Liberia’s local national team suffered a devastating 3-0 defeat against Senegal’s local national team in the first leg of the 2022 CHAN qualifiers on Sunday at the SKD Sports stadium in Paynesville.
CHAN is a biennial African national association football tournament organized by CAF exclusively for players playing in their national league competitions.
It took the Senegalese just 34 minutes to get it all done and dusted as the three first-half goals were the ultimate deciders.
Bouly Sambou ran his way through to divert a low ground shot from Jean Diouf to score the opener 14 minutes down the clock.
The visitors didn’t play the match like visitors as they pushed all bodies forward in order to increase their goals tally.
Raymond Ndour made it 2-0 in the 31st minute after collecting a through ball in the Lone Star’s 18-yard-box and sent in a placement in the bottom left corner, sending goalkeeper Ashely Williams the wrong way.
It took just four minutes later for the visitors to extend their lead to 3-0 to end the first half.
Coach Ansumana Keita, who was appointed as a stand-in coach for the match, made a couple of substitutions in the second half, sticking with his ball possession-based style of play, but the local Lone Star struggled to get a shot on target.
Unlike grassroots football, which focuses on the improvement of talent and self-confidence, the senior national team is about results.
Introducing a ball possession-based style “Tao Tao”, a style the U-15 and U-17 are very excellent at executing, at the senior national team might be a good idea, but Liberians have run out of patience with the unfavorable results from the senior national team.
On countless occasions, past and current national team coaches have told Liberians that “the team is young with great prospects, but will take time to build, as building a national team is a process.”
“I think there is no problem with the local national team, we tried to adapt to our possession game but the Senegalese gave us a difficult time. I was really satisfied with the entire game. Liberians will not grade my team because they needed victory,” Coach Keita told journalists in his post-match interview.
It remains uncertain whether Coach Keita will be given the job as head coach of the senior national team. However, regardless of who will take over from Peter Butler as a new head coach, it is certain that the senior national team will continue the “building process” until an identity (style of play) is adapted and properly executed from the grassroots to the senior level.
The return leg is scheduled for Saturday, July 30 in Dakar, Senegal.
Liberia suffered a 3-1 aggregate defeat when both teams last met in the 2020 CHAN qualifiers. The Lone Star won the first leg 1-0 at home and lost 3-0 away.