Pele Looks Forward As Brazil Suffer Record Defeat In World Cup Semi

peleBrazil football legend, Pele, has moved on after his country’s 7-1 World Cup disgrace at Germany’s hands on Tuesday, saying the Selecao would deliver in Russia in 2018.

Pele wrote on Twitter, “We’ll get the sixth title in Russia. Congratulations to Germany.

“I always said that football is a box of surprises. Nobody in this world expected this result,” said Pele, who played in three World Cup-winning Brazil teams.

Brazil had been hoping to extend their record of five wins in the competition, but, as with their previous hosting in 1950, they failed to land the trophy on home soil as the Germans annihilated them 7-1 in their Belo Horizonte semi-final.

Two goals for Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle, plus one each for Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, and record-breaking 16th World Cup goal for Miroslav Klose saw the visitors delirious, while Brazil begins a period of soul-searching such as never before.

The 7-1 scoreline was the worst defeat in the soccer-crazed nation’s history and many left the arena in tears before halftime, too stunned to watch any more.

34-year-old goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, said after the record defeat, “It is difficult to explain the inexplicable.

“Until now everything had gone very well. We had been very strong. It is so unexpected.

“Now we need to return home and be comforted by our families.”

Defender, David Luiz, who stood in for suspended Thiago Silva as Captain, said, “We had the worst game of our lives and Germany the best of their lives.”

Germany will go into Sunday’s World Cup final at the Maracana to face Argentina or Holland on the highest of highs.

Del Bosque Must Take The Blame For Spain’s Exit – Obanya

Del bosqueSports Journalist, Nnamdi Obanya, admits that the exit of world champions, Spain in the first round of the World Cup had become a trend but not an excuse for a talented team.

Speaking on Channels Television, Obanya said that the older generation of the Spanish team had been pushed to remain in the squad for too long when their bodies could no longer cope at the highest level.

He explained that Chile’s first goal sums up the sad story of Spain, with 3 defenders escorting 2 Chilean attackers all the way to their own goal territory and eventually allowing the goal.

On the view that the “tiki-taka” style of play having been found out by other teams could be the reason for Spain’s failure, Obanya said that the style had always been what the team was built around.

He noted that as much as the likes of Ramos and Torres – who aren’t Barcelona players – may want to ditch the tiki-taka style of play, the engine room of the team has been tiki-taka and they do not have a choice.

He blamed the Spanish Coach, Vicente Del Bosque for failing to inject younger players into his team for the tournament, as this has been the major reason they have failed.

He noted, however, that nothing should be taken away from the Chilean players as they had a lot of quality in their team. They, according to him, out-muscled Spain on every part of the pitch and ended up putting Iniesta under the pressure of trying to do too much.

Obanya also expressed satisfaction at the way Australia played against Holland. He noted that their attacking style against a good Dutch team was good for the tournament. He also had good words for the goal scored by Tim Cahill, refereeing to it as one of the best. “They should hold their heads high”, he said.

Obanya, however, had tough words for the Nigerian Super Eagles.

“Unlike Iran, Bosnia is more ruthless”, he said, wondering if Nigeria could handle the fire power of the Bosnians.

He, however, said that Nigeria has the habit of playing to the strength of their opponents, a statement which meant they could up their game against Bosnia.

He suggested that the best way for Nigeria to stop Bosnia was to get a physical midfielder to break up the Bosnian attack and also one who could play behind the striker, Emmanuel Emenike, to knock down services for him.

Obanya also wants to see Osaze Odemwingie starting the next match with Ramon Azeez benched as he lacked the physicality needed against the tall and bullish Bosnians.

On allegations that Osaze did not play to instructions given by Coach Stephen Keshi in the first game, Obanya asked “What instruction?”

 

Jonathan’s Vatican Visit Important To Nigeria – Ambassador Okeke

Goodluck Jonathan waveNigeria’s ambassador to the Holy See, Dr Francis Okeke, has said that the President’s scheduled visit to the Vatican is important to the nation.

In an interview with Channels Television, Dr Okeke disclosed that all was set for President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to the Holy See otherwise known as the Vatican City.

He also mentioned that apart from the meeting with the Pope, the visit is an attempt to reestablish contact with the Holy See authorities because they have an important part to play in Nigeria’s affairs.

He recalled that the Christian religion brought education to Nigeria over one hundred years ago, and the Holy See plays an important part with other Christian religions in supporting education in Nigeria.

“Besides, the President would like to take this opportunity to do a pilgrimage for himself and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said.

Also, in a statement signed by the President’s aide on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, the Presidency on Wednesday disclosed its plans to embark on a 6-day working tour which would take President Jonathan to the 2014 Global Nuclear Security Summit which opens at The Hague in Holland, on Monday, March 24, 2014.

The statement read, “The President, accompanied by the First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan will leave Abuja for Windhoek early on Thursday for a two-day state visit to Namibia in the course of which he will participate in a business forum aimed at boosting trade and economic relations between Nigeria and Namibia.

“President Jonathan will also attend the celebration of Namibia’s 24th Independence Anniversary as a Special Guest of Honour on Friday before departing for Rome and the Vatican for talks on Saturday, March 22, 2014 with Pope Francis and Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.”.

NBBF in a state of mourning over the death of D’Tigers Chinedu Onyeuku

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) released a statement yesterday expressing shock over the untimely death of a key member of the D’Tigers’ 2011 Madagascar Afrobasket bronze medallist team, Chinedu Onyeuku a shooting guard who died last weekend.

Touted as a great patriot, Nedu as he is widely known, cut short his family vacation for national call as he reported to the  national camp in Orlando where D’Tigers were to play against Team GB and Team Netherlands in the 3-nation tournament in London in the build-up to the 2011 Afrobasket.

He was a member of the team that qualified Nigeria for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela, from where D’Tigers won the qualification ticket to 2012 London Olympic Games.

He also returned to the team for the Zwolle basketball days invitational tournament in Holland in December, 2011 which was his last national team outing.

According to the statement from the NBBF signed by the NBBF Scribe Francis Gbiri stated that “Nedu’s passion for playing with D’Tigers was deep-seated and he will be greatly missed. The federation joins his family and team mates to mourn a departed son, father, husband and great patriot”.

 

Suarez is unstoppable – Liverpool Manager

Liverpool and Uruguay International; striker Luis Suarez has secured the backing of his manager Brendan Rodgers after he dismissed fears that the striker will be forced out of the English game by continuing criticism.

Since his leaving his former club Ajax for the English Premier League and Liverpool precisely in January 2011 the forward player has had to endure so much and with the last game played by the Reds, there’s no signs of them easing off.

Looking back, the Uruguay international was banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, now he’s been accused of diving which from some quarters a sending-off from the game would have been the only option.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge expressed his concern the 25-year-old could walk away from the club because of the hard time he gets from opposition managers and supporters but Rodgers rejected that.

And according to Rodgers “I think he loves playing in English football,” said Rodgers of Suarez, who only signed a new long-term contract at the start of the season.

“I speak with Luis regularly and he loves the passion and excitement of the game over here.

“What he is a player who is mentally very strong – as you can see from his time here the amount of stick he has taken.

“It is actually a driver for him. It really motivates him and he loves being at Liverpool: he loves the city, the club and the supporters so I can’t see that (being forced out) happening.”

Suarez answered his critics, and more pertinently David Moyes with a sarcastic dive at the Everton manager’s feet after his deflected shot brought the opening goal in Sunday’s Merseyside derby draw.

Rodgers has been impressed by the way the South American has shouldered the burden of being the club’s only fit senior striker and insists it is a privilege to coach him.

“I thought he was outstanding (against Everton). He is a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm,” added the Northern Irishman.

“He is our only fit senior striker here and he was tireless against Reading and then we had to play a strong team against Anzi (in the Europa League).

“People maybe thought the condition of the team and him in particular would waver but the condition of the group, and particularly him up front, was amazing.

“He is a wonderful talent who will always provoke comments both positive and negative but the bottom line is he is a fantastic player.

 

“He is goal scorer and his goals to games ratio this season is fantastic.

“He is really inspirational for the group because he works hard every day and he is quality at that top end of the field: he genuinely is a world-class striker.

“It is a privilege to work with a player of that quality every day.”

After three tough games Suarez is likely to be given the night off tomorrow when Rodgers’ former club Swansea visit in the Capital One Cup.

Liverpool, the defending champions, came through the last round with a 2-1 win at West Brom having fielded a team with an average age of 24 years 10 days, while seven of the 13 players used that night were under 22.

The Reds boss has admitted league performances are his priority and so the side he puts out in this competition will be shorn of first-team stars and tomorrow is no different.

But he intends to pay every respect to the club he left in the summer, insisting the close relationship he had with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins remains strong and that actually helped when he went back to buy midfielder Joe Allen.

“It improved the Allen deal as I was able to speak to Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe and he came back to me and told me there was a possibility he could be sold,” he said.

“We became close both professionally and personally there and our relationship is still strong.

“Leaving there was sad but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We are not in contact as much – we would have spoken every day and had many great football conversations – but there is still that respect there and an admiration for the work they do.

“I always like to leave on good terms. There is no problem there.

“But we want to get through and nothing will get in the way of that.

“No sentiment gets in the way of wanting to progress to the next round.”

Robin Van Persie will remain a Gunner – Wenger

Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger made his stand known to those bidding for his star striker Robin van Persie that the Dutchman is not going anywhere as he is keeping him as he admitted the 28 year old is one of the best strikers in the World.

Italian Serie A Champion, Juventus, EPL champion Manchester City are the top bidders for his signature as Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson joined the bidding race on Friday to have him at Old Trafford, a bid which is believed to around £30 million.

Van Persie’s deal at Emirates Stadium expires next summer and he is presently unsettled at the club due to Manchester United’s joining the bid for his signature.

Van Persie won both Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year prizes in recognition of his phenomenal 36-goal contribution for Arsenal in the 2011/12 campaign.

Van Persie we learnt will not travel to Asia later today on Arsenal’s pre-season tour, although the Gunners were keen to stress his non-involvement was due to the striker having only trained for four days since returning from holiday.

The saga is shaping up to be a carbon copy of those that saw Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both sold last summer – something which dragged on towards the tail end of the transfer window.

But Wenger is convinced that Van Persie will continue to give his all for Arsenal – regardless of whether he leaves the club.

But in case Van Persie leaves Arsenal, the clubalready signed two new strikers in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud but are also said to be lining up Spain star Fernando Llorente.