Five weeks after the climax of the 2016/2017 LFA 1st Division League season, another drama has occurred in the league after Mighty Barrolle was relegated due to a complaint filed by LPRC Oilers against FC Fassel.

LPRC Oilers on July 20, 2017 filed a complaint against Fassel for fielding an ineligible player in two matches. According to the complaint, the Soccer Missionaries fielded center defender Alvin McConnell who received a straight red card against Nimba United on April 23, 2017 at the North Star Stadium and should have missed the next three games, but only missed a single. According to league rules, a player receiving a straight red card should miss the next three matches.

According to the complaint filed by LPRC, McConnell only missed FC Fassel’s match against LISCR on May 14, but was fielded in the team’s next two games against Mighty Barrolle and Barrack Young Controllers on June 11 and June 19 respectively.

The ruling of the complaint, which was delayed for more than a month, was finally released on September 9 after an investigation by the LFA disciplinary committee.

Following the ruling, LPRC Oilers moved a step above their previous position to the 9th place in the league with 25, thus helping the team escape relegation, which brought smiles back on the faces of the Oil Boys as that restored the team’s stay in the top flight league. But, it was a frustrating moment for Liberia’s traditional club Mighty Barrolle after the Rollers were relegated to the second division league.

Barrolle will now join their traditional rivals, Invincible Eleven and ELWA United, that were earlier relegated to the second division after finishing 11th and 12th places respectively.

This was the second drama in the LFA 1st division after the first one witnessed Soccer Missionaries losing 12 points as league leaders after a complaint was filed by rivals LISCR FC.

 

LFA 2017  Final Table 

 

 

By Augustus Audekina-Doe

A week-long Fifa 2017 Ma-Elite Referees Course has officially been launched in the Country.

The five days course was launched Monday by the Minister of Youth and Sports Charles Saah N’Tow at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City.

At least 30 Liberian football referees are undergoing the Fifa elite training course organized by the Liberia Football Association (LFA).

The referee course which began Monday, September 11, 2017 is expected to run until September 15, 2017.

Fifa Instructor, Felix Tangawarima said the intent of the training course is to abreast Liberian referees about the changes in the Laws of the game and to sharpen their skills to weather the unfolding trends of events that attend the game.

“This is a regular training course that is being organized by the Fifa member associations every year and Liberia is of no exception.” He stated.

He said for the next few days during the training course participants will do practical demonstration in order to know exactly how the Laws of the Game are implemented.

The Fifa instructor believes that the training course will enhance the referees to adequately implement the Laws of the Game.

He also cautioned referees to teach players, coaches and clubs administration on the new amended Laws of the Game and how they are implemented.

At the same time, Minister Saah N’Tow assured Government’s commitment in facilitating and to continue the training course for Liberia Football Referees.

He believes that referees are those who are lifting the standard of the game.

Meanwhile, two out of thirty football Referees have failed in the FIFA MA Elite fitness test administered Monday at the Samuel Kenyan Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City.

Mathew Solong and Johnson Gbartea were the two that failed in the eighth and nine laps respectively.

 

By Leroy M. Sonpon, III - September 11, 20171216

 

Head Coach Samuel Cooper

 

 

-Depart for Visas on Tuesday

 

 

 

The head coach of the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF) Samuel Cooper and former Secretary General D. Winston Cole have been accepted to enroll in a two-month training in Applied Sports Sciences in Montreal, Canada offered by the International Support Program to African and Caribbean Sports (PAISAC).

The training is scheduled from October 2 – December 2. 

Coach Cooper will be doing Classical Training, while Cole will do Advanced Training.

In an exclusive interview with Coach Cooper on Saturday, September 9, he said they will depart the country for Accra, Ghana on Tuesday, September 11 to acquire their Canadian Visas before proceeding to Montreal.

“I am happy and optimistic that upon the completion of the training and our return, we will train others to help improve and develop the sports across the country,” Coach Cooper said.

The training is in the framework of the Olympic Scholarship Program for coaches by the Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee and falls under the International Support Program to the African and Caribbean Sport (Paisac) – a Canadian sports program based on international cooperation, aiming at sustainable development through sport.

Paisac’s mission is to take part in sports development in the African and Caribbean countries, members of the Commonwealth and the Francophonie, by means of training in order to contribute to the revitalization of the role and function of the technical sports administrators in these countries.

Mr. Frederick Krah, the Secretary General of the LAF, told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone that the training of the two coaches is to help the country to promote the game among the youths in the country.

Krah said their training will be shared upon their return to recruiting more coaches for the clubs, communities, and schools for the athletics to be a popular sport.

 

 

 
 Monrovia - Liberia again failed to make it to the group stage of the inaugural edition of the West African Football Union 16 Nations Cup tournament sponsored by Fox Sports in Cape Cost, Ghana.

by Christopher C. Walker -christopher.walker@frontpageafricaonline.com

The local based national football team of Liberia was beaten by their counterparts from Senegal 5-4 on penalties shootout after full 90 minutes of play ended goalless on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the Cape Coast sports stadium in southern Ghana.

The Taranga Lions started match with lot of pressure on Lone Star’s defense but missed the first real opportunity of the match in the 2nd minute after Assane Mbodji decent pass put Amadou Dia Ndiaye through but his effort went off the side net.

Though the Lone Star started the match on a very slow pace, they got in the game later and controlled the first half but did not knock on the Taranga Lions door much by an attack force headed by Mark Paye and Christopher Jackson.

The LISCR pair did little to pressure the young Senegalese back four after Marcus Macaulay and John Jaysay combined well in midfield with Van-Dave Harmon and Terrance Tisdell supplying from the wings.

In the 17th minute Liberia came within inches of taking the lead when Marcus Macauley met a cross from Tisdell with a strong header, but his effort came off the crossbar and the follow-up attempt was pushed over the post by Mark Paye who header was not good enough to get the match opener.

The Lions were awarded their first corner-kick in the 36th minute but the young Lone Star shot stopper Abdulai Koulibaly managed to get the ball off his box with a little tip.

Both teams did not create any real chance during the first half as the ball was played in the middle of the pitch and there were poor decision in front of goal from both teams ending the first half goalless .

Senegal, though, did end the more confident of the two sides with a 22-yard shot from Assane Mbodj going inches wide in the 43rd minute.

Liberia’s Terrence Tisdell drove into the Lions’ box from the left flank in the 46th minute but his shot from about twelve yard hit the side net to the disbelief of Liberians back home who were viewing the game on television.

Marcus Macauley long range effort in the 58th minute went off Senegal post by inch.

Senegal’s first real chance of the second half came in the 64th minute after a well-struck 24-yard free-kick from Jean Remi Bocande, but his effort was brilliantly saved by lone Star’s keeper Koulibaly.

James Debbah was force to make his first substitution of the match in the 69th minute after right back Nuwo Johnson injured his right knee in the 66th minute the Fassell FC defender was replaced by Monrovia Club Breweries’ central back Prince Blade who did well in helping the pair of Alvin Maccornel and Kemoh Kamara with lots of air balls in defending.

Mark Paye who was not real noticed on the pitch had to make way for skillful David Tweh in the 79th minute as the creative midfielder one two one in midfield brought little life to the Lone Star that were seen very tired during the second half.

Fallah Sheriff came on for Van-Dave Harmon who ran the longest distance on the pitch but Fallah might be disappointed in his introduction as he was involved in a crucial penalty missed for Liberia that send the Musa Bility boys picking their bags out the tournament.

The LISCR winger who inclusion into the team was the major discussion among Liberians when the final 18 men squad of Debbah was reveal by the LFA step up at the Six penalty of Liberia but his ball went outside and the well-organized Senegalese side scored their six penalty to send them to the group stage of the tournament.

Both sides did not create any significant chances in front of goal as the match ended goalless and went into penalty shoot-out which Senegal won 5-4.

Christopher Jackson and Fallah Sherrif missed Liberia’s second and last penalty while Marcus Macauley, Terrance Tisdell, Alvin Maccornel and Abdulai Koulibaly scored from the spot.

Speaking to FPA prior to the team’s departure James Debbah said his team was not adequately prepared for the tournament because of the three weeks of training.

According to Debbah he recommended to the LFA to camp the team in Liberia before their departure but the old age problem of “No Money” was the order of the day from the football house.

“We have been training for the last three weeks; I don’t think we are adequately prepared,” Debbah said.

“It is a problem for the technical staff when the players are not in camp, they go home and we do not monitor their activities.”

For his part Lone Star Deputy coach Thomas Kojo told FrontPage Africa from Ghana that he sees prospect in the team that played against Senegal but said it will only come to reality if the government invest in the young players.

Kojo Said “ if we had prepare adequately the performance of our team was going to be better.”

Senegal coach: Moustapha Seck

Senegal: 16. P. Ndiaye, 12. Barry, 9. Dieme, 3. Kane, 4. Kante, 6. Oumar, 8. Bara, 22. Mbodj (10. Marone 82’), 13. Bocande, 17. Badiane (11. D. Dieme 69’), 18. A. Ndiaye.

Liberia coach: James Debbah

Liberia: 1. Abdulai Koulibaly, 11. Aloysius Simujla, 5. Alvin Maccornel, 8. Kemoh Kamara, 17. Nuwo Johnson (3. Prince Balde 69’), 7. Terrance Tisdell, 19. John Jaysay, 2. Marcus Macauley, 20. Van-Dave Harmon (10. Fallah Sheriff 87’), 4. Christopher Jackson, 15. Mark Paye (22. David Tweh 79’).
 

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017: A 25 member Liberian Football delegation has arrived in Accra, Ghana ahead of the inaugural edition of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Nations Cup.

The delegation headed by LFA Technical Director left Monrovia Thursday afternoon and arrived in Ghana late Thursday evening.

The Lone Star was received on arrival in Accra by the Secretary General of WAFU Jammel EK Borjan.

The team is spending the night in Accra and will drive to Cape Coast on Friday ahead of their game with Senegal on Sunday.

18 home based players including Marcus McCauley have been selected by the James Debbah led Technical Staff to represent the Lone Star nation.

Abdulai Koulibaly and Tommy Gbayeh Songo's are the goalkeepers called to duty in the FOX Sports sponsored event  

Defenders lined up for the WAFU Nations Cup for Liberia are Aloysius Snosie Simujla, Nuwo Alexander Johnson, Alvin Maccornel, Kemoh Sidiki Kamara and Prince Balde

Ebenezer Solo, David Teklo Tweh, John Chea Jaysay, James Walatee, Amadiah Kawah and Marcus Macauley are the midfielders that will face off in the competition.

 Liberia’s striking force includes Fallah Sheriff, Van Dave Harmon, Christopher Jackson, Mark Paye and Terrence Leonard Tisdell.

Members of the Lone Star Technical Staff in Ghana are:

James Salinsa Debbah (Head Coach),
Thomas Sebwe Kojo (Deputy Coach)
Eric Glasco (Goalkeeper Trainer)
Sebastian Collins (Administrative Manager)
Boakai Kamara Messeur
Tommy Johnson (kit man)

 

 

Five years after Liberians last saw one of their own play in the UEFA Champions League, Sylvanus Nimely may get to play in the 2017-18 competition as part of Spartak Moscow’s squad.

The 19-year-old forward only joined the Russian Premier League champions during the middle of last season where he made a significant impact on the junior team, playing in the Russian first division league.

After a successful time with Spartak Moscow II, Nimely was included on Spartak’s first team for their preseason camp in Poland. He made use of the opportunity by impressing the technical staff and was included in the squad for the 2017-18 Russian Premier league.

Since his inclusion, he’s yet to make his Russian Premier League debut with eight games already played. He’s mostly featured in the junior team that plays in the Russian first division.

Despite not having the opportunity to debut on Spartak’s first team, his work with the junior team continued to impress his coaching staffs as he was also included in the 29-man squad for the UEFA Champions League.

Spartak released its final squad for the European competition on Monday, September 4 with Nimely being named on the list of forwards that includes former Shaktar Doneskt and AC Milan striker, Luis Adriano of Brazil.

With Nimely yet to make a single appearance in the ongoing Russian Premier League, his chances at a Champions League appearance are slim, but he’s confident of breaking through. In an interview with The Bush Chicken, Nimely said he was grateful for the opportunity and is ready to work to make his dream come true.

“I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to be part of the Spartak Moscow’s squad,” he said. “It is truly an honor, and I’m happy for it. It’s a huge challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Spartak is paired in Group E with Spanish La Liga heavyweight, Sevilla FC; Slovenian club, Marribor; and English Premier League giant, Liverpool FC.

The world biggest club competition will begin on Tuesday, September 12 when top clubs from around Europe will begin to battle each other for the club supremacy of Europe.

The competition, which will be contested by champion clubs and other top clubs in Europe, will bring together players from the different parts of the world playing for their respective clubs.

Since the era of the famous George Weah Eleven where Liberians frequently watched their countrymen play in the Champions League, the tournament did not see a Liberian until Sekou Jabateh Oliseh made an appearance.

Liberians watched Oliseh play in the competition on Russian club CSKA Moscow’s roster for the 2009-10 and 2011-12 football seasons. However, Oliseh was soon out of CSKA Moscow’s first team by spending most of his time on loan.

Since then, the competition has been playing without a Liberian participating, although the likes of Theo Weeks and William Jebor had participated in Europe’s second club competition, the Europa League, but Liberians had always been eager to see their compatriots at the top level.

Featured photo courtesy of Spartak Moscow

 

Monrovia – Liberia national football team head Coach James Debbah says Musa Shannon’s recent statement calling on him to step down as Head Coach of the national team simply because he demanded his seven months’ salary arrears is reckless and he must apologize.

 

Report by Christopher C. Walker -Christopher.walker@frontpageafricaonline.com

 

Debbah had gone to provide information about the national team coaches’ salary arrears owed by the Government of Liberia and the Liberia Football Association on Fabric Radio weekend sports program on August 26, 2017 but the football house vice president for administration, Musa Shannon, got furious about the Debbah’s going public to express he and his colleagues’ frustrations.

 

 Shannon who is the acting president of the LFA called in during the program to react to some of the comments made by Debbah, but recommended Debbah’s resignation his post as head coach of the Lone Star if he was disenchanted over the delay in payment of his salary.

 

“If you feel you have not been paid by your employer for seven months and you are qualified, it’s better you resign or better stay without complaining,” Shannon said.

 

Shannon’s statement resulted into a fist fight between Debbah and UNMIL sports reporter Danesius Marteh at the closing stage of the program when Marteh said he support the LFA VPA statement, something Debbah took offense to.

 

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 Debbah said the comment from Shannon who he played with on the national team is reckless and must not be taken serious.

 

“That statement was immature on the part of the vice president for administration of the Liberia Football Association,” Debbah said to FPA while responding to Shannon’s statement.

 

“Musa’s statement in my point of view is reckless, because Musa Shannon just came to  the fray, where was he when I  James Debbah, Kelvin Sebwe, George Weah, Thomas Kojo, Joe Nagbe  and Dionysius Sebwe were in Liberia  helping to develop  this institution by playing  in the local league?”

 

According to Debbah who was considered during his playing days  the nation’s must celebrated soccer star,  the LFA official has not been involved with football prior to his appointment so he does not know what it means to run football.

 

“Shannon needs to apologize to the technical staff for his reckless statement. How can you say such a thing to people who have given their life for the improvement of our national team?” Debbah asked.

 

The former Liberian striker now coach of the national team said even though Shannon is his boss, he needs to come out openly to ask for forgiveness from individuals   he once played with.

 

“I  tell you I am really  surprised about what  he said but I cannot blame him  because he’s not aware of what  has been going on; when we were here fighting for Liberian football, he was in the United State of America with his family,” Coach Debbah added.

 

Debbah was quick to mention that at no time he and Shannon got into conflict playing for the national team or presently as his boss so he do not know why he will decide to issue words that are not healthy for the growth of football.

 

“ I played a few games with Shannon, but he was not my teammate, my teammate are Joe Nagbe, George Weah, Kelvin Sebwe, Dionysius Sebwe and Thomas Kojo who play with me on the national team for decades,” Debbah asserted.

 

  

LFA hopes for the best; team leaves Thursday; Idrissa Kaba in Ghana

 

As African countries strive to secure slots to participate in the 2018 Russia World Cup, Liberia will join seven others to fight for honors in the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) in Takoradi, Ghana. The national team, made up of local stars, is expected to leave Monrovia on Thursday for Ghana. The team will play Senegal in their first match. The tournament is from Sept. 9-24. Other teams in the Liberian group are Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Sierra Leone. The other group members in Zone B, are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, and Nigeria.

The technical director of the LFA, Henry Browne, told the Daily Observer yesterday that the national team is going to participate in the tournament with the hope that they will represent the country well. The players, meanwhile, are aware that the winner of the tournament will be rewarded with US$100, 000, the runner-up will receive US$50, 000, and third place – US$25,000.

According to the organizers (WAFU and Fox), air travel and accommodation and local transportation will be provided to all participating teams. Additionally, during the second round, in the 1/8th finals each country will receive US$10,000, including other financial awards. The 1/8th finals are competitions held at a single venue at the Takoradi Sports Stadium. The other 1/8th finals will be held at the Cape Coast Stadium.

For example, if Liberia qualifies from the 1/8th finals, she will proceed to the next finals (the knockout round). If Liberia is successful as winners in their next game, they will be paired with other teams from the next group, for which they will then receive US$10,000. This system of competition goes by several names, including single-elimination tournament; Olympic system; a bump-off; a knockout (or, knock-out); single penetration; and sudden death tournament. From there, they will proceed to the play-off, where the real money will be.

And so, how prepared are the members of the national team for the WAFU Tournament? While the team had some initial problems, the players’ previous two-tiered games against Mauritania, losing at home and winning away, could be used as part of the preparation. They won against Mauritania in Nouakchott with limited number of fans, but lost their first leg match at home, where there were hundreds of supports. It is clear that the tournament is loaded with all the West African giants, though they only will field local material, and it indicates also that success in such a tournament would require team and psychological preparation.

To date the local Lone Star has not played any friendly or test match to evaluate their preparedness, so we can only assume that with Thomas Kojo in charge, he could repeat the Mauritania surprise in Ghana, particularly in their first game against the Terenga Lions of Senegal, and ensure his boys are set to earn some of the money at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, WAFU Referees Committee chairman, Liberia’s Idrissa Kaba, left Monrovia for Ghana yesterday in his first official assignment. Kaba is to supervise referees that are selected to handle all the games in the WAFU Tournament.

 
 
 
 

With less than five days to the kickoff of the 2017 Fox Sports sponsored West Africa Football Union (WAFU) tournament in Ghana, the national team, Lone Star, is expected to depart the country for Ghana on Wednesday, according to deputy coach Thomas Kojo.
Making the disclosure in a live phone-in interview over the weekend, coach Kojo said the team is currently facing financial difficulties, adding that the team is yet to go camping since the start of their preparation.

Lone Star on August 21 began training sessions with locally based players and some inactive players including Marcus Macaulay, Sekou Jabateh, Isaac Pupo and Solomon Grimes.

Coach Kojo said the four players were only afforded the opportunity to train with the local players based on the recommendation of technical director, Henry Brown. The players’ inclusion in the training, however, raised eyebrows among national team supporters who said that it would be unfair for the FA to use these players and yet leave out the much younger and upcoming ones.

Lone Star will face the Teranga Lions of Senegal in their first match in Group B.

 

Sports journalist Danesius Marteh has requested the Minister of Youth and Sports, Saah Charles N’tow, to speedily investigate what he described as a physical assault that left him with a sore left knee and bruises on his right eye, allegedly by national team head coach James Salinsa Debbah on Saturday, August 26, after a Fabric 101.1 FM weekend sports program. Marteh said he has suffered physical, emotional and professional pains. “Doctors at Clora Clinic in New Kru prescribed one-week injection to ease pains in my knee at a cost of US$100,” he told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview yesterday.

Marteh said the assault has also affected him psychologically as a professional journalist. He said he is yet to make a formal complaint to the Liberia National Police because he wants sports officials, including those at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Liberia Football Association to intervene to restore sanity. He said during the assault, co-presenter Trojan Molley Kiazolu’s (who attempted to separate the two) wristwatch was destroyed.

He claimed that Coach Debbah’s anger got the worst of him when he was reminded by Mr. Marteh about his post on Facebook on October 5, 2015 where he labeled LFA President Musa Bility as a “novice to football development” and a conflicting statement at a news conference on December 29, 2016, where he (Debbah) described Mr. Bility as the “Best LFA President ever.”

With the contradiction obvious, Debbah reportedly denied making the post and said he was not on the show to engage in any confrontation with Mr. Marteh. What broke the camel’s back was when Mr. Marteh, on an issue of delayed salaries, agreed to an earlier comment by Mr. Musa Shannon that Africa is replete with stories of coaches going months without pay who resigned in protest and then complaining to Fifa; suggesting that Coach Debbah could do the same. Marteh said he made reference to Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, who terminated his contract as coach of Uganda over unpaid wages on July 29, 2017.

“I also said Mr. Debbah won’t resign because he has proven to be ‘consistently inconsistent’ since his appointment in November 2014,” Marteh said. With that said, Marteh apparently did not know what was coming for him, and later said: “Mr. Debbah then left the studio meant for guests and came to the control board where Mr. Kiazolu and I were seated and landed a punch on my face.” The enormity of the punch had a telling effect on the journalist, with bruises and a black eye. And since the publication of the assault many soccer fans have condemned Coach Debbah’s alleged attack on the journalist.

Said one in a phone conversation “If Coach Debbah can’t stand criticisms, then he must quit the job as a national coach because so long as the national team is not doing well he will be criticized.” This was Marteh’s own confession after Coach Debbah reportedly floored him at the count of 10: “A physical exchange ensued where I was dragged to the ground by the coach before Messrs. Worwee and Kiazolu came to my rescue in the main ‘On Air’ studio.” Many who saw the fight said the journalist was lucky that his colleagues, Worwee and Kiazolu, were present, as it could have been a disaster for him.

In Marteh’s appeal to Minister N’Tow, he made mention of a litany of attacks he has received against his person and pleaded with the minister to lead a campaign to ensure that those in leadership should expect criticism in the discharge of their duties, and should not resort to violence as a defense to create fear in those whose duty it is to encourage check and balance in their work. Calls to Coach Debbah for clarification did not materialize as his phone was switched off and a text message was not returned.

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