Former Grand Kru Senator, Cletus S. Wotorson has said that the successful administration of football programs in the 1980s was due to the effective implementation of good ideas.
He told the Daily Observer in an interview Tuesday in Monrovia that sports administration needs individuals with experience, technical knowledge of the game along with effective administrative skills, with equitable use of funds.
“When I took over the Liberia Football Association as vice chairman,” Wotorson said, “I saw the need to implement ideas to improve the game.” He took over from the late Willis D. Knuckles, Jr., who resigned due to ‘policy differences’ with then LFA chairman President Kanyon Doe.
Wotorson had been successful at the Liberia Basketball Federation, (now Liberia Basketball Association), as its president.
While President Doe was interested to invest in the national team, Knuckles was however interested in establishing structures throughout the country.
Wotorson said, “Knuckles had great administrative ideas and therefore I carried out their implementation.”
He said he completed the formation of sub-committees in the various communities in Montserrado, along with LFA Sub-Associations in all counties of Liberia.
He paid tribute to members of the LFA Executive Committee, including the late Dunstan McCauley, Philip Robinson, Paul E. Mulbah, Gideon Gadegbeku, the late Marcel Bertin, Francis Lawson and the late Rosa Doe.
“Macaulay played college football and also traveled to England to play for Man U and he brought those experiences to help us at the LFA.
“Philip Robinson was coach-player of the national soccer team and later became assistant minister for sports.
“Mulbah was a former president of Mighty Barrolle and an ardent football enthusiast and therefore his knowledge of the game was beyond doubt.
“Gideon and his brother Philip played for Youth Leaders and they were known for their skills and knowledge of the game.
“Bertin was a former coach and FIFA referee and so with such men as part of the Executive Committee we were out to do our best,” he said.
“My administration continued to place emphasis on the youth,” Wotorson said, “and we used the sub-committees to organize leagues in the U 10-12; U13-16 and the U17-20.”
He said the LFA limited the transfer of players for three years, and later encouraged transfer which accompanied with a reasonable amount of money.
“We used the Inter School Sports Association (ISSA) to implement our programs in high schools,” he said. “And we began female football where Senator Geraldine Doe was one of the key players to emerge.” The ISSA was run outside the LFA.
By 1986, the Liberia Football Association had reached a milestone of 50 years and Wotorson had kept faith with the soccer public by exposing Liberian clubs and the national team to international competitive matches.
And it was during the 50th anniversary celebration that three teams from the Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Cameroon were invited to celebrate.
“From Cameroon came Tonnerre Klara Club of Yaounde,” Wotorson said, “and at the end of the tournament George Weah’s performance was so impressive that the Cameroonians signed him on for his semi-professional contract.”
Few years later, George Weah had been adjudged the best in Africa, Europe and the World.