Liberian FA Cup champions FC Fassell is set to make their debut appearance in preliminary rounds of the CAF Confederation cup this season.
FC Fassell President Reginald Nagbe tells Cafonline.com that his club preparation for the debut appearance in the continental showpiece been seriously disrupted due to outbreak Ebola virus in some parts of West Africa. The Liberian are paired against Guinean side, Horoya Athlétique Club, with the latter hosting the first leg on Sunday, 15 February 2015 at the 26 Mars Stade in Bamako, Mali. CAF has ordered the two sides to play in neutral venues due to the outbreak of the Ebola in both countries.
Nagbe added that “our boys are prepared to upset the former African Cup Winners’ Cup champions, Horoya Athlétique Club in the Orange CAF Confederation Cup tie.
Football Club Fassell (nicknamed Soccer Missionaries) is a grassroots Monrovia-based first division football club sponsored by Liberian business tycoon, Mr. Cassell A. Kouh, Sr. The club was founded in September 2009 in the slum community of Gardnerville in Monrovia with its motto as “early preparation bring good results”.
FC Fassell qualified to represent Liberia in the CAF Confederation Cup competition at the end of 2013/2014 Liberian Football league season as winners of the FA Cup. At the same time, the club also qualified to the elite division by finishing tops of the second division.
The historic feature for Fassell is that they qualified for the second-tier continental club championship as a club outside the elite division, which is a rare story in African football.
Head coach, Matthew S. Julutweh who has been with the club since 2009 says his players’ physical fitness is his priority and has also lauded the positive response of his lads towards training.
“As we all know the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country caused major setbacks in every aspect of our society and we in the sporting fraternity faced the same setback, especially with our preparations for the CAF Confederation Cup. We could not carry on any exercise because of the fear of the virus,” Julutweh told Cafonline.com.
“The players are looking forward to play in the biggest soccer event on the continent. Horoya is a famous club. They are strong and physical, but we will use our skills and endurances. We will attack and defense together.
“We have some experience players in our team. We have four national team players and three foreign players from Ghana, Guinea and Benin. It will be an open contest and we are no underdogs.”
On his part, FC Fassell captain, Vitalia Sie has described his sides early preparation for the continental encounter as a step in the right direction despite the fact the ban on football was lifted few weeks ago.
Sie, who played in the CAF Champions league a few years ago with rivals, LISCR FC player, has charged his colleagues to rise to the occasion despite the fact both matches will be in neutral grounds.
“It is painful to play both matches on neutral venues without our fans. The fans motivate us a lot. We will miss than but it is due to Ebola. We need to win to honor our fans especially those who died from the Ebola virus,” Sie noted.
Meanwhile, Andy Quamie, Head of the Liberia Premier Division Board recalls the Ebola virus really affected football in the country.
“It was very bad. There no practice sessions and everything football was brought to a halt. We are very happy that ban on football has been lifted and very soon we shall launch our programmes for the new season. The First Division League has been tentatively fixed for 15 March 2015,” said Quamie.
Liberia’s other representative in the continental club championships is champions, Barrack Young Controllers who will travel to Banjul as guests of Gambian side, Real Banjul in the Orange CAF Champions League.