Archive for November, 2011

Kaka’ doesn’t want to move !!

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Brazilian star Kaka will stay at Real Madrid, his agent has insisted. The playmaker is happy at the Spanish club even if he cannot be a regular first-team player in Jose Mourinho’s team.

He has been a transfer target for French side Paris St Germain, who has already spend over €80million on transfers last summer.

“Kaka is a member of my family and I can say that he feels very good at Real Madrid,” said player’s agent Gaetano Paolillo.

“PSG are interested? I think that interest from clubs like that is normal, but he does not want to leave Real Madrid and wants to show that he is number one.” he added.


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Nigeria crash out of 2012 Olympics

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Nigeria have crashed out of the 2012 Olympics after they fell 2-1 to Senegal, while hosts Morocco advanced to the semi-finals of the qualifying tournament after they defeated Algeria 1-0.

The Dream Team V thus failed to live up to their billings in Morocco as they have lost their first two matches and the race for second spot in Group A is now between Algeria and Senegal, who now have three points each.

Nigeria will battle Algeria in Tangier Friday night, while Senegal take on Morocco in Marrakech.

Against Nigeria Tuesday night, Senegal took the lead after 35 minutes when big striker Kara Mbodji delivered a lopping header from the top of the box past a groping goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye.

They doubled their lead eight minutes later, when Abdou Sane capitalised on slack defending on the left side to fire a low shot which beat Ajiboye by the near post.

Four minutes after the interval, Daniel Uchechi pulled a goal back for Nigeria when he slotted past onrushing goalkeeper Ousmane Mane after he was put through by Gbolahan Salami.

Nigeria, who struggled to lift their game past the ordinary especially in the first half, carved two gilt-edged chances late on with Salami failing to get his effort beyond Mane from six yards out.

Ajiboye made a great save off Senegal skipper Badji on 68 minutes to keep Nigeria in with some hope.

He would also save off Lopy inside the box very late in the game after the clumsy Edet Ibok struggled to clear out another Senegal attack.

In the earlier game of the day, Morocco booked a passage to the semi-finals of the competition after they defeated North African rivals Algeria 1-0.

Adnane Tighadouini was the super sub when within five minutes of coming on in the second half he fired home the match winner from 20 metres.

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A Brief History of El Clasico aka The Greatest Football Rivalry

November 30, 2011 3 comments
favourite Clasico

favourite Clasico picture

They called him Judas. They threw bottles, cigarettes, rubbish, and heck even a rotten pig’s head to show their disgust. The Boixos Nois, once the neo-nazi ultras of Barca, were banned from the stadium after this incident. Such was the level of hatred. This was treachery, one of ridiculous proportions. Transfer of players between these two clubs was not new, in fact 27 people had moved directions before Luis Figo did, but not one of them was in this fashion. Never before had a player who belonged to the club, one who was loved and admired by the fans for more than just his footballing skills, left so bitterly. ‘The derbi of shame’ they call it, brought out all the emotion that could ever be thrown out, by this magnificent rivalry.

Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest entities in Spain. If you are comparing cities, they are the biggest in the country. If you are comparing football clubs, the two are the biggest, most successful, richest clubs and also have the biggest fan bases in at least the country, if not the whole wide world. Their stadiums resemble cathedrals and are revered in a similar manner. If it had stopped there, it would be just another great football rivalry. But it is a bit more, in fact much more. This rivalry once signified a clash of political movements, then turned into a socio-cultural thing, and in today’s world has evolved into a clash of footballing ideologies. It all started in the early 20th century.

Barcelona were more than a couple of years old, Madrid barely one. King Alfonso XIII was getting crowned and people decided to have a football tournament to honour this event. 3 teams were invited. Madrid, Barcelona, and Vizcaya (from the Basque region). Vizcaya won it, but something was not right, how could a Basque team spoil the coronation party of a Castillan King? The tournament is known for an impromptu 3rd place match which was held, and even a trophy presented out of the blue. The stage was set for a battle, and a rivalry of epic proportions. Things would only be under control, Barcelona winning more often than their rivals, until a man who changed the history of the country entered the scene. Francisco Franco would call himself Caudillo de España, por la gracia de Dios (Leader of Spain, by the grace of God).

Franco was never a fan of football. All he cared about was the well being of the country he controlled and the prosperity of Castilla. But the country cared about football more than a hundred other things. Thus he would use the power the game had, to influence people, and assert his authority over many things. Myth is that he was a Real Madrid fan. Truth is that he really wasn’t, he just used the club as a wheel in his Castilla-centric propoganda. He conquered most of the country, but Catalunya was the last region to fall to the regime, and almost equally would use FC Barcelona as their mouthpiece for spreading the Catalan nationalist movement.

Approximately the same time, a famous Catalan lawyer named Josep Sunyol was rising into power and eventually took to the throne of being the face of Catalan nationalism. He would then become the president of FC Barcelona, and would take an oath to spread the message of the anti-Castillan propaganda through their football. And they did, until he is rumoured to have started a movement for overthrowing of Franco along with other provinces, and also rumoured to have been literally stopped in his tracks for doing so and being shot dead. He is still remembered in Catalunya as one of their legends, albeit with an imprint of Castille on his grave, where they ordered his name be written as Suñol.

The rivalry would go on to take a whole new meaning of bitterness in the 1950’s. And all this, due to a man nicknamed ‘The Blond Arrow’, one of the greatest players to have ever played this beautiful game, Alfredo Di Stefano. This is how the story is told in most places. When Di Stefano was playing for Millonarios because of a players strike in Argentina where he was playing earlier for River Plate, the Colombian club played a friendly against Madrid. This is when Spain realised the existance of this gem of a talent from South America. Barcelona moved quickly and asked River for signing him. Madrid on the other hand made dealings with Millonarios. The clause was that River could sell him only in Millonarios gave them permission to, but the latter were for the notion that if we sell him we will do so only to Real Madrid. Barca already had a legend in the making, Kubala, which is probably why they rejected the following deal proposed by Spanish Federation + FIFA after lots of political controversy and misunderstanding. It was decided that Di Stefano would move to Spain for 4 years, and play alternatively for Real and Barca for 2 seasons each. He would then go on to play for Real, the rest as they say is history. Di Stefano, as you may be surprised to know, came to Spain only when he was 27. To think what he would have been had he come, say when he was 20 is just unimaginable. It is a pity he never got to showcase his talent in the World Cup as Argentina did not participate in 2 cups during his prime, Spain did not qualify for one, and he ended up injured and missing the disappointing campaign in ‘62.

Early 70s saw the fall of Franco, and the well timed entry of Ajax prodigy Johan Cryuff, known as the Quick Silver to Barcelona. Cryuff famously announced to the world that he chose Barca over Madrid because he could not identify himself with a team that belonged to Franco. Instantly he became a hit with the Cule faithful. He brought with him the flair from Ajax’s famed youth system and executed it with Barca with relative ease. This period would go on to be a successful one for the Cules, almost as if it made up for the years of oppression. Slowly but steadily, the rivalry was less and less about politics considering the modern day world, and more about a socio-cultural issue. Real were becoming the rich people’s club and Barca were becoming the everybody’s club. Far from the truth, but that is for another day.

Mid-late 80’s brought back things in Madrid’s favour with the ‘Quinta del Buitre’ and the 90s with the Cryuff managed ‘Dream Team’ made sure that period didn’t last for long. Such is the essence of this rivalry. Everything goes in cycles. Some last longer than the others, but they always go in cycles. 1994 and 1995 became famous for one of the best, if any can be picked, set of Clasicos ever. Spain as you know, and as all the newbies did on November 29, 2010, is obsessed with the number 5. Manita they call it, 5 little fingers. Just to put what I am going to follow this up with into perspective, here’s a prelude. Di Stefano’s first derbi was a 5-0 win for us. Cryuff’s first? You guessed it right. 5-0 to Barca. But come the two partidazos in 94 and 95 were something else. In 94 Cryuff managed and Romario led Barca team put Madrid to shame with a manita, with the aforementioned Brazilian netting a hattrick. As defending Champions Barca would visit the Bernabeu the following season, confident at first, and destroyed at the end by Ivan Zamorano’s hattrick, with Laudrup playing as key a role as he did last time out for Barca, in this one for Madrid. Two manitas in the space of 3 derbis was too much to handle even for this rivalry.

The turn of the century would bring another twist to the rivalry. As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, Luis Figo would make the very volatile trip across the clubs to fuel the already existing bad flames even more. Only years before Luis Enrique had left Madrid on a Bosman to Barca, much to the surprise of most fans. The Cule faithful found it hard to accept but soon made him a hero because of his public disgust with everything Real Madrid. Similarly Figo would go on to win many clasicos and trophies during one of Barcelona’s driest trophy famine. Madrid went on an undefeated in Clasico run for a long time until, as mentioned earlier, things changed course with Barca now having won the last 5.

The rivalry has, like I have mentioned a number of times been through many transitions in what it signifies as more than football. It now stands for an ideology, or a path for the rest of the clubs to adopt. Whether this be in style of play, conduct from teams, or even the culturing of youth systems, these clubs fundamentally differ in any aspect. Real Madrid are always known to have followed the ideology of putting out the best team in the world. Traditionally known to compose 1/3rd of the best Spanish players, 1/3rd of the homegrown and 1/3rd of the best international players, this has seen several changes one way or another, with most recent events showing too much of Galactico-ism. The failiure of the Zidane y Pavon strategy, coupled with Barca’s current emergence of their so called Golden Generation shows this disparity of ideas. Things were different though a decade or two ago, where Barca had an mass contingent from all over and Madrid had its Quinta. As said by a famous historian, whos name I forget to recollect, Barca is a club that has excellent communication department, they fabricate their history every now and then to make it appear how they want it to. Excellently put, this is sometimes even applicable to Real. We grow our own, and do not buy, has also seen multiple shifts in terms of who uses it, and whether they use it appropriately or not. But as the famous saying goes, All is fair in love and war. Historically, we have seen that when one club enjoys a successful spell, the other usually suffers. All relative you might say, but there’s never such a thing as both clubs being happy at the same time. That’s what makes this so special, the desire, the hunger to win every time they face each other.

Last time we saw 4 El Clasico in 3 weeks , and Madird had one word over Barcelona force as Ronaldo header saw Madrid win Copa Dela Rey after a long time as Madrid get knocked out by Messi’s genies and Mourinho was fined for his world.

It was not easy for both side to end the season by that not which made Barcelona Champion of Europe as Madrid were dejected. At the start of this season also we saw an ugly game for both side as Barcelona also dominated Madrid to add one more cup in their room.

This time we are waiting for a strength match on December 10, 2011 …… Hala Madrid


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Yaya blasts Guardiola

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Manchester City sturdy midfielder Yaya Toure on Saturday reiterated his unfaltering disapproval of former coach Pep Guardiola’s “cold and snubbing attitude” that led to his departure from Barcelona, and juxtaposed the 40-year-old manager with City’s Roberto Mancini.

The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international said Guardiola lacks a close rapport with his players unlike Mancini who exposes his choices and reasons to each player quietly without hurting anyone.

“Mancini is closer to his players. He talks more than Guardiola. He calls you into his office and holds a quite talk with you, listening more to what you’ve got to say,” Toure told L’Equipe on Sunday.

“For example, it’s not easy to see Nasri or Agüero on the bench in Naples. And if you leave Balotelli on the bench, it is not an easy choice either. Or even Adam Johnson, who is a very good player. Everyone wants to play. Mancini shuffles and handles this perfectly without hurting anyone.

“On the other hand, Guardiola waits for moments of pressure to get closer to you. It is much of a wrong attitude, I feel. Of course, those who play in Barcelona today will not say anything, but ask those who are gone like Ibrahimovic,” Toure said.

Last month the Ivorian claimed he had been forced out of Camp Nou even while he was willing to stay on, that Guardiola’s lack of attention culminated in his moving out to adventure in the Premier League.

However, the European champions’ boss had snapped back at Toure saying: “The doors of my office were always open.

The reality is that he asked president Joan Laporta to leave and that we tried to convince him to stay. If we face City in the Champions League I’ll talk to him.”

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Wales coach Speed found dead

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Gary Speed, the manager of the Wales national team, was found dead on Sunday at the age of 42, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) said in a statement.

Cheshire police in north-west England, where Speed lived, said in a statement that a 42-year-old man had been found hanged at his home and that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Tributes poured in from hundreds of colleagues and former team mates while thousands of fans made their feelings known when they burst into spontaneous applause during a minute’s silence in Speed’s memory before the start of Swansea City’s match with Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The FAW said in a statement: “That this tragedy should have overtaken someone so young and talented is a huge loss not only for his family and friends but a nation as a whole.

“We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We ask that everyone respects the family’s privacy at this very sad time.”

Speed, who was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to football last year, leaves a wife and two sons.

Wales First Minister Carwyen Jones said the news was “devastating” and that he was deeply saddened, adding: “our thoughts are with his family at what must be a very difficult time for them.”

Speed played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United in a playing career that spanned 22 seasons and he became Wales manager last December.

He was a member of the Leeds team that won the last First Division title in 1992, before the start of the Premier League, and he became the first player to make 500 Premier League appearances during his time at Bolton in Dec. 2006. He retired after making 535 appearances in the Premier League.

He also made 85 appearances for Wales between 1990 and 2004, becoming their most capped outfield player and second highest overall behind goalkeeper Neville Southall.

He then turned to management – briefly with Sheffield United as player-manager then with Wales from last December. Although Wales were eliminated from the race for the Euro 2012 finals, they had won their last three internationals and there were signs of real improvement under Speed’s guidance.

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Cruyff goes to court over Van Gaal

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

jax Amsterdam commissioner Johan Cruyff and 10 youth coaches are going to court to fight the appointment of Louis van Gaal, Martin Sturkenboom and Danny Blind as directors of the Dutch club.

Cruyff, one of the club’s greatest players, and the coaches said in a statement that their legal battle was not with Ajax but against the other four commissioners, Edgar Davids, Steven ten Have, Paul Romer and Marjan Olfers.

Those four form the club’s board of commissioners with Cruyff who said the others had kept him in the dark when they named Van Gaal and the other directors earlier this month.

Among the youth trainers are the brother of head coach Frank de Boer, Ronald, and fellow former Dutch internationals Jaap Stam, Dennis Bergkamp, Wim Jonk and Marc Overmars.

They say the naming of Blind as technical director did not following Cruyff’s technical blueprint which was drawn up in September.

The Ajax members’ board will meet on Monday when it is expected to choose between Cruyff and the other four commissioners.


© Reuters
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Tenga re-elected CECAFA President for second term

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

CAF Executive Committee member, Leodegar Tenga has been re-elected President of the Council for East and Central Football Associations (CECAFA) for a second term.

Tenga, also President of the Tanzania Football Federation was elected unanimously at the CECAFA General Assembly held last Thursday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the eve of the 2011 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup tournament.
The eleven members present voted for the sole candidate, Tenga, following the withdrawal of Hussein Fadoul of Djibouti.
“I am honoured to accept your mandate to serve as president during the 2012-2016 period. Together we can tackle the problems that football faces today and show that our game remains very solid and strong,” an elated Tenga, who has headed the zonal union since 2008 said after the polls.
The quartet of Sahilu Wolde (Ethiopia), Raoul Gisanura (Rwanda), Abdiqani Saeed Arab (Somalia) and Tariq Atta Salih (Sudan) were also elected unto the CECAFA Executive Committee.
Meanwhile, the General Assembly also endorsed Kenya as host of the 2012 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
The 2011 edition will take place from 25 November to 10 December in Tanzania.
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