Enyimba coach Fatai Osho has shown enough and more evidence to the fact that winning is just as much a priority as is sticking to his principles of football. While Enyimba’s 2-1 win over Nasarawa United in the Nigeria Professional Football League week eight tie may have seemed like a game of individual errors which led to the result, in truth Osho’s decisions sure had a huge impact.
Here are the key takeaways for which Osho deserves a fair share of credit:
- Cyril Olisema’s accurate passes
It is impossible that any football fan who watched the game didn’t make note of Olisema’s inclination towards accurate passes. As against all of the big teams that like to play out, Nasarawa United opted to press high against Enyimba’s build-up with Ikenna Offor and Kattoh Haggai given the duty. Enyimba didn’t force playing out from the back and instead took the Olisema route in an attempt to find Orok Gabriel and Anayo Iwuala in space. The advantage here was that when Nasarawa United center-backs won the aerial duels from the goal-kicks, Orok and Iwuala were so far high up the pitch.
- Osho chose to adapt to suit the opponent!
This was yet another clear feature that Enyimba had added in the game, two full-backs with two contrasting roles. We aren’t talking about one being offensive and the other being defensive but this in purely in terms of positioning. On the left flank, Osho had Emmanuel Ampiah bombing forward while Stephen Manyo was pretty restricted with regard to his movement. Despite, it would be fair to say that both full-backs were equally important with their contribution towards attack.
While Ampiah was providing width on one flank, Manyo occupied pockets of space in deeper areas of the pitch to allow Olisema gain space in the right half-space. In short, the width was taken care of by Olisema and Anayo on the left while width was taken care of by Manyo and Gabriel on the other. Asymmetry is yet another enemy of man-marking schemes. This combining with the pace of Tosin Omoyele upfront took out Bala Nikyu’s man-marking approach to control Enyimba’s build-up and the chances kept coming. It indeed proved to be a problem for Nasarawa United’s right flank as Abubakar Abdullahi constantly was under put in situations to make a decision.
- High pressing beats Man-Marking all day every day
If you have been an avid follower of Fatai Osho over the years closely, you would know when and where he opts to use the high pressing style. The one thing many fans know is the fact that it’s very a cool, intellectual term to use in conversations about football and tactics. But what a lot of people don’t know is why and when to have the high pressing style in their line-up. While Osho has been deploying this technique since his Remo Stars days as he did with Ahmed Robinho and Saheed Lasisi, he didn’t really opt for it during his stint at Crown and Kogi United. However with Enyimba, he has deployed and on most occasions, he succeeds as well.
The high pressing style is very good to play when you have Quality.
The benefit is mainly two-fold:
a) It provides an extra passing option to the player in possession which helps the team hold possession
b) It absolutely confuses the markers as to whom they should track everyone all over the pitch are busy.
Credits to Osho as his wards climbed to the top of the log with 18 points from eight games.