The race to replace Musa Bility as president of the Liberia Football Association is becoming tougher with all three candidates delivering their platforms to stakeholders of football at a debate organized by the Sports Writers Association of Liberia.
The LFA’s electoral committee headed by Saifu Gray cleared three candidates to contest the post of President to include Mustapha Raji LISCR president, George Solo Former Chairman of Congress for Democratic Change and Vice President of Nimba FC and Current LFA vice President for Administration Musa Shannon.
At a well attended debate ceremony held at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium the three candidates Raji, Shannon and Solo said they want to bring about the needed result football deserves in the Country especially under a chief patron administration who has so much desire for the development of the game due to his past record and background as a professional football player.
Shannon said, “I want to bring back football to the LFA and doing that will have a collective engagement with stakeholders.”
He considers Bility’s Commercialization agenda for football as successful but said it needs to be professionalized.
“I am bringing professionalization to football, Football has not been professionalized in Liberia, so we need to be professional in the running of football to ensure that we built it for the future”, the former Lone Star striker said.
According to Shannon it is because of the lack of professionalism teams like Invincible Eleven, and Mighty Barrolle are not among the top teams in the country.
For his part Mustapha Raji said he is coming to the LFA to transform the happiness of the Liberian people by investing in grassroot football which is the basic of any country football system.
“I am coming and ready to bring football back to the pitch, our goal is to make you happy by bringing football to you everywhere.’” Raji asserted.
He said it is important that the inter School League be reintroduce to scout more young talents for the various national teams of Liberia.
“Equality will be key at the LFA if elected, all clubs will be given equal amount for preparation and not one club given more because of the division they are in.”
My administration will be transparent and will not engage into corruption, everything at the LFA will be made public to avoid corruption like I have done from Barcelona FC to LISCR FC.” Mustapha added.
When asked what makes him better than his opponents Raji responded by saying his ability to keep Barcelona and transform it to LISCR FC and his long-standing football administrative skills makes him better than Solo and Shannon.
Additionally he said under his leadership if elected the media will have a key role to play in the development of the game mainly from promotion to marketing as well as inclusion to vote.
He made specific reference in that regard to the Sport Writers Association of Liberia (Swal)
George Solo who once played for IE and now Vice president of newly promoted first division outfit Nimba FC said he is the agent of change for Liberian Football.
“ I will decentralize football and develop grassroot football including developing facilities of the game around the country, “these are part of my key platform and priority areas” Solo said.
He added that improving the LFA relationship with clubs and stakeholders of the game will also be a part of his priority because without the clubs and stakeholders football can not run effectively.
“Since I played at the ATS as a player things have not change for the better so I feel that it is time for me to bring my international experience to come and help change football, we need to start competing with other counties in Africa, I think we can host the nations cup or some big youth tournaments that is what I want to bring to Liberia.” The Nimba FC vice president said.
He is of the conviction that Bility has done some good things but has also done some bad things and feels his relationship with international bodies can help make football better in Liberia.
Commenting on Corruption Solo said “I will not allow corrupt people around me, I will be straight on corruption in every form.”
Bility who has been in power for the past eight years has been plagued with allege corruption, the most notable allegation is his administration misappropriation of $US50,000 of FIFA funds to help combat the Ebola epidemic which was distributed among executive committee members something his vice President Musa Shannon has since admitted to and is now refunding said amount given them by Bility to carry out awareness in their various communities.
Meanwhile at the close of the debate the election committee headed by Cllr. Gray and team loop displayed sample ballot papers to the candidates and stakeholders as a means of showing transparency in the process.
Stakeholders of football will go to election on Saturday April 14, 2018 to elect a president, Two vice presidents ( VPA and VPO) and ten executive committee members that will overseas football for the next four years.
Courtesy of Christopher C. Walker.