Debbah Out; Appiah In? Liberia Football Association Dismisses Coaching Change

Monrovia – The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has rubbished a report, which has gone viral on Facebook, stating that former Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah is to take over from Liberia head coach James Salinsa Debbah.

According to a story on June 17, Appiah will replace Debbah, who has said he is resigning for the second time in a month after criticisms over his inability to beat Togo at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers on June 5 in Monrovia.

Appiah, who qualified and coached Ghana at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, is the head coach of Sudanese top-flight side Al Khartoum Sports Club.

“A lot of young Liberian players will find success under Appiah. He is someone we think we can work with given his immense experience and technical abilities. He is definitely a good coach,” an unnamed LFA source was quoted.

But LFA president Musa Bility said the story is untrue and lacks any substance.

“Don’t mind that thing mehn. We have full confidence in our coach. There is no need to sack the coach because we are not yet out of the tournament. We’ve played five games, including against the fourth best team in Africa—Tunisia, and Liberia still top the group.

“So there is nothing to make ourselves to want to pounce on ourselves as though as that the world has come to an end. We expected a good result but we didn’t get it. We were not playing against a minnow.

“We should have done better than we did, especially when we led [2-0 after 65 minutes] but we have to understand that when you lead a very good team you just bring pressure on yourself. You just have to be prepared for the pressure and we weren’t prepared for it,” Bility told UNMIL Radio’s Sports Extra on June 18.  

Debbah, who recently announced that he’ll undergo a medical in the United States of America, was incensed by our reporter’s inquiry.

“My mehn, why [are] you calling me for? Why should you call me to ask me that kind of question? Don’t call me to ask me! [You should] ask the president of the Liberia Football Association,” Debbah told Sports Extra program on June 18.

When Appiah coached Ghana, he took home a marginal net salary of US$25,000.

FrontPageAfrica understands that Debbah earns US$3,500 monthly since he was appointed in November 2014.

Can Liberia foot the bills of Appiah and how true are the reports coming from Ghana?

Clarence Lee Chea, who coached clubs in Liberia and Ghana, claimed he was privileged to the discussions.

“A Liberian FA official said this in Accra and I was called from Accra by an insider from the Ghana FA. Kwesi Appiah is an experience and qualified coach but my question is will he take the peanut that Debbah is taking as head coach?

“I love the condemnation by the LFA but it must be investigated. I was told by a big source from Ghana that an insider from the LFA approached Appiah about that.
“The discussion took place three times: in the offices of the GFA [Ghana Football Association], at a local hotel in Accra and at the Kotoka [international] airport where the reporter was present. So I want for us to get at the bottom to unveil the Liberian that engaged Appiah in Accra,” Lee wrote on Facebook on June 18.

Only time will determine the veracity or falsity of the story but former LFA communications director Henry Boyd Flomo thinks it shouldn’t out-rightly be rubbished because Bility, as a politician and an administrator, has been twice threatened with resignation by Debbah and he wouldn’t await a hat-trick.

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