Category Archives: Sport News

Platini: Europa League could be scrapped in favour of bigger Champions League

Uefa president Michel Platini has hinted that the Champions League and Europa League could face some major changes in the not too distant future.

The concept of the Europa League has come under fire in recent years as clubs from the so-called bigger leagues often field their reserves, and a number of recent reports have suggested that the competition could disappear completely, while the Champions League could be extended to 64 teams.

Platini had previously revealed that Uefa is looking into reforming both competitions, and he has now made it clear that a decision will be made in 2014.

“It is something that we are discussing,” Platini told Ouest-France when questioned on the subject of shutting down the Europa League in favour of a 64-team Champions League.

“There’s an ongoing debate about the concept of the European competitions between 2015 and 2018. It’s being discussed and a final decision will be made in 2014. Nothing has been finalised yet.”

Platini also took the time to discuss the possibility of a European superleague organised outside of Uefa, and stressed that he’ was not too worried about the idea.

“This is a matter that regularly comes up, but it does not worry me to be honest. I can’t see how it would work outside the framework of Uefa.

“Who would referee the games? Where would the games be played? Do a lot of people really want it? I don’t think so.”


Play Station FIFA 13 Competition


Event Details
Date(s): 15/12/2012

Location: Eagle’s Club, Adeniran Ogunsanya, opp ShopRite Mall, Surulere, Lagos.


Event Description

APFON (ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS OF NIGERIA) is organizing a Play station FIFA 13 competition which is scheduled to start Dec 15th- 8th
Jan (Saturday and Sunday only).

Date:- Dec 15th – 8th Jan (Saturday and Sunday only).
Time:- 9:00am daily
Registration Forms: 2000 naira only

High point of the event: Guest appearance by current APFON Ambassador
OBINNA NSOFOR and other ex-super eagles player on the final day..

1st Price:- $2,000 USD & a PlayStation 3 Console

2nd Prize:- $1,000 USD & a PlayStation 3 Console

3rd Prize:- $500 USD & a PlayStation 3 Console

Kindly ff our online media partners @stopnsearch9ja, @iPUBLICIZEnaija and @GbaGaunDetector to keep up with tweets linking to you website also i would have the radio jingle edited and include your organisation.

Lagos explodes, as Eko 2012 begins

THE usually boisterous Lagos environment has assumed a new crescendo following the influx of the cream of Nigerian youths for an event seen as the harbinger of good fortunes for several of them.

It is the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF), which opening ceremony holds today at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, with the contingents of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, gathering to begin their journey to stardom.

Over the years, the NSF has produced many budding athletes, who went on to become some of the best athletes of the world, and this 18th edition, like the maiden edition of the event hosted by the state in 1973, is being looked upon as one to reignite the spirit of friendship among Nigerians.

on Monday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, the Main Organising Committee (MOC) for the festival told Nigerians that the stage was set for one of the most memorable events of the 12-year old 21st century Nigeria.

Already, the hostels of the University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology and the Federal Technical College, Akoka, are fully occupied by the athletes, some of who are coming to the city for the first time.

According to the MOC Secretary, Abba Yola, the stage is set for the event expected to feature over 10,000 athletes and 1,000 technical officials, as well as a sizeable number of supporters of the 36 states and the FCT.

Yola revealed that all the 36 states and the FCT would compete in various sports events, including athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, chess, cricket, cycling, handball, hockey, judo, kick-boxing, taekwondo, tennis, swimming, squash, scrabble, football, volleyball and traditional sports, among others.

He added, however, that only Lagos would feature in all the events. Aside the events on the tracks and fields, visitors to the Centre of Excellence have been guaranteed the time of their lives.

In today’s opening ceremony, the organisers have put together a spectacle that would feature the history of Lagos and what makes the state the centre of excellence.

According the Artistic Director of the opening and closing ceremonies, Peter Badejo, the event will be far different from the previous editions of the festival, as the ceremony will explain the rich culture of Lagos State.

“When we look at the message of the past editions of the festival, the content of their displays is always the same,” he noted. “It is always highlighted with fire display but we thought we could be different because Lagos is very rich in terms of its culture and its formative experience.

“So we feel it would be good to look at the content we have, as I have mentioned before. We thought it would be good to tell some kind of formative story.”

The United Kingdom-based director explained that fire display, Eyo masquerade, contemporary dancers, royal dancers and calisthenics are some of the highlights of today’s event, adding: “I feel the migration story of how people came to Lagos would be interesting.

“There are many stories about Lagos; this one of the Olofin coming from Ile-Ife, and the mythology of the methodological story that goes around it, where the Awo and Ise, which is the Osuka, has to be put on a river.

“The first place where it sank, which is the Isheri, that is where the Isheri people came from and they have spread into Lagos. The same place where the pot finally sank in Ido, that’s where the Awo is, is called the Awori and the Aworis and Isheri’s are the ones who have spread all through Lagos.

“So we look at that story and we loosely put it around all the contents we have and that makes the story of the show from the beginning to the end. Among the art that developed, we chose music.”

The director, who said he had researched into the history of Lagos to build a concept for the Eko 2012 Games, added that the event, which would be a big cast of 4,000 people in different capacities, would also accommodate late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song, entitled, “Water no get enemy.”

According to him, about 200 members of the late legend’s dancers were used in the production as well as his band. He said: “Well, it is a big cast. We have almost 4,000 people in different capacities. We have content of the whole show – the masquerade, carnival and dancers; we have calisthenics of a thousand pupils.

“We have masquerades, like I said, carnival, we have the Eyo dancers, the royal dancers and the royal female drummers, who initiated Eyo from its beginning. Then we have the contemporary dancers, who come with their expression in things like the anthem, theme music and National Anthem.”

Badejo said that among of the great musicians that call Lagos their home, including Ayo Bankole, Shodeke and Fela Anikulapo Kuti, “we thought this is an opportunity to use Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s concept of music because water is very important to Lagos.”

The team, he noted, has been training together for about three weeks, and as individual groups for a month, and Nigerians would witness an opening ceremony as never seen before.

Falcao not thinking about Chelsea move

Chelsea target Ramadel Falcao has distanced himself from speculation regarding a move from Atletico Madrid to Stamford Bridge, insisting “the last thing I’m thinking about right now is a transfer.

The Colombian forward has been in scintillating form this season, scoring 13 goals in 11 appearances for Los Rojiblancos, including a hat-trick against the Blues.

“The last thing I’m thinking about right now is a transfer,” he told reporters.

“I have a contract with Atletico Madrid and I’m focused on my team.”

Falcao has made no secret of his desire to move abroad, telling Radio Caracol: “The chance of playing in another league and for another club will come. I keep dreaming.” exclusively revealed Chelsea and Atletico have opened up talks over a potential £48.1million (€59.8m) January move for the sought-after striker, who hit 25 goals in the Spanish league last season.

The forward featured in Colombia’s 1-1 draw with Brazil in New Jersey on Wednesday night, and stated his international side can learn a lot by playing against a side of the Selecao’s ability.

He added: “It was a very good game. We expected a great Brazilian team and we found it like that. They made it difficult for us to have possession of the ball the way we like it. We learned a lot from today.

“I expected a strong game from the defence and I had to fight to touch the ball because they are very strong defenders.”

Alves: Barcelona players responsible for Guardiola exit

Barcelona defender Dani Alves believes Pep Guardiola left the club because the players “were no longer responding to him as he desire

In the space of four years Guardiola quickly became the most successful coach in the Catalan club’s history, but made the shock decision to step down as boss at the end of last season, and Alves feels that was because of him and his team-mates.

“Pep said that he would only leave when we were no longer responding to him,” Alves said in an interview with Le Buteur.

“We did not respond to him on the field as he would have liked and this is why the players feel responsible for his departure.”

The Brazil international also spoke of his highly-rated compatriot Neymar and spoke of the differences between him and Blaugrana team-mate Lionel Messi.

“The difference between Messi and Neymar is that Messi plays in Europe, while Neymar is still in Brazil,” he continued.

“Even without tactical discpline, what is important for a team is having players with maturity and a sense of responsibility.

“To further his career, Neymar must come to Europe and preferably to Barcelona.”

Villas-Boas: Tottenham want revenge over Arsenal

The Gunners won last season’s corresponding fixture 5-2, eventually overhauling their rivals in the league and securing a Champions league spot, while Spurs missed out due to Chelsea winning the competition.

Spurs currently sit a place and a point above Arsenal, and Villas-Boas has revealed that he has been given constant reminders from his chairman to avoid last season’s heartache.

“He keeps on mentioning it!,” the 35-year-old said.

“I think it’s normal, you really have to embrace it because it’s part of the greater culture of this game, it means a lot for both teams.

“You can’t wear red in a situation like this – at this training ground. The meaning of it is quite special and all of us embrace it.”

The Portuguese coach also revealed that he fully comprehends the historical significance of the game having talked to numerous members of the White Hart Lane staff.

“I have been getting it for the last two weeks, people have been speaking about it quite often – the staff, the chairman – so you understand the importance of it,” he added.

“This is a game where passion is very high, it’s a game that represents three points, but is more than that in the history of north London derbies.”

AFCON 2013 – If Not Super Eagles, Who?

Understandably, some Nigerians are not happy with me, following the headline of this column last week. Their grouse is that I did not promote my country above all others as favourite to win the 2013 African Cup of Nations championship. Let me quickly say that every time I have stuck out my neck and made a prediction about winners and losers at championships such as this I have always had to lick the wounds of my ‘failure’. So, what I am doing here is merely academic.

My opinion does not speak to any truth but to an honest assessment based purely on my experiences and conclusions on a subject matter where anything is possible. So, even as I think that the Super Eagles of Nigeria have the capacity to win any African football championship and do not look like potential 2013 champions to me, come February next year, I will be extremely delighted (as a Nigerian who passionately loves the Super Eagles) to see them win it and ‘shame’ the doubters led by me.. Be that as it may, I still think we should look elsewhere for the team that would likely replace Zambia as next champions of Africa. Wait a minute, am I also saying that Zambia would not win it?

Let me start by saying without fear that there are certain countries that I believe do not stand a chance of winning AFCON 2013. Football, even as unpredictable as it is, follows a kind of tradition. Championships such as the Nations Cup are never won by fluke or by teams that do not have a sustaining winning power, or a collection of good individual players that play as a unit through several tough games.
Without even microscopically examining the groups the teams are in and the opposition they are going to face, let me respectfully pick the teams that will not win AFCON 2013. These are the teams that have limited depth in terms of history, quality of players, the strength of their domestic leagues, their international achievements and whether or not they are the host nation.

This means, quite easily, that Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Togo, Niger and Cape Verde stand little chance in hell of winning the trophy in South Africa.
Mali – even in their best years could not win. Burkina Faso – no depth in players. Ethiopia – too inexperienced. Togo – a one-man army never wins a war. Niger – there is nothing there. Cape Verde – cups are not won by dreams alone.

Then there are the countries that have the capacity but may not have the sustaining power and psychological impetus needed to win at this level. A champion team must be able to play through ‘soft’ and difficult matches looking always like champions. That’s how the Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt and, sometimes, Nigeria used to play. It is hard to envision any of these countries losing a match in African football before the match is played. Such confidence is the hallmark of winners.

In the present assembly the countries that do not belong to that category constitute my second group that are unlikely to stand on the winning podium in February. They are Tunisia, Morocco, Angola and DR Congo. The Congolese team, influenced seriously and positively by TP Mazembe FC’s phenomenal growth and consistency in domestic African Club football (the club supplies several of the DR Congo’s national team players) these past few years may spring a surprise. DR Congo will be one of the two dark horses of this championship. The other dark horse is Algeria.

However, between Angola and Morocco are two countries that have been depressed by past failures. Only a miracle will lift them to winning the Nations Cup and in championships miracles have little place.
Tunisia always look strong but never deliver outside of Tunis. This championship will not be different.

In the absence of Egypt and the Cameroun, the two most successful teams in the history of the championship, the field of probable victors has been narrowed down significantly to five countries.
So, one of Algeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa and Zambia will emerge the team that my crystal ball tells me will become the 2013 champion. Nigeria will be lurking dangerously in the periphery only until 2015! I believe that one of them will lift the trophy in February.

All the teams have a rich history of football and plenty of experienced combatants in their present team. Each of them has won the championship at least once in the past. To have tasted the nectar of a previous victory is very essential ingredient in the psychology of winning this championship.

Algeria have the looks of potential champions with their army of home-based players, I am told. Once again teams win this championship not individuals. There is something about the Algerian team this time that is mysterious and dangerous. I will look at little bit deeper.

Ghana have a well-rounded team now that will be a very hard nut to crack at these championships. They look compact. They are very mature. They have been ‘smelling’ the trophy since 2010 when they hosted it and capitulated near the very end due to pressure and to a slightly better and more mature Ivorien team. The young ‘boys’ have now become men, and this could be their time. They are the team least likely to be intimidated into submission by the vociferous home crowd that would undoubtedly be a huge factor in this championship.

The advantage of home support will go to hosts, South Africa. Perhaps, that will be the only reason why they belong to the category of probable winners. If the championship were to be played anywhere else, I would have placed the Bafana Bafana in the category of those that have the capacity but are unlikely to win it. So, lets watch out for the Vuvuzela and the impact the noise would have on opposing teams. We saw how it lifted South Africa during the first round of the last World Cup. If it happens that way again, watch out for them in the finals of AFCON 2013.

Zambia. As defending champions they have momentum of winning on their side. I look at the Zambians and I see a team that has not fundamentally changed its philosophy and style since winning the last edition. The team can repeat the feat again by working its way through the minefields of wiser opposition. It will be a tough call though without the element of surprise. In qualifying against Uganda the team demonstrated the continuation of the work ethic and organised team play that saw them win in 2012. Understandably, it has only been one year since then. They still have the fire in their guts. Playing in South Africa, not far from home, will also be an advantage for the Zambians. They will be in very familiar terrain, and altitude would not be a problem for the players.

South Africa. I do not know what to make of the team. Not playing qualifying matches has not helped in revealing their depth. The result of their friendly matches may be impressive but competition is really a different thing. If the team plays with half the spirit of the 2010 World Cup it would be hard for any team to stop them, particularly since their nemesis, Egypt and Cameroun, are not in the championship. They should pray also not to meet Nigeria anywhere along the route to the finals as that could mark their terminus. Nigeria has South Africa’s number any time any where, and the Bafana Bafana know it. The vuvuzela holds the key to their performance and fate.

Cote D’Ivoire. On paper once again they look menacing and should stroll through the championship and cart home the AFCON 2013 trophy. They are the oldest, most experienced and, perhaps, the most gifted team of the championship. They have everything going for them except age. The core of the team has remained the same for the past three editions. The players have the experience now not to throw away their last chance on some stupid premise such as the egoistic bickering amongst the players outside the field over nonsensical distractive matters that have badly infested Camerounian football.

This is the last chance for the Drogba-generation, and they know it. So, this might be the opportunity of a last dance.
Finally, in the absence of Nigeria winning the 2013 AFCON, which of the five countries will it be? Next week, I shall put my head once again on the chopping block and attempt to x-ray the teams, the groupings and the players!

Old ladies back on track

Juventus gave their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League a sizeable boost, with a 4-0 win over FC Nordsjaelland in Turin.

Goals from Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella saw off the visitors, as the Bianconeri bounced back from defeat to Inter.

The Old Lady were fast out of the blocks, with Marchisio slotting home from Mauricio Isla’s low, right-wing cross after just six minutes.

The Italy international was nearly celebrating again moments later, but after deftly controlling Vidal’s through ball on his knee, his subsequent volley was well saved by Jesper Hansen.

The Bianconeri kept coming, though, and Vidal made amends for skying an early chance over the bar when well placed in the area, by making it 2-0 in what were farcical circumstances.

Hesitation from defender Kasper Lorentzen allowed the Chilean to beat Hansen at his near post with a tackle-cum-shot, to double his side’s lead and leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.

There was no respite for the Danes, who were completely outclassed in a one-sided first-half. A perfect corner from Andrea Pirlo found Alessandro Matri waiting, but his header could only find the crossbar.

Moments later it was Hansen who once again came to the rescue when he fended away a storming effort from Marchisio, but Juve would not have to wait long to record their third.

Giovinco was given space down the right hand side of the box, and the striker struck a beautifully-executed looping shot that gave the goalkeeper absolutely no chance and put his side in cruise control at the break.

Just three minutes after the restart, the vibrant hosts were already on the march looking to add to their tally.

Vidal had the chance to let loose with a volley from the edge of the box, but Hansen was equal to the challenge to prevent Juve from adding to their lead – at least for the time being.

With an hour played FCN had their best effort of the match, finally forcing a save from Gianluigi Buffon after a decent effort from Patrick Mtiliga.

That strike failed to upset the pattern of play, though, and Matri was left clean through against Hansen and should have added a fourth, but the striker hesitated in rounding the keeper and saw his chance disappear.

There was to be one final flourish from the reigning Serie A champions on 75 minutes. Pirlo’s corner was headed across the goalmouth by Matri, and Quagliarella was on hand to complete the rout.

The win moves Juventus up to second place in Group E, while Nordsjaelland remain in fourth place and face an almost impossible task to qualify for the knockout stages.

Watch the full match highlights:

Celtic 2-1 Barcelona: Wanyama & Watt on target in historic Bhoys victory

Celtic clinched a famous 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Parkhead on Wednesday night courtesy of a goal in each half to hand the Catalan giants their first Champions League group-stage defeat in three years.

The hosts took a shock lead in the first period when Victor Wanyama headed in Charlie Mulgrew’s superb corner, getting the better of Jordi Alba in the air.

Despite Barca pressure throughout, the Scots grabbed another late on when Tony Watt, the 18-year-old making his Champions League debut, latched on to a long ball, out-pacing Javier Mascherano before coolly slotting home into the far corner.

Barcelona got one back at the death through Lionel Messi when Fraser Forster turned away a Pedro strike from close range, the Argentina international following up to lash home, but it was not enough.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made four changes to the team that drew with Dundee United in their last outing, drafting in Efe Ambrose, Mikael Lustig, Miku and Georgios Samaras into the side for Emilio Izaguirre, Tony Watt, Thomas Rogne and Scott Brown, while striker Gary Hooper missed out altogether after failing to recover from a hamstring injury.

Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova also made four changes to the side that beat Celta Vigo at the weekend, with Daniel Alves, Marc Bartra, Alex Song and Alexis Sanchez coming into the side for Adriano, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and David Villa.

In a cagey opening, the visitors struggled to create anything of note and Celtic took the lead in the 20th minute through a Wanyama header at the back post, the Kenyan beating Alba to reach Mulgrew’s brilliant inswinging delivery.

This prompted a response from Barcelona and Messi struck the bar from just inside the area amidst a period of sustained pressure in the final third, while Alexis struck the foot of the post with a header from an Alves cross 10 minutes before the break.

After half-time, though, the game began to open up more, with Barcelona peppering the Celtic area with wave after wave of attack and Alexis bringing a terrific save out of Forster low to his right on the hour mark.

The constant probing and movement of Barcelona saw them carve open the hosts’ defence in the 70th minute and Messi forced another fantastic stop out of Forster. Latching on to Alba’s cut-back down the left, the Argentine hit a sweet strike towards the bottom right corner only to see the goalkeeper claw it away.

With the visitors piling on the pressure, it was Celtic who struck next in the 83rd minute when a long punt down field by Forster was missed by Xavi and Watt was through in on goal past Mascherano before rifling his strike into the bottom left-hand corner to hand his side a two-goal lead.

Barcelona weren’t finished there, though, and they grabbed a goal back in the 90th minute through Messi after Forster parried a Pedro shot inside the six-yard box following an intricate, flowing move, leaving the forward to smash it high into the goal.

Nevertheless, despite some nervy moments late on with Barcelona flooding forward, Celtic were able to clinch the historic win in front of their own fans in what will go down as their best European result since winning the European Cup final back in 1967 against Inter.

Watch the full match highlights below:

Chelsea 3-2 Shakhtar: Dramatic Moses header pulls Blues back from brink

Chelsea always seem to find a way in the Champions League and Victor Moses was the hero as he headed a dramatic late winner against Shakhtar Donetsk to leave the defending champions joint-top of Group E.

The substitute rose high in the last minute of added time to head home Juan Mata’s corner at the end of a thrilling encounter in which the Blues twice took the lead but made poor defensive errors as they were pegged back by the swift attacking movement of the Ukrainian champions.

Shakhtar playmaker Willian – a transfer target for Chelsea and Tottenham – twice equalised for the visitors to cancel out Fernando Torres’ sixth-minute goal and a wonderful 45-yard strike from Oscar.

But Moses had the final say with a goal that leaves Chelsea alongside Shakhtar on seven points, a step closer to qualification with two games to play – at home to Nordsjaelland and away to Juventus.

It was a victory that Chelsea barely deserved against a lively, creative Shakhtar side who continually took advantage of the hosts’ sloppy defending, which will prompt questions over whether manager Roberto Di Mattero should have recalled captain John Terry to the side. The Italian cited the defender’s lack of match sharpness following his racism ban for the decision to start with Gary Cahill and David Luiz as his centre-back pairing.

Shakhtar named the same side who won the reverse fixture 2-1 in October and the game burst into life from virtually the first kick, with both teams mixing swift attacking play with almost comical defending.

Given Torres’ struggles to score in his Chelsea career, the early gift from Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov will have been warmly received. The Ukrainian received a routine backpass from Yaroslav Rakytiskyy but Torres read the clearance and opportunistically stuck out a leg for the ball to ricochet straight into the net.

Three minutes later, however, the Ukrainian visitors were level as Fernandinho burst past Chelsea defenders into the right side of the penalty area and cut the ball back for fellow Brazilian Willian to slot through a crowd of bodies, with Petr Cech diving the wrong way.

The game then settled down but never lost its ebb and flow as both sides created chances. Torres could only find the side netting from a tight angle before Alex Teixeira zipped an effort just wide of the post following a flowing Shakhtar move.

Five minutes before the break, Chelsea once again took the lead thanks to a wonderful strike from Oscar and another woeful clearance by Pyatov. The keeper rushed off his line to clear Mata’s through-ball with his head, only to supply the Brazilian. The playmaker still had so much to do but made it look effortless, controlling with his chest before pinging his finish into an empty net from 45 yards.

The fluid, end-to-end pattern continued after the break and Willian again levelled the score in the 47th minute as he side-footed Dario Srna’s cross with his left foot to finish a wonderful Shakhtar move.

The Ukrainian champions nearly took the lead seven minutes later but Razvan Rat saw his swerving strike from 30 yards rattle the post.

At the other end, Chelsea had a huge shout for a penalty when Ramires appeared to be brought down in the area by Srna as he shaped to shoot, only for referee Carlos Velasco Carballo to wave away the appeals to the home players’ astonishment.

Then, with the last touch of added time, Moses rose in the box to head home Mata’s corner to send Stamford Bridge into delirium.

Watch the full match highlights below:


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