Liberia’s U-15 team (consisting of students from Nation One) has returned to Liberia after winning the “Orange Sponsors Change” international tournament, held in Casablanca, Morocco, between July 1 and July 4. The team defeated Mali 5-4 in penalties after a goalless draw during the grand finale on July 2. They had previously beaten Burkina Faso 2-0 in the semi-final; Ivory Coast 2-0; Central African Republic 2-0; lost to Senegal 1-0 and the host team Morocco 10-0 in the group stage. Other participating countries included Cameroon, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso.
Angel Nyeka, Digital Marketing Associate for Orange Liberia, who traveled with the squad and their coach to Casablanca, explained that the members of the team had demonstrated unparalleled passion, unity, professionalism and discipline. “The level of discipline these young men demonstrated on this trip was unmatched,” said Nyeka. “Their passion and determination to succeed and bring back the trophy was apparent every step of the way.” She explained that the team had won their first two matches but lost their third. At that point, the only way they could claim the championship title was if they could defeat the home team by five goals to zero. The Liberian team went beyond this target and won the match ten goals to zero against their Moroccan counterparts.
In addition to participating in the tournament, the team also experienced various attractions in Morocco and participated in an environmental challenge. “The tournament also had an environmental component where teams visited a local beach and competed amongst each other to see who could collect the most debris,” said Nyeka, who stated that the Liberian U-15 team took second place in the environmental challenge.
Prior to departing Liberia for the trip, Orange Liberia presented each member of the team a brand-new techno spark phone, loaded with data packages. Upon their victorious return, the team received a cash purse of one thousand United States dollars (US$1,000), internet access for their campus, and each team member received a $100 scratch card.
Speaking on behalf of the U-15 Champions, the Executive Director of Nation One, Melton Yoko, and team coach, Dave Fofana, expressed thanks and appreciation to Orange Liberia for the generous gesture of funding all expenses to get the team to Morocco, including airfare, meals, ground transportation and accommodation. Team members also expressed thanks to Orange for what they termed as “an unforgettable and life-changing experience”.
Fully sponsored by Orange, the Orange Sponsors Change tournament brings together national teams from countries where the company has its operations. The Liberian team had been previously scheduled to depart Liberia in 2021 after winning the national edition of the Orange Sponsors Change tournament, but due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions, the international edition of the championship was rescheduled for 2022.