If 2016 knockout and league champions Monrovia Club Breweries have had a history of international experience, it would have been easy to predict this afternoon’s encounter at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium against JS Kabylie of Algeria with confidence.
And because they will be going into the game with the hope that they will laugh last if luck smiles on them, they should understand that their opponents, with an impressive history in continental competitions behind them, would approach the game purposefully, so much so that it does not make a lot of sense to rush to predict the result.
A closer look at JS Kabylie informs you that they are the most successful club in Algeria. They have won the Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1 title fourteen times and the Algerian Cup five times.
On the African continent, they have won the CAF Championship League twice, the Cup Winners Cup once and the CAF Cup three times. This record suggests that the Algerians cannot be described as pushovers. In actual sense, Monrovia Breweries are the underdogs.
That status put the Liberian team on a better footing, since their opponents don’t know much about them and they rather know much about the Algerians.
But make no mistake; the Algerians may have had the chance to have a sneak-peak of the playing tactics and strengths of Breweries through scouts that are normally sent out to get videos on games of their opponents. It is good for competitors to spy on each other to be able to learn much about their opponents, on their strength and weakness, so that they can be explored when the time comes.
For example, to digress a bit, the last Africa Nations Cup in Gabon, won by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, did not have any Liberian technical official or coach mingling and learning new skills from the teams that finally made it to the finals. And if the idea to have sent a technical official there came up, I am convinced that “lack of money” might have killed the idea.
Since Liberia would be playing in the Nations Cup, how was it that national team coach James Debbah was not sent to Gabon? I am saying this to mean that Monrovia Club Breweries FC should have secured videos on the
Algerians and use them in their preparation for this afternoon’s encounter. If they did not, they should know that their opponents did something similar to get some advantage, to know how the Liberian side builds their aggressions and defenses.
While there is much anticipation on the side of Monrovia Club Breweries FC to put up a good game and make the return leg a mere formality, playing at home in the first round places a huge task on the them. And this is where soccer fans should show more maturity no matter what happens, and give their team a chance to do better either here or away.