Minister Varpilah, LFA President Bility Must Rescue Ex Lone
Star Players in the Case of 3 Sick, Ignored and Troubled
Former Lone Star Players
MYS Minister Varpilah, Former Lone Star
goalie Wleh and LFA president Musa Bility
Written by Omari Jackson
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regretted the Government of
Liberia’s apparent lack of support to the national soccer
team, Lone Star.
At the official launching of the Lone Star Mobilization
Committee near the Ministry of Education in Monrovia
recently she told the committee to make use of retired
players of old so that the current generation could learn a
sense of patriotism from them.
Yesterday’s players were in it for the love of the game,
while the current players are in it for two things: money
President Sirleaf said retired players who entertained
Liberians during their days should be used as role models
for the current Lone Star.
I think President Sirleaf was apparently making reference to
the players in the 60s, 70s as well as those in the 80s and
90s, whose exploits brought so much joy for sports crazy
Liberians and as a result united the country beyond anyone’s
While we are still researching to identify how many Liberian
sportsmen of old are still around, we have stumbled on a few
who are in dire need of urgent support from the government,
to wit the Ministry of Youths and Sports and the Liberia
Football Association and by extension President Ellen
Following the recent impressive victories of the national
team, President Sirleaf was reported to have been so
ecstatic that she held a special meeting with these heroes
and in a special way, ‘thank them,’ for making Liberia
While the president was rejoicing in the happiness that
abounded when the Lone Star defended the nation, at least
three former members were weeping and pleading for her help,
since it is evident that there is no agency or ministry that
can do that now.
The three former players are Sayon ‘Experience’ Davies,
Munah Wleh and former Chief referee Arthur Wisseh.
Sayon Davis spent his youth with St. Joseph’s Warriors and
the national soccer team, Lone Star. He was so great during
his days that soccer fans and sports writers added the honor
‘Experience’ to his name.
“I returned from a visit out of town,” Sayon Experience
Davis told me in an interview, “there was a match and my
club was losing.”
When he arrived, he rushed to the field and given a jersey,
“I scored seven goals that game,” he said with a smile, as
if it was yesterday.
The midfield dynamo Davis suffered a stroke three years ago,
and he is making strides to be able to use his limbs again.
Even a fundraising that generated L$6, 400.00 through Bofa,
an old-timers’ club two years ago never reached him.
Sadly, neither the Ministry of Youth and Sports nor the
Liberia Football Association has been able to help, though
they are aware of his suffering.
“I don’t want a flag drape over my casket like it was done
to Sylvester Weah,” he said, with a bitter smile, “I need
their help now.”
Sylvester Weah, known as Sylvester Red played for the St.
Joseph’s Warriors and the national team, Lone Star. Though
he could get no help from the government during his
difficult days, the Ministry of Youth and Sports provided a
national flag which was draped over his casket.
“I don’t need that kind of recognition,” Sayon said.
Munah Wleh was a goalkeeper for St. Joseph’s Warriors, and
was called to the national team, Lone Star, for he was one
of the nation’s best, during the period under discussion.
Wleh has lost one of his legs and is practically now a
beggar. “I remember when we played against East End Lions
and I was in the post for St. Joseph’s Warriors,” he told
A great footballer, he remembers his team mates,
particularly Victor Sie, who died recently in New Kru, and
whose funeral the LFA could only afford a wreath, and the
Ministry of Youth and Sports could afford nothing.
“We don’t have money to take care of former Lone Star
players,” a source at the Ministry of Youth and Sports told
me. That suggests that once you are a Lone Star player, and
once your playing days are over, you are on your own.
At the Liberia Football Association, General Secretary
Yanquoi Borsey said it is not the responsibility of the LFA
to cater to ex Lone Star players. He said the national team
is represented by a selection side, and so when a player is
not called for assignment or when his active days are over,
and in case anything unfortunate happens, the LFA may decide
out of its goodwill to make or not to make a contribution.
“There is nothing written in the books about what should be
done for former Lone Star players in case of any disaster,”
he said. It is no wonder that out of the LFA’s goodwill, he
attended the late Lone Star goalkeeper Victor Sie’s funeral
last week and deposited a wreath.
The LFA’s wreath, it can be reasoned, demonstrated its
appreciation for the late Victor Sie’s contribution towards
Liberian football. Bud such twisted reasoning is no doubt
the cause of the lack of patriotism in Liberian sportsmen
Arthur Wisseh arguably is one of the few whose life revolved
around soccer. He was a former chief referee and also
assistant secretary general of the Liberia National Olympic
“He is a member of the Executive Committee on referees at
the Liberia Football Association,” a source at the LFA said
in an interview. In fact he is the current chairman of the
Arthur Wisseh is bed ridden and unable to walk. “I get no
help from the LFA despite my years of service to Liberian
soccer,” he told me on the phone. True, no one at the LFA is
aware of Mr. Wisseh’s tragedy, though he told me on a
telephone conversation that the LFA is aware of his trouble.
He commended the LNOC for its periodic support to him. It is
too discouraging to observe how Liberia treats those whose
lives and sacrifices brought the country too much joy in
The abject sense of apathy is so glaring and insensitive
that once is left to ask: what kind of people are we?
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must help change this trend.
In a recent Daily Observer editorial just after the end of
the London Olympic Games, which as usual Liberia performed
poorly, the editorial writer suggested what could be
responsible for our unresponsive attitude towards each
“It is because of our typical lackadaisical (laid back)
Liberian attitude that causes us to take everything for
granted. Perhaps it is our well known lack of discipline.
Perhaps it is also our lack of patriotism.”
Should the LFA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports be
branded as institutions that were only interested in you
when you are young and abandon you when youth is not in your
favor? President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Youth and Sports
Minister S. Tornorlah Varpilah and LFA boss Musa Bility must
change this ugly trend.