Youthful midfielder, Allen Njie has won the Most Valuable Player Award for the 2018 West African Football Union (WAFU) Under-20 Nations Cup that was hosted in Liberia.
Njie completed 450 minutes in all five games played for the Junior Lonestar that failed to win competition after a 2-1 defeat to Gambia U20 in the final on Saturday, May 5 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
The instrumental midfielder made his debut on the opening day of the tournament in Liberia’s 3-0 lost Ivory Coast before playing a key role in helping the Junior Lonestar bounced back from defeat against Guinea Bissau. Liberia won Guinea Bissau 2-1 in their second group game to win their three points with Njie playing a major role. His success continued with Christopher Wreh’s side on the final day of group game when Liberia won Sierra Leone 5-1. He may have been unfortunate to register a goal but his display on the pitch outclass Sierra Leone that found life difficult in the center.
Liberia qualified and were paired against Mali in the semifinals. The match against Mali wasn’t just a normal one for Njie that was given the armband to lead the team on the pitch in the absence of David Tweh who sustained a minor injury. Njie won his first game as captain of the national team after Liberia’s 1-0 triumph over the Malians. Wearing the armband looked to have motivated the former Pepper FC midfielder that played an excellent game with his perfect ball control, dribbling and long passes. His performances against Mali earned him the man-of-the-match award.
His good form with the Junior Lonestar continued in the final of the tournament against Gambia. Njie proved once again he’s the man Liberia will look up to in the future with his magical display. His dribbling ability, his confidence in possession of the ball, his tackle, his runs and passes were in place as the lad produced an excellent performance on the pitch. However, he couldn’t save his side from bowin to Gambia 2-1 at the end of the final whistle. It was a defeat for Liberia but Njie works on the pitch didn’t go unrecognized as he was name the Most Valuable Player.
Njie may have won the best player award but said he would have love the tournament for the team than walking away with personal award.
“At this point, it’s about the team. We came to the final with the mind to win. Unfortunately, we were denied. The award is important, but it is a personal award. I would be very excited for the team’s glory than this personal accolade. However, I’m grateful to God for it and I dedicate it to my teammates, my coaches and most importantly, the fans.
Coach Tapha Manneh was proud of Njie as he sent a quick congratulatory message. Speaking to LISCR FC’s media, “We have something to celebrate. Congratulations Allen.”