Ex-Chelsea Star Drogba Quits Football

 

Ivory Coast and Chelsea great Didier Drogba announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 20-year career.

The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League, while he is also Ivory Coast’s all-time record goalscorer with 65.

Drogba most recently played for Phoenix Rising in the United Soccer League.

“I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.

“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into a reality.”

Drogba played club football in six different countries in total, with the majority of his success coming in France and England.

He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2006-07 and 2009-10, netting 104 times in the English top flight in total, and also scored a dramatic late equaliser when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final six years ago.

Drogba’s last game was Phoenix’s 1-0 loss to Louisville City in the USL Cup final on November 8.

AFP

Didier Drogba Retires From Football

Ivory Coast and Chelsea great Didier Drogba announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 20-year career.

The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League, while he is also Ivory Coast’s all-time record goalscorer with 65.

Drogba most recently played for Phoenix Rising in the United Soccer League.

“I wanna thank all the players, managers, teams and fans that I have met and made this journey one of a kind,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter.

“If anyone tells you your dreams are too big, just say thank you and work harder and smarter to turn them into a reality.”

Drogba played club football in six different countries in total, with the majority of his success coming in France and England.

He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2006-07 and 2009-10, netting 104 times in the English top flight in total, and also scored a dramatic late equaliser when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final six years ago.

Drogba’s last game was Phoenix’s 1-0 loss to Louisville City in the USL Cup final on November 8.

AFP

Drogba Scores In First Game With New Team

Didier Drogba netted a goal and assisted on another to help his new Phoenix Rising squad to a 2-1 win Saturday night in Arizona.

The 39-year-old from the Ivory Coast, who is a part owner of the team, played the entire 90 minutes of his first United Soccer League (USL) match.

Drogba spent last year with the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer (MLS), the top league in North America, before moving to down a division to Phoenix this year.

MLS does not have a franchise in the area and Drogba’s Phoenix Rising are considered front runners to move up when the league expands.

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-0 To Set Club Record

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-1 To Set Club RecordLeague leaders Chelsea thrashed Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge with a brace from Pedro Rodriquez and a goal from Belgian forward Eden Hazard.

With the victory, Chelsea set a club-record 12th successive Premier League victory while Hazard also earned his 50th Premier League goal

Pedro had given Chelsea the lead with a curled effort from 18 yards supplied by Cesc Fabregas’ 98th Premier League assist, before Hazard scored a penalty in the 49th minute after he was fouled by Simon Francis.

The Belgian became the sixth Chelsea player to reach 50 PL goals after Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

AFC Bournemouth were dangerous throughout and twice went close through Jack Wilshere and substitute Benik Afobe, but Antonio Conte’s men held firm and got a late third through Pedro’s deflected shot.

Manchester United’s resurgence in the English Premier League continued as the Red Devils beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford with goals from Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Mkhitaryan.

Olivier Giroud’s 87th minute goal was all arsenal needed to secure maximum points against West Brom at the Emirates Stadium while Watford and Crystal Palace played a 1-1 draw.

Everton also beat defending champions Leicester City 2-0 while West Ham secured a priceless 4-1 away victory over Swansea City.

Dencia Releases ‘African Energy’ Video

denciaCameroonian-Nigerian singer, Dencia has released the visual interpretation of her latest single – African Energy.

In the video, Dencia sizzles in several eclectic costumes as she performs the song in honour of the African spirit.

She also celebrates global icons and successful Africans including Didier Drogba, Lupita Nyong’o, late Afrobeats legend, Fela Anikulapokuti and Nelson Mandela.

Suarez, Torres To Return To Liverpool For Gerrard’s Charity Game

Gerrard-Suarez Former Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, will be returning to Anfield to play in a charity match, to be hosted by Liverpool on March 29.

The match, organised by the Liverpool FC Foundation, would feature sides led by club captain, Steven Gerrard and retired vice-captain, Jamie Carragher.

Suarez is among those who have agreed to play. The Uruguayan forward left the Reds to join Barcelona for £75m last year July.

Former Liverpool players like Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso would also be involved in the match.

Chelsea captain, John Terry, his team-mate, Didier Drogba and former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, have also expressed interests that they would be involved in the game.

The teams would be completed with Liverpool players not on international duty and academy prospects. The two managers are yet to be announced.

Suarez 28, won all three English domestic Player of the Year awards last season, scoring 31 Premier League goals as Liverpool finished second place to Manchester City.

He left shortly after being suspended for 4 months, for biting Italy defender, Giorgio Chiellini, while playing for Uruguay in a World Cup match in Brazil in 2014.

Money raised would go towards a number of foundations, including the club’s foundation, which funds community programmes across the city.

Incomes would also go towards Alder Hey’s new children’s hospital in the Park project, the Wirral-based Claire’s House Children’s Hospice, Youth Charities Positive Futures and Cash for Kids, and Centre 56, which supports women and children who have suffered or are at risk of domestic abuse.

Mourinho Confirms Fabregas’ Return Against Everton

FabregasJose Mourinho has confirmed that Cesc Fabregas will return for Chelsea’s game against Everton after missing two matches with a hamstring injury.

Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s clash with the Toffees, Mourinho spoke about Cesc’s recovery and readiness for the match.

“We have only Mikel with a little problem in his knee but he’s the only who is not in conditions to play tomorrow,” he said.

While admitting that he always prefers to have all his players available, he noted that the team got results in the absence of Cesc Fabregas.

However, “to have him back is important for us,” he said.

Chelsea top striker, Diego Costa remains suspended and would be unavailable for the Everton duel and Mourinho maintained that he would be sticking with ageing striker, Didier Drogba and newly signed Loic Remy.

“We need the suspended player but we coped without him, we got results without him,” he stated.

Mourinho, who refused to reckon with the two available strikers’ impressive statistics against Everton, expressed hope that they would deliver the goals on Wednesday night.

On Everton, the manager admitted that the match could be a tough one considering the quality of the team, and the fact that striker Romelu Lukaku is always a difficult opponent.

He also expressed confidence in the Chelsea fans providing a good atmosphere for Fabregas and the rest of the team to flourish against Roberto Martinez’ men.

Everton head to Stamford Bridge unbeaten in four Premier League matches and on the back of three successive clean sheets.

Didier Drogba Retires From International Football

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba has announced his retirement from International Football after 12 years of playing for Ivory Coast.

The Ivorian Striker, who recently re-signed for Chelsea, has made his 104th appearance and played in three World Cups with a record of 65 goals.

In a statement, Drogba acknowledged his teammates and support from fans through his years of playing football for Les Elephant.

“It is with much sadness that I have decided to retire from international football.

“I am very proud to have been captain of this team for eight years and to have contributed to placing my country on the world stage of football, taking part in three World Cups and two African Cup of Nations finals.

“I cannot convey enough thanks to the fans for all the love and support during these years. All my goals, all my caps, all our victories are for you.

“I also owe much gratitude to my team-mates – the players with whom I have shared all these emotions – and I wish you all much success for the future and a very warm welcome to the new manager, Herve Renard,” Didier Drogba said.

The two-time African Footballer of the Year returned to London club, Chelsea for a second spell this summer.

I Have Nothing To Prove To Chelsea – Drogba

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba will have to fight hard to control his emotions when he returns to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, the Ivorian said on the eve of Tuesday’s (March 18) match.

The 36-year-old striker ended a glittering eight-year career with the London club by scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

After a hesitant start to Galatasaray’s pre-match news conference, Drogba had the reporters in stitches.

“I’ll ask myself the first question,” he said. ‘Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?

“Well, I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

“It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional,” said Drogba.

“Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg,” he added in reference to the opening match in Istanbul that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The big, powerful centre forward was once voted the best player in Chelsea’s history and he said he did not know how he would react if he scored a goal on Tuesday.

Drogba said if he scores against the Blues he might not celebrate the goal, adding: “I have nothing to prove to this club everything I had to prove I proved it with Chelsea. Now I come here with another team and I just want to win the game, I just want to qualify, there is nothing personal against Chelsea, there will never be.”

Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances between 2004 and 2012.

Fernando Torres gave Chelsea an early lead in Istanbul but Galatasaray equalised through Aurelien Chedjou to leave the tie delicately balanced in Chelsea’s favour.

Galatasaray Coach, Roberto Mancini used to be in charge at Manchester City and said he had good memories of his time in the English Premier league.

However, turning to the task at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the Italian said: “We know it is really difficult because Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe, but in football, never say never, anything can happen if you believe in yourself and we want to do a good job tomorrow.”

Yaya Beats Mikel To Win 2013 African Player Of The Year As Nigeria Sweeps CAF Awards

Ivorian Midfielder, Yaya Toure, has beaten Nigerian Super Eagles and Chelsea FC midfielder, John Mikel Obi to win for the 3rd consecutive year, the coveted ‘African Footballer of the Year’ Award, at the Glo CAF Awards 2013 held in Lagos.

Mikel Obi was highly favoured by many Nigerians who saw his exploits and team successes with club and country in 2013 as the best credentials to claim the award which has eluded Nigerian footballers since Kanu Nwankwo won it in the year 1999.

While Nigeria confirmed its status as the number 1 footballing country on the African continent during the year 2013 by winning in five categories, the loss of the ultimate crown would cast a gloom on the other successes.

The Nigerian Super Eagles won the award for the ‘National Team of the Year’, while the national Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, also won ‘Youth National Team of the Year’ at the Glo CAF Awards 2013.

Both teams had been expected by many pundits to claim the awards, having won major tournaments at continental and global levels during the year in review.

The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 for the first time in 19 years, while the Golden Eaglets won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in United Arab Emirates.

Golden Eaglets’ wonder kid, Kelechi Iheanacho, unsurprisingly won the ‘Most Promising Talent’ Award. Ihenacho was the most decorated at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, winning the tournament’s Adidas Golden Ball Award for the overall best player, alongside the Silver Boot Award for being the second highest goal scorer, as he helped Nigeria to its 4th title to become the most successful team in the history of the age grade competition.

The Nigerian Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, was also named ‘African Coach of the Year’ for his exploits with the African Champions. Keshi became the first Nigerian to win the Nations’ Cup as player and coach, and only the second African coach to do so after Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.

Fair Play Award went to the Nigerian Supporters Club, globally popular for their constant playing of music and dancing while supporting the Nigerian national teams.

Other winners at the awards were Egyptian, Mohammed Aboutreika, who beat Nigeria’s African Nations’ Cup final hero, Sunday Mba, to win the ‘African Player of the Year based in Africa’, while the ‘Club of the Year’ went to Al Ahly FC of Egypt.

The ‘Referee of the Year’ award went to Algerian, Haimoudi Djamel, who officiated the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and also officiated the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup play-off for third place between Uruguay and Italy.

The African Team of the Year is made up of Vincent Enyeama (NIG), Ahmed Fathy (EGY), Mehdi (MOR), Kevin Constant (GUI), Mikel Obi (NIG), Mohammed Aboutreika (EGY), Yaya Toure (CIV), Jonathan Pitroipa (BFA), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB), Emmanuel Emenike (NIG), Asamoah Gyan (GHA) Coach Stephen Keshi (NIG)

Five Nigerian players from the successful AFCON 2013 Eagles were nominated for the now lost ‘African Player of the Year’ Award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.

Only Mikel Obi made the final 3 man nominees list alongside the 3rd time winner, Ivorian, Yaya Toure and his Ivorian counterpart, Didier Drogba.

Winners were announced in Lagos on January 9, 2014.

World Cup 2014: Q.Final Is The Realistic Target For Nigeria – Ochonogor

A Sport Analyst, Ochonogor Chimbiani, has cautioned that the pressure put on the Nigerian national football team; Super Eagles for the 2014 World Cup, however justifiable should be positively exploited.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds on Sunday, Chimbiani gave an insight into her expectations for Nigerian football in the New Year, starting with the country’s debut appearance at the African Nations’ Championship, CHAN 2014 in January.

She stated that she expects that even as debutants, Nigeria should do well at the tournament, but she would not expect too much from the team. According to her although some key players like Nations Cup hero, Sunday Mba, can no longer feature for the team, Nigeria has enough talents, and coping without the likes of Mba would not be a problem.

She also expressed hope that 2014 would be the year when Nigeria gets its league management right, hoping that “good things will happen in 2014.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Ochonogor believes that the pressure being put on Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi is right and expected. According to her, the pressure was there when Keshi went to African Nation’s Cup and it inspired them to do better.

With Show Host, Ebuka arguing that the World Cup pressure is of a larger magnitude due to the expectations of Nigerians themselves, who want more of the AFCON success, Ochonogor admitted that the Semi-final target set for the team may be too much, but it is analytically realistic, as football is not mathematics and at the tournament anything can happen.

She advised that Keshi should pick the best of the players available to him and also get his preparations right. She encouraged that Africa can do something this time despite the presence of countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Spain who boast of fantastic players.

She also noted that the Nigerian team having no particular star player like Didier Drogba for Ivory Coast is not a problem but rather could be strength. According to her “team work is what is going for us in the Super Eagles”.

She added that a situation whereby the home based and foreign based players were willing to work together with a much disciplined Coach Keshi has been the key to the successes so far recorded; a system she expects to continue into the World Cup.

On the situation whereby many of the stand-out players of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON victory are not key players in their clubs, with the likes of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses not playing regularly and Sunday Mba just moving to a new club, Chimbiani said that Ivory Coast because of their major stars were tipped to win the AFCON but Nigeria won it.

She advised that Coach Keshi should open his doors to all players, including the ones he had abandoned like Chinedu Obasi, Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Nsofor to work with his AFCON team in order to pick his best squad.

On the possibility of Odemwingie returning to the team, Chimbiani said “I don’t think Keshi will (call him back) but I wish he does”.

Asked to give her verdict on Nigeria’s chances at the World Cup, she predicted a Quarter-Final finish as the realistic expectation.

Eagles Have Overcome Biggest Obstacle Says Keshi

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has promised that his team will not rest on their oars as attention is now focused on the team.

Keshi believes that his team has overcome the biggest obstacle in the competition.

Analysts say Nigeria has now emerged as the new title favourite, after the elimination of Cote d’Ivoire which had been largely tipped to win the tournament.

Football fans across the country have also described the Super Eagles’ victory over the tournament favourites as a good omen and a sign of better things to come

Nigeria is due to meet Mali in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Durban, while Ghana will take on Burkina Faso in Mbombela in the second semi-final on the same day.