Sarploh Loses US$450 in Cup Final Celebration After Marching Order
Monrovia – Monrovia Club Breweries FC head coach Francis Samujeabo Sarploh had mixed feelings on July 31.
Report by Danesius Marteh, [email protected]
Sarploh was dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on camp ahead of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) knock-out cup final with Mighty Barrolle when news reached him that his Borough Old-timers and Fraternity Association (BOTFA) won the 2016 Liberia National Old-timers Association (LONA) knock-out cup at the D. Tweh sports pitch in New Kru Town (NKT).
All his attention was now focused on the match with Barrolle with kick-off fast approaching at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) and US$450 was budgeted to celebrate the double.
Both teams arrived with their supporters and the pre-match formalities were quickly done. But Sarploh, who won the second division championship ahead of Barrack
Young Controllers (BYC-II), Barrolle and Jubilee FC, was ordered to leave his technical bench along with first team trainer Reo Nyanti by match commissioner Nyanqueh Borsay and fourth official George Rogers.
According to the officials, Sarploh needed to complete his ban, having been ejected from the bench in a 3-1 semi-finals victory over LISCR FC on July 20.
Chapter 20, article one, section 1.6 of the 2016 league regulation states that any official who is sitting on his/her team’s bench during a match and is sent off by the referee shall be fined L$5,000 and sent out of the perimeter of the field and suspended for the next two matches of his/her club.
Continuing, it says any repetition thereafter is punishable by any other punitive measures deemed necessary by the LFA and said fine must be paid before the club’s official engages in any LFA program.
But their enforcement of the rules rejuvenated Sarploh, who wanted to finally stamp his authority and elevate his profile as one of the best local coaches.
From behind the bars Around VIP, Sarploh screamed instructions upon instructions and could hardly sit. In fact, he was bizarrely captured on camera climbing the bar.
Couple with instructions from deputy coach Gerald Julius and other technical staff, Breweries took a 29th minute lead through defender Blidi Jackson from an indirect kick after goalkeeper Tito Wesseh intentionally caught the ball from a pass by defender Michael Jaesue.
For much of the match, Breweries were the better side and enjoyed their possession based-game as Barrolle struggled to impose themselves.
But what should have been a fine match turned chaotic when fans believed to be supporting Barrolle invaded the pitch and physically attacked center referee Jerry Yekeh for “cheating” and claimed he denied the Rollers a penalty.
Yekeh, assistant referees Elisha Johnson and Joseph Hoff and Rogers escaped unhurt on board an ambulance.
Breweries marketing department printed around 2,000 t-shirts for their fans and supporters, who mostly reside in New Kru Town.
And when competitions committee chairman Ansu Dulleh announced that the match will not continue, jubilant fans carried Sarploh on their shoulders as the players celebrated their double on the field.
Sarploh then announced a three-week break for the players and a big send-off party in the Borough but later realized that he lost the money in the wild celebration.
The misery or nightmare of losing US$450 couldn’t dampen the joy of winning his first piece of silverware (a league and cup double) at the national level as Sarploh joined the convoy from the ATS to NKT.
The LFA will announce Breweries as knock-out champions in keeping chapter 17, article one, section one of the league regulations (forfeiture of matches).
A team shall be punished with the forfeiture of a match when: (1) the team walks off the field of play; (2) the team refuses to continue play; (3) the player(s) or club supporters initiate an act responsible for the abrupt end of the match; (4) when a team plays a match which has been declared non-competitive or the result has been found to be pre-determined or fixed; (5) a team is late for a scheduled match and (6) if a club reports five minutes after kick-off time.
Section 1.1 states that in respect to numbers 1-4, no matter what the scores shall be at the time of the offence or at the end of the match, the offending team shall be considered as having lost the match and accordingly three points and two goals shall be awarded in favor of the offended team, unless the opponent team is leading by a margin of more than three goals at the time of the offence or when the match comes to an end, in which case the score will stand.
Breweries will be formally crowned at an award ceremony and will receive a trophy plus L$393,750 and a chance to represent Liberia in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup while Barrolle will receive L$112,500. They will also receive L$393,750 as second division champions while BYC-II will receive L$140,625.