Friday, 11 October 2013

Nigeria versus Ethiopia. Will the Super Eagles Live Up to the Headlines?

Nigerians are looking forward to the World Cup Qualifying match against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia billed for October 13 in Addis Ababa.
Already the pages of Newspapers are a washed with all kinds of headlines in both countries. 

On paper, Nigeria parades the quality of players that are expected to humiliate the Ethiopian counterparts and the Nigerian press is not hiding it. In the past, the Super Eagles have performed better when they were written off. A clear case is the recent African Cup of Nations. Nobody believed they were going to win the tournament, a situation that spurred them into action. They crushed every opposition on their way and emerged victorious at the end of the tournament.

The headlines on the build up to the clash against Ethiopia is a complete departure from what obtained in the recent past. The Eagles appear to have restored hope to their fans and also to the press who had more often than not shape the opinions of fans towards the National team.
Going by the articles I have seen so far, nothing short of victory is acceptable from the Super Eagles of Nigeria and that they know very well. According to Stephen Keshi, “the spirit in the Eagles’ camp is high and the expressions on the faces of the boys say it all.”

Let’s  run you through some of the popular headlines in Nigeria as regards the upcoming encounter.

Ethiopia Feeling Eagles’ Heat
Ogu: We'll Fight to be in Brazil

Do you agree with the headlines or do you nurse some fears about the outcome of the match against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia?

We will love to hear from you.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Few teenagers have attained the level of fame and attention that Romelu Lukaku currently enjoys. A top scorer in Belgium last season, a full international and with all of Europe's elite clubs taking a keen interest in his progression, it is remarkable to consider that one of the continent's most recognisable young talents is still at school.

But in football terms, his education is largely complete. At the age of only 16, Anderlecht striker Lukaku finished the 2009-10 Belgian campaign as the league's top scorer with 15 strikes from 33 appearances, despite often being utilised as a substitute. His impact also extended to the Europa League, where, in December 2009, he became the third youngest goalscorer in European club competition when netting against Ajax at the age of 16 years and 218 days.
Lukaku replicated his form in the 2010-11 season and continued to be linked with a move away from Anderlecht. Jose Mourinho admitted he wanted to bring the striker to Real Madrid while the teenager was pictured wearing a Chelsea shirt during a tour of Stamford Bridge - sparking speculation that West London could be his destination.
Finally, in August 2011, Lukaku agreed a deal in the region of £20 million to join the Blues and new boss Andre Villas-Boas hailed him as a ''very exciting young talent''.
Strengths: An imposing physical specimen, Lukaku is strong, tall and quick, and possesses the positional awareness and quality of finishing to mark him out as a superb all-round striker. He is also a focused and determined character.
Weaknesses: Few, though there is a concern that sitting on the Chelsea bench will stunt his development a touch. He may benefit from developing a more rounded game, rather than being honed as a lone striker.
Career high: Finishing the 2009-10 Belgian season as the league's top scorer, despite still attending school.
Career low: Missing out on a place in the 2010-11 Champions League when Anderlecht were defeated by Partizan Belgrade in a penalty shoot-out in the play-offs.
Style: Dominant, explosive, prolific. A potential phenomenon.
Quotes: "I don't like people talking to me about the Champions League. It wasn't me but my team that won. Chelsea really wanted me last summer and paid a lot for me but, after a while, I thought, 'Are you just throwing money around?'" Romelu Lukaku, May 2012
Do you think Chelsea is right to send Romelu Lukaku on loan to Everton this season?
Have your say in the comment box.

Additional information: ESPN

Thursday, 3 October 2013


The Champions League season may barely have begun, yet there is extra excitement, a greater intensity and ambition, when the lights of European competition are switched on.
Goals are not everything, but the way they are scored — and made — define the great players.
On Tuesday it was Mesut Özil’s turn to score with a breathtaking volley and to set up another goal with a dexterous touch early in Arsenal’s 2-0 home victory over Napoli.
Goallllllll! Shouted Arsenal fans over Lagos. The name Ozil rented the air all over. Arsenal fans have not been seen to be this happy for as many games as Arsenal have played in the recent past. Last season, most of the fans had their heart wrecked. It only took the courageous ones to openly argue for or against their darling team.
Many vowed that Wenger had lost touch with modern football and consequently called for his replacement. The new season appears to have taken off on a clean slate and fans attribute the club’s turnaround to the new man, Ozil.
The game against Napoli was a perfect example to what Ozil could bring to party. It was pure class.What was more enlightening was the way that Özil prompted and orchestrated Arsenal to such extent that the London team utterly perplexed a Napoli side that is undefeated so far in Italy this season.
Napoli had beaten Borussia Dortmund in the first round of Champions League games, yet Napoli was blown away inside 15 minutes. Özil, the German-Turk who cost €50 million, or $68 million, was both the architect and executioner.
In the eighth minute, after Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey had slipped in behind the Neapolitan defense on the right, Özil finished off their excellent approach by scoring from 18 yards, on the very edge of the penalty box.
Scoring makes it sound so simple, and to Özil it clearly was. He anticipated Ramsey’s cut back, glided into free space and then seemed to just caress the ball, cushion it with his instep, guiding it with disguised swerve beyond the reach of goalie Pepe Reina.
No fist-pumping gesture from Özil. No leap of joy.
Nothing but a modest smile, and a back-to-business resumption of play. Seven minutes later, he was integral again, this time the instigator of a goal. His acceleration over five yards burned off a Napoli defender, and his pass rolled off the outside of his foot like snow falling off a leaf.
Giroud was there, reading the pass, tapping the ball across the goal line from three yards.
Of course, the coaches will say Napoli’s defense was culpable. Of course, Giroud said afterward that Özil makes it easy to play, easy to move and find the spaces because the German has this vision, this selflessness, to help others express themselves.
But it is clear that Giroud, in his second season as an Arsenal striker, is finding his feet now.
“I have more confidence now,” said the big Frenchman. “I am settling in the team, in my new English life. But Mesut? He’s really unbelievable.”
Indeed, he is. A month in a new environment, he is facing a new language, a new culture, a different pace to the team’s pattern, with different faces and talents all around. And he, with six assists and now a special goal, is already the fulcrum of an Arsenal side that has won 10 straight games, home and away, in all competitions.
One player, our fathers and their fathers always said, does not make a team.
Agreed. But, when Arsène Wenger first started to manage Arsenal, he found a Dutch playmaker, Dennis Bergkamp, to illuminate the style he wanted the team to perform. Seventeen years later and still the coach, Wenger has Özil.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


What a week it was in the English Premier League. Not too many people could have predicted how it ended. There was no short supply of drama and shocks in some quarters.  The table is beginning to take shape especially the bottom three. For the top four, you will agree it will be rather too early to hazard a guess in that direction.
However, in Premier League, every game is very vital and defines how a club will fare at the end of the season.  This week in review, some games were won and some lost. We take a look at how some of the teams fared.

Manchester United:

You could choose your comparisons. This is either Manchester United’s worst start to a season since 1989 .
It is 44 days since David Moyes’s first game as Manchester United manager, a deceptively reassuring 4-1 win at Swansea, which was also the last time the club scored from open play in the Premier League. Moyes has never lived by excuses and made none after the 2-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion that was United’s third and worst of the season.
Will Manchester United pull out of the woods this season? Who are the players that will take responsibility to ensure that the boat stays afloat?  Only time will tell


Jose Mourinho risked disciplinary charges yesterday when he branded Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen " a disgrace" and accused referee Mike Dean of making a "huge mistake" after the sending-off of Fernando Torres as Chelsea recovered to have the better of a 1-1 draw here.
Mourinho's team had come from a goal down to dominate the second half and equalise before Torres was controversially shown a second yellow card nine minutes from the end.
Is Mourinho already bringing heat to Premiership? How far will Chelsea go this season?


Luis Suarez marked his return to Premier League action with two goals to help Liverpool to a 3-1 win at managerless Sunderland that lifted them to second in the table on Sunday.
The Uruguay striker, who returned from a 10-match ban for biting in the midweek League Cup loss at Manchester United, was making his first league appearance since being suspended for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April.

He scored Liverpool's second in the 36th minute after Daniel Sturridge had opened their account eight minutes earlier with a controversial goal that went in off his upper arm after he had risen to try to head in a corner.
Suarez had to wait until the 89th minute for his second goal and it was Sturridge again who set him up for a simple finish that sealed Liverpool's fourth league victory of the season.
The win put them on 13 points from six games, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference and two points behind leaders Arsenal.

How did your team fare? We will like to hear from you. 

Have your say in the comment box.

Friday, 27 September 2013


Tottenham Hotspur will host Chelsea at White Hart Lane this weekend in their third home game of the season.
Spurs are level points with Arsenal at the top of the table only behind on goal difference. Where as Chelsea stand fourth behind Manchester City.

What a match we have in our hands! Matches involving these two sides attract a lot of media attention. The players  and their supporters are usually not left out in the rivalry. However, this weekend's match has a twist to it. Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho  will be meeting for the first time since the duo parted ways since their days in Inter Milan in 2010.

 The handshake definitely will be very cold when these two file out of the dugout. Cameramen will no doubt will fall over themselves in order to capture that handshake.

Team News


Danny Rose will make a comeback in the spurs substitution as he is completely recovered from injury where as Lenon is doubtful having failed to complete fitness test. Younes Kaboul is also doubtful due to ankle injury.


Chelsea’s Marco van Ginkel will miss football at least for six months as he suffered from  anterior cruciate ligament injury this mid-week game against Swindon Town. Rameris also got injured in the game and in doubtful for clash against Spurs.

Possible Line ups and Formations

Tottenham Squad:


Walker  Naughton Dawson  Vertonghen

Eriksen Paulinho  Sigurdsson, Lamela

Soldado, Defoe

Chelsea Squad:


Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Cahill, Terry,

Lampard, Oscar,  Hazard, Mata,


Mata will be a surprise inclusion in the team. However, if he fails to make it to the starting line up, Oscar will take his place with Mikel returning to play his role.

Big Match Stats

Spurs have only lost five out of fourteen clashes with the Blues.Tottenham has one of the best defensive starts so far having conceded only once this season.
No Chelsea striker has scored in the Premier League so far this season

Score Prediction

How do you think the game will end? Chelsea looks set to win this one.

Are you in agreement?

Have your say in the comment box.


Obafemi Martins has said he was angry at himself, and not the coach, after a 1-1 draw with Los Angeles Galaxy in which he was replaced.

His Side of the Story:

 “I just get angry at the fact that I didn’t do much in the game, so I get angry that they pull me out. But I’m not thinking of being angry with the manager, I just get angry to myself that I have not been doing my best in the game; so that’s it.” 

Seattle Sounders striker Martins told The News Tribune.He was substituted in the 76th minute.

Coach's Reaction:

Coach Sigi Schmid said he understands Martins position and said the Nigerian was emotional. “It’s an emotional game. Emotional players are emotional. That’s what you expect. Nobody is going to be happy when they come off the field,” Schmid said.

The clarification became necessary as some News agency reported that he was angry at his coach for removing him in the 76th minute of the game.

Do players have the right to protest their substitution in games?

We will love to hear from you. Have your say in the comment box.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


When a promising young player is learning the game, the most valuable advice will often come from an experienced team-mate, a coach or someone who has been there and done it all. Not many, though, can boast a direct line to one of Nigeria’s most celebrated sons, Jay-Jay Okocha. Alex Iwobi is in a privileged position

Meet Alex Iwobi, the nephew of the two-time African Footballer of the Year.

 What more can we tell you about him?

Here are five facts that will tell you more about this promising lad …
1) Iwobi started out more as a winger but has moved into the centre of midfield recently - playing just behind the striker.
2) Iwobi has been with the club for almost ten years. The 17-year-old has been a Gunner since the tender age of eight.
3) The young starlet was born in Lagos, Nigeria but has represented England at youth team level in the past. So far he has played at under-16 and under-17 level.
4) Iwobi comes into the game in good form - despite not featuring with the Under-21’s until this season. He scored in the recent UEFA Youth League triumph against Marseille - in which Serge Gnabry bagged a brace.
5) Iwobi has an uncle who is ‘so good they named him twice’. That’s right, Nigeria and Bolton legend Jay Jay Okocha can call Iwobi his nephew. Iwobi, who is of Nigerian descent, has stated in the past that he has always been able to turn to his uncle for advice, and a kickabout:

Iwobi has always tried to learn from his famous uncle, whether that is talking on the phone or getting a more hands-on demonstration at family gatherings. And judging by his encouraging start to the new season, Iwobi is learning fast.

"When he was playing for Bolton I used to play with him in his back garden. I also used to go and watch him when he was at Bolton and a little bit when he was at Hull."

Did you watch him play for Arsenal in the capital One game recently?

How would you rate his performance?

Tell us in the comment box.