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Kick and rush!! : The flaws of "hoofball".

If it didn’t work for Fabio Capello, it probably won’t for Desmond Bulpin.

Mr Desmond Bulpin  is failing to wake up to the fact that the Long Ball system of play that has been adopted by the Indian U-23 team is a style so far outdated and unsuitable that it just cannot work.

The long ball system involves the defenders kicking the ball long to the attackers or the wingers who would then cross it in for a head. This clearly ignores the midfield.  This is a system that we often see associated with teams of Jose Mourinho, Sam Allardyce and the current Athletic Bilbao side which use the physical presence of their forward line.

Long ball football requires the physical presence of a tall striker which India U23 clearly doesn't possess

On the world stage:

This system has been criticized by many a coach and many a fan but for very different reasons.

By the coaches -

The long ball, if used as a regular feature in a team’s attacks will become predictable. If the players are not very tall, centre backs probably get the ball and that defeats the purpose of the attack.

By the fans -

It is more often than not ineffective. This makes the game very boring and one-dimensional for everybody to watch.

In the Indian scene :

The long ball is very effective when the attackers are tall and fast. Our attackers are not very tall and aren’t very fast.  In the AFC Asian Cup 2011, our tallest attacker – Abhishek Yadav was 6’2″ whereas Sasa Ognenovski was 6’5″ and Lucas Neill was 6’2″ .

Now, in our U-23 team, Jeje is 5’8″, Fela is 5’6″ and the tallest one Robin Singh is 6ft. If we were to play against the South Koreans or Australians in the latter stages of Olympic qualifying, we would be completely outplayed and our strategy would be of no use as all their defenders are 6’1″ – 6’4″.

Indians are very skillful but not the tallest. They can be fast but not the strongest. Taking all this into account, I would say Abandon hoofballs , play the short pass.

And with that we would play our way into success at the international level.


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