The Ministry of Youth and Sports, organizers of the National County Sports Meet, along with the event’s official sponsor, Orange Liberia, has promised to make the 2018 edition of the event a special one that will be remembered by Liberians.
At a joint press conference yesterday at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, the Chief Executive officer of Orange Liberia, Mamadou Coulibaly said his company is proud to be the official sponsor of the country’s biggest sporting festival and his company remains committed to supporting football in Liberia.
He said his company sees its support to the event as a way of helping to build the next generation of professional football players in the country. “Through our sponsorship, we believe that out of this tournament we will see the next African Best, or World Best. I want to assure everybody that Orange Liberia will continue to support sports, football, and kickball because we believe that it is the greatest platform to promote the youthful generation of Liberia,” Mr. Coulibaly said.
The preliminary rounds of the tournament which will kick off on December 16, will simultaneously be played at four venues across the country, with the official kickoff scheduled to take place in Sanniquellie, Nimba County. Group I contains host Nimba, Sinoe, Montserrado and Gbapolu counties.
In Group II, Zwedru, Grand Gedeh will host Maryland and Grand Bassa counties; in Group III Kakata City, Margibi County will host Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, and Grand Kru counties, while Group IV comprises of host Bomi, with Bong, River Gee, and River Cess counties.
Eight counties will progress to the quarterfinals and come to Monrovia on January 5, and begin their matches at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville. The grand final will be played on Sunday, January 13, while the third place match will be played on Saturday, January 12, 2019.
According to Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Andy Quamie, women’s football will for the first time be introduced at the quarterfinals stage of the tournament.
“We are working in collaboration with the Liberia Football Association and counties so that we can have four teams as a test case. We hope that it will succeed so that women’s football will be fully incorporated into the 2019 National County Sports Meet,” he said.
Zoegar Wilson, Minister of Youth and Sports, disclosed that the government has appropriated US$250,000 for this year’s event and each county will receive two sets of jerseys, with a special amount to be presented to each county eventually. He said the ministry’s goal is to build the country’s young national teams, therefore the tournament will be used to spot young talented players from across the counties.
Minister Wilson also urged local businesses and companies in various counties to support their respective county teams, as the government cannot do it alone. The theme for this year’s edition is “Celebrating 15 Years of Peace.”