In the first leg of the 2018 World Cup elimination series against Guinea Bissau on October 8 in Monrovia, striker Francis Grandpa Forkey Doe had the game on his shoulders.
When he entered the pitch along with other players, the large crowd gave him a standing ovation, to express appreciation for what he did against Tunisia on September 5.
They wanted a repeat.
Tunisia is one of the best football nations in Africa and the country has an improved record or standing on both CAF and FIFA than Liberia. So before the match against Tunisia, knowledgeable football fans could not suggest if there could be any miracle that could help Liberia overcome Tunisia.
But when the game was called to order, it was rasta-haired Francis Grandpa Doe whose penetrating shot exposed Tunisian to a painful one goal defeat.
True, he did not take the ball from Lone Star’s goal area, he got help from other colleagues but remember that football composes of eleven men a piece.
It was due to that incredible success story against Tunisia that Francis Doe received a standing ovation as he joined the team for the match against Guinea Bissau when he entered the stadium.
Responding to the cheers, Francis Doe lifted his two hands with a smile and looked the way of the fans.
They cheered because they loved him.
And against Guinea Bissau, Francis Doe was at his best in ball possession and distribution. Along with his friends, Patrick Gerhadt, Sam Johnson and Zar Kranger, the match in Monrovia exposed Guinea Bissau’s hollow defensive team-work.
Francis Doe was like a horse, as he was found everywhere near the goal area of Guinea Bissau, and for three occasions, Grandpa Doe came close to scoring, but the gods of soccer had wished that he would not add his name on the score-sheet.
Grandpa Doe wanted victory, and wanted it badly but he was affected by the anxiety to score. He was aware of what was expected of heroes, those who die a little for their countries in such encounters.
And he wanted to do more.
But in the end, as he struggled, along with his team-mates for the elusive victory, a closer look at him could tell that he was becoming frustrated. Frustrated yes, because Francis Doe saw his wish to hit the back of the net fading, for goalkeeper Jonas Mendes was at his best.
And so it was goalkeeper Mendes’ good performance that robbed Francis Doe of heroism and glory, and what was the result afterwards?
Everyone deals differently in our own frustrations, and I am told that Francis Doe, the speed-star and goal-maker was dropped from the Lone Star team for the return leg.
In many people, they cry when they are frustrated; others get angry at anything or whatever someone says, and it needs a trained psychologist to diagnose and to understand human responses to defeat or when expectations failed, when least expected.
And so without Francis Doe, Lone Star came on top, banging in three goals from the boots of William Jebor who also played in the first leg, along with Francis Doe.
Whatever his faults, Francis Doe is a human like us. He weeps and is overcome by events like anyone of us.
But before anyone casts the first stone against Francis Doe, let me borrow this quote from the greatest man to walk this earth (Jesus Christ), when a woman was accused of adultery.
He (Jesus) admitted that the Mosaic Law demanded that adulterous persons should be stoned, but he challenged those who wanted to carry out the execution to think.
“Anyone of you without sin,” Jesus said, evading eye contact with the woman’s accusers, “let him be the first to cast the stone.”
Don’t you love this man! And in all sincerity, they knew they were all sinners.
Please give Francis Doe a break, for heroes are heroes and you either love them or hate them.