Liberian Listener Staff Report
Monrovia and the Antoinette Tubman Stadium comes alive this afternoon as Liberia meets Djibouti on the home soil. Nicknamed ‘Shore-men of the Red Sea,’ Djibouti is in Liberia to put up a dogfight and do some damage, and given the unpredictability of Lone Stars and their inconsistency, Djibouti might pulled a surprise win or draw, unless Liberia puts in a good performance.
It’s a tight Group A with both Tunisia, Togo, and Liberia sharing the spoils at 6 points apiece. Liberia is at the bottom third with Tunisia and Togo occupying first and second places respectively, with goal difference in their favor. The game is set for 4 p.m. Liberian time, and it’s expected to see a jam-packed Antoinette Tubman Stadium with the fans trooping there and wearing national colors in droves. The stadium is small and it is also
expected the LFA will control the crowd so as not to be fined by CAF and FIFA, more so for safety reasons.
Leadership from former captain and the Sundowns hit man Anthony Snoti Laffor will be critical. But for Liberia to win this game convincingly, striker Patrick ‘Ronaldinho’ Wleh must find his scoring boots again and put up the performance, which has endeared him to the Liberian press. William Jebor is an important achor, but his club career is not doing him any favors right now, but he however remains an important asset to the team, given his past contributions.
If the West Africans win this one and especially with a huge margin, it definitely will serve as a booster for their home game against Togo in Monrovia. Djibouti are the whipping boys in group A, and therefore Liberia should have won by more than a 1-0 margin given the opportunities they wasted. They will have themselves to blame if they don’t get out of this group; the maths may come down to a goal difference as to who qualify with the race now between the three teams.
Liberia and coach James Debbah will most likely used the same starting lineup that played away to Djibouti. Debbah is looking for consistency. He used almost the same team at home against the Ivory coast, but made slight changes during the second leg away. Look to see Liberia’s still using the 4-4-2 formation, their favourite and searching for an early goal and possibly a second before half time.
Djibouti will be looking to defending defiantly and picking their chances whenever they see an opening. This is a game in which Teah Dennis and his back-four will have to work overtime, because the Shore-men of the Red Sea will be looking to pull surprises.
What Liberia must do to win? Marshall a strong midfield and dominate the ball by passing and quickly releasing the rock. Lone Stars forwards are guilty of throwing away begging chances, they must capitalize on their opportunities if they must win. Liberians want to see the national team “play attractive and effective football” as Debbah promised when he took over. Shots on goal must be honed, and the players must take their every chance at scoring, that includes long balls and being adventurous against
the Djibouti goal mouth.
*prediction 3-1: Liberia*