Balotelli missing something in his head’

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Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has warned enigmatic Italy forward Mario Balotelli to change his attitude if he wants to become a world great.

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The well-travelled forward, who turned out for clubs including Chelsea, Inter, Milan and Lazio, feels that Balotelli, renowned for his controversial behaviour both on and off the field, is wasting his talent with his current mental attitude.

“There are three things needed to make a good footballer,” Crespo said to FcInterNews.it.

“One is your legs, another is your heart and the last one is your head. Using all three, your talent can emerge.

“Balotelli is missing some ingredients. I would define it as wasted talent because his talent is enormous. He is maybe missing something in his head a little bit.”

Super Mario has scored 17 goals in 34 appearances for the Rossoneri this season, yet has earned a total of 14 yellow cards as well.

And Crespo believes it is not only a striker’s goal-scoring ability that makes them a good player.

“Being a great champion doesn’t mean just scoring goals, but also what you say and do,” he said. (kickoffnigeria)

 

Barca president: We will fight against Fifa

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has labelled Fifa’s transfer ban on the Spanish club as an “injustice” and has vowed to contest all allegations made against the La Liga giants.

Earlier this week, the soccer world governing body found the club guilty of breaching various transfer regulations in the signing of youth players, yet Bartomeu feels the federation has not acted fairly in their decision to sanction transfers at the club for the next 14 months.

“We’re going to fight because we think this is an injustice,” said the Barcelona president, as quoted by the BBC.

Bartomeu feels that the club’s world-renowned academy at the Masia has been unfairly targeted.

“It is not our intention to have to surrender the model of our youth system,” he said.

“The Masia system is not to be touched, that is something we want our members and fans to know.

“We will fight against Fifa and this unjust attack on a model we have shown to be a huge success on a global level for over three decades.”

Bartomeu insists that the accusations made against his team are false, and were made by someone wishing to tarnish the name of the club.

“We are still studying certain documents and we will continue doing that until we can say which people, or who, is behind this,” added Bartomeu.

“We know we have to fight hard. We have had enough of this basically. Somebody out there is trying to tarnish the good name of our model.

“It is hurting Barcelona. We have to show we have done nothing wrong. We have tried to be as transparent as possible, explain what has happened and let people know the truth and that the accusations are false.”

The Barca president said the club would continue with their transfer plans as normal.

“We have no intention of changing our [transfer] plans at the moment,” he said.

“We have a season to get on with and at the right time we will be announcing new signings, who will at least be a goalkeeper and a centre-back.”  (kickoffnigeria)

 

Wenger refusing to give up on title

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal have “turned the corner” after their recent setbacks against Chelsea and Swansea, while he believes the Gunners still have an outside chance of winning the title.

Wenger’s side lost 6-0 at Chelsea last month, before conceding a late own goal that cost them two points in a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea a few days later.

However, Arsenal recovered from the slump with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City on Saturday to help boost their chances in the race for fourth place ahead of Everton, who they face on Sunday.

“I believe we were a bit flat after the Swansea and Chelsea games, and what was vital for us was not to lose against City and if possible to win,” Wenger told his prematch news conference. “But at least to come out with a strong performance. We feel we have done that so I think we have turned the corner and we have an opportunity to show that against Everton.”

The Arsenal boss also believes the morale-boosting result against City can reinvigorate their Premier League title challenge.

“First of all we have not given up on that, as long as there is a mathematical chance we want to fight,” he said. “It is disappointing to have dropped off from the top of course, and we have to give absolutely everything to come back into it.

“For us [Everton] is an opportunity to go up forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton of course. It’s both. As I told you after the last game against Man City, we look in front of us and behind us as well. That’s what the game is about on Sunday.”

Wenger believes it is City who are best placed to win the title, despite Liverpool currently holding top spot, having played two games more.

“Mathematically it is possible,” the Frenchman said of Liverpool’s chances. “Why do I say that? I don’t know more than you. Nobody knows, that is why it is interesting. It is a possibility yes, that they can win the Premier League.

“I don’t know, I still think City have two games in hand and the two games are at home, where they are strong in the Premier League. So they have a huge advantage. There are still a lot of twists and turns in the Premier League until the end of the season and there is no clear favourite.

“Liverpool has an advantage as they don’t play any competition other than the Premier League for a long, long time so they have only one target and they can of course be stable in their preparation. That is a little advantage, but it is very tight.”

Wenger pointed to defeats like Chelsea’s loss to Crystal Palace last weekend as proof that Arsenal are not out of the title race just yet.

“I think it shows just that Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are in danger everywhere, especially against teams who fight not to go down,” he said. “These teams are difficult to beat. The fixtures can have a part to play.

“The target is to finish as high as possible. Where that will be at the moment, I must say, behind us will depend only on our results. In front of us will depend on our results and the results on the other teams so that’s impossible to predict.

“I still think yes [we can win the title], because you don’t want to give up as long as you have a mathematical chance. We are certainly still out, out, out, outsiders, I agree with you on that, that we have a very small percentage.

“If you don’t fight for a stand you have results like Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea and if you have given up because we didn’t believe it, you would be absolutely 100 percent guilty. We have a small percentage to do it, but this small percentage you have to give absolutely everything to make it possible.

“Everybody has the right to see our size as big or as small as he wants. For us, on our side, no matter how big the chance is we have absolutely to give everything to fight for it.”

 

Norwich bank on Yobo fitness

Norwich City manager Chris Houghton is banking on Joseph Yobo to recover in time to face West Brom on Saturday.

Yobo was ruled out of action last weekend when the Canaries suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of Swansea, as a result of a calf injury he suffered.

But the manager is banking on the availability of the of the 33-year-old when they go to the Hawthorns this weekend, after he returned to training with the rest of the team.

“He was out on the training pitch on Thursday (yesterday). He’s been ok this week, so we’re quite confident that he’ll come through Friday (today) as well,” Houghton told Norwich City TV.

Since joining on loan from Fenerbahce in January, Yobo has been a mainstay in Norwich’s backline, and has been instrumental to their fine run in the turn of the year. (kickoffnigeria)

 

House of Reps wade into Okpala’s case

The House of Representatives Committee on Sports has charged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to pay dismissed tactician Sylvanus Okpala his outstanding financial entitlements.

Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Ayo Omidiran, while criticizing the NFF for not paying Okpala his entitlements, revealed that she had not come in contact with the ex-international’s petition to the Committee.

Omidiran stated that if she had been aware of the petition, she would have ensured the matter was amicably resolved without recourse to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), were Okpala has referred the matter in his search for justice.

”If I had seen his petition nothing would have made him to petition the Federation to CAS because we would have resolved it once and for all,” the lawmaker told Vanguard.

“The truth is that NFF should pay him all his dues, and I can assure you that once I see the petition action would be taken and Okpala will withdraw his petition to CAS.

“He should not have gone that far but that is the highest arbitration body in sports administration in the world, I know that once we step in, he would withdraw the petition.” (kickoffnigeria)

 

Amuneke praises team after 6-0 thrashing

 

Golden Eaglets coach Emmanuel Amuneke has praised his boys after they thrashed the country’s women’s team, the Super Falcons, 6-0 in a friendly on Friday at NFF/FIFA Goal project field.

Speaking after the 60-minute duel, Amuneke said the lads have substance to build upon in the days ahead, while insisting that nobody has been guaranteed a place in the team yet.

“We are impressed not because of the number of the goals we scored but because the boys have started showing what they have been learning in the last few days,” said the former African Footballer of the Year.

“The level of their performance is encouraging and it is our duty to demand more from them but there is substance to build upon from these boys.”
The match was an opportunity for the Eaglets coaches to watch their new recruits under match situation and they responded well.

The lads would soon take the initiative after the Super Falcons had taken the kick off.

Chidera Ejuke grabbed the curtain raiser in the sixth minute with a tap in off a pass from Kehinde Ayinde.

He was back 10 minutes later when he rode through the Falcons’ defence for his second goal of the match to end the first half 2-0 in favour of the budding Eaglets.

Amuneke brought in some fresh faces in the second half leaving behind Henry Daniel, Kingsley Michael, Joshua Auta and Dauda Abdul-Ganiyu.

Henry would turn to Falcons’tormentor as he broke freely from the right flank. Six minutes after the restart, he fed new comer, Paul Obasi to score Eaglets’ third goal. It was Henry again that provided
Michael with the pull out to slot the ball behind the Falcons’ net for the fourth goal in the 41st minute.

He would later cap his fine performance barely a minute later when he guided the ball into the net after collecting a through ball from Orji Okoronkwo but it was Okoronkwo who scored the final goal of the match when he got a through pass from Henry yet again. (MTNFootball.com)

Sacked 3SC players at loggerheads with club

Sacked Shooting Stars players are at loggerheads with the club management over the issuance of their clearance papers by the club to allow them seek for jobs elsewhere.

Some of the sacked players engaged some club officials in a very serious argument when they learnt they cannot get their clearance without paying for it.

According to the bitter players, 3SC general manager Rasheed Balogun asked the players to pay the sum of 500,000 Naira each, in addition to what the club is owing the players to secure their clearance.

It was learnt that 11 players have been declared surplus to requirement at 3SC. They include Samuel Akinbinu, Thomas Adeshina, Bobby Clement, Babangida Ibrahim and Yomi Akinsade, who was drafted into the main team from the feeders’ team.

Others are Niyi Akande, Ekon Effiong, Lukman Oyelade, Abdulsalam Atilola, Dauda Kazeem and Chijioke Joseph.  (kickoffnigeria)


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