The city of Gbarnga was agog with life when Cotton Tree, although one man down due to a red card, came from behind to defeat Barwolor 2-1 last Saturday in the opening match of the two-month Team Jorquelleh Rainbow Soccer Tournament in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The match was played at the grassless J.F. Clark sports field where hundreds of soccer fans thronged around the field to enjoy the first of the 43 games outlined for the city.
The tournament, according to the organizers, quoted by Radio Gbarnga and Super Bongese Radio, is meant to encourage social cohesion and to promote religious tolerance in Bong County.
YMCA-Liberia General Secretary Edward Gboe told the players before the first series of games that they were from different religious backgrounds and therefore success can only come from working together as a team.
He appealed for good sportsmanship to ensure that the objective of the tournament is realized.
Mr. Gboe said the tournament, organized by Team Jorquelleh, a grassroots group of young people of Bong County, will be the biggest locally organized soccer championship in Gbarnga.
DonamiSport’s founder Doc Lawson, who took the kick off, said his organization provided all the materials for the tournament, and said he has a long term relationship with Mr. Gboe, while expressing faith in Gboe that he will do all in his power to ensure the success of the tournament.
The tournament continued yesterday in four centers: Kortu Quarter versus Cotton Tree at J. F. Clark sport field; Civil Comp versus Vilenyen at the Rubber Factory sports pitch; Gbansu versus Millionaire at the Dorothy Cooper sports field; and Brooklyn versus Bassa Community at Velenyen sports field.
Earlier on Saturday, three U-12 teams entertained the crowd with thrilling games. The three games ended in draws and were determined by penalty kicks.
Kokoya Road defeated Cotton Tree (U-12) 5-4, after drawing 1-1 at regulation time and went to defeat Telecom FC on a similar margin. All three teams received trophies for their participation.
Meanwhile Mr. Gboe said Team Jorquelleh’s objective is to promote principles of social diversity (accepting everybody to work together and benefit together), fostering social equality and equity (treating everybody fairly and equally), enhancing popular participation (allowing everyone to have a voice and stake in what their community does) and strengthening community led approaches to local solutions (building on what community people know to do best around their needs).
The group is interested in the government and the people working together to find solutions to problems and local needs to improve the quality of life of local people; and convinced that the right leaders serve as links and facilitators of social change.
The group also promotes social dialogue and youth and citizens’ civic consciousness around governance reform and the active participation of its members and other residents in the ensuring legislative and presidential elections.