President Must Inspire Lone Star

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.jpg
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“What a man can do, a woman can also do it and even better,” is a popular saying but with U-20 female Lone Star’s most humiliating 7-1 defeat last Sunday, it is time to do some hard thinking for the better.

In the current FIFA men ranking, Liberia is at 161 – its worst ranking, since the founding of the Liberia Football Association in 1936. The country’s best ranking was 73 in 2001.

Liberia is out of the 2016 CHAN qualifiers owing to a 4-1 aggregate, against Togo.

Disgracefully, since our second and last appearance in 2001 in the African Cup Nations, and almost nearly qualified for the 2002 World Cup, we have not crossed any preliminary rounds in international football tournament since the dissolution of the George Weah X1.

In other countries, governments engage the football association to make the national teams glitter so President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must make football business crucial on her national agenda.

The President should commit the Government to provide substantial funds to sports, football particularly – and inspire the tactical staff and players to win.

Firstly, the Government should “take back” the ownership and decision-making role from the LFA and underwrite camping and training costs, including others.

The late President Samuel K. Doe understood how crucial Lone Star was to his administration’s efforts to unite the country.

The late Doe brought into the limelight George Weah, James Salinsa Debbah and Kelvin Sebwe and other former professionals.

It was President Doe’s administration that prepared Liberia to qualify for the 1996 African Nations Cup in South Africa.

During Doe’s era, Lone Star trained in Brazil for six months and some Brazilians were naturalized to beef up the team.

Since the late president was everything to Liberian football, particularly Lone Star, it is highly held that President Sirleaf could do likewise in her administration.

Since Samuel Doe did his best for Liberian football, and since his best made Lone Star to gain respect in continental football circles, President Sirleaf can also do even better to move Lone Star a bit higher. Remember the quotation above, “If a man can do it, a woman can do it even better.”

President Sirleaf should realize that whenever two national teams are playing against each other, the teams represent their countries.

In last Sunday’s humiliating female encounter, the report said Nigeria defeated Liberia 7-1. What caused Liberia to lose to such a disgraceful margin? Please remember also the encounter in Nigeria, where the Super Eagles walloped Lone Star. Why these inglorious defeats? I am sure President Sirleaf might have had the chance to ask herself those questions and maybe demand some answers?

To change the misfortune of the national teams, I suggest, as Coach Josiah N. Johnson recommended this week, for the Liberian government to play the role it played in the past. Take charge of the Lone Star and let the LFA handle the technical aspects of the team.

The LFA is overburdened with the national league; the LFA is also struggling to reclaim soccer fans to patronize its league matches and therefore we must leave the LFA to worry over its responsibilities.

These recurrent disgraces must stop and there must be someone at the Ministry of Youth & Sports strong enough to decide once and for all.

Minister Eugene Nagbe must speak out for Lone Star and President Sirleaf must demand an accounting from Minister Nagbe.

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