Monthly Archives: August 2011

RIGHT BACKS!

No, not with a bang. But this blog is back!

I know I promised at the onset of this blog that IT would be as inconsistent as Emile Heskey’s scoring record but even the former Liverpool striker (?) scores in training. And it feels like this is the 13th time that I would be declaring that this blog is back but really who is counting?

While we are on the subject of numerous right backs, allow me to put in a word for Nigeria’s Flying Eagles (see what I did there?).

It has been a long time since I have seen a Nigerian team, at any level, so completely rounded. Teams in the past have been very mobile, physical or just good technically but this team adds tactical awareness to the package. The way the players in the team stick to their assigned roles make their football a joy to watch for any fan who smacks his lips at the thought of tactics.

Playing with a modern 4-3-3 formation, the team possesses a centre forward in Kayode who is always harrying and harassing defenders and hanging on the shoulder of the last defender. The wide attackers, in the electric Musa and dogged Egbedi, delight in hugging the sidelines and taking on the opposing full backs on the outside, thereby spreading the play. This allows space for the attacking midfielder, Ajagun to operate.

Then you have the captain of the team, Ramon Azeez, operating as the quintessential box-to-box midfielder, supporting the attack when needed and falling back when the team is without possession with Daniel anchoring the base of the midfield. Also the team has adventurous fullbacks as exemplified by the stunning strike of Terna Suswan against Croatia. Suswan is actually a right back who can play remarkably well in the left back position.

Not forgetting the tall and lanky duo of Ogungbe and Omeruo and the ever so slightly eccentric goalkeeper in Dami Paul.

Now as complete as this team may be, they are in no way perfect, as shown by the identical goals they conceded against Croatia. Not that they should take too much flak for that, such was the quality of the delivery from the Croatian No. 7 and the height and heading prowess of his teammates.

But credit must go to the coach of the team, John Obuh, for his tactical nous. A minute after the Croatians scored their second goal, he brought in a big striker in Uche Nwofor to replace Egbedi, changing formation to a standard 4-4-2, with Ajagun moving to the right, Musa moving back a little bit and Kayode dropping into the hole. This resulted in a tighter midfield for the Croatians to negotiate through and a more p[prominent focal point for the Nigerian attack. And Nwofor duly obliged his coach with two well taken goals.

Now I am not really big on predictions but after seeing at least one game of all the teams at the competition, I can confidently say that I have no idea the destiny of this team at the World Cup. See, I told you I am not big on predictions.

So that is all for now.

I will be right back like Bacary Sagna!

 


 

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