The president of the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF), Mulbah Z. Zaza, at the conclusion of its 58th general assembly last Saturday has appointed a five-man committee to meet relevant stakeholders on the exclusion of the LAF from the subsidies of the government’s annual budget as well as from the National County Sports Meet.
The five-man committee is chaired by Mr. Isaac Z. Montgomery, president of the Liberty Athletics Club. Members are Frederick Krah (vice president for technical affairs); the Chairman on Public Relations; a former athlete; and the LAF President, who is ex-officio.
The committee was appointed on Saturday, November 26, during the 58th General Assembly of the LAF, which brought together members of its Executive Committee and officials of athletics clubs. The General Assembly was held in the headquarters of the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC) on Randall Street.
The mandate of the Committee, according to Mr. Zaza, is to primarily ensure that the LAF continues to benefit from government subsidies and have an increment to promote and develop athletics in the country.
Zaza said the LAF is responsible for athletics in Liberia and serves as a technical arm to the MYS and the Liberia National Olympic Committee to identify, develop and train potential athletes for national and international meets, including the Olympics Games.
He stated that the LAF would continue to embark on programs in an effort to ensure that youths are engaged in athletics in schools and communities.
“Subsidies from the government would help to stage annual competitions to increase mass participation to identify and promote talents, and retain elite performers under 23 years of age,” he said.
Over the past 20 years, Zaza said athletics has been the only sport to represent Liberia at the Olympic Games. The Liberian flag was hoisted at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and “we are hopeful again to represent the country in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
And we are also positive to compete in the African Youth Championship and World Junior Championships.”
He added: “Our hope is to start early preparation in order to increase our chances of qualifying for international competitions as well as the Olympics.”
According to the LAF president, the Special Committee will meet the Chief Patron of Sports, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; the Chairman on the Committee on Youth and Sports in the Senate, Senator George M. Weah; and the Chairman on the Committee on Youth and Sports in the House of Representatives, Rep. Gabriel Nyenkan.
In 2014, the Ministry of Youth and Sports removed the LAF from the list of sporting associations or federations and sports-related sporting institutions which received subsidies from the government in the National Budget owing to the LAF’s failure to expend her subsidies in the 2013 Budget.
The Sports Ministry also ruled out athletics from the County Sports Meet, arguing that the only venue for athletics, the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex, is under renovation.
Meanwhile, during Saturday’s General Assembly, the delegates also approved the Activities Report from the LAF’s Secretary General, the 2015/2016 Financial Report from the National Treasurer, and 2017 Calendar of Event.
The delegates unanimously approved the 2016/2017 budget to have an internal audit.
The LAF president, with approval of the delegates, also appointed another Special Committee to review the constitution, focusing on the clause of membership.
The LAF’s Constitution Review Committee is headed by Cllr. Sylvester Rennie. Members include Coach Samuel Cooper, Jefferson Thomas, Kokuya Roberts, Christopher Sayeh, and Mulbah Zaza, as ex-officio.