It is not very often when the good things in life are presented on a silver platter. If there is a chance to make a difference in a difficult situation, the challenge must be accepted and sacrifices made to show that at proper conditions much could have been attained.
That is the story of Jr. Lone Star, the national soccer team as the team welcomes their Ivorian counterparts in their second round match of the African Youth Championship first leg in Monrovia.
While it is fair not to overlook the inadequate training the team has undergone, there is much that the players can hold on to as the trump card against their Ivorian counterparts.
And it is the players’ determination to fight to the end, no matter the challenges. What the Liberian side has to its advantage is individual talent. At the recent clash between BYC and Sewe Sport of San Pedro, the Liberian side put up a yeoman’s performance and fought back to square things to the surprise of their Ivorian opponents.
Granted that the return leg in Abidjan did not go in their favor, the 1-0 loss indicated how much a good fight the Liberians put up. Now Jr. Lone Star is facing a similar situation, playing their first leg at home and traveling to Abidjan to complete their campaign.
Perhaps, for their long absence in the continental youth championship, the Liberians can be described as the under-dogs and this gives them a status to be more determined to teach their opponents some soccer lessons.
However, to say that Sunday’s game will be won on a silver platter is to overlook the obvious that the Ivorians are masters in their own right.
Their record indicates that they have appeared five times in this particular competition and it makes sense to conjecture that triumphing over a bunch of players from a country that takes its football program more serious is to ignore the challenges they are able to pose for Jr. Lone Star. For their successes have been the results of their persistent good record. Against such a team demands nothing less that undivided training.
Unfortunately, it is exactly what Jr. Lone Star players did not get. But I am convinced that with their previous experience against The Gambians, they are aware that to continue the campaign means beating the ivorians in the two-leg encounter or give them some lessons from the new breed of soccer heroes that are being prepared to defend this country in the future.