The 2019/2020 edition of Liberia’s biggest sporting festival, the National County Sports Meet officially kicked off on Saturday, January 4, 2020, at the Doris Williams Sports Stadium in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
Inaugurated in 1956, this year’s edition is being celebrated under the theme “Sustaining the Peace Through Sports.”
It was officially opened by Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, who represented Chief Patron of Sports, President George Weah, at the opening ceremony indoor program. He called on Liberians to use the tournament as a means of reconciling and sustain the peace in the midst of the hardships that the country is faced with.
Liberia Football Association (LFA) president, Mustapha Raji, who was also at the event, thanked President Weah for his continuous support to football and other sports in the country. He said the vision of the LFA is to redevelop football at all levels and therefore appealed to the Legislature to increase the budgetary support to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to enable the ministry run programs in other sports.
“We need money to develop infrastructure, we need money to develop pitches in Maryland, Lofa, and other counties. Without support in the allotment for the Ministry of Youth and Sports, you should not expect us to experience the passion that we see when international games are played. To invest and develop sports requires lots of money,” he said.
The indoor program was attended by several top government officials including Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar M. Findley, the Senate’s Committee Chair on Youth and Sports Conmany B. Wesseh and lawmakers from Grand Bassa and Rivercess counties.
On the pitch, Grand Bassa County girls had a dramatic comeback after they overturned a 2-0 home score to defeat Rivercess 8-5 in the entertaining opening kickball game.
Unfortunately, both Bassa and Rivercess football teams did not put out an entertaining display as was expected. They were unable to break the deadlock as the game ended in a goalless draw.
Later on Sunday, January 5, in the group’s second round of games, Sinoe’s kickball team suffered an 8-2 defeat against the girls of Margibi County.
However, Sinoe boys put out a decent display as they narrowly defeated Margibi 2-1 in the football encounter. The “Mississippi Boys” are now top of Group A with three points, followed by Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Margibi.
In today’s fixtures, Rivercess will take on Sinoe in both kickball and football, while Margibi and Grand Bassa will face each other in the two categories.
Elsewhere in Voinjama, host city of Group B, the much talked match between host Lofa and Nimba saw the “Wologizi Boys” collecting all three points after a narrow 1-0 win against Nimba.
Earlier in the kickball category, Nimba overturned a halftime 2-0 deficit to defeat Lofa 3-2.
The group’s second round of games will kick-off today with Bong County taking to the pitch for their first game against Lofa in both categories.
Lofa need at least a draw in the football category which will see them booking their ticket to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The group’s final match will be played between Nimba and Bong on Saturday, January 11.
In Group C, hosted in Harper City, Maryland County suffered a 11-6 defeat against Grand Kru in the kickball category, while both teams settled to a goalless draw in the football category.
In the other games, River Gee defeated Grand Gedeh 6-5 home runs in kickball, while Grand Gedeh pinned River Gee 1-0 in the football category. Grand Gedeh are top of the group with three points, while Grand Kru and Maryland are in the second and third places, leveled on one point apiece.
The group’s second round of games will kick-off today with Grand Kru going against Grand Gedeh in both kickball and football, while River Gee will face Maryland.
In was a tight game in the first kickball match between host Grand Cape Mount and Bomi County as Bomi secured the victory with a 1-0 home run. Similarly the football match was also a tough one as both Cape Mount and Bomi settled to a goalless draw.
Montserrado County, on the other hand, defeated Gbarpolu 7-2 home runs in the kickball category, while in the football category, defending champions Montserrado were edge out by Gbarpolu 1-0 in the day’s final encounter.