Liberia will be without top striker William Jebor as the Lone Star of Liberia takes on their Sierra Leone’s counterparts today in the first leg of a two legs FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers preliminaries.
The local football house announced that William Jebor asked to be excused from the Sierra Leone match due to personal problems. The Lone Star skipper has been an inspiration to the national team in recent time and his absence will somehow affects Liberia’s chances of getting the needed goal in home matches of such.
Liberians began to raise concerns over the delay in the arrival of captain Jebor few days to the game, but the FA could not provide clear cut reason behind what was seen as late arrival. After waiting to hear the arrival of Jebor, Liberians were shock with the news of Jebor’s absence entirely from both legs of preliminaries.
Jebor made his debut for Liberia on 26 March 2011, starting in a 2-4 loss against Cape Verde. His first international goal came on 14 June 2015, in a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Togo.
Liberians have also been concern about Jebor’s fitness as the Lone Star front-man had struggled for game time since moving to his new club in the United Arab Emirates. Many had expected that since Jebor have not had sufficient game time recently, he would have been amongst the first batch of players to arrive in Liberia so as to intensify his training and also regain match fitness, but the news of his absence broke them.
The decision was announced lately as the FA did not have sufficient time at hand to call-up a replacement especially with Anthony Laffor ruled-out due to injury.
Qualifying for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is one of the mandates given Liberia’s newly appointed English Coach, Peter James Butler, who comes with a decent record from Botswana.
Jebor is one of Lone Star deadliest frontliners, and his presence in the absence of Anthony Laffor could have undoubtedly lifted the spirit of Liberians because he has been the source of Lone Star’s goals since his arrival on the National team. Jebor scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 win at Guinea-Bissau on October 13, 2015, after scoring another one in the first leg. And he also scored another hat-trick against Djibouti in the African Cup of Nations Qualifier. On March 29, 2016, he scored another hat-trick in a CAF 2017 qualification match in Monrovia, Liberia, between Djibouti and Liberia, becoming the only Liberian senior national football team player to score a hat-trick more than once in an international tournament.
Liberians now refer to him as the “Victorious Boy”, “A True Son Of The Soil”, and “The Striker.” He is considered by some to be the most important player of the current generation of Liberia’s football.
Those invited for the Lone Star versus Sierra Leone match include, defenders: Joel Johnson Alajarin (Charlotte Independence, United States), Eugene Swen (Energetik-BSU, Belarus) and Teah Dennis (Minerva Punjab, India)
Midfielders: Mohammed Sangare (Newcastle United under-23, England), Oscar Murphy Dorley (Slovan Liberec, Czech Republic), Seth Kanteh Hellberg (IK Brage, Sweden), Allen Njie (Grasshopper Club, Switzerland), Sylvanus Nimely (Spartak Moscow 2,), Terrance Tisdell (Baroka, South Africa) and Tonia Tisdell (Nea Salamis Famagusta, Cyprus)
Forwards: William Jebor (Al Fujairah, United Arab Emirates), Kpah Sherman (PKNS, Malaysia) and Sam Johnson (Real Salt Lake, United States).
Meanwhile, the senior National team of Liberia, Lone Star will today host neighboring Sierra Leone in a crucial FIFA 2022world Cup qualifier preliminary encounter. The game will be hosted at the Samuel K. Doe Sports complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. Liberians are hoping that the red, white and blue boys will overpower the Sierra Leonean in the first leg on home soil.
Coach Peter James Butler will be on the touchline for the first time for Liberia in a must win match. He will rely on the likes of Sam Johnson, Kpah Sherman to produce the goals in the absence of skipper Jebor and Anthony Laffor.
Newcomer Seth Kanteh Hellberg will have the chance to showcase his talent as he comes to the national team with a high pedigree. In the meantime, Liberia will have to deal with its defensive frailty as they have suffered on too many occasions due to poor defending. The team will have to be more composed than when they last faced DR. Congo away. Liberia will again rely on the experience of defender Teah Dennis to erect some steel in its troubling-defense. Coach Butler will also have to work on Liberia’s endurance discipline as the Lone Star normally breaks down in the half way of the second quarters of a match.
Football pundits have attributed the team’s poor form in the dime minute of the game to the lack of sufficient endurance to compete at the highest level. However, visiting Sierra Leone comes to Liberia with a disadvantaged football record with Liberia.
Sierra Leone are making a return to international football following a FIFA ban for government interference. Their last outing was in June 2018 when they were coincidentally held to a 0-0 draw by Liberia.
The Leone Stars appear to be heading into a new era having appointed Sellas Tetteh as head coach after their ban was lifted. Prior to their suspension, they had struggled in attack and having scored just twice in their last six matches, under 2.5 goals looks a more likely outcome.
Striker Kei Kamara has been recalled to the squad following a disciplinary ban over comments criticizing the SLFA. He is likely to feature in attack despite scoring just four goals in 27 international appearances. Liberia vs Sierra Leone Head to Head
Liberia have a 3-1 advantage win one draw from five previous matches against Sierra Leone. All five matches have produced under 2.5 goals with both teams playing out a 0-0 draw in a friendly back in 2018.
Liberia vs Sierra Leone Key Statistics
· Liberia have seen under 2.5 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches (all competitions)
· Liberia are unbeaten in 4 of their last 5 matches against Sierra Leone (all competitions).
· Liberia & Sierra Leone have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 5 meetings (all competitions).
· Sierra Leone have seen under 2.5 goals in 6 of their last 8 matches (all competitions).
· Sierra Leone are unbeaten in 5 of their last 8 matches (all competitions). Writes D. Webster Cassell