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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
US fans 'adopt' Liberian players
By Simon Reeves
BBC Sport

Players from Liberian club Mighty Barrolle
Players from Liberian club Mighty Barrolle are being adopted by fans

Players from Liberian champions Mighty Barrolle are breathing a sigh of relief after the club's fans in the USA agreed to help pay their wages.

Despite winning the championship twice in the last three years the club have found it difficult to reward its players for the success and looked on helplessly as top players left this season to join rivals, who made better offers.

But a branch of the club's supporters in New Jersey have now stepped to bring a ray of hope.

From its base in the city of Trenton the fan club, made up of some former players and officials, has asked its members to help pay the players monthly salary of around US$20.

"We felt that if each member 'adopted' a player and commit to paying this amount monthly, this could help alleviate some of the financial burden on the administration, Zoegar Wilson, the fan club's president told BBC Sport.

"To date we have 49 people signed up, including two from Rhode Island, two from Baltimore and one from Massachusetts."

Players from Liberian club Mighty Barrolle
Barrolle are the Liberian champions but are struggling financially

Wilson, a former goalkeeper for Barrolle in the 1980's, added: "For now this is just one way to help but for a long term we need to come up with other programs that will help the team."

The 'adopt-a-player' idea was conceived when Barrolle's president Garmondeh Karngar explained the club's cash problems to the fans, while he was on a recent visit to the USA.

Some of the fans see their contribution as way of paying the club back for providing them with an education and livelihood in the 19070s and 1980s when Barrolle were financially solvent.

It is not the first time that the fans have helped the club out, two years ago they sent four sets of playing kit and other equipment to Liberia and also provided Christmas bonuses for the players last year.

This year the fan's paid for Barrolle's registration in the African Champions League and helped underwrite the cost of the team's trip to neighbouring Ivory Coast to play in the opening round of the competition.

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