The importance of sports was re-emphasized last Monday when US President Barak Obama honored players of Middle League Soccer champions, Galaxy, alongside ice hockey’s La Kings in a joint ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
Obama claimed that America is ‘starting to realize what the beautiful game (soccer) is all about’ after honoring the two teams.
President Obama’s superb action for the sportsmen is in contrast with how officials in Liberia handle sportsmen.
Though President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the Chief Patron of all sports in Liberia, the previous U$500,000.00 to support the national soccer team is reduced to U$300,000.00 and minor sports like basketball, boxing, table tennis and lawn tennis receive what officials describe as ‘peanuts,’ for their development that has consistently failed to develop sportsmen and women for the country.
President Obama made mention of the beautiful game, which ostensibly he was referring to soccer, one sport that has more players in the country and empowering them would benefit thousands of players of the Liberia Football Association in the first, second, third and the sub-association and sub-committee leagues throughout the country.
Boxing, a sport that an athlete could earn a medal for the country has been left to rot with boxers waiting for manna to fall from heaven, for the last five years.
The little gains from sportsmen and women were erased by the emergence of the Ebola Virus Disease and while Liberian government officials are not keen to ensure initial investment in the various sports, they are known to give superficial support to European clubs of their choice in the Premier League, La Liga and other leagues. Soccer fans have also become addicted to them through betting for winners.
Presently, there are at least four Senators that Liberian sports should depend on to grow if they demonstrate commitment to develop the games. The first is Senator George Weah and no matter the argument, owes soccer a whole lot; Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, led the erstwhile Sinkor Lioness soccer team as its skipper; Senator Francis Paye, whose organizational skills brought thousands to support Mighty Barrolle and Rep. Adolph Lawrence, who has spent more time and money behind football as well as having served as vice president for operations at the Liberia Football Association.
Let’s hope that Chief Patron President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and our lawmakers would see the need to put more money into sports so that one day, a sitting president would have the occasion to honor our athletes so that ‘Liberians can start to realize what the beautiful game is all about.”