MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Antoinette Tubman Stadium will be the center of attraction this December when a youth tournament is expected to bring youth clubs within the country to compete against each other.
The tournament, which is being organized by a Liberian youth coach based in Canada, Ansumana Keita, will bring together 12 youth teams from across the country.
The Alphonso Armah International Youth Tournament, according to Keita, was named in honor of the former secretary general of the Liberia Football Association, Alphonso Armah, who died in November 2015.
Keita, who serves as the technical director of Canadian youth team Federation Sportive de Salaberry Soccer, told The Bush Chicken that the tournament was organized to honor the former secretary general and to help with youth football development.
“Our game is far below standard, and if we are to develop it, we must begin from grassroots football, where kids will be taught the basics of the game,” Keita said.
The tournament will be an opportunity for talented kids under the age of 15 to kickstart their football career. A press release from the organizers said the best players of the tournament would be selected for a European tour in 2018. Scouts from Europe, Africa, and North America have been invited to watch the tournament.
“We have invited English Premier League club West Ham United’s head coach Dave Hunt, who will watch the games live via Intel Online TV; scouts from French League One clubs Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier; and the head coach of Ghanaian premier league club Elmina Sharks Football Club, Joachim Yaw Acheampong,” the release stated.
“Scholarships would be offered to the most valuable player, the best defender, best midfielder, best goalkeeper and other individual awards.”
The 12 teams participating in the tournament will be divided into three groups. Each group will contain four teams. The winner from each group will advance to the semifinal stage while the best second place finisher from the three groups will join the three top teams to make it four in the semifinals.
Group A will bring together the youth side of China-based Liberian international, Sam Johnson, the Sam Johnson Academy; a youth team from the city of Paynesville, Paynesville Young Stars; Monrovia Football Academy; and Monsterrado-based, Bassa Community FC.
Group B will feature Margibi-based, Zodiac Stars, Cape Mount Young Stars, Cece United of Third Street in Sinkor, and Discoveries FC of Monsterrado.
The final group, Group C, will host a youth team from Bong, Kasumu Sillah Academy; CT United of New Kru Town; Ambassador FC; and the National Youth Sports Academy of Liberia.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley Jr.