Poor County Meet Organization Undermines Celebration of Peace

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Mr. Alfred Sayon, technical committee chairman of the Grand Kru Sports Association, has indicated that the poor organization of the 2014 National Meet has brought disunity to the celebration of the ten years of peace the country has enjoyed.

He said the theme, 'Celebrating 10 Years of Peace through Sports', could not be achieved due to poor organization in handling and managing resources to counties.

Sayon, in an interview Tuesday in Monrovia, raised concerns about three important issues: organization, financial contributions and the officiating of the games, particularly outside Monrovia.

Sayon suggested that the Ministry of Youths & Sports must establish a National Steering Committee, comprising of representatives from all the counties.

“The steering committee will then be able to understand what it takes to prepare teams and be able to come up with appropriate recommendation that will make a difference,” he said.

Sayon said that will create confidence in the organization of the County Meet since it will involve technical professionals from outside the Ministry of Youths & Sports.

He said since the County Meet is an annual event funds for the counties must be provided ahead of time to ensure adequate preparation.

“Grand Kru’s players could not be pacified despite the fact that the check of U$4,000.00 was on hand,” Sayon said. The amount should have been $6,000.00.

He added that the check was released when there was no chance to cash it, and as a result the players could not see reason to wait and it was a day before a scheduled game.

“The money was needed to pay the players but we could not get to cash the check so it meant that we were in for trouble,” Sayon said disappointed. And the trouble was the team’s elimination by Nimba.

He made reference to the late distribution of funds to the counties, even as county teams qualify from one stage to another.

“In last year’s county meet,” Sayon said, “we received funds for the game three days before the meet and since this year’s was not even better, it leaves much to be desired.”

“We don’t seem to learn from what we did wrong three years ago,” Sayon said. “This is because past mistakes have been repeated in every County Meet.”

He explained that the U$20,000.00 provided to each county is not enough to cover preparation, transportation and remuneration to players.

Due to the late release of funds for this year’s meet, there were overwhelming problems, including the one in Sinoe County, where players set up roadblocks, demanding for funds entitled to them, he noted.

The County Meet is an annual affair, Sayon said, and as a result the ministry must be able to learn from past mistakes to make the future ones better.

The third concern is how games were officiated in the preliminary rounds in the counties.

“Officiating games in the counties is not the same as handling matches in Monrovia,” he said, “there was a high degree of favoritism where the norm was loyalty over professionalism.”

He recommended a check and balance or a system that can oversee the performance of match officials to ensure fair play which he said was lacking in the 2014 preliminary rounds.

At a press conference last week, Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe admitted that clearance for the distribution of the funds came two weeks before the tournament.

He explained that his administration followed the PPCC law to set the standard for the future.

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