Research have been made and we found out that most of the Rhinos and recent Tambadau’s fans are quite unhappy with the long ball tactic used by JA for the past few matches this season. This is quite an interesting topic, so let’s learn more about it.
What’s Long Ball/Pass in Football?
Making a long pass or also known as a driven pass is often performed in modern football for teams to cover as much ground in the shortest time possible. This usually used when you are desperate to get a goal in a short time.
Long pass strategy has been used by Jelius Ating since the departure of Koreans duo, Lee Gil Hoon and Heo Jaenyeong. These two players had contributed for Sabah throughout the 2017 to 2018 season.
This tactic is always associated with a term called ‘direct football’. Direct football used when a team plays long passes to their forwards, typically to a tough / bulky / big target man who is good on his feet and can hold up play or create goal scoring opportunities.
How Long Pass differs from Short Pass?
Long Pass is different from the Short Pass as it is designed for the receiving player to have wider room for attack or more room for defence in playing into space.
This tactic requires a target man. Have you ever heard of it? A target man is an attacking player to whom high passes and crosses are played to.
One of Sabah’s recent best target man was Hector Ramos, who helped Sabah to reach the Semi Final of last season’s (2018) Malaysia Cup. He scored 20 goals in his 18 appearances with The Rhinos.
Upon receiving long passes, similar to a short pass, a target man needs to have mental checklists such as to be aware of his body position, able to estimate how close the ball is from your body, knows how close the player he wants to pass the ball to and aware the situation of the receiving player.
Precaution need to be taken when making long passes
Players making long passes need to avoid having the ball to bounce before it reaches his teammate. A bouncing ball is harder to control and will cause greater opportunity to lose possession of the ball.
Long passes from Rawilson Batuil and Park Tae Su are usually directed straight to Roki and Luiz without the ball touching the ground first.
However, long passes from Dendy and Randy often out reached Roki/Luiz and sometimes over targeted them. There is always room for improvement anyway.
Will this tactic be used again on the 13th of April when Sabah taking on UiTM FC?
3 Ways how long pass can help your team
Long passes are typically used to switch up play such as making a quick counter-attacking break, changing from a crowded left flank to an open right or directly playing straight down the middle as seen in some football formations.
Let’s elaborate more about those mentioned above.
1. To make a quick counter attack
In a counter attack situation, strikers always running as fast and as far as possible to get rid of his markers (opponent’s defenders). As the striker is running into space, his teammate should play the ball long ahead him.
That pass is also known as a long through pass. The only thing that the on-rushing striker need to do is to adjust his speed to ensure he can control the ball before unleashing a shot or maybe a cut-back pass to his support.
2. Changing side
Talking about changing side, The Rhinos Troops have discussed about this before in our previous article. Please have a look on it here (it is written in Bahasa Malaysia by the way).
Long pass is always the best option when changing side from a crowded left flank (or any side of the pitch) to an open side as short or grounded pass can be easily intercepted in an area pack with players.
3. Directly playing straight from CB to target man
This is the tactic that often practiced by Sabah lately. Long passes were made from the defense area to the front.
Using such gameplay, it does not use much of Sabah’s midfielders. Instead, it only burdens Sabah’s centerline to support their defenders in absorbing break attack after target man loses the ball.
This tactic can be used but does not look effective anymore since most teams in the Premier League are aware of how to break and go against it.
Kelantan United FC and Selangor United FC both have defeated Sabah after reviewing their gameplay for the past few matches. Their coaches revealed that they focused on guarding Sabah’s target man to avoid from conceding goals.