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

Jerbo Was Misquoted! -Football House Gives Contradictory Account -As Lone Star Off To Chad

The news that striker William Jebor has called a time on his national team career came as a shock to the public after it was reported by the Communication Director of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) that the skipper has pulled out of Liberia’s squad.

Director Danesius Marteh in a hurriedly fashion published a reportedly half-told story of the incident after having conversation with the striker over the decision that led to his pronouncement to withdraw from the National Team.

The ‘fast-writing’ LFA’s PRO presented an absolutely ugly picture of skipper Jerbo though he was properly informed by the player himself in a detail social media discussion.

Instead, the Communication Director misled the public in an apparent hurried media post saying “Striker William Jebor says he no longer wants to play for Liberia.”

“Jebor says Coach Peter Butler disrespected him by using him from the bench. He has declined to honor the return leg away to Chad and has asked the Liberia Football Association (LFA) to secure a flight to his club in the United Arab Emirates.”

But in responds to Director Marteh’s publication, skipper Jerbo questioned the LFA PRO over the misinterpretation of his comments to him.

Jerbo insisted that his comments were misquoted by the LFA Communication man who entirely reframed the statement of the player in an official publication from the local football house.

Marteh claimed in the FA’s publication that President Mustapha Raji and Executive Committee Member, Henry Boyd Flomo, held a meeting with Jebor at the team’s RLJ Hotel over his decision after the game but they couldn’t reach a common ground.

According to the FA, Coach Butler has promised to comment on Jebor’s decision at the appropriate time.

But Jerbo was quick to respond to the FA’s communication chief by saying “you just chatted with me and I told you that I am not feeling well that is why I am not traveling.”

The news has been greeted with mix-reactions as several supporters have branded the decision of Jerbo as premature and that it lacks the discipline of a leader. But on the average, Liberians have expressed frustration over the situation and at the same time called on the player to reconsiders his decision. Jerbo claimed that he was disrespected by the Lone Star’s technical department owing to the fact that he is still the legitimate National Team captain.

Liberians from across the world have also responded to the ongoing saga in separate factions. Some are asking that a lot more investigation into the situation be conducted so as to authenticate the actual reason behind Jerbo’s decision. Others are insisting that Jerbo’s decision is too harsh and that the timing is seriously wrong.

In his social media post, Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL), Vice President, Moses Garzeawu said: “Not Jebor, Not Coach Butler But the Liberia Football Association and local coaches on the Lone Star team.”

“In my view, being a substitute is not the real issue of why the Lone Star Captain wants to quit the team. Despite the perceived so- called inactiveness of Jebor, he was still callup to the team. Being a professional, he knew that a lot of off field developments surrounding him were taking place. He withdrew from the both Sierra Leone fixtures.”

Garzeawu said: “in his absence Sam Johnson took the Captain Armband for the match, that which was wise from the point of time, and his contribution to the Lone Star. But it soon turned disrespectful when Christopher Wreh who is a deputy to Butler told journalists at the Golden Gate Hotel that he (Wreh) selected Sam as the new captain of the team without firstly telling the man who had the armband at the point in time.”

The SWAL VP argued by saying: “we were not told if Jerbo was stripped off the armband neither did the coach comment on it at his recent press conference at the Ministry of Information, Cultural and Tourism (MICAT) even though he was asked.”

According to Garzeawu, “everyone knows Jerbo is the team’s captain, and that in his absence Sam Johnson took the band. Even if you were not giving it back to him anymore, he needed to be told in a professional environment.”

“I guess the FA didn’t tell Butler the team had a leader. Maybe the Lone Star under James Debbah and Thomas Kojo didn’t have a captain. Probably George Gebro, Christopher Wreh and Sunday Sieh didn’t tell Butler this or President Mustapha Raji didn’t make an inquiry, or fight to settle this dispute,” the SWAL official commented.

He said: “the main issue for Jerbo is not about being a substitute but being overlooked as a leader. How will anyone feel being dethroned in a manner it was done to Jerbo,” he questioned .

Garzeawu however concluded by saying “people need to stop misleading Coach Butler, if not we will end up the same way in the past with Tony Hey, Batalan Biecskei, and Roberto Landi.”

He used the occasion and appealed to skipper William Jebor to reconsiders his decision for the sake of Liberia not for those who he said lack system.

On Wednesday, October 9 the Lone Star managed a narrow 1-0 win over their Chadian counterparts as Coach Butler’s preferred striker on the day, Kpah Sherman, converted Liberia’s lone goal in the 43rd minute.

The visitors appeared even frightened by Liberia’s recent form as they dismally performed; but it was the host that failed to pile pressure on the Chadians with a commanding scoreline as Lone Star recklessly wasted golden goal-scoring opportunities at the early part of the game.

Liberia will now hope for a similar performance from the Chadians in the second leg few days from now as anything on the contrary could further jeopardize Coach Butler’s AFCON 2021 qualifier’s hope.

The both teams were paired during the draw of the 2021 AFCON held in in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday, July 18, 2019.

Both Liberia and Chad are among eight teams that were seeded in pot five based upon their June 2019 FIFA World ranking. The Lone Star were ranked 153rd in the June 2019 FIFA Coca-Cola Ranking. In keeping with the format, the eight teams were drawn against each other and will play in home-and-away two-legged format.

The four winners will advance to the group stage to join the 44 teams which entered directly. They will also go to positions A4, B4, C4 and D4 based on their tie number. This means Liberia or Chad will be placed in Group ‘A’ alongside Mali, Guinea and Namibia if they qualify from the preliminaries.

Liberia’s away record is one that football pundits have reverted to considering that the country has just picked up one point in its last five away matches. The narrow home win now poses a greater challenge to Liberia’s English Coach, Peter James Butler, as his presence has not helped in solving the country’s poor away form.

Liberia will need just a draw in the return leg which is expected to take place on October 15, in Chad, to secure qualification over their Central African opponent. But Lone Star’s scaring away stats have even provided a worrisome possibility of Liberia advancing to next round of the qualifier.  

Lone Star’s failure to widen the score-line in the Wednesday’s home encounter despite presented with some golden chances, could undermine Liberia’s quest to take a giant step towards African Nations Cup football.

However, Coach Butler’s decision to leave skipper William Jerbo on the bench for Kpah Sherman was another debate that ensued amongst supporters at the game, as the later again started well but missed several possible goal scoring chances. The Englishman who preferred Sharman over Jerbo also chose a more defensive approach on Wednesday as he fielded more midfielders even though Liberia was playing at home, and so, needed to attack more.

Meanwhile, the team has left Liberia on board ASKY airlines in route to Accra, Ghana; Lome, Togo and N’Djamena, Chad.  Reports say skipper William Jerbo did not travel with the team to Chad for the return leg. Writes D. Webster Cassell

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