Presidential press secretary Jerolinmek Matthew Piah believes Grand Bassa were cheated in the 2016/2017 national county sports meet.
Bassa lost 0-1 to Margibi in the quarter-finals at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium on January 5 but Piah is pointing to an organized attempt to eliminate his county of nativity.
Piah was responding to a Facebook comment by ELBC deputy director-general Christopher Sellee, who said, “Operation Kpafoor is in oblivion. See you in next year in the county meet” after the match.
Piah, with a Facebook name Castrol Fidel, asked, “So what happened to Lofa Chris? Kakololo kaka oh wayeeeee.”
He later wrote, “massive cheating and dishonesty by match officials and sport authorities. Liberian football will never grow with such conduct. This is also corruption Chris!”
With Bassa having had some good friendlies with Barrack Young Controllers and LISCR FC, pundits thought they would have breezed past their opponents but they were held by Gbarpolu and Cape Mount before beating point donors Bomi.
After two draws and a defeat in the quarter, Bassa technical director Christian Thompson accused the organizers of match-fixing.
“Well, I am not regretting because I know it was an organized crime.
The Ministry [of Youth & Sports] and LFA [Liberia Football Association] wanted for Grand Bassa to go out. I think you saw all the goals we have been scoring.
“On the field of play, you won’t have a goalkeeper just lying down and lying down without yellow card [being awarded]. Bassa scored about three goals and they canceled it. Bassa had the last game to play today [at 4:00PM]. They changed the time and put Bassa to two o’clock.
“From Cape Mount, they have been suppressing Bassa. The only thing the ministry was after was for Bassa not to take this thing for the third time.
So there was nothing else we could do. We will not go and jump on a referee because the LFA will take a decision against us,” Thompson, alias Christian Cole, said in an inclusive interview.
As the second half was about to start, Gender, Children & Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell engaged Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton on the organization of the last matches.
According to Duncan-Cassell, the last games should have been played simultaneously to avoid match fixing or sympathy but Yonton believes the Minister was educated by our sports editor, who had exposed an ultra-inconsistency about organizing last group matches in competitions (as it is practiced by Fifa, Uefa, Conmebol, Concacaf and Caf among others) on ELBC and Fabric Radio on December 31, 2016.
The accusation didn’t stop at the ATS as Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence took to Facebook to register her disagreement after she had promised L$100,000 for the Gbehzohn boys for a win and US$100 for every goal and excellent goal keeping.
“County meet update! We nan complaining ooooo but how can our three goals be offside goals? We know the rules mehn – Congrats Margibi, it’s the same Bassa belt. Therefore, we are with you.
“To the Bassa scorers, the three goals in my opinion are legitimate goals, you still win your US$100 per goal to be delivered to u tomorrow. Bassa people, let’s move on and support the process. Thanks for the support from all of our people. Bassa First!” she posted minutes after the game.
Responding, Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton said there was no attempt to deny Grand Bassa.
“The Ministry of Youth & Sports rubbishes claims by officials of Grand Bassa that there were plans to cheat them [in football]. The ministry wasn’t a player [during their defeat to Margibi] and didn’t harbor any play to cheat Grand Bassa or any county. There is no iota of truth in what has been said. We find those claims to be baseless.
“Every year, we buy trophies for the winners and runners-up in each category. I just bought eight trophies [for the winners and runners-up] in the four categories. So, there was no reason for us to deny Grand Bassa [of a hat-trick] because we didn’t want them to carry the trophy for good,” said Yonton on Thursday.