“IT is difficult for my team to win the title as while a few of my main rivals are bolstering their squads, they are, at the same time, doing their best to deplete my team.” This is the perspective of a frustrated Corey Bennett, head track and field coach at Hydel High School, as he slammed rivals St Jago for consistently poaching his top talent. “We lost a quality girl, last year in Shaneil English, who went to St Jago, and at the start of this season, a similar situation occurred as Alysha Kelly, who missed Champs last year after transferring from Guy’s Hill, was ready to compete for us at the Championships, but like English, she was lured away to St Jago High,” said a very disappointed coach Bennett. “It is sad when one invests in these athletes and selfish people try to break what you try to build,” added Bennett, who stated that it would always be hard for his team to really challenge for the title if they consistently lost their athletes to other schools. Pressure mounting Despite losing English last year, Hydel, who, in fairness, also recruit heavily, was still able to overcome that hurdle and finished second behind Edwin Allen, and ironically, in front of St Jago. However, this time, Bennett believes things will be even more difficult for his team. “We have a good all-round team, but with those losses and twin sisters Shadae, an outstanding thrower, and Shardia Lawrence a very excellent triple jumper migrating to college overseas, we will have to dig deep to remain among the top three,” continued Bennett, who also stated that he would be taking a different approach this year. “We used to compete at every development meet in the past, and because of this, they were very exposed, and when they are beaten by other athletes, they are kind of unmotivated going into “Champs”. Now we are going to be a bit quieter by going to fewer meets and especially low-keyed ones – and then make a big push for Champs,” he said. Meanwhile, Bennett is tipping Edwin Allen to successfully defend its title. “Based on what I have seen so far, Edwin Allen looks a safe bet to win again as I don’t think they have lost much of the 100 points they won by, while teams like Vere Technical and Holmwood Technical have looked really good so far,” assessed Bennett. Hydel is undoubtedly the most improved team in the country in schoolgirl track and field. After entering the Inter Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships in 2011, where they finished 11th among the girls, Hydel has enjoyed tremendous movement up the table. They secured their first top-10 finish the following year and have remained in the top five, with their best finish being last year’s second-place finish.
Many countless prophets in this country will have to send a message to sports administrators that success in football encounters does not depend on the application of luck.They also must be encouraged to bring a further message that quality in life and all things is not by accident but by planning and adequate preparation.It is a truism in life that those who win are those who prepare to win. The above observation is important because there seems to be an element of apathy when it comes to national team’s preparation.The national soccer team, Lone Star, is scheduled to play against their Lesotho counterparts on May 18, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.It was only yesterday that the team started their preparation. But perhaps, football authorities are counting on Liberian professionals abroad but starting training in such a short time for such a prestigious encounter is nothing more than preparation to fail.A source has hinted me that some officials of the LFA believe that ten days are enough to prepare a team for any assignment. However, I am yet to see if any of our coaches can support that ‘opinion.’Football authorities have known since last October that Liberia would play Lesotho to qualify to join Group C for the preliminary rounds of the Afcon 2015 and yet nothing was done.Now playing the first leg at home, a good win is the only way to ensure a successful second-leg match in Maseru, Lesotho.Liberia has not had encounters with Lesotho so both countries may be playing in a blind. A brief history of Lesotho football does not reveal much for Liberia to worry about.The Lesotho national football team, nicknamed The Crocodiles, got a first taste in international action in a 2-1 win over Malawi in August 1970. They celebrated their biggest ever win (5-0) over Swaziland in 2006 and suffered their biggest loss 0-7 to Zaire and Ghana in 1993 and 2012 respectively.A small country in Southern Africa, Lesotho has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup and neither qualified for the African Cup of Nations. The team made their biggest breakthrough in football when they finished as runners-up in the COSAFA Cup in 2000.A quick comparison indicates Liberia is ahead of Lesotho but that is no way to remain apathetic in preparing to meet them, since surprises in football makes it necessary to prepare well and ahead of time.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)