Monrovia - Liberia again failed to make it to the group stage of the inaugural edition of the West African Football Union 16 Nations Cup tournament sponsored by Fox Sports in Cape Cost, Ghana.
The local based national football team of Liberia was beaten by their counterparts from Senegal 5-4 on penalties shootout after full 90 minutes of play ended goalless on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the Cape Coast sports stadium in southern Ghana.
The Taranga Lions started match with lot of pressure on Lone Star’s defense but missed the first real opportunity of the match in the 2nd minute after Assane Mbodji decent pass put Amadou Dia Ndiaye through but his effort went off the side net.
Though the Lone Star started the match on a very slow pace, they got in the game later and controlled the first half but did not knock on the Taranga Lions door much by an attack force headed by Mark Paye and Christopher Jackson.
The LISCR pair did little to pressure the young Senegalese back four after Marcus Macaulay and John Jaysay combined well in midfield with Van-Dave Harmon and Terrance Tisdell supplying from the wings.
In the 17th minute Liberia came within inches of taking the lead when Marcus Macauley met a cross from Tisdell with a strong header, but his effort came off the crossbar and the follow-up attempt was pushed over the post by Mark Paye who header was not good enough to get the match opener.
The Lions were awarded their first corner-kick in the 36th minute but the young Lone Star shot stopper Abdulai Koulibaly managed to get the ball off his box with a little tip.
Both teams did not create any real chance during the first half as the ball was played in the middle of the pitch and there were poor decision in front of goal from both teams ending the first half goalless .
Senegal, though, did end the more confident of the two sides with a 22-yard shot from Assane Mbodj going inches wide in the 43rd minute.
Liberia’s Terrence Tisdell drove into the Lions’ box from the left flank in the 46th minute but his shot from about twelve yard hit the side net to the disbelief of Liberians back home who were viewing the game on television.
Marcus Macauley long range effort in the 58th minute went off Senegal post by inch.
Senegal’s first real chance of the second half came in the 64th minute after a well-struck 24-yard free-kick from Jean Remi Bocande, but his effort was brilliantly saved by lone Star’s keeper Koulibaly.
James Debbah was force to make his first substitution of the match in the 69th minute after right back Nuwo Johnson injured his right knee in the 66th minute the Fassell FC defender was replaced by Monrovia Club Breweries’ central back Prince Blade who did well in helping the pair of Alvin Maccornel and Kemoh Kamara with lots of air balls in defending.
Mark Paye who was not real noticed on the pitch had to make way for skillful David Tweh in the 79th minute as the creative midfielder one two one in midfield brought little life to the Lone Star that were seen very tired during the second half.
Fallah Sheriff came on for Van-Dave Harmon who ran the longest distance on the pitch but Fallah might be disappointed in his introduction as he was involved in a crucial penalty missed for Liberia that send the Musa Bility boys picking their bags out the tournament.
The LISCR winger who inclusion into the team was the major discussion among Liberians when the final 18 men squad of Debbah was reveal by the LFA step up at the Six penalty of Liberia but his ball went outside and the well-organized Senegalese side scored their six penalty to send them to the group stage of the tournament.
Both sides did not create any significant chances in front of goal as the match ended goalless and went into penalty shoot-out which Senegal won 5-4.
Christopher Jackson and Fallah Sherrif missed Liberia’s second and last penalty while Marcus Macauley, Terrance Tisdell, Alvin Maccornel and Abdulai Koulibaly scored from the spot.
Speaking to FPA prior to the team’s departure James Debbah said his team was not adequately prepared for the tournament because of the three weeks of training.
According to Debbah he recommended to the LFA to camp the team in Liberia before their departure but the old age problem of “No Money” was the order of the day from the football house.
“We have been training for the last three weeks; I don’t think we are adequately prepared,” Debbah said.
“It is a problem for the technical staff when the players are not in camp, they go home and we do not monitor their activities.”
For his part Lone Star Deputy coach Thomas Kojo told FrontPage Africa from Ghana that he sees prospect in the team that played against Senegal but said it will only come to reality if the government invest in the young players.
Kojo Said “ if we had prepare adequately the performance of our team was going to be better.”
Senegal coach: Moustapha Seck
Senegal: 16. P. Ndiaye, 12. Barry, 9. Dieme, 3. Kane, 4. Kante, 6. Oumar, 8. Bara, 22. Mbodj (10. Marone 82’), 13. Bocande, 17. Badiane (11. D. Dieme 69’), 18. A. Ndiaye.
Liberia coach: James Debbah
Liberia: 1. Abdulai Koulibaly, 11. Aloysius Simujla, 5. Alvin Maccornel, 8. Kemoh Kamara, 17. Nuwo Johnson (3. Prince Balde 69’), 7. Terrance Tisdell, 19. John Jaysay, 2. Marcus Macauley, 20. Van-Dave Harmon (10. Fallah Sheriff 87’), 4. Christopher Jackson, 15. Mark Paye (22. David Tweh 79’).