Lone Star Player Ratings After Annihilating Djibouti
By Wleh Bedell
History makers Liberia Lone Star are in pole position in Group A of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers after doing the damage to traditional whipping boys Djibouti, 5-0. The win has gone in history as the Lone Star biggest win.Prior to this emphatic win, the Lone Star biggest win was the 5-1 steam rolling of Congo Brazzaville's Red Devils on January 14, 2001, in the Mali 2002 African Nations Cup qualifier at the SKD.
The win over tragic travelers Djibouti gives the Lone Star nine points from four games with Tunisia and Togo in second and third place respectively with seven points each, but the former are ahead based on the head to head rule. One team is to qualify from each of the 13 groups with the best two runners-up taken from 11 of the 13 group to join the 13 group winners and host Gabon for the 16-team party.
Thus, the Lone Star seem to be on course for their third African Nations Cup finals, their first since 2002. This is also the "Now or Never" moment for most of the stars in this current generation who are in the twilight of their career. Djibouti were always going to lose as they see defeat as a tradition and are now the worst team in the qualifiers, losing four matches out of four, conceding 16 goals and scoring just one. But how did James Salinsa Debbah charges perform is what is being sailed through.
Tommy Songo- The local club LISCR FC custodian was not under any major pressure, but was still able to deal with the few balls that went his way. He made two descent saves, one a well taken free kick that landed on the turf and he had to parry over the byline for a corner. The dominant yellow dressed shot stopper also did a finger tip save by putting a long range effort over the bar. But, he dealt with a corner in the first half in a nervy fashion as the ball beat him when he failed to deal with the cross when coming from his goal and even clattered into a teammate that led to a goal scored by the visitors which was disallowed after the Assistant Referee indicated that the ball had traveled over the byline earlier. The young goalkeeper kept his second clean sheet and it was a back to back one against the same opponent to equal Nathaniel Sherman's record which he did against the Brave Warriors of Namibia.
Solomon Grimes- Not much was seen of the Cypriot based fullback who rarely crossed a ball least one speaks of venturing forward. Though he provided coverage in defense in ensuring the back four kept its shape, he nonetheless had a relatively quiet game and was substituted in the dying embers due to injury.
Hilton Varney- Making his debut, the local club Barrack Young Controllers adventurous full back was an opposite of his performance in the Liberian elite league. Two crosses, one flat, but caused no scare, few erratic connections, inability to motor upfront especially during the second stanza made him not to be in the same class with the likes of James Zortiah and Emmanuel Wanna who too were locals when they were given the chance to showcase internationally. One major plus however was the player's ability to squeeze in joining the center backs and the other fullbacks to make things tight in the center.
Omega Roberts Alamadine- The towering rearguard from Serbia did not play with much confidence and belief. Five back passes to the goalkeeper when he had acres of space to drive forward and release one of the central midfielders, three misplaced passes one to an opponent, but three headed clearances summed up the former Club Olympique de Bamako center back's game. In all, he is not a useful partner to Captain Teah Dennis,Jr. as they both have similar style which would expose them against a much aggressive, tormenting and mobile striker.
Teah Dennis,Jr.- Winning his fourth match as Captain, the Jordanian based defender made four interceptions, controlled the back line, made eight forward passes to playmates, gave three poor passes as he ballooned the ball to the opposition in an attempt to provide the route one ball to the strikers. He once more proved to be a leader and was mostly decisive.
Al Seny Keita- The experienced holding midfielder from the French Fourth Division engaged in the simple passing game, linking up play with teammates and tried to dispossess opponents. His calm and friendly nature to opponents was a sign of good sportsman ship and was a delight to watch, but as the game moved to the end, the former Horoya player who showed much discipline in the fray began to run out of steam as the visitors pulled a string of descent passes together in creating few anxious moments.
Theo Lewis Weeks- Had the holding midfielder converted to attacking midfielder being more purposeful and business minded by mostly focusing on providing penetration, defense splitting passes or the final ball the the front line, the scoreline would have being bigger than how it ended. But, he was over elaborating and showboating, something that segment of the crowd enjoyed On the balance of things, playing in the play maker role just behind the front two at times by the side of the holding midfielder, Theo had a good game, but needed to do more. His skills were mesmerizing at times, won tackles in the middle of the park and made the team keep the ball in the early stages to calm things down. He orchestrated things in the engine room as he sprayed passes during the fray.
Dioh Williams- The lanky forward who operated in lateral midfield or the right flank was the best performer or man of the match. He was the key dribbler, completed 16 dribbles, teed up opponents as he often provided the cut back when he would move the ball to the byline in mouth watering fashion and then give the cutback, one of which hat trick hero Jebor fired, but, was parried by the opposing goalkeeper. The former BK Hacken man was a menace to the visitors as he terrorized them with his skills, went for the box, was lively and imminently dangerous in the final third. A goal would have capped a wonderful performance. He however ran out of steam in the last ten minutes or so, but was surprisingly left on the pitch probably due to his explosive display against the disjointed East Africans.
Anthony Laffor- His goal from the spot won the game for Liberia as the rest of the goals were just intended to get a cushion, add gloss to the scoreline and make the win more comprehensive. He however stand accused of doing things all by himself too much as he made several pointless dribbles, gave the ball away cheaply at times, six times was he dispossessed, but his pace and trickery made up for his undoing. He was substituted as he came our somewhat painfully as his walking showed, but the game was by then already won.
Sam Johnson- Mostly deployed in midfield in the ongoing campaign, the striker from Sweden had the chance for once to play in his preferred striking role. He managed to get a goal, the cushion in making the scoreline 2-0. It was a gift however as the goalkeeper made a mess out of his shot. His movement was a problem to the opponents, but at times he was impatient or was just unhappy with teammates who did not see him as an option in passing him after making a run to one of the posts. He was never appeased when a teammate was released or passed to strike on goal when he too was in a great position to pounce onto a ball.
With the game already put to bed, he was substituted.
William Jebor- Another hat trick, his second internationally. After his first away to Guinea Bissau, "football researchers" tried to dismiss claims that he had scored Liberia's first ever international hat trick bringing a newspaper from the 60's that said it was someone else in a match involving Liberia and Gambia. This is yet to be verified. Whether they will find another newspaper to say another person has two hat tricks for Liberia or has scored a hat trick at home remains to be seen.
In the match with Djibouti, Jebor could have scored more, but stand accused of clear misses. Besides, his technique must improve, so too is his lateral movement. But, one plus is that whether he receives the ball or not, the Spain based finisher keeps his calm. He always keeps his feet on the ground despite making history as he allows his football to do his talking.
Kpah Sherman- Completely below par. The South African based forward introduction into the game proved to be meaningless as he offered relatively nothing to the one sided contest. Though he tried to make something happen, on the day, things were just not going his way. Poor crosses, conceding possession, etc. just showed how a player who had a good game when coming on in the corresponding fixture had a dwindling performance few days later.
Sekou Konneh- The United States based front man entered the fray lively when he came on as a substitute. He was keen to impress and though he conceded possession at times, he kept probing by making runs. Closing down opponents was also something he was never shy of and provided a sumptuous assist for the fifth goal which made Jebor complete his hat trick. He certainly showed promise as he played with enthusiasm and desire.
Duada Bortu- The Norwegian based player who was making his debut did not have much time to impress, but the four minutes he spent on the field was fruitful. Though his weight is of a little concern, when introduced, he hassled, closed down opponents by putting them under immediate pressure and started the build up for the final goal which put the last nail on the visitors coffin.