The Ministry of Youth and Sports Lenn Eugene Nagbe has added its voice to local football experts and fans, expressing optimism over the weekend that the national team has a great chance to advance over the 2018 World Cup playoff-off, although it’s a fact that the tougher game lies ahead against Cote d’Ivoire.
Minister Nagbe said the nightmare of the country in 2002 has ended, and he is positive with the caliber of players under Coach James Debbah.
He said the 1-0 win over Tunisia is the caveat and that the game has restored confidence and passion like the days of George Weah X1.
The Alpha Oldtimers’ striker stated in an interview that Lone Star’s win over Tunisia has brought the country back to win and predicted that Liberia would definitely defeat Guinea Bissau at home and away to meet Ivory Coast, that he said Lone Star would also crush.
Technically, according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s ranking, Guinea Bissau is 142, but its position in FIFA World Rankings is 165, while Liberia is at 160 and its position is 114, meaning Liberia has an edge.
In the FIFA fixtures for the two-leg tie, the games are scheduled between between 5 - 13 October.
The Secretary General of the Liberia Football Association, Alphonso Armah said Liberia would host Guinea Bissau on Thursday, 8 October at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium and the return leg on Tuesday, October 13.
So given the current position of Cote D’Ivoire, 21st position and 34 points, Minister Nagbe and other Liberians are still confident that Lone Star can whip the Elephants to form part of the 20 winners from the second round to qualify for the third round - comprising five groups of four. The winners of each group qualify for the World Cup.
The need for “wins” to replenish the belief of “ending the qualifying drought” is something many Liberians are hopeful, considering Tunisia (33rd position and 36 points) that was outclassed with a country of 160th position with154 points, can be possible for other countries in spite of any ranks.
In order to make certain of the prediction, Minister Nagbe has disclosed that a “fruitful meeting” was held with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh, about taking care of Liberia’s remaining international games.
“We are 100% positive that we will win the remaining four games in this year, including Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast – and by that we would qualify for the World Cup group stage,” Minister. Nagbe said.