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Political Maneuvering? -County Meet Organizers Struggled To Justify Fixture Hullabaloo -Apologized & Confirmed Revised Pairings

The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) has openly apologized for not communicating to the public the revised fixture of the ongoing National County Sports Meet semi finals categories, though it struggled to justify the confusions that prompted its clarification.
The NCSM organizers’ immediate apology comes in the wake of widespread rumors suspecting political interference and tampering of the semi final fixture in favor of a particular county of interest.
Liberia’s Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson addressing a major press conference yesterday on several issues surrounding the organization of the tournament, clarified that they were not compromised neither influenced to revised the NCSM semi finals’ pairing. He claimed that a revised fixture was prepared long before the quarter final matches only that such decision was not communicated to the public in time.
Ahead of the press conference, officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports had posted conflicting pairings for the semi final on social media. Minister D. Zeogar Wilson who addressed the Wednesday’s press conference posted on his “Facebook page” what appeared to be the original pairing as per the 2019/2020 Approved County Meet semi finals’ fixture, whilst Deputy Minister of Sports, G. Andy Quamie posted a revised version of the fixture thereby prompting a serious agitation amongst supporters of the various counties as well as in sports quarters.
There have been mountain public concern about the sudden change emanating from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, organizers of the 2019/2020 National County Sports Meet.
Min. Wilson referenced Article 28 of the rules governing the tournament which he said empowered the organizers with the requisite authority/responsibility to make adjustments when need be. But Section VI of the very rules, under responsibilities of the organizers, says “Update rules and regulations when needed and ensure participating teams are duly informed.”
The Organizers who also struggled to provide a definite position on whether or not participating counties were duly informed, failed to state exactly by what means they communicated the sudden fixture change to the counties.
Officials of various counties were seen at the Ministry of Sports just after the press conference expressing their respective disenchantments. An executive from Nimba County who spoke to the INQUIRER Newspaper on anonymity said, “as per the original fixture in our possession we are suppose to play Lofa County in the semi finals. We are actually shock by the overnight change and that up to date, there has been no official communication from the organizers in that direction.”
The Nimba official alleged that the fixture’s sudden changed could be a compromise by the organizers, and that their explanation has further deepened the suspicions.
Also, officials of Margibi and Grand Kru counties denied having any prior knowledge of the revised fixture and warned that there could be consequences if care is not taken.
The Margibi official who supervises the county’s kickball team insisted that he would have been calm if the organizers had communicated the revised fixture long before the semi final encounters. He said, the press conference was just a formality because even at that point the ministry still had not conveyed the information the counties in question.
The counties officials who had gone to attend a dime-minute technical meeting demanded knowing the mathematical equation that was used by the organizers that suddenly influenced the semi final pairing. They insisted that the decision was a political maneuvering
It was observed that the change in the fixture was rather a political decision from the presidential appointees rather than the technicians who are charged with the technical affairs of the tournament.
What has further deepened the suspicion is Minister Wilson’s pronouncement that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Spoon FM & TV had promised to provide L$1m to Grand Kru County if they were to qualified for the grand finals. Though sounded like the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Grand Kru County, the MYS boss failed to take into consideration the existing confusion and allegation that the alleged tampering of the fixture was due to political maneuvering intended for one of the southeasterner teams to reach the grand finals of the tournament. The minister’s public assertion which was described by football pundits as “fast-talk” could just set the stage for complications and further agitations if anything goes wrong in any of the semi final matches.
Football pundits have blasted Minister D. Zeogar Wilson for using the platform to give a public service announcement in favor of only Grand Kru. Some pundits are questioning the minister’s neutrality, and wondered why the minister did not announce that Mayor Jefferson Koijee of Monrovia City, promised to build a stadium in Lofa County if they win the tournament. Football pundits have also expressed their deepest frustration and disappointment in the minister’s attitude, attributing such posture as troubling for a tournament that is intended to serve as a unifier.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has confirmed the revised semi final fixture. According to the MYS, contrary to what was disseminated, Prince Johnson’s Nimba County will lock horns with Speaker Bhofal Chambers’ Maryland County, whilst Jefferson Koijee’s rejuvenated Lofa County will settle things out with Fonati Koffa’s Grand Kru County. writes D. Webster Cassell

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