Okocha: Russia Exposed Saudi Arabia’s Standard

Pleased with the World Cup start

One of Africa's greats, Jay - Jay Okocha | Top Media Ng


Former Super Eagles captain, Austine Jay-Jay Okocha has identified lack of enough competition as the cause of the five nil whitewash Saudi Arabia suffered in the hands of hosts, Russia.

Goals from Yury Gazinsky, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovi and Denis Cheryshev (2) ensured the host nation win their first match in fine style at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Thursday.

Okocha, speaking as analyst on SuperSport states:

“I would say that I was a bit surprised to be honest. But they were deservingly beaten five nil! I think they exposed the standard that they are playing at; the level of their league. And if you are not playing competitive football week-in week-out, you will struggle; you will get exposed.

“Their tactical discipline was nowhere to be found, their understanding of how to defend was not there.”

However, the three-time World Cup appearer is happy with the way the mundial has commenced.

“In as much as I was surprised, I’m glad that we have gotten off to a great start.”

Zola agrees with Jay Jay | SkySports

Concurring with Okocha, another analyst on SuperSport’s panel of experts, Chelsea great, Gianfranco Zola – who had a stint in the Middle East as a coach – opines that Juan Antonio Pizzi-led Saudi Arabia team need to work more on their tactical awareness.

“There is no better analysis than the one Jay Jay did. It’s exactly there. You know, if you play competition – like the World Cup – you have to really be aware what working as a team means.

“Maybe in your country (league), you can get away with that, but when you play big teams, like the Russian team – the home team, you need to be aware of what tactically you have to do.

“They need to think about that and do better in their next games, because it is going to get tougher,” the 51 year old warns.

The World Cup continues tomorrow (Friday) with Egypt taking on Uruguay, Morocco confronting Iran, and Portugal tackling Spain.


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