As the Ebola Virus Disease continues to decline in the country and the normal activities get underway, it makes sense for the Liberia Football Association to put in place important measures to rebuild the national soccer teams of Liberia.
The decision by the LFA to appoint ex-celebrated star James Debbah (Salinsa) as the head coach to rebuild the senior national team suggests interesting dimension in the development of players for the national team.
Though other former national team players, including Thomas Kojo, Kervin Sebwe and Christopher Wleh received appointments, the FA did not announce how much these men would be paid. Have these newly appointed coaches handled a club for a competition?
On his facebook account, the former celebrated player, and Miracle Man, Debbah noted that he is coming to the national team, not as a ‘messiah’ to save Liberian football, but rather as someone to impart discipline to his would-be charges.
Truth be told, Debbah knows that Liberian soccer was having many problems, including players and administrative discipline before the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
Indiscipline was rife among players and administrators. For instance, due to the Liberian government’s apparent lack of interest in developing a good national team, critical funds are always not available. The failure to provide needed funds to get better results shows indiscipline of the owners of the team that can work against any determined coach; please ask Coaches Kaetu Smith, Thomas Kojo and Frank Jericho Nagbe about their experiences with the LFA and Youth & Sports.
There are instances where players and officials travel on national assignments without per diems. Lone Star’s recent friendly trip to Equatorial Guinea and Junior Lone Star’s CAF return-leg trip to Abidjan are cases in point.
At the time of writing, jerseys and other materials belonging to Jr. Lone Star are sitting somewhere in New Kru Town, since they were seized by the players. Their contention was and is that per diems promised them must be paid before the materials are returned to the LFA.
Debbah should also understand that the failure of previous coaches, including J. Kaetu Smith, Frank Jericho Nagbe and Thomas Kojo as national coaches were not because they did not know their job. With all due respect Smith, Kojo and Nagbe possessed CAF recognized credentials.
It would also be important for Debbah to investigate why those coaches could not make a difference. Interestingly Kojo and even Kervin Sebwe are part of the current appointed coaches and therefore they should tell him why things never worked on the coaching side as well as on the administrative side.
Coach Kaetu Smith, without argument is one of the most disciplined coaches Liberia can boast of. Why, then did he not achieve much progress? It would be a wise decision for Debbah to talk to him.
Since Debbah has consistently stressed that he would bring discipline to the team, how much discipline can we find in his character?
“Debbah is a changed man,” a friend who knows him well told the Daily Observer, “he has outgrown the things he did when he was young and actively playing in Liberia.”
Ok. But what are his credentials for such an important job? How much is the LFA prepared to pay him? Will his appointment benefits include a car and a residence? In a subsequent examination, we’ll find out how much discipline Coach Debbah has gained for himself to be able to give players that would be under him.
While playing professional is one thing, to coach others is a different science altogether that only those who have prepared, are sure to make the difference that Liberian football is crying for and Coach Debbah has promised to deliver.