Football plays a large part in the lives of both young and old Liberians, and especially with Liberia producing the only person to emerge as a World Player the important role of the game cannot be overlooked.
The establishment of an old-timer football league in the country, which allowed former professionals and amateur players at the age 40 to participate for physical recreation, offers many benefits, ranging from simple enjoyment to improved health and social interaction.
In the just ended ECOWAS Integrity and Solidarity Old-timer Football Tournament, Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan was the skipper for the Barnersville Old-timer team.
The winger cum striker’s side whipped Paynesville old-timer 8-7 in a penalty shoot-out after the 70 minutes ended 2-2.
The likes of former Lone Star players Sam Chebli and Janjay Jacobs were teammates to the Minister with Chebli on the extreme right while Janjay was in front of the goal.
Paynesville showcased the likes of former Lone Star players Kelvin Sebwe, Jonathan Boye Charles Sogbie and Papie Sumo.
Inarguably a fling from Ngafuan to Chebli gave Janjay early head up in the 8th minute. Papie Sumo struck the equalizer in the 14th minute, but before the break Sam Chebli increased the tally from a sublime pass from the Foreign Minister.
Twelve minutes to stoppage time, the Minister was substituted and six minutes later, Kelvin Sebwe squeezed the rotation.
Debatably, the Minister’s absence in the semi-finals against Lakpazee on Sunday might have caused the 2-1 defeat. Prince Harrison and Stephen Nimely in the 5th and 60th minutes threw Barnersville out in spite of the consolation goal by Wearl Venn in the 13th minute.
Earlier, the tournament’s favorite Alpha Old-timer was spanked 2-0, courtesy of Ben Saydee and Rufus Neufville in the 2nd and 28th minutes.
Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe wouldn’t push enough to get either an equalizer or a win and there was no one to convert his three encouraging crosses.
Many Alpha players said that the absence of Sen. Amb. George M. Weah, Finance Minister Amara Konneh, NOCAL boss Dr. Nathaniel McClain and others caused their defeat.
Labour Minister Neto Lighe’s Sinkor Old-timer was also thrown out in a lottery kick after the field-of-play ended goalless.
Howbeit, Bame clinched the ECOWAS Cup, having whipped Lakpazee Old-timer 4-2 in a lottery shot after 70 minutes of entertaining football ended 1-1.
According to the former Secretary of Alpha, Bryant McGill aged people are actively engaged in the game in order to reduce the likelihood of a person developing many chronic diseases.
Bryant named some of health benefits of playing soccer as increased aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health; lowering body fat and improving muscle tone; building strength, flexibility and endurance; increasing muscle and bone strength and improving health due to shifts between walking, running and sprinting.
He said another benefits to old-timer footballers is teamwork. It also enables the old timer to share; help them to ‘think on the run’ and increases concentration, persistence and self-discipline.
“Through old timer football we make new friends and subsequently get employment,” Mr. Bryant said.