Liberia’s National County Sports Meet: All You Need to Know
As the preliminary rounds of Liberia’s biggest sporting festival continue across the country, Ducor Sports takes a look at the annual tournament of Africa’s oldest republic.
The origin of Liberia’s National County Sports Meet dates back to 1956 when its inaugural edition was held. Firstly organized as part of former president William V.S Tubman’s unification policy to bring the country together politically, the competition became an annual sports event over the years and became Liberia’s biggest sports festival.
Unlike the country’s national league that has in recent years continued to struggle to gain its momentum of the past, the momentum of the County Meet remains consistent and attracts more fans due to every ethnic group being represented by one of the 15 participating counties.
Organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the 15 political sub-divisions or counties of Liberia are divided into four groups. Each county produces a football, kickball (played by only female), basketball, volleyball and a Track and Field team that represents them in the various category of the sporting event.
The County Meet grew just from an annual sports festival aimed at promoting national reconciliation among Liberians but later became a tournament to scout players. Several players including Varney Sando of LISCR, and David Tweh of BYC are some of the many players that came to the spot light from the annual tournament.
During the tournament Liberians from the 15 counties gather at various match venues with traditional colors, foods and clothes to cheer their counties of origin.
Montserrado County in which all of the country’s 16 ethnic groups are based, are the current champions after winning the football category of the tournament for the first time on January 15, 2017. They defeated Maryland County 3-1 in penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. It was a repeat of the 1956 final when Maryland became the first county to ever win the competition.
In this year’s edition, the counties are only playing football and kickball after the other categories were dropped due to low budget allocation. It should have been the final edition under the regime of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but was postponed due to the 2017 presidential and legislative elections. The theme for this year’s edition is “Uniting Liberia After Elections Through Sports”.
In 1970: Sasstown Territory is now part of Grand Kru County won the county meet and Kru Coast territory won it in 1974.
Featured Image: chairman of Nimba County sports committee; Tomah Seh Floyd Sr. holds the Kickball, Basketball and volleyball trophies won by Nimba County during the 2017 edition