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08 Jan 2016
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Monrovia - Lofa are through to the semi-finals of the 2015/2016 national county sports meet. They beat Gbarpolu 1-0 in extra time in a tense match at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) after the 90 minutes failed to separate the two sides on Thursday.


Both teams looked evenly-balanced until Blama Ballah side headed home a left corner cross to give Lofa a precious lead in the 101st minute.

That goal sent the ATS into rapture as well as Vice President Joseph Boakai, who left after his brief celebration.

VP Boakai led an array of prominent Lofaeans, including Defense Minister Brownie Sumakai, Liberian Business Association (Liba) president Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. and the legislative caucus.

Ballah could have scored a brace when he was put clean thru on goal but blasted over the cross bar.

Both teams went into the match with mixed feelings and emotions.

Lofa may have given birth to Gbarpolu in 2001 but their most recent historical footballing meetings have favored their children rather than the parents.

Gbarpolu won its first national county sports meet in 2004 by beating Lofa 2-1 at the ATS on April 6.

Although that has been their only gold medal in the tournament, Gbarpolu did beat Lofa 2-0 in the 2008/2009 quarter-finals at the ATS.

So, it appeared that the odds were against Lofa, who topped their group in Zwedru at the same venue it has been defeated on two occasions.

Gbarpolu was equally represented by Superintendent Armah Sarnor, steering committee chairman Warsuwah Barvoul, Sr., who is the director-general of the Liberia National Fire Service and other prominent citizens.

But history could not repeat itself for Gbarpolu over 90 minutes, sending the match into extra time for the second time after the Grand Bassa versus Nimba match failed to produce a winner after 90 minutes and extra time.

So in three meetings, Lofa have won one and lost two matches but Gbarpolu coach Stephen Momboe announced a protest.

“I am okay; I am good. I am not disappointed. For the performance of my team, I am okay [because] sometimes it doesn’t go your way. For me, I have just failed in a protest. The protest says the guy is a foreign national. He comes from Sierra Leone,” said Momboe, who failed to disclose the name of the ineligible player.
But Lofa Coach William Passawee downplayed allegations of cheating.

“They are frustrated right now. So what do you expect them to do? They will give a lot of protests. We have no players from Sierra Leone; all of our players are from Liberia. They are all Liberian citizens from Lofa [County],” said Passawee.

Having finally beaten their fiercest rival in a northern derby, Passawee said he fears no opponents.

“All the counties that gave Lofa County tough times before in the county league, I am here to disgrace all of them. We started from Grand Gedeh. They had a very good record against Lofa and we went to their home and broke that record.

“So as soon as you get good record against Lofa [and] when we bracket with you, that game will be an extra game for us. Remember, we thrashed Grand Gedeh in the group stage. So when we meet them again, they should be in worry,” Passawee added.

Earlier, Montserrado beat Grand Kru three to two home runs in kickball.

The county meet can be political or sportive depending on who you are and your look of things.

It brings all citizens together for a period of at least one month and prominent citizens, some of whom don’t care for a national football or basketball game, do find time out of their busy schedules to work for and support their counties.

“Gbarpolu is our offspring and we are very very happy four our sons and daughters. And you can see the citizens of Lofa are very very happy all around the stadium. Now we can say that this is our time to go to the semi-finals because we have performed.

“And with the performance, we are of the strongest conviction that with the support of the team we will be able to move from the semi-finals. No one has a particular time in this country for anything whether football or whatever activity. It has to be based on performance,” said Kemayah, who gave L$105,600 (US$1,200) to Lofa on Wednesday.

The last quarter-final matches take place on Saturday at the ATS with Grand Gedeh taking on Montserrado County in football.

Last modified on Friday, 08 January 2016 14:10
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