Sinoe County is amongst the eight teams for the quarter finals amidst lack of moral and financial supports and protests — on the eve to the start of Group’s D qualifying matches in Greenville — the players deserted their camp because of lack of ‘per diems.’
The U$300 each promised the players were deferred to Saturday, three days after the tournament.
The players refusal to return to camp for their opening match against Gbarpolu County on Sunday, coupled with a phone-in show on the Voice of Sinoe (88.3) in the youths’ involvement after their ‘House-To-House Collections,” birthed a new assurance of payment .
“We were told that half of our per diem will be given us after the Sunday’s game,” Skipper Leva Wilson said.
About 9:50p.m, with daunted hope, Sinoe returned to camp after an ‘Acquaintance Meeting’ with all the counties, and a loaf of bread and cool aid was gulped to say goodbye to the night.
“Even though mentally, we were not prepared because of the continuous postponement of the per diem and delay in the food, we were still confident of qualifying,” Goalie Roosevelt Kollie said.
Head coach Bra Dixon, alias Skill, said: “We are like an unfed giant – but believe me, we can…”
Apart from the per diem saga in Sinoe’s camp, food and toiletries were also part of the constraints; breakfasts usually arrived in camp about 11:46a.m., while lunch and dinner were joined and brought between 7:30p.m-8:00p.m.
Pathetically, the preparation fees of US$10,000 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the sponsorship fees of US$4,400 from the Hummingbird Resource to the Sinoe County’s teams could not be reached.
Sinoe County’s Development Superintendent Thomas Romeo Quiah apologetically told the players that the monies were deposited into the County Development Fund and would be ‘ripe for withdrawal’ on Saturday.
The Happy Strangers
Unlike Sinoe County, the camps of Gbarpolu and Rivercess Counties were filled with ‘unspoken joys’ as each player received US$125 as half of their first-stage’ per diem.
Gbarpolu’s head of delegation Mr. Jango W.B. Kanneh and head coach Stephen Momo told the Daily Observer in separate interviews that they raised substantial amounts of money for transport, accommodate and feeding as well as to take care of half of their players’ per diem.
The chairman of the Rivercess County Steering Committee, Al Timothy Paulus and Sports Coordinator Evan B. Somah, said they were financially and morally prepared to shoulder all expenses, including the full payment of the players’ per diems.
Nevertheless both counties were not escorted by any senior county authority or member of the Legislature.
As for Nimba County, the presence of Superintendent Christiana Dagadu and scores of county officials as well as members of the County Steering Sports Committee spoke volume of their full preparedness.
Nimba was the only county that organized a unified cheering suad.
The Mountainous Boys were considered the ‘extraordinary’ owing to a travelling fee of U$80 per player, besides their first-stage per diem, which figure was undisclosed.
“We are not here to joke, we are here to fulfill our motto, operation clear all,” Superintendent Dagadu said.
Qualification, Quarrels and Protests
On Sunday, in the football edition, Gbarpolu forced Sinoe to a goalless draw, while Sam Jackson’s brace in the 2nd and 86th minutes put Nimba on top of the table despite George Beath’s 59th minute consolation goal.
In the kickball version, Gbarpolu nailed Sinoe 4-2 points and Rivercess narrowly bowed 1-0 to Nimba. All the kickball games were 5 in rounds.
In the football battles on Tuesday, Nimba pinned Gbarpolu, 1-0. Lavin Gboto scored the disappointing goal in the 92nd minute. Sinoe’s midfield maestro Adolphus Tarpeh put his side in the lead in the first half against Rivercess, but the game was postponed because of a thunderous rain which filled the field.
In the kickball showdown, Nimba also whipped Gbarpolu 1-0 and Rivercess thrashed Sinoe 3-2 points.
On Wednesday, at about 10:00a.m, the 2nd half began but was halted owing to a commotion between the cheering squads of Sinoe and that of Nimba.
“We were cheering for Rivercess because Sinoe always cheered against us,” Nimba County’s Prince Dahn said.
After about 24 minutes of interference and calm, the game resumed. Sinoe’s potent forward in the 73rd minute increased the tally, a jubilation that almost resulted in a ‘standoff’ again between the two teams.
Seventeenth minutes later, Jerry Pongay netted the consolation goal.
On Thursday, Nimba narrowly and hurtfully pinned Sinoe 1-0;, a goal which was scored in the 91st minute, while Rivercess lost her third game to Gbarpolu County. In the Kickball, Sinoe won Nimba, 5-1 and Gbarpolu dragged Rivercess 7-5 points.
The Grievance and Protest Committee, headed by ORD Kareem Nyanneh had ruled in favor of Sinoe County, owing to the lack of substantial evidence against striker Boye Bailey, which according to the protest, played in the First Division League for Exodus FC in 2007 in the Liberia Football Association (LFA).
The Committee also said its procedural errors in the filing of the protest, according to Article XVI Section 18.1 says, “Protests, grievances and complaints from a match MUST be registered on the match report sheet before, during and immediately after the match, counter-signed by the opposing team’s captain, followed by a formal letter within two hours.”
Meanwhile, Nimba tops Group D with nine points, followed by runner-up Sinoe with four points, who qualified with ‘a goal aggregate.’
In kickball, Gbarpolu tops with 4 points and three wins over Nimba which has 4 points and -3 wins.