StarTimes, others move to end SuperSport’s monopoly on TV rights

There is palpable excitement in the sport television market following the announcement of the 2018 FIFA World Cup media rights for Sub-Saharan Africa last week. Alongside the usual suspects SuperSport, newcomers Kwese TV and StarTimes have acquired various rights to screen the 2017 Confederations Cup, the junior men’s tournaments as well as the women’s tournaments.

While SuperSport has held the African pay television market by the scruff of the neck for several years, new players Kwese and StarTimes are flexing their muscles and challenging the monopoly of the South African behemoth.

StarTimes has been puffing for a while now and saw an increase in sales of digital decoders and antennas when it won rights to the 2015 Fifa tournaments (Women’s World Cup and men’s U17 & U20) for sub-Saharan Africa.

Sport has always been a major incentive for the purchase of cable TV subscription. In the United States, ESPN continues to be the most expensive channel to watch. Unlike movies and other programing, sport is unpredictable so it draws large audiences. And because live sport is consumed as it is produced, it has a higher premium than any other kind of TV content. The 2014 World Cup had a cumulative audience of 3.2billion with 98,087 hours of broadcast (FIFA TV Audience Report).

Nigerians love live sport and regularly pack viewing centres and bars in order to watch European football. As the NTA (with average viewership of 16.7m for Brazil 2014) and other national broadcasters have become unable to compete for global sports rights, SuperSport has been the benefactor of the crave for global sport.

While StarTimes’ offering has not been up to the same quality one has come to expect of cable TV, Kwese Free Sports seems to have an ace up its sleeve. It has introduced one free English Premier League game via its mobile app every weekend and is set to expand its reach across the continent through the Confederations Cup and World Cup. From a marketing perspective, it has an opportunity to grow its brand to become an important voice in the African media market.

For advertisers, it is most likely SuperSport would remain the first option with StarTimes and Kwese Sports hoping to take a significant bite of that money. Still, the World Cup advertising market in Nigeria depends very much on the Super Eagles qualifying for Russia 2018. If they do, there would be a windfall like Brazil 2014 where brands fell over themselves to run campaigns in the frenzy of the tournament. With more broadcast rights owners, would top brands spread the money around or remain with their trusted ally?

Kwese Sports’ survival will depend on how much they are able to commercialize their new property. The next several months would confirm if our new found excitement about changes in the sport television market has been worth it.

BREAKING: FIFA bars Mali from international football

World football body, FIFA on Friday in Zurich said all of Mali’s football clubs have been suspended from international competitions, after the country’s government interfered in the national association.

FIFA took action after Mali’s sports Minister, Housseini Amion Guindo, decided to replace the executive body of the Malian Football Association FEMAFOOT with a new provisional leadership.

“The suspension will be lifted once ministerial decisions are nullified,’’ it said in a statement.

In the meantime, FEMAFOOT has lost its FIFA membership rights, and the national team and clubs from the West African country are banned from international events.

OPINION: Arsenal fans must return to ‘fandom’ – By Baba Grumpy

We all leave in a new world. A world of instant gratification, a world of me first where people’s feelings trumps any other consideration. Welcome to this wonderful new world.

These me first ism has resulted in the return of the Wenger Out protesters in the last few days. The ‘Wenger Outers’. They took a smack in the face last season during the Norwich game when the fans inside the stadium without prompting started signing the praise of Arsene Wenger.

Sit back, take a deep breath and reflect on that occasion. The spontaneous Pro Wenger chant was smack bang at a time when we were on course to lose our bragging rights against the pesky little Middlesex neighbours. A majority of fans forgot that for a long moment and paid homage to our greatest manager of modern times – Arsene Wenger.

The protesters didn’t learn back then. They have started again this season. They are quite vocal online. I hope this is not a case of empty barrels and all that. The protest march before the Bayern game attracted the media but had less than a 100 people participating according to observers / onlookers.

A fan who wanted to organize a pro Wenger march was apparently dissuaded by threats of bodily harm. It is a big shame if those who are exercising their rights by marching turn around to deprive others of the same rights just because they are at different sides of the Wenger debate.

The Wenger Outers clearly don’t want Wenger. It is their right but they do not speak for the fan base. The miniscule support for their protest marches and the lack of support inside the stadium evidence this.  These minorities are turning the club and its fans into a circus act. They are helping the media feed a narrative of crisis and failure. Two scenarios that clearly does not describe Arsenal. Narratives only designed to fill the ‘sheepy’ click links of the media and ravenous pretentious bloggers. The protesters are helping charlatans disguised as fans feed fat on the pain and suffering of all genuine fans.

Yes we have had a torrid January & February in our two top competitions. Everybody knows that, the club; the manager; the players; and the fans. It hurts everybody. The only people who are not hurting and who revel in the run of poor results can never be called Arsenal fans. It doesn’t matter if the great satan is Arsenal’s manager, a TRUE Arsenal fan will never wish the club ill for any reason.

You don’t like Wenger? Hold your nose and support your club. Support the boys in red proudly. Create a frightening atmosphere for opponents inside the Emirates. Lets turn our home turf into a boiling cauldron for those competing against our players. Let us well and truly be the famed 12th man not organizing all these purposeless marches designed to turn everything about Arsenal into a joke.

For me, Wenger’s position is assured in the history of world football especially in England and Arsenal. The way football is going there will never be another manager to go the whole season undefeated. Wenger is in a peer group of 1. Mourinho for one desperately wants to crack that group and is even more horrible to Wenger because he can never attain that goal or the status Wenger has with all the top guys in football.

Yes the stats speak for themselves, the last time we won the league was 2004. Yes FA Cups no longer counts except Manchester United wins it. True 4th place finishes are irrelevant except Wenger and Arsenal drop out.

But what has not changed is Wenger keeps Arsenal at the top table achieving something The Spuds will die for. Something Liverpool will kill for. Something Man U will pay £100m for right now. Yes those three and many others have changed their managers multiple times but they still cant lay hands on Arsenal & Arsene’s records.


Mr. Wenger’s time will come soon. Maximum, in four years time, he will retire. Maybe he will consider the French Football Manager’s role then who knows but at the moment, his life work is Arsenal. He wants to finish his career at our great club. Not because of the £8m per annum salary as some ignorantly infer, not because he doesn’t have other options as some sneer but because he is loyal to this club he has helped modernize, this club he has given a fair share of his working career to.

Arsene is a decent man. A very decent man. A thoroughly decent man. I believe  him when he says his commitment to the role is still as strong as ever and he himself will walk away when he thinks he can’t contribute positively. I believe Arsene, I trust Arsene more than any of the protesters especially the ones who we are now aware have criminal records. The ones who appear to be failures in their personal lives and are feeding fat and getting multiple 5 minutes of fame by denigrating The Arsenal. These ones who who appear to be clinging to Arsene Wenger’s good name to make a notorious name for themselves and other Arsenal fans.

Mark my word, these Wenger Outers will be the first to turn on whatever new manager is appointed when Wenger leaves in 2 or 4 years time.

My message to all Arsenal fans, SUPPORT THE ARSENAL. Let us return to ‘FANDOM’. The support for Arsenal should be for the squad of players, the manager / coach and his staff and the Board.



Baba Grumpy works in Financial Services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy

VIDEO: PSG players filmed discussing a possible Champions League exit before defeat to Barca

Paris Saint-Germain quartet Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, Thomas Meunier and Julian Draxler feared a monumental collapse against Barcelona despite heading to the Nou Camp with a 4-0 lead.

Prior to Wednesday’s game, no Champions League team had ever overturned a first leg deficit of more than three goals. But Barcelona broke that record against the Ligue 1 champions, scoring three times in the final seven minutes to complete a sensational comeback.

PSG’s 4-0 lead should have given them confidence heading to Spain, but it has now emerged that not even that advantage was enough for them to banish their fears prior to the match.

In a video shot before the second leg, Verratti, Matuidi, Meunier and Draxler were filmed discussing their previous experiences of blowing first leg leads against big sides.

“The first 20 minutes is going to be tough,” said Matuidi. “The pitch is huge. When Neymar has the ball, you’re always one-on-one.”

Draxler interjected: “Last year with Wolfsburg, we won [against Real Madrid] 2-0 at home. After 20 minutes in the Bernabeu, it was 2-0 to Real. Then, in the 80th minute, Ronaldo scored – 3-0.”

He added: “I think the coach and the team were afraid because we didn’t attack.”

Recalling PSG’s collapse against Chelsea, Matuidi added: “It was the same with us against Chelsea. We won 3-1 at home. You think ‘it’s all good, we are qualified’. When we landed there I think we were afraid, we didn’t attack. [We lost] 2-0. Eliminated.”

In the end, Wednesday’s result eclipsed all previous European collapses, and PSG’s players were treated to a volley of abuse when they landed back in the French capital.

A statement from the club read: “On Wednesday night, upon their return from Barcelona, the Paris Saint-Germain players were confronted and threatened by several individuals at Bourget Airport, despite the club and authorities reinforcing security.

“These individuals verbally insulted the players before vandalising their cars. Several vehicles were damaged.

“In this extremely hostile and aggressive climate, all vehicles were escorted to ensure the safe passage of the players, their families and club staff members. One individual was struck by a car trying to escape the crowd that was physically threatening the players and their families.

“A police investigation is under way to establish exactly what happened.

“The club, and all those present, have informed the investigators of their readiness to help the investigation, to get to the bottom of this regrettable incident.

“The club strongly condemns the actions and behaviour of the individuals in question.”

Trump travel ban could hurt US 2026 World Cup bid – FIFA President

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, has said that President Donald Trump’s new immigration ban could stop the US from winning the bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Infantino stated this while speaking in London on Thursday.

He made it clear that any country hoping to host the World Cup must be accessible to all participating nations.

Trump has banned citizens from six Muslim nations from travelling to the US and with plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, the order could prove to be a stumbling stock.

“When it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious,” Infantino said.

“Mr. Trump is the president of the United States of America and as such of course [I have] huge respect for what he does.

“He’s in charge, together with his government, to take decisions that are best for his country. That’s why he has been elected. In the world there are many countries who have bans, travel bans, visa requirements and so on and so forth”, he said.

Infantino added: “We are now in the process of defining the bid requirements.The requirements will be clear. And then each country can make up their decision, whether they want to bid or not based on the requirements.”

Wenger: I will decide if to sell Alexis Sanchez or not

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has said Alexis Sanchez cannot force his way out of the club this summer.

The Chile attacker is being targeted by Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, after he was dropped for the trip to Liverpool last Saturday.

Alexis could be recalled for Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, but Wenger says only the club can decide to sell or not.

Wenger said: “Alexis has 15 months of his contract so the decision of will he be here or not will depend completely on Arsenal Football Club and not on anybody else.”

The Frenchman also insisted that the player was left out, because he wanted to play “direct” at Anfield.

Wenger added: “I explained after the game at Liverpool that I decided to go for a more direct option in the game. That’s what happened. That was the unique reason for my decision.

“All the rest, his attitude – he’s a committed player and sometimes has excessive behaviours but you have that many times in the history of every squad.

“It’s about the team performance, not individuals. It’s a team sport and the most important thing is that we focus on our collective. Our game is built on collective expression. That is the most important thing, that we focus on what’s important and not the individual.

“Alexis played in all the games and when we didn’t perform away from home, we lost as well. We lost at City, United and Chelsea, and that’s what I think is the most important thing, to focus and produce as a team.”

We fear UK may deny Messi and Neymar entry visas – UEFA

European football’s governing body, UEFA has said that the body fears Barcelona stars Lionel Messi & Neymar may be denied entry visas into the U.K for the Champions league final in Cardiff this May if they qualify, due to ongoing legal battles with the Spanish government.

Lionel Messi and Neymar have been embroiled in tax evasion court battles for over a year which has led to the resignation of former Barca president Sandro Rosell, with tax prosecutors alleging Messi evaded tax with offshore accounts while Barca hid the actual value of Neymar’s transfer so as to reduce money paid to former club, Santos and tax given to the Spanish government.

New laws in Britain could hinder people who have ongoing legal battles from entering the U.K and with Brexit set to be formalized, the entrance of non-British citizens into the U.K could become harder.

“Neymar and Lionel Messi both have [tax evasion] procedures going on,” UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin told the New York Times.

“This year, the Champions League final is in Cardiff. “Imagine if they did not let them in.”That is a big thing for us, if players from England can travel anywhere, but players from other teams cannot travel to [the UK].”With free movement in Europe, it is much better.”If we see that players cannot enter because they have any sort of procedure ongoing then we will simply think if we should play our European matches there.”

He also talked about PSG/Ivory coast player, Serge Aurier’s incident during the group stages, when he was denied entry for a match against Arsenal.

“I was very disappointed when Aurier, from PSG, was not allowed to enter England, That will worsen when Brexit happens, especially if the reasons were as formal. “We could have a serious problem.”

Barcelona to play Manchester United in the summer

A Barcelona legends side will take on their Manchester United counterparts at Camp Nou on June 30.

The game had originally been scheduled for last summer, but several of the players due to be involved had commitments revolving around the European Championship in France, meaning the fixture had to be called off.

There will also be a return leg between the two sides, which will take place at Old Trafford on Sept. 2.

Managed by Jose Mari Bakero, Barca legends played their first ever game earlier this year in Querertaro against a team which included former Mexican stars.

Among the players to play for the Blaugrana that day were Hristo Stoichkov, Vitor Baia, Edmilson, Gheorghe Popescu, Ronald de Boer and Gaizka Mendieta.

Since that game in April, Ronaldinho has returned to Barca in an ambassador role and upon his appointment the club also said he would be involved with the legends side, although no players have been confirmed for the match against United.

Barca say they will announce further fixtures soon as they bid “to honour the many footballers that have worn the club jersey over the years and to help globalise the Barca name and values through former players.”

Manchester United legends, meanwhile, will play an all-star charity match at the nib Stadium in Perth in March.

Former United players, including Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin and Mikael Silvestre, will take on the PFA Aussie Legends in a clash that will raise money for the Manchester United Foundation and the DT38 Foundation.

Ihenacho looking dapper as Man City unveils New Suits

Super Eagles forward Kelechi Ihenacho was looking more like a ready bridegroom as Manchester City unveiled new club suits designed by DSQUARED2.
The 21 year old was not only smart in the new suits but could pass for young man set for the Altar with his new bride.

Manchester City may arguably play the best football in the Premier League and now they will perhaps look the most stylish off the field as well.

The Etihad Stadium outfit unveiled a new club suit on Monday, which is exclusively designed by renowned fashion brand DSQUARED2.

City and DSQUARED2, an Italian brand, announced their multi-year partnership in October last year. Since then, DSQUARED2 have dressed the club’s players and coaching staff in their pre-match outfits for away Champions League matches.

To celebrate the arrival of City’s new suit, the founders and designers, Dean and Dan Caten said: ‘We wanted the players to feel as confident in this suit as they do when they pull on their team jersey.

City hit the headlines back in October last year when they jetted off to Barcelona for their Champions League match in eye-catching double denim outfits, made by international fashion house DSQUARED2.

They were all dressed the same in casual travelling attire as they were pictured arriving at Manchester Airport ahead of their flight to Barcelona.

I never beg players to sign – Mourinho won’t persuade Ibrahimovic to stay

Manchester United coach, Jose Mourinho, has said he will not persuade Zlatan Ibrahimovic to sign a new deal, as he “never begs players to sign”.

Ibrahimovic moved to Old Trafford as a free agent last summer and has scored 26 goals already for the Red Devils.

The Swedish striker scored twice at Wembley on Sunday, as United overcame a resilient Southampton team 3-2 to win their first trophy of the season.

The 35-year-old signed a one-year deal with an option for a further 12 months, but that clause has not been activated yet.

Speaking after the EFL Cup final, Mourinho said: “I never beg for players to sign. But if need be, Manchester United fans can go to his house and stay all night.”

There are doubts Ibrahimovic may extend his stay in England, if United don’t qualify for the Champions League next season.

Manchester United draw Rostov in Europa League last 16

Manchester United have drawn Russian club Rostov in the Europa League last 16.

Jose Mourinho’s men reached the knockout stage with a 4-0 aggregate victory over Saint-Etienne, having finished runners up in their group.

Man Utd are the only Premier League club remaining in the competition after Tottenham were eliminated on Thursday.

The full last 16 so far is:

Celta Vigo vs Krasnodar

APOEL vs Anderlecht

Schalke vs Borussia Monchengladbach

Lyon vs Roma

Rostov vs Manchester United

Olympiacos vs Besiktas

Gent vs Genk

Kobenhavn vs Ajax


Bad news for Arsenal as Cazorla is ruled out for the season

Santi Cazorla will not play for Arsenal again until next season, as he has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

The Spanish midfielder has not played for the Gunners since their 6-0 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League in October last year.

Cazorla underwent surgery on his ankle in December and was expected to be out for three months.

Last month, the Premier League club activated a clause in his contract, which has seen his deal extended by two years.

The 32-year-old’s current contract was due to expire at the end of this season.

But an FA document shows that Arsenal took up the option on December 20, 2016. The club moved quickly to file the relevant paperwork with the FA, to avoid a scenario where Cazorla is eligible to speak with foreign clubs from January 1, 2017.

Cazorla has scored twice for Arsenal this season against Watford and Southampton.

Ex-Eaglets coach accuses Guardiola of betraying Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho’s lack of game time at Manchester City is a form of betrayal by manager, Pep Guardiola, according to coach Manu Garba, the former Nigeria U-17 coach, who gave Iheanacho his breakthrough at the 2013 World Youth Championship.

Iheanacho has missed the last seven games of Manchester City. He failed to make the matchday squad on five occasions and was twice left on the bench by Guardiola.

Even the injury to Gabriel Jesus hasn’t worked in his favour as many speculated and Garba believes the 20-year-old has not been fairly treated by the manager.

“He (Iheanacho) pulled out of the Nigerian team to the last Olympics in Rio on the orders of Guardiola, who also made the club sign an extension with him. Fast forward June to this day and he can’t get into the team,” Manu said.

“It’s normal for him to feel betrayed by the man, who made him sacrifice the chance to play at the Olympics with Nigeria. He is a good lad and will definitely prove people wrong in the future.”

Iheanacho was listed among the reserves in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League game against Monaco, but he never made it off the bench. Guardiola preferred Jesus Navas and Fernando when he needed goals in the game against Monaco.

I’m still open to Super Eagles call up – Obafemi Martins

Former Inter-Milan player, Obafemi Martins, said he has not retired from international career with Nigeria.

Martins has not featured for the Super Eagles for three years.

Obagoal, who has also played in the US Major League Soccer, now plays for Chinese Super League, CSL, side Shanghai Shenhua.

The 32-year-old said he can still contribute his own quota to the Super Eagles if called up by coach Gernot Rohr. He, however, said he respects the fact that young players need to be given opportunity in the team.

Martins told reporters, “I never am through with international football. If the new coach of Nigeria Gernot Rohr needs me, I will gladly honour his call. I am fitter than ever.

“You have to respect the quality of the young players who are coming through with the national team, they deserve to be given their chance in the team.

“Playing in China is way higher than in the past, we now have top model professionals in the league, so it’s no longer a case of if you go to China, you are winding down your career.”

Amaju Pinnick leads campaign against Issa Hayatou’s re-election.

The Nigeria’s Football Federation (NFF) is backing a challenge to the long-serving president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Issa Hayatou.

Mr. Hayatou is standing for an eighth successive term of office, but faces opposition from Ahmad Ahmad, the head of Madagascar’s FA.

Amaju Pinnick, president of the NFF, told the BBC the election would be “a defining moment for African football.”

Pinnick said CAF needs a “new generation” of leadership, following the change at the top of the world governing body FIFA.

He cited “post election differences between Gianni [Infantino, the new Fifa president] and Issa Hayatou, which are irreconcilable.”

Infantino was in Johannesburg yesterday for a gathering of football federation leaders from across the continent.

He is then due to visit Zimbabwe at the invitation of the head of the southern African confederation, Cosafa – which also backs Ahmad.

Pinnick acknowledged that Hayatou could still win – but said if he did, the veteran Camerounian would need to be open to different influences.

“You have to listen to a larger audience instead of just a tiny cabal, you have to know it goes beyond you,” Pinnick said.

“I will definitely work with him if he wins but my prayer is we need a bridge builder and that person is Ahmad.”

Referee, Mark Clattenburg quits England for Saudi Arabia.

Famous referee, Mark Clattenburg, has quit the English Premier League (EPL) to continue his career in Saudi Arabia.

Clattenburg has now taken up a job with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF).

The Professional Match Official Limited (PGMOL) has issued a statement praising his contributions to the English game.

“PGMOL would like to wish Mark Clattenburg well as he prepares for his move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation,” the statement read.

“Since joining the PGMOL Select Group in 2004, Mark developed into one of our top officials, refereeing at the highest level and setting standards for others to follow.

“His accomplishments are numerous and last season saw Mark achieve a memorable treble, on top of another consistently excellent season in the Premier League, as he officiated three major cup finals – the FA Cup final, the UEFA Champions League final and the UEFA Euro 2016 final.

“Mark is a talented referee, he has been a great asset to the English game and hopefully an inspiration to those who want to get into refereeing at the grass roots of the game.

“We understand this is an exciting opportunity for Mark as well as further underlining what high esteem English match officials are held throughout the world game.”

Clattenburg took charge of his first Football League game as a 25-year-old in a third division match between Chesterfield and York City.

Four years later, he had ascended to the Premier League, where his first match was Crystal Palace’s game against Everton.

Rwanda FA Shortlists Siasia For Coaching Job

The Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) has shortlisted former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia and seven others for its vacant coaching job.

The initial list of 52 applicants was pruned to eight and the Rio 2016 Olympics bronze winner made the cut.

The former Nigerian international would battle with Georges Leekens, Paul Put, Peter Butler and Wilfried Schafer among others.

FERWAFA has confirmed that the eight coaches would be contacted subsequently

Luis Suarez to Serve Two-Match Ban after Barcelona’s Appeal is Rejected

Luis Suarez will miss the Copa del Rey final on May 27, after Barcelona’s appeal against his sending off  during their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday  was thrown out.

Suarez has also been handed a two-game ban by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), for his actions after being sent off in the final minute of the game. This means he will miss the final and also the first game of Spain’s domestic cup competition next season.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano wrote in his report, that Suarez was sent off for throwing his arm in Koke’s direction after he received a yellow card for a foul on Juanfran.

He also wrote that Suarez delayed his exit from the pitch, ignoring repeated warnings from the officials and then refused to leave the tunnel area when asked to do so by the fourth official.

The Uruguay striker was the third player sent off against Atletico Madrid, after Sergi Roberto and Yannick Carrasco also saw red.

However, Sergio Busquests’ yellow card for kicking the ball away, has been rescinde

Mourinho wanted me at Manchester United – Willian

Brazilian midfielder, Willian has revealed that Jose Mourinho tried to bring him to Manchester United last summer, but insists he is happy home at Chelsea.

Mourinho resumed at Old Trafford in July, eight months after he was dismissed by Chelsea for the second time.

His dismissal followed a disastrous Premier League title defence and what technical director Michael Emenalo described as “palpable discord” between players and management.

While Chelsea struggled, Willian was one of few reliable performers in Mourinho’s final season, scoring five goals and registering six assists as well as being voted the club’s Player of the Year.

Reports in England last summer suggested that the pair were set for a move to United.

Willian told Globo Esporte, “Concrete [offers], I have no idea. But Manchester United were interested in me, since Mourinho is there now.

“Other clubs I am not aware, but there is always something on the internet. In any case I am happy that there are clubs who admire my work.”

The forward has continued to perform do well under Antonio Conte despite fighting with Pedro Rodriguez for a place in the starting lineup.

Manchester United debt increases by £71.6m

Manchester United’s net debt has increased by £71.6 million in the space of three months to £409.3m, the club’s quarterly financial report has confirmed.

The report, which covers three months up to December 31, 2016, shows that the club’s total overheads rose 27.1 per cent between September 2016 and the end of the calendar year. This comes despite the new Premier League TV deal coming into effect, with the gains being offset by the loss of Champions League revenue.

United have put the loss down in no small part to the significant drop in the value of the pound since the referendum in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, citing the strengthened US dollar as another factor.

However, United do expect to return record revenues once more after topping the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time in over a decade in 2015-16.

In delivering the report, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “We are pleased to be competing for the first available trophy of the season when we travel to Wembley to face Southampton in the EFL Cup final this month.

“The robustness of our business model continues to be reflected in our strong quarterly financial results and we remain on track to deliver record revenues for the year.”

One curiosity in the report is the inclusion of Bastian Schweinsteiger under ‘exceptional items’, with the German midfielder’s return to Jose Mourinho’s plans in recent months being reflected in the accounts as a £4.8m boost to the squad’s value.

Schweinsteiger was excluded from the first team by Mourinho at the start of the season but has since made a comeback and has been added to their list of players eligible to feature in the Europa League. United begin the knockout stage with the first leg of their tie against Saint-Etienne on February 16.

Ballack tells Ozil to quit Arsenal for Bayern Munich

Former Chelsea midfielder, Michael Ballack, has told Mesut Ozil to leave Arsenal for Bayern Munich, if he wants to win major trophies.

Ozil is in talks with the Gunners over a new deal, with the current one running out in June 2018.

Ballack feels he should not extend his stay at the Emirates and should return to Germany.

“Mesut is an amazing player. He knows that he is one of the undisputed stars at Arsenal,” Ballack told Sport Bild.

“A lot of clubs would love to have him.

“But if he wants to win a major title, he has a bigger chance to achieve that at Bayern.”

Ballack also admitted that Arsenal will not allow Ozil leave except a big transfer fee is paid.

“If you look at the recent developments in England and China, it seems inevitable that Bayern will soon pay transfer fees of €50million or so as well,” he added.

“They have to if you want to keep competing with the best.

“If you want to bring in a world-class player, you will have to invest.”



Ballack tells Ozil to quit Arsenal for Bayern Munich

Manchester United should be winning more games under Mourinho – Yorke

Manchester United Treble winner Dwight Yorke says that while the Red Devils have improved under Jose Mourinho this season, they have paid the price for their failure to convert draws into victories.

United have gone 15 games unbeaten in the Premier League yet three of their last four matches have ended in draws and they have been stuck in sixth position in the table for the past 65 days, despite a big summer spending spree.

“This team under Jose have improved, they have brought in exceptional players like Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and [Paul] Pogba to add quality and some personality,” Yorke told ESPN.

“But they haven’t been able to convert enough wins. This was different under my time [at United]. When we played under Sir Alex Ferguson, even though we weren’t dominating games at times, the resilience and belief kept coming back.”

In cup competitions, Mourinho’s men have reached the EFL Cup final against Southampton on Feb. 26, while they also remain in the FA Cup and Europa League.

But with United having drawn three of their last four Premier League matches, including a 0-0 stalemate at home to Hull on Feb. 2, they are now 14 points behind leaders Chelsea and two points outside of the top four.

“The United of now should be able to win games against Hull,” Yorke said. “Despite dominating games, they haven’t found a way to win them.”

Yorke won the Premier League three times during his four seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 65 goals in 147 games in all competitions. The former Trinidad and Tobago captain was also part of the side that won the Treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in the 1998-99 season.

In the same campaign, he was the Premier League’s joint-top scorer after netting 18 league goals in 32 matches.

Yorke, who captained Sydney FC to the inaugural A-League title in 2006, retired from professional football at the age of 37 in 2009. He earned 89 caps for Trinidad and Tobago between 1989 and 2009.

Djibril Cisse starts life as DJ after retiring from football

Djibril Cisse has announced his official retirement from professional football at the age of 35.

After several attempts at a comeback, the former Liverpool striker is looking to start a career as a disc jockey and music producer while building his clothing line Mr. Lenoir.

Cisse had first announced his retirement in October 2015 having been sidelined by a hip injury.

Following a successful surgery, the Frenchman attempted a return to the game last April but failed to find a club.

“I loved being a footballer, and so far the ball has been my life,” said Cisse, who will also work with Yahoo Sports in France.

“I would have liked to continue playing but I must admit today that football is over. With the same passion, I will devote myself wholeheartedly to my career as DJ, producer, and consultant, as well as developing my clothing brand.

“Thank you for all your support. The adventure continues, another life begins. A lion never dies,” he said.

Cisse will be remembered for scoring a penalty in the shoot-out against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, Turkey, and for netting in the FA Cup final win over West Ham United the following season.


The ex-footballer cost Liverpool £14.5million when he was signed from Auxerre in 2004. He went on to score 24 goals in 79 appearances during two injury-hampered seasons.

Cisse also played for Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League before ending his career at Saint-Pierroise in the French overseas territory of Reunion.

Ronaldinho returns to Barcelona as ambassador

Ronaldinho has returned to Barcelona as a club ambassador, the La Liga outfit have confirmed.

The Brazil legend spent five seasons at the Camp Nou during his playing career.

Between 2003 and 2008, he made 207 appearances for Barca and scored 94 goals, winning the 2005/2006 Champions League and back-to-back Liga titles.

Ronaldinho eventually retired from football last year.

“FC Barcelona and Ronaldinho have reached an agreement whereby the Brazilian will become a Club ambassador and representative at various events and activities over the coming years,” a club statement read.

“Ronaldinho will also form part of the Legends project, a team of former players who, through matches around the world, will help to globalise the Barça brand and its values, and will take part in clinics, training sessions and institutional events, among other activities organised by the Club.

“Through FCBEscola, FC Barcelona and Ronaldinho’s football academies will be seeking different ways to collaborate both in terms of the brand and possible associations with the same. The player will also appear in the opening and closing ceremonies at some schools and take part in activities in which he will share his experience in educational talks.

“Ronaldinho will also take part in FC Barcelona Foundation events related to UNICEF. The Masia 360 project will be another one of the Club projects where the Brazilian will be present, helping with the training and coaching of the athletes involved.

“The agreement will be signed on Friday at 5.30pm CET at the Camp Nou directors’ box with the presence of Ronaldinho and president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Then, the media will be to take photos of the Brazilian star at the club museum.”

Chelsea pay tribute to retired Frank Lampard

Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard, announced his retirement from international football on Thursday.

The Chelsea record goalscorer wrote on his social media accounts: “After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer.”

Shortly after, Chelsea football club took to Twitter to pay tribute to the former Blues star.

“What a career. Thank you, Frank. #SuperFrank,” the tweet read.

A video was later posted on the Chelsea Twitter account, showing some of Lampard’s memorable goals for the club.

We are going to show Arsenal we have changed since the 3-0 defeat – Conte

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has urged his side to complete the job in “a big week for the club”, as they prepare to face Arsenal this weekend.

Conte’s men lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the Emirates last September, as the Gunners blew them away in a first-half blitz.

“We have to concentrate and prepare for Arsenal, because we face another great team – that’s what they are. They can fight for the title,” he said after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday

“This week is very important for us and we want to finish in the right way.

“This was a good result for sure, but we wasted a lot of energy in a difficult atmosphere, and don’t forget in the previous game we lost 3-0 away to Arsenal. This could be a good chance for us to show now in second half of season we are a totally different team if you compare the previous game.”

Conte also added that his squad is now secure until the end of the season, even though the Chinese transfer window is still open until February 28.

He added: “Is it still open in China? For us, the market is finished. Not buy, not sell, and I am very happy with that – our market is finished.”

I Miss The Champions League – Mourinho

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has urged his players to step up their quest to qualify for the Champions League next year, as he misses the competition.

Mourinho has had to play in the Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils in the last 32 of the competition, where they will take on St Etienne this month.

The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss is among a small group of coaches — including Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti — who have taken charge of 100 Champions League games. And he is desperate to return to the big stage.

“Personally, I miss the Champions League,” Mourinho said.

“Every match I don’t play in the Champions League means an incredible number of matches is not going up. I am the youngest one to be in the club of 100. Every time I don’t play I am not happy.

“But obviously Manchester United is much more important than me. What matters is Manchester United, and as everyone knows, it’s a club that belongs to the Champions League.

“We shall do everything possible to make sure we are in it next season.

“We have two chances to be there: one is by winning the Europa League, the other is by finishing in the top four. Both achievable, both difficult, but we are going to work hard for that.”

Nigerian youngster, Henry Onyekuru accuses Belgian club of frustrating bid to join Celtic

One of Europe’s most sought after strikers, Henry Onyekuru, says his bid to join Scottish champions, Celtic, was being frustrated by his Belgian club, AS Eupen.

There were reports early this week that Celtics had tabled a bid for the striker, who is also interesting Liverpool and CSKA Moscow. Onyekuru alleged that Eupen have entered an agreement with another agent and want him to dump his agency, Macato Sports.

He told, “Eupen are acting funny on my transfer. They are frustrating me and my agent for their own interest.

“This is unfair and not acceptable.” Meanwhile, former Super Eagles’ star, Osaze Odemwingie has condemned the way Eupen are treating the 19-year-old Nigerian forward.

Onyekuru was spotted playing in Nigeria and was brought to the Aspire Academy in Senegal before linking up with Eupen who are owned by the Aspire Zone Foundation, in the summer of 2015.

He has been a revelation for Eupen since his arrival in Belgium helping them win promotion to the top flight in his first season and he has continued to flourish this season.

“I have spoken to Henry as he phoned me for advice and I said to him just think of yourself as Aspire did not think of the hundreds of kids it discarded and who now find themselves back in Nigeria,” Odemwingie told ESPN FC.

“The interest in Henry is great news for him, but I am disappointed about the other boys who went to the Aspire Academy and now find themselves on the streets of Lagos.”


Source: Guardian

Man United’s Wayne Rooney working on coaching badges to be manager

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has reiterated his plans to go into management, confirming he is currently undergoing his coaching qualifications.

Rooney, 31, is contracted with United until 2019 and became the club’s all-time record goal scorer with his equaliser at Stoke on Saturday, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton.

Speaking at a Football Writers’ Association dinner to celebrate the England striker’s achievements, Rooney said: “I’ve publicly said before I’d like to go into management.

“Obviously I’d have to complete my badges, which I’m doing at the minute.

“I feel it’d be a shame to have the knowledge I feel I have about football and walk away from it once I’ve finished playing.”

Upon receiving the award, Rooney added: “I’m humbled to be here and to receive this award. As a football player it’s great to receive awards and to get records like I did yesterday.

“The reaction to the record has been great and I thank everyone for their messages. For people to send me messages yesterday, mostly across social media but also some private ones, was brilliant and I really appreciate them all.”

Last week, Rooney’s former England teammate Steven Gerrard returned to Liverpool to become the club’s academy coach, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp backing the midfielder to go on and be a manager.

Ex-England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has also previously voiced his desire to one day manage the Blues.



Moses Doing Great Job For Chelsea – Alonso

Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso has paid tribute to Super Eagles forward Victor Moses for his impact for the English Premier League leaders so far this term.

Moses has been a regular in the Chelsea team this term and has been one of the key performers in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation.

The Nigeria international had previously struggled to make much of an impact at Stamford Bridge but seems to have blossomed under the former Juventus manager, scoring three goals in 21 league appearances from his wing-back position.

Speaking to Chelsea’s website, Alonso said: “I think it is a good balance for the team (Moses’ right wing-back role).

“There was no need for us to talk to each other before about what we were going to do. A lot of games he goes more forward and I maybe stay more at the back, but that also depends on how the other team plays and it’s good to have variation and different options.

“Victor is doing a great job and hopefully we can keep helping the team as we have been doing in the previous games.”



BREAKING: Magaji, Kaduna FA chairman, dies at 52.

Abdulkadir Magaji, chairman of Kaduna state Football Association and independent vice-chairman of the Nigeria National League(NNL), has died.


Abdulsalam Jere, secretary of Kaduna FA, announced this on Tuesday, saying Kapaka died in a Lagos hospital after a brief illness.


According to Jere, the deceased was aged 52.


In December, Magaji attended the 72nd general assembly of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Lagos, where the new board of the NNL was inaugurated.


A graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Magaji was a two-time member of the Kaduna state house of assembly, and was also a two-time special adviser to Ibrahim Yakowa, former Kaduna governor, on sports.


He was a member of the NFF match commissioners’ appointment committee before he was announced as the independent vice chairman of the NNL.


He is survived by his father, wife and three children.


Source: The Cable

China to cut foreign player numbers to curb massive spending on overseas talent

China said Monday it will cut foreign player numbers in top-flight teams to curb massive spending on overseas talent, with Chelsea’s Diego Costa the latest to be linked to a big-money move.

Teams in the Chinese Super League will be able to field no more than three foreigners in a match when the new 2017 season begins in March, according to new rules posted on the Chinese Football Association website.

Previously four non-Chinese players were allowed, provided one was from an Asian Football Confederation country.

The organisation also said it would act to rein in the “recent appearance of irrational investments and the payment of high transfer fees and salaries for domestic and foreign footballers”.

The decision comes in the middle of the winter transfer window, which began January 1, and could disrupt some deals already in the works.

Big business backers of Chinese Super League clubs, encouraged by football fan President Xi Jinping’s vision of China becoming one of the game’s superpowers, hosting and winning a World Cup, have lavished money on their teams alongside heavy investment in grassroots development.

China last month broke the Asian transfer record for the fifth time in a year when Shanghai SIPG paid Chelsea 60 million euros ($63 million) for Brazilian midfielder Oscar.

At the same time across the city, Shanghai Shenhua were reportedly making Argentina’s former Manchester United and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez the world’s highest-salaried player.

The two were the latest in a stream of foreign players — many from South America — flowing into China in recent years in return for eye-watering wages.

But Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Sunday dismissed there was a Chinese bid for Costa.

“I don’t know anything about this (offer from China). The club did not inform me about this. That can be only speculation,” he said after his Premier League leaders beat Leicester 3-0 without Costa, who was omitted amid reports of an argument with fitness coach Julio Tous and interest from clubs in China.

Football fans and authorities fear the influx of foreign talent will come at the cost of potential homegrown heroes, preferring that hefty sums be reserved for nurturing local talent.

China, ranked 82nd in the world, punch well below their weight in international competition, having qualified only once for the World Cup finals, in 2002, where they failed to win a match or score a goal.


Source: Guardian

Chinese Super League Can Rival Premier League – Oscar

New Shanghai SIPG recruit Oscar believes that the Chinese Super League could eventually compete with the Premier League if more star names make the move to Asia.

Oscar made a massive €60 million (£51m) switch from Premier League leaders Chelsea to SIPG earlier in January, linking up with fellow Brazil international Hulk and coach Andre-Villas Boas.

The 25-year-old, who scored in his first appearance in a friendly win over Al Batin, arrives at a time when Carlos Tevez, Axel Witsel, Ramires, Alex Teixeira, Ezequiel Lavezzi, John Obi Mikel, Graziano Pelle, Burak Yilmaz, Paulinho, Renato Augusto, Fredy Guarin and Jackson Martinez all call China home.

And Oscar feels that the lucrative CSL will only get better with further investment.

“If they continue in this way, maybe yes, because they have lots of good projects,” he told Sky Sports.

“Of course the Premier League [has higher] level of players in the world but the Chinese guys are very good. They help the new players a lot and I hope they continue this because I come to help.

“The transfer was good for me, good for Chelsea, good for Shanghai, and I’m so happy to come to the Chinese Super League.

“I think the Chinese clubs [spend] a lot of money for the players to go to China, to make the league stronger. They made me an offer and I’m very happy to come.”

‘I Was Like a Ghost’ – Hazard Reflects on Chelsea Struggles in 2015-16

The Belgian forward admits he wants ‘to be the best again’ after enduring a tough time as the reigning PFA Player of the Year last season

Eden Hazard’s transformation from Premier League title winner and PFA Player of the Year to Chelsea also-ran surprised the Belgian as much as it did those watching from afar.

The talented forward enjoyed a sparkling 2014-15 campaign, with a 19-goal haul from 52 appearances in all competitions seeing him land prestigious personal and collective honours.


He was, however, to endure a humbling fall from grace last season, alongside many of his Stamford Bridge colleagues.

Hazard – having been billed as a contender to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the right to be called the best player on the planet – was a shadow of his former self as he was forced to wait until January before opening his 2015-16 goal account.

The 26-year-old admits he performed “like a ghost” as the Blues stumbled their way to a 10th-place finish in the Premier League.

He has been back on form this season, though, and is setting his sights of more major silverware, with nine goals added to a cause that has Chelsea sat five points clear at the top of the table.

Hazard told Fox Sports: “I learned a lot [from last season].


“Sometimes you are at the top like we were two years ago and sometimes it is difficult for everyone.

“For me, I was the best player two years ago, but last season I was like a ghost.

“I want to be the best again and win titles.”

It is not just the English top-flight crown that Hazard has in sights, though, with the FA Cup very much there to be shot at.

Chelsea have enjoyed considerable success in the competition in recent times – emerging victorious four times in six seasons between 2007 and 2012 – but Hazard only joined after the most recent of those triumphs and is yet to get his hands on the famous trophy.


On the back of a 4-1 third round victory over Peterborough on Sunday, he added: “The league is important, but the FA Cup even more as I’ve never won it.

“So I hope that this season I can win this trophy as I have won the league and the League Cup – now I just need the FA Cup.”



Kanu’s Goal Against Chelsea In My Arsenal Top 5 – Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu’s goal against Chelsea in 1999 ranks among his top five since joining the London club in 1996.

Wenger made this known while commenting on Olivier Giroud’s stunning goal against Crystal Palace on Sunday which he also ranked in his top five Arsenal goals.

Trailing 2-0 to Chelsea and with 15 minutes left, former Super Eagles superstar Kanu scored two quick goals to make it 2-2.

And on the stroke of 90 minutes, close to the corner flag, Kanu whipped in a right-foot curler into to the roof of the net to complete a remarkable 3-2 comeback win for Arsenal.

The French manager also listed Dennis Bergkamp’s goals against Leicester City and Newcastle (1997, 2002 respectively) and Thierry Henry’s solo goal against Real Madrid in the 2006 UEFA Champions League, as part of the best five goals he has witnessed as Arsenal manager.

“I’ve been spoiled in my career, I had many great players and many great strikers. [Giroud’s goal is] certainly in the top five,” Wenger told

“I remember Bergkamp, Henry with special goals.

“Bergkamp at Leicester, Newcastle. Thierry Henry at Real Madrid, Liverpool. Kanu at Chelsea. It’s difficult for me not to forget goals over 20 years.

“When you score 70, 80 a year by now that makes 1,600 goals. It’s difficult to get the best five.”

Mark Clattenburg named world’s best referee

Mark Clattenburg has been voted the Best Referee in the world at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai.

The 41-year-old Premier League official, received the prize ahead of many top referees from every major league in Europe.

Clattenburg completed a remarkable treble in 2016, handling the FA Cup final, Champions League final and Euro 2016 final.

He is rumoured to be coveted in the Chinese Super League and other foreign leagues.

Clattenburg, who was in charge for the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Watford on Boxing Day, received the trophy in Dubai.

Kanu Nwankwo makes list of 48 football legends

Kanu Nwankwo, ?Nigerian soccer Icon, has been named as one of the 48 legends in the history of world football.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) released the list on Monday.

?This is one of the biggest recognition for the ex-Arsenal striker.

?Kanu made history by leading the Nigerian U-23 team to gold medal at the 1996 Olympic games.

As a teenager, he was a key member of the Ajax team that dominated Europe and won the UEFA cup.

He went on to score some amazing goals for Arsenal FC and celebrated the exemplary “unbeaten run” with the team.

Kanu has won ?three FA cup medals and two African Player of the Year? ?awards.

Below is the list of the best-ever and most celebrated football players of all times:

  • Edson Arantes Do Nascimento (PELE) of Brazil
  • Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Zico) of Brazil
  • Late Manuel Francisco dos Santos (Garrincha) of Brazil
  • Ronaldo Luís Nazário De Lima (Ronaldo) of Brazil
  • Franz Anton Beckenbauer (Beckenbauer) of Germany
  • GERD MÜLLER (Gerd) of Germany
  • Lothar Matthäus of Germany
  • Hendrik Johannes Cruijff (Johan Cruyff) of Netherlands
  • Marco Van Basten (Marco) of Netherlands
  • Ruud Gullit OON of Netherlands
  • Bobby Charlton (Bobby) of United Kingdom
  • David Robert Joseph Beckham (David Beckham) of United Kingdom
  • Late STANLEY MATTHEWS of United Kingdom
  • Diego Armando Maradona Franco (Maradona) of Argentina ?Late Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé of Argentina
  • HAO HAIDONG of China
  • Sun Jihai of China
  • Mahmoud El-Khatib (Bibo) of Egypt
  • Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt
  • Michel Platini of France
  • Zinedine Yazid Zidane (Zizou) of France
  • Antonio Carbajal (Tota) of Mexico
  • Hugo Sánchez Márquez (Sánchez) of Mexico
  • Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (Eusébio) of Portugal
  • Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo (Luis Figo) of Portugal
  • Dino Zoff of Italy
  • Roberto Baggio of Italy
  • Mustapha Rabah Madjer (Rabah Madjer) of Algeria
  • Albert Roger Mooh Miller (Roger Milla) of Cameroon
  • Late Ferenc Puskás of Hungary
  • Baichung Bhutia (Bhutia) of India
  • Ali Daei of Iran
  • Hidetoshi Nakata of Japan
  • Cha Bum-kun (Tscha Bum) of South Korea
  • Jasem Yaqoub Sultan Al-Besara of Kuwait
  • George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah (George Weah) of Liberia
  • Wynton Alan Whai Rufer of New Zealand
  • Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria
  • José Luis Félix Chilavert González (José Luis Chilavert) of Paraguay
  • Late Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Lev Yashin) of Russia
  • Majed Ahmed Abdullah Al-Mohammed (Majed Abdullah) of Saudi Arabia
  • Francisco Gento Lopez (Paco) of Spain
  • Tanju Çolak of Turkey
  • Oleh Volodymyrovych Blokhin of Ukraine
  • Late Juan Alberto Schiaffino Villano (Pepe) of Uruguay
  • Landon Timothy Donovan of USA
  • Lucas Valeriu Ntuba Radebe (Lucas Radebe) of South Africa
  • Ryan Joseph Giggs (Ryan Giggs) of Wales

Spanish Copa del Rey Round of 16 Fixtures Released

Real Madrid have been set up with Sevilla and Barcelona will face Athletic Bilbao in the Round of 16 of Spanish Copa del Rey.

Here are the full fixtures:

Alcorcón v Córdoba
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona
Deportivo La Coruña v Alavés
Las Palmas v Atlético Madrid
Osasuna v Eibar
Real Madrid v Sevilla
Real Sociedad v Villarreal
Valencia v Celta Vigo

First leg fixtures will take place on 4 January with reverse fixtures on 11 January at 9pm Nigerian time.

#Rumours : Sam Allardyce set to replace Pardew as Crystal Palace manager

Crystal Palace are eyeing Sam Allardyce as their new manager, after they sacked Alan Pardew on Thursday.

According to Sky Sports News HQ, the London club will meet with Allardyce’s representatives in the next 24 hours for talks.

There is no agreement in place yet between Palace chairman, Steve Parish and Allardyce.

Allardyce lost the England job in September after only one game in charge.

His position became untenable, after footage emerged of him giving tips on how to get around FA transfer rules, to undercover reporters from Daily Telegraph, who posed as businessmen from a Far East firm.

But he made it clear he is keen to return to football management in the near future.

Pardew Sacked as Crystal Palace Boss

The London club sit just one point above the relegation spot after 17 games, and have taken the option of getting rid of the former Newcastle United boss

Alan Pardew has left his role as manager of Crystal Palace, the club have confirmed.


Pardew left Newcastle United to take over at Selhurst Park in January 2015 and led them to a 10th-place finish in the Premier League.

But his first full season in charge did not prove as successful in the league, Palace enduring a dreadful second half of the campaign as they finished just five points above the relegation zone.

The former Southampton and Charlton Athletic boss led Palace to the FA Cup final, only to see his side beaten 2-1 in extra time as Jesse Lingard scored the winner for Manchester United.

And Pardew has failed to turn around their fortunes in the first half of the 2016-17 season, with Palace just a point above the bottom three with 15 points from 17 games.

Chairman Steve Parish said: “I would like to put on record our sincere gratitude for the tremendous service Alan has given us, both in his time here as manager and previously as a player.

“Following a fantastic second half of 2014-15, the 2015-16 season culminated in only narrowly missing out on winning the FA Cup as well as securing our Premier League place for a record-breaking fourth time.


“During his tenure Alan’s hard work and dedication were without question, he has improved so many areas of the club and we wish him the very best for the future.

“With games now coming thick and fast over the holiday period the club are hoping to put someone in place as quickly as possible but have nothing to say about a replacement at this time.”

7 Cameroon players shun AFCON

Seven Cameroon players have said they do not want to go to the African Nations Cup finals, setting them on a collision course with the country’s football federation and a possible ban from playing for their clubs while the tournament is on.

Joel Matip of Liverpool is one of the seven who told coach Hugo Broos they are not interested in being selected for the tournament in Gabon, which starts on January 14.

“These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulations,” said Broos in a statement on Tuesday.

The other six are Andre Onana (Ajax Amsterdam), Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Nancy), Allan Nyom (West-Bromwich-Albion), Maxime Poundje (Girondins-Bordeaux), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Olympique-Marseille) and Ibrahim Amadou (Lille).

All seven had earlier this month been named in a preliminary list of 35 for the tournament, where Cameroon are drawn in Group A with the hosts, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau.

Cameroon’s football federation (Fecafoot) can ask FIFA to suspend the players at club level for the duration of the tournament, which ends on February 6, if they so desire.

Matip did not want to play for Cameroon for the moment because of a “bad experience” with the previous coaching staff, the statement said.

The German-born defender has not featured for Cameroon since the World Cup in Brazil but Broos, who took over in February, has twice been to see him to try and persuade him to return to the side.

Nyom told Broos he wanted to stay at West Bromwich Albion to keep his place in the team, a sentiment shared by Amadou, Ndy Assembe, Onana and Zambo Anguissa.

Poundje, uncapped by Cameroon, said he preferred to concentrate on setting his sights on playing for France.

Cameroon are to name the final 23-man squad for the tournament next week.

Nigerian League top scorer Obaje joins Tunisian club

Godwin Obaje, Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, top scorer and Wikki Tourists forward, has officially joined Tunisian top-flight side, Etoile du Sahel.

This is according to a report on the club’s website on Wednesday.

The former FRSC and Mighty Jets attacker completed his move to the Tunisian outfit on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 19-year-old goal poacher recently saw his dream to Russian club Spartak Moscow hit the rocks.

Obaje caught the eye of several clubs after enjoying a hugely successful campaign, netting 18 goals, as he helped Wikki Tourists secure a third-place finish in the 2015/2016 NPFL season.

He also appeared to be on the verge of joining Spartak following a successful two-week trial, but saw the move scuppered after he failed a medical.

Obaje was quoted on the club’s website as saying, “I have signed for Etoile du Sahel; I started talks with them after they expressed interest in me and they tabled a good offer.

“I’m pleased with the terms in the contract and I have to repay them for the kind of confidence they have in me by exhibiting good performance on the field.”

Etoile du Sahel club is currently in second position with 23 points in the Tunisian Ligue 1 Group A table.

Etoile du Sahel will feature in 2017 CAF Champions League after winning the league title ahead of rival, Esperance.

BREAKING: Unpaid footballers of Taraba teams shut down Government House

The players of Taraba State’s male and female football teams, Taraba FC and Taraba Queens, on Monday shut down activities at the government house in the state capital, Jalingo, to protest non-payment of backlogs of their salary arrears.


The players are demanding immediate payment of 21 months’ salary arrears from the Taraba State Government.


Security operatives were deployed to the government house to deny the players access into the building. The gate of the government house has since been shut.


Despite being tear gassed, the players vowed to spend nights there until they are paid.


Monday’s protest occurs barely a month after a similar one by the players.


More details soon.

Nigerian Football chief, Amaju Pinnick endorsed for CAF position.

Despite what many Nigerians consider very poor performance by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, under Amaju Pinnick, the latter has been nominated for an African position.

The General Assembly of the NFF on Sunday in Lagos endorsed the candidature of Mr. Pinnick for election into the CAF Executive Committee.

The 72nd Annual General Assembly of the NFF held at the Best Western Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday.

According to a communiqué released by Ademola Olajire, the NFF spokesman, “the Congress passed a Vote of Confidence on the NFF Executive Committee.

“It also endorsed the candidature of NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick for election into the CAF Executive Committee at the CAF Congress in Addis Ababa in March 2017.

“Congress called on all Nigerians to give him total support as it is not an NFF venture, but a Nigerian Project,” it said.

Mr. Pinnick and the NFF leadership have been criticised for their management of Nigerian football which worsened last week with the protest by the Super Falcons.

The Nigerian female national team emerged African champions in Cameroon despite not being paid their allowances.

Their protest last Wednesday to the National Assembly forced President Buhari to order release of funds to pay the ladies.

In their communique on Sunday, the NFF Congress commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government for the action taken to pay the players and officials of the Super Falcons their entitlements.

The Super Falcons were crowned champions of the 10th Women Africa Cup of Nations Finals in Cameroon.

The Communique also noted that the General Assembly endorsed the new boards of the Nigeria National League (NNL) and the Nigeria Nationwide League (NNWL) as constituted by a Selection Committee.

It said the boards of the two leagues were immediately sworn in.

It said the Congress also resolved as follows:

“In order for Nigeria Football to align itself with the FIFA Integrity Initiative, Congress adopted the NFF National Integrity Initiative Strategy, as proposed by the NFF Integrity Unit.

“General Assembly also adopted the Disciplinary and Ethics Code of the Nigeria Football Federation as proposed by the Executive Committee.”

The Congress expressed satisfaction with the explanation provided by the Executive Committee on a number of issues raised by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung at the opening ceremony.

It noted that the issues were on division within the Board, FIFA Audit Query and late submission of memos.

It submitted that the minister was misinformed about the activities of the Board.

“Congress noted the submission of the Executive Committee stating that at no time previously (official or unofficially) did the Minister raise these issues with the NFF leadership to obtain clarification.

It added that the Federation would have gladly provided clarifications just as it did to the House Committee on Sports during a recent sitting on its budget performance and budget proposal.

“Indeed, the audited account of the Federation for the year, as audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, an internationally reputable audit firm, was presented and adopted at the General Assembly.

“General Assembly empowered the NFF Executive Committee to provide detailed explanation to the Office of the Honourable Minister on all the issues raised.

“It also empowered it to publish them as a matter of public records, for the avoidance of doubt and for information of the general public, NFF partners and sponsors,” it said.

The Communique said that the Chairman, House Committee on Sports praised the leadership of the NFF for various achievements recorded during the period.

He also urged them to remain focused to ensure Super Eagles qualification for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The Congress expressed appreciation to the Lagos State Government and the Local Organising Committee for the successful hosting of the Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations staged by Nigeria from December 13 – 18.

The body also thanked the Secretary General of FIFA, Fatma Samoura. for attending the championship.

The Communique added that Congress elected Musa Duhu, Chairman of Adamawa State Football Association, to join the NFF Executive Committee from the north-east geo-political zone.

The vacancy was created with the demise of Hussaini Modibbo, member from that zone.

“Duhu was the only candidate for the seat and was declared “worthy and credible” by the NFF Electoral Committee,” it said.

Why Ifeanyi Uba FC sacked Japanese Coach — Club owner

The Chairman of FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Chukwuma Ubah, has given detailed reasons why Kenichi Yatshuhashi was relieved of his jobs as the Head Coach of the Nigeria Professional Football League side.

The billionaire businessman stated that the decision was taken in good faith after players and fans had become disgruntled and disillusioned by Kenichi’s display of technical incompetence, regressive training regime and disregard for the Management, the Chairman of the Anambra based club.

“You do know we are a very professional outfit, driven by excellence while aiming for success and achievement of any stipulated goal at any point in time,” said Mr. Ubah.

“When the position of the Head Coach became vacant, we immediately swung into action to scout the planet for the perfect man for the job who had the right experience, passion, vision and above all, team spirit in order to help us achieve our lofty ambitions in the forthcoming season,” he said.

“We identified acting Head Coach, Black Stars of Ghana, Yaw Preko, who we believed had a reputable pedigree to take our club to the next level. However, Yaw Preko whom we held in high regards suggested Kenichi Yatsuhashi to us based on his previous working relationship with him and we adhered – which Yaw Preko who is still with us can attest to. This was the biggest mistake we made as we failed to carry out our due diligence on whom we sought to employ, depending solely on the recommendation of his former assistant.

“All demands, financial and otherwise made by Kenichi were met by the club, including all the requests which the club deemed as exorbitant and irrelevant. We did all we could to make him comfortable as we wanted results.

“The first red flags were raised when Kenichi started disbanding the team, leaving out our major star players including national team players Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Stephen Eze, Adeleye Olamilekan, Tamen Medrano, Kojo Baah, Wasiu Jimoh amongst a host others. This action led to the exit of some of our core players who were frustrated at being frozen out, notably Ismaila Gata, Bello Koformata and Okereke Maduabuchi. While we got torrents of complaints from the players, we allowed him to take his chosen and preferred route as we felt he had a masterplan. His training regimes were strange as he totally eliminated aerobics while insisting that the players undergo massive weight lifting, lifting weights as heavy as 100kg across 100 metres, culminating in lots of injuries. While all these were not approved by the club, we overlooked his actions on the back of his assumed expertise.”

Kenichi Yatsuhashi did not last beyond 30 days at FC Ifeanyi Ubah as he was sent packing even before the NPFL Super 4 Tournament held in Enugu.

On the direction of the club, Chukwuma Ubah assured fans of FC Ifeanyi Ubah that the goals and interest of the club will remain paramount. “Our fans should rest assured that all decisions taken and executed by the club are driven with the best interests of the Club at heart. The Club is moving in the right direction and nothing will be made to derail or stunt the progress we have made.

With the new season slated to kick off on the 7th of January 2017 with a match against Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium being the first hurdle for the Warriors, fans of FC Ifeanyi Ubah will be hoping for a winning start.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah will be looking to improve on the league record finish of 4th last season and at least advance to the latter stages of the CAF Confederations Cup which will see the Anambra Warriors make their continental debut.

Jose Mourinho Cancels Christmas for United Players, Staff

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has reportedly ordered his players to report for training at 4.30pm on Christmas Day and has also instructed staff to come to work.

In past seasons, United trained at Carrington on Christmas morning like other clubs, before spending the rest of the day with their families and friends.

Even Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, gave the players and staff the day off.

“Everyone is seriously pissed off. They’ve never heard anything like it – not even under Fergie,” a source told SunSports said.

“All the staff are used to coming in and sorting training out at Carrington but having it at Old Trafford adds a whole new level of organisation and brings more staff in.

“Jose’s had a face like thunder at the training ground for most of the season and is clearly not happy with results.

“Some staff will even have to stay later on to sort out the pitch and stadium for the next day’s home game. He’s effectively cancelled Christmas.”

United welcome Sunderland in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

Countdown as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi await Ballon d’Or announcement

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to crown a memorable year by being named the world’s best player for a fourth time on Monday night.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will be held in Paris on Monday while Ronaldo is thousands of miles away in Japan, ahead of Club World Cup duty for Real Madrid.

However, Ronaldo is expected to pick up the main award after a remarkable year even by his own high standards.

Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid in May to become European champions for a record-extending 11th time, with Ronaldo once more playing a crucial role.

Two months later Portugal triumphed at Euro 2016 in France to claim a major trophy for the first time.

Ronaldo has scored 48 goals in 52 games for club and country in 2016.

The 31-year-old has previously won the Ballon d’Or three times, the last in 2014 when it had been merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year accolade.

Ronaldo is expected to beat Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi to the award.

Griezmann finished as top scorer at Euro 2016, where Les Bleus were defeated by Portugal in the final, and also helped take Atletico to the Champions League final.

Messi, meanwhile, will be looking to repeat his success of 2015 when he again beat Ronaldo to the individual title, which was a fourth since 2010 and fifth overall.

The Argentina captain, 29, helped guide Barcelona to another domestic league and cup double in 2015-16, scoring 41 goals in all competitions.

Iwobi Needs To Score More Goals – Ian Wright

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has advised Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi to step and improve on his goal sense and  score goals on a more regular basis.

Iwobi scored his first goal of the season for Arsenal in their 4-1 win against Basel in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match-day 6 tie.

The 20-year-old got Arsenal’s fourth after Lucas Perez had scored a hat-trick.

Last season, he scored two goals after breaking into Arsenal’s first team.

Speaking on BT Sport, Wright said: “That’s what I think he (Iwobi) needs more goals).

“I think he’s got everything and it’s good that Arsene Wenger eased him out of the team for a bit because he started to get a little bit stale with what he was doing.

“This goal [against Basel] will pep him up and he really did celebrate it with gusto.”

Chapecoense Change Club Crest to Honour ‘Eternal Champions’ Who Died

Two stars have been added to the badge – one to mark their Copa Sudamericana award and one to commemorate the lives lost

Chapecoense have added two stars to their badge as part of their tributes to those lost in an air disaster late last month.

The plane carrying the Chapecoense squad, technical commission and a number of journalists for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final crashed en route to Medellin two days before the match was due to take place, killing 71 people on board.


Chapecoense have since been named as the winners of the competition by South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL.

Interim club president Ivan Tozzo confirmed at the weekend that the decision had been made following a formal request from Atletico Nacional, who had been due to face Chapecoense in the final.

Tributes have poured in from all around the world in support of Chapecoense, who announced the changes to their club badge on Twitter.

One star has been added above the crest as a nod to “the conquest of the Copa Sudamericana 2016,” according to the caption on the image attached to the tweet.

“It is white and a sign of peace found by our eternal champions. The white colour symbolises the light that will guide us forward.”

A second star has been placed within the F on the badge, as “a subtle yet powerful way of eternalising those who dedicated their lives to Chapecoense.”



I Will like Mikel to Join Me At Watford – Ighalo

Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has admitted that he would welcome international teammate Mikel Obi at Watford during the January transfer window.

Mikel is yet to make an appearance for Chelsea under Antonio Conte which has sparked reports of him leaving the London-based club before the end of the current season.

Speaking as a guest on Fanzone on SuperSport on Wednesday night, Ighalo said Mikel is a player any Premier League side will wish to have.

“I will like it if Mikel join me at Watford,” Ighalo said after being asked by one of the callers to the live show if he would like his fellow Nigerian at Vicarage Road. “He is my captain at the national team. Apart from that he is a very good player, very talented.

“I have played with him and against him, he is a very good player. There is no team in the Premier League that will not want to have such a player.

“I am happy I have played with him so I will be very happy to have him in my team.”

Despite not having the best of seasons for Watford after an impressive debut Premier League campaign last season Ighalo, who has scored just one goal in 12 league appearances so far, insists he is happy and will continue to work hard to get back into the team.

“I have a five-year contract at Watford, I am happy,” he said. “Though I am not playing regularly for now, as a striker I want to be playing but things are not going the way I want. But I am working hard, the fans love me and I want to keep going and see how the season goes.”

Ighalo described his first EPL goal for Watford (in a 2-2 away draw against Everton) as one of the greatest feelings he ever had.

He also stated that Watford’s promotion to the EPL two seasons ago was one of his greatest moments at the club.

“Scoring my first Premier League goal was one of my best feelings in life,” the 28-year-old added. “I always dreamed about the Premier League when I was young back then in the streets in Nigeria. I was just hoping to play in the Premier League and wasn’t thinking about scoring goals. I played in Spain and Italy and I always said to myself that I wanted to play in the Premier League.

“In my first game in the league away to Everton, I was sitting on the bench praying to just go in there and earn my first game, I never knew God had a plan for me to score my first goal. So when after scoring my first goal, I could not sleep when I got home, I was thinking about it and I was very happy; it was a great feeling for me.

“One of my great moments at Watford was when I gained promotion with the team two seasons ago. That was my dream before I came to Watford, to play in the Championship and to gain promotion to the Premier League. So that was one of my great moments at Watford.”

On who his best striker is, Ighalo named Argentina and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero

“Back then I always loved to watch Manchester United’s Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, they were great strikers. But for now the best striker in the Premier League is Sergio Aguero of Manchester City. He is a good striker that will guarantee you goals. These are strikers one can learn a lot of things from. So for now I think my best striker is Aguero.”

On the current performance of the Super Eagles, who currently top their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying group, Igahlo said: “Super Eagles have been doing well presently. In the past we had great players but right now it’s all about rebuilding.

“The last time we won the Cup of Nations, nobody gave it to us but everyone could see how the young and talented squad performed. And may the soul of the late Stephen Keshi rest in peace. He built a good team and even when nobody gave them a chance they still went on to win. So I am happy with the way the Eagles are doing now and I believe the future is bright for us with young and talented players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon and others.”

And on why he plans to start his own orphanage home, Ighalo explained: “I know what I went through growing up. It’s not that easy back home and that is why I always try to give back. Every month end I send money to the widows , the less priviledged, the orphans. And I am planning to open my orhanage and that will be in May in Lagos. The idea is to help and give back to the society because like I said, I am privileged to be who I am today, and it is good to try and help those in need. Not because I have much but because I know how it was back then, so that is why I am trying to give to the poor and the less privileged.”

Amaju Pinnick Snubbed Us In Cameroon, We Will Embarrass NFF – Super Falcons Players

Super Falcons players have revealed how President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, snubbed them in Cameroon.

Florence Omagbemi’s ladies defeated the hosts 1-0, to clinch a record 10th African championship. But the squad have been holed up in an Abuja hotel, since they returned to the country, as they wait for the federation to pay their entitlements.

The NFF has already promised to pay the players, although the football house admitted funds are not available at the moment.

However the Falcons have made it clear they don’t trust the NFF and will not release the trophy they won, until they receive their bonuses and allowances.

“We don’t trust them (NFF),” one of them told newsmen, on the condition of anonymity.

“This is our money and we must collect it before we leave this hotel as we do not trust them to pay us if we accepted their pleas.

“They want us to leave this hotel but we know those monies are gone the moment we agree to leave this place. They know it and we do too, so we’re staying put.”

She also criticized Pinnick for flying in and out of Cameroon, without meeting with the team.

“We heard he came to Cameroon on a chartered flight and left immediately, we didn’t even see him,” she continued.

“Now we hear he has traveled out of the country again, what kind of a leader is he? It has been one misfortune or the other since he came in and we are really disappointed.

“It’s more like he came with bad luck because since he came on board, our football has suffered both on and off the pitch and he doesn’t even seem to care.”

Another squad members also confirmed they were considering embarking on a street protest to drive home their claims.

“Yes, we have talked about it and it is something we would do if they don’t act fast. We have been reasonable enough, but we may choose to embarrass them if our entitlements are not settled,” she said.

Ronaldinho and Riquelme ‘to Come Out of Retirement to Play For Chapecoense’

SOUTH AMERICAN legends Ronaldinho and Juan Roman Riquelme are reportedly considering coming out of retirement to play for Chapecoense following a huge social media campaign.

Chapecoense tragically lost 19 players when a plane crashed on route to Colombia – killing 71 people on board.

Ronaldinho could come out of retirement to play for the Brazil side
Ronaldinho could come out of retirement to play for the Brazil side
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA: Juan Roman Riquelme of Boca Juniors team celebrates after scoring against Velez Sarsfield during the Libertadores Cup footbal match, at La Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 02 May 2007. AFP PHOTO/Alejandro PAGNI (Photo credit should read ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)
Juan Roman Riquelme has offered to play for free

The footballing world has come together to pay tribute to the side and their families that left just three Chapecoense players surviving the plane crash.

Whilst Brazilian sides have offered to loan players to the club free of charge, reports are circulating that Ronaldinho and Riquelme have offered to dust off their boots pull on the green and white of Chapecoense.

Riquelme, who last played for Argentinos Juniors in 2014, has won Argentina’s Footballer of the Year four times whilst Ronaldinho was crowned the world’s best player in 2005.


Harry Kane extends his contract with Tottenham

England and Tottenham striker, Harry Kane, has signed a new contract to keep him at White Hart Lane till 2022.

This will come as a relief to manager Mauricio Pochettino after the striker was linked with a move to various other teams, including Manchester United.

Kane said after signing the deal, “It’s amazing. Everyone knows how much I love this team and what I feel for this club.”

The 23-year-old England striker made his debut in 2011 against Hearts in the Europa League, and had since gone on to score 70 goals in 173 appearances.

The new contract will see him stay at the club till 2022, having signed a five-year deal in 2015 and is also believed to substantially increase his wages.

Kane, who had loan spells at Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City, before getting a regular chance at Spurs, has been the club’s top goal scorer for the last two seasons and he won the Premier League’s Golden Boot award in May.

Kane has become one of the most sought after forwards in world football, with Manchester United and Real Madrid both said to have been following developments closely.

However, any speculation regarding the Englishman’s future can now well and truly be put to bed after he committed his future to the club for another five-and-half years.

Two Things Iheanacho Must Do To Get Back Into My Squad – Guardiola

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola has listed two things Kelechi Iheanacho must do to force himself back into the Manchester City team.

The Super Eagles forward has only started three Premier League matches this season under the Spaniard, and with Brazilian striker, Gabriel Jesus, set to arrive in January, his chances will be further limited.
With Guardiola opting for a lone-striker system, Sergio Aguero is his first choice.
When asked what would have to happen to get Iheanacho more first team opportunities, Guardiola said: “Change the coach maybe! (first)
“Of course he deserves to play, but there are many, many others who deserve to play too.
“Our job is so uncomfortable for these kind of decisions.
“Normally when these guys don’t train good, when they are not nice guys with his team-mates, it doesn’t matter, but that is not the case with Kele.
“My advice is keep going, keep fighting, (second) sooner or later everything is coming back, and of course he’s going to have his minutes.
“Until now he played good, but in the big teams sometimes that happens. You can play just 11 players and that’s all.”

Bale Ruled Out for Up to Three Months With Ankle Injury

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale will miss next week’s El Clasico against Barcelona after being ruled out up to three months with an ankle injury.

Bale sustained the injury during Madrid’s 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Scans have shown that Bale has damaged the peroneal tendon in his right ankle and will be out for two to three months.

The European champions confirmed the winger will undergo an operation next Tuesday at the King Edward VII Hospital in London.

“The Real Madrid Sanitas Medical Services have decided that Gareth Bale will undergo an operation following the traumatic dislocation of the peroneal tendons of his right ankle,” read a statement released by Real Madrid on Thursday.

“The operation will take place at King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday 29th November by doctor James Calder, under the supervision of the club doctors Jesus Olmo and Mikel Aramberri.”

Bale will now miss a number of key matches for Real including this weekend’s league game against Sporting Gijon as well as a midweek Copa del Rey tie against third-tier Cultural Leonesa.

Most importantly, however, the Wales forward has been ruled out of the crucial trip to Barcelona on December 3.

Zinedine Zidane’s side currently hold a four-point lead over their rivals at the top of La Liga but will be without the Welsh forward for the game at the Nou Camp.

Iheanacho’s Chances at City Slim – Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has stated that young striker Kelechi Iheancho must have to make improvements to get a slot in his team.

This is just as Barcelona and Tottenham are said to be monitoring the situation with a view of making a move for the Super Eagles striker. He has started only three Premier League games under Guardiola. With £27m Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus set to arrive in January, his opportunities will be limited further.

Leading scorer Sergio Aguero is at the top of the pecking order, with Guardiola preferring to play with a lone striker.

When asked what would have to happen to get the 20-year-old more first team opportunities, Guardiola said: “Change the coach maybe!

“Of course he deserves to play, but there are many, many others who deserve to play too.

“Our job is so uncomfortable for these kind of decisions.

“Normally when these guys don’t train good, when they are not nice guys with his team-mates, it doesn’t matter, but that is not the case with Kele.

“My advice is keep going, keep fighting, sooner or later everything is coming back, and of course he’s going to have his minutes,” he said.

“Until now he played good, but in the big teams sometimes that happens. You can play just 11 players and that’s all.”

Barcelona scouts are on the look out for Iheanacho. There is also an interest from Tottenham Hotspur.

Barcelona Star Neymar Faces Two Years In Prison Over Transfer Corruption

Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar could end up in jail after Spanish prosecutors recommended that he be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos in 2013.

Judge Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4million euros (£7.2m) for the club, according to the BBC.

Rosell, Neymar and Neymar’s father are set to stand trial.

The case is as a result of a complaint by a Brazilian company which owned 40% of Neymar’s transfer rights and complained that it was not given its fair share from the transfer fee.

The club struck a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case, paid a £4.7m fine and avoided trial on charges of tax evasion over the transfer.

Kanu My Childhood Hero – Musa

Super Eagles and Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa has described legendary Nwankwo Kanu as his childhood football hero.

Musa revealed this in a short video interview posted on the English Premier League official twitter handle on Tuesday.

“My hero is Kanu because I’ve been watching him since I was a little kid. He was very good,” Musa said.

Kanu, 40, who featured for the likes of Ajax, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Portsmouth during his playing career, had 86 caps for the Super Eagles, scoring 13 goals.

He represented Nigeria at six Africa Cup of Nations (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010) and three FIFA World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2010).

An U-17 FIFA World Cup (Japan 1993) and Olympic gold medal winner (Atlanta 1996), Kanu won the 1995 UEFA Champions League with Ajax and the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1998.

And at Arsenal, he won the English Premier title. He also won the FA Cup both at Arsenal and Portsmouth.

Love From Sunderland Fans Helping Anichebe – Moyes

Sunderland manager David Moyes has attributed Victor Anichebe’s new found form to the love he is enjoying from the club fans.

The Nigerian striker joined the Black Cats on a free transfer in the  summer after he was released by West Bromwich Albion at the end of the last campaign.

He has however become  a big hit with  the Black Cats netting three times in his last two games for the side.

“I think he (Anichebe) needs a lot of love. I think he wants to be respected. He’s probably been to a lot of places where he’s may be not had that,” Moyes told

“I’ve always respected him and he knows that, I think that’s why he came to play here. It makes it a lot easier for him.

“He is that sort of boy and I think at the moment the crowd are enjoying him.

“When he’s on top of it, he can be just like he is now. He was never quite  there in the past, but I think he’s had confidence because I think the players like him and he’s settled in really well.”
Anichebe is expected to be in the starting line-up when Sunderland face Liverpool at Anfield this weekend.

Conte Shocked Mourinho Never Gave Moses A Chance

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has slammed his predecessors for snubbing Super Eagles star Victor Moses in the past.

Moses spent the last three seasons out on loan away from Chelsea while Jose Mourinho was in charge of the Blues, but he was handed a lifeline by Conte who took charge at Stamford Bridge this summer.

Conte whose side have chalked up six straight wins in the English Premier League scoring 17 goals without conceding a goal told Italian tabloid Gazzetta Dello Sport that the 25-year-old Nigerian international possesses qualities that should not be overlooked.

“I could see his potential from the first days of the summer training camp,” Conte said.

“Moses has important qualities: technique, physical strength, the ability to cover seventy meters of the pitch.

“I find it incredible that someone like him has been underestimated.”

Moses, a regular starter for the Blues since the 3-4-3 formation was adopted by Conte in October, has scored thrice in 13 appearances in all competitions this season.

Mikel, Iheanacho, other Nigerians fail to make CAF shortlist of African best players.

The African Football Confederation (CAF) has released the names of five players shortlisted for the 2016 Glo-CAF 2016 African Player of the Year Award.

No Nigerian made the list.

The names of the 5 players according to a statement on the body’s website, are:

1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borrusia Dortmund)
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)
3. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)
5. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)

For the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa), the top five are;

1. Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns & Zimbabwe)
2. Keegan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
3. Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe & Zambia)
4. Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)
5. Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns & Uganda)

It said the top five was decided by votes from the members of the CAF Media Committee, CAF Technical and Development Committee and half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons).

The statement said that for the final phase, votes from the Head Coaches/Technical Directors of the 54 National Associations affiliated to CAF plus Associate Members will be involved.

Also, Reunion Island and Zanzibar, together with the other half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons) will be counted towards the determination of the eventual winners, it said.

The statement added that the 2016 Glo-CAF Awards Gala, sponsored by telecommunication giants, Globacom, will hold on January 5, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Super Eagles Captain John Obi Mikel was unable to make the final shortlist, a development pundits said was because of his lack of playing this season at Chelsea.

Mikel Obi, Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal Fc of England were nominated for the awards.

Nwankwo Kanu is the last Nigerian to win the prestigious football award in 1996 and 1999 while still playing for Arsenal FC of England.

Lagos Football Club Manager Arrested for Defiling Teenage Players

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a football club manager, Frank Darlington, for allegedly sodomizing three of his teenage players in the Agege area of the state.

It was gathered that Darlington, the manager of Soccer Warriors Football Academy, Pen Cinema, was arrested last Thursday by the Elere Police Division after one of the victims reported him to the police.

Darlington, a native of Imo State, allegedly took three footballers to his house on separate occasions after training sessions and sodomized them.

The police said the suspect allegedly penetrated the victims’ anuses and would be charged for sodomy.

The suspect told newsmen that he started to rape his players in February 2015.

He added that he committed the act to derive pleasure.

He said, “I have a female daughter, and she is three years old. I manage the Soccer Warriors Football Academy in the Pen Cinema, Agege area. It was in February 2015 that the rape started. I usually had sex with my boys just to play with them. It was romance. We had fun together. The last one I did was in July 2016, knowing that it could get me into trouble.

“I slept with only three of my footballers. There was one of my boys that had not been coming for training since last week. When I asked him, I was told that he was sick. I did not know that he had reported to his mother and she had told the police.

“I do not know what moved me to be sleeping with them. I have been coaching for about 12 years. My wife stays in the South-East. She left me in March 2016. The sex with the boys was not for any ritual. I only derived fun from it.

“I knew it was a crime and that was why I stopped this act since July. I pledged not to go back into this.”

One of the victims, Kehinde (pseudonym), told Punch that Darlington threatened him that he (Kenny) would die if he told anyone about the sodomy.

The 18-year-old said he was forced to tell his mother when Darlington made it a habit.

He said, “He always had sex with me and with most of us. He started last year. The first time he approached me was after a training session. We were on the football pitch and he said my performance was bad and I should meet him at home for a discussion.

“When I went, he and two boys were at home. His wife did not stay with him. He sent the two boys on an errand and asked me to come into his room. He then instructed me to remove my trousers, and he molested me.

“He did not use any protection. He did not give me any money, but he threatened that I would die if I told anyone. I cannot count how many times he had done this to me. I told my mother when I was tired of his abuse. My mother reported him at the police station.”

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the club manager, said the suspect would be charged to court at the end of the investigation.

“There is no place for criminals to hide in the state. We enjoin the residents of Lagos to report suspicious movements and persons to the police,” he added.

Ibrahimovic: United Not as Strong As PSG

The Red Devils striker remains confident he made the right choice to move to Old Trafford in the summer and wants to win trophies

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Manchester United are not as strong as former club Paris Saint-Germain, but the Sweden great says the lure of reuniting with Jose Mourinho made the decision to sign an easy one.


The superstar striker moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer after four trophy-laden years in the French capital with PSG and etched his name in the club’s folklore by becoming their all-time record goalscorer.

United have not won the Premier League since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season and last season’s FA Cup victory is their only major trophy since the Scot’s departure.

Ibrahimovic, though, says the challenge of helping to restore United to their past glories, coupled with working alongside his former Inter boss Mourinho, made the switch to Manchester such an inviting one.

“The presence of Mourinho was very much decisive. The team I signed for this summer is not as strong as the one I left, but when Mourinho called the decision was easy,” Ibrahimovic told Aftonbladet.


“When he calls I have no problem coming, all we had to decide was when I was to be presented as a United player. The rest, the financial deal, was not the difficult part.

“It was about the challenge really, and I will never say no to a challenge. This is what I wanted, coming to one of the world’s biggest clubs, that has had troubles and not won much of late, and try the Premier League. That is the challenge.”

United have endured a difficult start to the season and are already trailing Premier League leaders Chelsea by nine points, but Ibrahimovic is not surprised by their indifferent form.


“I said from the start that we are underdogs, we are not favourites to win the title this season,” he added.

“With all the new signings this summer, people were getting all excited. But it has been four or five years that the club has not won the league or been in the top of the table. That is something we work on.

“We started off well with a few wins in a row. Then we started losing, and we lost playing badly, by several goals. We had a week when we lost three games, that has never happened to me in 15 years.”

Ibrahimovic has scored six goals in 11 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils this season.

Jordan Ibe Eyes Nigeria Call-Up After Being Snubbed By England

England-born Nigerian winger Jordon Ibe is ready to pledge his international allegiance to Nigeria after being repeatedly overlooked by his preferred England, it has been claimed.

The former Liverpool player, 20, who now plays for Bournemouth, initially snubbed pleas to play for the Super Eagles but is now ready to make a U-turn as England are not interested in him anymore.

According to, a source close to the Nigerian Football Federation said: “Jordon is willing to listen to what we have to offer.

“We are hoping he finds the project enticing enough to dump England where he is a youth international and play for Nigeria at senior level.”

Ibe was openly courted by former Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh, who even travelled to Liverpool to meet with the player and his representatives.

But the youngster,  who was then rated as a huge prospect at Anfield, was bent on featuring for England.

Oliseh later confirmed that Ibe had opted for England, the ex-Nigeria coach tweeting at the time: “Jordon Ibe’s family informed me by telephone call that he was giving priority to an England call-up. We wish them well.”

Since that time, Ibe’s stock has fallen rapidly, losing his Liverpool place and having to make the switch to Bournemouth with an England spot no longer on the horizon.

Ibe has played for England at all levels from under-18s and has four under-21 caps.

He was reportedly the victim of a £25,000 robbery on November 6 this year as he was understood to have been hit by a vehicle containing four men, who threatened him with a knife before taking off with his watch .

Source: Mirror

Al Ahly Said I Was Not Good Enough – Arsenal’s Elneny

Mohamed Elneny believes that if he hadn’t been rejected as a youngster by Al Ahly, he may not have ended up at Premier League giants Arsenal.

The 24-year-old Pharaohs player started out his career with Al Ahly as a youngster, but he was ultimately released by the team.

Elneny went on to kick start his young career with Arab Contractors, where he caught the eye of Swiss side FC Basel. From there, he was snapped up by Arsenal in early 2016.

“They [Al Ahly] told me that I am not good enough,” Elneny explained in regards to his departure from Al Ahly.

“I am happy that I got rejected, I might have not been at Arsenal if I wasn’t.

“My father was very upset, but I told him that I will make him proud,” the midfielder added.

The Puskas Award: FIFA Releases The Top 10 Goals of 2016

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Saul Niguez are among the 10 nominees for the FIFA Puskas Award 2016.

Messi’s free kick in Argentina’s Copa America 4-0 semifinal victory over United States, Neymar’s flick and volley for Barcelona against Villarreal and Saul’s sublime solo effort for Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semifinal win over Bayern Munich are among the leading contenders.

Spain full-back Mario Gaspar is nominated for his acrobatic volley in last November’s friendly victory over England, while Hal Robson-Kanu’s neat turn and finish in Wales’ surprise Euro 2016 quarterfinal victory over Belgium is also on the list.

Corinthians attacking midfielder Marlone scored with a fine chest control and volley in a Copa Libertadores tie against Cobresal in April.

Daniuska Rodriguez scored a fine solo goal for Venezuela against Colombia in Women’s Under-17 Sudamericano Championship in March, holding off two challenges before firing past the goalkeeper.

Gefle midfielder Simon Skrabb also makes the list with an outlandish finish in a Swedish Allsvenskan match in October 2015, netting an outstanding “scorpion goal” from Kristian Bergstrom’s cross.

Probably the most outrageous free kick of the year came in the Malaysia Super League, when Mohd Faiz Subri channelled his inner Papiss Cisse for Penang against Pahang to hit a bending effort that was going toward one corner and went in the other.

Corinthians attacking midfielder Marlone scored with a fine chest control and volley in a Copa Libertadores tie against Cobresal in April.

Daniuska Rodriguez scored a fine solo goal for Venezuela against Colombia in Women’s Under-17 Sudamericano Championship in March, holding off two challenges before firing past the goalkeeper.

Gefle midfielder Simon Skrabb also makes the list with an outlandish finish in a Swedish Allsvenskan match in October 2015, netting an outstanding “scorpion goal” from Kristian Bergstrom’s cross.

Probably the most outrageous free kick of the year came in the Malaysia Super League, when Mohd Faiz Subri channelled his inner Papiss Cisse for Penang against Pahang to hit a bending effort that was going toward one corner and went in the other.

Hector Bellerin Signs New Arsenal Contract

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has signed a long-term contract extension to end speculation over his future.

The Spain international, 21, had been a target for his former side Barcelona, who saw him as a potential long-term replacement for Dani Alves, while Pep Guardiola was reportedly interested in taking him to Manchester City.

Bellerin distanced himself from a potential move back to Catalunya, however, insisting he would have stayed if he wanted to play for the Blaugrana, having left to join Arsenal in 2011 before breaking into the first-team in 2014-15.

While he says he has been frustrated by the Gunners turning him into a right-back, an agreement over a new contract has seemed imminent, with his agent insisting he was happy in north London.

The new deal for Bellerin comes as a major boost to Arsenal, who are also locked in renewal negotiations with star players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, both of whom are out of contract in 2018. Furthermore, there remains a great deal of uncertainty around Arsene Wenger’s future, with his deal expiring at the end of the current campaign.

After making his debut for Arsenal, Bellerin had a loan spell in the Championship with Watford before being recalled to the Emirates Stadium. The right-back established then himself in the Gunners’ first-team the following campaign and was named in the PFA Team of the Year last season.

Bellerin was an ever-present in the 2016-17 Premier League, until suffering an ankle injury on international duty with Spain’s Under-21 team earlier this month. He missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United and is expected to spend four weeks on the sidelines.

FC IfeanyiUbah Trophy Parade Gets New Date

FC IfeanyiUbah will on Wdenesday, November 23, 2016 present to the people of Anambra State the Federation Cup which they won last month after a 5-4 penalty kicks triumph over Nasarawa United.

The ceremony was earlier billed to hold three weeks ago,  but officials of the Anambra Warriors put the event off for undisclosed reasons.

It is the first national silverware lifted by the club in their two years of existence following a buy-over of Gabros International FC, also of Nnewi.

An official of the club confirmed on Sunday that all logistics have now been put in place for the trophy public show to hold on Wednesday.

“The trophy parade will hold on Wednesday,”  our reliable source informs.

“It’s not restricted to Nnewi alone but throughout Anambra State.

“This is the first time a club from this state won the Federation Cup, the oldest cup competition in Nigeria.”

FC Ifeanyiubah lifted the giant trophy in their first final appearance and will go on to represent Nigeria in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup competition along with Wikki Tourists of Bauchi who finished third in the Nigeria Professional Football League behind winners, Enugu Rangers and runners-up, Rivers United.

Cristiano Ronaldo Is A Bad Influence On James Rodriguez – Asprilla

Faustino Asprilla believes Cristiano Ronaldo is a bad influence on James Rodriguez, with the Colombia international replicating many of his Real Madrid colleague’s more unfortunate on-field actions.

James is the star turn within his national side’s ranks, as a performer gracing the books of one of world football’s biggest teams.

That can only be considered a positive for the South American nation, but Asprilla fears that time spent working with global superstars has gone to the 25-year-old’s head.

He has seen too much negative body language from the talented playmaker of late, with his gestures towards team-mates that do not pass him the ball or perform as he expects mirroring those often seen from Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Asprilla, who won 57 caps for his country during his playing days, told ESPN of James’ actions during Colombia’s 3-0 defeat to Argentina on Tuesday: “Lately what I am seeing from James – who I love and respect a lot – is that his friendship with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid is damaging him.

“He has the same gestures when they don’t give him the ball [in the Colombia team]. When they don’t give Cristiano the ball he gesticulates to everyone. In Colombia [James] waves his arms at his teammates.”

“At the start of the game he scowled at Alavarez Balanta and made a gesture. I don’t know if it was because he didn’t pass the ball or not.”

Former Newcastle and Parma forward Asprilla believes James needs to show greater respect to his teammates – many of whom look up to him – saying that it is likely that he would ‘get a slap’ if he tried his international antics in any other team.

He added: “The first thing James needs to do is help his teammates improve because he’s playing in a team of youngsters who respect him and no one dares say anything to him.

“In another team they’d give him a slap. At least in the Colombia side I played in we wouldn’t stand for it.

“It’s normal to argue with the referee and quarrel with rival players, but with your teammates it’s not.

“You can quarrel, but doing it because one of your teammates didn’t pass the ball is the ugliest thing you can do as a footballer. He’s picked up that habit from Cristiano Ronaldo, who does it every eight days.”

Nigerian Clubs made N5bn from Transfer Fees in 10 Months – NFF

Nigerian football clubs raked in a whopping N5billion in the first 10 months of 2016, from selling local players abroad.

This was revealed by Nasir Jubril, who is the manager of Transfer Matching System (TMS) of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Jubril was speaking to reporters at the ongoing Domestic Transfer Matching Systems (DTMS) worship in Abuja on Wednesday.

“In the last 10 months, that is between January and October this year, a cash inflow of about N5 billion has accrued to the clubs in Nigeria from the transfer of players,” he said.

“For instance, if a player is bought for say two or three million pounds, when you multiply that with the exchange rate you can imagine what we are talking about.”

Jubril however, did not provide further details on which clubs earned what amount, the exchange rates used and how the money was routed into the country.

Barcelona Reveal New €220m Shirt Sponsor Deal

Barcelona will have a new name on the front of their jerseys from the start of the 2017-18 season with Rakuten becoming their new sponsor as part of an initial four-year deal worth an estimated €220 million.

Founded in 1997, Rakuten are the largest eCommerce company in Japan, and started expanding outside their home country in 2005 and are eager to further expand their worldwide reach through one of La Liga’s biggest names.

“As FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner, Rakuten is set to power our global brand strategy and, as FCB’s first-ever Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner, we are looking to bring the collective power of our brands like Viber, Wuaki, Ebates, Kobo, and PriceMinister to build an innovation framework that will deliver innovative solutions and services to fans, members and players,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways as the main sponsor of Barcelona, having taken on the role in 2013. Qatar Airways extended their deal at the end of the 2015-16 season for an additional year.

“I am very excited about joining the Barça community as I have personally followed the team for decades and have long admired their unique playing style and professionalism, their commitment to success and their culture of nurturing young talent – all values we share at Rakuten.”

What Arsene Wenger Told Me About Iwobi – Rohr

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr believes there is more to come from youngster Alex Iwobi and he has it on the authority of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Iwobi has enjoyed a remarkable year for both club and country, establishing himself as a regular in the Arsenal side and also the Super Eagles.

He was also nominated for the 2016 Golden Boy award alongside Super Eagles teammate Kelechi Iheanacho.

According to, following a meeting between Rohr and Wenger in October this year, the French manager informed the Eagles handler there is plenty more to come from the 20-year-old.

Rohr said: “When I met Arsene Wenger last month, we talked about Iwobi and he told me there’s more to his game than what we are seeing at the moment.

“He is a confident lad. He is not afraid to try new tricks in training and games. He can only get better; his best is yet to come.”

Marriner to Referee Manchester United’s Clash Against Arsenal

Andre Marriner has been appointed to referee Manchester United’s clash against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The two sides will clash this weekend for the first time this season, with Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger set to renew hostilities.
Marriner has officiated 21 United games in the Premier League in his career, with the club winning 13, drawing one and losing seven. In that time he has shown 33 yellow cards and one red card.
The 45-year-old also famously mistook Kieran Gibbs for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during Arsenal’s 6-0 defeat to Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2014, a mistake for which he was dropped from the Premier League’s referee list.
United and Arsenal’s clash this weekend is arguably one of the biggest games of the season thus far, with Mourinho’s side desperate to move up the table – they currently languish in sixth – while the Gunners will hope to maintain their pressure on leaders Liverpool.
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Tottenham in a spiky north London derby last time out, while United defeated Swansea City 3-1 in Wales.

Cameroon Must Beat Nigeria – Fecafoot

Cameroon have said that victories over Nigeria in their next 2018 World Cup Qualifying fixture remain their surest way to get a ticket to Russia 2018 after a dismal display against Zambia in Limbe.

A Vincent Aboubakar first half stoppage time penalty helped Hugo Broos’ side salvage a 1-1 draw against Wedson Nyirenda’s men placing the Indomitable Lions second in Group B with just two points, four adrift of Gernot Rohr’s men.

In a statement released by the Cameroonian Football Federation, the four-time Afcon winners have set their sights on halting the Super Eagles’ great run of form to get to the quadrennial tournament.

“The coming months will be months of hard work: in January and February next national team will have to confirm its ambition to restore the national coat of arms, during his participation in the CAN GABON 2017 more under its qualifying campaign for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, that of September 2017 will be of great importance with two decisive matches against Nigeria, currently first in our group,” Fecafoot wrote on their website.

“To maintain the positive report on the performance of our various national teams, one goal is needed, one to shine in Gabon and win these two matches against Nigeria.”

Cameroon will hope to stage an upset when they visit Nigeria on August 28, 2017 before playing host on September 2nd, 2017.

South Africa Coach Mashaba Suspended by SAFA

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has announced the suspension of Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba with immediate effect.

The association confirmed that Mashaba has not travelled to Mozambique for Tuesday’s matches for disciplinary reasons.

Owen Da Gama will be in charge of the national team in Maputo, having served his own one-match ban against Senegal.

“Bafana Bafana Head Coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba will not join the team on their trip to Mozambique as the Association has deemed it necessary to employ disciplinary measures after a regrettable incident at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday, 12 November 2016,” reads the statement released by SAFA.

“Assistant Coach Owen da Gama will take charge of the team in the above-mentioned international friendly match against Mozambique on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 in Maputo.”

“As is our custom in matters such as these, the association will not be making any further comments on this matter out of respect for the dignity of the Head Coach and the Association and the legally privileged nature of such proceedings.”

In a statement sent by Dennis Mumble to the SAFA national executive committee (NEC) members on Sunday, the SAFA CEO said Mashaba had to be disciplined after “the unpleasant events” after Saturday’s game against Senegal in Polokwane.

“Following some unpleasant events after the match of the men’s senior national team (Bafana Bafana) at Peter Mokaba Stadium yesterday, I had to meet with head coach, Ephraim Mashaba today (Sunday) to commence disciplinary steps against him,” Mumble said in the statement.

“As a result of yesterday’s events, I was forced to place the head coach on suspension with immediate effect pending a full disciplinary hearing.

“As has been policy in matters involving staff discipline, we will not respond to media enquiries except for issuing a brief statement to alert the public to the absence of the head coach from the bench for Tuesday’s friendly match against the Mozambican men’s senior national team.

“This is necessary to safeguard the dignity of the head coach and the Association in this process.

“Coach Mashaba has however asked that we convey to the NEC, and the president of the Association, in particular, his sincerest apologies if he has offended anyone and he unreservedly asked for forgiveness for Saturday’s actions.”

Mashaba’s future has been up in the air for quite some time, but his team’s win over Senegal eased pressure on the 66-year-old coach.

Mikel Clarifies Comments Credited To Gernot Rohr About Conte

Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel has issued a statement debunking reports that he was punished by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte for representing Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.

Mikel who was in action for the Super Eagles on Saturday as the Super Eagles beat Algeria 3-1 in Uyo said  Gernot Rohr’s comments over his inactiveness at Chelsea was misconstrued by the media.

The 29-year-old however claimed Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and his club were in support of his participation at the Games.

The statement reads: “I’d like to clarify that the recent media claim that I’ve been punished by Chelsea for participating at the Rio 2016 Olympics are completely inaccurate.

“Unfortunately, comments made by Gernot Rohr before yesterday’s 3-1 win over Algeria were both mistranslated and taken out of context by the Nigerian media as English isn’t Mr Rohr’s or much of the Nigerian media’s first language.

“To be absolute clear, Mr Conte and Chelsea were always in support of my captaincy of the Nigerian team in Rio.

“The manager gave me his full blessing to participate at the Olympics and even encouraged me to bring back the gold medal- something I spoke to the media about that time.

“It goes without saying that there’s nothing but absolute respect between myself, the Nigerian national team and Chelsea FC, something that was demonstrated by Mr Rohr’s recent visit to Cobhams.

“My only focus now is on winning more silverware with Chelsea and getting Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup. Two challenges I can’t wait to face.”

Since arrival from the Rio Olympic Games, Mikel is yet to be listed for the Blues this term and has been linked with several moves in the January window.

I’m Still A Kid – Drogba Not Thinking Of Retirement

Didier Drogba might be turning 39-years-old in March of next year, but the Ivory Coast and Chelsea legend has no intentions of hanging up his boots any time soon.

The former Elephants skipper will be out of contract with Major Soccer League (MLS) side Montreal Impact at the end of the season, but has indicated that he is not thinking of retirement just yet.

An illustrious career, that includes five English Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League winners medal, could receive even more gloss as Drogba helped the Canadian side into the MLS Conference Finals with victory over the New York Red Bulls.

Having settled his differences with head coach Mauro Biello, Drogba finally looks content on making an impact off the bench as they go in search of a maiden MLS crown.

“My contract is ending at Montreal, so I’ll be free at the end of the season. I’m thinking of continuing,” Drogba told French radio station RTL

“If we win the MLS I don’t know what I’ll do. Mentally I’m not tired. I can train for two hours…with a ball I’m still like a kid.

“I want to play, everything’s open, what I want is to take enjoyment out of it,” concluded Drogba who recently recovered from a sore back.


Iwobi Will Reject Barcelona Millions To Stay At Arsenal – Father

Alex Iwobi will turn down a big-money move to mighty Barcelona to stay at Arsenal because he is still learning the trade, according to his father.

The 20-year-old Nigeria international has been at ‘The Gunners’ since he was six and he is now a first teamer.

His father, Chuka, said his son is still developing at the top London club and would rather stay put there.

“In football, you never say no. But at this point in time, he is at the right place. He’s doing well at Arsenal, but should any club come for him now, the answer would certainly be no,” said Iwobi senior, a lawyer, who also played semi-professionally in Nigeria for Vasco da Gama of Enugu.

“For him now, it’s not about the money.

“So, should a club like Barcelona come with more money, he will certainly stay back at Arsenal because now it is not about him making money, it’s about him concentrating on his career, progressing and going on to the next stage.”

He recounted: “I took him to Arsenal when he was 6 and they signed when he was 8. All he has known is Arsenal. He has never gone on loan, he has always been with Arsenal.

“He has broken into the first team and what they all talk about is his humility. Personally, that’s very important because when a player starts getting arrogant that’s when the player fails.

“It’s been good, God has been great.

“I see him being in Arsenal for very many, many years.”

October 9, 2016, was “an exceptional day” for the young Arsenal forward, according to his father.

“He scored his first goal for his country (vs Zambia) and he coped with the physicality of African football, you have to be strong to play in Africa,” he revealed.

Barcelona Ready to Make Coutinho their Number One Summer Target

Barcelona are ready to ramp up their interest in Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho – and are looking to land him for £65million.

That is according to Spanish newspaper Sport, who have put the Brazilian on their front page with Barca reportedly lining up a bid.

The report comes just the following morning after Coutinho and Barcelona forward Neymar combined to lead Brazil tao a 3-0 win over fierce rivals Argentina.

It has been suggested that the Reds playmaker’s long-standing friendship with compatriot Neymar, who has recently committed his future to Barca, could be key to luring him to the Nou Camp.

Coutinho has emerged as arguably the best player in the Premier League this season, scoring five goals in 11 appearances, which has helped fire Liverpool to the top of the table.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is desperate not to sell the Brazilian Magician, but Barca have now firmly made him their number priority for the next summer transfer window.

It is claimed the Catalan club believe a fee of around €75m – £65m at the current exchange rate – would be enough to land him, although Liverpool will surely hold out for much more given the player’s importance and star quality.

However, Barcelona are not the only Spanish giants hopeful of landing the former Inter Milan man, with their bitter rivals Real Madrid also keeping close tabs on the situation.

Nigeria wants to be at 2018 World Cup – Mikel Obi

Nigeria captain Mikel Obi has said they hope to be at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and so will give everything to extend their fine run in the qualifiers after a 2-1 win in Zambia last month.

The Super Eagles will take on Algeria at the in continuation of the World Cup qualifiers inside the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo tomorrow.

Mikel said the team appreciate the importance of this particular game and its ramifications for Nigeria’s march to a sixth FIFA World Cup finals.

“We all know what this match means, why we have to give everything,” said the 29-year-old midfielder.

“Yes, we started the race well by winning in Zambia, but we have to approach this match even more seriously.

“The Algerians will come with determination and they will play hard, but we will play harder.

“The World Cup is the biggest stage; every player wants to be there. I am happy we have such a young and energetic team.

“I played at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but there are many of these players who have never been to the World Cup. They want to be there.”

Nigeria represented Africa at the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, reaching the Round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014.

Nigeria and Algeria were Africa’s best teams at the last World Cup finals, in Brazil, each eliminated in the Round of 16 on the same day: Nigeria fell to France and Algeria were pipped by Germany.

The rivalry between Nigeria and Algeria at senior level is one of the fiercest in African football.

Nigeria beat Algeria to win her first Africa Cup of Nations in 1980; 10 years later, Algeria beat Nigeria to win her first Cup of Nations.

Algeria beat Nigeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup – Spain 1982; Nigeria beat Algeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup – USA 1994.

The first meeting between both teams, at the All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 1973, ended 2-2.

Algeria enjoyed a three –match winning streak against Nigeria between October 1981 and March 1982, but Nigeria have won the last four confrontations between both nations.

The Super Eagles have never lost a World Cup qualifying home match outside of Lagos. And they have lost only one out of six World Cup qualifying matches played in the month of November, winning the remaining five.

The Algerians hit Uyo on Thursday evening with a delegation of 61 persons, aboard a chartered flight, and will have the official training on the pitch of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Friday evening.

They were received at the Ibom International Airport by NFF deputy general secretary, Emmanuel Ikpeme, and protocol officer, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi.

The match officials, led by Hassan Osama Atta Ibrahim El Manan (match commissioner from Sudan) slept in Lagos on Thursday, to hit Uyo on Friday.

The referee is Gambian Bakary Papa Gassama, with Jean-Claude Birumushahu (Burundi) as assistant referee 1; Marwa Range (Kenya) as assistant referee 2 and; Maudo Jallow (Gambia) as fourth official.

Jean-Olivier Mbera from Gabon will serve as referee assessor and Kenyan Nicholas Chumba Musonye will be security officer.

The match kicks off at 5pm on Saturday.


  • 8 Nov 1969: Nigeria 2 Morocco 0 (Ibadan)
  • 12 Nov 1977: Nigeria 0 Tunisia 1 (Lagos)
  • 4 Nov 1984: Liberia 0 Nigeria 1 (Monrovia)
  • 9 Nov 1996: Nigeria 2 Burkina Faso 0 (Lagos)
  • 14 Nov 2009: Kenya 2 Nigeria 3 (Nairobi)
  • 13 Nov 2013: Nigeria 2 Ethiopia 0 (Calabar)

“Give me any role, I will deliver”, Victor Moses tells Rohr.

Victor Moses says he will play any position on the field to help the Super Eagles to victory over Algeria’s Desert Foxes in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier in Uyo on Saturday.

Moses has nailed down a regular first-team role at Chelsea after the Blues’ Italian manager Antonio Conte made him an integral part of his plans, deploying the 25-year-old Nigeria winger in his 3-4-3 system as a wing-back. The system has seen the 2012 UEFA Champions League champions picking up maximum points in five Premier League games on the spin.

Moses, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said on Thursday he would play any role given him by Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr in the tricky Uyo clash.

“I can’t say I’m not happy playing as a wing-back, I’m the type who gives his all to his team regardless of where I’m playing from,” the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner told reporters.

“I’m a forward minded player but I don’t mind playing anywhere to help my team.”

The former Wigan player added, “Club side and national team are not the same. I can’t say where the manager will play me but I’m ready to give my best in any role.”

On his part, Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi predicted a tough game against Algeria.

“Any side playing against Nigeria these days tend to raise their game so we know the task ahead of us,” the Turkey-based player said.

“We don’t want to talk too much in the press but just focus on what we have to do.”

He added, “We don’t need to speak too much but we will try to concentrate on ourselves.

“We also want Nigerians to know that the game against Algeria on Saturday is not going to be easy.”

Meanwhile, Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez says the Desert Foxes will run out winners at the Uyo Stadium on Saturday.

“We will make the necessary efforts to snatch this qualification and it will pass by a victory against Nigeria. We are determined more than ever to go home with victory because we have a team of brother warriors and we will prove it on the field to make our people proud of Algeria,” the Leicester City winger wrote on his Facebook page.

The PFA Player of the Year award winner, who is on the 30-man shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or after scoring 17 goals and claiming 11 assists on Leicester’s way to the Premier League title last season, is expected to give Nigeria defenders a torrid time.

Vice President Osinbajo Pays Eagles, Falcons Surprise Visits In Camp

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the country’s senior national football teams, Super Eagles and Super Falcons at their respective training sessions at the National Stadium, Abuja.


While the Super Falcons are preparing for the 10th Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon 19th November – 3rd December this year, the Super Eagles are getting set for Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Algeria.


The Vice President arrived the practice pitch of the National Stadium, Abuja at about 5.30pm, as the teams were rounding off evening sessions. To the Super Eagles, Vice President Osinbajo said: “I commend you for your patriotism and commitment to the cause of fatherland. By going to Zambia to defeat the Zambians on their own ground for the first time, you have shown your determination to conquer your group and qualify for the World Cup.


“I want to assure you that the Government and people of Nigeria are behind you in your quest to qualify for the World Cup. I believe that you will certainly pick the ticket from your group to make it to the World Cup finals.”


While Sports Minister Solomon Dalung presented the Super Eagles to the Vice President as a bunch of disciplined and dedicated patriots, NFF President Amaju Pinnick assured Osinbajo that the Eagles will fight hard to qualify for the World Cup.


Skipper Mikel John Obi praised Vice President Osinbajo for finding time to spur the team, saying Nigeria has one of the youngest national teams in Africa presently, and Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr declared that as a German, he has brought the German mentality of resilience and perseverance to the team’s camp.


To the Super Falcons, Osinbajo said: “I am happy that you girls are the reigning African champions, and I believe you will go to Cameroon and retain your trophy. The whole nation is behind you. You must start by beating Mali and then going all the way so as to bring the Cup back to Nigeria.”


Captain Evelyn Nwabuoku thanked the Vice President and promised that the Falcons are committed to retaining their continental title.

Super Eagles Determined To Secure Victory Against Fennecs

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will walk onto the pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday with the mind to secure victory against the Fennecs of Algeria.


There have been 17 clashes between both teams (all at competitive level), with Nigeria winning eight times, drawing three and losing six. And Nigeria captain Mikel John Obi was less than three years old the last time Algeria defeated Nigeria, in the final of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers.


Super Eagles’ current goalkeepers’ trainer Aloysius Agu was the Eagles’ goalkeeper and captain that day, 16th March 1990. It was a tough game at the July 5 Stadium in Algiers, but the Fennecs won their first (and still only) Africa title when Cherif Oudjani’s long range effort beat Agu for the only goal of the match.


At that same competition, Algeria had beaten the Eagles 5-1 in the opening match. But the Eagles would remember that and pay back the Fennecs when lashing their hosts 5-2 in Oran in a 2006 World Cup qualifier on 4th September 2005.


The first clash between both countries was on 10th January 1973, during the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted. The match ended 2-2. Seven years later, the Green Eagles would thrash the Algerians 3-0 to lift their first Africa Cup title.


In their last four confrontations, the Eagles have enjoyed a winning streak against the Algerians, which is more than the three consecutive wins Algeria had over Nigeria between October 1981 and March 1982. In the qualifying race for Espana ’82, Algeria beat Nigeria 2-0 in Lagos and 2-1 in Constantine, and the Fennecs then came from behind to edge the Eagles 2-1 at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya.



  • 10 Jan 1973: Nigeria 2 Algeria 2 (AAG, Lagos)
  • 22 Mar 1980: Nigeria 3 Algeria 0 (ACN, Lagos)
  • 10 Oct 1981: Nigeria 0 Algeria 2 (WCq, Lagos)
  • 30 Oct 1981: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 (WCq, Constantine)
  • 10 Mar 1982: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Benghazi)
  • 11 Mar 1984: Algeria 0 Nigeria 0 (ACN, Bouake)
  • 15 Jan 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 (Olq, Annaba)
  • 30 Jan 1988: Nigeria 2 Algeria 0 (Olq, Enugu)
  • 23 Mar 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Rabat: Nigeria win 9-8 penalties)
  • 2 Mar 1990: Algeria 5 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Algiers)
  • 16 Mar 1990: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 (ACN, Algiers)
  • 13 July 1993: Nigeria 4 Algeria 1 (WCq, Lagos)
  • 8 Oct 1993: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 (WCq, Algiers)
  • 21 Jan 2002: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Bamako)
  • 3 July 2004: Nigeria 1 Algeria 0 (WCq, Abuja)
  • 4 Sept 2005: Algeria 2 Nigeria 5 (WCq, Oran)
  • 30 Jan 2010: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Benguela)

Ikhana promises to rebuild Kano Pillars FC.

The newly appointed Technical Adviser of Kano Pillars FC, Kadiri Ikhana, says he will rebuild the team and take it to a leading position in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Ikhama spoke during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Kano.?

Ikhana, who left Shooting Stars Sports Club last season, signed for Kano Pillars last week.?

He said though the team had many flaws, he would reposition it to become strong and resilient.

The new Technical Adviser said the team would return to winning ways and surpass its past records by proceeding to excel continentally next season.?

Ikhana said: “My target is to win the league and qualify the team to the African Champions League.”

He thanked the Kano State Government and the people of the state for the opportunity given to him.

He said: “I am very grateful to the Kano State Government and the good people of the state for the opportunity given to me.?

“My duty is to move Kano Pillars forward and to reclaim its glory.”

Ikhana called for the support and prayers of the people of the state to achieve his goal.

NAN reports that the state governor dissolved the management of the club last month due to poor performance and internal squabbles.?

Kano Pillars finished seventh last season, which led the Head Coach, Babaganaru Muhammad, to resign after the last match? of the season.

Rohr dispels Ideye, Balogun, Shehu Abdullahi injury worries.

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has assured Nigerians that Leon Balogun, Brown Ideye and Shehu Abdullahi, who did not train with the rest of the team yesterday morning, will be ready for the country’s crucial Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Uyo on Saturday.

Rohr described as minor the injuries that kept the trio out of the training session, saying that they were excused from the exercise as a precautionary measure.

He said Balogun and Abdullahi has minor knocks, while Ideye is nursing a slight knee injury, which would be alright by today.

“We came for light work out today just for the players to recover after weekend games and long travels and as you can see, only three players are still being expected to join the team and hopefully all of them will join us this night. As for the three who did not participate fully in the training this morning, it is not important injuries, we are only taking precautions.

“They will be ready to train tomorrow, the doctor has assured me, so there is no problem with the team. We shall start full training tomorrow morning and I am confident that every of the invited players will take part. We are gearing up and the players are aware of the task,” he told the press corps at the end of the session.

The Franco-German assured Nigerians that the Super Eagles will be ready to battle Algeria to submission, that task would be made easier if all stakeholders worked together for that purpose.

“We are preparing to play Algeria, who are ranked number one in Africa and you all know it is not going to be easy. But we confident and we shall be ready for them. We have our game plan and hopefully, we shall get the three points on Saturday,” he said.

The arrival of Portugal-based duo of Dele Alampasu and Oghenekaro Etebo yesterday brought the number of players in camp to 22.

Inter Milan Name Stefano Pioli as New Coach

Inter have turned to former Lazio head coach Stefano Pioli as the man to turn their stuttering start to the season around.

The Nerazzurri sacked Frank de Boer last week following their 1-0 Serie A defeat to Sampdoria, the Dutchman having only overseen two wins from their previous eight matches in all competitions.

Marcelino and Pioli were heavily linked to take over as De Boer’s replacement, but it is the latter who has been tasked with reviving their fortunes.

Pioli, 51, has agreed a two-year contract at San Siro and will be presented to the media on Thursday before  Inter for the first time in the Milan derby after the international break.

Inter become Pioli’s 11th club, with his previous tenure at Lazio having seen him guide the club to third place in his first season, but his second campaign was not as prosperous and he was sacked in April after a 4-1 defeat to city rivals Roma.

Despite significant investment ahead of the 2016-17 season, Inter have struggled to live up to expectations with only five wins in 12 league matches. They currently sit 13 points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, and 12 ahead of bottom side Crotone, who they beat 3-0 on Sunday.

The latest was a 3-0 victory over Crotone under the guidance of interim boss Stefano Vecchi, but that only lifted Inter into ninth position.

Hopes of a strong European campaign are also hanging in the balance as they sit bottom of Europa League Group K after three defeats in four matches.

I still have 10 more years to play football – Ronaldo

Real Madrid forward, Cristiano Ronaldo has said he intends to continue playing football for the next 10 years.


Ronaldo said this after signing a five-year contract with Real Madrid which will see him stay at the club till 2021.


“What I most want is to continue enjoying the years I have left to play. I still have 10 years (ahead),” Ronaldo said.


Ronaldo led Portugal to an Euro Cup victory this year and also scored the winning penalty as Madrid won the Champions League for an 11th time in May.


“After the season I’ve had, to win the Champions League, the Euros and then renew my contract with Real Madrid it is something I never imagined. It is a dream year.”

BREAKING: Akpeyi, Iheanacho and Iwobi arrive in Eagles camp.

The England-based duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi have arrived in the Super Eagles camp ahead of this weekend’s crunch 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Algeria.


Both Iheanacho and Iwobi were in action in for their respective Premier League teams over the weekend.



As confirmed on the Super Eagles official twitter Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are also in.


Nigeria not worth dying for – Late Sam Okwaraji’s family.

Pat Okwaraji, brother of the late Sam Okwaraji, an ex-Super Eagles attacker, said the Nigerian government had not proven that the country was worth dying for by its heroes.

Okwaraji made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Sam Okwaraji Stadium, Orlu in Imo at the opening of Sam Okwaraji Memorial Football Competition.

The competition is organised by Okey Eze, an APGA governorship aspirant in the 2015 general election in Imo.

Okwaraji said Nigerian heroes who died for the nation, including his brother were not properly honoured by the government.

NAN reports that Sam Okwaraji slumped and died in 1989 during a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos.

But the family of the late player decided to break the silence after 26 years the incident happened.

“We did not expect the Nigerian government to give Okwaraji’s family gold and silver.

“What we expected from the country is to immortalise our son who died for the nation,’’ he said.

He added that his brother who was pursuing his doctorate in law as at the time he died was forgotten after his death.

“Nigeria should learn how to inspire young talents by celebrating them.

“When heroes are celebrated and immortalised, it will go a long way to inspire young talents,’’ he said.

He, however, commended the sponsor of the competition, adding that it was a big honour to the entire family.

“We are happy that our son is being honoured and remembered through this competition; I want to encourage athletes to see it as an opportunity to excel in their career. (NAN)

Guardiola Could Return to Barcelona – Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola could work for the club again.

Bartomeu spoke to the Telegraph about a potential future return for Guardiola. “You never know,” he said. “There are so many people who were at the club, went, came back again.

You never know but right now he is concentrating on City. “I think he has a three-year contract?”

Gareth Bale Declares Intention to Retire at Real Madrid After Signing New Deal

Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale wants to finish his career as a Madridsta, per  The Guardian, after the Welsh attacker, who signed from Tottenham Hotspur three years ago, extended his deal with the Spanish club on Monday, putting pen to paper on a contract set to expire in 2022.

Bale has been linked with a return to the Premier League for the past two seasons, but this new development should do a lot to pour cold water on all of the rumours.

Gareth Bale Signs New Contract at Real Madrid

Bale held a press conference at the Bernabeu after signing his new deal, and was asked whether he sees himself ending his career at Madrid, to which he replied: “Yeah, for sure. The reason I signed here for so long is because I’m very happy here.

“I feel more comfortable every year that I’m here as well. I’m improving my Spanish, my family’s more settled.

“I fully intend to see out my contract here. Obviously in the future, I don’t know when I’m going to retire, but I’m very happy here at the moment and for the next six years I’m not looking past that really.”

Real Madrid CF v Athletic Club - La Liga

The 27-year-old has been linked with Manchester United a long time, and many thought that they would go for him during the summer, yet Bale insisted that he didn’t even know who was interested in signing him.

“I couldn’t tell you if anyone’s been interested. Since I’ve been here I’ve been fully concentrated on playing for Real Madrid. I’m very happy here which shows why I’ve signed another six-year deal and we never really speak about these things.

“If [United] have [shown an interest] they have, I don’t know about it. The main thing for me is to concentrate on my football and everything else is dealt with behind the scenes.”

He also pointed out that the transition was not an easy one, especially with him being a British player, but Bale has transcended that to become an absolute star in one of the world’s biggest clubs.


“There have been bad moments, that always happens wherever you are, but the most important thing is how you react. It would be easy to pack up and leave and go elsewhere, but it takes more character to stay here, fight and make things work.

“It’s been difficult journey. It is difficult for British players to come to any European club.

“I’ve had difficult times and good times. It’s all a learning curve.

“I have grown as a person and enjoyed the experience. I am happy here and feel loved by the fans. I am going to try and win all the trophies I can. I always believe that if you keep working hard you will get your rewards.”

UK investors offer to invest $1.5bn in Nigerian League.

Just as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) continues to shop for sponsors, a consortium of investors based in the United Kingdom are reportedly ready to invest as much as $1,5bn in the Nigerian domestic league.

Revealing this during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Youth & Sport Development, Solomon Dalung, the CEO/president of sport promotion company, Arabella 21st Century, Otunba Femmy Carrena, said the deal was as good as done, with a few conditions.

“Yes, they want to bring in about $1.5bn into Nigerian football, but there is a caveat to it. They are not going to tamper with the constitution, statutes or football article. It is the same thing they did in China and Japan. The league board will operate with the NFF and the Ministry will be involved. They want to set up a Football Development Company that will be quoted on the stock exchange, with the same applying to all the football clubs in Nigeria. “

LEADERSHIP Sports recalls that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the League Management Company (LMC) have called out to the domestic clubs to register with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

However, according to Carrena, the investors would love to make some profit from their investment.

“They want to come to Nigeria and manage our league for the next 20 years. After a meeting with the ministry and other stakeholders, they’ll set up the company but their Nigerian counterparts are expected to invest 30 per cent of the $1.5bn. They’re ready to put their own money into the stock exchange, but they’ll have the controlling share,” Carrena said.

If the deal falls through, Carrena disclosed, there would be a football conference in the country to let the various clubs know what to expect. “They will restructure the league, get the television rights but not before a conference which will explain to everyone how it will work. They will be coming with technical experts from the premiership who will be operating in the development company that they will set up, which will include representatives of the ministry, the LMC and the NFF.

Carrena, who said that talks are already in progress with the Confederation of African Football, CAF, pointed out that the national teams would benefit in terms of training and subventions.

Dalung, in his response, revealed that the ministry would no longer invest in elite sports development, as it would be private-sector driven from henceforth

“It will now be stake holder- defined . You must put your money in it. The days of government’s huge budgetary allocations for people who have no single contributions are over.

“Given the kind of stagnated sports architecture we have now – where the stakeholders are undefined and cannot figure out any single interest or investment they have in sports – we are only going to be preoccupied, as government, in investing in grassroots sports development and policies,” he sternly assured.

Arsenal Forward Lucas Perez Out for 6 to 8 weeks With Ankle Injury – Reports

Arsenal forward Lucas Perez is expected to be sidelined for around 6 to 8 weeks with ankle ligament damage, according to multiple reports in England and Spain.

Perez, who joined Arsenal from Deportivo La Coruna in August, had to be substituted on 72 minutes in the 2-0 EFL Cup win over Reading on Tuesday.

Publications including the International Business Times, The Guardian and Marca report that the 27-year-old is likely to be absent for around 6- 8 weeks, which would see him return at the end of December.

Perez has made six appearances in all competitions for Arsenal so far, scoring twice, but said earlier this month that he had “hoped to have more playing time.”

Arsene Wenger subsequently said he had been impressed with the Spaniard in training but urged him to transfer those performances into games.

Sir Alex Ferguson Lauds Alex Iwobi

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits he has been impressed with the performance of Alex Iwobi for Arsenal this season.

Since breaking into Arsenal’s first team last season, Iwobi has become an integral member of Arsene Wenger’s side.

Though yet to score this season, the Super Eagles forward has already provided three assists.

In Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Chelsea in September, the 20-year-old bagged the man of the match award.

Ferguson, who won a record 13 Premier League titles as United manager, believes the former England junior international has helped to make Arsenal title contenders this term.

“You shouldn’t forget Arsenal (in the title race),” Ferguson was quoted as saying by

“The team is more sturdy, they’ve got better and more aggressive. I’m impressed with the young boy Iwobi.”

Ighalo Not Bothered By Goal Drought, Meets Rohr Along With Success

Watford striker Odion Ighalo has stated that he remains unfazed by his current goal drought for club and country.

Ighalo met with Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr recently, along with Isaac Success, who missed the Eagles’ World Cup qualifier against Zambia due to injury.

Nigeria star Ighalo, who last scored for the Hornets in their 4-2 win over West Ham in an English Premier League game at the London Stadium in September, is hoping to finish the season on a high despite his current poor form in front of goal.

The former Granada forward who has scored twice in nine appearances in all competitions so far this season said that he continues to work hard to rekindle his old scoring form.

“I’m calm about it and I am confident that I will start scoring again soon,” Ighalo said.

“That the goals are not coming now doesn’t mean I won’t score again. It’s better to start slowly and finish on a high. I just want everybody to be patient with me on this.”

He also revealed that his compatriot Isaac Success will be a big hit once he regains his full fitness.

Success who has scored once in six appearances has been plagued with a muscular injury which saw him travel to Spain for treatment.

The 20-year-old has since arrived back at Vicarage Road but it remains to be seen if he will feature this weekend when Watford host Hull City.

“He (Success) is a great player but injury has slowed his start to the EPL,” Ighalo.

“I’m confident he will be a big hit here and I will be supporting him to succeed here.”

Ighalo later tweeted his excitement at meeting with Rohr, while the striker posted a picture of himself, Rohr and Success.

Jose Mourinho charged with misconduct over referee comments

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

Mourinho’s charge was confirmed by the FA on Thursday on their official website.

Mourinho was ruled to have breached FA rules for commenting on referee Anthony Taylor ahead of his side’s goalless draw with Liverpool on October 17.

The Portuguese said appointing Taylor for the game at Anfield had put ‘pressure’ on the Manchester-based official and it would be ‘difficult for him to have a very good performance’.

A statement on the FA’s website reads: “Jose Mourinho has been charged with misconduct following comments made ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Liverpool FC earlier this month.”

“It is alleged his comments were improper and or brought the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3 (1).

Former Brazil captain Carlos Alberto dies aged 72

Former Brazil captain Carlos Alberto has died, aged 72.

Alberto skippered Brazil to World Cup glory in 1970 and scored arguably the greatest goal in the competition’s history in the final against Italy.

Alberto suffered a heart attack and later died in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

The defender was widely considered one of the best right-backs in the world during his illustrious 19-year career and he enjoyed success as a manager with the likes of Flamengo and Botafogo.

Two of Alberto’s former sides, Santos and Flamengo, were quick to pay tribute to the defender on social media.

Alberto scored one of the most famous goals of all time when he netted an iconic fourth goal in Brazil’s 1970 World Cup final win against Italy.

Manchester United vs Man City to Be Refereed By Mike Dean

Mike Dean has been appointed as the referee for the midweek EFL Cup fixture between Manchester United and Manchester City.

The 48-year-old will be overseeing his third Manchester derby, his last being in 2013 as City defeated United 2-1 at Old Trafford with goals from James Milner and Sergio Aguero.

Dean has shown 38 yellow cards thus far in the 2016-17 Premier League season, whilst the one red card he has dished out was to United loanee Adnan Januzaj in Sunderland’s defeat to Tottenham.

The Merseysider was the man in the middle as United defeated Leicester City 4-1 in the league back in September, while he awarded two penalties during City’s 4-1 victory over Stoke on August 20.

Sanches Wins 2016 Golden Boy Award

Bayern Munich star Renato Sanches has been named 2016’s European Golden Boy, the annual award handed out to football’s most talented young player.

The teenage Portugal forward will receive the trophy in Monday’s ceremony in Monte Carlo, but organizers Tuttosport revealed the winner on their front page prior to the prizegiving.
Manchester United hotshot Marcus Rashford and Sanches’ Bayern team-mate Kingsley Coman and Nigerian Premier League duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi.
The award, which compiles votes from 30 journalists working at some of Europe’s most prestigious news outlets, was given to Man Utd’s French forward Anthony Martial last season.
Previous winners since its inception 15 years ago include Wayne Rooney, Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Paul Pogba.

Conte Responds To Mourinho Outburst

Antonio Conte felt he did nothing wrong by encouraging the Chelsea fans to cheer the players in the closing stages of the 4-0 win over Manchester United.

Conte Geered the Stamford Bridge faithful up after N’Golo Kante struck Chelsea’s fourth and was involved in an exchange of words with a seemingly irked Mourinho following the conclusion of the match.

The Italian claimed his antics were an attempt to try and drown out the noise from the incessant United faithful in the away end, suggesting his players deserved the full backing of the stadium.

“I was listening to the support of Manchester United, always supporting their team and after a great win like this I was asking my fans to do a clap for the players for the performance,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think this is normal. All the players deserve this clap

“When there is a private conversation it is right to remain private, I have great respect for Jose, he is a great manager and he won a lot here,” Conte also told the BBC.

Chelsea took just 30 seconds to move ahead through Pedro, with Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard adding to the tally before Kante’s goal.

After losing at home to Liverpool and away at Arsenal in recent weeks, Conte was delighted to see his team come out on top in a big match.

“I am pleased with a great performance. We started very well, with high intensity and moving the ball quickly, creating chances to score the goal. I see the commitment of the players in training every day and they deserve this,” he said.

“We are improving; we must continue to work, because only through the work we can improve. We know that we have a long way to go, but I’m satisfied.

“It is very important after the Arsenal and Liverpool defeats, it was important to understand our mission. We must look to Wednesday against West Ham [in the EFL Cup] and prepare for that.”

Awwww: ‘Uncle Jay-Jay asked for my shirt!’ – Iwobi

Alex Iwobi has come full circle: as a boy, the Arsenal playmaker idolized his uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha and now Okocha is enjoying watching his nephew’s meteoric rise at Arsenal.

“He was at my house the other day and when he was asking me for my shirt, I was confused. I thought it was a joke at first and then my dad got out one of my old jerseys and gave it to him.

“He said ‘I’m going to treasure this’ and I was like ‘Wow, it used to be the other way around’. For it to be like that was a moment I enjoyed, but it was crazy.

“I was always looking up to my uncle. Everyone knew that my uncle played for Bolton and he was a very big figure in Africa as well.

“He doesn’t just help me on the pitch, he helps me off the pitch, which is a key thing for me.” Iwobi told Arsenal Player.

My sack is imminent- Zidane

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has revealed he is not afraid of getting the sack.

This follows mounting pressure after a poor run of form in recent matches.

“I’m not afraid of being fired, anyway, it will happen”, Zidane told RMC

“I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I have an incredible opportunity, I am happy wth what I do. I enjoy my job, which is not always easy.

“But I want to learn and advance. Working with these great players I learn every day. I am dedicated to what I do on the field. What is interesting to me is the week [of training], more than the matches.

“I have an exceptional group, whether we win or we lose they are good people.”

“What’s important it’s to find solutions and I’ll find the solution. There is nothing catastrophic, but it’s not trivial.

“I don’t think it’s a physical problem. It’s the first minutes of the games that are penalising us. The content of these games in LaLiga were very bad, especially against Villarreal.

“It’s psychological. We are trying to find the problem.”

You Can’t Criticise Rooney – Lingard

Nobody should be criticising Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney because of what he has achieved in the game, according to Jesse Lingard.

The winger – recalled to the England squad and hoping to win his first senior cap in the World Cup qualifier against Malta on Saturday – does not feel that his skipper at club and international level deserves recent negative publicity for his performances.

Rooney has lost his place in United’s starting XI and has also seen his position for the national team questioned despite being kept on as captain after Euro 2016 by former manager Sam Allardyce and new interim boss Gareth Southgate.

“I think that, really, because [of what he’s achieved], no-one can say anything [bad] about him,” Lingard told reporters of England’s record goalscorer.

“He’s determined to get back and hopefully he can do that. I think he’s very determined.

“Even though he hasn’t been playing for the club, he’s still supporting us and he’s going to get back into the fold. He’s remained captain here, which is great, and that will be great for his confidence as well.

“I’ve known Wayne for a long time and he’s very determined to play. He’s got a love for the game which hasn’t left him. He’s been a top professional on and off the field for us and we look up to him as well.

“For the club, he’s a great leader for us – as young lads, we can speak to him whenever we want and he always helps the young lads, which is good. He’s been doing it now for a couple of years.”

Rooney has only scored once in 11 appearances for United and England in 2016-17.

Alex Iwobi Set for New £50,000 Per Week Contract at Arsenal, his Second Pay Rise this Year

Arsenal football club of England is set to reward Nigerian football starlet Alex Iwobi for his wonderful performances this season with a new bumper pay rise, his second pay rise this year.

20-year-old Alex Iwobi only signed a new £25,000-a-week contract in April, but having established himself as a vital part of Arsene Wenger’s starting 11, he’s in line for another extension which will represent his new status in the club’s first-team plans as the club prepare to hand him a £50,000 per week contract.
Iwobi, who is with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Abuja ahead of World Cup qualifier against Zambia, should also expect another pay rise if his startling form continues. Congrats to him!

Source: DailyMail

Nigeria’s World Cup group worse than ‘Group of Death’ – Pinnick

Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying group is worse than ‘Group of Death’ according to the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The three-time African champions will have to go past Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia to qualify for a sixth World Cup.

“Nigeria have been drawn in a group beyond ‘Group of Death’,” said NFF boss Amaju Pinnick.

“Algeria are Africa’s leading team, Cameroon have won the African Cup of Nations four times and have featured at the World Cup seven times, and Zambia have also proved themselves.”

The Eagles, under a broke NFF, will begin the final stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers away in Zambia on Sunday.

Both teams last clashed at AFCON 2013 hosted by South Africa and it ended in a 1-1 draw.

In November, they will welcome Algeria to Uyo in continuation of the series.

Xavi Hernandez backs Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to win Ballon d’Or

Xavi Hernandez has extended an olive branch to Cristiano Ronaldo by saying the Real Madrid star “has the numbers” to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

The former Barcelona midfielder unintentionally started a war of words with Ronaldo in September when he said that Ronaldo cannot be compared to his former teammate Lionel Messi. Ronaldo retorted by bragging about the fact he’s won the Ballon d’Or on three occasions and mocking Xavi’s decision to move to Qatari side Al-Sadd for the final years of his professional career.

However, Xavi has not risen to the Portuguese international’s comments, instead of backing him as the primary candidate to be crowned as football’s best player for the fourth time.

“Cristiano has the numbers to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, having won the Champions League and the Euros [with Real Madrid and Portugal],” he said at the ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition in Amsterdam.

“But I also think that it’ll be very competitive, because Messi will be there, of course.”

The dispute between the two players started when Xavi was recently asked to compare Ronaldo and Messi in an interview with Cadena SER.

“Ronaldo is a player of his time,” he said, “but the problem is that there is another player who has been pretty much the best player in history.

“Ronaldo is extraordinary but compared to Messi, for me and for everyone who likes football, there can be no comparisons.”

Asked about the comments, Ronaldo replied: “I couldn’t care less about what Xavi says about me, he plays in Qatar or I don’t even know where.

“He’s won every collective trophy, including a World Cup and the European Championship, but he’s never won a Ballon d’Or.”

In August, Ronaldo was named UEFA Best Player in Europe ahead of Madrid teammate Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann.

This year’s Ballon d’Or will be voted on exclusively by journalists after France Football ended its six-year association with FIFA in September.

That relationship had seen the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s World Player of the Year combined for the last six years, with journalists and national team captains and coaches voting on the world’s best player.

FIFA have not announced their plans for the World Player of the Year award going forward.

Sam Allardyce: England Manager Allegations Investigated By FA

The Football Association is investigating allegations England manager Sam Allardyce used his role to negotiate a £400,000 deal and offer advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.

The Telegraph has footage it says is from August of Allardyce meeting men claiming to represent a Far East firm where he appears to say third-party ownership rules can be avoided.

The 61-year-old has yet to respond to the allegations, while the FA has asked to see the paper’s filmed recordings.

It will meet on Tuesday morning when new chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn must decide whether the issue is one of poor judgement or something more serious.

“I want all the facts, to hear everything from everyone and make a judgement about what to do,” Clarke told the Daily Mail.

“Natural justice requires us to get to the bottom of the issues before we make any decision. It is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue. With things like this you have to take a deep breath.”

Third-party ownership of players was banned by the FA in 2008.

During the meeting with the businessmen, who were undercover reporters, it is alleged Allardyce – who was only named England boss in July – said it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules and he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.

It is alleged by the paper that a deal was struck with the England boss worth £400,000 for him to represent the company to Far East investors, and to be a keynote speaker at events.

Allardyce tells the undercover reporters any arrangement would have to be cleared by the FA.

Third-party ownership, in which investment companies take a stake in the economic rights of players, was described as a form of “slavery” by Michel Platini, the former president of European football’s governing body Uefa.

World football’s governing body Fifa banned the practice in May last year.

Allardyce attended the meeting with the fictitious businessmen in London along with his agent, Mark Curtis, and his financial adviser, Shane Moloney.

During the meeting he said Enner Valencia had been under a third-party ownership agreement when he signed the Ecuador forward for £12m for West Ham from Mexican club Pachuca in 2014, but that the third-party ownership ended on the transfer and the Hammers acquired the player “whole”.

Curtis and Moloney have not yet responded to the allegations.

In the Telegraph recording, Allardyce also refers to predecessor Roy Hodgson, as “Woy”, referencing his speech impediment.

He also criticises former assistant coach Gary Neville – saying Hodgson should have told him to “sit down and shut up” – as well as the FA’s decision to “stupidly” rebuild Wembley Stadium at a cost of £870m.

Former Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland manager Allardyce succeeded Hodgson, who quit after England were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the last 16 by Iceland.

He has had just one game in charge of the national side – a 1-0 win over Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month. 

He is due to name his squad on Sunday for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, including his first Wembley match in charge against Malta on 8 October (17:00 BST kick-off).

Read More : BBC.COM

Manchester United Players Grant Dying Man his Final Wish

A 73-year-old man died 45 minutes after his dying wish of meeting Manchester United players came true.

Paddy Lawler, a lifelong supporter of the Red Devils and a prostate cancer patient, had told his family he would love to meet with the United squad before his death.

Despite the request seeming like a long shot, Lawler’s granddaughter, Kayleigh, posted an appeal on Facebook for anyone to help get in touch with the club in order for his wish to be granted.

The post was seen by the cousin on United’s player, Jesse Lingard. The winger, alongside Marcus Rashford, Ashley Young and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, visited Lawler three days later and 45 minutes after the visit, he passed on.

Kayleigh’s original post had read, “Please, can everyone share? I’m trying to get a few of Manchester United players to come and visit my grand dad. We asked him the other day if he would like to do anything before his time comes and he said to meet the team. I’ve emailed the MUFC Foundation, but no reply yet!

“And not sure how long we have left with him, so I want to get this as a surprise. He’s a massive fan; even tried his hardest to keep his eyes open yesterday to watch the match, but, sadly, he missed it!

“I know he will be so gutted that he didn’t watch it. I’m sure he will be a very happy man if I can get his last wish

“Thank you to u all. Xxx”

Kayleigh, 27, later thanked the players on the same social media platform.

She described them as “incredibly selfless”.

She wrote, “Top lads, all four of them. Thanks so much to everyone who helped. Sure my grand dad’s over the moon.”

Pep Guardiola Is the Special One Rather Than Jose Mourinho – Roy Keane

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is the “Special One” rather than his United counterpart Jose Mourinho, according to former Red Devils midfielder Roy Keane.

Mourinho famously said “I think I’m a Special One” upon his appointment as Chelsea boss during his first stint at Stamford Bridge in 2004.

However, Mourinho’s current side United were beaten 2-1 by rivals City on Saturday, and Keane, who made 480 appearances for United, has been impressed by Guardiola.

“He said he’s a challenging coach — doesn’t look like he messes about,” he Keane said on ITV, in quotes reported by the Daily Mirror. “I wouldn’t like to mess with him.

“Two coaches in Manchester. Mourinho reckons he’s the Special One, to me this guy is.”

City have won all four of their opening Premier League matches while they eased to a 4-0 victory in their Champions League match with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

Keane said: “We’ve seen City have good starts before and they take their foot off the gas a little bit, but I don’t think it will happen under this guy.

Rooney Left Out of Man Utd Squad

The United skipper is a surprise name to be missing from the travelling party for Thursday’s Europa League clash, with Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia also absent

Manchester United have announced their 20-man travelling squad for the Europa League clash with Feyenoord, with Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan the stand-out names to have been left out.

Jesse Lingard, who, along with Mkhitaryan, was withdrawn at half-time of the Manchester derby defeat on Saturday is also absent, while Antonio Valencia is another to have not been included.

Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that Marcus Rashford is all set to start the meeting with the Eredivisie side, while the likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Memphis Depay could also get the nod.

Mkhitaryan, who reportedly has become unhappy at life at Old Trafford due to his role in the team, did not take part in training prior to the squad flying to Rotterdam, while Phil Jones was another who didn’t take part.

United’s squad in full: De Gea, Romero, Johnstone; Darmian, Bailly, Blind, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Smalling; Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Memphis, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Young; Ibrahimovic, Martial, Rashford.

Mourinho Demands Europa Reaction After Derby Defeat

Fresh from giving his players a rollicking Jose Mourinho’s focus turns from Manchester United’s derby defeat to European action with a tricky Europa League opener at in-form Feyenoord on Thursday.

It will be the Portuguese manager’s first game in the second-tier European competition since winning its predecessor the UEFA Cup with Porto in 2003 and he says he is taking it seriously.

Mourinho’s unbeaten start as United manager came to a stuttering stop Saturday as long-time nemesis Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City left Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory.

United can expect a tough Group A opener at Feyenoord, who are top of the Dutch league having won all five of their matches this season and have pedigree in the competition.

United’s Spanish attacking midfielder Juan Mata warned that after the disappointment of derby day there was “no time for mourning”.

“On Thursday we’re going to play the first game in the Europa League, away against Feyenoord, a classic in European football,” Mata said on his weekly blog.

“It’s going to be a very demanding debut in this competition,” he added of the road to the final in Stockholm next May.

Mourinho says that young attacking sensation Marcus Rashford will play after his impressive second-half cameo along with midfielder Ander Herrera on Saturday.

“He (Rashford) is going to play is the only thing I can say. I trust him completely and I know his future will be absolutely brilliant,” said the Portuguese, who was scathing of some of his players after the City defeat, particularly defender Eric Bailly.

English-Dutch clashes are always feisty affairs but United have beaten Feyenoord in both their previous meetings.

This time it will be more subdued — at least in the stands — with the capacity of the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam halved to 26,000 following UEFA sanctions for crowd trouble against Roma earlier this year.

United fans, whose ticket allocation has been slashed to 1,400, have been advised by the club not to wear United colours and avoid areas of potential conflict.

Feyenoord manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst said: “I’m confident that -– in spite of the measures the club has to take –- an atmosphere will be created again at De Kuip to ensure we, as a team, are able to perform at our very best in our home matches.”

Former United and Feyenoord striker Robin van Persie is set to play both clubs as his Fenerbahce side are also in Group A with the Turkish side taking on Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine in their opener.

Van Persie won the competition with boyhood club Feyenoord in 2002.

Iniesta Tips Man City To Compete For Champions League Glory

Andres Iniesta expects Manchester City to be challenging for Champions League glory under Pep Guardiola.

Iniesta remains a fulcrum of the era of success Guardiola set in motion in 2008-09 at Barcelona, where the Catalan giants beat Manchester United in the Champions League final to complete a sensational treble.

Guardiola had the better of his latest clash with United in the Premier League on Saturday, as City made it six wins from as many competitive fixtures under his stewardship in a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

Next up are Borussia Monchengladbach in Champions League Group C – a section City also share with Barca and Celtic.

“When the group was drawn it was inevitable that much would be made about Pep returning to Barcelona again – but that is not what this group is about,” Iniesta told said.

“It is a group with four very strong teams – and it would be disrespectful to make it all about Pep and Barcelona.

“What Pep has done for the club will always be remembered, but he is the coach of Manchester City now – and I believe with their quality and Pep’s leadership they will be a club that will be challenging for the Champions League this season.”


Ceferin Emerges As New UEFA President

After a vote at the governing body’s Congress in Athens, the Slovenian was named as the new leader, replacing Michel Platini

Aleksander Ceferin has been confirmed as the new president of UEFA after beating fellow candidate Michael van Praag in Wednesday’s election.

The head of the Slovenian Football Association was the overwhelming favourite to replace disgraced former president Michel Platini during the vote at UEFA’s Congress in Athens.

Wenger Hopes Arsenal Play Catch-Up in Title Race

Arsenal’s meeting with Southampton on Saturday marks the start of important run of six games in 18 days as Arsene Wenger’s side play catch-up in the Premier League.

The new league campaign is only three games old but Arsenal already lie five points behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, who have all made perfect starts to the campaign.

And while Gunners boss Wenger is far too experienced to be overly concerned by the early league table, he knows the value of developing momentum in the title race before turning his attention to the club’s opening Champions League game at Paris Saint Germain next week.

The visit of Southampton offers Arsenal the chance to get off the mark on home turf after they lost their opening league game at the Emirates Stadium against Liverpool.

And Wenger will have a much more comfortable afternoon if Chile forward Alexis Sanchez can live up to his claim he is now ready to be compared with Lionel Messi and, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I have reached a level where I can compete with great players,” Sanchez said.

“I do not feel inferior to anybody. I liken my qualities to Messi and Ronaldo. I have the same abilities as them.”

Wenger is able to call on Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, who both arrived shortly before the end of last month’s transfer window.

But anything less than victory will turn the focus on Wenger’s failure to once again bring in more world-class recruits, as well as the Frenchman’s long-term future at the club, just days after Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was linked as his successor.

Mustafi, the Germany defender signed from Valencia, is likely to come straight into the team, but Perez, a Spanish forward from Valencia, may start on the bench.

Nacho Monreal, the Arsenal left-back, believes Mustafi will have no problem settling in.

“He will find it easy to adapt to the club,” Monreal said. “He has already lived abroad, he speaks the language and he knows Mesut Ozil.

“All those elements will lessen the impact of changing environments. Luckily for him, he will feel at home from the very first day.

“Mustafi is a player I like. He is experienced and really tough to beat, which makes him very suitable for the Premier League’s style.

“We really needed to bring a centre back to the club considering Per Mertesacker and Gabriel’s injuries, as well as Calum Chambers’ departure on loan.

“I hope he feels happy here from the very beginning so he can do for us what he does best.”

Alex Iwobi is set to return after recovering from the hip injury he suffered against Liverpool, but Aaron Ramsey is expected to again miss out with a hamstring problem.

Claude Puel is still looking for his first league win since taking charge at Southampton and is hoping it comes against Wenger — his former manager at Monaco.

“It’s the first time that we can play one against one as I haven’t met him in an international game or Champions League game so far,” Puel said.

“It’s the first time we can compete against each other and it’s a pleasure of course because he was a very important person for me and he’s a great manager.

“Arsene is an example for all the coaches because for so many years he’s done really well in the Premier League, with Champions League secured every season.

“People don’t sometimes realise how good his work with Arsenal has been, and I really think he’s a good example for all the other trainers.”

Mkhitaryan Fit For Manchester Derby

The Armenia international is fit to face Pep Guardiola’s side in the first clash between the two sides of the season, with Luke Shaw also available after an injury scare

Jose Mourinho will have a full-strength Manchester United squad to choose from for Saturday’s derby with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan fit to play.

There had been doubts around the availability of Armenia forward Mkhitaryan and England defender Luke Shaw but Mourinho has revealed both men will be in the squad.

Mkhitaryan returned from international duty with a thigh strain while Shaw left the England camp in Slovakia early after reportedly complaining of an ache in the leg he broke last season.

Mourinho told MUTV: “He [Mkhitaryan] is available. I’m not saying he’s ready to play 90 minutes but he’s ready to try to help us.

“There are no injuries and everybody has returned safely and on time for at least one training session. Everybody is ready and wants to play, of course.”

Both clubs have won their opening three games of the new season, making the derby clash the most eagerly-anticipated meeting of the Premier League campaign so far.

‘I Will Make Real Madrid Return Against Osasuna’ – CR7

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he will return for Real Madrid in Saturday’s Liga clash with Osasuna.

The 31-year-old has been nursing a knee injury that he picked up in the European Championship final and has only returned to Madrid training this week.

The Portugal captain insists he is ready to return, however, telling reporters at a promotional event: “Yes, I will play [against Osasuna].”

More to follow…

La Liga Club’s Record Signing Tests Positive For Cocaine

On August 6th 2016, Joe Angulo moved from Independiente to Granada for a club record €4.5 million but weeks later, the 21-year-old tested positive for Cocaine.

In one of the most outrageous stories of the summer, Angulo’s contract at the La Liga side is in the process of being terminated after he failed a drugs test.

The player had been suspended since August 25th when Granada learned from the South American Football Confederation that the Ecuador international striker had tested positive for a ‘banned substance’ and sporting director Javier Torralbo told the media that he failed because of Cocaine. 

Toarralbo said: “I got a call from the Independiente del Valle president [Franklin Alberto Tello] and he told us that the player had tested positive for cocaine.”

“My world collapsed because, after completing such a difficult signing, he was going to be a very important player for Granada and for that to happen was very tough. We are not responsible for acts committed by third parties and the issue is now with our legal team.”


Angulo signed a five-year contract with the Spanish club after joining from Independiente del Valle but after a club record deal, his contract will be terminated in the near future.

Paul Pogba To Wear New Adidas Boots For The Manchester Derby

Paul Pogba will be donning some brand spanking new boots for the Manchester derby this Saturday.

Both United and City have made a perfect start to the league and meet for the first time this season on the weekend.

And Adidas have marked the occasion by providing the Frenchman with a snake-skinned inspired boot, or for the purist ‘Adidas ACE16 + Purecontrol Viper Pack.’

Check out the images below courtesy of Adidas:

Adidas outlined the finer details of their newest boots. He hope you like technical jargon;

“The ACE 16+ PURECONTROL Viper Pack version offers a Primeknit upper and NON STOP GRIP (NSG) technology, delivering an unrivaled surface for close ball control, while the X 16+PURECHAOS Viper Pack version features a state-of- the-art PURECUT SOCK SYSTEM, covering the boot laces to give players the ultimate fit.”

Higuain Worth More Than Pogba – Crespo

Juventus were “far more logical” to spend €90m on Gonzalo Higuain than Manchester United were to sign Paul Pogba for €110m, according to Hernan Crespo.

The Serie A giants landed Higuain from rivals Napoli in the fourth most expensive transfer in history, before going on to sell Pogba to United in the largest deal of all time.

And former Argentina international Crespo believes it made more sense for Juventus to sign his compatriot Higuain than it did for United to re-sign Pogba for a world-record fee.

“Nobody gives you anything for free, especially not in football,” Crespo told La Nacion.

“If Juventus paid so much to get Higuain from Napoli, it means he’s worth that money.

“In my view, it is logical to pay €90m for a striker who scored 36 goals in a single season. It’s far more logical than Manchester United paying €110m for Pogba.

“I say that with all due respect for the Frenchman, who is a great midfielder.”

Higuain, 28, scored 36 times in 35 league games for Napoli last season – the most goals netted in a single Serie A campaign in history.

The former Real Madrid man scored the winner in Juventus’ 2-1 win over Fiorentina on the opening day of the new season, whereas Pogba has started two of United’s first three Premier League games.

My Son Doesn’t Really Like Football – MessI

Barcelona star Lionel Messi revealed his son, Thiago, has little interest in the game his dad has become arguably the greatest player in.

The Argentine’s plethora of individual awards, eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns seemingly are not enough to get the three-year-old interested.

So the Barca ace’s biggest challenge yet may be trying to get Thiago loving the game his father dominates.

“I don’t buy him many balls or force him to play with them because he doesn’t like them that much,” Messi told Telefe’s ‘Polemica en el Bar’ in his homeland.

There may be hope yet, with Messi saying Barca are working on a project for the players’ children to play the game.

“Let’s see if he gets hooked that way, it would be a good start,” Messi said.