Liberia’s Head Coach James Debbah in Resignation Summersault

Monrovia – Writing on his Facebook page on May 4, Debbah announced that he will quit as head coach after Togo’s match in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on June 3 in Monrovia.

“I am disappointed! My thanks and appreciation [goes] to Mr. Musa H. Bility for the confidence he bestowed upon me when he appointed me as head coach of the Lone Star.

“I am grateful! My appreciation also [goes] to the fans and Liberians in the Diaspora and last but not the least, I cherished the love, respect and admiration that I shared with my players.

“During my career as a professional athlete, I was groomed and nurtured under professional arrangement and as such I envisioned a professional working environment but that has not been the condition.

“Our upcoming game against Togo (June 5th) will be my last game as coach of the senior national team… ‘I will resign’! I will, in due time, publish the reason behind my resignation,” Debbah concluded his post.

But appearing on the Super Morning Show on ELBC on May 6, Debbah said his ‘metaphoric comments’ were only intended to claim the attention of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) and its chief sponsor, Cellcom GSM.

“I have a mission to accomplish. I am on the verge of making history that has never happened in this country for a vast number of years. My comments [on Facebook] were metaphoric and only a joke intended to claim the attention of the Liberia Football Association.

“We have a crucial match against Togo. The government of Liberia has been doing well. The President of the LFA has been doing well but where is the sponsor of the national team? When I played in France for Olympique Lyonnais, we had a sponsorship of US$100 million,” Debbah told presenter Leggerhood Rennie.

LFA President Musa Hassan Bility, who also participated on the program via mobile phone, reassured Debbah of his fullest support and promised to have the team encamped as soon as possible.    

Debbah was appointed by Bility at a live news conference in November 2014 along with former players of the famous George Weah X1, who were given different portfolios. Kelvin Sebwe was named as Debbah’s deputy and head coach of the female national team.

Varmah Kpoto took over as head coach of the Under-14 and Jonah Sarweah became deputy coach.

Joe Nagbe was appointed as head coach of the Under-17 and George Gebro became deputy coach.

Christopher Wreh took over as head coach of the Under-20 while Oliver Makor became deputy coach. Thomas Kojo returned to his role as head coach of the Under-23 and Janjay Jacobs as deputy coach.

Before his appointment, Debbah was a consistent critic of Bility’s poor handling of the LFA and flagged his administrative ineptitude and financial malfeasance on social media.

Liberia lead Group A with nine points and need at least four points from their matches with Togo and Tunisia in September to qualify for their first Africa Cup of Nations finals since Mali 2002.

Debbah, who had earlier recalled Francis Grandpa Doe, also announced the recall of Sekou Jabateh-Oliseh.

“All hands on deck!!! I am going to call-up all our best players. Grandpa Doe included! He has sincerely apologized to his team-mates as well as every member of the technical staff including me, and most importantly, the Liberian people who has facilitated the progress of the national team (Lone Star) by paying their taxes,” Debbah posted on Facebook recently.

Doe last played for Liberia in a 1-1 draw with Guinea Bissau in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at the ATS on October 8, 2015 despite a training ground burst-up with Barbu Kollie of Nimba United and Debbah respectively.

Jabateh-Oliseh last played for Liberia in a 2-0 defeat to Lesotho in a 2015 Afcon qualifier at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru on June 1, 2014.  

Danesius Marteh, danesius.marteh@frontpageafricaonline.com

James Debbah
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