Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Will the Lone Star shine in Windhoek?

By: ralph geeplay

                                                             Namibian Brave warriors

Liberia Lone star will be in action this weekend in Namibia to play in the African Cup of Nation’s qualifiers (AFCON) slated for next year, in what is expected to be a lot of fireworks with the Liberian side looking to win or draw. Liberia beat Namibia 1-0 in their first leg encounter in Monrovia, thanks to a 67 minute goal from striker Dion Williams.

The tie is expected to be a tough one, because since losing to Liberia about a month ago, Namibia have won against Kenya 1-0, and lost to Nigeria 1-0 in the FIFA Brazil 2014 world cup qualifying series.  "It was very simple. They played at home and took the game to us at every opportunity." Said the Brave Warriors Captain Ronald Ketjijereahead in an interview he gave to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as the tie with Liberia looms this weekend. He said his team would leave no stone unturned in its drive to win against their Liberian opponents. First, he praised the Liberians for winning in their backyard. “They kept us under pressure and our plan was to ensure that we don't concede more and keep it simple. We finally managed that but ideally a scoreless result could have worked for us.” Adding, “but now we have it all to do. We have to win by two clear goals to advance. We have the confidence and we have to do it against all odds…We will play to win and show no mercy to Liberia.” Meanwhile, Liberia since the match with Namibia have lost 3-1 to Senegal in Dakar and drew 0-0 to Angola in Monrovia.

Liberia will be without strikers Dioh Williams who scored the winning goal against Namibia, Francis Doe who scored against the Lions of Senegal and team captain Anthony Snoti Laffor who play in South Africa, having being suspended by Coach Kaetu Smith for breaking rules at camp. Those are perhaps the best players on the team, making the Lone star journey even daunting, according to fans.

Namibia however shown class when they visited Monrovia two weeks ago, creating many chances but failing to rattle the net.

Both Rudolf Bester and Lazarus Kaimbi were excellent and in good form for the Brave Warriors but wasted all of their chances.

The Liberia coach Kaetu Smith is under enormous pressure to register his first win for the team since he was appointed coach about a month ago. The win Liberia recorded against the Brave Warriors came under care taker coach Thomas Kodjo who was passed over for coach Smith. To win in Windhoek, a Liberian football analyst Wleh Bedell say Liberia must use players who play sturdily and fight for the ball, adding  "from all indication [it] would be a hugely difficult mission judging from their poor traveler status," because  “they have lost all nineteen competitive matches in seven qualifiers from September 8, 2002…”

If the Liberians give good account of themselves this weekend against the Namibians in Windhoek, it will be a perfect opportunity for the embattled Liberian coach to silence his critics who say he is not qualify for the post, but the warriors will be digging in their heels. They are feeling confident, according to reports,  fresh from a 1-0 win against Kenya and a 1-0 loss against the formidable Nigerian Super Eagles side now coached by Stephen Ketshi. 

The Namibian coach Bernard Kaanjuka said, “We have a very good chance to beat them in front of our home fans. What pleased me is that we are creating a lot of chances and I think we will win at home" against Liberia. It's going to be a tough match no doubt, but could this well be coach Smith first win and will the Lone Star shine against the Brave Warriors in Windhoek? After a full 90mins of footworks  and after the referee whistle blows to cease hostilities on the playing pitch the fans would have know the answer, but for now, the both teams can look forward to the match with hope.

Prediction: 1-1

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