By Anthony Kokoi
As the twelve (12) clubs in the Liberia Football Association first division league prepare for phase two of the ongoing league season, Daily Observer Sports takes a look back at the performance and stats of the top four clubs.
The first phase of the ongoing league season came to end on Saturday, March 25, with reigning champions Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) and Invincible Eleven (IE) securing the last two wins and recorded a total of 128 goals.
Finishing Position – 1st
Points – 28
The “Soccer Missionaries” started the 2016/2017 league season with a 5-1 comprehensive victory that placed them on top of the table from the start of the season with goal difference.
With the news of their team’s president being arrested in the United States, many expressed doubt that the team would perform to expectation.
But the team replied to the news with extraordinary performances winning all three points in their first six matches. Their unbeaten run came to an end after they were narrowly defeated by another top side, LISCR FC; but the team remained on top with two points.
After their first defeat was a crucial encounter against champions BYC at the Blue Field (BYC had earlier lost to Mighty Barrolle before the match) where BYC took an early league, but a double from Fassel’s Christian Doe in each half of the match sent Coach Sam Chebli’s boys five points ahead of BYC to keep the team on top.
The team continued their outstanding performance and was able to secure three wins and a draw in the last four matches in phase one that kept them as league leaders.
Finishing Position – 2nd
Points – 21
It was also a promising start for the Go Blue Boys of BYC following their first league match as defending champions.
The team showed a positive side to their home supporters after they defeated the “Church Boys” of Jubilee FC 4-0 in their first home match.
Following their huge home victory, the Go Blue Boys extended their unbeaten run.
“The secret behind my success is the level of support I am receiving from management,” Coach Sannah after securing his consecutive victories.
But the team later got a shocking result after bottom side, Mighty Barrolle defeated them 3-2 at the Blue Field.
Following this defeat, the Go Blue Boys struggled in their next fixtures that saw them collecting four points out of four matches, but managed to secure seven points in their last three phase one matches that moved them to 2nd place to end phase one.
Monrovia Club Breweries
Finishing Position – 3rd
Points – 21
After being promoted to the 1st division after capturing the 2nd division title, the Brushord Island based club began their campaign with a 1-0 win over one of Liberia’s traditional sides, Mighty Barrolle.
The latter during phase one dropped to a low position on the league table due to their participation in the CAF tournament.
After their elimination from the CAF competition, the Islanders returned to domestic league action with an impressive performance that saw them securing seven points in their last three matches in phase one.
The team’s goalkeeper, Abdulai Koulibaly, was the man of the final moment after scoring four goals in two matches; a hat-trick against Keitrace and the lone goal in their final match against LPRC Oilers.
Finishing Position – 4th
Points – 19
The “Shipping Boys” of LISCR were the only undefeated side in the just ended phase one of the LFA national league; securing more draws than any other side in the league.
Being coached by a foreign coach, who was coaching in the Liberian league for the first time, it was a surprise to witness the team maintaining their unbeaten record in phase one of the league.
Though coach Tapha Manneh admitted that the start of the season was a challenge for him, the Gambian led his side through their unbeaten run of phase one.
Not only did the Gambian coach lead his side to their unbeaten run, but also broke the unbeaten record of league leaders Fassel with a narrow 1-0 victory.
The draws were not good results for Coach Manneh, but after one of his crucial wins against Monrovia Club Breweries, the Gambian maintained that “we do not play to surrender; winning the three points remains our priority or we share the points, but to lose all three points, that is completely out.”
Fans of the top four clubs including the rest of the clubs are now awaiting the resumption of phase two of the league in anticipation of who will win the 2016/2017 title.
The date for the resumption of phase two of the league is yet to be announced by LFA.
By Anthony Kokoi