All Hope Is Not Lost, Lone Star Will Be in Gabon
By Paul A. Konneh, III
Well, I have read and heard all the football "experts" criticizing the work that coach Debbah has done for our National Team.
What people keep forgetting about is Debbah's mandate is to build a National Team that could compete with the big boys and he has definitely delivered so far.
From the moment I watched our display in Lome on the first day of qualifiers, I knew right then that Debbah was the man to lead the Lone Star to its former glory. Maybe, it might not be in 2017, but looking at how we play, the caliber of players we have, and the discipline within the team, I see a bright future for our National Team.
I do know we are hurting from being forced to a 2-2 draw against Togo. It's reminiscent of the match against Ghana few years back when we needed only a win at home to qualify for the World Cup which didn't go as planned. Hopefully, this one will, but how?
Well, it's very simple, either win or have a scoring draw away to Tunisia in September. It might seem laughable to even suggest we could beat Tunisia away or even draw with them but crazy things have happened in soccer.
Forget about Togo beating Djibouti 10-0. That won't really count if we draw with Tunisia ATLEAST 1-1.
Assuming we draw with Tunisia 1-1 and Togo, as expected, defeat Djibouti, then Liberia, Togo, and Tunisia will be tied at 11 points.
According to the rules of the competition, since those three teams will be tied on points, a mini-table of matches played ONLY between those three teams will be drawn to determine the winner.
So, if that scenario comes into play, these are the results that will stand:
Togo 2-1 Liberia
Liberia 1-0 Tunisia
Tunisia 1-0 Togo
Togo 0-0 Tunisia
Liberia 2-2 Togo
Tunisia 1-1 Liberia *assuming we get this result in September
With the above results, the mini-table will be:
Liberia 1W-2D-1L 5GF-5GA-0GD 5pts
Togo 1W-2D-1L 4GF-4GA-0GD 5pts
Tunisia 1W-2D-1L 2GF-2GA-0GD 5pts
The first of many criteria used will be "GREATEST NUMBER OF POINTS" but all three teams will be tied at 5pts.
Next is "BETTER GOAL DIFFERENCE", but all teams are tied on 0 goal difference.
Next is "GREATER NUMBER OF GOALS" . This will qualify us due to the fact that we will have 5 goals while Togo and Tunisia will have 4 and 2 goals, respectively.
Based on the mini-table and according to the competition's rule, Liberia will qualify based on the greater number of goals scored; however, a 0-0 draw against Tunisia will allow Togo to qualify if they defeat Djibouti.
So, as you can see, our qualification is still in our hands. It's about time we unite behind the LFA, our hard-working coaches, and our dedicated players to see us through to Gabon
About the Author: Paul A. Konneh, III is currently the President/Executive Director of Junior Lone Star FC, a semi-professional soccer club based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. In his spare time, Konneh also writes articles and he's one of the sports writers at Philly Soccer Page.