Newly promoted LFA Orange First Division side Heaven Eleven Football Club have officially informed the Liberia Football Association (LFA) that the club have withdrawn from participating in the 2021/21 Orange First Division league season.
In the communication sent to the Liberia Football Association (LFA) on October 3rd, the Orange Second Division champions complained that the manner and form in which the recent prestigious 2021 LFA Awards ceremony which saw no memeber of their team or official collecting a single award was not fair to them.
The LFA awards gala was held on 2 October at the Ministerial Complex in the township of Congo Town, Montserrado County.
The club argued that it was unfair on their part as a champion team to not have at least one of their player especially goalkeeper Teddy Kollie listed amongst winners of awards at the LFA’s ceremony.
“Firstly, we are not pleased with the manner in which the whole LFA 2020/2021 Awards process was held. We think the processes and procedures were not fair and transparent. For example, we were taken aback by the fact that despite HEFC emerging as Champions of the 2020/21 Orange 2nd Division League, not a single player or official was nominated for any awards. Furthermore, what criteria was used to select the Best Goalkeeper Award? Our assumption is that it was based on most clean sheets. If that was the case, our statistics indicate that Teddy Kollie of Heaven Eleven should have been awarded the prize. What is even more disheartening is that the LFA provided tickets and put the Management of HEFC and Teddy under the illusion that he was due to be awarded the Best Goalkeeper award just for his hopes to be dashed. We think this is very deceitful.” The Club said in the communication.
“Interestingly, this is not the first occasion that we have been meted such treatment. If you can recall, a tryout session was held by the National Team coach (Peter Butler ) in Ganta a little over one year ago and several of HEFC players were chosen to proceed to Monrovia for further tryouts to form a part of the national under 17 national team. Unfortunately, when the boys arrived in town, the process was hijacked by nefarious officials at the LFA. Again the boys were abandoned and left brokenhearted by the LFA.” The communication further stated.
Owing the aforementioned, the Board of Directors of the Yekepa side have decided to disengage from participating in the forthcoming LFA First Division league and other LFA related activities.
Winners of the 2021 LFA awards were nominated by captains, coaches from the various clubs in the first, second and upper women divisions and accredited sports journalits that covered the 2020/21 season with the top three from each category proceeding further for public vote and the person accumulating the highest number of votes eventually going on to be name winner.
No player from the Yekepa club emerge in the final three (3) during the nomination, however, there was no concern raised until after the ceremony over the weekend.
In contrast, the LFA awards was dominated by the First Division champions LPRC Oilers, with Fred Brooks, Mephaine Dolo and Coach Cooper Sannah being named Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Defender and the Best Men’s Coach respectively.
Heaven Eleven were enthroned as champions of the 2020/21 Orange Second Division league last season becoming the first ever Yekepa based side to achieve such prestigious triumph in Liberian football.
They finished the entire first phase (13 games) unbeaten conceding only
2 defeats in the last half of the season. The Yekepa giants won 18 games along with 6 draws throughout the entire season clinching the title with a 2-point difference ahead of their main title contenders, Barrack Young Controllers (BYC-ll), now dissolved.
The season saw Heaven Eleven’s goalkeeper Teddy Kollie recording an incredible 18 clean sheets from those fixtures, the highest by a goalkeeper last season making him unarguably the most outstanding goalkeeper in the country.
The executives of the Club say despite the huge work done by their players during the season under review, it was shocking that none of their squad member or official made it through to the nomination process or clinch a single individual accolade at the ceremony.
They see this as demotivating for their fledgling players and could have a psychological effect on their entire team in the upcoming season, therefore they do not have the trust that they will be treated fairly by the Liberian football body.
Heaven Eleven were expected to make their debut in the Liberian domestic top-flight to mark the first ever Yekepa based Club to play in the top league.
But their decision to back off means, no team from Yekepa have played at the First Division.
Heaven Eleven and Nimba Kwado are currently the only two First Division clubs based in Nimba and the two sides were expected to engage each other in the fisrt Nimba derby of the season on the opening day of the soon coming season in Sanniquellie.
Founded in March of 2016, Heaven Eleven got promotion to the 2nd tier in their first year participating in the 3rd Division league in November of 2018 and finished second behind now Second Division side, Muscat FC at the national championship play-offs in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
As it stands, they remained one of fastest growing Clubs in the country.