Despite the failure of Liberian football and basketball teams to have won titles in 2013, the Amputee Lone Star soccer team stood out as the only success story.
The team’s story in 2013 included the team’s victory in the African Nations Amputee Champions in Nairobi, Kenya. The team gladly did what other teams could not do.
Granted that there are differences in the game, the fact that the players successfully defended their continental championship title and made an impressive win in far away Nairobi Kenya is nothing but impressive.
And thanks to skipper Festus Harrison, the player many of his adoring fans nicknamed Kaka, after AC Milan’s the mask man. Festus lost his left leg when he was two years, and football has been his life.
Kaka’s movement on the ball is the more remarkable for he has been playing the game with passion. He has developed certain ability with the ball and he carries it with ease.
One report described his authority with the ball this way: “He runs at pace towards the corner and he suddenly plants one crutch in the sand and swings 270 degrees, taking the ball with him. The defender trips over his own crutches and Kaka steams towards goal.”
Another player is Moses Kolie, who is lovely referred to as Drogba, after that great Ivorian giant Didier Drogba. The five-foot Liberian Drogba scores many of the team’s goals, earning him the name Drogba.
A career soccer player, Drogba scores at will and his friends love him for that.
Another report described Liberian Drogba this way: “Drogba swings on his crutches in an elaborate celebration, then looks over with I “told-you-so” grin on his face and slaps the ball into the net, and his friends hop over to embrace him.”
In their recent African Nations Cup finals in Kenya, Liberia defeated Angola 2-1 before a record crowd at the Nyayo Sports Stadium to win and set a historic record as the three-time winner. For now the Amputee Lone Star is the only team that has proven to represent Liberia with victories.
But in their efforts to better represent Liberia in continental games, the team has to go through lots of challenges till help came from important places. There were times when the playing team cried for support.
At the last crucial trip in Kenya, President Sirleaf personally provided U$4,000.00; Soccer4Hope gave U$1,000.00 and Mr. Robert Sirleaf (BYC) also provided a considerable amount.
The National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL, made the team’s trip to Kenya possible and the team did not disappoint the nation as a result. What is impressive about the Amputee Lone Star is the players’ determination to achieve what their fellows in the regular Lone Star have failed to do, despite huge financial support.
Festus Harrison Kaka and his colleagues deserve the appreciation of all Liberians. They have proven how capable they are to defend their own and to make the country proud.
We must be determined to help the Amputee Lone Star in 2014 so that they can continue to improve the image of the country in the only competition that we are the champions.