The President of the Former Lone Star Players Association, FLSPA, Washington Blay, says unless former players are prepared to chart their own course, there is a high chance that no one will do it for them.
In a meeting with several players at the J.J. Ross High School last Saturday, Mr. Blay said former players should take interest in their own welfare by recognizing their own needs and how to build a legacy for those who are playing for the national team today.
He said: “We need a legacy and so all of us should ask ourselves what we are doing to ensure that our children who are playing for the national team today can look up to.”
“Many years ago,” he said. “If we had thought of the fact that we would retire and were able to do what we are doing now, things would have been better.”
He said now that they have seen the need, all former players should come together to make the association stronger.
He urged members at the meeting including, Boniface Manning, Thomas Kojo, Robert Clarke, David Momo, Jr, Francis Tarbe, Charles Kpan, Hazel Gray, Thomas Neewalay, John T. Brownell and Thomas Watson to remain committed to the association.
Partial view of former Lone Star Players
President Blay, known as soccer’s ‘defense minister,’ appealed to members for their commitment to ensure success. “We must face up to the reality that in the end we have ourselves to help ourselves.”
He added that young players in the regular leagues of the football association deserve mentoring, and it is up to the former players to ensure that they are protected.
Also speaking was a spokesman of PRO-USA-LIBERIA, an organization based in the USA and in Liberia, Omari Jackson. He said though PRO-USA-LIBERIA’s objective is to empower the youth, through sports, it is also interested in the welfare of players who sacrificed their youths for Liberia.
Mr. Jackson, who is also the coordinator of the LFA Advisory Committee, headed by Information Minister Lewis Brown, said PRO-USA-LIBERIA has received reports of the unfortunate physical conditions of former Lone Star players that he described as deplorable.
“The sorrowful conditions of former Lone Stars are unacceptable,” he said. “This is the time to make a change and I can promise you of PRO-USA-LIBERIA will be with you.”
He challenged the former Lone Star players to recommit themselves to their wellbeing, and become role models for the young ones who are playing in the leagues and with the Lone Star.
On the issue of former players who are in distress, he said Sayon Davis, Joker Wreacher and William Wleh must be used as a test case for the association.
He promised PRO-USA-LIBERIA’s commitment to ensuring that they realize their objective.
He called on well-meaning Liberians, as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Liberia Football Association to make use of the experiences of former players of the national team.
Meanwhile, President Blay appointed John T. Brownell as vice president for administration. Mr. Brownell promised to donate three bags of rice to the three ailing former players: Experience Sayon Davis, Joker Wreacher and Munah Wleh.
Members at the meeting made contributions, including dues, annual membership and collection of LD100 each to support their ailing colleagues.