Five Major Concerns for Lone Star
By Wleh Bedell
With Coach James Salinsa Debbah naming his first eleven for the weighty Gabon Africa Cup of nations qualifier with Togo on this Sunday, there are some talking points from a tactical and personnel perspective.
Firstly, the line up.
Theo Weeks Lewis
This means Debbah has made three changes from the squad that hammered the "Residents" of Djibouti.
There are five major concerns indicated below.
Match Rusty Goalkeeper
Lone Star first choice goalkeeper Tommy Songo has being out of action from a competitive perspective for more than two months. Even during his playing time for his club LISCR this season, he has being a bit erratic prompting the technical staff of the team to rotate him with the second choice. Team doctors claim he had a minor injury on the toe which is now ok. The young goalkeeper who has won five caps has managed to keep two clean sheets against unfancy Djibouti as he shipped in a goal against Guinea Bissau in the historic away win which was his debut and also conceding four goals against the Ivory Coast in the Lone Star home and away loss. For the goalkeeper not to be in action for more than two months is quite a major concern in facing a desperate Togolese side hungry for a win.
Dealing with Aerial Balls
In the corresponding fixture, Togo scored both goals from wide areas with the towering talisman Emmanuel Adebayor netting the equalizer. The players of the Lone Star are not the tallest of players which gives a player of Adebayor's class the edge in the aerial battles. With an avalanche of crosses expected from the visitors, Teah Dennis and co must be at their imperious best to thwart any danger.
Problem with Balance
With Theo Weeks Lewis being given the balance midfield role where he is expected to serve as a shield in front the back four, the problem is whether he will be discipline enough to operate in such department as he has since being converted to an attacking midfielder, a position he is more comfortable with. Will he not be tempted to venture forward as his bit of ball artistry will try to tempt him to show off a bit remains a big ask.
Throughout the reign of Debbah as Coach of the Lone Star, the team continue to face the problem of an orchestrator, a designer, planner, defense splitting passer who is regarded as the playmaker. Due to this, the strikers struggled against quality oppositions like Tunisia and Ivory Coast as they lacked quality supply. Sam Johnson has being given the task once more to play in the hole behind the front two at the tip of the diamond in the four-four-two formation. The Sweden based forward cum harder worker will be mostly involved with keeping rein on the opposition in pulling the strings in midfield by engaging in ball winning ability order than supplying the front line with elegance and style.
Doe, Jebor Partnership
The Francis Doe, William Jebor partnership or DJ partnership remains a huge point of conversation in many quarters. The strikers were first paired in the narrow win with Tunisia where Francis Doe scored from a header in the dying ambers at the ATS and then in the score draw with Guinea-Bissau with Jebor scoring from the spot at the same venue. They are both quality strikers. Strength and pace and finishing are no problem for them. Doe is the skillful type coming from deep and Jebor is the gangling man in the front line. But, they play on top each other with the exchange of passes between them or proper coordination becoming a major concern. However, once they can effectively gel, the goals will come by, something many will be itching to see.