Football. The biggest game in the world. It’s Not Easy explores how the beautiful game really affects individual lives.
In 1995 George Weah, AC Milan and Liberia, was World Footballer of the Year. Liberian ‘child soldiers’ Millennium Stars FC also supported the image of a little country punching above its weight. They embarked on a dream UK tour in 1999: an opportunity to deliver a message of peace through soccer.
On tour, they beat all challengers and played the part of ex-child soldiers, a risky strategy they believed would bring them the big prize, a football academy back home. After meeting Thierry Henry, John Barnes, Bobby Robson and many more, and returning home heroes, the international link ended, war returned to Liberia and public esteem turned to mockery. Their academy plans crumbled, the team split under accusations of corruption and one player drank himself to death.
Had any of them even been a child soldier?
Millennium Stars trusted football would transform their lives, building vast hopes on flimsy foundations.
Their story raises questions about the expectations such projects offer participants living with extreme poverty, exposing the lack of understanding of the impact that football has on some of the world’s poorest communities.
But after more than two decades, football also continues to offer the chance for redemption to this group; still coaching kids in the ghetto; still dreaming of opening Liberia’s first soccer academy