Liberia: A Slap in the Face of Liberian Veterans - Pres. Boakai Appoints Senegalese Kebe

Monrovia — As many Liberians struggle to find jobs in the country, President Joseph N. Boakai has appointed Senegalese Alioune Kebe as Ambassador-At-Large for Youth and Sports Development.

Kebe was appointed by the Liberian leader in early April as a diplomat of the government to assist in the sporting and youth sectors of the country.

His letter of appointment, which is in the possession of the FrontPageAfrica Newspaper, indicates the president's confidence in Kebe to serve. Although the appointment has not been published on the Executive Mansion's official Facebook page, Presidential Press Secretary Kula B. Fofana confirmed that the letter is authentic.

The letter, dated April 10, 2024, states, "Dear Mr. Kebe, I am pleased to appoint you Ambassador-At-Large for Youth and Sports Development. This appointment is based on your dedication and commitment to the development of sports in Liberia and your invaluable contribution to the training of our youth. We trust that you will continue to demonstrate utmost integrity, dedication, and commitment in the discharge of your duty. Please accept my congratulations," the letter, signed by the Head of State Joseph N. Boakai, added.

An ambassador-at-large is a diplomat, a secretary, or a minister of the highest rank who is accredited to represent a country and its people internationally. Unlike an ambassador-in-residence, who is usually limited to a country or embassy, the ambassador-at-large is entrusted to operate in several usually neighboring countries, a region, or sometimes holds a seat in an international organization. In some cases, an ambassador-at-large may even be specifically assigned a role to advise and assist the state or a government in particular issues.

The news of Kebe's appointment has been greeted with mixed feelings among sports lovers in Liberia and former players of the national football team. Many have wondered why the Chief Patron of Sports would choose a foreigner over all Liberian sports enthusiasts, stakeholders, and former players. The decision of the president seems to have sent a message that he doesn't trust the veterans of the country who have contributed to the development of sports in Liberia.

Liberian football stakeholder Milton Yoko took to his Facebook page, expressing disappointment. "What help does this appointment bring to Liberian football, Mr. President? I am really disappointed. We played two National team games and we still owe the Hotel in Morocco. Besides, we still owe the company that provided the plane tickets. Our National team needs to go to Camp now to prepare for the upcoming matches, but there is no money. The female U-17 and U-20 need to travel for the other international matches, but the government cannot afford plane tickets. But the president is appointing a foreigner to serve as sports Ambassador, who will get paid from our money and travel with an official passport. Is it that no Liberian can serve in this position? I supported this government with my everything, but I have finally given up on everything. We will not leave this one," he said in a Facebook post.

Investigations by FrontPageAfrica have shown that Kebe has not been involved with football or sports in Liberia for long, contrary to assertions in his appointment letter that he has been dedicated and committed to developing sports in Liberia and youth through his training program.

Currently, Kebe has a share in former Liberian goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman's goalkeeper academy. The Academy was previously named Sham Hands Professional Goalkeeping Academy, but after negotiations, the academy's name was changed to Kebe Goalkeeper Academy.

Our sports desk has been informed that Kebe doesn't own the Kebe Goalkeeper Academy as has been circulating in the media; rather, it is owned by Nathaniel Sherman, who is finalizing documentation for Kebe to have a share in the academy.

Also, he has been looking for a club to buy in the top flight of Liberian football and was turned down by Freeport FC when he tried to buy it. It is also believed that President Boakai doesn't really have an idea of the appointment, or knows Kebe; a close official in his office is the one pushing Kebe for the position.

Alioune Kébé (born 24 November 1984) is a former Senegalese football striker. He is also the owner of Senegalese club Mayacine Foot Centre.

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