By D. Webster Cassell
Our country is remembered globally for its longstanding history in the game of football with George OppongMannehWeah becoming the only African to win the world footballer of the year in 1995.
Besides, the people of Liberia have always appreciated the cream of talents regardless of where they ply their football trade or how much money they earn from whatever performance they produce.
As a senior sports writer in Liberia, I have always wondered why some local managers end up the way they have ended. Equally so, there are a number of reasons as well as their failure to adhere to the call from the people who by extension are their “direct-employer.” There have been more questions than answers as to what could our passed coaches do to achieve the maximum, especially when the fans/supporters become overwhelmed with their infusion to the National Team of Liberia. There is no room for excuses or complacency when you are a head coach of Liberia’s Senior National Team because the fans/supporters are prepared to go the extra-mile to satisfy their quest for victory; even if it will cost their life or taking another person’s life.
With that mentality, the Liberian Sporting Press has always provided a way out for most of the coaches especially the local ones so as to save their career from future embarrassment and harassment that could easily bother them. Even though some coaches partially embraced the media’s projection, most of them regard it as a mere commentary intended to incite the fans/supporters against the technical staff, thus forgetting to know that media is the mouth-piece of the people.
Customarily, Liberians always enjoyed being part of the selection process of who is called for the Senior National Team of Liberia. Though they have constantly been disappointed due to the stubbornness of some selected managers who felt obligated and accountable to the local Football House, the fans have never abandoned their paramount duty; that is to raise the national flag and attire in paraphernalia bearing the national colors of RED, WHITE and BLUE.
I have also realized that for more than a decade now fans/ supporters of the Lone Star have not been able to boast of the country’s starting eleven (11) players; that is since the scrapping of the “Famous George Weah 11.” We all know that it was that easy to name the cream of talents that would feature for a pending match on that ‘George Weah 11 Team.’
Today, the story is totally different and that there are feelings at every corner across the country that said atmosphere is on the horizon. Firstly, how did we arrive at this point? A fan’s response was “Coach Debbah is coming to himself now.”
Few months ago, many Liberians including the sporting Media felt that Coach Debbah was proceeding wrongly considering that the national team was at a crossroad fighting to restore its tinted away record. Prior to Liberia’s successive defeats to Togo and Guinea, Liberians had already warned against the stubbornness of Coach SalinsaDebbah for overcrowding the national team with unattached players. Coach Debbah and co-workers refused to listen to the repeated calls made by fans/supporters to include the extra-cream of Liberia’s best performers given that Debbah and co-workers had a herculean task of changing the shape of Lone Star of Liberia.
With another litmus task against Tunisia, Debbah yielded and invited additional talents to the squad. It was always advisable, whether win or lose that Coach Debbah include active and best performers on the National Team as a way of winning over the hearts of the fans/supporters. The Tunisia’s result was a sufficient signal to prove to Coach Debbah and his technical staff that previous publication on how they proceeded was not in any way intended to incite the fans but rather to assist in his job since he is a stranger to said assignment.
Finally, we welcome the inclusion of the additional players ahead of the Guinea Bissau’s game here in Monrovia this Thursday, October 8, 2015. It seems that Coach Debbah and the technical team are learning to correct the past. I wish the Lone Star well.
Victory, Victory Lone Star, Give Me Victory! Bravo to Coach Debbah for rethinking his decision. It is our prayer that the inclusion of the fresh legs will add new zeal to the already high-spirited National Team.