Before Our Players Start Rushing To Liberia

By DESMOND EKWUEME
We need no soothsayer to tell us that one sector that Liberia's President-elect, George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Weah would fix in his first two years in office is sports. Surely the new President would passionately concentrate on football (his first love before politics) while fixing sports to help get youths off the streets, engage them gainfully and rewardingly and revive his country's economy.
Football is the third biggest earner in Brazil after oil and manufacturing. England has made the EPL alone a money spinning venture that keeps attracting billionaire business moguls from the Arab world, Russia, USA and China to buy or own clubs. Sports in the United States of America where basketball, boxing, golf, athletics, wrestling (especially WWF of Vin Mcmahon) and tennis among others keep churning out millionaires annually, is a big sector boosting the nation's economy.
Weah knows what sports could do to the economy of any serious nation. He knows what sports will do to his country after all, it was football that made him. He will definitely bring in experts to turn around his country particularly in the area of sports. He has the contact as a former footballer who has played in France, Italy and England among other countries. He has the reputation as an ex-World Footballer of the Year and he now has the image as President of his country.
It won't come as a surprise if Liberia would host any global sporting meet or fiesta in the future like FIFA U-17 World Cup to help generate interest among kids, after Weah fixes things. It won't come as a surprise if top European clubs like AS Monaco, AC Milan or Chelsea among others storm Monrovia for Pre-season tour in the future after Weah cleans up the mess of years of bad leadership. It won't come as a surprise if Liberia's national football team loaded with Nigerian born players qualify in the future for AFCON or even World Cup after Weah revives the country.
Yes, I said Liberia's national team loaded with Nigerian players. Where on earth don't we have Nigerians. And talking about football, we have Nigerians in war torn Sudan playing and earning well. They are in Equatorial Guinea. They are in DR Congo. They are Benin Republic. They are in Togo. They are in Egypt. They are in Tunisia. They are in South Africa. They started out in the era of Late Stephen Keshi in Cote'd'Ivoire and Mali before the wind of greener pastures blew them to Belgium and from there they spread across Europe.
Once the pay is good, trust Nigerian players they will head to Liberia to help develop their league and football. Our coaches won't be left out in this likely exodus. Of course, once Weah can attract the right investors to change the face of the war cum disease torn country the rest will be history like they say. It is not for nothing that Weah invited his former coach at AS Monaco, Arsene Wenger to his inauguration later this month. That is a sign of what is to come.
But come to think of it, why would a Nigerian footballer want to move to Liberia to play professional football? Delta State added to Bayelsa State are arguably richer than Liberia., so why? Well, the answer is, when your economy is good and footballers are better paid and treated they will move. Nigeria is richer than Tunisia yet our players move there and earn minimum of $5000 monthly depending on the club though. Same in Sudan, Egypt and South Africa. When Keshi, Rashidi Yekini and co moved to Cote'd'Ivoire, our economy was still better yet Ivorien clubs paid our boys better. Cote'd'Ivoire rely majorly on cocoa exportation for forex yet, their league and football then, could attract our finest players.
Where would our sports, football and NPFL administrators hide their faces when Nigerian players start moving to Liberia to play in their league and even nationalise to play for their national team? Sure they won't just move for the sake of it. They will move for better pay and treatment. They will willingly play for their national team. So why is that missing here? As I write this post, several NPFL clubs are yet to settle the sign on fees of last season among other entitlements owed players and coaches. Here, you hardly will find a club with insurance policy or cover for the players. Here, players enter into contracts with clubs not knowing the duration of the contract. Here, a player gets sacked from a club with mere words by a so called chairman at the gate of the training pitch or stadium. So why won't they move to Liberia once the atmosphere is made conducive by President George Weah? Should our local players start moving to Liberia, it may affect our domestic game in the future especially as it concerns CHAN.
I just hope we start doing things right or properly here. In the rating of African football Leagues we will always hear that our NPFL is rated high yet getting a sponsor for it tantamount to climbing Mount Everest with bare hands.....and no club here can pay like Al Ahly and Zamalek of Egypt, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa, Al Ahly and El-Merrehk of Sudan, Wydad and Raja Casablanca of Morocco or Esperance and Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia. Ironically, Nigeria is richer than these countries. 

As the world awaits the inauguration of Geroge Weah, let's just spare some thoughts on what is to come in the West Africa sub-region after he assumes duties.
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