Isle of Hope Sports Academy (ISOHSA) of Limbe have written their names into the history books by becoming the first team in the SW to achieve a league and Interpools double. They have a star-studded squad with players such as Egbe Tiku Albert, Babo Brandon, Eben Tomi, and Ashu Brice Tabi being talented enough to play in any team in the country. While these players might have been gaining the spotlight every single week across the season, there are some players whose importance has often been under-appreciated.
One such player is Chi Alex Eta. The midfielder has arguably been Nlend Ayme’s most important player for the past season. So, what makes Chi popularly known as Mata so important for ISOHSA?
Coach Nlend mainly operates in a 4-3-3 formation, with a holding midfielder. It is Chi who occupies that holding midfield role. The 19-year-old exciting prospect is arguably the best defensive midfielder at his age across the country. His ability to break up opposition play is incredible. He has an eye for a tackle and can turn any opponent attack into an ISOHSA counter-attack by winning the ball in midfield. It is no surprise that he won 75% of his tackles during the 2023 national interpools.
His statistics clearly show why he is so important to ISOHSA. He has been in 122 duels this entire season, and has managed a duel win percentage of 55%, which is the highest out of all ISOHSA midfielders. He is also extremely good in the air and in breaking play. Though he has a height of 5ft 10 in, he has won 54% of his aerial duels, which is once again the highest amongst ISOHSA midfielders.
Being at the base of midfield, it is his defensive duties that make him so integral to the City squad. He has managed to get an incredible 69 clearances and 41 interceptions in his 29 games in the season, averaging in about 2.3 clearances a game and 1.4 interceptions a game. It goes without saying that he tops the charts in this category too.
He also has incredible ball control, and it is very hard to get him off the ball. He gets disposessed just 0.5 times a game. That’s just once every two matches! In an ISOHSA side that is known for its attacking football, it is easy to overlook the ‘dirty’ work that is done by a player such as Chi.
He is also extremely important for the club in terms of attack, as he has an amazing eye for a pass. His ability to find an attacker and deliver an accurate pass from the center of the pitch is truly remarkable. This was demonstrated in the 3-2 win in the third Interpools game as played both assists for Eben Tomi’s brace. He attempts an average of 2.7 long balls per match, and has a chance creation stat of 0.8 per game, both of which are very commendable considering he operates in the defensive midfield role.
He is also one of the most hardworking players on the pitch. He has been an integral part of the ISOHSA squad in the just-ended season, playing a total of 23 games in all competitions.
He will be crucial in the Club’s plans going forward.
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