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

Lone Star To Lock Horns With Djibouti Again Today

This afternoon, the Liberian Men’s Senior National team will take on Djibouti, following their last Thursday victory against the east African country in the first leg of the preliminary qualifiers of the 2025 African Cup of Nations that will be played in Morrocco.
The first leg was the first official national teams match under the administration of the Unity Party, and the only win collected from the national colors in nearly two years.
Chief Patron of Sports, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, looks certain to double the win inside the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City on today, March 26, 2024, as the Lone Star are expected to complete their 2024 preliminary fixture of the 2025 Nations Cup on home soil.
The game will mark the first competitive fixture on home soil for Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who, under his new sporting portfolio, already collected his first win away from home against a lowly rated Djibouti side in Morocco on March 20, 2024.
Liberia took a little under twenty-five minutes to win the match through two quick goals in the first half.
Even though the Djibouti side enjoyed ball possession, the Liberian team was the better side on the pitch, and showed convincing supremacy in attacks which led to the two clinical finishes from two foreign-based players.
Mohammed Sangare’s inside the roof penalty strike, and in-form Oscar Dorley’s unexpected left footed belter just outside the 18-yard box, were enough to give Liberia a crucial return leg advantage ahead of Tuesday’s encounter.
The win was a good start for the new Chief Patron of Sports, Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s new government, new Youth and Sports Minister, J. Cole Bangalu, and new head coach, Mario Marinica.
A collaborative effort, especially from the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Liberia Football Association, helped to do the job away from home for Liberia, and the completion is expected on home soil in front of thousands of home fans today.
However, some Liberians are still careful of celebrating bigly with experience of their last home fixture against South Africa, as the painful 2-1 home defeat, which eliminated them with disappointments, is still fresh in memory. It is also worth noting that the Djibouti side is a weaker opponent to Liberia and has been unlucky with such fixture, especially with history and records between the countries all in favor of the home side, Liberia.
It can be recalled that Liberia once trashed Djibouti 5-0 at the Antionette Tubman Stadium, with former captain, William Jerbo, scoring a hat trick.
Unlike before, LFA president, Mustapha Raji, now has all reasons to smile and get some bit of victory relief after collecting a convincing win, and has added another boost to his already multiple and commendable works, including visible transformation to the LFA and the sector in general.
However, he has been heavily criticized over the period from a select few of failing to ensure a win for the senior team under his watch, as head of the LFA and official caretaker of the national team.
But the win over Djibouti in Morocco appears to be a turning point for the LFA president, and may be a dawning of a new day for him and his entire team.
As he is poised and awaiting the bigger picture of qualification to the Nations Cup later on, Coach Marinica remains engaged with his team and is confident of living up to his task as part of one of his mandates under his two-year contract to qualify Liberia for the Morocco 2025 Nations Cup.
With a mixture of political differences across the country, a win and subsequent qualification for Liberia to collect a slot into the zonal stage of the 2025 Nations Cup could help switch the debate for some time.
Meanwhile, Djibouti head coach Adbourahman Okie Had, has revealed that they are in Liberia to collect a win against the Lone Star.
Okie Had told the pre-match press conference yesterday at the LFA headquarters that his side are in Monrovia to win and progress to the next stage of the AFCON qualifiers, despite their 2-0 loss in Marrakech on Wednesday, March 20.
“What we expect foremost is a victory. During the first leg, we created a lot of opportunities, but we did not take it because they (Lone Star) were lucky with the penalty, and we made mistakes and conceded the second. It’s been more than 5 years since we lost to them back-to-back, but our football has evolved and this is a different Djibouti team,” Okie Had concluded.
Djibouti must score at least twice to stand a chance of progressing. The visitors have lost their last 3 meetings, in which they have conceded 8 goals and are yet to score against their hosts.

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