Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Messi is surrounded by one of the most talented squads in in the world and the talent at Barcelona is a key factor in his constant rise and rise unlike Maradona. That is not to take anything away from the current world Player of the year.
However, MESSI has already scored 101 goals for Barcelona, becoming the youngest ever player in the history of the club to do so. Messi is truly great and has the talent and chance to be the best of the best but only time will tell.
Last week he became the youngest ever player in Barcelona’s history to score 100 goals for the club. He then bagged his 101st goal, in the 4-0 demolition of Sevilla.
In my opinion, MESSI is already a Legend. Those who keep comparing him with Maradona and claiming he has achieved nothing yet, should not expect him to win the wrold cup before he can earn their respect. I think what he has achieved so far, individually is enough to give him the respect he deserves. Barcelona Gaffer Pep GUARDIOLA has showered praises on the player when he paid tribute to the Argentine.
Checkout Videos of Messi's 101 GOALS For Barcelona:
More Video Below:
“I congratulate him. It’s outrageous to have done what he has at his age. It only depends on him to break all possible records. He has some very, very high numbers.
“What we like most is that his ambition has no limit. I feel that he wants more. He is a wonderful example to the future generations.”
Outrageous indeed. There can be no doubt that Messi is currently the finest attacking player in the world. Period!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Portsmouth's John Utaka, FC Zurich's Onyekachi Okonkwo and Salzburg's Rabiu Afolabi have been handed Nigeria recalls by Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback.
Outside of that, there were no surprises in Lagerback's list of 44, released by the NFF on Sunday, with only three players getting first time call ups.
Those who advocates for more players from the domestic league would be placated after the Swede included six players from the Nigeria Premier League,and this was led by top scorer Ahmed Musa who plays for Kano Pillars.Whether Musa can replicate his league for m for the national team is a topic for the future, especially as Nigeria Premier League strikers are not known to stay consistent.
Chibuzor Okonkwo, seems to be the major casualty as he was upstaged in the home-based Super Eagles team by the impressive Terna Suswan of Lobi Stars. This could be good for competition.
Rising midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim's lack of club action also counted against him, as he was not included. But Haruna Lukman, who has locked down a place in the Monaco midfield, gets a chance to impress the new coach in camp.
The players are to report to camp in the United Kingdom from April 27 and 28. Well Lagerback and the 40 thieves plus 4. Just how well he can make a good team from this lot is yet to be seen. For now, let's just wish them well.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda, Israel), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva, Israel), Greg Etafia (Moroka Swallows, South Africa) and Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United, Nigeria)
Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille, France), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes, France), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Onyekachi Apam (OG Nice, France), Olubayo Adefemi (US Boulogne, France), Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers, England), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Michael Odibe (Siena, Italy), Sam Sodje (Charlton Athletic, England), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg, Austria) and Terna Suswan (Lobi Stars, Nigeria)
Midfielders/Forwards: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe (Everton, England), Chinedu Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany), Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (Portsmouth, England), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg, Germany), Brown Ideye (FC Sochaux, France), Femi Ajilore (Groningen, Netherlands), Joseph Akpala (FC Brugge, Belgium), Peter Utaka (Odense Boldklub, Denmark), Michael Eneramo (Esperance, Tunisia), Ikechukwu Uche (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga, Spain), Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England), Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Sani Kaita (Alaniya, Russia), Haruna Lukman (AS Monaco, France), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Seyi Olofinjana (Hull City, England), Onyekachi Okonkwo (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Omatsone Aluko (Aberdeen, Scotland), Gabriel Reuben (Enyimba, Nigeria), Ahmed Musa, Solomon Okpako (Kano Pillars, Nigeria), Bartholomew Ibenegbu (Heartland FC).
Monday, April 19, 2010
Lionel MESSI has become a phenomenon of some sort in recent times. Followers of the Primera Liga have always known him to be impossible but what was left of the gen pop who new him not came to the know a few weeks ago when in his characteristic displays, he single handedly took Arsenal FC to the cleaners at the Camp Nou during the return leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final. While so many football followers were amazed by the possibilities of a MESSI romance with the round leather, Nigerian Football fans are not new to his torments. In two occasions Messi has been a cause of heartbreak to Nigerians. First in 2005 @ Holland when the Mikel OBI lead Siasia’s team put up a performance that was something to be proud of at the U-20 world cup that took them to the final only to be undone by Messi.
As usual, Argentina weren’t really in it as the Nigerians looked better in every department. However, Messi’s skills were too much for us to cope with and we lost 2-1 conceding the title to the Argies.
At the last Olympic games, Nigeria found their way to the Final again. Unlike in 1996 when we won the Gold at the expense of the Argentines, it was not to be especially with Messi in the side. For the duration of the game, We were able to keep him quiet but it took just 2 seconds of magic for Messi to create the decider and that was that. Two time unlucky against Messi. Are we going to be third time lucky here?
We have been drawn against Argentina in our first group match just like in Japan-Korea 2002. In 2002, though the Argentines paraded the likes of Crespo, Sebastin VERON and BATISTUTA who of course were very big names at the time and were regarded as top favourites for the championship, we predictably lost though 1-0. This time, they do not just have a formidable team of players like Higuain, Aguero, Carlos TEVEZ, Riquelme, to mention but just a few, but they also have the almighty MESSI. The reigning world footballer of the year is even more deadly now that when he won the Ballon D’ Or and with his help, Barcelona has gone on to win six trophies in one year. What a perfect time to be in such devastating form. If that doesn't scare you, then nothing will. Unfortunately Lars Lagerback will be the first gaffer to attempt to outwit this wizkid in his own game and i’m sure every other manager will be hoping to learn a thing or two from Lagerback. Will he succeed? Twice we have been unable to stop this man when he was just a budding talent. Can the Super Eagles stop this Mature Messi on the third attempt?
Monday, April 12, 2010
Nigerian football has lost several talented Nigerians to other countries and it is not as if this is a new trend. The likes of Osadebe, Emmanuel Adebayor, Omotosho, and many others to mention just a few. In those days, we did not really care as a nation, the rate at which we were losing players to even fellow African Countries because, in those good old days Nigeria could afford to present two Super teams for any competition. In fact i remember once, Nigeria was said to have the highest number of professional footballers after Brazil.
But things have really gone bad since then and we now go scrapping for players in Europe's amateur division and our players now play in some of the most ridiculous leagues in the world. For Pete's sack why should Nigeria's national team goalie play his football in Isreal?
We now have players in Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, Oman, and won't be too shocked to hear Nigerians also play in Afghanistan.
When you consider the dearth of quality players for the national team, you find it very hard to take fwhen players like Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nedum Onuoha, Victor Moses which are some of the finest footballers in the Premier League today prefer to play for England Instead. Don't get me wrong, i am not saying there is anything wrong with playing for whatever country one chooses, but it is just hard to take when you are a die hard fan of the Super Eagles and know very well what difference these players could make in the team.
This is probably one of the reasons why foreign coaches will always be preferred. Gabby is all but gone, there is nothing we can do about it. But if we can nick it, and have Nedum and Victor Moses declare for Nigeria, it will be a very big achievement for the new Super Eagles Gaffer.
The Super Eagles defence is yearning for fresh legs and more competition and the introduction of one or two very good players may just be the master stroke.
Victor Moses was like the most sort after youngster in the premiership in January when the likes of Barcelona, Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea were all rumour to be after him. However, he ended up in Wigan FC. Though i have not really watched him play, but if these teams were truly interested, i believe the lad can be a welcome addition to the Super Eagles array of near-stars.
LagerBack is said to have gone after these players and many others.'Nigerian players who should be in the national team are not there.' He had said when he first took over the job. We are told he's going arround locally and internationally looking for more players. We know these players are there. All we need is a coach who knows his job and willing to build his own team without fear of failure. A radical departure from the past is exactly what the team needs.
Most especially, if he can get Onuoha who is currently in a very good form and playing in a team with ambition to achieve things.
When a player plays for a team with ambition, it reflects in everything else. Such players refuse to accept defeat. The current situation where 80-90% of our players play for mediocre teams in Europe, Lagerback will have a big work of instilling the winning mentality.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
He is best known as the former manager of the Sweden National Team.  He managed the Swedish National Team from 1998 until 2009 leading Sweden in five consecutive championships. He resigned as manager in 2009 after Sweden's failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
|Full name||Lars Edvin Lagerbäck|
|Date of birth||16 July 1948 (age 61)|
|Place of birth||Katrineholm, Sweden|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. |
† Appearances (Goals).
As youth, Lagerbäck played for Alby FF. When he was 13 years-old, he began playing for their P16 team. In 1970, he left and moved to Gimonäs CK under the guidance of Calle Lindelöf.  He continued to play there until 1974.  In 1974, he attended Gynastik and Idrottshögskolan (GIH), where he was a classmate of current assistant coach Roland Andersson.
2. Managing Career
2. 1. Club
In 1977, he was called up to the senior team. It was former teammate Kjell Pettersson that recommended him to Kilafors. He coached the Division IV team until 1982. In 1983, he moved to Arbrå IK until 1985. In 1987, he takes over Hudiksvall ABK but leaves by 1989. 
2. 2. Sweden
In 1990, Lagerbäck takes a job with the Swedish Football Association. He began to coach the junior levels which included Fredrik Ljungberg. He helped Tommy Svensson and Tord Grip with Swedish National Team. 
In 1996, Lagerbäck takes over Sweden B national team, until 1997. In 1998, Tommy Söderberg takes him on as assistant coach for the Swedish National Team. In 2000, he is promoted to dual-coach, a responsibility he would share with Söderberg until 2004.  Under his guidance, the Swedish National Team qualified for the Euro 2000 but lost in the group stages.
In 2002, he led Sweden to the World Cup where Sweden was in 'group death'. Sweden lost against Senegal. In 2004, Sweden qualified for their third straight championship. In the Euro 2004, Sweden made it to the quarter-finals where they lost against Holland.  That same year, Tommy Söderberg left the Swedish National Team to coach the U21 Team.
After the departure of Söderberg, Lagerbäck appointed Roland Andersson as assistant coach. In 2006, Lagerback took Sweden to their fourth consecutive championship, the first time in Swedish history. He led Sweden to the 2006 World Cup, losing against Germany 2-0 in the knockout stage.  Under Lagerbäck, Sweden also qualified for UEFA Euro 2008, however they were eliminated in the group stage after losing 2-0 against Russia. The team's early dismissal from the tournament led sport columnists to ask Lagerbäck to be sacked..  Despite this, he signed an extension, which would keep him until the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign. After Sweden's unsuccessful qualification campaign for this summer's World Cup in South Africa, Lagerbäck resigned.  .
2. 3. Nigeria
Strengths: Lagerback earned a good reputation during his time in charge of Sweden, creating a well-drilled, hard-working team that was capable of securing results against sides with superior squads. It is understood that he was given the post after impressing the interview panel with his in-depth knowledge of Nigerian football, suggesting he is as well equipped to deal with the limited preparation time as could be hoped from a foreign candidate arriving a matter of months before the tournament.
Weaknesses: In 2007, Lagerback told the official FIFA website: "Certainly, I believe in continuity, and I think that national teams benefit from it every bit as much as clubs - if not more. After all, we don't work with our players every day like club coaches do, so it's vital to know those players inside-out, and it's only after some time you can achieve that." Although he has clearly done his research, Lagerback has very little time to get to know the players and he will struggle to experiment with tactics should his initial plans fail to succeed. The fact that his contract could well expire after the World Cup also does little to help promote a sense of stability about the side, plus in a country that expects a lot from its team, his conservative brand of football may fail to garner support.
Career high: Sweden were at their best under Lagerback during Euro 2004, when they thrashed Bulgaria 5-0 in their opening match before qualifying for the knockout stage at the expense of Italy, only exiting when they were beaten by Netherlands on penalties in the second round.
Career low: Having reached five successive tournaments in his time with Sweden, he will have been deeply disappointed at the failure to qualify for this year's World Cup, particularly as Scandinavian rivals Denmark topped the group.
Tactics: With Sweden, Lagerback favoured the 4-1-3-2 formation, with one defensive midfielder and three attacking midfielders, using the full backs to supply the width and he could well adopt a similar system in his new role. There is an issue with the lack of creative talent at present, but Lagerback made Sweden a very solid, hard-to-beat side and, given the constant changes and lack of discipline during Shaibu Amodu's recent spell, his approach should be of real benefit.
Quotes: "From what I have seen in Nigerian players, they have good individual skills and I know that the team needs to be organised - it needs to be disciplined - but, for me as a coach, I think the individual skills can do really well in the World Cup."
Trivia: Lagerback is often called 'Lasse', a common nickname for Swedes named Lars.
WC prediction: Lagerback has been set a target of reaching the semi-finals, but he is experienced enough to know that is very ambitious indeed. In a group with Argentina, Greece and South Korea, they have every chance of making it to the second round, but they will have to adapt to their new coach's methods quickly if they are to make any impression on the tournament.