Shehu Idris

Shehu Idris

It is still as hurting as it is still fresh. It'll take days and an overwhelming dose of our usually ribs-shattering social media memes to erase this. But the bitter taste will definitely linger, ready to be rekindled with every replay of the match. The Super Eagles fought and sweated but the evitable, that had beset the Super Eagles throughout the game, finally punctured their hearts and that over 180 million more at home. It's still hard to pinpoint if it was the time of the goal that made it hurt so much that it cut deep into Nigerians that it drove typical Nigeria men, who pride themselves as emotionless rocks, to the point of incompressible tears. 

The Eagles fought and they made us dream. Made us believe that indeed impossibility is nothing. They had their fangs round La Albiceleste's jugular but a certain muscle, Odion Ighalo, failed to deliver the coup de grâce. Consequently, his mistakes threw them a rope and they emerged from the depth of the hole to steal this from us yet again. Yet again. 

The word 'Argentina' could be swapped with the word 'killjoys' in the Nigeria lexicon and it won't even be enough to paint the background not to talk of tarring the entire heartbreaking pictures of the pains Argentina has caused Nigerians. Atlanta 1996 Olympic football event final was the only time they failed to crumble to these adroit South Americans who've now become a perennial football rivals. 

2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup final 2-1 tragic lost in Netherlands followed immediately after a 1-0 succumb in a 2002 World Cup group stage game. 12 years after that famous Olympic games triumph in the United States of America, Nigerians suffered the reprisal in Beijing 2008 Olympics. Their, hitherto, high-flying young Eagles was slanged from the sky by an Angel Di Maria strike. All these heartbreaks are sandwiched between 3 other World Cup group stage defeats (minus yesterday's). 

The most jarring thing about all these capitulations is that these defeats are all by a tiny single goal margin. That makes all these several amps more painful than others. They are all agonizing. Not Argentina again. Not them again.  

There is also this linking string of unfavorable referee decisions in all these meetings that are too consistent that Nigerians are beginning to stop believing them coincidences but conspiracies. In fact, a swipe to Turkish Referee Cüneyt Çakır's Instagram page will give you just the tip of this. Although those who are clamoring for Çakir's head over his decision to chalk of Nigeria's second penalty are too harsh but all these happenings are too consistent for one not to smell something fishy. 

Just 4 minutes more for the Eagles to hold their ground and get something over Argentina for their years of torments. They crumbled again, suffering another ulcer from Argentina's familiar sword of grief. Now the entire nation that experienced it's most blissful couple of weeks of much needed unity in recent years has had that unification smashed to smithereens like piggy bank, they return to their complicatingly woven fabric of ethical and religious intolerance. 

Just 4 minutes. Just 1...2...3...4. Damn! This hurts more than red-hot rod on a flesh. Even time will struggle to heal this.

 


The technical adviser of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr dropped updates on captain Mikel Obi's injury, revealing that the midfielder is ready for Tuesday's square-off against Argentina provided the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir allows him with a plastic cast. 

 

The 31-year-old fractured a metacarpal bone in his left wrist in the 2-0 victory over Iceland on Friday but he laboured to the end of the game despite the obvious pain and discomfort waxed on his face. 

 

Rohr narrated in a pre-match press conference on Monday that the Tianjin Teda man sought an expert immediately the team landed in Saint Petersburg from their camp base in Esssentuki and has had the problem fixed howbeit not totally. 

 

”Mikel has a fracture of the third metacarpal of the left hand and it’s not a big fracture but he has to play with a cast.

 

”We arrived yesterday in St. Petersburg, he visited the doctor immediately and came back with a protection.

 

”I think he can play with that, we have to ask the referee to accept, but it is hard plastic so I think it is okay. He is not feeling so much pains, I think he will be ready.”

 

Super Eagles will take on Argentina 7pm, local time, on Tuesday in a game that atleast a point must be chipped from else Nigeria risk getting bounced out of the World Cup. 


Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has confessed the little fear he had in 2007 when he thought the then Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson would punch him for his decision to ultimately sign for Chelsea after he's been previously paraded as Manchester United player. 

The 31 year-old made the hilarious revelation in an interview with Guardian UK. He said the incidence happened after his first FA Cup final which, coincidentally, was between the two clubs that fought fangs and paws for his signature in the summer. He started for Chelsea and the blues had won the game and he was bubbling with excitement but when he bumped into Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout of Wembley, his excitement evaporated into fear. Fear that he might get punched by the Scot for chosen Stamford Bridge ahead of Old Trafford for home. 

"I thought I was going to get a punch from Sir Alex in the tunnel,” Mikel said with a smile. 

Mikel who would then spend 10-and-half years at Chelsea, winning 2 EPL, 3 FA Cups with 1 UEFA Champions League as well as an Europa League triumph before moving to the far-east, Tianjin Teda.

He also didn't fail to drop a hint that he might be coming back to England before he calls it time on his career but said he's currently at ease with the cultural diversity, football and atmosphere in China and will see through his contract with Teda. 

"I like where I play. The culture is totally different and it’s something that I wanted to experience – and for my two little girls, as well

"[But] Who knows where I am going to retire. Maybe I might come back here [England] and retire." He said. 

He'll be at the heartbeat of things for the Super Eagles when their World Cup campaign kicks-off against Croatia. 


Zinedine Zidane has resigned his position as the manager of Real Madrid after a closed door meeting with principal club officials at the training ground. 

 

He then made the pronouncement at a press conference immediately after. Bringing his unprecedentedly trophy-laden and otherworldly successful tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu to an end. 

 

Zidane, who replaced Rafael Benitez ìn January 2016, won more UEFA champions league than years used as the club manager, becoming the first manager of the modern era to win the 'Ol' Big Ears' three times on a bounce, an achievement which made him the leader of the second most successful era in the club's princely and majestically rich folklore of success. 

 

Winning bountifully 9 trophies within the space of 2-and-half years with the squad depth and harmony that all coaches will envy. 

 

It's still unclear where the journey of life will take him to next or who Real Madrid will be appointing as his successor. However, fingers have been pointing the way of Guti who's been doing great things with Real Madrid U-19. 

 


Thomas Partey has confessed his wide-eyed admiration for Super Eagles' legend, Kanu Nwankwo since he was a little boy.

Partey, a player who's played against the likes of Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and a constellation of other midfield superstars, also ranked Kanu above them all, highlighting him as a "genius". 

"Nwankwo Kanu is my idol. He’s the best midfielder I’ve ever seen play football. He was a genius,” the 24-year-old told CSN while his 'Atleti' were in the country for GOtv Max Cup International friendly which his team won 3-2 but not without labouring for it. 

The Ghanaian also revealed his reverence for Super Eagles' captain John Mikel Obi and his easy-peasy style of style of play. 

“I’m a huge admirer of Mikel Obi. I like the way he keeps things very simple on the pitch and makes it seem so simple and easy to do."

Unfortunately, Partey's Black stars won't be in Russia next month when the World Cup kicks-off after they've been beaten to the berth by Mohammed Salah-propelled Egyptian side.

 

 


Super agent Mino Raiola has launched a new set of verbal attacks on Pep Guardiola labelling the Manchester City manager "a coward, a dog". 

 

The glib-tongued Italian lay bare his long-term seething hatred for the Catalan citing the open-secret of how Guardiola treated his client Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the latter joined him at Barcelona in 2009. When the big Swede was frozen out of the squad and later flogged off to AC Milan and was completely ignored by Guardiola for the entirety of his time at the Camp Nou. 

 

“Pep Guardiola, the coach, is fantastic. [But] As a person he’s an absolute zero. He’s a coward, a dog. He [Guardiola] told Zlatan to go to him if he ever had any problems or complaints. But then he [Guardiola] just ignored him and wasn’t playing him. He didn’t even say: ‘Hello’ to Zlatan." The Italian said in a recent interview. 

 

He also said he almost confronted him physically in Wembley after his snub denied Ibrahimovic a UEFA Champions League winners medal in 2011 but was held. 

 

“I went for him that night in the corridors at Wembley - only Adriano Galliani, AC Milan’s chairman, stopped me. Lucky for Guardiola."


The world most expensive footballer, Neymar Jr has been ignored in the freshly released UEFA fans' team of the year list, while Eden Hazard and Kelvin De'Bruyne made the list that was dominated by Real Madrid stars. 

The current Ballon D'or holder, Cristiano Ronaldo lead the line with a record-setting 12th inclusion on the elite team, while teammates Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric all made the list in recognition of their efforts in Los Blancos' league and UCL double last season. 

Lionel Messi is the only Barcelona player voted in while Eden Hazard and Kelvin De'Bruyne are the only EPL players to feature.

The total number of 8,779,639 votes for the 2017 UEFA Fans’ Team of the Year is a record, with 798,149 unique users taking part.

UEFA.com Fans’ Team of the Year 2017 in full:

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy); Dani Alves (Juventus/Paris Saint-Germain & Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus & Italy), Marcelo (Real Madrid & Brazil); Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany), Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia); Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium), Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal).

 

 

 


France and Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry revealed he was learning the unique dribbling technique of former teammate and Super Eagles' legend, Kanu Nwankwo. 

The duo crossed paths at Arsenal FC when they were both acquired by Arsene Wenger in 1999. They spent a trophy-laden half a decade together at the Highbury, winning two Premier League championships and FA Cups. Before Kanu moved away to West Bromwich Albion and Henry stayed and went on to captain the team before leaving for Barcelona in 2007. 

In a chat with completesportsnigeria, Henry confessed he's been a pronounced student of Kanu's languid dribbling technique and took his time to learn the beauty.

"It’s just the truth. Kanu was an underrated player, so humble, nice guy, everything about him was positive. We all know that famous turn [Kanu’s unique dribbling style] that he had, even watching him on television, I was learning [Kanu’s style]. He was always good and a good guy too.

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“Like I said, if we go down to technique, Kanu was very good. Kolo Toure was very tough, Lauren had good technique too until he was moved to right-back.” said the 1998 World Cup winner who was ceremoniously crowned 'Igwe', his long gifted nickname in this part of the world which means 'king' in Igbo language. 

Henry was at the 'Made of Black' event organised by Guinness Nigeria PLC at the Landmark event center, Victoria Island, Lagos State. 

 


The working one" Fidelis Ilechukwu has revealed that he took a leaf each from the books of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte as he helped steer the performance of MFM FC from relegation strugglers to title challengers in their second NPFL season. 

MFM FC struggled in the regressive water of relegation in their debut NPFL season, barely escaping the drop only for Heartland's indiscipline away at Wikki Tourists on the final game of the season. But the following season, fortunes turned for the 'Olukoya Boys' as they rose from the humbling grass of relegation battle to the grace of title challenge, although they eventually lost the title to Plateau United, Ilechukwu's tweak on this team was mind-blowing. 

Also Read: I want to be the next George Weah: Stephen Odey

In an Interview with Goal.com, the tactician highlighted the influence of big three of EPL had on his title challenge campaign. 

"I also adopted Guardiola's style of keeping the possession no matter the pressure during the match - the ball must be on the ground and the team must dominate.

"While Conte's philosophy of having fewer defenders and more players in the midfield and the attack was another tactic I used. So when things change, I can change to any of them.

"When I started early last season taking the risk and implementing those philosophies I adopted in our away games, we concede up to four goals. That's one result is different from the other, especially when we play away from home.

"For example in one of our home game against Gombe United, if not for the adoption of Mourinho's style of packing the box, we won't have survived the match because they gave us problems as they were fighting against relegation." He revealed. 

 

 

 

 


The management of the freshly relegated side, Shooting Stars Sporting Club of Ibadan has declared one of its players, Sunday Faleye missing​.

 

The announcement was made in a statement released to pressmen by the Club's Team Manager, Dimeji Lawal on Thursday, saying that the coveted teenager has gone completely incommunicado since the beginning of the month despite still tied legally to the club. 

 

“We have not seen [Faleye] Sunday since, even after getting alert for his salary. He has refused to report in training, that’s why we must let the world know that he is on AWOL despite still being a bona fide player of the club.” The ex-international revealed to journalists. 

 

However, the little birds of Spotkick have brought 'songs' from the east that the 19-years-old is currently in the camp of Abia Warriors of Umuahia and might be planning on making this a permanent move.

 

Sunday Faleye has always been something of a mouthwatering eye candy with numerous potential buyers after his relatively fantastic debut NPFL season where he was the only flickering light in a rather gloomy 3SC season. 


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