Musa Bility: A colossal leadership failure at LFA
Musa Bility-LFA President
By: Momolu V.O. Sirleaf
When Mr. Musa Bility campaigned for the Presidency of the
Liberia Football Association, he used that time to call for
a change, making football pundits to believe that he had the
magic solution to the problems of Liberian football. He gave
the assertion that he could just waive his fingers and
Liberian football would be on par with the rest of the
In March 2010 during the LFA Congress, a little over 70% of
stakeholders bought his argument and gave him a resounding
victory against incumbent Cllr. S. Izetta Wesley. He was
given the mandate to revamp Liberian football to take it to
new heights. But the pomp and pageantry that greeted the
election of Mr. Bility LFA evaporated before it ever
Using his signature issue as “Commercialization” during his
campaign, the LFA boss vowed to bring sweeping reforms to
Liberian soccer. However, our football program is today in a
very miserable state with the nation virtually out of all
major competitions. What a difference a year can make, Mr.
Bility? Anyway, here’s a laundry list of leadership failures
by Mr. Bility.
Lowest FIFA-Coca Cola International Ranking
Since its introduction in August 1993, the FIFA/Coca-Cola
World Ranking has become a regular part of international
sports reports and an important indicator for FIFA's member
associations to find out where their respective teams stand
in world football's pecking order and how they are
When the new leadership came to power in March 2010, Liberia
was at 152nd place in the FIFA Coca Cola World Ranking under
the Izetta Wesley leadership. The then candidate Mr. Bility
decried the poor state of the country football and promised
to take Liberia out of the woods.
Now here’s Mr. Bility’s record for this. Under the watchful
eyes of the LFA President, Liberia has taken a nose-dive in
the FIFA rankings and now the country is languishing at
160th place in world football ranking as of March11, 2011.
Liberia is actually retrogressing instead of making
progress. So let’s make a critical analysis, if we continued
this trend and by the time the tenure of Mr. Bility would be
over, Liberia would be at about 179th place. What a record
he would have set. How low can you take Liberia on the FIFA
ranking, Mr. Bility?
Taking away or giving back, LFA Executive Members take away
L$ 9.4 Million dollars
To win the minds and souls of members of the Executive
Committee, Mr. Bility dished out to each of his fifteen
Executive Members US$9,000.00 as a loan to enable them buy
luxurious vehicles including sports utility vehicle (SUVs).
The question many people are asking is that whether the LFA
has turned into an investment club or better still “SUSU
CLUB” in the Liberian phraseology. When teams under the
leadership of Mr. Bility can hardly get by, his Executive
Committee Members are riding flashy cars while the poor
players sweat it out every day. That’s the change Mr. Bility
Mr. Bility’s insensitivity to Liberian football has put the
LFA into a mammoth L$9.4 million dollars debt. He met a
clean financial slate left behind by Cllr. Wesley, but see
what he has done by putting the LFA into a huge financial
hole. That’s commercialization at its best, folks.
National Senior Team and Under 23 National Team practically
out of the running
The Lone Star has virtually crashed out of running for the
2012 African Cup of Nations finals. So far the senior team
has sustained two losses with one pitiful draw as we now
languish at the bottom of the four-team group. Hopes of
qualifying for our third Nation Cup were dealt a devastating
blow with a 4-2 loss to Cape Verde a fortnight ago. That was
the final nail into the coffin of the national team. With
two games left for our Nations Cup campaign, not even a
miracle can save us against Zimbabwe and Mali considering
the winsome form of those countries.
To add insults to injuries, the National U-23 suffered a
devastating blow at the expense of the Ivoirians in their
first leg qualifier. Going into the return leg 0-4, there’s
little hope that our boys can make a come-back. Listen, I
believe in come-backs but it remains to be seen if our boys
can be the “come-back kids” to borrow from U.S. President
Bill Clinton during his run for the U.S. Presidency in 1992.
It, therefore, looks like we are practically out of the
running of the London 2012 Finals.
I have been through a campaign like this before with the
senior national team when I was an active sports journalist.
Working closely with the late Coach Wilfred “Kijani”
Lardner, the strategy then in 1994-95 African Cup of Nations
qualifiers was to win all our homes games and a fight for
draws away. It took real commitment on the side of LFA and
the national team players and we did accomplish that feat by
appearing in South Africa for our first-ever Nations Cup
Finals in 1996. But let’s face it, our Nations Cup and
London 2012 campaign is now history.
Cronyism takes precedence
Cronyism has been the order of the day since Mr. Bility took
over the LFA. The first strategy Mr. Bility employed was to
bring his friends and cronies into leadership positions. The
LFA boss quickly created a huge paying position of Chief of
Office Staff and an Aide, though draining huge resources
from the coffers of the LFA. It is surely payback time for
the folks who helped him into winning the presidency. It is
cronyism at its best in the LFA. Dat fire!
The LFA usually commutes more officials on trips than
necessary. The LFA overwhelmed Sierra Leone with over a
45-person delegation for the nation’s U-23 clash with the
Sierra Leoneans. What a waste of national resources. Now you
can realize why the cell phone company pulled off the plug
on its US$2.1 million dollars deal with the LFA in order to
avoid waste of company’s meager resources. So we are back to
square one on sponsorship, a key campaign issue for Mr.
Commercialization or De-commercialization? Be my guest!
LFA’s first wakeup call was the cancellation of the
lucrative contract entered into by Lone Star Cell
Communication. With a United States two million dollars deal
sealed between the LFA and LSCC, it was a proud moment for
Liberian football. Resource mobilization by Mr. Bility was a
major campaign message. But before the ink could dry on the
paper, the cell phone company yanked the rug from under the
Even though Mr. Bility is again celebrating another
“undisclosed and shady” deal with a rival cell phone
company, it’s not clear as to the benefits the ordinary
footballers will accrue from the so-called deal. You can
sign all the million dollars deals, but when your football
programs continue to plummet, then it’s not worth it.
One phase National Premiership League:
There is a saying that first impression is a lasting one.
This is indeed true for the first organized league by the
Bility leadership. For the first time, in our modern
football history the LFA organized a one-phase league to the
detriment of Liberian football. With a huge sponsorship from
a GSM Company, the Bility administration can only manage a
one-phase league. The LFA’s only defense is that they don’t
have enough resources to manage a two-phase league. Give me
a break, Musa. There are enough resources for a two-phase
league which would have brought out the best in the various
teams. But the fact is that Mr. Bility has his priority
upside down. What a shame!
No female league: a blow to women’s soccer
In Mr. Bility’s campaign brochure, he laid emphasis on women
football development and promised to develop the game to an
acceptable standard in Liberia. But the LFA organized its
men’s national league without the female version.
However, the LFA committed the female team to an
international competition without a regular league. Guess
what the result was? A disgraceful 0-11 exit and that was
enough to see Liberia out. The irony is that how would you
commit the team to a competitive international competition
with-out a regular league.
Liberia’s African Club Championships Dream Ends
Mighty Barrolle and Barrack Young Controllers (BYC), an
amazing club in Liberia, qualified for Africa this year.
However, the LFA created its greatest gaffe so far by not
registering BYC for Africa this year. This is the first time
in modern Liberian football history that the LFA forgot to
register its club for Africa. This was one of the
embarrassing moments for the current leadership. After
promising tough football leadership, the LFA actually let
one of their own down.
Mighty Barrolle has bowed out of the African Championships
following their 2-1 loss in Monrovia to Kano Pillars,
meaning that there is no more local club action for
LFA National Congress not on schedule
The Bility leadership is so ineffective that it can’t hold
its National Congress on schedule. The LFA boss campaigned
on being results-oriented. But March 2011 has passed without
the LFA holding its congress as obligated by its statue.
When it walks like a duck, quacks like a duct, it’s a duck.
Simply put, the Bility leadership is ineffective.
No Policy, No Plan, No Roadmap for football development
One year after sweeping into office, the Musa Bility-led
administration is yet to develop a vision for football
development. Mind you the LFA President’s Commercialization
theme he pounded away with during the campaign is not a
vision, but a set of programs. I have consistently pleaded
with Mr. Bility to begin a stakeholders’’ consultative
process to start the crafting of a vision for the LFA. No
institution can survive without a plan and a roadmap.
Football is scientific and requires thorough planning and
policy development processes. But it seems that the LFA does
not get it. They are stuck into that old mentality of doing
business as usual. Nothing has actually changed at the LFA
besides new faces in old wine bottles.
Just because Mr. Bility carried the tone at the time didn’t
mean that he knew the message. In short, all that glitters
is not gold as the present leadership did not have the
“silver bullet” to deliver Liberian football from its
mediocre state to a more vibrant state.
Some of those who advocated for change and were at
daggers-drawn with the former leadership are today silent at
the grave abuse of leadership at the LFA. The likes of Andy
Quamie, Samuel Kahn Adolf Lawrence, Tugbeh C. Tugbeh,
Orishall Gould etc who find themselves in the corridors of
power have not moved the LFA one step further. But the
rooster is coming home to nest soon and they will be paid
back in their own coin for poor leadership.
Mr. Bility vigorously campaigned for change but all we want
as stakeholders is for him to return the LFA money from his
executives. He can have his change.
About the author:
Momolu V.O. Sirleaf is a veteran Liberian sports journalist,
whose sports journalism career spanned for a decade and a
half in Liberia (1985-1999). He served as President of the
Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) 1996-1999). He
is a syndicated columnist and a former Managing Editor of
WORLD SPORTS Newspaper.
He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and
Global Public Policy from the University of Minnesota’s
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Momolu also
holds a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Management from the
National American University. He is currently serving as
Secretary-General of Invincible Eleven/Majestic Sports
Association and as well serves as Liberian Health Sector
Partnership Coordinator with the Ministry of Health and
Publisher Note: Liberiansoccer.com states The
information, opinions and analysis contained herein are
based on the writers opinion, but no representation,
expressed or implied, is made as to iLiberiansoccer.com