The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

…As Lone Star Wreck Gets ALARMING ‘President’s Choice’ Kojo Time OUT!

In June 2018, when the Lone Star former right back was preferred by the new regime to take over the Senior National Lone Star team, there were many eyebrow was raised over the manner in which the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) proceeded with its selection process.
At the time, news emerged that Kojo was President George Weah first choice preference to stir the affairs of the national team and so was need for ensuring any courtesy or due diligence in the selection process.
As it is traditionally done, the Liberia Football Association (LFA), the technical arm of the Lone Star does the scouting a potential candidates for the post and thereafter submit the name or names to the Sports Ministry for onwards appointment.
When the Government of Liberia singlehandedly took the decision, it based its reliance on the fact that they are clothed with the authority appoint coaches for the national team. But what was even more interesting was the unprofessional manner it was done because Coach Kojo was not provided a written contract inclusive of a specific mandate.
Weeks after his appointment as a sit-in-coach, Kojo disclosed that he was not given a specific mandate to qualify the National Football Team Lone Star to the finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
“I don’t have a contract. I haven’t been paid since June for what I’m doing” added coach Kojo.
“The Problem is, if you give a coach a job, you should give him an objective for the competition. What is our objective? Are we in this competition to qualify or we want to just participate in the competition?” Remarked Kojo. The former Deputy National team coach said though he was given the task to manage the Lone Star in June, he was not told a specific objective by those that appointed him.
“I have come with my own idea because the LFA did not give me a mandate. Looking at the results and table, anything that happens it’s a bonus for us”
The ‘contract-less’ sit-in-coach continued in the said capacity for months and as it was widely speculated and later confirmed, he just did not disappoint those who appointed him.
Upon his ascendency, current LFA Vice President for Administration, Sekou Konneh, as the newly VPA told newsmen that Kojo’s immediate task is to put together a home-based team that will take on Sierra Leone on July 22 in Monrovia in an International Friendly despite failure to announce the contract package of the new coach.
The Sports Ministry on many occasions blamed the LFA for its failure to draw up the coaches’ contracts, indicating they were only responsible to appoint and not draw contracts. The FA though could not provide a clear cut justification as to why the coaches had not receive a formal contract and salary since assuming the portfolio.
Other members of the Lone Star Caretaker technical staff include former IE and Lone Star forward Sam Chibli, deputy coach, George Gebro Assistant Coach and Sunday Sieh, goalkeeper trainer.
It was later rumored after almost a year in the position, that the LFA presented an official contract to the coaching staff as Liberia were in a tense preparatory stage for its last 2019 AFCON Qualifier game against DR. Congo in Kinshasa.
With the run of form, an insider at the FA has hinted the INQUIRER Sports that sit-in-coach Kojo’s tenure has expired but will remain on the job as he has been preferred by President George M. Weah, his former teammate, for the post.
Prior to the DR Congo’s in March 2019, Sit-In-Coach Kojo, who took over the national team from compatriot James Debbah, won two games at home, drew one away and conceded a defeat away to Congo Brazzaville.
But Liberia’s failure to qualify for the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt did not come as a surprise to both the LFA and the MYS, as the Sit-In-Coach and technical staff was only on holiday in their respective positions.
With all hopes of qualification for the AFCON already wrecked, Liberia now focused their attention on the 2020 CHAN Tournament. This time, the FA according to rumor, mandated Coach Kojo and technical staff to qualify the team for the 2020 CHAN Competition or be relieved of their respective posts.
From all indications, the Saturday, August 3, results against the Teranga Lions of Senegal at which time Liberia was prematurely eliminated from the ongoing 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers, is sufficient to call a time out on the Sit-In-Coach tenure there is still an existing arrangement.
The Senegalese sealed a deserving qualification over their Liberian counterparts following a convincing 3-0 win as a result of a dismal performance from visiting Lonestar who had earlier picked up a 1-0 aggregate at home. Liberia went into the Dakar’s encounter with a hope of sustaining their home composure though their win came in the 89th minute through a Christopher Jackson header.
The 2020 CHAN qualifiers is Confederation of African Football (CAF) men’s football tournament organized specifically for national team players who are plying their football career in their respective domestic leagues.
Liberia needed only a draw in Dakar to progress to the second round of the ongoing qualifier but the Lone Star failed once again in the space of five months qualify for a major international competition.
The result means Liberia will have no part to play in the 2020 CHAN competition. Prior to the match, Liberia Football Association president, Mustapha Raji, disclosed that the head coach, Thomas Kojo, was given a mandate to qualify the team for the 2020 CHAN Competition or be relieved of his post.
Again, in March 2019, the Lone Star of Liberia failed to capitalize on their 1-1 draw at home to DR Congo in the qualifiers of the just ended 2019 African Nations Cup held in Egypt.
Lone Star needed just a memorable draw against their Congolese counterparts in Kinshasa to make their third appearance to the Nations Cup after their debut in 1996 and 2002, but the team was disappointingly defeated 1-0 to frustratingly conclude their AFCON qualifying hope.
Considering the disappointing results under Sit-In-Coach Kojo, with Liberia exiting from major continental competitions, it now behooves the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Liberia Football Association (LFA) to take the appropriate actions aimed at reversing the negative trend confronting the Lone Star.
Liberia made its debut in a major continental soccer extravaganza in 1996 following a collection of an impressive 10points from 8-qualifier matches played. The red, white and blue boys won three matches, drew four and conceded only defeat at the hands of the Teranga Lions in Dakar, Senegal.
In 2002, Liberia made its second AFCON appearance as leader of Group II on 13points. The Lone Star of Liberia won four of its qualifier matches. They drew one and lost one game on the road. Their only defeat during the 2002 AFCON Qualifier came from South Africa who later finished as runners-up in Group II, a point adrift Liberia. Writes D. Webster Cassell

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