By Benjamin Seedee
The recent 1-0 victory of champion club LISCR FC over Al-Hilal Omdurman of Sudan did not come as a surprise to many, but the narrow victory in the first leg has raised concern among soccer fans and coaches. The author of this article, former Mighty Barrolle and Lone Star top striker Ben Seedee (Roberto), spent several years coaching professional clubs in South Africa. In this article he offers his candid analysis and suggestion that, if considered, could help see LISCR FC through in the second leg in Sudan on February 20.
What was LISCR FC’s game plan on February 11? And if there was one, did it work? My answer is that all parts did not function or coordinate well from the defensive third, middle-third to the attacking third of the field. Example: LISCR goalkeeper Tommy Songo did not distribute the ball enough by starting the game in the defense, but rather he played long balls that made it difficult for his strikers upfront, since the long balls benefited their opponents, who were much bigger and taller.
LISCR defenders also did not support the midfielders, and the midfielders did not support the strikers, and as a result, they left one player among three or four players of the Sudanese defenders. LISCR FC strikers appeared to lose their composure in the attacking third of the game as they most often allowed or could not counter their opponents when they were on the attack. This brought excessive pressure on goalkeeper Songo and he had to work overtime to weather a couple of dangerous attempts by the Sudanese.
How did LISCR FC perform on their attacks/defense and offensive set-pieces? Because the Sudanese had more ball possession in the game, it was evident that LISCR FC’s attacks and defense did not have much punch. Evidently, there was not a situation where LISCR FC ever had numerical superiority in the defense or during their attacks against the Sudanese team. When it came to the three main sessions of the game, the Liberians did not possess the ball well enough and also did not defend well whenever they lost their ball to their opponents.
I must admit that one good set-piece in their attack resulted in the only goal of the match in the first half. Could they have initiated additional set-pieces? Yes. And they did, but could not get the goals.
What is LISCR FC’s game flow? When were LISCR players on top of the game? Truly speaking the first half was not as good as it was expected by the fans, but they managed to get the goal, which came as a surprise to all, thanks to Sheku Sheriff.
The second half produced LISCR FC’s best performance nevertheless, and they almost secured the second goal that Mark Paye wasted, after a couple of nice substitutions were made by Coach Tapha Manneh.
What to do in Sudan
I suggest that a lot of emphases should be placed on a tactical game plan, with every department expected to function and responsibilities honored. This should include the defense, the attack, and the wings, or playing the ball in the ground with diagonal or penetrating passes. The players should learn to think and play a ‘low pressure’ game since a lot of pressure would be mounted by the Sudanese. They would want to erase the 1-0 loss early in the game and then go for the kill.
Aware of this tactic, LISCR FC players should play with the intentional counterattack as a focus, not forgetting compact defense, midfield, and attacking strategies. The defense must be ‘depth’ in their support to the goalkeeper.
Discipline towards referee
The referee must be respected at all time. LISCR FC players must learn to keep their focus and concentrate and forget about the referee’s decisions, which would help to prevent him from issuing out red cards or yellow cards that would dampen their courage. I am convinced that if LISCR FC’s technical team and the players can make use of my suggestions, they could defend their lone goal and continue their campaign in the 2018 CAF Club Championship League.
Good Luck, LISCR FC!