No one can argue that soccer is Liberians’ number one sport. It is a sport with a passion that in previous years, soccer stars were and are held in highest esteem.
One clear example is the love and admiration that soccer icon George Manneh Weah is held among Liberian youthful population.
Evidently, this particular population did not have the privilege to see George Weah in action but the echoes of what he did in Europe, carried over to them by those who were old enough to see him in action, has fueled the flame of love that politicians are struggling to contend with today as a politician.
There should not be any fear that the eventual support of footballers will translate them into future politicians who will give their political counterparts the run for their money worth, as it has been the case with George Weah and the political establishment.
That soccer is a passionate sport for Liberian youths cannot be argued in their mass rush to European TV soccer games, and it is therefore essential that Liberians in government and particularly in the private sector explore that ‘passion’ to better advantage.
There is a story, emanating from neighboring Ghana, (See story: Ghanaian Bank Shares Its Profit with Ghanaians), which is a fine example for successful Liberian businessmen to follow.
The story indicates that at a Ghanaian commercial bank, First Capital Plus Bank has signed a 5-year deal to sponsor the Ghana Football Association in the amount of USD10 million.
Yes, you read that right.
The only Liberian owned bank that has survived the ravages of the recent civil and time is the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, LBDI. From where I sit it is the only commercial bank that is owned by Liberians.
And with the bank’s successes over the years, it makes sense to conclude the bank has made profits over the years. While this article is not to question those Liberians who owned the bank’s patriotism, I think the practical example of Ghana’s First Capital Plus Bank is worthy of consideration.
Evidently, Ghanaians who owned the First Plus Bank may have a different philosophy when its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. John Kofi Mensah said his outfit decided to share the bank’s profit with Ghanaians through the sponsorship of football, “which is the passion of the nation,” there is a high chance that there are a number of successful Liberian businessmen that can boldly identify with Liberians’ passion for soccer and make a mouth watering deal to sponsor the Liberia Football Association in like manner.
At least two of the most respected Liberians who come to mind are Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones and Mr. Robert Sirleaf.
Consider the math: If Liberian soccer gets a huge sponsorship and soccer develops, Liberian footballers will have the chance to join the huge European soccer transfer market and their lives will change for the better.
According to FIFA, US$3.7bn was spent on player transfers in 2013. Who did you think benefited from those transfers? I will be damned if you don’t know the answer.