The Ministry of Youth and Sports has expressed disappointment on the dishonesty of the Amputee Lone Star team over their invite to participate in the United States Amputee national team’s 4-nation tournament, but has failed to state whether the team would be punished.
Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton, Jr., said the Liberian government – specifically the Ministries of Youth and Sports and Foreign Affairs were tricked to believe that the invitation which was extended to the Liberia Amputee National Team in March 2015 was a scheduled tournament.
Minister Yonton on Tuesday in exclusive interview with the Daily Observer, said according to the invite, the USA Amputee team was to play host to Haiti, Ghana and Liberia, in a two-day tournament, on the 8th and 9th of August 2015.
“Unfortunately, we have realized lately, that on the 23rd of July, the US Amputee national team cancelled the tournament, but the Amputee Lone Star concealed the cancellation note and went on the pretense of honoring the tournament,” Mr. Yonton said.
The Deputy Sports Minister said the Liberian government owes US$73,000 for the credit of 16 round-trip tickets over their deceitfulness.
“The US$73,000 debt also included the US$15,000 cash we credited from the Airlines that we gave the Amputee Lone Star,” Deputy Sports Minister Yonton said.
“Last Friday, we further sent additional US$1,000 for local transport and we are expecting the team to be in New York today and board Air Morac to arrive on Thursday, August 20,” he said.
He clarified: “The Amputee Lone Star is not stranded as was wrongly reported because besides the US$16,000 from the Ministry and the purchase of their tickets, they pawned their 14-seat bus for US$5,000; CBL Governor J. Mill Jones gave them US$1,000 and as part of the US$1 campaign, they raised about L$70,000 and US$400.”
He indicated: “There is no representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports on the 16-man delegation.”
The Minister who is tip-lipped on the punishment of the Amputee Lone Star’s lies also denied being in the know of the team to attend an academic study at the Morgan State University in Baltimore, State of Maryland.
“We are only aware of the tournament and if there is any kind of study, we are not aware,” Deputy Sports Minister Yonton said. “We are truly disappointed but we pray they arrive safely.”
It may be recalled that according to a press release from the three-time Africa amputee champs – the Amputee Lone Star, the team touched down at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and would be undergoing an intensive academic study at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
The release said, the delegation is comprised of 15 men and is headed by its president Melvin Gotteh.
The release also said on August 11, the amputee delegation will meet with few ranking U.S legislators in Washington D.C; On August 12, the delegation will also meet at the U.S State Department with key state department officials to provide stories of their challenges and opportunities as well as seeking support for project implementation as it relates to amputees in Liberia and on August 13, the team will meet with the United States Soccer Foundation.
Members of the delegation included Samuel Eastman, Johnson Kollie, Festus Harrison, Anthony Doe, and Wilson Kpakelah.
Others: David Doe, Alfred Talery, Dennis Parker, Edwin Sambola, Oliver Blegay, Boye Khakie, Patrick Saah, Joseph Kologbay, and John Kerkulah.