Liberia Leaves for WAFU U-20 Tournament in Guinea

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Flashback: Players of the Liberia U-20 National Team at ATS.

A 26-man Liberia Football Association (LFA) delegation on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 left Monrovia for Conakry to take part in this year’s West African Football Union (Wafu) under-20 Nations Cup finals in Guinea.

Muscat FC President Charles Massaley heads the delegation, which includes head coach Robert Lartey, deputy coach Cooper Sannah and goalkeeping coach Robertson Waner.

Ebenezer Barclay, Melvin Jerry, Ezekiel Sunday Doekpa and Prince Teah will serve as administrative manager, medic, kitman and caretaker respectively.

Liberia international Ashley Williams leads an 18-man squad following a ‘justify your inclusion’ trials, which started at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on Thursday, November 12.

Goalkeeper Williams burst unto prominence from last year’s edition when Liberia lost 2-1 to The Gambia in the grand-finale at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports complex on May 5, 2018.

The trials were under the supervision of LFA technical director Henry Browne, Liberia head coach Peter Butler and Lartey, who guided Liberia at the 2019 Wafu Nations Cup finals in Senegal.

United States-based Kanibah Kutu-Akoi of Philadelphia Lone Star FC, who played for Niagara County Community College (NCCC), is in the squad, having footed his own bills for the trials.

Defenders Ben Benaiah and Jeremy Saygbe and midfielder Marlon Harrison were pre-selected along with five players from the Wafu squad that competed in Senegal.

They include defenders Daniel Paye, Josephus Mantor and William Seigeh, midfielder Rufus Padmore and striker Mark Karley.

Browne, Lartey and Butler jointly-decided not to include five of the 22 players, who were selected by the latter from a three-day tournament in Ganta, Nimba County, and encamped at a technical center in Caresburg.

The technical crew will decide the best way to expose the five players before taking them to a competition of such nature.

Liberia have been drawn in Group ‘B’ along with The Gambia, Mali and Guinea Bissau.

The draw, which took place in Conakry on November 6, placed Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone in Group ‘A.’

The tournament kicks-off on November 24 when Senegal take on Sierra Leone at 3:30 p.m. and Guinea welcome Mauritania at 5:30 p.m.

The Gambia will entertain Mali at 3:30 p.m., and Liberia will knock boots with Guinea Bissau on November 25.

Liberia will then take on The Gambia on November 27 and Mali on December 2 to decide their fate in the semi-finals.

The local organizing committee is yet to name the venues for the tournament. However, matches are expected to be played at the 50,000-seater Stade de Nongo and 25,000-capacity Stade du Septembre 28 in Conakry.

The 5,000-seater Stade Régional Saifoullaye Diallo in Labe, which is the administrative capital of Fouta Djallon region and second largest city in Guinea, is expected to be used as the training ground.

The grand-finale will be played on December 8.

Full Under-20 squad

Goalkeepers: Ashley Williams and Jimmy Dorbor (LISCR FC)

Defenders: Jeremy Saygbe and John Momo (LISCR FC); William Seigeh (BYC-II), Ben Benaiah (Nimba United), Daniel Paye (Bea Mountain) and Josephus Mantor (Nimba Kwado)

Midfielders: Marlon Harrison and Edward Ledlum (LISCR FC); Rufus Padmore (BYC-II), Festus Blapoh (Monrovia Club Breweries), Morris Konneh (LPRC Oilers), Frederick Dennis (Tony FC) and Alvin Gbotoe (BYC-II).

Strikers: Mark Karley (LISCR FC), Jestino Jackson (BYC-II) and Kanibah Kutu-Akoi (Philadelphia Lone Star FC, United States of America).

Source: Liberia Football Association.

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