PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado â€“ The organizing body of the National County Sports Meet, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has declared Grand Kru as the champions of the 2019-20 football tournament while the Nimba team was fined US$1,500 for abandoning the match.
The ministry also announced that Nimbaâ€™s football head coach Muctarr Fofana and team manager Musa Kromah have been given two-year suspensions each from all sporting activities for ordering the team to walk off the pitch in the final.
The decision by the ministry was announced at a press conference held on Tuesday, January 29 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
The County Meet football final came to an unexpected end after center referee Hassan Corneh awarded Grand Kru a second penalty. Nimba protested the decision and walked off the pitch as the game came to an end in the 50th minute with Grand Kru leading by a goal scored from the penalty spot by captain Rufus Kennedy.
The statement, which was read by the Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson, described Nimba’s actions as lacking sportsmanship. According to the minister, the Mountaineers violated Article XVI: Section 16.5 and Article XIX: Section 19.1 of the county meet rules. He said the decision was reached in consultation with the Liberia Football Association.
â€œAny county team that behaves rudely on the field of play and brings the match to a halt or disrepute, according to the match officialâ€™s report, shall be fined the amount of U.S. $1,500,â€ one section of the rules read. The other notes: â€œAny county player, coach or official of a county obstructing, delaying or compelling a game to come to a halt shall be fined the amount of US$200 and US$500 for a second offence. The fine shall be paid before the countyâ€™s next scheduled match. Suspension for two years from National County Sports Meet.â€
Some have criticized the decision to suspend the two officials from all sporting activities when the rules limited the suspension to the county meet events only.
The ministry further stated that Grand Kru will play a team of selected players from the 1996-2002 Lone Star team on Thursday, January 30 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia where the presentation of awards and trophies will be made.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley Jr.