Liberia’s senior football Coach, Bertalan Bisckei, says he’s hopeful the Lone Star will put up an impressive display against Zimbabwe on Sunday in Monrovia, because all the players have been responding positively to his tactics.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference Saturday afternoon at the Lone Star’s hotel in Monrovia, Coach Bisckei praised his players for showing so much in training in the last few days.
“In the last training sections, the players showed so much physical ability, which is a characteristic of an African footballer, but we’ve worked on match tactics and the players are responding well”.
Coach Bisckei regrets the limited time he has spent with the overseas players recalled for the match, but was thrilled with the level of improvement in Saturday’s morning training at the SKD Complex in Paynesville.
“We’ve worked on attacking football, which is very important when you’re playing at home and we’ve also worked very hard on our defense. The defense isn’t free of flaws, but the players are improving and it’s good”, the Hungarian assured.
On the goalkeeping side, he said it’s very important to have an experienced goalie on the team, but Coach Bisckei didn’t revile the young keepers already in camp for Sunday.
Coach Bisckei: “I would have appreciated working with goalkeeper Louise Crayton because of his experience, but because of injury, he has been given some time to recover.”
“I’ve also seen Melvin King in training as well, but at the moment, we’ve chosen Sunday Seah and Saydee Swen for the match against Zimbabwe”, he disclosed.
Melvin King was Lone Star’s #1 in the last African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
On the issue of the dismissed trio, Coach Bisckei was unequivocal: “In as much as we need quality players, we also need disciplined players because it’s significant in football”.
The Coach said he’s informed that players have apologized to the FA, but will not form part of the team Sunday. He explained that he might consider them for selection in the future like all others players who didn’t make the list for Sunday match.
Dulee Johnson (AIK Sonia – Sweden), Dioh Williams (AGF Aarhus – Denmark), Francis Doe (Al Ahly – Egypt) were expelled from the Lone Star camp for Sunday match last Thursday for breaking camping regulations.
Lone Star’s captain, Anthony Laffor, who was also at the press briefing, bemoaned the behavior of his colleagues, and implored that those in camp will learn from the reprisal.
“Dulee, Dioh and Francis acted unprofessionally and their conduct was not in the best interest of the team. We’ll miss them because these are quality players, but there are more talented players in camp ready to do the job Sunday”, the Lone Star’s captain noted.
He rallied Liberian football fans across the country to support the Lone Star and to be of good behavior Sunday at the SKD Sports Complex.
Zimbabwe – Lone Star’s Opponent
Coach Bisckei: “I’d the chance to watch Zimbabwe against Brazil just before the World Cup, and in that match, they played defensive football because of the opponent, and am thinking they’ll use defensive tactics because they’ll be playing away”.
He said he’s no stranger to African football, and he understands the common strategy used in competition such as the African Cup qualifiers because he had worked in Egypt – one place where competitive football is played on the continent.
Liberia is paired in Group A alongside Zimbabwe, Mali and Cape Verde in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. Mali and Cape will play in the other Group A fixture. The Orange 2012 African Cup of Nations will be co-hosted by Gabon & Equatorial Guinea.
By Bruce Wiah – Liberiansoccer Chief Football Writer – Monrovia