Position-specific physical and technical demands during the 2019 COPA America Football tournament


  • Alliance Kubayi Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa




Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine the physical and technical characteristics of football players according to specific playing positions at the 2019 COPA America tournament.

Methods: A total of 180 match observations from 13 games were monitored using the InStat tracking system. Players were grouped into the following five playing positions: central defenders (n = 45), wide defenders (n = 46), central midfielders (n = 50), wide midfielders (n = 17), and forwards (n = 22).

Results: Descriptive statistics (means ± standard deviations) and a one-way analysis of variance were used to analyse the data. Findings showed the total distance covered by central midfielders (10553 ± 763) was significantly (p < 0.01) higher than central defenders (9226 ± 720 m; ES: 1.79), wide defenders (9929 ± 633 m; ES: 0.89) and forwards (9383 ± 820 m; ES: 1.45). Wide midfielders (214 ± 170 m), wide defenders (152 ± 199 m) and forwards (138 ± 94 m) covered greater distances sprinting than central defenders (67 ± 42 m; ES: 1.19, 0.59, 0.98) and central midfielders (91 ± 66 m; ES: 0.95, 0.41, 0.58). Concerning technical variables, central midfielders played significantly more passes compared to players in other playing positions (p < 0.01). In relation to crossing, wide defenders completed significantly more crosses than players in other positions (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: These findings have direct implications for tailoring tactics so players can meet the physical and technical demands of the game.


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How to Cite

Kubayi, A. (2021). Position-specific physical and technical demands during the 2019 COPA America Football tournament. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(1). https://doi.org/10.17159/2078-516X/2021/v33i1a11955