Lunatic things happening in football lately, like some ‘whooligans’ preventing a match from going on to Juventus failing to win the Serie A.
Idiotism is not synonymous to drinking a bottle of Elliot alone, drinking a cup of zobo is enough to make some Desmond, Garuba and Dino think they own a multi million dollars project, even when their landlord must not know their whereabouts. Bringing us to some of the matters the Lunatic wants to talk about today.
Till now, I don’t really know why some people disrupted the Manchester United vs Liverpool match from going on. I have heard all sorts. From, Adidas making a zebra design jersey, to too much red pigment in the home jersey, to David Beckham joining Real Madrid bla bla bla. Maybe I do not really have a head for the economic side of football but who dictates to a business owner how to run his business? Who really owns most of these clubs? The highest share owner who invested his money in the business or the man who loves the club and buys some Aba-made merchandises?
I really do not get the protest against the Glazers. Manchester United have the most expensive defender and midfielder in the Premier League. They spend money to buy players and manage the club resources, which is what fans (including Arsenal fans) expect of their owners. The protest by the whooligans appears more like an attempt to postpone Manchester City’s league-title party. Manchester City will win the league, Manchester United are simply accompanying them to the title like they did in 2018. City are in the final of the Champions League while United are on the brink of the Europa League final. United are wishing they are City right now. The noise is coming from the red side these days.
Manchester City are in the final of the Champions League because Neymar is still alive. Neymar was so bent on being the star of the day while his teammates tried to overturn the first leg deficit against City that he ran about like an headless chicken. The Citizens won because they were the better team (emphasis on team), not because the referee told Paredes and Herrera to f*ck off. In truth, the referee could have called some of the PSG players pussy (as in, pussy cat) because they behaved like one. I can’t totally blame them, I am also a proponent of ‘when you lose the match, don’t lose the fight’. However, I hope the referee was able to get Fernandinho’s shirt and autograph after the match, the only thing Fernandinho had to do to get a yellow card was to headbutt Neymar for being an annoying compatriot but he didn’t.
Congratulations to City, billions of dollars after, they are in the Champions League final. One must also salute the genius of Guardiola for taking an expensive assemblage of players to the final. Afterall, it is not necessarily the richest kid that has all the books and facilities that comes first in class. Chelsea or Real Madrid awaits them in the final. We dey here.
Beat Granada at home and go top of the table, Barcelona did not draw, they lost. Bottling is becoming very synonymous with Barcelona. Remember Rome, remember Anfield, I mean they allowed Divock Origi have the best night of his life. If he will ever have such a night again, it will never be on a football pitch, it will be on the bed.
The title race in La Liga is still a three-horse or a two-horse and a Chihuahua race. Barcelona must prove they are not the Chihuahua by winning what looks like a play-off against Atletico Madrid next weekend. They seems to have mastered the art of bottling better than a certain club in North London.
Juve and Pirlo
Juve and Pirlo sounds like Duvet and Pillow. A perfect match on a cold morning but this Juve and Pirlo do not look like a perfect match.
Apart from being a lookalike of the pictorial representation of Jesus, the only reason Juventus must have hired Pirlo as coach is because he is Andrea Pirlo. I mean, it is not like he did apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola, like someone else we know. Juventus must have felt being a good passer of the ball is synonymous to passing tactical information.
Well, when you have done something consecutively for nine years, there is everything tendency to get bored and want to do something else. I mean from winning the title to contesting for top four trophy, variety is the spice of life. Anyway, congratulations to Inter Milan.
Jose Mourinho finds himself in Rome. When you are in Rome, act like a Roman but trust Mourinho won’t. The same way he acted like a Mancunian while he was in North London, expect no difference.
I always said Sam Allardyce’s jazz was going to fail this time. It is looking like I am a prophet? No. It is simple, everyday no be Christmas. Every lunatic knows that. It is high time clubs stop that sh*t of going into the season with flamboyant coaches only to sack them for Allardyce to try escape relegation. Appoint Allardyce from the beginning if you trust him to do the job.
I am tired of writing, I have to go face other hustles. If you see a guy talking to himself on your street, that’s me, holler, I won’t bite you.
It was a weekend where it was difficult to select from a number of forwards that had stellar performances. It was also a week were some teams upset the odds in impressive fashions in their bids to beat the drop. From the best of the best from the top five leagues, here is our selected XI and the substitutes.
Goalkeeper – Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
The goalie kept Newcastle in the game with eight saves. The bedrock of the Geordies eventually leaving Anfield with a point.
Rightback – Benno Shmitz (Cologne)
Cologne gave their survival bid a boost with a 3-2 win at Augsburg. Shmitz was instrumental to the win, with an assist for one of the goals.
Leftback – Matto Darmian (Inter Milan)
The former Manchester United fullback scored the only goal in Inter’s win against Hellas Verona. The win takes Inter closer to their first Serie A title since 2010.
Centreback – Gerzino Nyamsi (Rennes)
The Frenchman scored one of the goals in Rennes commanding 5-1 win against Dijon.
Center-back – Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Another Frenchman partners Nyamsi in defence. Laporte scored the only goal as Pep Guardiola’s men won their fourth consecutive League Cup. Sturdy in defence, he was able to head in the only goal at the other end.
Center-midfield – Kavin Phillips (Leeds United)
The English midfielder was massive in midfield, sniffing out the danger posed by Bruno Fernandes as Leeds held Manchester United to a goalless match at Old Trafford. Manchester United had to go recover Fernandes from his pocket after the match.
Center-midfield – Ashley Westwood (Burnley)
Westwood pulled the strings in midfield and also contributed a goal as Burnley annihilated Wolves like they were chickens at the Molineaux. Westwood combined with Wood to do the damage. Luckily for Wolves, Burnley don’t have Eastwood, Southwood and Northwood.
Attacking-midfield – Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta)
Atalanta put five past Bologna at the weekend. Malinovskyi was at the heart of the brilliant attacking play. The Ukrainian had a goal and an assist.
Forward – Terem Moffi (Lorient)
Moffi continues to show Gernot Rohr he deserves a place in the Super Eagles with a hattrick in Lorient’s 4-1 win against Bordeaux. He has now scored 14 goals in Ligue 1 this season.
Forward – Chris Wood (Burnley)
Wood smashed Wolves into smithereens, they thought they were hit by an iron. The New Zealand forward scored a hattrick in Burnley’s 4-0 win away at Wolves.
Forward – Joel Pohjanpola (Union Berlin)
Pohjanpalo scored a hattrick as Union Berlin smashed Werder Bremen 3-1 at the weekend. The Finnish forward, on loan from Bayer Leverkusen scored all his goals in the second half.
Manager – Bo Svensson (Mainz)
A performance that restricted Bayern Munich with Robert Lewandowski to just one goal in the dying minutes of the match. Mainz’s Bo Svensson is our manager of the week.
Substitutes: A.Lafont (Nantes), I.Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), R.Bensebaini (B Mochengladbach), R.De Paul (Udinese), F.De Jong (Barcelona), J.Correa (Lazio), B.Yilmaz(Lille)
What is your opinion on our selections? Let us hear from you. Follow us on Twitter @goaldball
What a dramatic week it has been in football. Lots of gbas gbos left right and center. I have been munching my popcorn and sipping my bottle of cold somethings as I enjoy the drama, which may not be all over yet. Talking about all over, it is definitely all over for Jose Mourinho at Tottenham. Like say I be prophet, I spoke about when Mourinho starts calling out his players being the sign of the end-times. Musa continues to see a lot at Kano gate. Fellow lunatics, let me share my thoughts with you.
Super League Brouhaha
It was like some civil war in football. It looked like a military take over of football. The defenders of democracy cried foul and it seems there’s reprieve albeit temporarily.
The birth of the Super League might be delayed since everyone is pulling out, instead of going in with a condom. The fear of the result seems to have overwhelmed the ‘rebels’, so they are pulling out and keeping their hungry one-eyed men in their pants.
What’s the Lunatic’s take on this matter? You should have guessed right, I don’t give a damn!
There’s already lots of money in football and it is already looking very unfair. If countries can pump money into clubsides and make them very heavy chested like Cosy, leaving others with chest looking like overgrown pimples, it stopped being fair. Manchester City and PSG are world powers today and semi-finalists of the UEFA Champions League because they have undue advantage and can spend money endlessly. Money took over a long time ago and it stopped being fair.
As a football fan and analyst or lunatic, I enjoy what I get served. The structures of the local leagues and continental competitions as they are today, were not determined by me but I enjoy the game nonetheless. Maybe a lot of football aficionados are just impervious to change. If the Super League had gone on or when it finally happens, the football world will get used to watching and loving it. Many of the critics will enjoy and lick from the soup that will trickle down.
Whatever happens, heaven will not fall. Everybody go dey alright last las.
The Sacked One
They say coaches are in the business to get sacked. I can’t remember a manager that went through his career without getting sacked, or at least ‘leave by mutual consent’.
For Jose Mourinho, it looks like he has gone full circle. With and without a disrespect to Tottenham – even though they also flirted with the Super League, they represented like a drop down for Mouinho. After Porto, Mourinho was at Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester United, those are in a higher class than Spurs. Mourinho appears to have gone full circle. ‘Same coach, different players’. Very few clubs can afford to give him the class of players he referred to when insinuating the players at Spurs are not good enough. Out of those few clubs, very few will be willing to hire Mourinho and his sometimes tactics of the 90s.
When he ran his mouth and call other managers various names at his early days in Chelsea, those were the things the managers were going through then – inferior players to the ones he had at his disposal. Maybe a lesson in humility but one Mourinho will not learn and I will not want him to learn. What is Mourinho without those jibes? Anyways, he has gone from the Special One, to the Chosen One to the Sacked one. We await his next destination. Maybe it is time Mourinho returns home like Musa.
Musa at Kano’s gate
Maybe we should first applaud Kano Pillars that they chose to unveil Ahmed Musa. A round of applause. I actually find it boring that at this time and age we are still talking about branding and packaging in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Back in school, there were those students that will still fail an exam even when the answers are given to them – Timo Werner must have been such a student, even with the goal gaping, we know what he does. Kano Pillars had a lot of examples to copy from. They should have gone to check how Manchester United nearly brought the internet down with ‘Pogback’, even though the jury is still out about how successful the deal has been on the pitch. Anyways, maybe it was a ploy by Kano Pillars, the unveiling of Musa still got people talking anyway. Different approach, same result.
For Musa, we hope it won’t end in tears. Musa can end up seeing what he does not expect at Kano’s gate, if he thinks he has seen it all. As I said earlier, the move appears like one for the twilight of a career, left for Musa to prove me wrong.
This is where I end it for today. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal
If you banked on our bankers last week you must have smiled to the bank. We were on point like decimal. That’s how stars do. We go again today, threading with caution as usual.
We have selected our bankers we believe will definitely happen, going by permutations. We have the Banana Peels – the matches you should try to avoid and the Boald Call for the bold to stake on.
In La Liga, Atletico Madrid are due a win, there is no better place to start than a home win against Eibar. Atletico are valued at around 1.5 for a win. Eibar are bottom of the table and have not won any of their last nine matches.
In the Copa Del Rey, Athletic Bilbao take on Barcelona. Bilbao are always tricky opponents. They defeated Barcelona in the Super Cup and lost out narrowly in last year’s final played recently. However, Barcelona should be up for this. They were in good form before losing the El Clasico last week. Barcelona should win this, it comes at around 1.6.
Crotone will play Udinese in Serie A. A common feature of Crotone’s matches is goals. They score in abundance and concede in abundance. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.2. You could go for more and do an over 2.5.
Still in Serie A, Lazio are in good form and have won their last four. They take on Benevento, who have just one win in nine – interestingly against Juventus. At around 1.4, Lazio should get a win. They also have a good record against Benevento.
PSG knows a win can take them to the top of Ligue 1, they should win at home against St Etienne, it comes at around 1.3.
Atalanta vs Juventus should produce goals. You can go for over 1.5 or over 2.5, or a BTS, which we are recommending. It comes at around 1.4.
Marseille vs Lorient in Ligue 1 should produce a home side double-chance. Marseille have a better home record, just as Lorient do not have a good away record. Marseille double chance is around 1.2.
Like last week, still avoid Bayern Munich for now. They go away to Wolfsburg with lots of their top players out injured. Wolfsburg are in good form. They have lost just two of their last nine. It will be a tricky one.
Chelsea against Manchester City in the FA Cup is tricky. Chelsea are more solid defensively under Thomas Tuchel and it could be a bedrock for a cup success. A safe bet might be a Manchester City double chance as this match might not produce goals. Stay away, if you can.
Norwich are on the verge of gaining promotion back to the Premier League. They have tough opponents in fellow promotion contenders Bournemouth this weekend. Norwich are unbeaten in nine, seven wins in those. In that time, Bournemouth have lost just once, seven wins. With promotion very close, Norwich should be poised for a win. It comes at over 2.0. If you are Boald, go for it.
That’s all for today. We have supplied the assists, the finishing skills is yours.
We will always advise you to bet responsibly. Don’t stake a money that will affect you. We wish you the luck of the green.
PSG knocking Bayern Munich out of this year’s UEFA Champions League butreses the point that what Zinedine Zidane achieved with Real Madrid in the competition between 2016 and 2018 is unreal. I can’t associate managerial wizardry to a particular type of hairline. However, It is funny that for all of Zidane’s achievement, he is not considered as a tactical genius while the other guy with his type of hairline is regarded as one. After another win in El Clasico, Zidane could be on his way to back-to-back La Liga titles with a ‘Ronaldo-less’ and ‘crocked- Hazard’ team. Talking about managers and hair, maybe grey hair does not necessarily translate to wisdom (especially those tinted ones), as posited in this clime. We saw two managers with grey hairs drag each other at the weekend, taking me to the Mourinho Derby.
Good Father Mourinho
You know, especially as a kid, when you have bottled anger and someone mistakenly touches you, you explode. For Jose Mourinho, there will always be something to talk about when things are not going his way. He starts reminding everyone of how he invented football, won all the trophies at a swoop while controlling the players with a pad from the comfort of his sitting room. He reminds us of what he has won in the past. How does that change the fact that they have increased the price of a bottle of beer at my favorite joint, it’s paining me sha. Hello Mr Mourinho, that does not take away the fact that you are not meeting expectations at your present club, like in your last two jobs.
In response to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s jibe at Son Heung Min acting to get a Manchester United goal chalked off, Mourinho insinuated that Solskjaer is a bad father, which we don’t know. Many fathers won’t be good fathers in Mourinho’s books then, especially father’s from this clime. Apart from going to bed hungry for some misdemeanor, you also get some lashes. Many people from my climes will have telling tales but dare not tag their fathers bad.
Anyways, the issue is not about fatherhood. That’s what Mourinho does, he takes attention from the matter. The matter is that Tottenham have lost ten league matches this season, the highest in Mourinho’s career. He can’t start saying this players are not good, he once said they had better players than Manchester United. Make Mourinho no turn am to family matter, man should fix his rot.
A man that disrespected his elders does not even have the moral rights of talking about respect.
Good father Mourinho, face the job.
So Ahmed Musa is returning to play for Kano Pillars ten years after initially leaving for Europe, while Musa and I hope this will only be a temporary arrangement, at least for now. I can’t help but try to analyze the stage of Musa’s career.
Musa is 28. At 28, a player should be at the peak of his career. A decline is expected at the other side of 30, then the twilight. We have seen players return to play for their boyhood clubs at the twilight of their careers or return to their local leagues, it is nothing new. But it is not when they supposed to be at their peak, especially when they have not been blighted by injuries. Is Musa at the twilight of his career? Elder Arjen Robben recently returned to play for Groningen at 36. Even the likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and some others are playing well in their thirties like they are still ‘peaking’. Maybe those ones are exceptions but a player should not be at twilight at 28. I am not insinuating anything. Decipher what you want.
It is of more concern because Musa is the captain of the Super Eagles and expected to still be part of the team. Should a 28-year-old at his twilight be captaining the Super Eagles when there are many young players doing well?
So, since Gernot Rohr suggested that home based players should concentrate on doing well at the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – specifically for home-based players, Musa should also play for the CHAN team.
I have not forgotten that I said Sam Allardyce’s ‘jazz’ will fail this time at West Brom. After back-to-back wins, 8 goals scored in two matches and moving to within eight points from safety, could the big Sam perform another miracle? I still believe he won’t do it. It is easier for one Dollar to exchange for a hundred Naira than for West Brom to beat the drop this season.
I am tired of writing. There are many other hustles to do. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal
Many of the top matches lived up to their pre-match analysis at the weekend. The ‘Mourinho Derby’ and the ‘El Clasico were not devoid of drama. Some teams did their push for survival a whole world of good. Some of the players came to the party, we have made a selection of the best players across the top leagues, plus seven substitutes and a manager.
Goalkeeper- Ilian Meslier (Leeds United)
The young French goalkeeper was one of the heroes as 10-man Leeds United defeated leaders Manchester City 2-1. He made six saves to help the cause.
Rightback – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Despite questions about his defensive abilities, Trent served the attribute that has endeared him to football fans once again – impact in the attacking phase. Trent scored the winner as Liverpool saw off stubborn Aston Villa 2-1. Thankfully, he was not playing against Vinicius ‘Akpororo’.
Leftback – Quini (Granada)
Quinni did not play left-out, the leftback helped Granada come from behind to win at Valladolid with a goal in the 2-1 win.
Center-back – Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
The French defender was a rock in defence like Zuma rock as Chelsea won comfortably at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. Zouma contributed a goal in the 4-1 win.
Center-back – Martin Erlic (Spezia)
Not always will you see a center-back with a goal and an assist that helps his side turn defeat to victory. That was what Martin Erlic did in Spezia’s 3-2 win against Crotone.
Midfielder – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Salon D’Or star Paul Pogba turned up with a performance, this time on a football pitch. He was instrumental as Manchester United came from behind to earn a win that has brought out the ramblings from Jose Mourinho.
Midfielder – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
The German midfielder set Madrid on their way to an El Clasico win with a free kick goal that took Zidane’s men two up. He gave another composed midfield performance young midfielders will be envious of.
Attacking Midfielder – Stuart Dallas (Leeds United)
The Northern Irishman was the hero for Marcelo Bielsa’s men with two goals that downed Pep’s men at the Etihad.
Wing-forward – Jesse Lingard (West Ham)
‘J Lingz’ is discovering his inner CR7 at West Ham. The goals, the performances and dances are back. He scored another two at the weekend to help West Ham to a 3-2 win against Leicester City.
Wing-forward – Wahbi Khazri (St. Etienne)
Former Sunderland forward Wahbi Khazri went home with the match ball as St Etienne defeated Bordeaux 4-1. The Tunisian helped St Etienne go nine points above the relegation zone.
The Uruguayan was a menace as Manchester United ran riot at the New White Hart Lane. He scored a goal and saw another controversially chalked off as he turned back the years with a class center-forward performance.
Manager – Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds)
El Loco delivered a managerial masterclass as Leeds recorded a 2-1 win against Manchester City, despite playing with ten men for a long spell away from home. Pep must have taken lots of notes from this one.
Drop your comments and contributions. Which of our choices do you disagree with? Follow us on Twitter: @goaldbal
Make we hustle for our quick 2k. As we have always said, Boald Codes is to guide you, the choice is yours. The most important thing in betting is to know the matches to avoid, else the bookies won’t be in business. When you select the matches you expect to come through and they do come through, you don jam quick 2k.
After the teams returned from international breaks last week, this week should be clearer BUT some of the teams on the continent will be more focused there. It is also the time relegation threatened clubs start upsetting the apple carts, as we saw with West Brom winning at Chelsea last week. As usual, we have the Bankers, the Banana Peels and the Boald Calls. We will be as direct as possible, too much analysis no dey bring money.
In the Premier League, Manchester City vs Leeds should produce goals. Over 2.5 comes at around 1.4. For bigger odds, you could go for both to score.
Chelsea should bounce back from last week’s defeat, away at Selhurst Park. They are in a comfortable place in their Champions League tie, they should focus here. A Chelsea win comes at around 1.5. Don’t sleep on it.
Tottenham vs Manchester United, the Mourinho Derby is too close to call. Expect both sides to go for goals. Tottenham’s defence especially, can’t hold water. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.3, if you must play this game at all.
Real Madrid and Barcelona go into the El Clasico in good forms. They both know a win will take them closer to the tittle. It is a game that should produce goals. Both to score comes at around 1.5, go for it.
In the Serie A, both Inter Milan and Juventus have home matches against Cagliari and Genoa respectively. Both should win. Juventus should overcome their recent struggles here. A win for them comes at around 1.3. Inter Milan are in good form and coasting to the title, they are also valued at around 1.3 for a win.
Atalanta should win away against Fiorentina. It comes at around 1.5. Atalanta should do enough for a win, to solidify their push for Continental places. Over 1.5 could be a safer bet.
There are many matches you should be wary of this weekend but we have highlighted some and their alternatives.
Bayern Munich might play a depleted side against Union Berlin, with the Champions League return leg against PSG in their sights amidst lots of injury worries. Be wary of a Bayern win which comes at around 1.5. But the game should still produce goals. Over 2.5 could be safe.
Same goes for Borussia Dortmund, who have been poor in the Bundesliga, by their standards. They have a tricky away game at Stuttgart. It is also a game that should produce goals. Avoid a Dortmund away win.
PSG are valued at around 1.7 to win a match in Ligue 1, that should tell you something. They go away to Strasbourg, with the Champions League also in their sights. You should also go for goals in this one.
West Ham and Leicester are jostling for Champions League places. They play at the London stadium this weekend, with both in good form. West Ham are due a bad result and the signs are there. Expect Leicester to avenge the first leg defeat. If you are Boald go for a Leicester away win at around 2.4.
We have supplied the passes, put your finishing touches to score the goal. Wish you a green weekend. When you win, pay your tithes here.
The final bend of the season is here. No more international breaks this season. It is sprint to finish from now. The race is most likely for the swiftest. While some are staying permanently in their new found ‘tent’, some are grasping with trying to return to the top or Continental positions. Some are trying to swim out of the murky waters of relegation.
The Lunatic took some lessons from the world of football last weekend and here are his thoughts.
Arsenal’s Permanent Tent
Arsenal and their Youth Corper coach seems to have found home in tenth. They used to complain about going ‘forth’, so they have found a permanent ‘tent’. At a point under Arsene Wenger, finishing fourth was the standard till they started falling below. With Arsenal in it, it used to be a top-four in the Premier League. When Arsenal and Liverpool fell off, it was expanded to top six. If Arsenal are thinking it will be further expanded to top ten, they better wake up.
They have consistently held on to tenth this season. When it seems they have started to crawl up the table, they always find a way back to their tent. Against Liverpool last weekend, it was men against toddlers. With their Travis Scott captain, they were completely played out of the park.
The bad news for the Gunners with their empty riffles is they may miss out on Europe entirely next season except they win the Europa League. Let’s start welcoming Arsenal to the midtable club.
Pochettino in the farmer’s league
PSG winning the Ligue One is a giving or supposed to be. The ‘havesters’ have always been head and shoulders above the others in the farmer’s league. But it seems the farmers have revolted against the havesters this season. PSG also have a manager that is not used to harvesting and it seems the farmers have noticed it.
While PSG have made some headway in the Champions League, their poor performance in the Ligue One was highlighted by another home defeat against a top side. They had a chance of going top but blew it at home defeat against Lille. They have now lost five times at home this season. As usual, the returning Neymar gets so competitive in this sort of matches that he gets sent off. Just like he got sent off against Marseille earlier in the season, he got another red card against Lille. Anything to show he is committed to the cause.
At the other place where Pochettino left in England, chaos is brewing. Jose Mourinho as usual throws his players under the bus in public. Questioned about his team conceding a late goal, something not always attributed to a Mourinho team in the past. ‘Same coach, different players’ he said. Maybe a coach is as good as his players after all. No coach be genius.
Talking about ‘monkey no get skills, na tree near tree’. Atletico Madrid are close to completing a bottling, even Arsenal will be envious of. At the beginning of the year, Atletico Madrid were 10 points away, with a game in hand. With both Barcelona and Real Madrid struggling, it looked like Atletico Madrid winning their second league title under Diego Simeone was a giving.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are back in form and are breathing down Atletico’s neck. They are both one and three points away from Atletico respectively.
In addition to their tepid display against Chelsea in the Champions League. Someone’s sit should start becoming hot. Passion is not enough for the world’s most expensive manager anymore. He must earn his money by ensuring Atletico see this through.
The Lunatic will rest his pen here. Enjoy the midweek Champions League and Europa League matches. Someone said Chelsea were in good form till a President went to London and they got hit for five at home against West Brom. Porto are waiting.
The last line of the Nigeria national anthem – peace and unity – seems to have become just a mere recitation in recent years. Peace and unity seems non-existent in the present day Nigeria. There is hardly a time that the discussion of the unity of Nigeria has reached the crescendo it has gotten to recently, bar during the civil war. So many statements of discord and disunity has been flying out of different things called a mouth in recent months. Even as it seems that symbols and signs of Nigeria’s Unity continue to diminish by the day, the Super Eagles – Nigeria’s men national football team stands out, or so it seems.
The statement – ‘football unites Nigerians’ – has become so cliche that even a day old Nigerian must have heard it. While we say it and know it, how significant is it?
The Super Eagles have gathered from their various bases to play two AFCON qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho. In the midst of the various dissenting voices, it seems the Super Eagles have stood aloof.
I playfully wrote on my social media, expressing my surprise that one of the regional ‘warlords’ has not called for his ‘kinsmen’ to withdraw from the Nigerian team since he already declared the independence of his region. It is interesting to note that the various discussions and analysis that have been done on the Eagles has had nothing to do with their various regions. The players have been analysed and rated as Nigerians. When Nigerians raise eyebrows over the non-inclusion of certain players, it has had nothing to do with the regions they belonged to.
From time immemorial, the Super Eagles have been made up of players from various regions and backgrounds. When Paul Onuachu netted to give the Super Eagles victory against Benin Republic last weekend, all Nigerians celebrated not questioning the state or region the goalscorer comes from. In time past when Nigerians have won accolades in football, all Nigerians have celebrated not minding where the players come from.
The Super Eagles are one of the best teams in Africa and a force to be reckoned with in the world. It is hard to see any of the regional national teams being as strong as the Super Eagles if there is a division. For instance, how much will a South-Western team be different from the Benin Republic team? Or a North-Eastern team better than Niger national team? Together, with the various constituents, the Nigeria national team is stronger.
The stories of many of the players is also the typical Nigerian story. Some of them southerners born and bred in the north. Started their footballing trades and honed their skills in other regions and that didn’t stop them from getting to the top of their careers. It is a message of how a Nigerian can become successful and reach the top of their endeavours in any region in Nigeria.
Like in the Super Eagles, if we focus more on bringing our various strengths together, we become stronger as a nation. Like the Super Eagles, if we see our challenges as our opponents and face them together, we have a better chance of winning. Even those born and bred in diaspora join forces with the home breeds to make the Super Eagles stronger, we are all seen as one and derive joy as one.
If the Super Eagles is seen as a microcosm of Nigeria and the lessons are taken and put into practice, Nigeria will be a better place for all Nigerians.