Liberia’s Lone Star head coach, James Salinsa Debbah broke 14 years record as the first Liberian coach to win a competitive match away since 2001 when Africa’s football legend, George Weah came from the bench to score the only goal as Liberia beat Sierra Leone 1-0 in the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup qualifier.
Debbah, who was an integral part of the famous George Weah XI as the team’s leading goal scorer, trusted a certain striker in William Jebor, who plies his trade in Spain with second division outfit; SD Ponferradina as the 23-year old became the hero of the qualifier where he scored a fantastic hat trick to give Liberia Lone Star a 3-1 away victory against Guinea Bissau and qualified with a 4-2 aggregate.
Jebor also scored from the penalty spot in the first leg in Monrovia on October 8, 2015 which ended 1-1 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
I say congratulations to Coach Debbah for breaking a long standing record, buthe must keep listening to suggestions and recommendations in an attempt to build a formidable Lone Star and book a ticket to either the World Cup or the Africa Cup of Nations.
There are more to be done in both the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The win against Guinea Bissau should not make Debbah complacent with the squad or performance of the players.
He must keep listening like he did in June, 2015 after the first match of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Togo where he has since changed from invited unattached players to inviting players who are plying their trades in Europe and other parts of the world which is making the Lone Star a formidable squad.
It can be recalled that Debbah invited five unattached players against Togo which the Lone Star lost 2-1 in Lome.
There is a serious need for Coach Debbah to include more foreign based players in the Lone Star to strengthen the team ahead of the crunch duel against Africa champions, the Elephants of Ivory Coast and other matches ahead.
Though the team that broke the 14 years record by beating ‘Africa Wild Dogs, Guinea Bissau is respectable, Coach Debbah is therefore urged to maintain the current squad and scout for few talents to make the team a tough one that will compete not only against the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the two legs which will be played in November, but to compete for silver wears as far as football is concerned.
Liberia’s Lone Star technical staff led by Debbah must invite more players to avoid fatigue and injury on the part of the players who will be engaging Africa’s champions in such a crucial competition.
The addition of Dioh Williams of Swedish Allsvenskanside Gefle IF, Marcus Macauley,who showcases his talent with Al-Ahli in Jordan and Abel Gebor, who plies his trade with TërbuniPukë in the Albanian Superliga was crucial and laudable, but there is a need to invite more players.
It can be recalled that Coach Debbah invited Patrick ‘Ronaldinho’ Wleh, who plays as a striker for PKNS F.C. in the Malaysia Premier League, but there are reports that the former LISCR FC hero was ruled out due to injury.
The striker has since returned from the players’ nightmare, injury and in fact, he scored on his return match last Saturday against Pahang to take his team to the top of Group D with seven points from four games in the 2015 Malaysia Cup.
The burly striker, who was a delight to watch against Liverpool when he featured for Malaysia XI late July, 2015 and scored against the Premier League side, will be a great assist to the Lone Star if invited.
Debbah’s led technical staff must also try to include Kpah Sherman of South Africa's Absa Premiership outfit, Mpumalanga Black Aces.
The former Mighty Barrolle striker has been in imperious form this season since he was signed by the South African outfit from Tanzanian side Young African Sport Club early July, 2015.
He has been included in the starting team with the club authorities saying “he’s an excellent player and arguably one of the best players we have ever signed and yes we are relieved to finally be able to formally welcome him to AmaZayoni,”.
“He will be an ideal partner upfront with Collins Mbesuma and we are confident he will be amongst the top goal scorers in the League this season,” the club authorities said.
Egypt-based holding midfielder, Weika Wisseh must also be invited to put more pressure on the squad to perform.
The striker turned holding midfielder won the LFA premiership Golden Boots (top goal scorer) award with Mighty Barrolle in 2010 and also helped the ‘Kanyan Pepper boys’ win the LFA premiership the same year.
Also, Francis Grandpa Doe has now learned his lesson after being omitted from the squad that beat Guinea Bissau and must be given the chance to showcase his talent.
After a protracted period out of international duty, the Malaysia Premier League side, NS Matrix striker was invited against Tunisia on September 5, 2015 at the ATS and he proved his worth by beating the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia with a 79th minute header.
He was included in the first leg against Guinea Bissau in the 1-1 draw, but was later dropped just a day to the return leg in Bissau.
If the technical staff sticks with the current squad and injury or suspension comes to the fore, the red, white and blue outfit will be in serious trouble.
Coach Debbah must understand that every good team needs a good or strong bench, something the Lone Star must be keen on.
The substitutes must be as good or almost good as the starters, and there is a serious need to encourage more competitions to enable the best come out of every player.
Thus, more players of quality need to be invited.
Lastly, Debbah must also invite a genuine playmaker who could provide the defense splitting pass, the final ball and penetration for the strikers to get the ultimate. An influential playmaker is greatly needed if Lone Star wants to make inroads in the various competitions.