The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

The Government Must Support The Cause Of Revitalizing Sports

By S. Siapha Mulbah

The Government of Liberia, under the administration of President Joseph Boakai, has the outstanding responsibility of revitalizing sports in the country to attract the necessary outcomes that follow an attractive sports environment.

It is therefore required that Liberia takes courage in adhering to sporting regulations and participate in recognized international activities that will open up the sector to the outside world, and give Liberians the opportunity to share the culture of the land with the rest of the global community.

Missing out on all participations in the African Cup of Nations since 2002 has been the biggest blockade to Liberian football, despite all the efforts exerted by past governments and administrators of football across Liberia.

It has also been observed that all other sports in the country have been apparently abandoned and this has crippled the sporting sector from time immemorial, and this government must revitalize sports at all levels.  

At this point in time, Liberia’s participation in the 13th All-African Games is one of the greatest opportunities for the country’s striving sporting sector, and all authorities are demanded to act in the swiftest term to solicit the needed funding to have the athletes in Ghana.

Over the years, the country’s sporting sector has been challenged when it comes to participating in other international competitions, and the crisis has always been the “No money to support the cause” story. This situation has held sporting activities in Liberia down as one of the weakest countries in the subregion and the continent, most especially during the presidential regime of the former football super star, George Manneh Weah.

The All-African Games is a continental sporting festival with many explorable packages for local sporting bodies across Africa. It is more at times referred to as the Olympics of Africa, which brings together different sporting disciplines and athletes to exercise the show of strength and supremacy in the different sports practiced in Africa, as well as promoting the culture of the typical African heritage.

Liberia is one of the most historical nations in Africa, and has the responsibility to share its connections and involvements in the continent’s culture. Participating in the competition will signal to the other countries that the nation is still alive, despite many challenges, like the 14 years of civil unrest, the deadly Ebola crisis of 2014, and the global epidemic, Covid 19, which hit the world in 2020.

These and other crises have impeded the fabric of the country, posing a serious challenge to sports and other sectors. It is now time that the authorities initiate working relationships with neighboring and other African countries to build back broken sectors. It is expedient enough that Liberia’s delegation forms part of the comity of nations at events that create opportunities like those at the All-African Games that will take place in Ghana. 

At events like these, different federations are opportune to meet and hold talks with their different mother bodies, with commitments of partnerships for member associations, sponsoring of programs in different countries, as well as discussing the issues of creating new frameworks for the growth of sports in general at the continental stage.

The flag of the countries participating in the different games are flown at the competition, and it sends an image of belonging to the participants.

The Liberian sporting sector is a challenge, one that needs to take its story to the outside world for assistance. The athlete’s participation has a message for the audience and the officials of the delegation meeting with others stakeholders in the sporting communities will also lead to potential upliftment, because over 49 countries are set to share the stage and participate with members of the kinship.

Many of the countries have advanced to a lucrative stage in sports development, and some are still striving to get along the way. Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Morrocco, Egypt, and other fast growing sporting nations are anticipating creating a platform of testing the strength of their sporting disciplines, and other countries with weaker strengths will hope to participate and grow for, and explore, the opportunities that are in line.

With the number of slots allocated to Liberia, few countries being very low while others are carrying huge numbers of athletes, it shows that Liberia needs some levels of experience to have a place in the competition. However, there could be more slots in future editions of the competition for countries like Liberia.   

Over the last two weeks, the country’s participation in the African Olympics has been discussed as one that may not be achieved by this administration because the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has refused to make available the funds needed to expedite the movement of a delegation that has 21 athletes and few officials, on grounds that there is no money.

Judging from the opportunities and prospects that come along the way when Liberians are seen participating in the different sporting disciplines, the heads of different federations have begun engaging and knocking on different doors for support, but with no outcome, and the event kicks off in less than 72 hours from press time.

The athletes and their leaders have informed the Liberia National Olympic Committee and the government that they are ready to get to Ghana and represent the county to explore opportunities for the sporting sector. Days of advocacies have passed as the teams are still moving around the streets craving for support. It is now time that the government take interest in the reconciliation of the continent and fund its delegation to the bigger African event.

There is no time for excuse and those responsible for sport in the country have to put all hands on deck to revitalize the sector from the challenges it has faced in the past.

If the Liberian delegation to such a big event that has the whole of Africa participating, cannot be sponsored by this government, the eyes of the people and athletes will start to blink as to where the sports sector is going in the next few years of the administration.

Take note and do the needful!

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