A short-smile was followed by a frown and gloomy grimace when Youth and Sports Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe expressed his disappointment on the internal wrangling in the Liberia Basketball Association.
Minister Nagbe, on Saturday night during his honoring ceremony organized by the Liberia National Olympics Committee (LNOC), said the Ministry has resolved to level “drastic and appropriate action” in basketball to save the county’s second popular sports from dying.
Minister Nagbe said the Rufus Anderson’s leadership and the aggrieved stakeholders have exhibited their stubbornness during meetings and so the Ministry is constrained to intervene.
“We won’t allow basketball to die, there would be a drastic and appropriate action,” Minister Nagbe said.
The Liberian government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports has the statute right to intervene with level in which the basketball leadership crisis has reached.
However, prior to Minister Nagbe’s disclosure, Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton told the Daily Observer last Thursday that the Ministry would mandate the LNOC to find a way forward for the leadership of the LBF.
“The Ministry has decided, with the support of Minister Nagbe to authorize the mother of all local sports, LNOC to find a way forward,” Minister Yonton said.
He said the LNOC will receive a mandate, (was expected to deliver on Thursday), including terms of reference, (TOR).
LNOC president Philipbert Brown told the Daily Observer the LNOC would get involved if the Ministry gave the mandate with a term of reference, (TOR).
Basketball Chief Rufus Anderson was recently hospitalized and he would not continue negotiation with aggrieved stakeholders, until after his recovery.
Speaking to the Daily Observer on Saturday, Mr. Anderson said he might also cut-off his cell phone.
The outgoing president who is seeking re-election, for about two months, has been under severe pressure from aggrieved stakeholders over his alleged financial and administrative malpractices.
On Thursday, 26 February, some aggrieved basketball players and stakeholders stormed the Broad Street’s Sports Commission with anti-Anderson’s banners, calling for his nonparticipation in the ensuring election, and sealed the two entrances.
The aggrieved stakeholders, on the following day (Friday, February 27), refused to accept the proposition of a vice president’s slot and four slots on the Executive Committee.
They insisted on three of four of the vice presidents’ slots, which include Administration, Operations and Finance/Marketing.
The remaining slots, president, secretary general and vice president for manpower development are said to be for the president, and EC slots are to be for the clubs to decide, which he also declined.
The deadlock resulted to the cancellation of elections on Saturday, February 28, for the fourth time.
According to basketball constitution, election is held in November of every four years, but the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) shifted the date.
The LBA leadership has refused to cut-off the 14 embattled 3rd division clubs that never participated in its recent league, arguing that they are legitimate, while the aggrieved stakeholders are on the contrary.