SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jnr.
Leone Stars of Sierra Leone and the Leopards of Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) will both be in search for their first point in Group D of the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when the two sides meet today at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi at 12 noon.
Today’s clash will mark the first meeting between the two sides who are in desperate need of maximum points after they both suffered defeats in their opening fixtures to Ivory Coast and Cameroun respectively.
Sierra Leone will be using the Stade TP Mazembe as their home turf after the Africa governing body, CAF order them to play their home matches on a foreign turf, due to the Ebola outbreak in the country.
However, the Leone Stars coach, Johnny McKinstry is hopeful that his side will bounce back from the 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast.
“We knew that Ivory Coast, in their home stadium, would be strong and would want to hold possession,” he said. “A key point for us was ensuring any possession they had in areas that didn’t hurt us, and we were successful at that for the entirety of the first half.
“We need something from the Congo match and we must build on our performance displayed against Ivory Coast.”
Meanwhile, there are several injury concerns for the Irish coach as he will be missing his captain Umaru Bangura, who is nursing a groin injury, and midfielder Alfred Sankoh, who limped off early in the second half during the Ivory Coast match.
There were concern for winger George Davies who was also substituted during Saturday’s clash with the Elephants due to injury, but the coaching staff have passed him fit for today’s match, although Azerbaijan based attacking midfielder, Gabriella Julius Woobay has been left out from the squad by coach McKinstry.
He said Woobay was dropped because he is not part of his game plan. “It was a very difficult decision I took at the airport to drop Woobay and I was forced to do it because I was asked to cut down on the number,” Coach McKinstry told the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL).
The 28-year old added: “Woobay was not in my plan even if he had made the trip as he was not involved with the team since June 2013 when we played against Tunisia in Freetown.”
The Leopards on the other hand believe the chances are there for them to secure maximum points against Sierra Leone and coach Florent Ibenge said the match against Cameroon was viewed and they are ready to correct the errors identified from the match.
He said: “We must address our errors against Cameroon with winning against Sierra Leone to boost us in the race because there will be a shock in Yaoundé between Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.”
Leone Stars squad:
Goal Keepers: Solomon Zombo Morris and John Trye
Defenders: Mustapha Dumbuya, Sheriff Suma, Umaru Bangura, David Simbo, Abdul Rahman Bangura, Mohamed Kamanor
Midfielders: Khalifa Jabbie, Mohamed ‘Medo’ Kamara, Albert Kargbo, Ibrahim Kallay and Michael Lahoud
Forwards: Kei Kamara, Alhaji Kamara, Kei Kamara, George Davies and Alhassan Kamara
DR Congo Team News: Kadiaba, Wama, Ebounga, Chancel Mbembe, Cedric Mongungu, Distel Zola, Mabwat Yusuf Moulumbu, Mubele Ndombe, Mabuati Cedric, Makiadi Yannick Bolasie, Kudimbana, Munganga Omba, Mabele Bawaka, Lusadisu Kanda. Coach, Florent Ibenge