Liberia’s biggest sporting event, the National County Sports Meet, kicked off on Sunday, Dec. 16 across four venues, with several underdogs unseating favorites of the tournament. Unlike the 2017-18 edition which kicked off late due to issues surrounding the 2017 national elections, the 2018-19 edition began in the usual December and is expected to end on Sunday, January 19 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
During the kickoff game, Sinoe pulled out the first shocking result in Group I to hold host Nimba at bay. Over the past decade, Sinoe has struggled to reach the semifinal stage and Nimba had been expected to use the home-field advantage to grab their first three points.
However, Nimba drew 2-2 with Sinoe, which will now battle Montserrado in their second game on Wednesday, December 19. Nimba will be hoping to return to victory against a Gbarpolu that also pulled out the opening day’s biggest surprise.
Gbarpolu went against all the odds to defeat the football defending champions, Montserrado. Montserrado failed to win a point in their first game for the first time in two years as they bowed to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Gbarpolu. The football champions will need to win against Sinoe on December 19 if they are to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals.
While Nimba and Montserrado football teams failed to win on the opening day, their kickball teams brought smiles to their fans as they clinched victories on the opening day of the tournament. Nimba’s kickball nearly bowed to defeat after going down 3-0 following three innings. However, they bounced back strong and grab a narrow 4-3 win.
Like Nimba, Montserrado escaped defeat with a 6-3 win over Sinoe. The two counties had played to 3-3 at the end of the default five innings before recording two home runs in the extra innings.
In Group II, host Grand Gedeh managed a win and a draw in the kickball and football categories, respectively. The kickball match ended with a heavy defeat for Maryland, which saw Grand Gedeh topping the game 4-1 to start the tournament with a win. Unlike the kickball team, Grand Gedeh’s football team failed to win at home as they were held to a goalless draw by Maryland.
The shocking results on the opening day of the tournament extended to Margibi, where Group III games were being played. The host county’s kickball and football team got off to a flying start with two wins. A lightening encounter between the Margibi and Lofa kickball teams ended with a narrow 1-0 win for Margibi. Touse Myers made the only run at home to help Margibi overcome Lofa.
The second kickball match on the opening day in Group III brought one of the day’s more puzzling results with title favorites, Grand Cape Mount, failing to beat South Eastern side, Grand Kru. Grand Kru grabbed a surprise 2-1 win over a Grand Cape Mount that will need to win their next game against Lofa.
Like their kickball team, Margibi’s football team grabbed their first three points, as their hopes of qualification remain tight. Margibi narrowly beat Lofa 1-0 to get the first three points of the group. After a goalless draw in the first half, Abraham Kamara scored the match’s only goal in the 57th minute with a shot from inside the penalty area after a pass from Isaac Dayweh.
Grand Kru’s girls may have failed to win but their boys brought smiles back on the faces of their fans with a win over one of the tournament’s favorites, Grand Cape Mount. Lionel Ciapha won the three points for Grand Kru in the stoppage time of the match. The two teams played to a goalless draw for the regular 90 minutes before Ciapha got the match winner in the second minute of the additional three minutes.
From a counter-attack, Ciapha struck from outside the penalty area to beat Sambo Barry, who was in goal for Grand Cape Mount. Cape Mount can rescue themselves from Group III with a win against Lofa on December 19. With Lofa losing their opening match to Margibi, the match is expected to be an interesting one with the two teams going in search of their first points of the tournament.
Group IV host Bomi was unable to win any of their opening games as they bowed to Bong in both the football and kickball categories. Bomi’s girls narrowly lost 5-4 to Bong before their boys’ 2-1 defeat in the football category.
Like Bong, River Gee won all of their opening games against River Cess. They grabbed an easy 4-1 win in the kickball category and ended their day with a 3-1 win. Having won their first games, Bong or River Gee might grab their place in the quarterfinals when the two teams meet on Wednesday, December 19.
A win for either side will seal a place in the quarterfinals while host Bomi will be aiming for their first points against a River Cess team that was also defeated on the opening day.
source: Bush chicken