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Items filtered by date: September 2017



LFA hopes for the best; team leaves Thursday; Idrissa Kaba in Ghana


As African countries strive to secure slots to participate in the 2018 Russia World Cup, Liberia will join seven others to fight for honors in the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) in Takoradi, Ghana. The national team, made up of local stars, is expected to leave Monrovia on Thursday for Ghana. The team will play Senegal in their first match. The tournament is from Sept. 9-24. Other teams in the Liberian group are Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Sierra Leone. The other group members in Zone B, are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, and Nigeria.

The technical director of the LFA, Henry Browne, told the Daily Observer yesterday that the national team is going to participate in the tournament with the hope that they will represent the country well. The players, meanwhile, are aware that the winner of the tournament will be rewarded with US$100, 000, the runner-up will receive US$50, 000, and third place – US$25,000.

According to the organizers (WAFU and Fox), air travel and accommodation and local transportation will be provided to all participating teams. Additionally, during the second round, in the 1/8th finals each country will receive US$10,000, including other financial awards. The 1/8th finals are competitions held at a single venue at the Takoradi Sports Stadium. The other 1/8th finals will be held at the Cape Coast Stadium.

For example, if Liberia qualifies from the 1/8th finals, she will proceed to the next finals (the knockout round). If Liberia is successful as winners in their next game, they will be paired with other teams from the next group, for which they will then receive US$10,000. This system of competition goes by several names, including single-elimination tournament; Olympic system; a bump-off; a knockout (or, knock-out); single penetration; and sudden death tournament. From there, they will proceed to the play-off, where the real money will be.

And so, how prepared are the members of the national team for the WAFU Tournament? While the team had some initial problems, the players’ previous two-tiered games against Mauritania, losing at home and winning away, could be used as part of the preparation. They won against Mauritania in Nouakchott with limited number of fans, but lost their first leg match at home, where there were hundreds of supports. It is clear that the tournament is loaded with all the West African giants, though they only will field local material, and it indicates also that success in such a tournament would require team and psychological preparation.

To date the local Lone Star has not played any friendly or test match to evaluate their preparedness, so we can only assume that with Thomas Kojo in charge, he could repeat the Mauritania surprise in Ghana, particularly in their first game against the Terenga Lions of Senegal, and ensure his boys are set to earn some of the money at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, WAFU Referees Committee chairman, Liberia’s Idrissa Kaba, left Monrovia for Ghana yesterday in his first official assignment. Kaba is to supervise referees that are selected to handle all the games in the WAFU Tournament.

Published in Lonestar News
Monday, 04 September 2017 19:18

Lone Star to Depart Monrovia Wednesday


With less than five days to the kickoff of the 2017 Fox Sports sponsored West Africa Football Union (WAFU) tournament in Ghana, the national team, Lone Star, is expected to depart the country for Ghana on Wednesday, according to deputy coach Thomas Kojo.
Making the disclosure in a live phone-in interview over the weekend, coach Kojo said the team is currently facing financial difficulties, adding that the team is yet to go camping since the start of their preparation.

Lone Star on August 21 began training sessions with locally based players and some inactive players including Marcus Macaulay, Sekou Jabateh, Isaac Pupo and Solomon Grimes.

Coach Kojo said the four players were only afforded the opportunity to train with the local players based on the recommendation of technical director, Henry Brown. The players’ inclusion in the training, however, raised eyebrows among national team supporters who said that it would be unfair for the FA to use these players and yet leave out the much younger and upcoming ones.

Lone Star will face the Teranga Lions of Senegal in their first match in Group B.

Published in LFA League


Sports journalist Danesius Marteh has requested the Minister of Youth and Sports, Saah Charles N’tow, to speedily investigate what he described as a physical assault that left him with a sore left knee and bruises on his right eye, allegedly by national team head coach James Salinsa Debbah on Saturday, August 26, after a Fabric 101.1 FM weekend sports program. Marteh said he has suffered physical, emotional and professional pains. “Doctors at Clora Clinic in New Kru prescribed one-week injection to ease pains in my knee at a cost of US$100,” he told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview yesterday.

Marteh said the assault has also affected him psychologically as a professional journalist. He said he is yet to make a formal complaint to the Liberia National Police because he wants sports officials, including those at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Liberia Football Association to intervene to restore sanity. He said during the assault, co-presenter Trojan Molley Kiazolu’s (who attempted to separate the two) wristwatch was destroyed.

He claimed that Coach Debbah’s anger got the worst of him when he was reminded by Mr. Marteh about his post on Facebook on October 5, 2015 where he labeled LFA President Musa Bility as a “novice to football development” and a conflicting statement at a news conference on December 29, 2016, where he (Debbah) described Mr. Bility as the “Best LFA President ever.”

With the contradiction obvious, Debbah reportedly denied making the post and said he was not on the show to engage in any confrontation with Mr. Marteh. What broke the camel’s back was when Mr. Marteh, on an issue of delayed salaries, agreed to an earlier comment by Mr. Musa Shannon that Africa is replete with stories of coaches going months without pay who resigned in protest and then complaining to Fifa; suggesting that Coach Debbah could do the same. Marteh said he made reference to Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, who terminated his contract as coach of Uganda over unpaid wages on July 29, 2017.

“I also said Mr. Debbah won’t resign because he has proven to be ‘consistently inconsistent’ since his appointment in November 2014,” Marteh said. With that said, Marteh apparently did not know what was coming for him, and later said: “Mr. Debbah then left the studio meant for guests and came to the control board where Mr. Kiazolu and I were seated and landed a punch on my face.” The enormity of the punch had a telling effect on the journalist, with bruises and a black eye. And since the publication of the assault many soccer fans have condemned Coach Debbah’s alleged attack on the journalist.

Said one in a phone conversation “If Coach Debbah can’t stand criticisms, then he must quit the job as a national coach because so long as the national team is not doing well he will be criticized.” This was Marteh’s own confession after Coach Debbah reportedly floored him at the count of 10: “A physical exchange ensued where I was dragged to the ground by the coach before Messrs. Worwee and Kiazolu came to my rescue in the main ‘On Air’ studio.” Many who saw the fight said the journalist was lucky that his colleagues, Worwee and Kiazolu, were present, as it could have been a disaster for him.

In Marteh’s appeal to Minister N’Tow, he made mention of a litany of attacks he has received against his person and pleaded with the minister to lead a campaign to ensure that those in leadership should expect criticism in the discharge of their duties, and should not resort to violence as a defense to create fear in those whose duty it is to encourage check and balance in their work. Calls to Coach Debbah for clarification did not materialize as his phone was switched off and a text message was not returned.

Published in Lonestar News
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