Mr Long Throw

By Desmond Ekwueme

Posted  10 Views updated 4 days ago

Talk about "long throw" or "long throws" in today's football discussion....and some persons would ask if you are a basketballer, volleyballer or handballer? They would readily "educate" you that long throw(s) has or have no place in modern football.
They would ask you, how many times did Real Madrid win their record 13 Champions League titles through long throws? Or did Brazil win any of their five World Cup titles through or with long throw(s)?
Suffice this to mean that long throw(s) is or are no longer fashionable or considered so in modern day football as part of the skills or finesse of the sport.
However, it used to be one of the weapons of Nigerian football perhaps in the past even as a few indigenous coaches still believe in this practice or act.
When our local clubs and national teams are desperately in search of goals especially towards the dying minutes of a game, long throw(s) is or are effectively employed...and always too.
Infact, some players are selected in a team for this purpose just as some are picked for the sake of taking penalties or set pieces if or when the need arises.
Players who take long throw(s) are often tall...sometimes they're stocky and packed with power. This is to help the team as they load the ball deep into the opponents area particularly the goal area or penalty box where attackers struggle or scramble with defenders.
In the struggle which could be a goal mouth melee, there could be loose balls for the strikers to tuck in. There could be handballs or fouls committed by desperate defenders seeking to clear the ball.
Any of these could end up leading to a crucial or decisive goal. Most times, a coach instructs his team to ensure that their opponents are forced to commit throw-ins. The player to take the throw(s) is always available. In fact, he goes through special trainings for this exercise.
In the past we have seen the likes of Moses Otolorin, Godwin Obinyan, Jossy Dombraye, John Orlando, Christian Chukwu, Tunde Bamidele, Okey Isima, David Adiele, Sylvanus Okpalla and Austin Jay Jay Okocha taking the long throws in their respective eras.
But most prominent among these players are the trio of Otolorin who was actually nicknamed Mr. Long Throw by late ace sports broadcaster, Ernest Okonkwo, Dombraye and Obinyan who equally bares the nickname Mr. Long Throw.
Needless saying that their exploits with long throws yielded great results and feats for their respective clubs and the national team in particular.
Today, coaching is almost all about jogging round the field, light warm ups, or exercises then, 11 eleven aside featuring the probables versus the possibles. Tactical lessons are few.
But this writer thinks that football has gone pass such daily rudiments. A lot more is required as the sport keeps evolving. Nothing is wrong in embedding our traditional long throws in the tactical and technical principles of European coaches perceived as the leading lights in the sport.
We should have our approaches too.... based on our natural strength, capacities and endowments. The world used to know Cameroun's Indomitable Lions squad for tough physically built and rugged players who use their physical attributes to make up for other flaws if there are any.
There was a time when our national team operates from the wings. We build our teams with fast, breezy and skillful wingers who always expect and get long balls from the defenders, midfielders or goalkeepers. They then work their ways either into the penalty box or pullout crosses for the rushing attackers.
Christian Chukwu did this with and for Segun Odegbami, John Chidozie, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Felix Owolabi. Sunday Oliseh equally did same with Rashidi Yekini and George Fiinidi among others.
Today's Super Eagles lack in these areas.


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