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Opinions of Thursday, 28 July 2016


Is Samudeen Ibrahim fast becoming a liability to Hearts of Oak ?

Hearts of Oak midfielder Samudeen Ibrahim Hearts of Oak midfielder Samudeen Ibrahim

Hearts however sit atop the log having played one more game than Wa All Stars who are four points behind.

This piece however focuses on Samudeen Ibrahim, the Hearts of Oak midfielder, after dazzling on the opening match day of the season, an injury kept him out for the rest of the first round.

Fit again in the second, the midfielder who had praises heaped on him has not yet delivered.

Sergio Traguil, the new gaffer for the Phobians prefers to have more of the ball in games.

This is work in progress and has not yet gotten to his preferred level.

However in this system if anyone is to thrive many would put their money on Samudeen because of his ability on the ball.

Under Traguil, he has been deployed mostly as the man in the hole or the one in the middle of the three behind the striker.

The Phobians normally line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Patrick Razak and Isaac Mensah on either side of Samudeen.

With the passing and vision many claim Samudeen possesses, this position should have seen him create many chances for his side.

This is not the case as his passes are either overhit or misjudged.

He sometimes drops too deep and leaves the striker, mostly Cosmos Dauda isolated.

In that position if you are not creating or spreading play as expected then you should carry an undeniable goal threat.

So far this has not proven to be the case. Isaac Mensah drifting in from the left still seems Hearts most creative force.

Clearly evident in the delightful assist to Razak in the Superclash against Kotoko.

Traguil must have spotted all this, so in the game against Ashgold he opted for Samudeen in midfield alongside Mustspha Essuman.

Dropping him deeper to initiate play from there seemed the better option.

Hearts of Oak started with a 4-4-2 formation that easily morphed into a 4-2-3-1, with striker Kwame Kizito going wide and Mensah coming into the hole.

Samudeen for the 72 minutes he was on the pitch failed to influence the game, the more advanced of the two central midfielders he was unable to join the front line as often and positively as he should.

He over hit his passes too many times and sometimes abandoned Essuman and left him too much to do.

The glimpses are there that he can come good but he must step up. When he was substituted for Sarbhan Laryea and Essuman took up his more advanced role, Hearts were suddenly better.

In one game, Mensah in the hole or ’10’ role showed the skill, sleek passing and intelligent play to make things happen, something lacked when Samudeen is in that role.

Essuman also in his about 23 minute stint in Samudeen’s position after he was taken off showed everything Hearts of Oak had lacked. Where then does Samudeen fit?

The conundrum now is whether to play him in the hole or in central midfield.

Do you do one away and do the other at home or you put him on the bench and bring him on to either unlock a defence or see out the remaining minutes of a game you lead.

Traguil must make these tough decisions but as things stand, only Samudeen’s future performances have the answers.