BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Like the Biblical Noah’s dove with no resting place on the sea, Liberia football team have had to seek alternative home ground for their international matches. Up till this month, they played Cape Verde in Accra in a Group C World Cup qualifier.
Left without a win, they are seeking alternative offshore home ground and may have gotten one in Morocco. The Super Eagles are therefore likely to host Super Eagles in Tangier, Morocco as the Moroccans have granted their request to host Liberia’s matches.
With that, Morocco holds the record of hosting most World Cup qualifying matches in Africa. In their Group I, Guinea had to forfeit their home ground to play against Morocco in Morocco. Similar situation affected Guinea Bissau which had their two World Cup qualifying matches against Morocco played in Morocco.
Thus, all but one of the Group I matches are played in Morocco. The Liberia versus Nigeria match has increased the number.
Liberia with three points, though with “arithmetical” but unrealistic chances of topping Group C, are rooted at the bottom of the table.
If they must progress to the next round of the qualifiers, they must win their last two games with not less than three goals margin and hope that none of their group opponents secure a win in their remaining games, a target that is humanly unachievable for the Lone Star.
Tangier is a Northwestern coastal city in Morocco and is the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets with the Mediterranean Sea which separates North Africa from Europe.
Nigeria’s national football team last played there in 1976 when they picked a ticket for the Montreal Olympics after losing 0-1, but a 3-2 aggregate win over Morocco the then African champions.
The facebook statement released by the Liberian Football Association reads: “The Kingdom of Morocco has granted Liberia the use of Grand Stade de Tanger for their remaining two matches on Match Day 5 & 6 of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifiers next month following a request from the Liberia Football Association (LFA) to its Moroccan counterparts.
“Early in the week, Liberia lost the bid to host their remaining two Group C World Cup Qualifiers in Monrovia following yet another failed inspection of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
“CAF Inspector Ivan Bayige Kintu report following an ‘’Independent Stadium Inspection visit’’ at the weekend sent to CAF, which was served the LFA said, ‘’The SKD doesn’t meet the set CAF stadium minimum requirements and consequently will not be approved for the qualifying matches of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Match Day 5 & 6.’’
“The report said the stadium still lacks several CAF criteria and requirements in order to host international senior competitions making specific emphasis to the playing pitch.
“Therefore, following confirmation from the Royal Morocco Football Federation (RMFF), Liberia will host Nigeria at the Grand Stade de Tangier on November 11 at 16:00Hrs GMT and Central African Republic (CAR) on November 15 at 16:00Hrs GMT.
“Grand Stade de Tanger was inaugurated in April 26, 2011 with a capacity of 45,000 people and is home to IR Tanger, a top tier Moroccan club.”