Anthony Laffor of Liberia
Thursday Jun 02, 2016. 09:28
Liberia and Togo will meet for a crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Group A on Sunday at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
Liberia lead the way in the pool with nine points from four matches, but they have both Tunisia and Togo breathing down their necks – each is on seven points and within striking distance of top spot.
The Lone Stars have put together a fine qualifying campaign thus far, recovering from a loss in their opening match to claim three successive wins and put themselves within touching distance of a third appearance at the AFCON tournament and a first since 2002.
Liberia could secure qualification if they win and Tunisia fail to defeat Djibouti, but given that the minnows have lost all four matches thus far and conceded 16 goals in the process, James Debbah’s side would do well to assume that they will receive no favours from the group’s other match.
Debbah courted controversy last month when he announced on his Facebook page that he will quit as Liberia’s coach after this match against Togo over anger at an apparent lack of support from the country’s FA, though he later claimed his comments were only ‘metaphoric’.
As for Togo, this will be their first competitive assignment under new coach Claude Le Roy. The Frenchman, who has led more sides in Africa Cup of Nations tournaments than any other coach, was appointed the Sparrow Hawks’ boss in April.
The teams’ first meeting in the group took place just under a year ago, with Togo defeating Liberia 2-1 in Lome.
Egyptian referee Ghead Zaglol Grisha will take charge of the match in Monrovia on Sunday.