Lone Star: Starting All Over Again

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It is normally not easy for a ruined life to be turned over without huge costs. Sometimes a ruined life leaves behind only fleeting memories of the bygone years.

In this instance, the remains of a ruined life are used as examples to guide the future.

Interestingly, sport is a world of its own; and what was not done yesterday can be done today to change the course of its development for the better.

Since the horrible year of 2002, when the national soccer team, Lone Star, crashed against the Black Stars of Ghana and dashed the hopes of thousands of soccer fans, Liberian football has not been able to recover its name or its numerous fans.

Many who were old enough to remember the years before 2002, could speak with relish of the time when football was football in Liberia. It was the time that a game between Mighty Barrolle and Invincible Eleven was like the greatest match of all time.

Those memories remind us of the names like James Salinsa Debbah, described by sports writers at the time as ‘Most Celebrated Player,’ and George Oppong Weah as the ‘Wizard Dribbler.’

So, after the loss of Liberia’s chance for the World Cup in 2002, and the advent of DStv, as well as the loss of the leadership of Invincible Eleven and Mighty Barrolle from the league leadership, Liberian football was even described as being dead, by current FA Boss Musa Bility.

For the last twelve years, the national team has not been able to ably represent the country and the latest disappointments were those squandered by both junior and senior national teams recently.

After those disappointments, inquiring minds want to know what went wrong and what could be done to remedy what happened.

Every knowledgeable soccer administrator knows the steps to achieving success in sports. These steps will include selecting quality players from the national league and blending them together with the professionals abroad who will demonstrate their commitment to support the national agenda.

There are also technical issues they are not necessary to be described here. However, the fact now is that Liberia is out of 2015 African Cup of Nations; and this makes good that we must begin at the beginning and plan for the 2017’s edition.

It is not shameful to admit that both administrators and players, including the fans, did not do their part well for success, since 2002.

This is time to advance suggestions of substance without blaming others. The Sports Writers Association of Liberia must join the Liberia Football Association to examine some of the pertinent issues that were overlooked or that did not come into play that could be responsible for the failure of our football development and the way forward.

In doing this, we must remove emotion from our actions and be brave enough to take decisions that could change the destiny of football development.

Yes, Lone Star is ruined to its bones, and we know that despite ignominious year of 2002, we can change our football destiny but only if we are determined to do so.

One interesting element that could get the nation’s football back on its feet is for Chief Patron President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to play more of a leadership role in this revival.

This is because recent history tells that it was only when the late president Samuel Kanyon Doe played a leading role in football that Liberia soccer soared over many nations in Africa.

President Doe made it mandatory for government ministries to find employment for national football players to give them the security they needed to devote their time to the game.

It was the time that George Oppong Weah and his friends were discovered to take on the soccer world. And the result of those efforts produced the best for Liberia, as history will proudly confirm. Now is the time for the chief patron to make a difference.

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