By Roland Mulbah
The senior national team of Liberia, Lone Star will tomorrow, September battle the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, (ATS) in Monrovia in continuation of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.The Lone Star, under the tutelage of former international miracle man, James Salinsa Debbah, hopes to clinch the victory to get in contention in Group A which also has Togo and Djibouti.
The duel is the first major football match for the senior national team of Liberia after the country was declared free of the deadly Ebola which hit Liberia high with thousands losing their lives.
With more than 14 foreign based players invited for the crucial match, many Liberians are of high hopes that the red, white and blue outfit will collect the maximum three points to get in contention for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
From all indications, Tunisia is the overwhelming favourites judging from player to player analysis, preparation and pedigree, but on the day, anything can happen and the Lone Star can cause a complete upset for the Tunisians.
Since the 2004 qualifiers, the Lone Star has ended at the bottom of their group, but new coach, Debbah told journalists that he has come to the fore to turn things around for the Lone Star.
Football gurus have already predicted that, Coach Debbah will certainly play a 4-4-2 formation due to the number of attackers invited for the crucial engagement.
GOALKEEPER- Saylee Swen (LPRC Oilers, Local)
From all indications, experienced goaltender, Saylee Swen Liberia Football Association (LFA) top-flight club will be between the sticks for the first time since he stood between the sticks for the red, white and blue outfit against Rwanda in a 4-1 defeat sometime this year.
The first choice goalkeeper of the senior national team of Liberia, Lone Star, Nathaniel Sherman, who plies his trade with Barrack Young Controller in the (LFA national league was involved in an accident and will not participate in the pending Liberia’s crucial clash with Tunisia.
According to LFA, the player, while communicating on his cell phone, slammed into a transparent glass at the hotel where the national team of Liberia is camping, thereby sustaining serious facial injury.
Saylee’s salute catches, long powerful kicks, great frame and reliability in aerial crosses would help the Lone Star as he has progressed greatly in his game.
A flat back four of Cypriot outfit Nea Salamis, Solomon Grimes, GizzieTucan Dorbor of Israeli side Hapoel Afula, Dirkir Glay of GorMohiain Kenya and All Ali of Jordan Teah Dennis, Jr. should stand tall against the Tunisians who will be rampaging on the day. The fullbacks of Grimes and Dorbor will need a lot of support from the wide men defensively.
Malaysian club Sarawak player Patrick Gerhardt should serve as the shield in front of the back four as the holding midfielder with Memelodi Sundowns of South Africa hardworking player Anthony Snorti Laffor playing alongside him as they pull the strings in the midfield. Swedish Allsvanskan club Djugarden gem, Sam Johnson and Malaysian Super League side, Felda United master dribbler Zah should operate at lateral midfield with their ability to track back quickly and maraud forward greatly as required.
Spanish second division side SD Ponferradina front man William, Jebor and Malaysian Premier League side NS Matrix goal customer, Francis Grandpa Forkey Doe should serve as the front runners with the latter playing slightly behind the former.
Jebor is a complete customer of the net and Liberians will surely depend on him. Having scored his first international goal against Togo in the opening match of the 2017 qualifiers, the former LISCR FC and Oilers hit-man will be itching to put up another linchpin performance, and unlike where he lacked much service in the 1-2 loss to Togo’s Sparrow Hawks where he probed, toiled and covered lots of ground in the Lone Star energy sapping 4-1-4-1 formation against Emmanuel Adebayor and co; he will certainly get more supply this time since the red, white and blue outfit is expected to be adventurous against group leaders Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles on this Saturday, September 5, at the ATS.
Forkey Doe has been on fire for NS Matrix netting in 17 goals to clinch the Golden Boot in that part of the world.
His strength, dribbling skills, ball control and man marking abilities will help the team against the Tunisians.
He’s not the type of player who will wait to receive ball, but a tormentor and a fantastic goal scorer.
See Coach Debbah’s selection below
Tommy Sango (LISCR FC, Local)
Saylee Swen (LPRC Oilers, Local)
Solomon Grimes (Nea Salamis Famagusta, Cyprus)
Trokon Zeon (LISCR FC, Local)
Gizzie Dorbor (Hapoel Afula, Israel)
Adolphus Marshall (Unattached)
Aloysius Simujila (FC Fassell)
Teah Dennis(Al-Ahli, Jordan)
Dirkir Glay (GorMahia, Kenya)
Raymond Farciah (Local, in Ghana)
Patrick Gehardt (Sarawak FA, Malaysia)
Anthony Laffor (Mamelodi, Sundowns South Africa)
Sporo Somah (Sewe Sports, Ivory Coast)
Murphy Oscar Dolley (Local, in Ghana)
Herron Barrian (Platanias, Greece)
Zah Krangar (Felda United FC, Malaysia)
Sekou Jabateh (Al-Gharafa, Qatar)
Francis Grandpa Doe(NS Matrix, Malaysia)
William Jebor (SD Ponferradina, Spain)
Soto Roberts (LPRC Oilers, Local)
Seku Conneh (Fortuna Sittard, Holland)
Sam Johnson (Djurgårdens IF, Sweden)
Mark Paye (BYC Oilers, Local)