Liberia’s 24th President is about to make history, yet again, as he ponders granting the nation’s flag-bearers, players of the national team, remunerations for their sacrifices and hard work.
“Liberia is the only country on Planet Earth where national team players who put their lives and skills on the line are not compensated adequately,” the President said, speaking Monday, November 19, at a congratulatory luncheon in honor of the national team, Lone Star, following their 1-0 win over Zimbabwe Sunday.
President George Manneh Weah used the occasion to express concerns over the fact that players of Lone Star are struggling in spite of their sacrifices to the country.
It can be recalled that the President, barely a month ago, broke a major national record when he declared free tuition in public universities and colleges, the first ever by a Liberian leader since independence.
President Weah, who is Chief Patron of sports, said national team players should be part of Liberia’s labor workforce and are entitled to fair remunerations to ease their difficulties and get them do their best when national duty calls upon them.
He disclosed that government would give consideration to incorporating national team players on government subsidy as a way of motivating them, noting that Liberia is the only country whose players are not being amply compensated.
“I played for the national team from 1986 to 2003,” he recalled his own experience as a longtime player of the national team. “Any time we played a game at home and I returned to my base abroad, my colleagues from other countries would show me checks paid to them by their governments. But I was the only one who did not show them my check.”
Speaking further during the luncheon with the Lone Star players at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President said his government would work to change the situation by putting smiles on the faces of Liberia’s national team players.
He heaped praises on the players for the victory over the Brave Warriors of Zimbabwe, but admonished them that it was up to them to make history for themselves by winning the last away game with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“It is not over yet, but I know you can make it,” the President petted the Lone Star players. “The team is capable. If you want to make history, it’s up to you. I encourage you to do your best and bring pride to our country.”
President Weah assured the players of his government’s continuous support because “you are part of this country and we will make sure you benefit as appropriately as possible.”