After conquering the African continent in the soccer arena, South African based Liberian soccer star, Anthony Snoti Laffor has returned home with his honors (the medal and jersey he wore on that fateful day) and presented them to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for onward presentation to the Liberian people.
He became the first Liberian player to win the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League after playing a key role in his South African side’s (Mamelodi Sundowns) achievement.
Laffor, 31, upon meeting the President, lauded her for the audience and presented his championship medal along with his number ‘28’ Jersey to her in appreciation of, what he termed as, her support to the development of sports in Liberia.
“Madam President, I would have been very ungrateful if I had not come to present these honors that I have achieved in a foreign country to you, as our mother, and the Liberian people. Therefore, I have come to give this to you and the Liberian people. Thanking you all for the support over the years,” Laffor said in the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The former national team—Lone Star—Captain was accompanied to the President for the ceremony by Minister of Youth and Sports, Charles Saah N’Tow, scores of sports journalists and a number of top government officials.
“My country is always in my heart. And what makes me proud most when I am out there is when I am identified as a Liberian international football star. I’m so grateful to represent my country out there,” he told the President.
Laffor, an important and dependable member of his Sundowns’ team, got the opener in the semi-final’s 2nd leg after Sundowns defeated Zambian side ZESCO 3-2 on aggregate.
He subsequently scored that all important opener and provided an assist in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final when Sundowns defeated Zamalek 3-0 at home. This gave Laffor and his team an advantage that served them well moving into the 2nd leg of the final in Egypt. That championship victory gave Mamelodi Sundowns its first continental title, a after 3-1 on aggregate over Zamalek.
President Sirleaf praised Anthony Laffor for his endeavor in putting Liberia on the soccer landscape of Africa adding: “If you were not competitive; if you were not strong, if you were not disciplined, you would never have risen to the place where you could be identified and then moved to where you have become the champion of Africa,” she observed.
She urged Laffor to stay in touch with his country and he should keep being a symbol of hope and success for the younger generation. With Laffor’s permission, the President said that the medal and the historic #28 jersey will be placed in the national museum for generations to come to see.
Laffor who is also the former Captain of the Liberian National Team, the Lone Star, promised President Sirleaf that Liberia will qualify for the next round of the African Cup of Nations.