As teams round up the season with less than 5 round of matches left to be played, players and football officials alike would be glad the long and hectic season is over.
However, many football fans and faithful who have been mesmerized over the past months with top class football week in week out will be left to sulk as league matches across the major leagues in Europe will come to an end.
Despite the imminent break, there are loads of competitive football actions to enjoy between the month of May, when the season ends and August when the major leagues resume.
Therefore, we have decided to outline the best of international football action to watch out for this summer break, as the tournament’s coming up in the next few weeks that can serve as much entertainment and drama as the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League has done.
- CURTAIN RAISERS
FIFA U20 WORLD CUP
May 23 – June 15, 2019
The first tourney to kick off will be the FIFA U20 World Cup which will start from May 23rd till 15th of June in Poland, as the European country pay hosts to the next generation of world stars.
The FIFA U20 World Cup formerly known as the world youth championship will be in its 22nd edition with 24 teams from around the world, jostling for the trophy across 6 Polish cities.
Bielsko-Biala, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Lodz, Lublin and Tychy are the six cities to host the competition, and all six are a good destination for a football oriented vacation. With the schedule of the tournament falling between Spring and Summer season in the country, there is not a better time than now to travel to the European nation.
What’s more is the fact the 4 African countries namely Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Mali will be amongst the 24 vying for honours, hence there will be a sense of belonging for an African fan intending to attend the tournament.
However, for those who will unfortunately not be opportuned to travel, you can as well enjoy the actions from the comfort of your living room, workplace or anywhere by following all matches live on dedicated TV channels
UEFA NATIONS’ LEAGUE FINALS
5th June – 9th June 2019
While the “next big things” in world football are engaged in Poland, the established stars in European football will be battling for supremacy as four (4) countries will be aiming to be the first winners of the UEFA Nations League in Portugal.
Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal and England are the four Group winners from League A of the Nations’ League played in 2018 who Will be facing off from the 5th to the 9th of June in two venues of Estadio Do Dragao in Porto and Estadio Do Alfonso Henriques in the city of Guimaraes.
Although it will be quite difficult and financially draining to shuttle between Poland and Portugal to see games, football fans at home can enjoy actions from both tournaments from the comfort of their living rooms with cableTV.
- THE BIG EVENTS
AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
21 June – 19 July 2019
This is unarguably the biggest competition of the summer as the 32nd edition of Confederations of African Football (CAF)’s biggest and most prestigious competition will be held in Egypt.
Africa’s biggest and best talents across the continent will be present to represent their respective countries as they battle to become the champions of Africa.
From Egypt’s Mo’ Salah to Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel, Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech, to Ivory Coast’s Wilfred Zaha amongst many others the excitement will be unending.
Furthermore, with the number of participating teams increased from 16 to 24, there promises to no shortage of exciting matchups and actions, and surely, Egypt looks the best place to be this summer but if you can’t be in Egypt, you can catch it live on Tv.
FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
7th June – 7th July 2019
Female football will not be left out in the rush of footballing actions this summer as the best of female football teams and players will be on display in France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Twenty-four teams from across the world including, Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon will be in the mix of things in the European country from the 7th of June and 7th of July.
This adds to the list potential destinations for a mix of football and summer vacation especially if Paris has been a dream destination, 8 other hosts cities include Lyon, Nice, Rennes, Montpellier, Le Havre, Valenciennes, Reims and Grenoble, you get to pick your choice.
14th June – 7th of July 2019
The action is never ending, this time the stop is in South America, precisely Brazil where five cities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre will host 12 countries from two different continents in the 2019 Copa America.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela alongside invited participants from Asia, Japan and Qatar will be competing for the trophy.
CONCACAF GOLD CUP
USA, JAMAICA & COSTA RICA
15th June – 7th July 2019
Due to the time difference and level of competition found in CONCACAF, followership of the Gold cup in this part of the world is expected to be low, especially as it falls within a period when the CAF AFCON will be ongoing.
Nevertheless, with Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, West Ham’s Javier Hernandez expected to feature for USA and Mexico respectively, there is enough quality to make heads turn to the Gold Cup’s direction.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.