Lone Star Must be Negative
By Wleh Bedell
Poor traveler Lone Star will this weekend be in the Lion’s
den to face a mammoth task in their opening group match of
the 2014 World Cup qualifier. The Senegal mission will be
the senior national team’s nineteenth competitive away
fixture since September 8, 2002 when they lost to Guinea’s
Sylli Nationale. The team has lost all eighteen games to the
discontentment of their faithful.
Thus, the is much fear as far as the results are concerned
on June 2, with new head coach kaetu Smith and his charges
expected to have a torrid time in a very uncomfortable zone.
But, how should the Lone Star fare, parade or organize
tactically is what needs to be looked at seriously.
Solomon Grimes, Jimmy Dixon, Omega Roberts & George Gebro
Alseny Keita, Theo Lewis Weeks
Anthony Laffor, Dioh Williams & James Zortiah
There could be a lot of options though as Teah Dennis could
be used to partner Jimmy Dixon and Omega Roberts, Solomon
Wesseh or Martin kendue combine with Alseny Keita with Theo
Lewis Weeks playing as the advanced central midfielder
between the wide men Anthony Laffor and James Zortiah who
are good at tracking back.
This means, there will be a strong test with respect to you
to start as the lone man upfront with Francis Doe, Dioh
Williams, Patrick Wleh or Perry Kollie in the fold. Or, it
could just be Dioh staying as the supporting striker and
Francis Doe replacing Patrick Wleh.
The formation could also be shaped to a 4-4-1-1 with the
flat back four remaining, the two holding midfielders in
Alseny Keita and Theo Weeks Lewis sitting in front the back
four with Anthony Laffor and James Zortiah playing slightly
Dioh Williams can serve as the supporting striker playing
off Patrick Wleh. The former is lanky, silky and is good in
taking on opponents from deep with the ball at his feet,
while Wleh’s aerial ability and seemingly intimidating
physical state coupled with his skills could be a plus.
No disrespect to Grand pa, but judging from the fact that
the duo were efficient in the last win against Namibia where
Grand pa was absent, there need to be continuity in attack
with Grand pa expected to come on later.
The Senegalese would no doubt be the aggressors and if the
Lone Star does concede an early goal, the shape must still
be kept. But, if the score line increases, the two strikers’
game like in a 4-4-2, 4-3-1-2, etc. should be implored.
While such formations may be a highly flexible in world
football judging from the ability of the players to make
frequent moves team wise, in defense and attack, the Lone
Star could still park the bus and must have players with the
mentality to work. They must have good work ethic as they
will be required to cover lot of grounds. The players must
track back frequently when they concede possession and much
of the work should not be left with the double pivot of
Keita and Theo.
The team must therefore be negative and must show much
respect to the opposition. Kaetu’s side needs to be very
compact, stingy, and cagey and have bodies behind the ball.
This brings to the question the work rate of the players and
their ability to revert to defense quickly when they are on
the back foot.
There will certainly be little or no forward moves from the
full back of Gebro and Grimes since it is a crunch away
contest, aerially, both Jimmy and Omega could contend with
the front runners of the hosts, but the aspect of regularity
in competing with them in terms of speed is what remains to
Going against the likes of Bouna Coundal (Vips, Finland),
Pappis Demba Cisse (NewCastle, England), Demba Ba
(Newcastle, England), Pape Moussa Konate (Meccabi Tel Aviv,
Israel), Dame Ndoye (FC Copenhagen,Denmark), Sadio Mane
(Metz, France), Mohamed Diame (Wigan Athletique, England),
Souleymane Kamara (Montpellier, France), Armand Traore
(Queens Park Rangers, England), Jacques Faty (Sivasspor,
Turkey), Guirane N’Daw ( Birmingham City, England),
Moustapha Bayal Sall (Nancy, France), Ibrahima Balde (Osasuna,
Spain), Cheilchou Kougate (Anderlecht, Belgium), etc. is in
no way an easy task, and while the Senegalese were
lackluster in the last nations cup co-hosted by Equatorial
Guinea and Gabon, the Teranga Lions are the firm favorites
on this Saturday, as they will be aiming to put their
nations cup debacle behind them.
Negative football will certainly help the Lone Star as the
team must not be carried away in terms of going on an
adventurous note by opening the game wide which would mean
well for the 2002 World Cup debutants cum quarter finalists.
The Lone Star will have to adapt the waiting game and go on
the break. The team must also be very much focused on
effecting set pieces and must be deadly during dead balls as
well as have the element of surprise. Full scale
concentration will be greatly required, but in all fairness
it will be a tall order to salvage a point least one speaks
of the maximum three points in such a hostile terrain.