CLUB NEWS

Everton tests back three formation in Abia Warriors vs El-Kanemi friendly

By Clement Nwankpa Jr

Chelsea coach, Antonio Conte made playing back three the new fad in England and as other English Premier League coaches are now cloning the formation, Abia Warriors recently-signed Brazilian coach, Rafael Everton plans to bring it to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) when the new season kicks off in January.

This much was revealed from the team's training sessions monitored by npfl.ng in Umuahia.

 

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this new formation is the ageless Chinedu Efugh, who appears to have won over the helmsman.

Efugh is at the centre of the three-man central defence with Austin Obaroakpo to the right and Abiodun Adebayo on the left. What Efugh lacks in pace his organisational ability comes to the fore to cushion that weakness.

The back three also gives room for Goodluck Ozioma to bomb forward from the left wing back while either Chinedu Ozor or Emmanuel Ogbuagu man the right wing back position.

An official of the team, Patrick Nkwogu believes the Brazilian tactician has brought more flare and mobility to the team.

"You can see we are using wing backs instead of full backs. This back three makes the defence solid and gives the offensive players license to go forward. This was the formation that won the EPL last season and Everton believes it is the best for the team going forward.

"The players are getting used to it. And this should make Abia Warriors a very difficult team to beat this season. The idea is to avoid conceding too many goals and we are confident the team will score plenty of goals this season. We are going about our pre-season quietly but everything is falling in place," Nkwogu, the team's match reader, said.

Noteworthy in the highly mobile team are two products of the youth team. Chidera Friday has been nicknamed Kante because he has physical resemblance with the Chelsea box-to-box midfielder and plays in the same position. He breaks opposition's forays and initiates attack in a manner reminiscent of Kante. And he is growing into a crowd favourite already.

Then there is the forward Okoro Ogbuagu who posed the biggest threat to the burgeoning back three. In one instance, his lightening pace was so much for Adebayo that the big defender tore his bib.

The heartwarming thing is that these two youngsters are integral to Everton's plans.

Abia Warriors readiness for the season will be tested when they confront El-Kanemi Warriors in a pre-season friendly in Umuahia this Friday.

Photo Gallery : Football Action