BY: EDWIN DOLO
Former Nimba FC attacker, Sam Johnson, put up a master-class performance against the Tunisians despite being placed in the heart of midfield as compare to playing his preferred central forward role.
Lone Star Head Coach, James Salinsa Debbah, bathed the 22 year old Djurgaden’s centre forward with praises after the player performed beyond expectation, leading to Liberia’s vital 1-0 clipping of Tunisia at the ATS on Saturday in Monrovia.
The Swedish-based striker was placed in deep midfield role alongside Patrick Gerhardt and he pulled the cords in midfield, covering more distances than any of his mates and Debbah has described him as a “workaholic”.
Johnson won several sliding tackles and dispossessed opponents of the ball.
“Sam Johnson is a workaholic. He is mobile. We decided to use him in the midfield because of these qualities. None of his peers could move like he did, Francis Doe could not and even William Jebor cannot work like him and we hope more will come out of Sam,” the Liberian national team coach declared of the player.
"He has great qualities. He fights for the ball and wins it back each time he loses it,” Debbah, 48, said in a post-match press conference.
Liberia is leveled on points with Tunisia, but moved second place in Group “A”, thanks to their head to head record.
Liberia will travel to fellow group contenders, Djibouti who are yet to secure single point in two matches in March 2016.
Sam Johnson, The engineer in Lonestar victory
By T. Kla Wesley Jr.
September 6, 2015
Sam Johnson is not the star man for Liberia that he is for Djurgardens. Despite his recent fine form with former club IK Frej, the presence of the likes of Sekou Oliseh, Tonia Tisdell and Anthony Laffor has seen him struggle to earned a call for the senior National team.
The 23-year-old was picked for the Lonestar crucial match against Tunisia in their AFCON 2017 qualifier on Saturday, and proved his worth to Debbah and his technical staffs.
Sam Johnson who is popularly known as a forward began the game in center midfield with Malaysian base Patrick Gerhardt while Sundowns' forward Anthony Laffor and Felda's midfielder Zah Krangar operated on both flings as Liberia was executing a 4-4-2 formation.
A metronomic passer and a deceptively quick player, Johnson also looked to dip into midfield, swapping positions with Zah Krangar, as he regularly evaded his marker, and contributed to Spain's total dominance that earn them (Lonestar) a 1-0 with Malaysian base Francis Forkey Doe getting the lone goal in the seventy-eighth(78th) minutes.
His hard work on the pitch earned him the man of the match award.