Liberia: Why Lower League Clubs Planned Unspecified Actions Against LFA?

Liberia: Why Lower League Clubs Planned Unspecified Actions Against LFA?

Figure 1: Kennedy also highlighted the disparity between football development in Liberia and other parts of the sub-region, attributing it to a lack of innovation and support from the LFA

Monrovia – Lower league clubs within the Liberia Football Association (LFA) have threatened unspecified actions against the association if their concerns are not addressed.

By: Christopher C Walker christopherc.walker@frontpageafriaconline.com

Steve Kennedy, Secretary General of the lower league clubs, stated that they face numerous challenges that the LFA, under President Mustapha I. Raji, has been slow to address. Kennedy made these comments on Friday during an appearance on the local radio program OK Morning Rush.

Kennedy emphasized the critical role of grassroots and lower league clubs in the future of Liberian football. He noted that many players excelling in the 1st and 2nd divisions, as well as the national county meet, began their careers in lower league clubs. However, he criticized the LFA for only providing sponsorship money and FIFA subsidies to upper league clubs, calling it an unfortunate oversight.

“For example, we are going through a lot in preparing these players from our own pockets. Providing sporting materials, training transportation on a regular basis, renting fields, medical care—these are all difficulties we experience in the lower league,” Kennedy explained. “The only time I remember us receiving $500,000 USD from the LFA was during the COVID-19 pandemic. All along, the LFA only gave us 5-10 balls and a few cones before the start of our league.”

Kennedy also highlighted the disparity between football development in Liberia and other parts of the sub-region, attributing it to a lack of innovation and support from the LFA. He criticized the LFA’s directive to sell lower league players to upper league clubs for no more than L$25,000, deeming it unfair given the expenses involved in preparing these players.

“Many lower league club owners are in trouble with their families because they sacrifice their family’s well-being to support the clubs,” he added.

Kennedy questioned the football administrative knowledge of LFA President Mustapha I. Raji, 1st Vice President Professor Sekou Konneh, and 2nd Vice President Adolphus Dolo, all of whom have grassroots football backgrounds. He noted that despite their experience, they have not effectively addressed the lower league’s challenges.

“For example, I thought after going through all these challenging times to book playoff slots every year, the LFA was going to underwrite the cost, but even the fields to practice, we have to rent besides the hotel during the playoffs,” Kennedy said. He also complained about poor officiating from referees and limited monitoring of the league by sub-committees due to inadequate earnings.

“We, the lower league clubs across the 15 counties, have agreed to end this continuous nightmare. The challenges are many, and we receive no appreciation,” he asserted.

Kennedy praised FC Fassell Chief Executive Officer Cassell Anthony Kouh for his recent efforts to enhance Liberian football. He specifically mentioned Kouh’s initiative to hire Belgian coach Ivan Mineaet on a three-year contract, starting from the 2024/2025 league season, and his support for grassroots players’ participation in a youth competition in Turkey.

“Though I don’t know this ‘Cassell man,’ I have been hearing a lot about him regarding our football. I’m told he single-handedly underwrites the cost of sending grassroots players to participate in youth competitions abroad. Such dedication should be appreciated because football is growing worldwide, and seeing someone in our country doing these kinds of things means a lot,” Kennedy concluded.

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