Coach Peter Butler addressed the press on his 55th birthday ahead of Liberia’s trip to Nigeria for Match Day 1 of the second round of matches in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers expressing positive feelings as his Red, White, and Blue boys make the trip to Lagos on Tuesday, 31 August.
Liberia take on favorites Nigeria in a Group C showdown before hosting Central African Republic (CAR) three days later as Butler leads the charge for Lone Star’s first ever World Cup appearance.
The gaffer selected a 22-man squad, 7 local players and 15 overseas whom he said are Liberia’s strongest available options to compete. Early in the press conference the Brit condemned a fake list that he said has floated social media over the last days.
‘’Firstly, I don’t use social media and lot of those young lads who were listed, I didn’t select them and whoever did that is false to start with.
‘’There are two goalkeepers and five outfield players from the local teams…those players pushed their way into the squad and I have named another 15 lads some that you may know and some you won’t and I’ll explain that.
‘’Certain players are not available; Sam [Johnson] has a chronic knee problem, unfortunately he’s suspended and he hasn’t played for months.
“I spoke with Seth [Herberg] lengthily and he said he’s not fit and doesn’t want to let Liberia down, and Joel [Johnson] and I spoke sufficiently and he said he has a problem with his ‘’Green card’’ and wants to settle that,’’ Butler said.
Butler mentioned that five lads were drafted into the team with promising pedigrees and he named them as Mohammed Kamara, Ayouba Kosiah a talented 6’4’’ striker who plays at the U-21 level with NAC Breda in the Netherlands, Abu Kamara, Abraham Soumaoro and, Justin Salmon a box-to-box midfield player whom he said can also play in central defense.
The Lone Star Coach said his lads will compete, be organized, and be attacked-minded throughout the campaign.
‘’It’s going to be a tough group and favorites Nigeria have got qualities and are heavily funded as compare to us, but I’m going to back myself against any coach in this group.
‘’They have Wilfred [Ndidi], Kelechi [Iheanacho], Alex [Iwobi] I could name more…but we’re going to be competitive and I believe we’re going to offset a few teams on the road,’’ Butler added.
Liberia travel at Nigeria on 3 September and three days later they play Central African Republic.