The name Ben Armafio was popular among Liberian soccer players of 1986-1989. The owner of the name was the head coach of Mighty Barrolle.
Coach Armafio, whose death has been reported in New York in the United States, led Mighty Barrolle against then rivals Invincible Eleven in matches that drew the attention of soccer fans.
One game that is still remembered was the 1987 Hydro Tournament, particularly the last game of the best out of three matches at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
Captained by James Salinsa Debbah, now coach of the national soccer team, Barrolle went against Invincible Eleven, also captained by skipper George Oppong Weah, now Senator George Weah.
Coach Armafio held the trump card as Barrolle battled Invincible Eleven, after drawing their two previous encounters. The Hydro Tournament was the brainchild of the late Sam Burnnett, who was ever willing to promote players.
The SKD Complex was packed to capacity and Monrovia was agog with excitement: the reason being that two of the city’s best teams at the time were engaged in one of their regular contests for supremacy.
Though Invincible Eleven had a number of good players, including Ben Morthy, Eshun Smith, Kai Jerbo, Joe ‘Thunder’ Nagbe, Jonathan Sogbie (Boye Charles) and George Oppong Weah, Barrolle’s outfit brimmed with optimism, especially with the incredible James Salinsa Debbah, supported by Alfred Harmon (Little Harmon) Dominic Brapoh (Lucky Shango), and one of Liberia’s greatest midfielders, Mark Gibson.
But not to bore you too much with the past, the game ended 3-2 in favor of Mighty Barrolle, with James Salinsa Debbah as the man of the match, scoring the winner goal just before the game ended. But it was Coach Amarfio’s ability to introduce his players at critical points during the proceedings of the game that secured the game for The Rollers.
Coach Amarfio was a man who knew his game. Perhaps he lived at a time when local football was highly respected and therefore his achievements with Mighty Barrolle helped to strengthen the game’s popularity at the time.
Coach Amarfio eventually went to the United States like some of the players he brought up, who still remember him with fond memories. Many of his players in the United States are rallying support to assist his home-going.
Rest in Peace Coach Ben.