After the disappointing performance, albeit predictably so, of Djibouti at the CECAFA Cup late last year, the Shoremen of the Red Sea will be back in action again next week in the qualifying group stage of the African Cup of Nations with home and away clashes against Liberia.
Sitting snugly at the bottom of the four team group that also contains Togo and Tunisia, there is little to suggest that Djibouti are anything other than woefully out of their depth. That said, if there were to be a positive result for Djibouti, then Liberia are potentially the likeliest opponent for it to come against. Prospects against either Togo or Tunisia when they play later in the year are not good, to put it bluntly.
That is not to say that Liberia are weak, however. Liberia’s previous home match was against Tunisia and saw the hosts prevail thanks to a late strike which secured a 1-0 win. Tunisia had previously thumped Djibouti 8-1.
Liberia are actually ranked alongside Togo, 101st in FIFA’s list currently. Both are well behind Tunisia (47th) and well ahead of Djibouti (=204th and, of course, last).
Djibouti host Liberia on Wednesday 23rd in Djibouti City before travelling to West Africa for the return match in Monrovia three days later. It is surely in the home match, with all the issues and inconveniences associated with travelling to Djibouti, where our Shoremen of the Red Sea have the greatest opportunity to spring a shock. But be under no illusion. It would be a shock.