Liberia’s Italian Coach Roberto Landi is yet to deliver badly needed wins for the nation’s pride, the Lone Star. Landi has adapted an attitude of departing the country immediately after the Lone Star concludes another disastrous encounter, which seems to indicate that he has no interest in developing the national team, but to receive salary and bonuses.
Coach Landi usually comes to Liberia just a week before a pending game to train the national team, and the only result in the end is defeat or draw when Liberians anticipate victory to strengthen their chances of making it to the Nations Cup.
In an earlier interview with sports journalists in Monrovia, Landi said: “I am going to focus on developing a solid local based team and share knowledge with the local coaches.” But how is he going about his plans when he leaves Liberia following a match and returns few days to another game.
The head coach keeps confusing the public about where he is heading the national team; the Lone Star has missed out on the Nations Cup, London 2012 Olympic, and All African Games.
Landi had the opportunity to tap on the talents of veteran goalie Louis Crayton and strikers Jimmy Dixon, Alex Karmo and Oliver Makor to close the gap of the lack of experienced players, but has downplayed the need to bring these players onboard after a 1-0 win against Cape Verde in Monrovia.
However, at another moment Coach Landi complained to Sports Journalists in Harare, Zimbabwe that the Lone Star lacks experienced players.
Liberia’s recent home game with Mali, which was considered a crucial build-up to the Group stage qualifier next month, witnessed Coach Landi featuring only four international players. He is expected to recall huge international players for the away encounter against Mauritius next month.
The Italian coach came to the national team with less attractive records. Nevertheless, the Liberia Football Association hired him to redeem the poor image of Liberian football on the international scene.
Landi’s first assignment for the Lone Star was an away match to Cape Verde where Liberia went down 4-2, and an Under-23 4-0 defeat in Accra against Ivory Coast.
He was on the line during Lone Star’s disgraceful defeat at the hand of the Dream Team of Nigeria, conceding six goals after ninety minutes of play. The Lone Star was also subdued 3-0 in Harare under Landi leadership, but managed a 2-2 draw against Mali in Monrovia early this month.
Since he took over the national team, Coach Landi has achieved a win against Cape Verde in Monrovia. Many Liberians are wondering whether Landi is abreast of activities of Liberian players in Europe because he comes to Liberia to invite players already nursing injuries.
In the case of Jimmy Dixon, who plays in Turkey for Manisaspor, Landi spends time in Europe without keeping watch on a number of players, including Dixon, Theo Weeks, Tonia Tisdell, Amadaiya Rennie, Dioh William and Dulee Johnson.
Liberia also has players in Israel, among them Amos Kollie, Ben Martin, Gizzie Dorbor, George Baysah, Stanley Whitfield, Alvin Dixon and Vatalis Sie. Players in Sweden include Sam Johnson, Kpah Sherman, Taurus Manneh, Prince Somah, Victor Carr, Arnold Kennedy and top netter Anthony Allison.
Landi’s failure to monitor his players was exposed recently when he invited injured skipper Anthony Laffor and Jimmy Dixon for the match with Mali, but the clubs of those players wrote the Liberia Football Association, informing that the guys were not game fit as they needed sufficient time to recover fully from various injuries.
Coach Landi’s highest post ever held in his entire career was the time he served as goalkeeping coach for the United States men’s soccer team during the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cup campaigns.
He coached an Italian amateur team Marignano before moving on to occupy the position of head coach at the Georgian U-21 team, and later filled the same position for the Lithuanian U-21 in 2001.
Landi obtained a UEFA Pro License in 2003, and was part of Messina managing staff in their 2002–03 campaign. In January 2005, he became head coach of National Bucharest, where he achieved a record 17 wins in a row.
He left the post in September 2005, citing personal reasons, was later appointed as Qatar U-21 head coach. He then briefly moved to Hungary where he served as FC Sopron head for three matches in the 2006–07 season before being sacked for losing their local debut to Gyor.
In October 2007, he was linked with the managing position at Port Vale F.C. in June 2008. Landi before subsequently coming in contact with Scottish 1st Division outfit side Livingston, bought by an Italian consortium one month earlier.
He was appointed manager for the club on June 11, 2008. However after just five months in charge he and assistant Valter Berlini were fired. In June 2009, he was unveiled as new head coach of Belgian 3rd Division B side R. Union Saint- Gilloise. He was however dismissed later in December due to poor results before being hired in the spring of 2011 as team manager for the Lone Star after the illness of the late Coach Bertalan Bicskei.