It was clear that when eleven senatorial candidates lined up last Saturday in the mid-term elections for Montserrado County that the favorite, soccer legend, George Weah was the main deal.
With his overwhelming victory over the other ten, including BYC Football Club founder and sponsor Robert A. Sirleaf, who has contributed much to developing Liberian youth, one wonders what becomes next for BYC?
The question is important since the Liberia Football Association’s president Musa Bility gave his support to Senator Weah. Please note that it is Mr. Sirleaf who constructed stadiums across Montserrado County and it is Mr. Sirleaf that collected Liberian youths in the slums of New Kru Town and West Point and changed their future with the advent of the Barrack Young Controllers Football Club.
One would have thought that since Robert Sirleaf constructed football arenas to supplement the development of such initiatives to the LFA, he would have been high on the LFA’s support agenda. This is because the LFA does not need to support a politician to get financial support from the Government of Liberia. Talk about mixing sports with politics.
But with the poor support from politicians and even the government, the LFA considered the future success of Liberian football would depend on Senator Weah since he had been the kingpin of what embodies those who originated from the slum communities and therefore supporting Weah would mean a new model for such community youngsters to improve on their lot. But would he?
So, while conclusions for and against either of the two candidates depended on where one stood before the elections and even after, the fact is Weah was overwhelmingly elected. And with the poor gains of Robert Sirleaf in the communities where his Barrack Young Controllers players resided, one wonders if Mr. Sirleaf would forgive them.
The point here is that whatever the case, Weah was the people’s favorite and now he is the real deal. What then is in for Liberian football?
That’s where the one thousand Liberian dollars question is. It is clear that the Liberia Football Association saw a better future with Weah than with Sirleaf. Why that is the case is difficult since it has been Robert Sirleaf not Weah that has built stadiums and is sponsoring a football club, to support the Liberia Football Association.
With his emergence as Africa’s only World Best and European Best among other accolade, many hoped he would have constructed a befitting sports academy that to develop other George Weahs.
It makes sense to believe that if Sirleaf were to be elected as a senator, he would have continued his tangible support to Liberian football. And this does not suggest that Senator Weah would do anything less.
One impressive thing Weah did was when he took time to visit one of Liberia’s ailing but foremost soccer players, Sayon ‘Experience’ Davis in New Kru Town in the eve of the elections. Broken and hopeless, Sayon had the last laugh when Senator Weah and his entourage arrived at his residence, unannounced and gave him (Sayon) the hope he had always needed to move on.
Now what would Senator Weah do for Liberian football that could benefit other minor sports? Aware that thousands of his voters are youth, it is now expected that he would turn his attention to their future so that just maybe, we could get some future Weahs, Debbahs, Sogbies, and Kervins out of them with financial and material support.
It is evident that we are at war to change the focus of Liberian youth to admire and develop their own, and it also sensible to conclude that Weah’s preferment over Sirleaf would contribute to Liberia Football Association’s perception that Weah and not Sirleaf, was their best candidate.
True, but it is only time that would tell whether the LFA made an unequalled choice for the game and for football.