The Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) football team will represent Liberia in the CAF African Championships this year.
Their first encounter in the preliminary rounds is against no other team than Ghana’s champion club, Asante Kotoko.
BYC is feverishly making preparations for the February showdown. The first leg takes place at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana, and the return-leg will be in Monrovia, after two weeks.
How well is BYC preparing for its first leg showdown in Kumasi? Are the players aware of the challenge they will face in Kumasi? It may seem naïve for me to ask the last question but I have a strong reason for posing such a rhetorical question.
I ask because I watched BYC’s last two league matches against Blue Angels and Jubilee FC, and I was shocked at the team’s lack of technical and tactical preparedness.
Among technical errors I observed in their two last matches was the lack of team-work as a unit. BYC forwards don’t seem to get a clearer understanding of team-work as in both matches mentioned, passes went to wrong opponents and on several occasions, they went to where team-mates were not there or were far away from.
Another issue was the apparent lack of energy in the players. On several occasions team-mates off the ball would simply watch their friends, instead of creating spaces and calling for the ball.
With such lack of coordination, whenever the ball is lobbed into BYC’s defense, there is complete confusion and as a result they will run and leave their positions for their opponents. The burden falls on goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman to come out of the post to make a save or to punch the ball desperately off-target.
BYC’s defense is not good enough to ward off an effective striking force, especially from a team whose style of attack is ‘foreign’ to them.
Even playing against Blue Angels and Jubilee, the defense was not good enough and at instances where there was a corner-kick awarded to their opponents, poor defensive work create so much confusion and to leave the goalkeeper vulnerable.
This situation questions what is being done by the technical team to prepare for their games.
BYC’s midfield does not coordinate well. When a ball is intercepted much effort is not used to get the ball and even if the ball is retrieved, the midfield makes a hopeless use of a pass that leaves the running striker breathless, as the ball roles off target.
Another thing, the players hold on to the ball more than necessary and realize too late that they are subdued with less energy left, and as a result the ball in an opponent’s hands pushes the defense against the wall.
What about set-pieces: that is corner-kicks, throw-ins, direct and indirect kicks? BYC players do not utilize these set-pieces well to their advantage.
At best, they do it in a haphazard fashion that one is reminded of guessing a winner in a European league match between Chelsea and Barcelona.
Goalkeeper Nathaniel Sherman is put under too much pressure due to the problems analyzed here that he is forced to work from the blindside on the field, which causes danger to the team.
There are always a cheering squad, drumming and singing but it does not have any bearing on the players, as the game proceeds.
Let’s hope BYC coach is reading my analysis of his players’ weaknesses and work on them.
Because to Kumasi and back is not a child’s play.