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

Double Loss -As Lone Star Trashes Home Advantage

The Liberian National Team has lost its first two fixtures in the 2026 Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) world Cup qualifiers, despite playing at home. With no win from the two home matches, Lone Star stands as one of the underdogs of group H of the competition, with not a single point from the opening of the qualifiers.

On Friday, November 17, 2023, the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville welcomed the Lone Star to the prestigious world showoff events qualifiers. With rising hopes and high expectations of securing a win against Malawi, Liberian players and the team’s technicians took to the pitch, but put in an embarrassing performance, much to the dismay and disappointment of the fans.

In the pre-match conference to the Liberia versus Malawi encounter, the team’s head coach, Ansumana Keita, promised to take the team to a different result-oriented display, predicated on the fact that his promotion to the position as head coach of the Lone Star had presented unwanted outcomes, getting just a draw from five games aside from the World Cup qualifiers. He explained that his team was prepared to go to the World Cup qualifiers with no possibility of losing to Malawi.

Though the World Cup qualifiers, according to Coach Keita, are not part of his two-year contract mandate with the Liberia Football Association, the Lone Star under his watch could leave group H of the World Cup qualifiers as the second-best team to go to the Confederations playoff, if the top spot of the group is not possible.

With these and many others expected, the worst side of the dice was cast for the Lone Star in terms of the match result. The national cry of Liberians for a home victory since the 2020 ban on hosting of international matches was lifted on the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, following the refurbishing done at the facility, was pushed to another time.

The boys went on day two after the weekend defeat in the second match against Equatorial Guinea that won their first match against Namibia. In nine minutes, an Emilio Nsue Lopez header from a distant layoff, separated the two teams on the score line and subsequently decided the match result. After the goal, the visitors continuously engaged the Lone Star’s defense, seeking addition to their early lead.

Collaboration between the Lone Star full backs saw Nohan Kenneh making several retrievers, connecting Oscar and others to stabilize the midfield and attack. This case was managed all through the first half until Nohan Kenneh was shown the second yellow card that reduced them to 10 men for the second half.

From the break, Lone Star appeared to have doubled the pressure on the opponents though they were short one player. The team’s attacks and counters were improved, with courage to take the ball to the half of Equatorial Guinea, but the goal to change the result did not come after all.

The hope to make a comeback in the remaining eight fixtures of the 2026 world cup qualifiers presents more impossibilities than possibilities, judging from the fact that Lone Star will now have to prepare to go out to the other group members to honor away matches.

Other members of group H with Liberia are Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Namibia, and Sao Tome and Principe.

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