Lone Stars Coach Debbah Must keep Anthony Laffor As Captain
Anthony Laffor pic: bbc.co.uk
By Ralph Geeplay
1. Liberia Lone Stars manager James Salinsa Debbah have already announced his era is here. How long he will stay at the helm as coach though, is another matter that remains to be seen, but he has come in with a bang and in doing so have left out the bulk of the players that anchored the team for the past eight or more years. Key players Dioh Williams, Patrick Wleh and most importantly NS Metrix goal scorer Francis Doe didn’t get an invite. A decision that could hunt the newly appointed coach. Debbah needs leadership and consistency in the pockets. He also needs stability given the drastic changes he has rollout. It therefore makes sense keeping the Sundowns forward who himself has scored important goals for the national team and should the keep the locker room steady.
2. Already Alex Nimley, Tonia Tisdell and Sekou Oliseh have failed to show up for camp, key players that Coach Debbah named in his final 23; they bombed his plans to push the Hawks to the limits for the all-important afcons fixture with Togo that will have 2008 African Footballer of the Year and Tottenham Hotspurs lethal striker Emmanuel Adebayo in the fold. Most of these players could still find their way back to the national team [Doe, Williams, Jabateh, Wleh, Tisdell etc]; they have all been captained by the South African Sundowns hit man. Liberia may need these players soon. While the argument can be made that young players are on the rise, experience the last time I check is still a valuable asset, don’t’ mind what the Liberia Football Association and the Liberian coach may say to these players as efforts may be made soon to lure them back; they too have camaraderie they have been friends for years, and Laffor could also be a stitch in time and influence them back to the team when they are needed someday. At this point having lost almost the entire team, coach Debbah cannot afford to lose the respect of Laffor.
3. James Debbah as a coach must be aware of the changers he is wringing! Change is good yes, but change rush too early and with much haste could rummage and hurt, if it is swift, brash and perverse. The ship must sail still by old hands. Skipper Laffor colleagues have absolute confidence in him, none of them have complained to the locker room leadership he has provided these many years.
4. He is patriotic. Anthony Laffor have said he was retiring from international football. Not happy that support from the Liberian Football Association and the national government was flat to the national team, but he still returned when he was called for national duty and not grouchy, even while his colleagues have bolted; he deserves the respect and Coach Debbah should be the first one to acknowledge that. When Most of his colleagues will not be in Lome on the 13 of June, he will be.
5. Portuguese based Rio Ave forward William Jerbo wearing the armband against the so-called friendly Liberia played against an Accra based loosely put together football team which the stars won 2-0, should make Laffor hungry to wear the arm band again to show the young bucks who were called in droves recently by coach James Salinsa Debbah that he is capable, and would assert the leadership he has provided in the past that has kept the locker room steady under seven different coaches.