Liberia coach cries foul after friendly defeat to Kenya
Nairobi, Nov 16 (IANS) Liberia head coach James Debbah was left seething in anger here after his team lost 0-1 to Kenya in a FIFA international friendly, claiming the hosts scored their winner from an offside position.
Kenya notched up their eighth game without defeat on Tuesday when winger Paul Were, who plays his club football in the Greek second division, turned the ball into the net in the 53rd minute for the controversial winner, reports Xinhua.
Speaking to reporters after the game, the incensed Debbah who had pledged to shoot down the Kenyans then chided the home team for failing to beat his young side by a more convincing margin.
“The referees were bad. The goal was offside! Offside! You saw the replays. The biggest problem was officiating. You cannot build a team like that, if Kenya want to progress, they must be fair.
“You played against our third team, young boys we brought to try them and you can’t even win, the officiating was bad, seriously,” the Lone Star head coach lamented.
The coach and his players protested bitterly against the award of goal but Debbah denied he wanted to pull his team off the pitch.
“We were arguing, even the big teams in Europe argue. We were protesting the goal. This is football; I’m not depressed. We still have more to offer. You played your entire professional players and they could not beat a third team,” Debbah added in his rant against the perceived injustice on his side.
Kenya coach Stanley Okumbi hailed his charges for holding on to beat Liberia despite missing a hatful of chances to stretch the margin of victory.
He, however, rued the wastefulness in front of goal having also seen his side squeeze a 1-0 victory over Mozambique at the same venue on Saturday in yet another FIFA friendly.
“It’s a great day for the players, they have done their best in the two matches. We told them they must work harder and be hungrier in the second half and we got the goal,” he added.
Okumbi rested his captain and English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama for the second half as his club team prepare to face West Ham United in a London derby on Saturday.