MONROVIA, Montserrado – LISCR FC’s head coach has in his first year, has come out to criticize the quality of Liberian footballers.
The Gambian-born Tapha Manneh, who said his primary focus is to develop a team before embarking on any title contention, is not deterred by the pressure of winning the league.
“My philosophy is to build the team,” Manneh told reporters after a recent 3-1 victory over Mighty Barrolle. “When I came, I was given the mandate to build a team. I’m not expecting to win the title. If we have it along the way, we will go for it. My plan is to build the team and to make sure we remain in the league.”
While Manneh said he felt no particular pressure to win the title immediately, he would prefer to win in his first year.
“My contract is three years and the building process could be for a year while we fight for the title in the remaining years,” he said.
Manneh made a comparison between Liberian and Gambian players in a controversial statement, describing the latter as inefficient.
“There’s a big difference between the footballers in Liberia and Gambia. Liberian players aren’t physically strong. They don’t play 90 minutes,” he said. “From what I have observed, they play 45 minutes and the remaining could be their opponent’s. Those are mentalities that we need to work on. We need to make sure our team plays 90 minutes.”
With two wins from five games, the Gambia tactician, however, disclosed his reluctance to bring in foreign players and preferred working with domestic Liberian players.
“Football has no boundaries. There were some Gambians playing here in Liberia, while there were Liberians also in The Gambia,” he said. “What is important now is who will give me the result. If the Liberian players can give me the result, I will go for them.”
Manneh added that he prefers to pursue Liberian players “because it is cheaper for the administrators.”
LISCR will be hoping to continue its winning form when they play away at Nimba United in their next match on Jan. 29.
Featured photo by T. Kla Wesley, Jr.