With the Lone Star’s faithful in ecstasy after the spirited solitary goal victory against the visiting Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on September 5, 2015 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in Monrovia in a match week two with Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup Qualifier, the Lone Star which is aiming at their third African Cup finals will need mostly six qualities to compete with the likes of Tunisia, Togo and Djibouti for the automatic ticket or at least one of two runner up spots. After the spirited 1-0 win against the Tunisians which was mostly due to sheer commitment, spirit and grit, the red, white and blue outfit must take into account the following:
1) Clean Sheet-The Lone Star was able to keep a clean sheet against their North African opponents, a feat that must continue as the qualifiers rage on. The real test will mostly be away and with the team being poor travellers, they will need to raise their game in keeping clean sheets in the next 180 minute away fixtures to Djibouti and Tunisia if they are to be genuine contenders. Closing down opponents quickly, prodigious defending with everyone behind the ball when on the back foot and taking into account the compact nature; must among other things be highlighted.
Building From the Back-In the win against the Tunisians, the Lone Star virtually neglected to build up play as there was mostly route-one style football or over the top balls with the defenders making predictable long passes to the front runners. It is clear that in contemporary football, a team will be more useful, menacing or organized in building from the back where they could among other things draw the opponents and then link up with teammates. While the long ball cannot be overall ignored, to continuously engage in it makes a team to be literally impatient and game easily read by the opposition.
Adventurous Full Backs-No disrespect to the diminutive Solomon Grimes and the lithe GizzieDorbor who operated at full back positions during the Tunisia melee; they however were not adventurous in that fray. In today’s game, the use of adventurous fullbacks are a plus to a team when on the front foot as they will provide width, cleverly measured deliveries for teammates to pounce on. Thus, the Lone Star must also engage in wing play with the full backs scampering down the flanks.
Genuine Playmaker-Also in the Lone Star third win against Tunisia, it was evident that the team lacked an orchestrator or genuine playmaker that could provide the defense splitting pass, the final ball, penetration for the strikers to get the ultimate. An influential playmaker is greatly needed as the duo of Francis Doe and William Jebor lacked quality service in the contest at the ATS.
Profligacy–With the general feeling that the group could be a trident team race involving Togo, Tunisia and Liberia as each team yearns to win the home matches and then get maximum points against early point donors, Djibouti; the Lone Star will have to transcend their literally poor scoring form and start to win comprehensively or with wider margins as goal difference could count if all three teams show consistency to the end. The Lone Star has been mostly a one goal margin-win- team and with Tunisia hitting eight passes, Djibouti in the opening round, the senior national team of Liberia must sharpen its striking propensity in banging the goals.
Strength In Depth-Every good team needs a good or strong bench, something the Lone Star must be keen on. The substitutes must be as good or almost good as the starters, and there is a serious need to encourage more competitions to enable the best come out of every player. Thus, more players of quality need to be invited.