The outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014 did not only claim lives and affected the country’s economy but also cancelled one of the most significant national sporting events that brings oneness, peace and love among Liberians.
It transcends tribe, ideology and county boundaries and it unite the people.
The main organizer of the 2015/2016 County Meet, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with co-organizer, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will use the games to celebrate the victory over the end of Ebola transmission.
The head of the forthcoming games Secretariat J. Bryant McGill said the Ministry would officially disclose the ‘County Meet package’ on Monday, September 14.
Bryant said the package would include the official date of the County Meet, - which will simultaneously kick off on Wednesday, December 2, in four venues: Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Margibi and Nimba counties.
He said the preliminaries of the football and kickball editions would be played from Wednesday – Saturday, December 2- 12 and the remaining three disciplines would be played in Monrovia, from Tuesday – Saturday, December 22 to January 2, 2016.
Basketball and volleyball would be held at the Sports Commission on Broad Street, while athletics would take place at Fendell.
“The Big 8 teams for the football and kickball finals will be played at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, from Sunday – Sunday, January 3 – 10, 2016,” Bryant said. “The finals of the volleyball, basketball and athletics will also be held on the same date.”
Bryant said the final assessment of the venues which would include an engagement meeting with the County’s Local Authority and the County Sports Coordinator would lead to the disbursement of preparation funds.
Some of the assessment could also include Counties’ readiness as hosts, sporting facilities, hotel accommodation and responsibility of host counties, among others.
With the approved allocation of US$500,000, Bryant said the first portion of the disbursement could run from the 15th of October through November but did not disclose how much.
About US$21,000 was given to counties in the last County Meet.
Bryant also disclosed that the Appeal Committee, which is headed by Minister Eugene Nagbe has two new members, Andy Quarmie and Mustapha Raji.
The Heats Begin
With few more months to the County Sports Meet, there is already heat around the country, where one could again have a sense of belonging besides the national football team.
It has always been that effect on every team on the field during the County Sports Meet, where spectators behave and think that the team represents them – their family and county.
The County Meet, launched in 1956, is held annually in the spirit of unification.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s inaugural County Meet witnessed Rivercess County lifting the football trophy at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in 2007.
Rivercess failed to defend the title, and bowed to Bong County 4-3, the following year.
In 2009, Bomi won the title and defeated River Gee, 5-2. Nimba County came into the limelight and whipped Grand Gedeh County, 2-0, the following year. She defended the title over Margibi in 2011.
In 2012, Margibi leveled the scores and whipped Nimba 2-0. In 2013, Grand Cape Mount County whipped Montserrado County 3-1 in a lottery shot, after 1-1 of 120 minutes of play.
Prior to the outbreak of the Ebola, Grand Bassa County whipped Nimba County, 2-1.