“All the female players call me Massa One,” Medic Massa M. Mangoue told me last Sunday. It was during the finals of the special 3-day female soccer tournament at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
Even though her full name is Massa M. Mongoue, the players decide to call her Massa One. “The reason is I care for and about them and therefore to them I’m number one,” she told me.
Massa One is the only female medic, among the men in the Liberia Sports Medic Association, (LISMAC), whose primary duty is to send a team of medics to the game venue during games organized by the Liberia Football Association.
“LISMAC has a special relationship with the Liberia Football Association,” noted LFA’s secretary general B. Alphonso Armah. “The organization is duly compensated.”
Massa admitted that she her colleagues attend LFA games to be ready to handle injured footballers. They attend to players from either side in a competition.
Massa One began her career several years ago but it was until she had graduated from the Jimmy Jolokon High School in Gardnersville, outside Monrovia. She further attended Voluntary First Aid on Mechlin Street before spending two years at the Smart Institute on 16th Street all in Monrovia.
“I was recruited by Mr. Wallace Weiah to work for Earth Angels FC,” she said. Weiah is president of Earth Angels FC and also executive member of Football for the destitute, known as FODEDE.
A mother of five, she has been able to deal with female players and they consider her as a mother.
“They call me Massa One,” she said with a smile, “and I hold them as my children.”
During a game when a player is down, she loves to grabs her bag and race across the field to provide her the assistance, as soon as the center referee signals her.
“I really don’t want my girls to get hurt,” she said, “but soccer being the way it is, players will fall and they will need attention, and that is where I come in.”
Massa One said, “I love the job.” She traveled with the female Lone Star to Freetown, Sierra Leone, last March in their international friendly match.
“I learn more about the game and how it affects the girls every day,” Massa One said. She has had two years in college, and dreams about returning to school.
But for now, as she provides healing for female soccer players, she is doing so with the hope that the girls will play and enjoy the game.
Last Sunday, when midfield-general Kebbeh Lamin led her side to win 2-0 from goals scored by Angeline Kieh, Massa One celebrated with the victors, “because victory belongs to all of us.”