Preparing for Afcon 2017: The Beginning

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LFA President Musa Bility may have the ability to dream big and like many other ambitious persons, need to be told that there is a price to pay if any ambitious project would become successful.

At the recent take-all at the LFA elections, he told visiting CAF member and others in Buchanan that Liberia would be at the finals of the African Cup of Nations in 2017.

Today, the presence of many radio stations make the transmission of information widely achievable but the question is how many remember what was said yesterday to hold speakers accountable for their actions? How many remember correctly what was said at the last LFA elections?

So with the dismissals of the senior and junior national teams from all CAF and FIFA competitions, Musa Bility now has the chance to make his dream come true if he plans properly, with 2017 Afcon as his target.

The national team represents Liberia at the Afcon and the World Cup levels. There are also the Under 20 and U-17 versions where several West African countries have made major achievements.

In fact Nigerian and Ghanaian junior national teams have made great impacts that they are always mentioned by FIFA and CAF, and less successful nations have been asked to emulate their examples. In fact most of the players who have succeeded in the junior World Cup levels have moved up to Europe.

How come that Nigeria and Ghana could do it and we are not able to do it? What is the problem? Do we not have more soccer talents in this country? Admittedly, a country that could produce super stars like George Weah and James Salinsa Debbah should be able to produce more.

True, there are abundant of players, skillful ones, too who, when properly groomed, can make all the difference. Please note I said when they are properly groomed. But the problem is, due to circumstances of war and its resultant negative impact, many young boys are active in what their brothers in the last generation waited till they were mature enough to get involved: women and booze.

For example, if a member of the U-20 national team has a child, it means that the LFA will have a problem to request discipline from him. After all he is a father and a parent and not a child anymore. And there is a level that a coach or an administrator can instruct him to accept discipline, which is the case of the Liberian experience. How do you instruct a man with a family, though 18 or 19, to be told how much he would be paid, without the player requesting how much he must be paid?

The impossible issue here is that such a player would need funds for his family before embarking on any assignment abroad. Since many a young player is no longer a child but a parent, it means if Bility’s LFA will be successful in preparing a team for the 2017 African Nations Cup, then his best bet will be in the younger generation.

To begin with, the LFA must recruit from the lower divisions to build a team for the next two years. And with all due respect the recent document prepared by its technical department under Henry Brown must be followed to the letter.

It is extremely disheartening that despite many skillful young players in Liberia, we are not able to gather the best for the defense of the nation in soccer. Team Bility must begin the new transformation from the beginning.

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