Shabana coach Sammy Okoth has explained how he has taken advantage of specific qualities of some of his players to score goals even when his side is not at their best
Shabana head coach Sammy Okoth has lauded the set-piece qualities of his team after scoring four of their six goals from dead-ball situations this season.
Tore Bobe have become one of the most dangerous teams on set-pieces so far this campaign with all their goals before last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Nairobi City Stars coming from either a free-kick, corner or throw-in.
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Last Sunday’s draw was the first time they scored from open play but even then, both goals were headers following long balls delivered in the box.
After losing the league opener against Murang’a Seal, Justine Omwando fired home a late free-kick to draw 1-1 with FC Talanta on matchday two while Peter Ogechi headed home a free-kick to earn another 1-1 stalemate with Kenya Police in the following match.
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They would use the same tactic against AFC Leopards when Ogechi headed home from a corner for a 1-1 result. The goal came after Leopards goalkeeper Levis Opiyo had been forced into a brilliant save to keep out Enock Agwanda’s long and powerful throw-in.
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Tore Bobe would secure their first win of the season at the sixth time of asking when Vincent Nyabuto headed home Rodgers Aloro’s free-kick which they held on for a 1-0 victory against Tusker FC.
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“This is our secret weapon, we use it based on the players we have. We have good free-kick takers and good headers of the ball which we use to hurt our opponents. It is one of the ways we use to get over the line,” Okoth told Pulse Sports.
Shabana have benefited from having players who are good at either executing or finishing from dead ball situations.
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Aloro and Mark Okola are the designated free-kick takers while Isaac Otieno is tasked with delivering corners. When it comes to throw-ins, they have long throwers in Agwanda and Nehemiah ‘Neymar’ Onchiri.
Given a team gets an average of five corners, 10 free-kicks, 18 throw-ins, and eight goal-kicks, Shabana have taken advantage of the weapons in their arsenal to great effect.
They like to attack the first post in most of their set-pieces. Their combination and system of attacking corners have some similarities with how they attack their throw-ins.
An attacker makes a run from the edge of the box with the aim of flicking the ball to the main attacker or the target man in set-piece situations is used as the dummy who drags defenders with him, leaving space for a team-mate to attack the ball.
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Despite already scoring two goals this season, the lanky Shabana midfielder is adamant that the team should come first before individual accolades, which is what he is totally focused on at the moment.
It is a style Okoth hopes to continue reaping from as it is proving effective against teams Shabana cannot match in possession.
He is, however, concerned by the concentration levels of his players who keep throwing away leads.
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In what was the fourth time they were being pegged back, Shabana fought from a goal down to lead City Stars 2-1 but allowed their opponents back in the game when they gave away a penalty for a share of the spoils.
“This is not the same problem we were having before when we were conceding late. It is just a lapse in concentration which we need to work on. In the last game, it was a penalty which we gave away but we can avoid such if we keep our concentration levels high,” said Okoth, whose side face Ulinzi Stars on Sunday.