Tactical Evolution Needed In LFA League
By Wleh Bedell
With the Liberia Football Association (LFA) national league raging on, albeit or though just in its early stages, there are some coaches that need to evolve from a tactical standpoint in conforming with current day football reality and enable their clubs get on the right trajectory performance or analytical wise.
One of such is LPRC Oilers Gabriel Johns who from all indication has employed an archaic approach or tactic. After a pulsating 2-2 away draw to Nimba United match day one on a relatively torrid surface which impeded both clubs from engaging in the pasing game or keeping the ball on the floor, the 0-1 loss to FC Fassell on match day two was mainly due to an old fashioned style.
While it is true that the referee in the melee who has surprisingly referred the Oil boys match with Nimba (one referee in two consecutive matches for the Oilers) was seen as an enemy of the Oilers after cancelling a goal which was right as Teku Nah was clearly offside, but should have increased the added time as there were two much delays due to injuries on both sides, Gabriel Johns decision to however engage in the restrictive game has and will continue to cost his team dearly.
To instruct all ten outfield players to do man marking in the name of keeping the opposition quiet or not allowing them to play is absurd out of style and must be altered as in the modern game, players are only allowed to man mark in their zone and not run behind opponents everywhere they go; even when they go to their bench to drink or get tactical instruction. The Oilers have neglected freedom for their players and the key instruction is "mark, mark mark", too unfortunate.
The focus is worrying on the opposition game plan or style order than focusing more on theirs. With this, the Oilers will struggle in the league. The players must be allowed to play with freedom. The likes of the Sierra Leonean international Sulimane kamara, technically gifted Ambrose Dolley are all out of style due to the Oilers ancient style football which will do more harm than good to the 1988 Cup winners Cup now Confederation Cup quarter -finalists.
Though the Oilers were generally better than a lethargic FC Fassell especially when they were reduced to nine men due to a head collission involving teammates Ebenezer Solo and Patrick Jackson who spent more than ten minutes on the sideline taking stitches when the three substitutions were completed, had the Oilers operated in a more adventurous cum free flowing style, they would have got maximum three points.
Gabriel Johns must evolve tactically or else the Oilers will for the opteen time end the season empty handed. Besides, the tactically indiscipline Benny Tisdell who rarely or hardly makes a cross though a full back , but is appeased or happy with making pointless dribbles, must either be told to be business minded in providing early crosses or be deployed in lateral midfield as a winger. He often over elaborates, spend more time on the ball as a means of mostly being too flashy or over exuberant in the name of taking on opponents.
Ebenezer Solo must be brought back in midfield to add more grit and steel to the middle third and Teku Nah who is more lively must be given a starting berth. Ambrose Dolleh and Exodus Caine who replaced him in the second half must be allowed to play together with a workaholic holding or balanced midfielder watching their back as they are both inventive and can provide the final ball. FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! is what Oilers lack.
FC Fassell from all indication were unconvincing and ordinary in victory. They were lucky to win against a second half hungry Oilers who despite being two men down went all out as they felt it was better to lose 2-0 wile fighting than lose 1-0 sleeping. Coach Sam Chebil too must evolve. His side played more route one or over the top balls. They started from the defensive third in the build up but neglected connecting the middle third and just played long balls upfront which were easily read by the opposition.
The midfielders were not making themselves available. To make matter worse, fatigue took its toll on them in the second stanza and while the Oilers were playing 9v11, Fassell refused to absorb a positive Oilers in catching them on the break as they allowed Oilers to chase and take the game to them to the astonishment of many. Also, the Fassell goalkeeper was surprisingly delaying as early as the 13th minute of the match in the name of slowing the game time when his side were already up, another ugly affair. FC Fassell under Sam Chebli need tactical variation and endurance.
Thus, Chebli must evolve also. One plus for Fassell however was how they put bodies behind the ball defensively especially before the interval which made the Oilers game to lack penetration as the center was clustered.
LISCR triumphed over 11 journey men Dragons 6-0, but not much can be read from such one sided contest as the opponents were sub-standard and another top team would have won such match by 11-0. Rugby- like player Dominic Jlateh who disappointingly scored just once should have scored a double brace (four goals). LISCR did not play anything special, its just that the team from Gbarnga,Bong County looked uninterested, lifeless, below par, nervous and a group of people who just came to see Monrovia.
ELWA United were the best team as it relates to the matches seen over the weekend. In their 4-0 demolition of disjointed Keitrace who have become the charity side after shipping in eight goals from two duels, were purposeful, athletic, organized and lively. They were the team that caught the eye the most.
Watanga too played with much pace and aggression in their scoreless draw against Holder. Though the latter had several begging chances squandered which when converted would have being against the run of play as Watanga were on the front foot in most part of the melee.
As indicated, its still early days and more clubs will improve very soon. Hope to see the likes of Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) in action at the ATS and no where else.