Clearly, this is the case for Senators Weah, Paye and Doe-Sherif to handle as it affects the success of the national soccer team, Lone Star and its junior teams, including the female squad.
The already insufficient U$500K annual allotment from the Liberian government to Lone Star has been halved. According to LFA boss Musa Bility, quoting the latest budget approval report by the government, the severely cut already inadequate allotment will put serious constraints on the Liberia Football Association’s (LFA) ability to make progress in managing the four national teams.
For many years now the financial support to the national soccer team, Lone Star, has been U$500,000.00. The money is expected to be used for the development of four national teams.
For example, when the national team has an assignment the team will bring players from abroad, purchase jerseys and boots, prepare the home-based players, issue per diems, tickets for those living abroad and tickets for the return-leg and hotel accommodation.
Another important financial budgetary item is players’ bonuses which depend on whether they win or lose an impending encounter.
As any knowledgeable sports administrator will be glad to tell you, such initiatives entail money. In these days, sports in general and soccer in particular demand huge financial resources.
All over the world governments are investing in sports, with soccer as the leading beneficiary, and to empower athletes as well as improve on their human development.
That is why many nationals of other countries have succeeded in Europe, where the best soccer elites ply their trade.
Sadly, due to poor or inadequate financial support to Lone Star, coupled with the Ebola frustration, the distance our players have gone is to less developed countries where football is still struggling to gain recognition.
Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have become the latest destinations of Liberian footballers.
In contrast, local soccer fans have always looked up to Europe for the best. There are not many soccer fans that can name at least two champion clubs in Malaysia and Indonesia and their achievements. On the contrary, local soccer fans can name players and teams in Europe as if they are located in their backyards.
This indicates that the best soccer destination is Europe where qualified players are reaping huge financial benefits. The successes of Ghana’s Michael Essien, Nigeria’s Mikel Obi and Ivorian Yaya Toure are a few cases in point.
It is important to remember that during the days of the famous George Weah X1, President Taylor ensured that professional players received U$5,000.00 each, after each game. That was the time when almost all the players came from Europe.
In addition to that is contract money for coaches and deputies. But with the already meager U$500K slashed in half, it goes without saying that there will be more problems than before.
Senators George Manneh Weah, Francis Paye and Geraldine Doe-Sherif must now realize that this could be their first challenge to convince their colleagues that a winsome national team demands huge financial investment from the Liberian government. Reducing the current budget, and not increasing it, is the surest way to damage the development of the senior Lone Star, the junior Lone Star, the Under 17 team and the female Lone Star.