Monrovia - A group of former Liberian footballers have identified with the family of their former teammate William Gray, who died last week.
The former footballers action is also intended to give the long time teammate a decent homegoing.
Gray, who once played for Mighty Barrolle and the senior national team of Liberia as a left back, died in the early hours of Sunday, (October 15, 2017) at his Bardnersville, Dry Rice Market residence after a protracted period of illness.
William Gray commonly known as "Brazilian Bulu", was famous for his spectacular penalty kicks during his days for club and country. He always scored penalty.
The former footballers calling themselves Senior Professionals and Unity Party Soccer Legends Sunday, October 22, 2017 presented a cash prize of two thousand four hundred United States Dollars (US$2400.00) to the family of their fallen colleague.
According to one-time Liberian striker Jonathan Boy-Charles Sogbie, the amount given to the family of the late Gray was provided by Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai as his way of identifying with the falling football hero of Liberia.
He said after their previous visit to the family and inquiries about the funeral arrangement they were told that a total of US$2400.00 was needed for burial of the one-time best left back of Liberia, an amount Vice President Boakai decided to underwrite.
“In our name as senior Professionals and UP Soccer Legends in collaboration with the Vice President, we have come to extend our hands to the late Gray, who we played along with for years for club and country.”
“We are prepared to take everything that was presented to us for three weeks, which include but not limited to preserving his body, headstone, dressing of the body, casket all of which summed up to that amount,” Sogbie noted.
In tears Boye Charles, who shared the playing pitch with Gray, who has been described as the country’s best left back ever in history, extended sympathy to the wife and children of his late teammate.
“We are with you in your pains and feel the same pains because we were more than brothers on the national team seeing Bulu leaved us is sad."
"This is not about politic but to identify with a bro who lived his life for Liberian football.”
According to a letter sent to the family by Vice President Boakai, he is saddened by the death of William Gray, who served the nation well in sports.
Receiving the amount, the late man's wife, Mrs. Samnu Gray, appreciated the Vice President for his timely gesture to the family.
“I can remember one day before my husband death he said to me if I die I will be buried by the government of Liberia and my friends so I am not surprised with this, coming from the Vice President,” Mrs. Gray said weeping.
Gray was the father of 19 children and grandchildren.
Reflecting on the life of the former Liberian left back former Liberian midfielder and Coach Josiah N. Johnson, who coached Gary from club level to country said Gray’s death is a big lost to the country.
“We lost someone, who made tremendous contributions to Liberian football and he will be missed for his work,” Johnson said.
“He will be missed for his attacking and defensive style of played because he was among the players sent to Brazil for training in the 1980s,” JNJ said.
Gray, who was a member of the national team played with the likes of George Weah, James, Debbah, Kelvin Sebwe, Dionysius Sebwe, Jonathan Boye Charles Sogbie, and his favorite player was Mark Gibson according to Josiah Johnson.
Veteran Liberian Sports Journalist Hilary Justine Colnoe, who followed Gray during his playing days said on UNMIL Radio, Gray was loved by fans because of his extra qualities as a defender.
He was a popular player in1970 and 1980 for both Club and country before his retirement in the late 90s, he joined Independent Old-timers and was the best defender of Independent up to his death.” Colnoe said.
Meanwhile family members have announced that the former Liberian defender will be buried on November 18, 2017.