Williams, the Johns, Nagbe and the list of Liberian players switching nationality
By Boy Dolo
Oh yes!! What a National Team it could have been that includes the likes of Darlington Nagbe, Ola John Collins John, Joel Johnson, Inaki Williams, as well as Hanson Boakai and the emerging Timothy Weah?
Liberia has got a great deal of youthful players in Europe, and other parts of the World, but the Country has got no mechanics and the will power to lure these talented kids into the National Team, as such they are turning their backs on the motherland looking for parentalship in their birth or adopted countries.
First it was Collins John, John notably played in the Premier League for Fulham where he notched up 20 goals in 92 appearances in a five-year stay at Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham.
In a career that lasted from 2004-2009 in English Football, Liberia failed to identify with the lad, who later on switched his nationality to Dutch earning just two caps for the Holland National Team.
John however went on to play for Leicester City, Watford, and Barnet, in the Eredivisie for FC Twente and NEC Nijmegen, in Belgium for K.S.V. Roeselare, the United States for Chicago Fire, Azerbaijan for Gabala FC and in Iran for Mes Sarcheshmeh F.C.
In 2010 Collins’ younger brother Ola emerged as a rising star in the Dutch topflight League with FC Twente and later on signed for Portuguese giant Benfica.
The lad is currently on loan at English Club Reading, and yet again Liberia did not make any inquiry in enticing such a great talent to play for his mother land. Like his brother he has got just one international cap for the Netherland.
In On November 6, 2015, the Son of former Liberia international Joe Nagbe, Darlington Nagbe was named to the United States National Team roster.
The lad might had waited ever too long to be approached by his birth Country, but failed intervention by the Liberian FA, gave the US a chance to encourage the player to switch his nationality .This happened to the disbelieve of thousands of soccer enthusiasts in Liberia, who thought, Darlington father and the FA could have encouraged him to play for Liberia, but to no avail.
After a high-flying performance with Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers, the midfielder drew the attention of the US, while his motherland who is desperate for professionals sat there seeing the midfield- icon crossing over.
Hurting among the names is the now flying Spanish Liga star Inaki Williams. Soccer fans in Liberia were biting their fingers on Wednesday night when the 21-year old showed what he is made up in the Copa del Rey quarter-final second-leg where his Club Athletic Bilbao lost 3-1 to Barcelona and interestingly Williams scored the only goal for Bilbao.
Among the list of players above, Williams is the only player to have openly expressed his desire to play for Liberia. "I want to travel to Liberia to be with them and let them feel proud for all the support they have shown me," Williams reportedly said in an interview with Ghanasoccernet.com last year.
Regrettably, not a single Liberian could listen to such a magnificent expression by a world-class player. Up to now Liberia is yet to even set a meeting with the player and desperate Ghana are knocking on the player’s door day in day out.
Inaki has a Liberian mother and a Ghanaian father, but is now Spanish National, but still has the time to play for any of the three countries, but from the news coming out, it is Ghana who is now in the driver’s seat to get the player as Spain may not be interested in him due to the huge number of talents.
Ghana FA earlier this weekend announced that they are in thorough negotiation with Williams and he could change his nationality in the coming month.
The brightest of George Weah’s sons as far as soccer is concern has also turned his back on Liberia at age 15. Timothy Weah joined his father’s former Club Paris Saint-Germain recently and has told reporters that America is his dream country, not even mentioning Liberia.
Another youthful kid that Liberia has lost out on is Hanson Tamba Boakai, now a Canadian. News of the player shinning in his career started filtering long since, but Liberia again showed no interest and the lad has gone on to become a player of Canada.
Former Real Madrid right-back Joel Johnson joins the list. Though having gotten a call from Spain, which is not likely, Joel, born in Torrent, Valencia to a Liberian father and a Spanish mother may follow in the footstep of the rest.
In 2013 Liberia failed to tempt Alex Nimely, a player grown up right in her back yard to play for the Country.
The former Mighty Barrolle player was adopted by an English man and went on to play for the English U-20 Team, which means he could still played for Liberia, but the LFA had argued that the player has not expressed any desire, while the player on the other hand claimed that no contact was made.
With all this there is still hope for Liberia getting the likes of Williams, Johnson, Timothy and the rest. All the FA has to do is follow the footsteps of Mali who have been knocking at the door of Leicester City’s midfielder Kante despite the player not showing interest. Ghana is who despite of the huge collection of players is still hoping for more. Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, the United States who just took your son Darlington Nagbe and the list goes on and on..