By: Edmund C. Gbarwee
Buchanan: – Liberia’s annual traditional soccer tournament comes alive once again as scores of sports enthusiasts descended on the Doris Williams Sports Stadium in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, on last Sunday to cheer their sides to victory.
This year’s National County Sports Meet is heavily funded by Liberia’s private sector leader and largest taxpayer, ArcelorMittal-Liberia (AML).
Last month, AML at an event in Monrovia presented a check of Two Hundred and seventy-five thousand ($US275, 000) United States Dollars, to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, for the hosting of this year’s National County Sports Meet.
ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s support to the Ministry of Youth and Sports covers all counties including those that do not fall within the company’s mining and logistics operational areas.
Mr. Jozephus Coenen, CEO, ArcelorMittal Liberia while speaking at the official unveiling of the company’s sponsorship praised the theme of tournament and said “aligns with ArcelorMittal’s long history of support and commitment to activities that promote peace and unity, national reconciliation, and development”.
He said whether it is being a gold sponsor of last year’s county meet, or, providing funds for the preparation of our three counties, or even being a major sponsor of the Liberia Marathon, and District Leagues in Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties ArcelorMittal has strongly supported the advance of sporting activities around Liberia.
Out of the amount of the total of US$275K provided by AML for sponsorship, US$250,000 constitutes the sponsorship fee while US$25,000 goes as additional support to the three counties of operations (Nimba, Bong, and Grand Bassa) for the preparation of their teams.
Nimba County has received Ten Thousand United States Dollars, while Grand Bassa and Bong Counties, received seven thousand five hundred United States Dollars each.
ArcelorMittal Liberia said it considers the opportunity give it to as the Headline sponsor of this year’s National County Sports Meet as an honor bestowed and a testament to its mutual and beneficial relationship with the Government and people of Liberia since 2005.
During the event, Minister of Youth & Sports D. Zeogar Wilson, in a jubilant mood, highlighted that ArcelorMittal-Liberia contribution was the highest monetary commitment for sponsorship ever since the inauguration of the National County Sports meet in 66 years.
At the National County Sports Meet opening matches at the refurbished Doris Williams Sports Stadium were scores of fans including Grand Bassa County authorities, the ArcelorMittal-Liberia family, and enthusiasts.
The opening showcased traditional and cultural dance performances before Grand Bassa and Rivercess battled in the first soccer match.
The Superintendents of Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Grand Gedeh and Grand Cape counties in separate remarks lauded ArcelorMittal-Liberia for the huge sport given the tournament.
Before he took the official kickoff, Samuel Stevquoah, Head of Corporate Services, ArcelorMittal-Liberia, extended warm wishes to the participating teams and urged good sportsmanship.
Said Stevquoah: ‘’as headline sponsor, AML is fully demonstrating its committed to the growth and development of youths and the nation at large”
“As we are here today, the CEO and others who would have love to be here but are in Yekepa where 50 of your peers are graduating from one of the best vocational institutions in the country, operated by ArcerlorMittal-Liberia, and those graduating will be employed by AML”.
“This and many others are part of the Phase-II Expansion Project and we come to say, these and many other opportunities are open to all Liberians”, the AML corporate executive declared before announcing the tournament officially opened.
The qualifying rounds are ongoing across the country in Grand Bassa, Bong, Lofa and Maryland Counties respectively.
This edition of the National County Sports Meet is under the theme–“Liberia: A Nation Celebrating 200 Years of Existence – Maintaining the Peace Through Women’s Sports Participation”.