Liberia Battles DR Congo Sunday; Kojo Optimistic of Victory
Monrovia – Liberia will engage the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, September 9, 2018 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Report by Christopher C. Walker, [email protected]
The Lone Star are at the bottom of group G without a point after just a game. Liberia was defeated 3-0 to Zimbabwe in the Cameroon 2019 qualifiers while their opponent DR Congo won at home against Congo 3-1.
A win for the home side will put them in a better position to reach their third nations cup final after their debut in 1996 and second appearance in 2002.
DRC and Liberia have played three games with the Lone Star winning two games and Congo securing a win. Liberia interim head coach Thomas Kojo says he is optimistic of a win on Sunday against the Congolese.
Kojo, who replaced James Debbah, said he is building a team but with a commitment from his players they can win on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters at the team’s training ground, the former Liberian international right-back said Sunday’s game is crucial to Liberia and is doing everything technically to win his first game in charge of the national team.
“Sunday game is crucial because we lost our first game and a win will put us in a good position to reach our third cup of nations.”
“The players are doing well in training so I am hopeful of a win come Sunday because it is my first game as head coach at home,” Kojo said.
Kojo says he is building a new team that will make the country proud in few years so Liberians need to be patient.
He expects a very tough match on Sunday because according to him, the Congolese are a tough team in Africa but with the high sprite in camp victory is a must for Liberia come Sunday.
The technical staff of Liberia has invited a total of 13 overseas players but only 12 are currently in the country.
The 12 players expected to feature in the match against Congo DR are Boison Wynney De Souza of RCD Mallorca II, Joel Johnson Alajarin of Charlotte Independence (USA) and Adolphus Marshall of Gudja United FC (Malta).
Murphy Oscar Dorley of Slovan Liberec (Slovenia), Sylvanus Nimely of Spartak Moscow II (Russia) and Sam Johnson for Valerenga (Norway).
Anthony Laffor of Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), William Jebor of Wydad Athletic Casablanca (Morroco), Seku Conneh of Ansan Greener FC (South Korea) and Kpah Sherman of MIFA (Malaysia).
Meanwhile, Tommy Songo, Ashley Williams, Kemoh Kamara, Sekou Sheriff and Allen Njie Saah Nyumah of LISCR FC and Teah Dennis of BYC are among local players on the camp of the national team.
The others are Aloysius Simujla, Alvin Maccornel, Ebenezer Solo of LPRC Oilers and Jeremy Saygbe of BYC .
Coach Thomas Kojo and his team has been intensifying training at the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville City.
The national team moved to camp last Saturday at the Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville City.
Striker Tonia Tisdell is a late addition to the squad after the withdrawal of Mohammed Sangare of Newcastle United and Terrence Tisdell who plays in Portugal for San Joanense due to resident permit issues.
Tonia Tisdell, who plays in Turkey for Denizlispor, has touched down in the country ahead of the September 9 showdown at the SKD Sports Complex.
Liberia’s Youth and Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson on Wednesday told reporters that all is set for the game. He called on the home fans to turn out to cheer the lone star to victory, which will bring back the old days of football.
He said the government has done everything possible for the Lone Star to win on Sunday but need the support of the fans to motivate the players.
“Sunday Game is important so we are calling on Liberians to turnout at the Samuel K. Doe Sports complex to cheer the boys, we are building a new team so it is good for the home fans to come and see what we are doing,” Minister Wilson said.
Meanwhile, the Congolese arrived in the country on Monday to face Liberia. They arrived with a 26-man squad.
DR Congo Coach Florent Ibenge, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), named uncapped Arthur Masuaku of West Ham in the squad for a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia.
Masuaku, who played for France at youth levels, has been called up twice before, but is yet to play for the country’s national team the Leopards. He was one of four players that dropped from a friendly against Tanzania in March, citing “organizational disorder and travel frustration.”
DR Congo squad:
Goalkeepers: Ley Matampi Mvumi (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Anthony Mossi Ngawi (FC Chiasso Switzerland), Nathan Mabruki (DC Motema Pembe, DR Congo)
Defenders: Issama Mpeko Djos (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Djuma Shabani Wadol, Glody Ngonda Muzinga and Yannick Bangala Litombo (AS Vita Club, DR Congo); Jordan Ikoko (Guingamp, France), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham United, England), Bobo Ungenda Muselenge (CD Primeiro de Agosto, Angola), Wilfred Moke (Konyaspor, Turkey), Christian Luyindama (Standard Liege, Belgium)
Midfielders: Nelson Munganga (AS Vita Club, DR Congo), Chikito Lema Mabidi (Raja Casablanca, Morocco), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham, England), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Paul-Jose Mpoku (Standard Liege, Belgium), Luamba Fabrice Ngoma (AS Vita Club, DR Congo)
Forwards: Firmin Ndombe Mubele (FC Toulouse, France), Junior Kabananga Kalonji (Al-Nassr, Saudi Arabia), Elia Lina Meschack (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Jonathan Bolingi (Mouscron, Belgium), Benik Afobe (Stoke City, England), Britt Assombalonga (Middlebrough, England), Yannick Bolasie (Aston Villa, England), and Chadrac Akolo (VfB Stuttgart, Germany).