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Cellcom Leads, Others Follow

-As Lone Star GSM Gives US$2m to Support Lone Star, Teams

Leroy M. Sonpon, III

Days after CELLCOM GSM Company, provided a check of US$500,000 to the Liberia Football Association (LFA) to enhance the development of its various leagues for a period of three years as of 2010, another GSM company has followed with similar giant support for football development in the country.

Lone Star GSM Company on Saturday, September 18, 2010, signed “Declaration of Intent” with LFA to financially sponsor Liberia’s senior national team, Lone Star and other national football teams.

From October, 2010 to December 2012, Lone Star GSM Company would provide US$2,050,000 to Liberia’s national teams.

The agreement would make the senior Lone Star team, who is participating in the elimination round of the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, to be financially supported exclusively by a private entity and not the Government of Liberia.

Cellcom gave a check of US$500,000 to the LFA for the supports of all the football leagues in the country for three years, in fulfillment of its social responsibilities to the people of Liberia.

Football pundits believed that since the establishment of Lone Star GSM Company in 1998, its declared intention to sponsor the Lone Star with over US$2M is its first major contribution.

“We are happy that Cellcom has set the pace and Lone Star and others are following,” an official of LFA, who preferred anonymity, said over the weekend in Monrovia minutes after the signing ceremony.

Pundits praised both Cellcom and Lone Star for the latest ‘strong support’ for sports development in the country.

The “Declaration of Intent” was signed by the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Lone Star Communications Cell (LCC), Francois Joubert and the president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Musa Bility.

LCC, per the agreement, would provide exclusive sponsorship to all the National Football Teams of Liberia.

“That it has been mutually agreed and understood by the parties that the ‘Party of the First Part’ (Lone Star Communications Cell) wishes to provide financial sponsorship to be an exclusive sponsor to the National Football Teams of Liberia up to and including 31 December 2012 to the tune of United States Dollars Two Million Fifty Thousand, (US$2,050,000.00) subject to terms and conditions to be concluded pursuant to the agreement mentioned…” the document stated.

The “Declaration of Intent,” which was witnessed by former Information Minister, Dr. Lawrence K. Bropleh, and the LFA Secretary General, Idrissa Kaba, indicated that the sponsorship is binding upon any successors in business.

“That the parties agreed that they shall hereafter endeavor to execute an appropriate exclusive sponsorship agreement expressing the intent of the parties and that said agreement shall be binding upon their successors in business and assigns as they personally executed this subject agreement,” the document indicated.

Lone Star Cell contribution of US$2M to Coach Bertalan Bicskei’s senior Lone Star team has summed the financial support to about US$2,370,000, surpassing Dew Mason’s Lone Star Mobilization Campaign Committee’s US$2m budget.

During the launching of the US$2m budget, Dew Mason’s committee committed itself to pay US$200,000, while BHP Billiton pledged and subsequently pay US$70,000; Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Managing Director T. Nelson Williams, II and others committed themselves in the total of US$60,000.

With the huge financial supports from business institutions as well as individuals, football pundits are hoping for the better in the remaining five games, for Liberia’s third appearance in the 2012 Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) tournament to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Lone Star secured a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in the opening of the 2012 African Cup of Nations, on September 5, 2010, and will play her second game away on Sunday, October 10, 2010 against the Malians in Bamako, Mali. She will lock horns with Cape Verde on Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Praia, Cape Verde.

On Sunday or Monday, June 5 or 6, 2011, Liberia will host Cape Verde and meet Zimbabwe on Sunday, September 4, 2011 in Harare, Zimbabwe. She will then play her final match at home against Mali on Saturday or Sunday October 8 or 9, 2011.

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