Whatever power stars in the heavens have over hawks that roam about in the heavens will be determined on Sunday when Liberia’s Lone Star welcomes their Togolese counterparts in a crucial Nations Cup decider at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
The Togolese national soccer team is known as Sparrow Hawks and of course the national team’s known as the Lone Star. This, in every sense, is a battle in the air; and whether a lone star can tame sparrow hawks, an expected grueling 90 minutes total soccer will have to reveal.
National team head coach James Salinsa Debbah stands at a threshold of history: for as player he led his side against the Togolese and now as a coach he is leading his boys against another group of Togolese soccer players, with the incredible Emmanuel Adebayor in their midst.
But who is afraid of Adebayor? We simply respect him for his exploits in Europe and coming face to face in a crucial decider that could determine the chances of both contenders as to who gains the upper hand for the Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup, puts the game on a contentious level.
Liberia, struggling to give its national soccer a new day is at the hallmark of history, with Togo standing in their way, will accept nothing better than victory.
And what about the Togolese? Clearly, while victory for Liberia on Sunday will frustrate their chances, since there is the likelihood of Tunisia sweeping by Togo (Tunisia has two outstanding games against Djibouti and Liberia at home), the Togolese are at a difficult crossroad.
In their encounter, the Togolese came from 1-0 down to defeat Liberia 2-1, but that Liberia could take the lead in Lome is in a sense a great worry to Togolese Claude de Roy. Like his nature, the Frenchman will still insist that there is a chance for his boys and might have done his homework, with tactical fitness to complement his efforts, but I am sure that even Togolese nationals at home are hopefully convinced that their side can pull through.
And because Coach Debbah is aware of the history that he is about to make, he would not allow things to pass him by.
Though Sunday’s decider is reminiscent of the World Cup encounter with Togo’s neighbor, Ghana, in 2002, when the unfortunate 2-1 result against Liberia brought the downfall of Liberia’s football developmentl; the current corps of players cannot allow that to repeat.
True, there is evidence that Coach James Debbah is set to make history and the Liberian people are behind him, but it would be a history that he would not win on a silver platter, judging from Togo’s readiness to make an attempt to prove that they are not mere pushovers.