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Sunday Football - Barcelona Style: Success

Five months ago, I took over Darwins, the Barcelona-based Sunday League side that had finished rock bottom in its first season in the BIFL league, and was currently third bottom. We wanted to coach the existing players to see whether we could train the Barcelona philosophy to amateur players.

We used a combination of training drills, tactical instructions and motivation to get our message across. Last week we saw how far we had come.

In November of last year was played Flaherty, last year’s champions. We were thrashed 8-1, and as a consequence, Rodney and I eventually took over in January.

Fast forward to last Saturday, we played Flaherty in the return fixture. Flaherty was still top, but remarkably, we were third and still in with a shot of winning the league.

To demonstrate how far these players have come, the side’s record last season was P 22 W 2 D 5 L 15, having conceded a whopping 82 goals. We took over with club having lost five games in a row, results reading 8-1, 2-1, 2-1, 3-1 and 5-1.

Improving record

Our record currently stands at P 11 W 7 D 2 L 2. Against Flaherty last Saturday we played crisp fluid passing football. All the work in training, the possession drills, teaching the players to pass and move into space, tactical discipline and keeping shape were all displayed in a gritty performance.

We had a man sent off after 50 minutes for two bookable offences, and still kept the ball and arguably created the better chances.

In the end, a game we controlled finished 0-0. Our league chances may have ended, but the fact we were disappointed to draw with 10 men against the side that had thrashed us previously 8-1 demonstrated how far we had come.

So what does this say about the Barcelona experiment? Well, although we do not monopolize possession and we did not win the league, considering that improvements made not only in results but our style of play, with the same players, I would say it has been a success.

Next weekend we have the annual end of season seven-a-side tournament, so we hope to end the season with a trophy.

I will post a more thorough tactical analysis of how we achieved what we have, with some of our training sessions too, but for now I look forward to the season ending as a member of one the better sides in the league, not the bottom one!

By Jasmit Jabbal


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