Time for Youth & Sports to Take Ownership of Sports

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Deputy Minister of Sports Henry Yonton, Jr Wednesday spoke against the dishonesty of the Amputee National Team members in their dealing with the ministry in its trip to the United States.

Minister Yonton said the ministry was tricked to believe that the invitation sent to the amputee team from the United States was for a scheduled football tournament, involving four nations and when the tournament was cancelled the team hid the information from the ministry.

How was that possible? Unlike the institution like the Liberia Football Association, the amputee program does not have rules forbidding government’s involvement. How was it that the Department of Youths did not follow up with the US Amputee Federation when the first invitation was extended to Liberia?

How much does Deputy Minister Yonton’s department know about Mr. Duannah Siryon of Minnesota, who is the international coordinator of the amputee team? Research on the World Amputee Federation website indicated that it was true the tournament was scheduled and was later cancelled due to the Ebola outbreak.

At the time all trips that were pending for Liberians outside the country were halted and that included the amputee tournament. It is also interesting to know that at the same time when the team was scheduled to play in the tournament in the USA, the Amputee World Cup was being held in Mexico.

Russia and other countries insisted that Liberia should not be invited because of the Ebola outbreak and this report was published in the Daily Observer newspaper. While blaming the amputees is one thing to solve the problem, it is clear that the problem was the ministry’s failure to have done due investigation on what was obtaining for the amputee team.

It is evidently true that it was such lack of surveillance that disgraced Liberia in the last Olympic Games in London when a wrong athlete was selected and approved by the Liberia National Olympic Committee for the Games.

It was also the same inadequate supervision by the Ministry of Youth & Sports that it has failed to question the Liberia Football Association the reason the U-20 female soccer team was humiliated 14-1 against Nigeria in both home and away; and it was the same lack of supervision that the Liberia Basketball Association is finally deciding its leadership crisis at the Supreme Court. Why is the Ministry of Youth & Sports so toothless?

To go on further, it is the same lack of supervision that the Liberia Boxing Association has the audacity to train five young athletes in filth and broken equipment for the 2018 Olympic Games and it is the same poor supervision that Lone Star is scheduled to play against Tunisia but without any international friendly soccer match to test the team’s preparedness. It is the same… (I can go on but you get the idea, I hope.)

The Ministry of Youth & Sports must take ownership of the development of Liberian youths and must as a result insist that those federations and associations charged to develop individual sports MUST DO IT WITH EFFICIENCY and in the ministry’s way.

The Ministry of Youth & Sports must put its house in order otherwise its lackadaisical attitude towards sports could lead the country to lose more than U$79,000 that the amputee national team has caused the nation.

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