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Liberian head coach apologises for assaulting radio journalist on-air

By Paul Nicholson

September 22 – Liberian head coach James Debbah (pictured right with Must Bility) has apologised to journalist and broadcaster Danesius Marteh on the Liberian FA’s (LFA) Facebook site after Debbah assaulted Marteh during a radio show.

At a hearing on September 4, Debbah admitted to having assaulted Marteh in the studio of Fabric 101.1FM in Monrovia during his Weekend Sports show on August 26, 2017.

Debbah had requested his appearance on the show to talk about his seven-month salary arrears owed by the LFA. Talk also turned to Debbah’s stewardship of the national team and preparation for the WAFU Nations Cup currently being held in Ghana.

Issues became more heated when Marteh reminded Debbah of his criticism of LFA president Musa Bility prior to his appointment in November 2014.

Initially denying he made any comments about Bility, Marteh read from the Facebook psoting out in which Debbah had written: “Contrary to the FIFA Statute that permit any sports loving person to contest the presidency of any football entity under its umbrella, today members of the LFA voted unanimously to allow only LFA Executive Committee eligibility to contest the Presidency of the FA in its forth coming election in March 2014…what a mockery!!!

“I am not surprised. Mr. Bility saw me as an eminent threat. That is why he has been scheming every possibility to disqualify me and perhaps other technocrats that are well versed in this capacity. Musa Bility is a neophyte to football development. He is devoid of the technical ability to manage football.”

During the shows there were phone calls on air from Sports Minister Saah Charles N’tow, LFA Vice President Musa Shannon and Bility on the salary arrears.

Shannon said that Debbah should resign for publicly speaking about his salary arrears, but during the closing remarks Marteh’s co-hosts Trojan Molley Kiazolu and Sylvester Worwee said Shannon was disrespectful when he asked the coach to resign. Marteh disagreed saying that Africa generally had a history of coaches who had resigned over unpaid wages.

He also remarked that Debbah had been “consistently inconsistent”.

It seems it was this final comment that triggered Debbah’s violent fury who punched Marteh, dragged him to the ground and had to be pulled off him by the other show hosts.

Marteh was left with a sore left knee and bruises over his right eye.

At and LFA hearing Debbah admitted to assaulting Marteh and the LFA subsequently issued his apology publicly. The LFA also offered a nominal compensation payment to Marteh of $100 which he has declined.

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