Lonestar Go Down in Dakar
By Danesius Marteh
Dakar—Senegal were shocked by an early Francis Forkey Doe’s
goal in the second minute of a 2014 World Cup qualifier with
Liberia but the Teranga Lions fought back to win 3-1 at the
Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Doe made light work of Abdoulaye Ba having been connected by
Dioh Williams of BK Hacken in Sweden to find the curtain
It was a perfect return for the Malaysia-based striker who
wore the armband in his last game when Liberia drew 0-0 with
Niger in an international friendly at the Samuel Kanyon Doe
Sports Complex on August 14, 2011.
As well as the Terengganu FA player, his supporters will
have reasons to argue that his selection wasn’t a mistake as
he was one of the stand-out performers of the day.
Liberia could have made it two when captain Anthony Laffor,
who had the ball, was attacking two defenders along with
Williams and Doe but Laffor opted for goal which was saved
by Ousmane Mane.
Senegal missed out on an opportunity to equalise when Papiss
Demba Cisse’s penalty was saved by goalie Nathaniel Sherman
minutes after Doe’s goal but the hosts still pressed on.
They were rewarded for their tireless effort when George
Gebro’s tackle on Moussa Konate earned them a penalty.
The Invincible Eleven defender was lucky not to have been
booked for what looked to be a harsh tackle.
But Ibrahima Balde leveled the score in the 32nd minute
after a costly mistake by Patrick Gerhardt Nyemah.
Like Gebro, the Bosnia & Herzegovina-based defender with
Sarajevo had all the time and space in this world to make a
clearance but he was reportedly told by Gebro that he was
Having allowed the ball to bounce, it became a 50-50
situation and he was subsequently blocked by Konate, who
lobbed a pass to Cisse on the far left of the pitch.
Cisse then sent a lovely dispatch, which looked to be a
loosed ball until an unmarked Balde headed past a hapless
Sherman to end the first half one apiece.
Back from the break, Liberia were reduced to 10 men when
Solomon Grimes was sent-off for the cruelest of tackle and
his second bookable offence proved to be the turning point.
And Senegal profited from Grimes’ departure to take the lead
through substitute Dame N’Doye in the 72nd minute.
N’Doye, on for Konate, received a through ball from Cisse,
surged towards goal with Solomon Wesseh closely marking but
soon found space to squeeze the ball between Wesseh and
Sherman at a reverse angle.
With Ibrahima Toure on for Balde, Liberia struggled to cope
with the pressure from the hosts who were making use of
their heights by playing aerial balls since their visitors
were closing down the space in defence.
Cisse, who wore the armband when Senegal beat Morocco in a
friendly on May 25 in Marrakech, demonstrated his supremacy
and captaincy with few nerve-wrecking attacks but there was
no element of luck on his side.
Liberia pressed harder in search of the equalizer until Zah
Kranger, who was on for the injured Patrick Wleh and in the
clearest of position, hammered his effort against the
And it was from the resultant play in which Sadio Mane, a
threat to Gerhardt and Jimmy Dixon, sealed Liberia’s dream
of a vital away draw or win in the 83rd minute with a low
tap in after the UMC Roots shot stopper rebounded the first
It was a perfect start for interim coach Joseph Koto who
made no change to the squad that started against Morocco.
Overseeing his first competitive match in charge after the
resignation of Frenchman Pierre Lechantre in demand of a
three-month salary advance, Koto has given Senegalese fans
some hope after a dreadful 2012 Nations Cup finals in Gabon
and Equatorial Guinea where they lost all three games
against eventual champions Zambia, Equatorial Guinea and
Unlike Koto, new Liberia coach Kaetu Smith was reduced to
warm-up practice session against ex-internationals and Fatu
And his decision to play three strikers—Wleh, Doe and
Williams and two holding midfielders—Alseny Keita and Theo
Weeks who was not at his best, has already come under
criticisms on the FA facebook group.
Back in Monrovia, there could be more criticisms depending
on the World Cup qualifier with Angola on Sunday.
Saturday’s match started with a minute of silence for former
Senegal star Jules Bocande—also assistant coach during the
2002 World Cup—who died in a French hospital last month.
Language barrier prevented our reporter from speaking to
Koto but Smith wouldn’t speak to him given the scuffle that
engulfed between him and two players—Gebro and Laffor with
the latter striking him for a comment made while departing
the team’s bus enroute to interact with children at the JFK
hospital on Wednesday.
Infact, Smith said he doesn’t feel comfortable releasing his
team to a journalist who has cast a dark expression on two
of his players and an indirect reflection on him.
But team manager Sebastian Collins was instructed by LFA
president Musa Bility and other officials to make the list
public as this wasn’t a club but national team.
Next up, is a performance appraise of the technical staff
and players. This promises to be fantabulous.
Liberia line-up: 1-Nathaniel Sherman, 18-Solomon Grimes,
17-George Gebro, 6-Patrick Gerhardt Nyemah, 5-Jimmy Dixon,
4-Theo Weeks, 8-Alseny Keita, 14-captain Anthony Laffor
(2-Marcus Macauley 86’), 9-Dioh Williams (12-Solomon Wesseh
80’), 13-Patrick Wleh (10-Zah Kranger 41’) and 15-Francis
Subs not used: 3-Teah Dennis, 7-Perry Kollie, 11-Abraham
Barshall, 16-Mulbah Urey, 19-James Zotiah and 20-Galley
Senegal line-up: 23-Ousmane Mane, 3-Lamine Ludovic Sané,
4-Abdoulaye Ba, 5-Pape Guèye, 7-Moussa Konaté (11-Dame
N’Doye 45+1), 10-Sadio Mané, 15-captain Papiss Demba Cissé,
19- Idrissa Gana Guèye, 20- Ibrahima Baldé (12-Ibrahima
Toure 58’), 21-Mohamed Diamé (8-Cheikhou Kouyaté 79’) and
Subs not used: 1-Bouna Coundoul, 2-Remy Gomis, 6-Serigne
Modou Kara Mbodji, 9-Soulaymane Camara, 13-Jacques Faty,
14-Ricardo Faty, 16-Khadim N’Diaye, 17-Stephane Badji and
18-Pape Ndiaye Souare.
Booked: Kranger 42’, Grimes 62’ and Doe 63’.
Referees: Desire Noumandiez Doue—center, Songuifolo Yeo-1,
Moussa Bayere-2 and Denis Dembele—4th official (all from
Ivory Coast) and match commissioner Hichem Guirat (Tunisia).