Roving winger, Tonia Tisdell has been included in Coach Frank Jericho Nagbe’s squad that is expected to face the Uganda Cranes on match day, the 24th of this month at the Sports complex in Painesville, Monrovia.
Interim Coach Nagbe called up 12 Liberian professionals for the battle with the Cranes, including the 21-year old Tisdell, who is expected to add grit to the Liberian midfield, given his strong runs and power shots.
Observers say, it is player like Tisdell that heralds the next generation of Liberian stars given his relatively young age, and the promise he has shown when given the chance to don the national colors. Tisdell plies his trade for the Turkey outfit, Sanliurfaspor FC.
The Liberian international sensation has been a key component of the Lone Stars’ attack. Under former Coach Kaetu Smith, Tisdell provided weight to the squad and was rewarded with plenty of action.
The Turkish-based winger has been praised by sports writer Wleh Bedell as having a “quick pace, mesmerizing dribbles and [an] over all flair [that] made life very difficult for Stephen Keshi’s side.”
When Liberia faced the Super Eagles in Monrovia few months ago, it was the young Liberian international who roasted Nigerians defenders and World Cup-tested goal keeper Vincent Enyeama, when he blasted home the curtain raiser in the early minutes of the match by going first on the score sheet before Liberia’s football-crazed fans of 40,000 at the Monrovia Sports Complex.
His early goal sent the stadium to a fury carnival. He was too much for the Nigerians, as his early goal added to the exasperation of the Nigerians and Steve Keshi’s side, as the game toughened. His fourth minute goal came when he intercepted a well-measured pass from Liberia Petroleum Refining Company’s (LPRC) playmaker Isaac Pupo. Tonia did not disappoint, utilizing the chance and opportunity for his country.
The stylish Liberian midfielder moved to Ankaraspor FC in January 2009, that same year he was loaned to second division club Karşıyaka S.K. for two seasons, before being picked up by Sanliurfaspor. The Liberia-Uganda clash will be an important journey for the Lone Stars since the dismissal of Coach Kaetu Smith, whom the Liberian FA wanted to do well, had faith in him despite opposition to his appointment from Sports analysts and stake holders. But the spanking in Calabar, Nigeria, which saw the Lone Star losing 6-1 was probably the final nail in the coffin for the Liberian tactician.
Tisdell “represents young players early in their careers that will form the building block of the team in the coming years,” says sports commentator “Anthony Laffor, Dion Williams and Francis Forkey Doe, who were expelled and recently pardoned, are quickly approaching their 30s and on the way out, even though still useful to the Lone Stars now as ‘senior players’.”
To prepare for the Liberian attack, the Ugandan Cranes are setting up camp in Accra, Ghana, under their Scottish trainer Bobby Williamson. Uganda is in second place with two points behind Senegal, which leads Group J with four points. Angola also has two points, while Liberia lies at the bottom of the table with just one point. Coach Jericho Nagbe and his assistant, Thomas Kodjo have a herculean task, given that the Cranes are doing well under Williamson.
The Cranes coaching staff are optimistic about their chances against Liberia, but are being cautions. “The truth is, I don’t know much about Liberia. First I have never played against them, and stars like George Weah are not part of the team. Just like us, they [Liberia] are a new team now.
We are on equal footing,” added assistant coach Jackson Mayanja. Assistant Coach Mayanja also said: “Today there is no hiding place in football. You just have to prepare well tactically and psychologically and if those are ticked, plus some bit of luck, you can win away from home.”
The Monrovia derby, which is expected to draw a mammoth crowd come match day should also see wizard dribbler Sekou Jabateh Oliseh, goal punchers Zah Rahan Krangar and Patrick Wleh in action.
Although the Liberian manager, Frank Jericho Nagbe named 12 overseas-based players and 24 locals, the squad is expected to be trimmed to about 25 players. Observers believed the final squad could be named this week, with cuts coming mainly from the home-based list.