Monrovia – The National Third Division Playoff of the Liberia Football Association will kick off on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Montserrado County. Thirty-two teams from the fifteen counties will compete for the three promotion slots to the second division.
By: Christopher C. Walker [email protected] 0777898224/0886723075
Many teams are hoping to make it to the second tier of Liberian football. According to the LFA, the two finalists and the third-place winner will gain promotion to the second division league. One team familiar with the playoffs is Montserrado County champion Pepper FC, who are eager to be promoted to the second division of Liberian football.
Pepper has been competing in the Third Division for a long time, and their loyal fans believe it is their time. As champions of the Montserrado Sub-Association Third Division play-off, they secured their spot in the playoffs with an extra-time penalty scored by George Davidson against promising Discoveries FC.
Many football pundits believe that the Barnersville Estate-based team has the responsibility to deliver this time and qualify for the Second Division. The Barnersville Estate club has produced talented Liberian footballers, including Allen Njie Sampson Dweh, Rufus Padmore, Prince Saydee, and many others who have represented Liberia at the senior national team or junior levels.
Liberian football writer Wleh Bedell observed that in their last two matches, especially their narrow win against the team from Brewerville, Pepper FC lacked clinical finishing. “They need to be more efficient,” Bedell wrote on his page. Despite leading 1-0 for a long time, thanks to a sublime finish by Weaka Trueh, Jr., they failed to seal the game and managed only a 1-0 victory.
With five teams from Montserrado and others from various parts of the country, the playoffs should be epic from May 25 to June 11 in Paynesville, Careysburg, and Monrovia. Pepper FC is greatly supported by their fans, who adorn themselves in the club’s merchandise and cheer endlessly.
The experienced sports reporter in Liberia asserted that now is the time for Sammy Kamara, Petannie Mulbah, and the entire coaching staff to work together both administratively and tactically to bid farewell to Division Three. If Pepper FC qualifies for the second tier of Liberian football through the playoffs, they will be the first club from Barnersville Estate to do so in 24 years.
LISCR FC, formerly known as Barcelona FC, achieved this feat in 1999 by defeating Malcolm Konah Cephas Lacimento FC 4-2 at the Tubman High Sports pitch, with Henry Zobon Gobah scoring a brace and substitutes Victor Careca Nyanti and George Juwle Weah adding a goal each in quick succession.
In the first leg on TUSA field, Barcelona surrendered a two-goal lead as Konah Cephas scored twice, celebrating reminiscent of France defender Lilian Thuram’s iconic gesture during the semi-final of the 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by France, where France defeated Croatia 2-1.
It is worth noting that Barcelona qualified for the Second Division in 1998 after losing 1-0 at home to Ajami Stars, owned by Indian businessman Alex Chaco. However, the Gardnersville-based club rallied brilliantly the following day to defeat the Central Monrovia-based club 2-0 at the BTC Sports pitch. Unfortunately, a protest nullified their victory, but they persevered and eventually succeeded. They displayed exceptional character throughout the journey.