A team of retired national team players and some prominent individuals are considering the establishment of an endowment fund that will be used to identify with retired Liberian professionals in times of emergency.
Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) political leader Alexander Cummings, Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods retired national players Dionysius D. Sebwe, Boys Charles are some of the individuals considering the institutionalization of the program.
The team on Monday, July 6, paid a visit to former Invincible Eleven player and Coach, Joka Wreakar who has been surfing from a strange foot disease for several months. Recently, the Liberia Football Coaches Association (LIFOCA) issued a release calling on football followers and well-meaning Liberians to come to the aid of two of their members who have been ill for several months.
Coach Jokar Wreakar played for the national football team of Liberia and IE in the 1980s before going on to coach IE. He was among coaching staff that won the Nigerian Premier League with Enyimba FC in 2004 before returning home in 2007 to join the technical team of the Lone Star.
The desire for the launching of the program is due to the usual abandonment of retired national sports icons. Atty. Kofi Woods said it is sad that people who helped to unify the country through sports during the time of crisis will be abandoned and later reduced to beggars during times of emergency.
“He was one of those who sacrificed for the country at the time when there were not a lot of resources in Liberia for football, so it tells us that something needed to be done. There are several people home and abroad who sacrificed for this country through various sports bearing the Lone Stars, therefore we must be compassionate about our icons as a nation,” Atty. Woods said.
The former Public Works Minister said they are working together as a team to set up a national fund beyond football, adding that “It will be a national fund and we will bring a lot Liberians from the different walks of life to participate on the board, to set the criteria and to create the condition for proper vetting as to know who can benefit. We have to find a way to bring dignity to our national icons.”
Meanwhile, CPP political leader Cummings has emphasized the need for the welfare of retired professionals to be prioritized in times of emergency.
“I’m sharing my visit with you all because it is essential to emphasize the need to take care of our own, local retired football stars who brought smiles on our faces, most notably during our challenging years. Today, many of them are abandoned and neglected in their illness even with a former footballer as President. One would think this would have been an era of investing in the sport and other sports while we acknowledge the contributions of those who lit our pitch,” Cummings wrote on his official social media handle.
He also pledged the CPP’s support to assist in the process to set up a national fund to aid retired professionals of all sports in times of emergency.
“Sports have always been a unifier, and while we will support current participants, we must also look back at those on whose shoulders they stand. I remember the good ole days of IE and Barrolle rivalry vividly, but also of how it brought us together as a people. Our young people now may not understand, but those who lived in that era know what our Yellow Boys did. We can make sports even better, but first, we must take care of our own.”
When given the chance to speak, coach Wreakar emotionally burst into tears and thanked the visiting delegation for identifying with his during this period.