Liberia, Togo Combined XI
By Wleh Bedell
It is expected to be an epic fixture when the Lone Star of Liberia, Group One Leaders, engage Third placers Togo's Sparrow Hawks in a match week five classic of the Gabon 2017 African Cup of nations qualifier.
Since August 10, 1975, when both sides first met in Togo with the hosts winning 1-0, both sides have met 16 times with Togo having the edge on the head to head record, winning nine, losing four and drawing three.
Both sides are however in a must win duel on this Sunday June 5, 2016 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) with Togo under new Coach Frenchman Claude Le Roy who has being perambulating the continent for the past 29 years meeting his opposite number James Debbah, a player he reportedly played a key role upon in leaving Belgian club Anderlecht for French outfit Paris Saint Germain. Interestingly, It was Le Roy who recommended the legendary George Weah to his friend Arsene Wenger then Coach of AS Monaco where Weah made his European debut.
With Emmanuel Adebayor recalled for Togo, Liberia's talisman finisher William Jebor who is on record of being the only Liberian to score on Togolese soil as far as matches involving both sides are concerned, and is now the joint second goal scorer in the qualifiers with four goals, is expected to form a potent partnership with the lethal finisher Francis Doe in causing harm to the visitors. The sticks are high and it will no doubt be a cracker.
There has being some intriguing fixtures between the West African opponents with several players thriving. George Weah was always the linchpin for the Lone Star, but Debbah's brace against Togo in the semi-final of the Zone-Three Eight Nations tournament before he was injured by the rugged Lawson Plaka still resonates.
Togo too with the then Borusia Mochengladbach front man Bachirou Salou and brother Tadjou Salou in defense were helpful to their country. The eccentric goalkeeper Agass Kossi cannot be left out so too is the over lapping defender Simon Mattor who did the damage to the Togolese in a Third Place match of the Six-NAtions tournament at the SKD.
So, who have made the XI in a 4-2-4 formation is what is indicated below as the build up to the crunch fixture begins.
Note That Togo has six players, one more than Liberia.
Liberia, Togo Combined XI
Agassa Kossi (Togo)
Eric Akoto (Togo)
Washington Blay (Liberia)
Tadjou Salou (Togo)
Simon Mattor (Liberia)
Yao Aziawonou (Togo)
Joe Nagbe (Liberia)
George Weah (Liberia)
Bachirou Salou (Togo)
James Debbah (Liberia)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)