Kojo disappointed With players’ ‘childish decisions’ after DRC Draw
Monrovia –The head coach of the national football team of Liberia Thomas Kojo has blamed lack of concentration from his players for his side’s inability to have held on to a 1-0 lead against the Democratic Republic of Congo as Lone Star dropped 2 points from a possible three points after Meschack Lina Elia equalizer.
Report by Christopher C. Walker, [email protected]
William Jerbor 61-minute goal had seen the home side battle to secure their first win of the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers but, despite enjoying much of the possession they allowed the visitors to snatch a point with seven minutes left to the final whistle.
Both teams started the match on a quiet note as they observed each other but the two-time Nations Cup participant Liberia got the fire with new captain Jerbor distanced shot being saved by goalkeeper Anthony Ngawi Mossi in the 11th minute.
Little Murphy Dorley playing against a more physical Congolese team was not frightened by their size but controlled the game for Liberia with his insightful passes as Jerbor, Sam Johnson, Laffor and Tonia Tisdell caused a lot of problems for the defense of the “Leopards”.
Throughout the first half, Lone Star dominated the match but was careless in front of goal as Johnson close-range shot was blocked by Wilfred Abro Moke following a wonderful skill from Tisdell.
Stoke City’s striker Benik Afobe missed a free header at the close of the first half as teammate Junior Roungi went into the referee’s book for a foul on Sam Johnson ending the half goalless.
Kojo’s men started the second half with aggression as they knew that a win was key for their position in the group with Laffor and Tisdell providing breathtaking crosses for captain Jerbor and Johnson.
Sixty-one minute on the clock Jerbor got his tenth goal in 11 matches for Liberia after he controlled Laffor ’s ball in the box, twisted and turned to blast the net as chief patron of Sports George Weah joined his team from the VIP stand to celebrate Jerbor’s goal.
Kemoh Kamara was booked for a foul on Afobe who was en route to scoring but the LISCR defender brought Afobe down.
With time running out as usual for Lone Star they lost control of the game in the 77th minute and the Leopards made the Samuel K, Doe Sports Complex a silent place after a poor goalkeeping from Tommy Songo who allowed a cross ball to locate Meschack who wasted no time but to pull the equalizer for the DRC.
Kojo told reporters that the goal they conceded was because his players ran out of ideas and did not defend well.
“The only reason we drew this game [is because] our players at a certain stage lost concentration, we were in the lead, we needed to play smarter, keep the ball and pass the ball around.”
“The goal we conceded… We lost the ball in the middle of the pitch and we defended poorly which caused the goal. It was the only ball that went to our goal, so disappointing we draw today,” Kojo said.
According to the former Liberian right back, he is still building a team but if the result comes their way he will be happy to qualify Lone Star for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
He termed DR Congo team as not being a strong team tactically, noting their style of play is old school.
Kojo added that though he is disappointed in the goal his team conceded at the close of the game but he is happy with how they played and is hopeful of a better national team in years to come if the needed support is given the technical staff.
For his part, the head coach of DRC Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge’ said his target was to get a point away from home and achieving such is good for him.
The former footballer said the Liberian team overplayed his team but he’s happy with the result they got.
In the other group match leaders Zimbabwe and Congo settled to a 1-1 draw which means Zimbabwe leads the group with four points followed by DR Congo with similar points while Congo and Liberia have one point each.