Since his inception as the national team head coach, it is clear that head coach Stanley Okumbi is a big admirer of the 4-2-3-formation going by how he has paraded his teams. For those who are new to tactics, this system has a solid back four, two supporting defensive midfielders, three players who can interchange midfield roles at any given time of the game and one-point man to lead the goal hunt.
The myth that this is an old system should not be in place, it is a formation that has worked wonders for known coaches in established leagues. Louis van Gaal and a lot of Dutch coaches use this system in their teams and they have worked magic. That said, it is a system that requires players who know their roles well, it is one move that requires a lot of concentration and discipline.
For a system to have two defensive midfielders, your team has to possess players with so much ability to complement their donkey work. The three (or four) players in front of them should be swift in attack and cause as much problems as possible when they have the ball. The same players should be good too at lending a hand when their team do not have the ball.
If you look at Dutch tacticians who many say Okumbi borrows a lot from due to the two DMs, they have proper wing backs; something that our coach has been reluctant to deploy. When you do not have wingbacks who don’t join in attack as seen in Okumbi’s past games, there is no need of using two DM’s. If it is a must that he has to use two DMs then it is only noble to deploy a back three.
In one debate with a KPL fan, he claimed that the type of football Okumbi plays revolves on the players he has at his Disposal-I say NO. Look at Gor Mahia, Dyllan Kerr has successfully tinkered with formations and got the same results-win, whether it is a back three or four.
In yesterday’s shoddy show against Iraq, not taking away that the host team were good, a midfield on Anthony Akumu, Kenneth Muguna and Eric Johanna could have done the trick. Or if he were to play with Ernest Wendo and Akumu in midfield, then someone like Dennis Sikhayi and Clifton Miheso could have started as wing backs. Olunga looked lonely, he has always done in Okumbi’s formations. Jonanna has a lot of potential as a number 10 but in most occasions he has always been forced to double up as a number 8 too something that is a huge ask from a player who is supposed to help the main striker.
The coach doesn’t lack proper players at his disposal it is the fielding that lets him down. Musa Mohammed is not a right back, and after Simon Mbugua had given a poor outing in the Iraq game in the first half maybe because of the occasion, I felt someone like Sikhayi whose played that position week in week out for AFC Leopards in the league could have been given a run. Jesse Were is not a winger, and his previous coach George Lwandamina at Zesco United once suggested that we were misusing his talents while on national team duty.
The coach needed a reminder that David Owino was not a right back too and had to change; the results has been there for all to see. Then pulling out Wendo for Makwatta was uncalled for, it left the midfield empty and Akumu with the donkey work. When you are going to make a sub to chase a game, the tactical aspect should come in mind, these are friendlies, give us free flowing football with tactics as your guide. Throwing anyone for the sake of looking for a goal is something that can only be forgivable if done by a fan who has not sat in a coaching class.
Okumbi should realize that it is not the players who build systems, it is the system that build players.