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In County Meet Draw, Grand Bassa in “Group of Death”

Kolubah Zayzay/Benjamin S. Taingay
Grand Bassa County vs  Bomi County during last County Meet
Grand Bassa County vs Bomi County during last County Meet

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-Liberia’s fifteen county teams have been drawn in various groupings in the 2016/2017 National County Sports Meet qualifying rounds.

Defending National County Meet’s Football Champions, Grand Bassa County, was drawn in what pundits describe as the “Group of Death.”

Grand Bassa County was placed in group “D” against former Champions, Bomi County, as well as Gbarpolu County and host, Grand Cape Mount County, who are the 2013 winners of the tournament.

The draw took place over the weekend and also paired two former Champions, Bong and Margibi Counties against Lofa County in Group “A.”

Nimba County, the last edition’s quarter final losers, will play former Champions, Rivercess County, as well as Sinoe and Montserrado Counties in Group “B.”

Group “C” constitutes the 1989 Champions, Grand Gedeh County, River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland Counties.

Grand Cape Mount County failed to progress to the quarter final last season, but look set to be contenders for the title this season, according to reports coming in.

Bomi County, having failed to past the group stage in the last two editions, appear to be the underdog in the group, as the county has not shown any intend since their last quarter final appearance in the 2010/2011 edition.

Gbarpolu County, a defeated quarterfinalist last season, seem to have serious ambition to winning the title this time around as the County have since begun scouting players for their kickball and football teams.

Though some pundits think the three Western Liberian Counties could post hindrance to Grand Bassa County’s progress, but the county authorities see the group as an easy zone to cruise through.

Grand Bassa County’s dominance of the National County Sports Meet during the last term gave the county officials lot of motivation to battle for a third straight title in the up-coming sporting fiesta.

They have maintained their setup since winning the football and basketball first place cups as well as the third place cup in Kickball.

They will definitely be the team to beat, though they will be playing among the Western Counties.

Group “A” matches will take place in Voinjama, Lofa County between hosts, Lofa County, as well as Bong and Margibi Counties.

Last season’s third place winners, Lofa County, are the only ones in this group yet to taste the County Meet’s Championship in both Football and Kickball.

With no football and kickball activities in Lofa County for the past two years, the County could find it tough to qualify in their own backyard against Bong and Margibi Counties; two counties with good sporting activities.

Margibi County can boast of the best youthful football league in Liberia at the moment, owing to the fact that the County have dominated the National Third Division Playoffs.

In the past 24 months, Margibi has produced three second division teams and the teams have since started recruiting players for their teams.

Bong County were beaten in the semi-final last season by eventual winners, Grand Bassa County, but have never failed to reach the second round in all competitions since the new millennium.

Bong and Margibi Counties are tipped as favorites to progress from that group.

In Group “B,” Bookmakers tipped host, Nimba County, and last year’s defeated finalist, Montserrado County, to progress ahead of Sinoe and Rivercess counties.

Nimba County is another side that have not missed out on the quarter final since the new millennium and the county have taken serious delight in winning the title this year to end five year-wait for the title.

Since showing dominance in the competition in the 1960s, Montserrado County have struggled in winning the title, but came closer to winning it in 2013 and 2016.

Backed by huge finance, Montserrado County want to end such poor run and show supremacy as “first” and most populated county by winning the title this season.

Montserrado County has the power to attract some of the best cream of players as been the case in past years, especially prior to the Liberian civil war.

For their part, Sinoe and Rivercess Counties have not shown any good organizational structure and serious preparations for the competition in recent years.

It would be a surprise to many, if either or both of the two should progress to the second round of the competition.

Group “C” is open to any of the four participants to qualify, with host, Maryland County, and Grand Gedeh County seen as favorites, but River Gee County could, however, post serious threat to them.

Grand Kru County have not been making much impact in the competition in recent time and not much progress is being heard of their camp regarding the team’s preparation for the tournament.

Group winners and their respective runners-up will advance to the last eight of the competition to take place in Monrovia at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS).

According to the Youth and Sports Ministry, the tournament will formally kickoff on December 3, 2016 in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, where the official opening ceremony will take place.

2016/2017 National County Sports Meet full grouping

GROUP A
Lofa County
Bong County
Margibi County


GROUP B
Nimba County
Rivercess County
Sinoe County
Montserrado County

GROUP C
Maryland County
Grand Gedeh County
River Gee County
Grand Kru County
GROUP D
Grand Cape Mount County
Grand Bassa
Bomi County
Gbarpolu County
 

 


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