Lone Star Depart for Saudi Arabia’s friendlies, Butler Makes Late Call-ups

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Defenders Sampson Dweh (in possession of the ball) and Jeremy Saygbe (LISCR FC) at one of their training sessions

Liberia national team delegation comprising local players and officials on Monday departed the country for two international friendlies against Saudi Arabia Olympic Team in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The matches are slated for March 27 and 30, 2020.

Before the team’s departure on Monday, Head Coach Peter Butler made four changes in his squad. This followed after the organizers communicated that they are unable to connect flights for some of Liberia’s foreign-based players, including Van Dave Harmon and Prince Balde, who are based in Kosovo, Mark Pabai (Netherlands), and David Tweh (Belarus) due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The four players were replaced with Alloy Brown of First Division league leaders Nimba United, Budu Sherman of Freeport FC, Julius Quille of second division side Tony FC, and Armah Vaikainah of LISCR FC.

First Division defending champions LPRC’s forward William Freeman was the final late call-up to replace Croatian-based Sylvanus Nimely, who pulled out of the squad due to injury.

Prior to the inclusion of Alloy Brown in his squad, Coach Butler came under huge criticism for leaving out striker Brown in his provisional list of local players. Brown has been in the spotlight since his outstanding performance in the 2020 National County Sports Meet and later extended in the national league.

Responding to his decision to leave out striker Brown in his earlier squad, Coach Butler said “Alloy Brown played well in the County Meet in which he did extremely well but the County Meet is a million miles away from international or, European football so I had to pick the best players between Alloy Browne, Peter Wilson, Sylvanus Nimely, Mohammad Kamara, and Van Dave Harmon. More besides, one will want to measure his performance in the local league which is also a good achievement but again we have a focus on the international stage- plus we can’t pick everybody. So yes, I had to make a decision in selecting the best for the friendlies.

Notably, Alloy Brown cannot play on the right, left, or as a supporting forward instead he plays directly right down the middle as a center forward unlike the others. I just couldn’t pick five strikers. It just wasn’t an easy decision.”

Coach Butler also emphasized that he remains committed to building a stronger and youthful team that will be able to compete in international competitions, but said a lot more needs to be done to have better playing facilities, programs and more international friendlies   

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Tommy Songo (LISCR) and Alpha Jalloh (LPRC Oilers)

Defenders: Jeremy Saygbe (LISCR FC), Sampson Dweh (LPRC Oilers), Daniel Paye (Bea Mountain), Budu Sherman (Freeport FC), Prince Nagbo (Nimba Kwado) and Frederick Dennis (Tony FC)

Midfielders: Armah Vaikainah and Sam Jackson (LISCR FC); Allen Njie (NK Slaven Belupo, Croatia), Oscar Murphy Dorley (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic), Festus Blapoh (Monrovia Club Breweries), Marcus Macauley (Aljeel, Saudi Arabia), Edward Ledlum (Bea Mountain) and Julius Quille (Tony FC)

Forwards:Peter Wilson (Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biala, Poland), Alloy Brown (Nimba Kwado) and William Freeman

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