Despite the cancellation of training in Morocco
Deputy Coach Sam Chebli, who recently left his coaching assignment with BYC ll, in a methodical fashion assembled the members of the national soccer team, Lone Star, yesterday at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex and explained what he wanted from them.
The coach was visibly involved in his dialogue to his chargers who are preparing for their last encounter against DR Congo, away, to qualify for the African Cup of Nations in Egypt, next year.
Coach Chebli was a dare-devil striker during his days, and he expects his boys to do the same against DR Congo, for he believes that there is nothing impossible that the Lone Star cannot surmount.
Presently, the Lone Star has seven points from five games and Zimbabwe has eight points from five games. The two countries are likely to qualify from the group and Liberia, in fact, should be able to lead the group if she can overcome DR Congo in their last encounter away.
DR Congo has five points from six games and there is no likelihood that she can survive and then qualify for CAN 2019 in Egypt. Perhaps it could be the reason that National Coach Thomas Kojo told me yesterday that “the boys now know what it means to play for your country.”
Kojo, who was once a star player for Mighty Barrolle and the Lone Star, believes that the players’ perception of what it means to play for your team is changing. “Formerly the players did not understand what to do when a national anthem is being played as you represent your country,” he said. “Now the players know. From other countries players can shed tears just for being selected to represent their country and I am convinced that we are getting there.”
So now that Liberia needs a win or in the worst case scenario a draw to qualify, since Zimbabwe also has a game to play and justify their qualification, all Liberia needs to do is to remain focus, as Coach Chebli and player Sunny Boy Dolo said.
“We are getting the best training we can get from our coaches, getting ready for our last game,” Dolo said. “We are getting ready for the last game and we are not afraid of our opponents.”
Added Coach Kojo, “We are trying to keep our players so that any soccer fan can predict any selection that coaches can make for a particular game, as it was done in the past.”
He said when he was a key player for the national team in the 1980s, it was so easy for the fans to pick up who all would play in a particular match. “But to do that the fans should come and identify with their players.”
He said players of the Lone Star are more disciplined, unlike their days when some key players would leave camp and come back the day of the game; the present corps of players have not shown any such indiscipline. “We are grateful for such players because we (coaches) have no headache in that direction,” Kojo said.
Coach Chebli admitted that the proposed Morocco trip has been canceled and the coaches are taking advantage over that to do their training at home. “Everything is going well,” Coach Chebli said.
The sense of satisfaction that is found among the coaches is encouraging and therefore Liberia stands a good chance to work along with them, for the players also deserve to be told that Liberia loves them and therefore they must do all they can to get Liberia to Egypt by beating DR Congo in their own backyard.