-HOW IT BEGAN-
By Joseph G. Richards
I.E. First Captain
(Culled from X-Ray Magazine, June/May, 1986, Monrovia)
The Invincible Eleven (IE) Majestics Football Association is the
current Liberia Football Association (LFA) league Champion, and has
consistently won several trophies within the LFA as well as
distinguished itself to fame in both local and international matches.
It is today one of the most important football clubs within the LFA.
This would not have been possible without the able leadership of
certain personalities who have served as captains, and president of
the club when that title of the leadership of the club was changed
from captain to president. Those who served as Captains were Joseph G.
Richard, Lawrence Morgan, Albert John son, Prince N. A. Browne, and E.
Harding Smythe. When IE Majestics Football Association was formed, the
President included T. Edwin Lomax, Eugene W. Cephas, Edwin Gabbidon,
Same Burnette, John P. Beh and now Archibald Bernard.
IE traces its origin from Iron United, based in Clay Ashland and
Bombers, based in Monrovia. These teams were composed of young players
between ages of 13 and 20, and mostly students of College of West
Africa (CWA), St. Patrick's High School and Liberia College. Both Iron
United and Bombers were active between 1940 and 1942.
The young players of the two teams, especially students of CWA having
established teamwork and amicable relationship, decided to pull their
resources and form a single team, strong enough to compete favorably
with the older and more experienced teams like Olympics and Bame. A
meeting with this agenda was summoned up at the residence of Joseph G.
Richards's mother on Broad Street in May 1943. At this meeting the
formation of team was unanimously agree upon.
After tossing around several ideas for naming a football team, the
name Invincible Eleven was agreed upon. Those who attended that May,
1943 meeting during which IE was formed included John Coleman
(deceased), G. Aaron Grimes, Hugh Collins, Sammy Hodge, Lawrence
Morgan, Austin Coleman, George Marshall, Othello Coleman, Zulu Cooper.
At that meeting, Joseph G. Richards was elected first captain of the
NOT AMERICO LIBERIAN
The point here to note is that though most of these young students
were attending CWA and the team initially had the backing of the
faculty of the institution; it is incorrect to state that IE was CWA
team. There were also students from Liberia College and St. Patrick's
High School. Though it is true that most of the original members of
the team were America-Liberians or Congos by virtue of their easy
access to formal education at that time, yet it is equally incorrect
to state that IE is an Americo-Liberian team. There were also students
who were from the Kru, Bassa and Grebo ethnic backgrounds. For
instance, Edmund Johnson, Robert Sherman, Tugbeh Anderson and Prince
N. A. Brown were all Krus. Frank George, Aaron Grimes and Argwu, the
goalie, were Bassas, while Hugh Collins was Grebo, thus giving the
team an academic and broad ethnic base support from the onset.
The following month, June 1943, IE made its debut in football
competitions after some weeks of hard practicing. The first three
years were marked by constant defeats. The boys were very young and
inexperienced in the techniques of football. We were however fortunate
to come out with a draw on one or two occasions. And with resolute
determination and abiding courage, we made dramatic improvements in
IE struck its first surprise in 1945, when it trounced "Olympics" 5-0.
This victory was crucial in animating the spirit of sportsmanship and
teamwork among the boys, for Olympics consisted of older and more
experienced boys, mainly from Freetown. It was one of the oldest and
leading teams. The Invincibility of IE, which was previously a
laughing-stock, was then rested. For seven years afterwards it was
almost not possible to draw with or beat IE. And football teams
trembled when they had to encounter IE.
Between 1946-1949 IE sustained a severe blow when seven or eight of
its members left about the same time for further studies in the USA
and other foreign parts. But fortunately however, they were replaced
subsequently by some promising young players from the junior team,
West End Eleven. Some of these young players, who in their own right
also came into national prominence included, Sam Payne Cooper, Leonard
Deshield, T. Ernest Eastman, Bruce Smith, E. Harding Smythe, Gabriel
J. Tucker and John Payne Tucker, among others.
However again between 19501951, some of these boys matriculated into
schools abroad for further studies, thereby creating another vacuum.
And coupled with the lack of support, IE was temporarily renamed "Pepperbird"
by its sponsor Mr. Al Schoucair the owner of the Pepperbird Club. But
when Joseph G. Richards, one of the original founders of IE returned
from abroad in December 1951, he recommended a return to the IE name.
Together with the name of another its junior team, Majestics, the
entire IE organization is today called IE Majestics Sports
When we started in 1943, being mostly young fellows and penniless, we
were able to persuade the faculty of CWA, where most of IE players
were schooling, to give us a set of the school's jerseys, which were
circular-white and circular blue short-sleeves. IE was using this
until it was renamed Pepperbird. Subsequently the team adopted Yellow
as its color, after a set of yellow jerseys from its Pepperbird
Equally important to IE were its female supports that stood bravely by
it its side as a better half. Among the list were Makeda Karnga-Gurley,
the late Hilda Luke, Doris Dennis-Grimes, Julia Gibson and later on
Julia Wilson. Others included Ma Juah, Adama, Tonia and IE Queen
The story of IE should also give credit to three distinguished
personalities separate from the list, whose sacrificial efforts
towards the well-being of the team will remain in the annals of
history. These include Eugene W. Cephas, commonly called "Joe Blow,"
whose home porch was for many years a meeting and dressing place for
the team. Both Tom Daddah Kurrah, a Kenyan national, and Julia Wilson,
should be remember for over extending their caring and sharing for the
love of I.E.
LIBERIA ORBIT has obtained permission to publish a series of articles
first carried in the X-RAY Magazine, published in Monrovia May/June
1986 to commemorate sports in the country. LiberianSoccer.com obtained