Lone Star’s Italian coach Roberto Landi, has outlined several new strategies for the national team ahead of Liberia’s preparation for upcoming qualifying series for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Addressing sports writers Tuesday at the Liberia Football Association Headquarter on Benson Street in Monrovia, Landi said Liberia has ample time to prepare for the group stage qualification against Senegal, Angola and Uganda scheduled for June, 2012.
He said in coming months the Lone Star will engage in series of away friendlies to give the players enough outside exposure, noting experiences that will be gathered from those away matches will enable them to adapt to away game pressures.
Liberia has already collected nine points from three home matches and getting two or three draws from outside could place the country in a comfortable position to seal qualification.
Coach Landi said building a strong national team that would take Liberia to the 2014 World Cup requires collective efforts of all Liberians, including the LFA and the willingness of players to give their best for the country.
The coach, who was recently in Europe to intervene in matters between Lone Star’s left forward Ansu Toure and his Swiss Challenge league club, which wants to terminate the 30-year-old forward contract in December because he frequently comes home to honor national commitments, disclosed that things are now ok for Toure.
His mission to Europe has brought two sponsorship deals for the national team, including sponsorship for Jerseys from a company, Errea and medicals from a group called Stema.
Errea provided jerseys for the home side during the 3-0 defeat in Zimbabwe and the home fixture against the Eagles of Mali in Monrovia recently, which ended in 2-2 draw.
The coach emphasized that Liberia’s advancement in the FIFA monthly ranking is attracting lots of offers for sponsorship, but those offers would be realized only when the country falls among the best 100 countries on the log.
“We just need to fight in cutting down 25 blocks to fall in the 100s and fight to maintain our ranking, but it will require willingness of the players and the FA to work during qualification fixtures and increased international friendlies.
Coach Landi said his focus is on building a solid local base team and identifying more local players, but delay of the Liberian season is a disappointment to the process.
“We need the league to be running because it will develop the players’ ability, but just training every day without a league is a major problem: game styles are completely different from what you see on the pitch”, Landi narrated.
He frowned at some sport reporters, who questioned his selection process of players per game, saying it is not healthy for Liberian football. Landi also condemned the online website Liberiansoccer for publishing unbalanced articles, which according to him, was creating hatred between supporters and the national team staffers.
During the press conference, Landi admitted to recently pronouncement by the President of the Liberia Football Association Musa Bility that he (Landi) earns US$10,000 monthly salary with other benefits including round trip ticket every quarter of a year.
However, he said all other trips to Europe or within Europe and back to Liberia are underwritten personally. “At a point in time, I have to buy US$ 100 gas for my car”, he added.
Meanwhile, Coach Landi has commented on the misbehavior of some Lone Star players in Zimbabwe during the away commitment. He said after the defeat at the hands of the Zimbabweans, the team had dinner in the hotel and the players went to their rooms while he and Kelvin Sebwe was chatting about the 3-0 defeat, but to his surprise between 3 and 4 am, he heard noise in the hotel.
He furthered that immediately he went on the scene to check and saw sex workers jumping out of one of the players’ room. “I just saw a lady jumping out through the window”, he said. Coach Landi said the action was not about the players, but the image of Liberia.
He questioned the suspension of Lone Star trainer Janjay Jacobs and Administrative Manager Sabastine Collins by executives of the LFA.
Commenting on Lone Star skipper Anthony Laffor’s inability to score for Liberia, Landi said anxiety was one of the factors robbing the player of hitting the back of the net, saying “All I want from Laffor is to create the chance for the forward to score; if you have the chance to nail it that will be fine, but he needs to focus on the creation of support.”