through sports; provide temporary employment to youths during the period leading to the event, and also to identify sports talents to support grassroots sports initiatives.
Secretary of the County Meet, J. Bryant Mcgill, said the selection of Mr. Nagbe was unanimous, because of his competence, diligence and relevance.