Liberia: President Cup Tournament on Hold


MonroviaPower struggle at the Liberia Football Association (LFA) seems to be hugely affecting the development of the game in Liberia. As a result of this rigmarole, the kickoff of the much anticipated President Cup may not be played due to orders by the outgoing LFA president, Mr. Musa Bility.

Report by Christopher C. Walker, [email protected]

Bility said the holding of the tournament without proper planning is not in the interest of football something he wants the organizing committee to consider.

A press release issued by the football house on Saturday, August 4, said, “The President of the Liberia Football Association has put the 2018 Edition of the President Cup on Hold with immediate effect.”

The release further stated that activities of the Organizing Committee are placed on hold until further notice. According to the release, the decision to place the opening of the 2018 President Cup on hold is to make the Organizing Committee all-encompassing to reflect the aspiration of the public since the tournament is being hosted in honor of the Chief Patron of Sports, President George Manneh Weah.

The LFA leadership through outgoing president Bility, said they want all technical and administrative protocols to be in place and properly structure for a successful tournament.

At a news conference on Monday, July 30, Wilmot Smith, Vice President for Operations and Chair of the President and First Lady Cup, disclosed that the tournament was officially going to kickoff on Saturday, August 4, 2018, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium with over 40 teams participating in the tournament, which intends to reawaken football in the country after a year without active local football.

Smith said the tournament is intended to honor President Weah and his wife Clar for their services to Liberian football. Smith promised a very unique tournament which will show a new day of Liberian football.

Each of the participating teams on Wednesday, August 1, received two sets of jerseys, two footballs and was promised over L$100,000 as preparation package from the Liberia Football Association.

“We intend to assure that the winner of the male category walks away with a 32-seated bus and the female category also walks away with a 20-seated bus,” Wilmot added.

“The Executive Committee has decided that going forward all other President Cups will be named and styled ‘The George Weah President Cup’ even if he is president or not,” the LFA vice president disclosed.

But the promise of L$100,000 to the participating teams seems not to be sanctioned by the LFA as Musa Bility is believed not to be in favor of spending over L$400,000 on teams when the national league is yet to kickoff due to financial and other technical reasons.

A highly placed source at the LFA told FrontPage Africa that the Organizing Committee of the President Cup is proceeding wrongly without consulting members of the Executive committee.

Our source said LFA President Bility is demanding that Wilmot Smith and team inform the Executive on how they intend to generate funds for the President Cup.

Following a communication to the clubs that the tournament, which should have kicked off Saturday, August 4, has been put on hold until further notice, Smith wrote the stakeholder counter-reacting to Bility’s instruction.

“Dear Stakeholders please be informed that the email sent to you by the Secretary-General concerning the President Cup being put on hold did not come from the Executive Committee. It’s unfortunate and misleading. Mr. Bility is not an Executive President of the LFA and has no power to unilaterally overturn a decision approved by the Executive Committee or even singlehandedly make decision for the Executive Committee. We regret such unacceptable action on the part of Mr. Bility through the Secretary-General to mislead the clubs that are so excited about seeing football play. On tomorrow the President Cup committee will come up with a statement informing the clubs on a new date for the Grand Opening of the President and First Lady Cup.”

Responding, Bility told this newspaper, in a telephone conversation, his decision to put the President Cup on hold should not be looked at “as a personal reason,” but only wants the “right thing” done.

He wondered why Smith will want to organize a tournament in honor of Africa’s football Legend that is not planned properly.

The big question now is who runs the LFA when the Vice President and President are not cooperating.

Meanwhile, the LFA has announced that the 2018 national league is expected to kick off this Saturday, August 11, in Monrovia while modalities are being worked out for the President Cup’s kickoff.