Liberia vs Malawi Player Ratings
Lone Star's Ansu Toure outwits a Malawian defender in
warm up match Tuesday in Monrovia at the Samuel Kanyon Doe
By Wleh Bedell
It was just a friendly though with both Liberia and Malawi
playing with contrasting styles. The former was on the front
foot, a mentality they must go with for the mammoth tie
against a glory seeking Nigeria Super Eagles on this
Saturday at the SKD, while the latter will certainly adapt a
negative style against a dip in form Ghana Black Star also
on Saturday in the land of the former Gold Coast.
This was the second visit by the Malawians with the first
been a competitive fixture in 1988, an Italy ’90 World Cup
qualifier, after a ricocheted chest pass from James Salinsa
Debbah was slotted home by George Weah as the Lone Star
cruised with a solitary goal win during the days of Lawrence
Waya, Young Chimodzi, Backarie Machonga and PeterKing Kayera
who all returned home empty handed.
But, just how did the players of the Lone Star on Tuesday
fare in their hard earned slender victory and their
respective chances of starting on this Saturday against a
keen=to make-amends- Super Eagles of Nigeria is what is
Nathaniel Sherman: Not much was seen of the Roots FC
shot stopper as he was rarely tested judging from the
opponents’ defensive game with the emphasis on possession in
winding down the clock. He made a howler of a cross however,
but his distributions were promising. It is no doubt he will
get a start against the Super Eagles.
Solomon Grimes: The pin-sized full back from the
Cypriot top flight was not effective as his usual
overlapping runs and cleverly measured crosses were not
visible. He often clattered into opponents, and was quite a
complete contrast of his form in the previous friendly with
Equatorial Guinea’s National Thunder where he won the
highest mark due to his aggression in rampaging forward with
elegance. Solo will start against the once delirious Super
Eagles, but must raise his game.
George Gebro: Invincible Eleven (IE) most experienced
player worked very hard in keeping rein on the opponents and
provided several diagonal balls in the final third mainly in
the second stanza. He showed desire, commitment and won most
of the 50-50 balls, except that he was not moving forward
regularly in providing the crosses. But, at 30, not much was
expected of the ex-Israeli club Hapoel Pitah Tikva
all-rounder with respect to plying the flanks. Of course the
Captain will lead the lines against Nigeria.
Solomon Wesseh: ‘Jean Peirre’ was quite outstanding for
country just as he is for club LPRC Oilers. He was very
committed and was very solid at the rear. The versatile
defender almost scored late on in the match as he ventured
forward to force the opposing goalkeeper into a crucial
save. Sadly, he will not get a start on Saturday as he will
be over looked for one of the oversea based center backs of
Omega Roberts Alamadine and Patrick Gerhardt, one of whom
will combine with Jimmy Dixon in central defense. Why in
fact were three center backs from over sea sent for when
Wesseh and Dennis who you will read of later are capable of
playing such role?
Teah Dennis, Jr.: ‘Teddy Baysah’ capped another
outstanding performance. Though the Malawians were not very
lethal during attack, the few times they went forward were
thwarted by the Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) man and co.
His game maturity showed a lot and controlled his side build
up from the back. He also won most of the first time balls
and was quite a defensive menace for the former East and
Central African champions. He like Wesseh will be over
looked as he will start from the bench on Saturday.
Theo Lewis Weeks: Though he featured for just 45 minutes
and had to be taken off due to injury, the Turkish based
holding midfielder stamped his authority on the fray in the
early stages as he won tackles, tee up teammates and showed
good work ethic. He will surely start on Saturday in front
the back reminiscent of a deep lying playmaker where he will
be required to orchestrate things.
Isaac Zola Pupo: The LPRC Oilers ball conjurer put up an
inspiring performance as his silky left foot pierced in the
midfield of the Malawians. He made several ambitious try and
took care of most of the set pieces which went in an in
swinging fashion. It was his defense splitting pass that tee
up the eventual scorer Zah for the much needed goal.
However, his Achilles heel or apparent undoing was that he
failed to make the darting runs behind his side front
runners, behind the opposing defense. Zola lacked the
enterprising or bursting runs from midfield as he for a very
large portion of the game sat deep and supplied teammates.
It will be no surprise that he will not be preferred to any
of the two harder workers in Theo Weeks Lewis and Alseny
Keita as brute or aggression will be preferred to flair.
But, without him, the team will struggle for penetration on
James Koko Lomell: A complete passenger on the park even
more than he was in the previous friendly in Malabo against
2012 Afcon quarter finalists Equatorial Guinea. The
Indonesian based incisive midfielder squandered possession
quite often. His recovery runs were very poor, and to make
matter worse, his warehouse full of skills let him down as
he was a mere shadow of himself. It was quite astonishing
that he had to spend more than 30 minutes in the game and
his late first half substitution which was quite belated
meant the taking off of a player who was surplus to
requirement. It will be of no surprise were him to warm the
bench for the entire 90 minutes against a very organized
Ansu Toure: Marking his return to the national team
after a couple of games absence the Danish based wide man
showed some promise as he played with precision and desire.
He made a lot of strong runs and his recovery runs were also
timely. Despite in the autumn of his career the left footed
player was very lively and showed aggression. He also made
several attempts towards goal as he was never shy of
kicking. On several occasions he scampered down the left
channel and provided crosses. He will start on the bench
simply because for the wide area, two players in Zah Krangar
and Sekou Oliseh are high in the pecking order, and the
player could come on later against the Super Eagles.
Zah Rahan Krangar: If you like you can say’ Zah 1,
Malawi 0’. The little box of tricks was the man of the
match, not just because of the goal, but, because of his
overall contribution. He used his skills to the service of
his team, glided pass opponents, and showed good work ethic
and determination. His subtle moves, mesmerizing skills,
prodigious ball artistry and composure proved a handful for
Edward Junior Wilson: Operating as the face of his side
attack as the first striker, the former Mighty Barrolle man
who now plies his trade in Indonesia lacked mobility as he
was easily marked. His game lacked variation and was very
much predictable especially during the first period. “The
Liberian Adriano” tried as he lifted his game after recess
but was still unconvincing, and though he made some runs and
few less threatening attempts on goal, by his standards, he
was sterile. He mostly waited for something happen order
than made something happen.
Junior will surely get a start against Nigeria despite his
unconvincing outing mainly due to a lack of many options in
the final third.
James Soto Roberts: Just like the match away to
Malabo, the Oilers winger proved to be a super sub. He
ignited the game and went closer to scoring. The former
Bassa Defenders winger showed belief, hunger and character
and was very lively as he terrorized the opponents’ defense
with his vast speed and lovely skills. His coming on
certainly kept Lomell in distant memory and will definitely
get a shout in the second half against Stephen Keshi;s side.
Martin Kendue: Coming on for an injured Theo Weeks
Lewis, the LISCR shield provider further stabilized the
engine room as his short crisp passing; neat build up play
and ball wining instinct gave his side the license to get a
foot hole in the tussle. The lad will also start on the
bench against Nigeria, though he can equally perform like
any of the players operating in front the back four.
Eddie Boikai Foday: The introduction of the former Karn
United man added a new dimension to the team’s attack as he
was there to compete and in fact won most of the aerial
battles. One major regret he should have is that he failed
to bury an effort when he had only the goalkeeper to beat.
However, he added spice to his side attack and played with
much verve, anticipation and momentum. The Persiwa Wamena
man will no doubt start from the bench as the Malaysian
based Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh will be chosen ahead of him.
Michael Mauauley: ‘Master’ served as the extra man in
midfield and was a worthy addition to the team. His superb
ball skills, good tactical awareness and whole hearted
approach made the Lone Star to play for once at a high
octane pace. The Breweries loanee will however start from
the bench against Joseph Michael Yobo and co.
Trokon Zeon: Coming on for an injured but
unattractive Solomon Grimes, the LISCR full back was not
made full use of. With a fresh pair of legs he could have
caused problems for the visitors, but was often not
released. He will surely start from the bench on Saturday.
Savannah Morris: It was little too late for the
Monrovia Breweries man as the party was almost over when he