Category Archives: Sport

AfCON 2013: The Only Pressure I’m Under, Is From Me– Keshi

Super Eagles Head
Coach Stephen Keshi
has said he is willing to
take a chance on
players from the
Nigeria league at the
AFCON because it is
worth it.
Keshi, who came under
fire from some
quarters for picking six players from the NPL for this year’s
AFCON, a radical departure from the 2008 and 2010
tournaments when no player from the domestic league made
the final squad, declared, “Football is a game of risks. At the
1990 Nations Cup when the likes of Daniel Amokachi came in,
about 80% of the players were from the local league. It’s a
risk worth taking.”
Goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, defenders Godfrey Oboabona,
Azubuike Egwuekwe, midfielder Gabriel Reuben as well as
forwards Sunday Mba and Ejike Uzoenyi are the
professionals who ply their football in the local league and
have made the final cut for the competition holding in South
Africa.
The big boss will however not promise Nigeria a third Nations
Cup trophy but said the team are confident and will give their
best.
“I don’t want to promise Nigerians anything, I am not going to
give any assurance but I will do my best with the team in
South Africa,” he said.
“The level of discipline is great, good atmosphere. I hope the
confidence will be sustained at the AFCON. If there is any
pressure on me to perform at the Nations Cup, it is pressure
from me not from any other quarters. We are not under any
pressure to win

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CHELSEA are ready for another crack at landing Luka Modric.

Blues owner Roman
Abramovich will dangle
£22million in front of Real
Madrid in a bid to tempt the
little Croatian back to England
this summer.
And their resolve will be strengthened after they missed out
on Metalist Kharkiv’s Brazilian midfielder Taison, 24, who
yesterday opted to sign for Shakhtar Donetsk.
Modric is not enjoying the best of season’s under ex-Chelsea
boss Jose Mourinho and is still adapting to life in Spain.
And with Mourinho tipped to leave at the end of this
campaign, Abramovich is ready to swoop.
Two years ago Chelsea failed with a £40m bid to sign him
from Premier League rivals Tottenham.
Modric is seen as the right man to replace Frank Lampard
when his contract expires at the end of this season.

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Liverpool’s Sahin loan deal ends

Liverpool have ended Nuri Sahin’s loan, and he will now
spend the next 18 months at Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old joined Liverpool in August from Real Madrid
and had been due to play out the season at Anfield.
However, after 12 appearances and three goals, Reds boss
Brendan Rodgers has decided to end Sahin’s loan deal.
The Turkey international started his career at Dortmund, won
the 2011 league title with them and was voted Bundesliga
player of the year in 2010.
Sahin moved to Real Madrid in 2011, signing a contract until
2017 with the Spanish side. He will now represent his former
club on a temporary basis until the end of the 2013-14 season.
Sahin aims for top-four finish

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Suarez ‘laden with controversy’

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Luis
Suarez is “laden with controversy” ahead of Sunday’s
meeting with Liverpool
.
Suarez heads to Old Trafford having been criticised for using
his hand before scoring the Reds’ second goal in their 2-1 FA
Cup win at Mansfield.
“I don’t know whether he enjoys [being controversial], but it
is something we hope we don’t suffer from ourselves,”
Ferguson said of Suarez, who was banned for eight games in
2011 for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra.
That incident, for which he was also fined £40,000, occurred
during the fierce rivals’ 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Suarez subsequently refused to shake hands with Evra before
United’s 2-1 victory at Old Trafford in February 2012.
In the wake of last weekend’s controversy at Field Mill, the
Uruguayan was accused of “stealing” the FA Cup tie by
Mansfield’s chief executive Carolyn Radford.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has consistently spoken of
his belief in Suarez, though, and criticised his treatment by
officials and opposing fans.
“I never saw the game last Sunday, so it is difficult to say
whether it was a deliberate handball,” said Ferguson.
“You will always support your own player, I don’t think that is
surprising from Brendan.
“I have done it myself. It is just part of your loyalty to the
player and protection for them too.
“I hope we don’t suffer from some of the decisions that have
gone his way in terms of that. We want it to be a good game on
Sunday.
“Over the years, the Liverpool-Manchester United games have
been relatively free of controversy – nothing really
sensational in terms of decisions that marred the game, and
that is good.”
However, former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, who scored
183 goals in 369 games for Liverpool, disagreed with
Ferguson’s comments about Suarez.
“He didn’t really need to say too much in my eyes,” Fowler
told BBC Sport.
“Suarez is a condemned man before he even steps on the pitch.
As much as he is getting stick from everyone else, I think it’s
driving him on and making him a better player. He wants to
prove a lot to people wrong and show how good he is.”
Fowler added: “Every player will have mishaps in a game. Robin
van Persie was accused of elbowing someone earlier in the
season. Gareth Bale has been accused of being a diver at
times. Luis Suarez does have some misdemeanours in his past
but I want to go on the positives. I love him as a player.”
Liverpool go into the game having lost seven of their past eight
visits to Old Trafford – a memorable 4-1 victory in March
2009 the only positive result.
But Ferguson insists it will never be easy. “Derby games are
very tricky affairs, as they always have been,” he added.
“The previous year we outplayed them in the cup and lost 2-1.
You are sitting at the end of the game saying, ‘How did that
happen?’ Derby games are like that. Hopefully we will play well
and win.”
Ferguson also served a reminder to Liverpool fans that it may
be some time before they return to the top of the English
game.
“The club at the moment is a hell of a challenge because they
haven’t won the league for 20 years. It is a long time,” he
added.
“It is difficult to measure any Liverpool side at the moment
with any Liverpool side of the past.
“I think it is terrific if the Liverpool fans are prepared to be
patient because it is going to require patience. It is a long
road back to what they used to be.”
Van Persie is likely to be a key player again on Sunday and
Ferguson admitted that the Dutchman’s decision to join the
club had been vital, even in the face of strong interest from
other clubs, including Manchester City.
“I wasn’t aware of the City thing until he told me himself that
he had turned them down,” Ferguson added.

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Van Persie praise inspires Tevez

Carlos Tevez says Manchester City’s strikers have been
inspired by manager Roberto Mancini’s praise of
Manchester United forward Robin van Persie.
Mancini recently expressed his regret City could not sign Van
Persie, who has scored 20 goals this term, and said he was the
difference between the teams.

“Those words were a motivation for the strikers,” said Tevez,
who has scored eight times for City this season.
“I’ll try to help us to compete in the League and Cup, and try
to win both.”
Premier League champions City currently trail neighbours
United by seven points with 17 matches remaining, having lost
the Manchester derby 3-2 at the Etihad on 9 December.
The teams meet again at Old Trafford on 6 April and Tevez
said: “There’s a long way to go and a lot of games to play. The
emotion of the Premier League means it’s always a fight to the
end.
“If United lose one game, we’ll be getting close to them. They
will know that.”
United saw an eight-point advantage evaporate last term as
City won the title on goal difference and Tevez added: “We
know that we need to carry on fighting. United lost some
games last season and we were back on track, so we will keep
doing our job.”

Source: BBC

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Togo call up Tottenham’s Adebayor

Adeybayo

Adeybayo

Togo have selected Emmanuel Adebayor for the Africa
Cup of Nations after the Tottenham striker reversed his
decision not to play in the tournament.

The 28-year-old Togo captain will join the squad after
Tottenham’s Premier League match against QPR on Saturday.
Adebayor initially planned to remain with his club because of a
row over team security and unpaid bonuses.
But the striker will travel to South Africa after talks with
the country’s president Faure Gnassingbe.
“It is to do something extraordinary and I know that the fans
know what I am capable of doing,” said Adebayor.
His absence for the tournament, which starts on 19 January,
will leave Tottenham with Jermain Defoe as their only
recognised striker.
After QPR, Tottenham host Manchester United on 20
January before travelling to Leeds or Birmingham in the
fourth round of the FA Cup on 26 January.
Away games against Norwich and West Brom precede the visit
of Newcastle on 9 February, with the Cup of Nations ending
the following day.
Adebayor has scored only three goals in 17 appearances this
season and in his absence, the goalscoring burden will rest
largely with Defoe, who has struck 14 times in 28 games this
term.
Winger Gareth Bale is second in Tottenham’s scoring charts
on 11 goals, while forward Clint Dempsey has six and winger
Aaron Lennon three.

Source: BBC

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Why Ronaldo should have won the Ballons d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a Spanish League champions medal in 2012. Last year he also became the first man to find the net against every La Liga team in a single season and score 40 or more in two consecutive campaigns.

On the face of it, the Portuguese, who moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United for a record-breaking £80 million in 2009 and is one of the football’s highest-paid players, has a strong claim to be the world’s best.

But once again “CR7” has had to play second fiddle to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, whose mesmerising skills on Monday made him the first man to win four Ballons d’Or titles.

While the little Argentinian carries on re-writing the record books after a monumental, and unprecedented, 91 goals in a calendar year, Ronaldo could be forgiven for feeling hard done by.

Were it not for Messi’s brilliance, Ronaldo – who was world footballer of the year before his rival’s winning streak began – could easily have five Fifa crowns to his name.

Instead, the 27-year-old from Madeira awoke on Tuesday to a blizzard of praise for his Barca counterpart – and the realisation that he is now 4-1 down in their personal duel.

Ronaldo was happy to play down the outcome in Zurich, insisting that he did not feel overshadowed and there was no ill-feeling between him and Messi.

“I am calm about it – it’s not a matter of life and death. Life goes on. I don’t feel frustrated,” he added.

So too, however, does a Liga contest which may almost be over for Real this season, as they trail a Messi-inspired Barcelona side by 16 points, with the Catalan giants having won 17 out of 18 games to date.

Ronaldo, though, will soon have the perfect chance to show off his game-changing skills when Real meet his old side Manchester United in the Champions League as he looks to add a second European title to the one he won with United five seasons ago.

Messi won one at Ronaldo’s expense in 2009 and another in 2011 as Barca overcame United on both occasions, though he did not feature in the 2006 win over Arsenal.

Regarding their respective Ballon d’Or tallies, Ronaldo says he and Messi have no problems with each other.

“There is no rivalry as to who wins more. Of course we are here to win but there’s no rivalry,” he insisted Tuesday, though before the Zurich denouement he had admitted that he would vote for himself if it were possible.

Daily Telegraph football writer Henry Winter, a member of the voting panel, said on Tuesday that he plumped for Ronaldo, hailing his “collection of virtuoso displays” that helped Real to the Spanish title and the semifinals of the Champions League.

“Week after week, Ronaldo rose to the challenge, creating goals out of nothing, using his remarkable blend of skill and athleticism, scoring 46 times in Real’s title triumph,” Winter wrote on telegraph.co.uk.

“It was a phenomenal personal campaign and deserved some individual recognition,” he added of the Portugal captain, who also took a mediocre national side to the Euro 2012 semifinals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Spain.

Real teammate Xabi Alonso said the Portuguese talisman has already moved on from the disappointment.

“He’s already thinking ahead to Celta Vigo, our next opponents in the Spanish Cup. I think Cristiano feels supported by the club and the club is very satisfied with him,” he added.

Even so, Ronaldo has yet to sign a new contract at the Bernabeu extending beyond his current deal which expires in mid-2015 and as such his future – and what he has to do to win the Ballon d’Or – hangs in the air.

Source: Supersports

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Guardiola wants coaching return

Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola says he is ready
to return to coaching following his seven-month sabbatical
from the game.

The 41-year-old, who guided Barca to 14 trophies in four
seasons at the Nou Camp, is looking for a new job but says he
has no specific destination in mind.
“I have taken a decision to return to coaching but beyond that
no decision has been taken,” he said.
“I don’t have a team to go to but I would like to go back to
coaching.”
Guardiola has been linked to numerous jobs since stepping
down from his role at Barcelona, with Manchester United
manager Sir Alex Ferguson naming the former Spain
midfielder as one of his potential successors at Old Trafford,
while Chelsea have also been linked with him.
The former Fifa world coach of the year, who has also been
linked with German club Bayern Munich, said it would be a
“lack of respect” to talk about any team which currently has a
coach and denied he was in contention to lead hosts Brazil at
the 2014 World Cup.
Ex-Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was appointed for a
second spell in charge last month, and Guardiola said: “I think
it has to be someone from their own country. Scolari is one of
many world-class coaches from Brazil.”
Guardiola has been living in New York since leaving Spain but
says he still follows the progress of Barcelona closely.
“I keep on watching Barcelona on TV and it’s a great show, a
great team and I’m just a fan,” he added at a news
conference at the Fifa Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich, where his
former player Lionel Messi won a record fourth world player
of the year title.

Source:BBC

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