SPORTS: ‘Be Patience, New Liberia Coach’ , Ansu Keita Calls On Compatriots

By Danesius Marteh

Keita is taking over a team currently pointless in qualifying for the next Afcon

New head coach Ansu Keita has called for patience as he seeks to help Liberia qualify for its first Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals since the 2002 competition in Mali.

Keita was unveiled this week at a news conference, attended by several executives of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) and sports minister Zeogar Wilson in Monrovia.

“I am not God [to perform miracles] but I will do my best,” he said.

“People who doubt me, I love them.”

Keita, who holds a Uefa B license. brings more than 15 years of experience as a technical director and coach.

He has replaced former international Thomas Kojo, but his mission is similar: to take the Lone Stars to their first major international tournament in over 20 years.

“People who criticised me, they’re the best,” he said.

“They make me work hard. They keep my feet on fire so I can work. I will do my best and I will never disappoint my country.”

Mustapha Raji, Ansu Keita and Zeogar Wilson

LFA president Mustapha Raji, Ansu Keita and Liberia Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson lined up for the unveiling

LFA President Mustapha Raji was on hand as Keita signed a two-year contract with the initial aim of qualifying for this year’s Afcon finals in neighbouring Ivory Coast with the Lone Stars.

“Keita will build a strong home-based team that will qualify for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2024 and also qualify Liberia for the 2023 and 2025 Africa Cups of Nations,” Raji said.

“I am calling on all Liberians to join hands and support Keita.”

But former international James Salinsa Debbah, who coached Liberia from 2014-2018, said he was against the appointment.

“Keita’s appointment is a scandal of gigantic proportions and a recipe for disaster,” he told BBC Sport Africa.

“He is a youth development coach, who has never been tested at senior national team level or played for the senior national team. I am talking about football and not politics.”

Keita has named Cooper Sannah as deputy coach and former internationals Nathaniel Sherman and George Gebro as goalkeeping coach and physical trainer.

Liberia have arguably their best chance of reaching an Afcon competition in years with just three teams in their qualifying group, from which the top two will qualify.

But they are currently pointless in Group K.

Source: BBC

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