How Lone Star Clipped Aigles’ Wings

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted June 7, 2004

From the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) to the Baptist Seminary and to the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex was all it took for the Liberian national soccer team, Lone Star to clip the wings of Mali’s Aigles.

If the message is not yet clear to the doubting thomases, let it be known that the Lone Star of Liberia yesterday clipped the wings of the Aigles of Mali 1-0 at the pogrom, Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The victory has placed Liberia second in Group I of the 2006 World Cup and African Cup qualifiers along with Zambia, while Senegal tops the group on superior goal difference. Liberia could not afford to lose yesterday’s match as Senegal and Zambia earlier won their respective home games.

Zambia pinned Togo 1-0 in Lusaka, while in Dakar, Senegal whipped Congo Brazzaville 2-0.

The victory over Mali yesterday, broke the jinx between the two. In the last three meetings, Mali has the edge beating Liberia in two of the encounters. In 2002, Mali forced Liberia to a gruelling 1-1 during the finals of the nations cup.

Mali first pinned Liberia 1-0 in Monrovia (1988) and whipped Liberia in the same year 3-1 in Bamako.

But how Lone Star clipped the wings of the Malian Aigles? Rose Saulwas reports from the Samuel Kanyon Doe’s Complex.

For the first time, the stadium was filled without the sale of at least fifty percent of the tickets. The question remains whether those who entered the field before 10:00 a.m. did so illegally or capitalized on the negligence of the security setup.

According to reports, security personnel and those assigned to work at the stadium for the game failed to turn out for their assignment earlier.

So at the time those with tickets reached the field, they were either turned back or faced the inconveniences.

Looking at it as it unfolded at the SKD putting aside whether the FA robbed innocent civilians who bought tickets but couldn’t enter or not, Liberia did extremely well.

With the lack of confidence in the team and a dispirited camp, Lone Star stood the test of time.

Lone Star got the match underway at 16:07 p.m. with the usual 4-4-2 formation.

Likewise with Mali. The first half however failed to produce any excitement when it comes to goal scoring. Lone Star’s defense was porous once after an artful was never created thus giving the best chance ever to Tottenham Spur’s striker, Frederic Kanoute.

The Malian however failed to beat Liberia’s goalie, Sunday Seah from close range perhaps anticipating an offside but no flag was raised.

Coach Kadala resumed the second half without a change although there was a need for Frank Seator and Prince Daye who were not in form during the game to come down.

The eventual goal getter, Alvin ‘Power’ Kieh replaced Frank Seator as was expected, while Fallah Johnson came in for injured George Gebro.

Later Isaac Tondo came in for Prince Daye all in less than ten minutes. From the moment of the changes, Liberia was set to make history.

Alvin Kieh making his fourth contact with the ball in the 72nd minute strike from close range for the lone goal.

It was not really a move to bring about a goal but was out of courage and persistence follow-ups. Fallah Johnson who had been a center of controversies gave a bevel-pass. Lone Star attacking machinery led by James Salinsa Debbah, Dioh Williams and the eventual goal scorer Alvin Kieh held back a press for the ball as the pass went straight to the Malian defender, Adama Coulibaly.

Fortunately for Liberia, a poor clearance landed the ball before Alvin Kieh. But the ball too did perfectly landed at the feet of Kieh. It first glanced at his left foot and before he could realize that the goalie of Mali was almost at him.

Desirous of setting history, Kieh without properly balancing, stretched his right foot to the ball and beyond goalie, Mamadou Sidibe for the long-awaited goal. Unbelievable cheers and huge enthusiasms greeted the goal amidst glamourous celebrations.

Celebrations are still going on but not on the field.
In spite of the big names paraded by Mali, Dioh Williams arguably could be the “Man of the Match” followed by Anthony Snortee Lanforh, Esaiah Benson, Jimmy Dixon, Ben Tiklo and George Gebro.

The referees from Benin made some questionable and inconsistent calls. Suspending cautions cards for most part of the game, ignoring hand balls committed by the Malians and worse of all cancelling a goal for Lone Star in the first half.

Debbah maybe was not at his best but served as inspiration to the team yesterday.

Sunday Seah also stood the test of time making some incredible saves.

Although the victory is what matters, but Lone Star still has a long way to go if we should really make an impact in the competition.

Liberia is the least rated country in the group for the month of May. Liberia is 115 in the world and 27th in Africa against Senegal 31st (3), Zambia 80th (16), Togo 99th (21) and Congo 105th (23).

On the 20th of this month, Liberia will travel to Togo.

Mali, ranked eight in Africa and 45 in the world parade - some of the best names including Frederic Kanoute, Soulima Coulibaly, Eric Chelle, Dramane Traore, Adama Coulibaly, Mohammed Sissoko of Valencia, Sammy Traore, Adama Tamboura, Boubacar Diarra and Soulymane Diamouten among others.

In other qualifiers, Nigeria whipped Rwanda 2-0, Egypt crushed Sudan 3-0, Cameroon came from a goal down to win Benin 2-1.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.