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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Liberia: Kouh Foundation Academy Wins Third Place In Turkey

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The youthful football club Kuoh Foundation Academy will return home from Turkey with smiles on the faces of Liberians and the team’s owner, Cassell Anthony Kuoh.

The youth team made history by securing third place in the international youth tournament in Turkey, defeating SABAH BAKU U-15 by 1-0 to be crowned the 3rd place winners of the 2024 Youth World Cup held in Antalya, Turkey.

Kuoh’s Foundation Academy faced a tough 6-0 defeat by Hertha Berlin U-15 in the semifinals on Saturday. However, this setback did not deter the kids from giving a strong performance in the third-place match, securing a hard-fought victory over the Sabah Baku U-15 team.

A 25-man delegation from the Kuoh Foundation Academy departed Monrovia on Tuesday, May 14, to participate in the 2024 Academy World Cup in Turkey, a trip valued at US$100K. In their first-ever international tournament, Kuoh Foundation Academy (KFA) defeated Target Academy 2-0, with goals scored by Adolphus Blayee and Reason Gbalezeh. They followed this up with a convincing 6-1 victory over Van 1974 F.A., with Frank Mulbah scoring a brace and Reason Gbalezeh, Darlington Hardy, Ahmah Dukuly, and Joe Kanneh each adding one goal.

Coach Matthew Julutweh’s side collected six points from three games in Group A. They lost to Star Football Academy from Sierra Leone 10-0, but the Sierra Leonean team was expelled from the tournament for age cheating. In the quarterfinals, Kuoh Foundation Academy secured a 2-1 victory over the defending champions Fatih Karagumruk Spor Kulubu, earning them a spot in the semifinals. Goals by Adolphus Blayee and Reason Gbalezeh were enough to secure a semifinal spot in the 2024 Antalya Junior World Cup.

Despite losing to Hertha Berlin U-15 in the semifinal, the Foundation, a brainchild of former LFA Vice President of Operations Mr. Cassell Kuoh Sr., remains committed to developing the next generation of young talents through a structured pathway for the greater good. Under the stewardship of Coach Julutweh, the team is fast becoming disciplined with a greater focus on developing the best talents in the country.

As CEO of the Kuoh Foundation Academy, Mr. Kuoh re-emphasized the need to build an institution that will independently operate in different leagues and integrate some of the best talents into FC-Kallon Liberia, which is expected to be renamed FC Fassell-Liberia beginning with the 2024-25 1st League Division League. According to reports from Turkey, over three players from the Liberian side have been scouted by top clubs in Turkey and other parts of the world.

Social media has been inundated with praises for Kuoh, who aims to become LFA president in April 2026. “Football is serious business and we are hoping to cash in on it. We also want to start a serious investment in youth football by exposing children to many underage tournaments in the world.

This is also a manifestation of how we will develop football when we become LFA president because youth and grassroots football is the way to go. It is more than 10 years since Liberian players, including George Weah, James Salinsa Debbah, Joe Nagbe, and Kelvin Sebwe, played in the big leagues in Europe. We want to produce the next Weahs, Debbahs, and Sebwes,” explained Kuoh.

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) provided technical support to ensure the trip materialized.

“This is a glorious opportunity for players because we don’t have these kinds of opportunities in our country. It is my prayer that the players will give a good account of themselves to attract scouts and create future opportunities for Liberian players to follow. I want to thank Kuoh for the initiative,” said acting LFA President Sekou Konneh (Prof.).

The Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) has also welcomed Kuoh’s initiative with the hopes that it will bear fruit sooner rather than later. “I certainly welcome these kinds of initiatives as they will help to broaden the knowledge of our youthful talents and showcase them to advanced football communities.

Liberia has a talent factory, and only through these kinds of initiatives will the world know that there are more George Weahs in this country than it can imagine. Football is a big business around the world, but it depends on how we position ourselves to get returns.

So, the more we export our youthful talents through these kinds of programs, the more we will attract investors who will help to invest in our talent factory,” said SWAL President Varmah Kamara.


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