By: Hawa Wesseh
In preparation for the Federation of International Football [Fifa] world cup qualifications slated for Brazil next year, Liberia Lone Stars will faced the Uganda Cranes in Monrovia on March 24. Interim Coach Frank Jericho Nagbe named recently 12 overseas professionals and 25 local players.
The list is expected to be trimmed to 23 players, but observers believed the overseas players list will remain as it is meaning cuts are expected to come from the other end.
Nagbe, recently appointed on the recommendation of George Weah was fired from his assistant coaching position about three years ago because of disciplinary reasons.
Reports say on his watch, Liberia’s U-23 players broke camp in Ghana while the team was on a trip to Yemen. The late Hungarian tactician Bertalan Bicskei under whom the 54 year old Nagbe served as assistant then, petitioned the Liberian Football Association [LFA] to replace him, a result with which he wasn’t pleased.
Although Liberia is currently on the hunt for a national team coach, it is unlikely the local FA will hire a foreigner.
Returning to the Lone Stars are Anthony Laffor of Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa, Dioh Williams BK Hacken, Sweden and Francis Doe of Selangor FC, Malaysia. The three players were expelled last year for corrective actions by Coach Kaetu Smith.
Reports say while the three have been core to Lone Stars success in the past, they have been the most difficult to manage in recent years.
Liberia and Uganda have canceled each other out in head to head matchups. Motivated by 1995 World Player of the Year George Weah, Liberia beat Uganda 2-0 in Monrovia during the 1999 Afcons qualifications, but lost 1-0 during the first leg in Uganda.
Interim coach Nagbe and his assistant Thomas Kodjo could probably stay on as coaches if they rescue Liberia from the bottom of the table which includes, Angola, Senegal, and Uganda.
The new managers will have to do a lot to impress Liberians, because the Ugandan Cranes are enjoying success under their current Scottish Coach Bobby Williamson.
Last year the Cranes under Williamson drew 1-1 with Angola, drew 1-1 with Senegal, beat Congo 4-0, and squared even with former African champs Zambia in a 1-0 lost and 1-0 win.
Ahead of the decisive World cup qualifier against Liberia, reports say Williamson and his contingent will setup camp in Accra, Ghana for three days before traveling to Liberia to face their West African counterparts. The full Lone Stars squad is expected to be named this week.
12 Overseas based: Solomon Grimes, Ansu Toure, Anthony Laffor, Alseny Keita, Patrick Gerhardt, Sekou Jabateh Oliseh, Tonia Tisdell, Patrick Wleh, Dioh Williams, Zah Rahan Krangar, Stephen Mennoh, and Francis Doe.
25 local based: Nathaniel Sherman, James Gallay, Mulbah Urey, Teah Dennis, Francis Jallabah, Solomon Wesseh, Trokon Zeon, Aloysius Symujlah, Marcus Macaulay, Abraham Karpeh, George Gebro, Isaac Pupo, Martin Karndu, Melvin George, Daniel Woto, Mohammed Varney, Franklin Mulbah, Myers Garlo, Musa Dargbason, john Martor, Sylvanus Morris, Sekou Munabah, Terrance Jones, Dominic Jarteh, and Alvin Maconnel.