Liberia: Bassa Derby Opens County Meet As Grand Bassa Hosts Rivercess County

Monrovia — Liberia’s biggest sporting event the National County Sports Meet is set to kick off this Saturday, December 17, in the Port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

The annual sports festival is aimed at uniting the people of Liberia and is played among the 15 sub-division of the country.

Its objective is to scout talents for the various national teams of Liberia and such objectives are key to sports development and peace promotion.

This year’s edition has a new prime sponsor in ArcelorMittal who replaced a long-time sponsor Orange Liberia GSM.

On Monday, November 14, 2022, ArcelorMittal officially took over as the headline sponsor of the National County Sports Meet bicentennial edition after a U.S. $275,000 agreement was signed between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and ArcelorMittal.

At the unveiling ceremony Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, disclosed that the out of the US$275,000, US$25,000 will be divided between Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties, where ArcelorMittal Liberia operates.

He disclosed that Nimba County will receive US$10.000 while Bong and Grand Bassa Counties will get seven thousand five hundred respectively. He said the gesture is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to the three counties, while each of the remaining 13 counties will receive five thousand United States dollars each as sponsorship money for the month-long sporting festival.

On December 8, 2022 Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) presented a huge consignment of customized equipment and supplies to the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the upcoming National County Sports Meet.

The materials and equipment to be used for the annual sports festival cost US$ 10,000.00.

The items include four Big Sized Trophies (Football, Kickball, and Basketball), 20 Individual trophies and awards, 40 customized medals (150 gold, 150 silver, 150 bronze), and 3000 customized ribbons for accreditation for all participating counties.

The County Meet was first organized in 1956 to unify the country, and this year’s edition is in “Commemorating 200 Years as a nation.

On the opening day of the tournament, It will be a derby opener when the two Bassa-speaking counties, Grand Bassa and Rivercess go head to head for the first point of the tournament in both kickball and football.

Both counties shared a common border and the clash has always been electrifying because of the rivalry.

Rivercess has tasted championship of the county meet same as Bassa but the trophy has left their hands for years now and they will be hoping the kick start the tournament on a good footing.

Bassa who have on their technical staff a winner of the tournament as coach of Grand Kru County Daniel Sasley has promised to deliver the trophy to the people of Bassa while Rivercess has appointed former Lone Star captain Sam Johnson as their director of sports.

The Liberian International has been working with the county team for the past month and wants to put back smiles on the faces of his people like he did during his playing days in the county meet.

With the high expectation for the County Meet yearly one may reason that the huge attendance of the tournament is not because of its objectives, but the political nature and traditions attached to this sporting event.

Political involvement

During the National event, political leaders identify with their various counties including the President of Liberia.

The county’s expectations of support rely on the Government officials from the counties who in return will need their support for political seats.

Records have shown that some politicians have played key roles in their county’s success.

The County Sports Meet will continue to be the most watched and attractive tournament in Liberia because of its attachment to the people of Liberia

County loyalty’

People from the various counties tried to show respect and love for their county by displaying a symbol of the county he or she supports at the Stadium and in their communities. It is a tournament for Liberians that come from any of the 15 counties of Liberia. But some citizens have faced double loyalty when it comes to supporting a particular county due to inter-tribal marriage.

The traditional aspect

Liberia has its own culture similar to other African countries and that can be seen during the county meet.

The county sports meet is the most attractive tournament in Liberia due to the culture displayed by the 15 counties.

The competition is not only about the sports played on the field, but the traditional practice of teams and supporters during matches.

It is at this National sporting event you will hear fans sharing information about which county has the best tradition.

Fans would also be happy to tell people at the stadium which counties some top celebrities including musicians belong.

The educated and influential people are the voices of the counties in terms of winning protests, rallying supporters and key decision-making.

The county sports meet will continue to be a political and traditional tournament that involves all Liberians because it is the biggest sporting event in the Country where all athletes of different sporting disciplines including football, kickball, basketball, volleyball, athletics, etc, would love to showcase their talents because of the nature of the event.

The group fixtures:

Group A

Grand Bassa(Hosts)

Rivercess

Grand Cape Mount

Grand Gedeh

Group B

Bong (Hosts)

Margibi

Sinoe

Gbarpolu

Group C

Lofa(Host)

Nimba

River Gee

Bomi

Group D

Maryland (host)

Grand Kru

Montserrado

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