La Cote d’Ivoire Whip Sierra Leone 4-1 in WAFU Tourney
Perhaps the players of Junior Lone Star, the national U-20, yesterday returned to the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex to engage their second opponents, Guinea Bissau, in continuation of the West Africa Football Union (WAFU).
The Liberians in their attempt to reclaim their honor defeated Guinea Bissau 2-1 in an exciting soccer encounter to set the stage for their chances in the current tournament.
Remember that in their first encounter, the Liberian youths lost 3-0 to La Cote d’Ivoire. The Ivorians, who appear to be the favorites in the tournament, whipped Sierra Leone 4-1 in the first game yesterday.
By every account, the Ivorian side will be a team to beat. The easy but impressive ways they defeated Junior Lone Star 3-0 and Sierra Leone 4-1 raise the question if any of the teams in the current tournament can overcome them as the tournament continues.
Their 4-1 victory over Sierra Leone makes the favorites in the tournament. With seven goals in their favor with one against in two games, it is tempting not to predict the Ivorians to win the WAFU Championship.
Though the Liberian side did not live to expectation in their game because of the simple reason that they went against a better side, their 2-1 victory Guinea Bissau may not be impressive but something to relish in the long. It is true that the Liberians are still mourning over their 3-0 loss to the Ivorians, especially so when Chief Patron George Weah was on the stands watching their every move, they will do well to continue their progress in their next match.
With the Ivorians’ ability to score at will, it does not look comfortable for the Liberian side to entertain some hope that they could sharpen their scoring skills to be more dangerous in their next round of encounters.
So far the Ivorians have proved that they are a force to reckon with and this simply means that their football authorities mean business in developing their country’s youth football.
Of course, it will be too easy to forget the lessons of the WAFU Tournament after two rounds of matches. In reality, the momentum of the recent County Meet could have continued to affect the tournament if the home team had done well in the first match.
Victory in the first match could have moved Chief Patron George Weah to remember his days when he was the darling of soccer fans which could also have moved him to make some commitment to the development of youth football.
This does not mean that losing is ok in itself. The 3-0 loss will give Chief Patron Weah the necessity for the government to make some serious commitment, despite the ‘pro-poor agenda’ to ensure that sports, particularly soccer is given a chance to develop so that Liberians youth can hold their heads over their opponents in regional and continental competitions.
So as the WAFU Games proceed, it is the hope of Liberian soccer fans that our sports officials are watching events with eagle eyes to be able to make the necessary recommendation and decision to back the development of youth football.
If that is done, we too, like the Ivorian side, could travel to the venue of the next WAFU Tournament, and dictate the pace of the game in our every game.