GRANDPA DOE GETS CALL-UP AFTER LAMBASTING COACH DEBBAH’S SELECTION
- Written by Danesius Marteh,
Monrovia - FrontPageAfrica has seen a leaked document in which Francis Grandpa Doe has been recalled by Liberia head coach James Salinsa Debbah for a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier with Tunisia on September 5. The match is expected to take place at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS), which has been undergoing its fifth renovation in two years since March. Doe last played for Liberia in a 2-0 defeat to Senegal in a 2014 World Cup qualifier at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) sports complex in Paynesville on June 16, 2013.
Then head coach Thomas Kojo ignored Doe for the 2015 Afcon qualifiers with Lesotho in which Liberia won 1-0 at the ATS on May 18, 2014 and lost 0-2 at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on June 1, 2014 due to a bad boy’s reputation he may have allegedly developed with LFA president Musa Bility.
Debbah, who was appointed last November, surprised many pundits by continuing Doe’s international exile when he named his squad to face Togo in a 2017 Afcon qualifier in Lome on June 14. And Doe, who has top scored in the Malaysian Premier League with eight goals for NX Matrix, was very critical of the gaffer’s last selection.
“I thought it is based on your club’s performance that you are selected by national team coaches for a given match or tournament. So I don’t know why I wasn’t selected by the coach” said Doe. “Maybe he knows why he selected those who were selected but that’s not the way to go. And I will have to speak to my family about any call [to play for Liberia again],” Doe told UNMIL Radio’s Sports Extra program on August 3.
Liberia beat Tunisia 2-0 in a 2000 Afcon qualifier at the SKD on June 20, 1999 with goals from Olivar Makor and George Weah but lost 7-2 in their last meeting in an international friendly in Tunis on December 30, 2001. Malaysia-based Patrick ‘Ronaldinho’ Wleh, who scored against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly on July 24, was omitted from Debbah’s list of 28 foreign-based players with clubless Sekou Jabateh-Oliseh, Raymond Fanciah, Melvin King, Adolphus Marshall and George Weah, Junior all included. In their eight meetings, Liberia won two, drew two and lost four and Bility is upbeat the statistics must change.
“This is a do or die battle. It is very crucial for us. We have to win Tunisia [to have any chance in Group, having lost our first game]. We are sending for all the players tomorrow [August 18],” Bility told Sports Extra on August 17.