The recent death of the Liberia Football Association’s (LFA) former Chief of Operations (in the 1980s) did not come as a surprise, for Paul E. Mulbah had been ill for a while.
Mulbah worked at several places at certain times and served his country to the best of his ability; one area in which I remember his efficiency was after the 1980 coup d’état and President Samuel Kanyon Doe took over as the chairman of the LFA. Paul Mulbah was appointed as his Chief of Operations.
He joined vice chairman Willis D. Knuckles and they were faced with the challenge of reforming Liberian football. Until President Doe took over the chairmanship of the LFA, the national soccer league was then poorly organized.
Among other things, there were IE versus Barrolle encounters for charity organizations, and the two clubs never had the opportunity to contest in the CAF Competitions.
It was Paul, Knuckles and President Doe, along with several other sports administrators, that accepted the mantle to change the misfortune of Liberian football. Knuckles, as it has been noted over and over, put his managerial skills together. Both Knuckles and Mulbah began to reform Liberian football, since President Doe was willing to honor their requests.
Though Mulbah had once been president of Mighty Barrolle, his new role was to reform Liberian football and therefore he went to work. Knuckles was also said to identify with Barrolle but that did not matter.
Even President Doe was a fan of Mighty Barrolle but that also did not matter. The three men worked together and made sure that a regular league season was organized, the first in many years. The re-organization of association football, when CAF and FIFA rules were respected, identified or rather gave opportunities to many players, which included the George Weah generation.
Joining the reform was Sam N. Burnette, Jr., of blessed memory, for the man’s love for Invincible Eleven was beyond comparison. Burnette was always there for the Sunshine Yellow Boys, as Invincible Eleven’s players were and are known.
This administration ensured that there was a positive environment for the development of talented players and the process continued until Knuckles decided to leave the vice chairmanship position. Leaving the position, Knuckles established the SPORTS WORLD newspaper, with support from Mulbah and Eddie Dunn.
That newspaper and several others, including THE SPORTING LIFE and THE SPORTS CHRONICLE, took up the challenge to continue to provide information to the sports reading public about the activities of Liberian stars that had made it to Europe. The SPORTS WORLD provided employment for several young journalists, including the current minister of information, Eugene Nagbe.
Paul E. Mulbah loved soccer, and he made his contribution to the development of the players of his time. During his time, among the players who enjoyed the support of Paul E. Mulbah’s LFA, included:
James Salinsa Debbah, Zeogar Wilson, Momoh Blamoh, Pewou Bestman, Louis Crayton, Washington Blay, Solomon Joe, Mark Gibson, Friday Roberts, Frederick Cole, William Gray, Thomas Kojo, Waka Herron, Armah Baxter, Mass Sarr, Jr., Sarweh, Hallie Lahai, Benjamin Seydee (Roberto), Sam Yeboah, Tamba Barclay and Dominic Brapoh (Lucky Shango), among others.
Most of these players went on to play professional football in Europe. Their successes came from the trail blazed by Paul E. Mulbah and others that provided the opportunities for their careers in Europe and other places.
Of course, there had been many former sports promoters that history seems to have forgotten; but those who succeeded because of such promoters should not forget, because they too have the responsibility to lead the torch to help those coming up to follow.
Other hats worn by Paul E. Mulbah included Director, Liberia National Police (LNP); Director General, General Services Agency (GSA); Chief of Protocol, Republic of Liberia; Deputy Commissioner – Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization; Assistant Minister for Youth, Ministry of Labor Youth and Sports; Managing Director, National Housing Authority (NHA); President, Mesurado Group of Companies; Regional Director, United States Peace Corps.
Farewell PEM, you could not have done more than that and may the good Lord give you eternal rest till we meet again!