Monrovia – Liberia Football Association Vice President of Operations Wilmot Smith has been alleged to have ordered Liberia Under 17 coach Copper Sannah to drop player Divine R. Teah from the squad that will face Sierra Leone this week in an international friendly in Monrovia because the player refused to play for his team, Junior Professional.
According to the technical director of Massa Football Academy Ike Moore, Mr. Smith has intimidated and pressured the player to join Junior Profession after his one season agreement expired with the club.
Mr. Moore further said Smith told the player in Tanzania that if he returned to Liberia and didn’t play for his club he would make him miserable, something he Moore sees to not be in the interest of Liberia and the promising player.
The player who has been named in the final 25-man squad of Coach Copper Sannah to face Sierra Leone is now claimed by both Massa Football Academy and Junior professional FC.
But Divine R. Teah wrote the LFA on September 17, 2020 requesting his free agent certificate from Junior Profession FC citing several reasons.
The 15-year-old attacking midfielder in his communication to the LFA said “Junior Professional misled my mother and I when I requested one-season when they wanted to sign me, they said I could not sign one season”.
“The VPO Mr. Wilmot Smith of the Liberia Football Association threatened me while on our way to Tanzania that he would ban me from every football activity if I do not return to Junior Professional FC. Looking at my Age 15 years I felt scared of what he said to me.”
“Lastly, since they signed me for the 2018/2019 season I have not gotten a salary,” he stated.
The promising player in his letter to the LFA said his team is Massa Football Academy stated that he wants to go back to them because they are participating in the LFA community league and the club has given back Junior Professional FC the L$25,000 given to him as signing fee.
Addressing the media, Mr. Moore said it is a shame for the LFA VPO to be using his power at the LFA to forcefully claim a player that is not his and to order Coach Sannah to drop the player from the list of players currently on camp for the friendly just a day to the match.
The Massa Football Academy Technical Director said the player was signed by Junior Professionals without the knowledge of Massa Football Academy which developed him.
He said Prince Toe, the president of JR. PRO did the negotiation with the player’s mother but for just a season which the player has played but Junior Pro is still saying he is their player.
“It’s so unfortunate that the VPO will see JR Pro over Liberia and hope the President of LFA and other will see this as a serious issue because it is not the first time this has happen, we also use this opportunity to call on Caf, FIFA and the rest of the football body that we do have a football official that is causing harm and using his power to intimidate and suppress other clubs who try to support the effort of our country,” he said.
Moore called on the LFA and FIFA to look into the matter so that the player can be free to play the game he loves so much.
The Passionate football stakeholder disclosed that he will write a letter to FIFA integrity department informing them of the action of the LFA VPO who is also a government official.
He said Massa Football Academy was founded to direct a youthful program in Liberia to help take children from the street and support the government’s effort to spread football across the country.
“I see this as a suppression of a young kid who cannot make decisions for himself. Divine Teah has been abruptly taken from the team but I don’t blame Copper Sannah because he is looking for a job”.
The tough talking Moore said it is time that Smith power greed be brought to an end.
Moore claimed the player was prevented from training with the team on Sunday during a friendly match with LEAD Monrovia Football Academy on the orders of Smith.
The player’s mother Grace Kekeh said her son loves football and wants to see him play at international level but for such a thing to happen she is downhearted.
According to Madam Kekeh her son doesn’t have a contract with Junior Professional but Massa Football Academy, a team she said has improved his talent.
Though Junior Professionals are claiming the player but the LFA release of players making the list and their team showed Massa Football Academy as Teah’s club.
When reached for comments, Smith said he will not speak on the matter until the LFA can investigate the matter.