Senegal will face off with Mali in the first game and Gambia will clash with Guinea in continuation of the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) tournament at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
The second match will bring Mali and The Gambia face to face to decide who join the elite group that could eventually move on to the next stage of the tournament.
In the first two games on Tuesday, host Liberia could not take advantage of the fact that they were playing at home and despite the presence of soccer legend President George Manneh Weah in the VIP Stand, they suffered a 3-0 humiliating loss.
Their opponents, Baby Elephants of La Cote d’Ivoire did not have mercy on the home team and wrapped up a 3-0 humbling that has become the talk of the town.
Though Deputy Minister Andy Quamie has said the Liberian government wants to use sports to rebrand and that’s why the government is in 100% support of Junior Lone Star team, however, with the humiliating defeat of the team, questions abound about what level of support the government provided.
The Daily Observer has learned that the Junior Lone Star players were being paid LD200 per training, during the preparation stage for the tournament.
Sports officials may have done some good during the team’s preparation but the performance of the team against the young Ivorians proved that there was something seriously missing in the team’s camp.
As it became evident, the players could not rise above their mediocre performance to match that of the Ivorian side. Their ball possession was faulty and coordination was flawed. The man of the match for Junior Lone Star was the goalkeeper who had to work overtime to avoid a massive loss.
In fact, the Ivorians’ technique worked well for them. They played man to man in the first 45 minutes and by the second half, it became apparent that their Liberian opponents had lost their sense of direction in the match.
With the team unable to gain authority over their game, they just followed the Ivorians as they dictated the pace of the game. It was no wonder that they scored their three goals in this half.
Junior Lone Star still have Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau to play in their group and except some serious changes are made in the team, including the technical team, Liberia’s game would be disappointing.
While we stand to be corrected, the players should assert themselves to understand their current dismal position and the humiliation that their first massive loss has brought to the country.
Junior Lone Star must redeem themselves in their next match to win the hearts of the people otherwise any loss against their next opponents would expose them to shame and they will live to regret it.
If a man is defeated at home despite the massive home support, just imagine what could happen when he is before his opponents and there is no one to cheer him up!
Junior Lone Star must rise and shine, period!