Since the kickoff of Betway 5s League on 1 September in Lagos, the popularity of 5-a-side football has only grown among Nigerian football fans. 5-a-side football allows for an ease of access that is almost unparalleled in sports. The result is that almost anyone can play with motivations ranging from wanting to improve or maintain fitness levels, to looking to break into the realm of professional football. Regardless of your motivation for playing, you’re never going to be having more fun than when you’re winning.
Whether you represent Lekki, Ikeja or Surulere, here are a five tips to help you and your team succeed in a game of 5-a-side football and compete for the Betway 5s League One Million Naira grand prize.
- Get Organised:
A huge component to 5-a-side success is organisation both on and off the pitch. If your team is simply turning up to a game and casually kicking-off without a plan of where anyone is going to play, you’re likely to struggle. Inevitably, you’ll end up with four attackers and nobody staying back to defend. Work with a basic formation. A formation here shouldn’t be too rigid but it’s an important aspect of making sure that you maintain balance between the defence and attack.
- Get a Good Goalie :
A good goalkeeper is invaluable to any team and will likely be the deciding factor in many encounters. Ideally you’re looking for a big individual. The more goal your selection covers without having to do anything the better. The next major factor to look for in a great 5-a-side goalkeeper is reaction times. Make sure they can get to all four corners of the goal with little effort and lightning speed.
- Get As Fit As Possible:
5-a-side is a quick, intense game. As a result, the ideal outfield player is fast and nimble. However, it will also be important to have one or two bigger physical players. The common denominator between the two types of players will be fitness. 5-a-side football features very few breaks in play. As a result, players will need to maintain their stamina throughout the game.
- Know the Short Passing Game:
The Tiki-Taka brand of football is well suited for the 5-a-side game. The reason is a 5-a-side court is a small, tight space where skill and precision are rewarded. In 5-a-side, the vast majority of passes are less than 10 metres and it’s rare to find yourself making a pass over 20 meters. The result is that you should be looking to keep your passes short and precise. Lure the opponent in and then deliver a killer through ball.
- Attack And Defend As A Team:
This is the golden rule in 5-a-side football. You cannot afford to think about the team separately in terms of attacking and defending. You should be one cohesive unit. An attacking player in 5-a-side will be repeatedly expected to get back and defend when his team lose possession. Equally, a 5-a-side defender is likely needed to contribute to the play when their team is moving forward.
Once you’ve got your 5-a-side team together, don’t forget that one or two training sessions in between games will help your team develop the cohesion that you’ll need to be great.