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Liberia Qualifies for 2013 Nations Cup Group Stage

Lone Star Captain George Gebro and team mates celebrate Liberia qualification for the 2013 Nations Cup Group stage....

By: Fombah Kanneh

Windhoek, Namibia-Liberian National team ,the Lone Star has qualified for th the group of the 2013 African Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.

Liberia held Namibia to goalless draw in Windhoek on Saturday evening to progress 1-0 on aggregate in the 2013 CAF AFCON qualifiers. After a fairly contested 30 minutes the game somewhat came alive in the last fifteen minutes as Namibia’s Da Costa Angula attacked a floated cross by Willy Stephanus only to see it go wide. At the other end, Sekou Oliseh combined well with his strike partner Patrick Wleh to force the Namibia keeper Virgil Vries to punch away as Wleh looked to head home.

The second half was livelier as Namibia, in desperation of the elusive goal, took the game to the disciplined and calm Liberia team that had Teah Dennis, Solomon Grimes, Omega Roberts, George Gebro and Jimmy Dixon very solid in defense, thwarting every chance the hosts created.

Stephanus contributed to chances created from the right flank sending in crosses time and again mainly looking for the head of veteran striker Henrico Botes, but it was not to be as Liberia maintained their discipline and defended well.

Oliseh lead the line well for Liberia, shielding the balls off Namibian defenders and linking up play with decisive touches and confidence on the ball.

Namibia coach Bernard Kaanjuka, sensing that time was running out, took off Stephanus and Petrus Shitembi and on came Tangeni Shipahu and Hendrick Somaeb, but the duo too failed to get the much needed effect on the game.

 Namibia should have got their elusive goal with 18 minutes left, as Heinrich Isaacks was played one-on-one with Liberia number one Nathaniel Sherman, but Isaacks shot low and it was comfortable block for Sherman with his feet to keep his side well on course for qualification to the next round of the 2013 AFCON qualifiers.

Liberia too had changes as Wleh came off for Perry Kollie as they set to freshen  up their side . With eight minutes to go, Namibia could have got the lead on the night and draw themselves level on aggregate as Somaeb got a chance to head home from a Eslin Kamuhanga cross, but the midfielder could not quite make the desired contact as towering Liberian defender Omega Alamadine put him under pressure.

Liberia continued to frustrate the Namibians later on as they held onto the ball well and got onto good positions but the killer punch evaded both sides on the night and thus the match finished goalless. Liberia are through to the final round of qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on an aggregate 1-0 result courtesy of a home win by that same score line from the first leg in Monrovia in February.

Bernard Kaanjuka (Namibia coach): “Today luck totally deserted us. We created a lot of chances and the boys just couldn’t put them away. We dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half and the second half but we are disappointed with the final outcome. The players got frustrated as time went on and everyone wanted to take a chance at goal and so there was no calmness, the players lacked experience and with these games, they can learn and gain that experience for the future.”

Joseph Smith (Liberia coach ): “We came here well prepared. We prepared the players very well mentally and the discipline was the key issue for us. We didn’t want to give away any advantages and the plan worked today. We played so well defensively and went forward when we could. At this level of football, the most important thing is getting the result like this and we are proud of that because now we go through to the next round of the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations that makes me proud as a coach as well.”

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