Listener Staff Report
With the Ugandan FA having finally found their man, in the Serbian, Coach “Micho,” who has won praised from the Ugandan media, given his previous exploits at SC Villa where he won titles, Liberia’s indigenous coach Frank Jericho Nagbe has gone to work, as he rally the Lone Stars for the impending elephant fight that is expected to take place at the Mandela Stadium, in Kampala in a few days.
Reports say Jericho is getting serious about the upcoming battle in Kampala. While little has been said about him in the media, his record must be good if he was recruited by George Weah, according to a Liberian sports writer spoken to for this article.
Jericho has had success and the record proves it. He coached the Stars from 1996 to 1998 and again during the 2002 Nations Cup finals in Mali. That same year he almost qualified the Liberian National team for the Korea/Japan World Cup, losing slightly and at the last minute to the Nigerian Super Eagles .
The Liberian tactician is also a decorated Liberian FA coach. He is a five times Coach of the Year recipient in the Liberian league: 1985, 1987, 1996, 2000 and 2004. “The 2-0 drubbing he gave Uganda after a long losing spell by Liberia says he takes his assignment seriously,” according the a LFA representative.
As he sets his eyes on the Uganda Cranes, reports say he has been grooming and training his team for past two weeks at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia, working mostly with the local lads he assembled as the he awaits the oversea professionals.
While the task at hand seems like a mountain to climb with Liberia lying at the bottom of the table in Group J, when he was handed to job, Jericho has always been optimistic of the Lone Stars chances, showing a coach who is not afraid, and is confident of his abilities.
He told In Profile Daily, when his surprise appointment was announced about a month ago, that “he [was] very hopeful of Liberia qualifying for the Brazil 2014 World cup.
Coach Jericho Nagbe said, despite the crucial period in the country’s football history, his new technical team can cause an upset against their international counterparts,” the daily reported. His brilliant deputy Thomas Kojo is considered the Liberian coach in waiting. Kojo has always excel whenever he took charge, and under Nagbe, he must be gaining immense experience.
To show consistency and the fact that he was satisfied with the team he assembled that beat the Cranes, the Liberian coach is bringing back into the squad the same 12 professionals he invited for the last game, notable returnees include maestros Francis Forkey Doe, Sekou Jabateh Oliseh, Tonia Tisdell, Patrick Wleh and midfield marshal Alseny Kieta.
But Uganda is determined to put up a fight even as they lied at the bottom of the log in group J. The newly signed Serbian coach told the press at a practice session in Kampala this week that he was ready for the pending fixtures. “I understand the general public feeling around [here]; that we can’t qualify for the next stage of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
But together with the players, we are going to give everything in us to win the remaining three games. We won’t go out without a fight,” Micho said, firing up his players, as he prepares to take the Cranes to Libya for a friendly.
He has called up Henry Kisekka, Ivan Bukenya, and veteran midfielder Hakim Magumba, who last appeared in 2005 for the Cranes, and is returning after seven years. Micho reports say has always kept faith with Magumba, who he also coached at the club level in Uganda before departing to manage the Rwanda national team.
Meanwhile, Liberia sports analysts say the Stars are building up nicely as the Uganda clash approaches.
Liberia in an international friendly dismissed Iraq 1-0, on Monday May 27 in Baghdad even as bombs were going off around the Baghdad stadium, which saw 54 dead. Observers say it is possible Liberia could play another friendly match with the full squad before the team fly out to East Africa to do battle with the Cranes, but that the Liberian FA was tight lipped and has not release any pending test matches, but the source within the LFA say Sierra Leone, Zambia and Kenya [their pending test match with Ghana was canceled], could be likely opponents.
He said Sierra Leone was a neighbor and is ranked above Liberia on the Fifa World Rankings table and their team is decent. And both Kenya and Zambia are East African countries that are also playing well like Uganda.