Liberia: Former Basketball Star Frowns on Youth and Sports Ministry
Monrovia – A former basketball star has expressed dissatisfaction in the organizers of the National County Sports Meet.
Report by Christopher C. Walker 00231777898224 / 00231886723075 [email protected]
Orea Wright, a former basketball star of the national team and Mighty Barrolle, said it is unfortunate for the country’s second sport, basketball, to be excluded from the national sports event in succession.
The National County Sports Meet has now reached its semifinal with four counties in the race for the two slots of the final in both kickball and football.
The last time basketball was part of the county meet was the 2016/ 2017 edition, which was won by Nimba County and since then the Sports Ministry has not included the sport in the biggest national sporting festival in the country on grounds that they have not had enough allotment from the government something the ex-national basketball team player feels is not fair for the sport lovers and players in the country.
He wondered why for the past two years football and kickball are the only sports being played in the county meet, which is aimed at uniting the people of Liberia.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica Sports Desk, Wright said, “To see basketball excluded for the second time in a role from the county meet, I am disappointed and saddened as a former player. We cannot allow this to happen anymore.”
According to him, basketball is a sport that teaches moral lesson and many great individuals, who are now contributing to the development of the country came from the court so it should not be sidelined from such national event.
He said if there is a reason for basketball not being a part of the tournament, the Ministry of Youth and Sports needs to call former players to give their inputs financially or technical supports.
“Moving forward I want the Ministry to include basketball in the next edition of the tournament because it produces new talents and provides income for players and coaches.
“We have potential former stars, who can help, so let them come and tell us the reason we can provide solutions.
“The County Meet is a platform to scout talents in all sports, so we are calling for the full inclusion of all sports, including Volley ball, Track and Field, Long and Short Tennis in the next edition of the Sports Meet because it is sports meet and not football and kickball meet,” Wright, who considers himself as a living legend of basketball in Liberia, asserted.
He also called on stakeholders of basketball to trash politics out of basketball so that the Liberia Basketball Association can move forward.
For his part the president of the Liberia Basketball Association (LBA), Rufus Anderson, said the exclusion of the sports from this year’s tournament was not intentional like previous tournament.
Anderson said basketball not being a part of the 2018/2019 tournament was as a result of consultations between the Sports Ministry and the Basketball Association.
“I don’t think it was intentional based on our meetings with the Minister of Youth and Sports because after series of conversations, the plan was to have basketball a part of the tournament but venue and limited resources were the reasons for the exclusion,” Anderson disclosed.
He added that the Ministry and LBA agreed to renovate the SKD Gymnasium, which is more important for the development of basketball in the country because the Association is short of facilities to play games and cannot play during the Rainy Season but with the SKD Gym, they will play basketball throughout the year.
According to him, the players complaining of not been part of the league is their right but called on them to be patient.