Lonestar Must make changes!!!!!!
By Toyuwa Harris
Strategy changes from game to game, from half to half, and from score line to score line. The ability to make the required change is what determines a coach’s ability.
With Liberia down a goal at home against the Elephants of Ivory Coast Debbah made some telling adjustments.
The plans for using two big and forceful strikers by Debbah fell on its face when Patrick Wleh had to get stretchered off following the player complaints of chest pains. From the onset he was not the forceful player expected as he was easily moved off the ball. He showed no fight in the game.
Dioh Williams was summoned off the bench to join the match and serve as the attack partner to Jerbo.
The blunder by Glay gifting the ball to his opponents in the final third led to the curtain raiser at the stroke of half time .Glay in a weak attempt to clear the area loss the ball to Seri Jean Michael who made a telling pass to Gohi BiCyriac, a hapless goalkeeper Tommy Songo was beaten (1-0, 44th).
With Liberia Down, another adjustment had to be made for the 2nd half. Debbah’s inclusion of Kieta , who is a defensive midfielder into the game for lethargic Patrick Ghadhert had football analysts pondering the change. “Like for Like” in the defensive midfield when you are down?
The calculations by the coach proved telling as the Lonestar turned the game on it’s tail. Laffour began to become a pest on the left flank because his defensive responsibilities were being handled by Keita. With Keita winning the balls and maintaining control, Laffor started making deep runs into the Ivorian Defense.
Still chasing the game, the strength of Debbah’s bench was called upon. Tisdale entered for Sam Johnson. Johnson has been on fire, playing in the striker position for his club team. Playing out of position for Liberia he did not express himself into the match offensively, but his defensive posture is worth mentioning.
Again a positive tactical change made by a coach looking to get a goal at home. Tisdale came into the game more offensively minded and started taking on the Ivorian Defenders. Solomon Grimes from the right back also started supporting the attack as Keita provided cover on the counter.
Tisdale and Laffor began to attack from both sides but due to poor finishing by the strikers, the equalizer was elusive. Laffor was making passes in the box but Dioh could not get by the slide tackle of the on rushing Ivoirian rearguard. Again Laffor moved with aggression on the left flank, setting up Jerbo twice to see headers going aside.
The adjustments made by the coach in the game proves that the change needed in Abidjan to get a win is to attack with MasterCard performers.
Keita and Tisdale Must start. Sam Johnson needs to play his natural position as he is a striker that has a proven goal scoring record.
The back four marshalled buy Lonestar captain Team Dennis Jr , held its own against the onslaught. The only error in the game caused this group to concede. At this level with the lethal strikers, mistakes are costly. Grimes was again that classic No 2 for Liberia. There no question he is the best right back of this Generation of Liberian players.
Debbah, used Solomon Grimes throwing ability like the famous Weah 11 used Mass Sarr jr. Liberian’s throw ins became set pieces. The striker’s inability to coral the headers was disappointing.
Captain Teah Dennis Jr, played with grit and style and showed his experience at this level. He was the stable and director of the defense.
Tommoy as big in goal as he thwarted one situations and made saves to keep to score line clean. With the Young Goal Keeper getting exposed by his central defender, he was rendered hapless.
This is the kind of performance that builds confidence in young players. Holding his own against a star studded team speaks volumes of his ability at such a young age for a Sr national team goal keeper.
Debbah is a coach that has a strict plan. His ability to adjust will be part of his growth as a head coach
The attacking style of Debbah will be on full display as Liberia Must Win to get past Ivory Coast