Liberia: Football Agent Wants Government Invest More in the Sport
Monrovia – The Government of Liberia has been urged to invest in the country’s number one sport, Football, if the nation must be counted among countries that are making headways in and out of Africa.
By Christopher C. Walker 00231777898224 / 00231886723075 [email protected]
With the former World and Africa Player of the Year, Mr. George Weah now President of the Liberia, many Liberians and foreigners are of the conviction that the game will improve under his leadership as Chief Patron of Sports, judging from the fact that he played the game at the highest level.
In an interview with FrontPageAfrica’s Sports Desk, from his base in the United States, former Liberian footballer Deo Shamo Jlopleh spoke of the need for the game to improve after years of been underdog in Africa at both club and national team levels.
“We have witnessed with great dismay, how the Lone Star of Liberia, our nation’s pride, has lost its place amongst competing countries in the world of football.
“Growing up in a nation where every child played football and seeing the competitiveness of the game and the raw competing talents at the level of our communities, schools and everywhere in our country, it beats my imagination why we are ranked the 154th football country in FIFA ranking, when just 2001 we were at 66 best football country in the world,” Jlopleh said, frustratingly.
According to the former footballer, after more than 12 years of peace, the war should not be an excuse for the backwardness of the game in the country.
“It is even far more unreasonable to blame the war, because during the war we had our best performance and the enthusiasm of the game was at its highest level amongst young people including old folks of all genders.”
“As an International Football Agent and a former player of the game home and abroad, I have been trying to uncover logical and professional reasons why we are unable as a country to identify, create and develop in areas we have competitive advantage amongst competitors, with focus to sports,” he wondered.
“Liberia does have the raw and natural talents to lead African Football and compete at the world level. I refuse to believe such talents have been depleted, rather, I believe we’ve failed as a country to identify football as a commodity that gives us competitive advantage by investing the required human, material and financial resources to have us compete with other nations.”
“Football is a universal consciousness with gigantic economic potential, and those who invest massively in it are rewarded with great economic benefits. The demand for soccer has caused capital inflow into the game and investors with more purchasing power are buying the best and wealthy teams and these teams are paying for the best players. The concept of capitalism plays a major role in the game of football today, and until Liberia takes an unorthodox look at the game of football, we’ll continue to fall below our records of yesterday,” the passionate football lover told FrontPageAfrica.
He wants the Government and LFA to now join other countries in the new trend of the game by investing into the game by creating means for potential players to be given opportunity to showcase the skills at international competitions.
“Many African countries understand the new trend of the game and started missive investments and some medium and small skilled initiatives that focus on the recognition and development of young talented players to meet the demands of the global competitive market, and this has also contributed to the production of many good players on the continent with the new skills, discipline and focus required in today’s soccer. Some things are that also contributing to the success of those countries’ national teams.
“Given our natural talents, passion and love for the game of soccer, adequate investment in the raw talents of young Liberians has the propensity to shift millions or billions of future capital to our poor country.
“Our national league is still substandard with our championship teams playing the least games amongst competing countries during a football seasons, about eight games. We do need a complete overhaul of the LFA and a strategic football group to rebrand the LFA and draw up a more competitive league plan that will ensure our teams play more games coupled with a branding and marketing strategy that markets an elaborate plan outlining our advantages when we invest in football as individuals and a country with the aim of attracting investment to a country naturally endowed with talented young football players,” Shamo added.
According to him, if the game must improve LFA and the government must make the necessary changes that are globally improving football in other countries.
Restructure the first league so as to increase the number of games each championship team must play in a season.
Develop elementary leagues and Junior high school leagues with emphasis on spotting young players;
Draw up young players initiatives programs around the country and market the talent of young players;
Increase advocacy and product planning to attract foreign investors into our lower leagues and grass root programs;
Government should limit investments in other sports for about 10 years and focus the minimum resources for sport to soccer since we have a competitive advantage in soccer;
Encourage public- private partnership investment in grassroots football programs.
He recommended that the LFA needs to adapt a plan to recruit a football advancement strategic working group to be made of well-educated professionals in the field of soccer and sports management for the purposes of shifting the game to meet current demands.
Background of the Deco Shamo Jlopleh:
Deo Shamo Jlopleh is a Liberian born Entrepreneur currently based in the United States of America. Jlopleh is Co-founder and President of the MED Sports Management, and the MED Soccer Foundation in Liberia.
Shamo, as he is commonly known amongst Liberia players especially young players, has helped many young Liberian players by giving them opportunities to show case their talents in Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, Myanmar and the United States of America.
Shamo is also a former Player who last played for the South African Second Division League side J. P. Stars prior to leaving his home team in Liberia, ROZA F.C.
Mr. Deo Shamo Jlopleh has love and passion for the game of soccer and he continues to strive for ways and means to making Liberian players reach their potential and reap the massive benefits the game provides today.