Monrovia - It was an elaborate dream and an ambitious target embarked on by Grand Bassa with Operations Kpa Forr (which translates from Bassa to English as operations carry forever).
In order words, Grand Bassa were aiming to become arguably the first county to win a hat-trick of titles but were eliminated by Margibi in the quarter-finals at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on January 5.
Grand Bassa needed a must win, having collected two points in the group and threw men in attack in search of goals.
David Paye, Kweku Mensah and Togar Goffah had dozen of chances but squandered all to the disbelief of their supporters.
They were soon made to pay for it against the run of when Lester Boyd fed Aaron Hallie with a true pass inside the six-yard and an unhesitant he beat the onrushing Reuben Frank in goal in the 43rd minute.
It was a goal they defended with technique and could have won by at least two goals if Hallie and Boyd were clinical.
In truth, Margibi deserved the victory as a complacent Bassa struggled throughout the match and even from the group stage in Robertsports, Grand Cape Mount County.
A realistic idealist and practical thinker would have harbored a measure of fear about Kpa Forr and be reminded about how Chad almost “Chakla” Liberia when the Lewis Brown-led mobilization committee launched a big Operations Chakla Chad during the preliminary rounds of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers.
With a Kelvin Sebwe goal in N’Djamena on April 9, 2000, thousands of Liberians believe in the slogan only for Liberia to be held to a surprising goalless draw in Monrovia on April 23, 2000.
With Bassa having had some good friendlies with Barrack Young Controllers and LISCR FC, pundits thought they would have breezed past their opponents but they were held by Gbarpolu and Cape Mount before beating point donors Bomi.
After two draws and a defeat in the quarter, Bassa are now accusing the organizers of match-fixing.
“Well, I am not regretting because I know it was an organized crime.
The Ministry [of Youth & Sports] and LFA [Liberia Football Association] wanted for Grand Bassa to go out. I think you saw all the goals we have been scoring.
“On the field of play, you won’t have a goalkeeper just lying down and lying down without yellow card [being awarded].
Bassa scored about three goals and they canceled it. Bassa had the last game to play today [at 4:00PM]. They changed the time and put Bassa to two o’clock.
“From Cape Mount, they have been suppressing Bassa. The only thing the ministry was after was for Bassa not to take this thing for the third time.
So there was nothing else we could do. We will not go and jump on a referee because the LFA will take a decision against us,” said Grand Bassa Technical Director Christian Thompson alias Christian Cole.
As the second half was about to start, Gender, Children & Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell engaged Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton on the organization of the last matches.
According to Duncan-Cassell, the last games should have been played simultaneously to avoid match fixing or sympathy but Yonton believes the Minister was educated by our sports editor, who had exposed an ultra-inconsistency about organizing last group matches in competitions (as it is practiced by Fifa, Uefa, Conmebol, Concacaf and Caf among others) on ELBC and Fabric Radio on December 31, 2016.
The accusation didn’t stop at the ATS as Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence took to Facebook to register her disagreement after she had promised L$100,000 for the Gbehzohn boys for a win and US$100 for every goal and excellent goal keeping.
“County meet update! We nan complaining ooooo but how can our three goals be offside goals? We know the rules mehn - Congrats Margibi, it's the same Bassa belt.
Therefore, we are with you.
“To the Bassa scorers, the three goals in my opinion are legitimate goals, you still win your US$100 per goal to be delivered to u tomorrow. Bassa people, let's move on and support the process. Thanks for the support from all of our people.
Bassa First!” she posted minutes after the game.
Meanwhile, Nimba, who won the county meet in 1978, 1979, 2010 and 2011, cruised to the semi-finals with a 3-0 victory over Lofa in the second game.
Tormentor-in-chief Mark Yallah scored two second-half goals before Daniel Tuazama, who have played for Bassa and Montserrado, sealed the victory with a delightful finish.
But their fate hangs in the balance as Lofa are contesting the legitimacy of Benedict Newton, Mawolo Prince, Josephus Mathor and Tuazama.
According to Lofa, the quartet are second division players in violation of article 12, section 14.9 of the rules.
It states that only three players from the second division (only two from the same club) will be allowed to participate in the national county sports meet.
However, it continues, the second division players must not have played in any premier or first division league.
Fact to Remember
In 1970, Sass town territory, which is now part of Grand Kru won the county meet and Kru Coast territory won it in 1974.
This means Grand Kru County have won the county meet four times but it is still unclear if those successes were in a row.
Some of the players of Sasstown at that time were Patrick Arthur, Anthony Wesseh, Tarpeh Roberts, Sylvester Red' Weah, Michael Tarplah, Anthony Sayon Nagbe alas Experience Tony and Telemu.