KOJO AND STAFF RISK DISMISSAL
Monrovia – After being knocked out of the African National Championship, the technical staff of the national team of Liberia, headed by Thomas Kojo, as head coach, is on the verge of losing their jobs.
At a press conference held prior to the team’s departure for Equatorial Guinea for an international friendly, LFA Vice President for Operations, Wilmot Smith, announced to the media that Kojo and staff have been given a mandate to reach the finals of CHAN.
Smith disclosed that the coach had agreed to the mandate and was happy with it. He, however, did not state the consequence(s) for not qualifying the team.
At the same press conference in July 2019, Kojo said he was happy with the LFA and government’s support to the national team.
Kojo, who is a former right back for the national team, said all of what he requested for his team’s preparation had been provided by the LFA.
The team’s early preparation resulted into their 1-1 draw away to Equatorial Guinea and a narrow 1-0 home victory over Senegal in the first leg of the CHAN qualifier before they got eliminated from the competition 3-1 on aggregate following a 3-0 lost away.
LFA president Mustapha Raji in a press conference following his return from Cairo Egypt, told reporters that Kojo reached an agreement with the Football House that could see his contract terminated if Liberia failed to progress to the CHAN 2020 qualifiers.
“We gave a mandate to the coach; it is an agreement we all signed. We are all obligated as per the agreement. If he does not qualify the national team, his service will be terminated. This is something we agreed on,” Raji revealed.
The LFA president further said that the administration ensured that the coach’s demands as outlined for the team’s preparation for the tough fixture were met and he applauded the Football House.
“The team started training on time; the coach requested a test match against other nation not within the West Africa, we did that and he requested that his team goes directly to campaign we also did that,” Raji said.
Kojo, who replaced James Salinsa Debah as stand-in-coach said following Liberia 2-1 victory over DR Congo in October, that he was not given a mandate that could ensure that Liberia qualifies for the Nations Cup in Egypt.
His predecessor Debah said he was mandated to build a team and came close to qualifying the team for the Nations Cup before been sacked.
Kojo, however admitted, that he came with his own objectives and was using the Afcon qualifiers in building a strong future national team.
“This problem is this, if you give a coach a job, you should give him an objective for the competition. What is our objective? Are we in the competition to qualify or we want to just participate in the competition,” Kojo said in October.
Meanwhile, Kojo’s deputy Sam Chiblli told reporters that the technical staff is not afraid of being dismissed.
“We believe in ourselves; we believe in what we are doing. Pressure does not move us. Coaching is hiring and firing and we are always prepared for it. We are not afraid,” Chilbil said.
Our source has informed us that the mandate of Kojo is clear that the entire technical staff and administrative staff of the senior team time is now numbered due to the agreement signed between the LFA and the technical staff.
With less than a month to Liberia’s World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone, Liberia is expected to have a new coach for the crucial match.
There have been calls from Liberians to have a foreign coach if Liberia must compete with other countries.
The technical staff comprises of head coach Thomas Kojo, deputy coach Samuel Chebli, trainer George Gebro, goalkeeping coach Eric Glassco, physiotherapist Boakai Abu Kamara, masseur Sampson Zoegbeh and kitmen Tommy Johnson Administrative manager Sebastian Collins