Archives December 2022

FOOTBALL: LIVERPOOL BEAT MANCHESTER UNITED TO SIGNING PSV TALISMAN, CODY GAKPO

Liverpool have beaten Manchester United to the signing of Dutch and PSV forward, Cody Gakpo.

The 23-year-old forward had a superb outing with the Dutch team at the just World Cup in Qatar. With the forward scoring three times in four matches in Qatar.

Gakpo was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford last summer before United decided to prioritise a move for Ajax winger Antony.

The Eindhoven born forward will now join Jurgen Klopp for an undisclosed fee. But PSV sporting director Marcel Brands has confirmed it is a club record sale.

The Dutch Eredivisie side released a statement on their Instagram account, which read: “PSV and Liverpool have reached an agreement on the proposed transfer of Cody Gakpo.

“The 23-year-old attacker will leave for England imminently where he will be subjected to the necessary formalities ahead of the completion of the transfer.”

The fee will be undisclosed, but PSV sporting director Marcel Brands has confirmed it is a club record sale.

POLICE BRUTALITY: Slain Lawyer Bolanle was pregnant

Celebrity designer, Toyin Lawani, has revealed that the lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, who was killed by a police officer attached to the Ajiwe Police Station in the Ajah area of Lagos State on Christmas Day, was pregnant.

Sharing a video via her Instagram account on Monday, Lawani revealed her relationship with the deceased, their last chat and more.

She said, “Look, I cried myself to sleep but it is not a joke, Bolanle is gone. She still chatted with me last week. She is very peaceful, her husband always ready to go… they don’t have ‘wahala’ and I heard this morning that she was shot by the police at Ajah. She went to buy pizza for Christmas, for her daughter, she was shot in front of her daughter. The police asked them to park and there was a car in front of them, they were about to park not like they were moving or anything and they shot her in the chest. She died on the spot.

“She is pregnant. Nigeria police, when are you people going to stop giving these drunkards (in) uniforms. These people on the road, they will be disturbing everybody’s peace for no reason, trying to extort money from people. Christmas Day, Bolanle! Haaa! Oh my God! We must all make sure that we support her, make sure whoever did this to her pays for his crime.”

WORLD CUP: Argentina are the most tactically flexible World Cup winners we have ever seen – Michael Cox

This is how World Cups are won. They are rarely won by truly legendary sides, and they are often not won by the outstanding side in the tournament. The World Cup isn’t about playing spectacular football all the way through; it’s simply about finding a way. It usually involves shutting down the opposition, and generally depends upon fine margins.

Argentina were not a perfect side. They lost to Saudi Arabia in the group stage. On two occasions, against the Netherlands in the quarter-final and France in the final, they blew two-goal leads and relied on a penalty shootout to triumph. They were slightly fortunate not to suffer the same fate against Australia in the second round. But tactically, they neutralised the opposition for long periods, particularly at the start of matches. They also maximised the influence of their best player.

Lionel Scaloni didn’t have a Plan A at this competition. He used a 4-4-2 against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, before moving to 4-3-3 against Poland. He then reverted to 4-4-2 against Australia — and after switching to 5-3-2 at the start of the second half in that game, stuck with the 5-3-2 against the Netherlands. He switched to 4-4-2 again against Croatia, and then to 4-3-3 against France. No other World Cup winning side has been this flexible.

Even the one time he didn’t change formation between matches, for the win over Mexico, Scaloni changed half of his outfielders. And as often happens with the eventual winners, Scaloni suddenly found key players midway through the tournament.

Alexis Mac Allister didn’t start the opening game, but started the other six, and was excellent in the final. Leandro Paredes started the first game in the holding role, and Guido Rodriguez started the second. It was the third choice in that position, Enzo Fernandez, who made the role his own. Julian Alvarez started the tournament on the bench, and came into the side in a left-sided position against Poland, before leading the line in the knockout stages, when Scaloni’s formation choices worked well.

Against Australia the 4-4-2 was used, with Messi playing a more withdrawn role against an Australia side that spent long periods without the ball. He was able to exert his influence in deeper zones.

Against the Netherlands the 5-3-2 was introduced, providing a spare man at the back and using wing-backs against wing-backs. Nahuel Molina and Marcos Acuna didn’t simply nullify Denzel Dumfries and Daley Blind — Molina ran in behind to open the scoring from Messi’s pass…

…and Acuna won the penalty for the second.

The 4-4-2 used against Croatia in the semi-final featured a narrow midfield to essentially block up the midfield against Croatia’s wonderful passers in that zone, and Alvarez, full of running, dropped back onto Marcelo Brozovic without possession…

…and sprinted forward through the Croatia defence for the first two goals. He then finished the move for the third, courtesy of Messi’s wonderful assist.

That assist, surely the best of the tournament, summed up why Messi was allowed freedom from defensive responsibilities, allowed to save his energy for brilliant attacking bursts. This is ultimately Messi’s World Cup victory: seven goals, three assists. Scaloni based the side entirely around Messi’s needs, even if he was used in three different roles: second striker, right of a front three, false nine. Whatever the formation, Messi ended up in his favoured positions.

He is surrounded by good rather than great players, who understand his genius and happily do his running for him — Alvarez and Rodrigo De Paul in particular. The comparisons to Diego Maradona in 1986 are inevitable considering their shared nationality, but it’s appropriate even without them both wearing the albiceleste. No other World Cup-winning side in the intervening years has been squarely based around one player. Even Brazil in 2002 were generally billed as the ‘Three Rs’ of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho until Ronaldo dominated the final.

Scaloni’s plan for the final was his most attack-minded, and his most effective from the outset.

It wasn’t a huge surprise that Di Maria returned for the final, in place of Paredes. But it was a surprise to see him deployed on the left.

Di Maria had played from the right in this tournament, and it was from the right that he was the match-winner in last year’s Copa America final victory against Brazil. It seemed most likely Di Maria would come into the side to help block up the flank occupied by Kylian Mbappe and Theo Hernandez. For all Di Maria’s attacking qualities, he’s always been a worker, accustomed to playing balancing roles to help Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mbappe shine for Argentina, Real Madrid and PSG respectively over the years.

Instead, Di Maria played from the left of a 4-3-3, with Messi playing from the right. This was a significant gamble, leaving Hernandez free to fly forward and combine with Mbappe.

They combined dangerously just before Argentina’s opener, winning a free-kick by the byline, which Olivier Giroud headed over. De Paul, playing to the right of Argentina’s midfield trio, was overworked.

But there were two benefits to this approach. First, Messi — given freedom from defensive duties, as ever — was left free to wander into space behind Hernandez, and was regularly involved. Secondly, and more significantly, Di Maria had a stormer down the left. Scaloni’s precise logic for using him down that flank is a little unclear. France’s makeshift right-back Jules Kounde hadn’t struggled defensively in this tournament, whereas Hernandez on the other flank certainly had. Perhaps Scaloni, a former right-back himself, sensed that a regular centre-back playing out wide wouldn’t relish playing against speed and trickery.

If so he was right. Di Maria won the penalty for the opener, from Ousmane Dembele’s foul.

He then popped up to round off a brilliant move for the second, which stemmed from Argentina breaking into the space behind Hernandez again.

He was outstanding throughout the first half, whether going down the outside of Kounde or looking to combine with Messi. It brought to mind his strong performance in the 2014 Champions League final down the left.

The curious thing about Scaloni’s approach in the second half was that, having shown a determination to switch to a five-man defence earlier in the competition, he didn’t opt to do so here. Maybe he considered that his switch against Australia was too cautious, and invited too much pressure. There had, in truth, been minimal sign that France were set to launch a comeback, so you can understand why he opted to stick with his initial shape, and when Di Maria inevitably ran out of steam after 64 minutes, Scaloni brought on left-back Marcos Acuna to play in tandem with Nicolas Tagliafico. That was what Scaloni did at a similar point in last year’s Copa America final, albeit it made more sense in that match after Brazil’s change of formation.

Argentina continued to play in a 4-4-2, simply with a left-back on the left of midfield. And with Didier Deschamps having essentially switched to a front four boasting bags of pace — Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram and Kingsley Coman — it was surprising that Scaloni didn’t do what he did against Australia, bringing on Lisandro Martinez to provide a spare man at the back.

Suddenly, Argentina looked ragged.

The thrilling extra-time period felt like tactical anarchy. Whereas some have suggested that the increased number of substitutions available hands managers too much control, maybe it’s the opposite. By the end of extra-time, Argentina had made six substitutions and France seven, as Adrien Rabiot’s departure was as a concussion substitution. The more changes, the more fresh legs, the less managers seem able to control the game. After Messi put Argentina ahead, this time Scaloni did change to a back five for the last few minutes, although Argentina conceded another penalty when trying to see out the game.

To what extent do Argentina feel similar to recent World Cup winners? Before the tournament The Athletic listed six common themes from the last World Cup winners.

The first: you don’t need to impress in the group stage. Argentina lost their first game, and at half-time of their second game against Mexico, were only a goal away from elimination.

The second: managers tend to stick with tried-and-tested star players. Scaloni changed more players than most World Cup-winning managers, although in the final he was rewarded for showing faith in Di Maria, when others might have stuck with those who played well — or played at all – in the knockout stage.

The third: there’s often a major system change along the way. That box was very much ticked.

The fourth: knockout clean sheets are vital. This wasn’t the case here — Argentina only kept one in their four matches.

The fifth: you don’t need a prolific No 9. That largely applies here. Argentina’s strikers, Lauturo Martinez and Alvarez, managed only three goals. Funnily enough, the only game where Messi started as the central attacker, against Poland, was the only game he didn’t score in.

And finally: you generally need extra-time and/or penalties. Argentina needed two shootouts to win this World Cup, just as Italy needed two shootouts to win last year’s European Championship.

Still, you won’t find many who will suggest Argentina didn’t deserve it. They were the better side in all four knockout games. They ‘won’ in expected goals terms in all seven matches. Their boldness created possibly the greatest World Cup final, and their captain is surely the greatest footballer the game has seen. They will be remembered fondly.

ARTISTRY GENIUS OF SCALONI 🏆

FOOTBALL:Why Has Ronaldo not Congratulated Messi? – ADE DIVINE

As a Messi-Ronaldo enthusiast, I have been bothered that Ronaldo has not congratulated Messi publicly on this landmark achievement!

During the 2019 UEFA awards, Ronaldo gave a very beautiful speech explaining his rivalry with Messi. Seated next to the Argentine, he said, “We shared the stage for 15 years, me and him. I don’t know if that’s ever happened in football, the same two guys, same stage, all the time.”

If anything, one must have thought Ronaldo’s words emitted Roger-Rafa vibes. Down the years, the entire world has been awed by rivalry between tennis’s GOATS Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Both men have produced XXL excellence doused with humility and a lot of public respect and admiration for each other.

It was indeed heartwarming reading Roger’s congratulatory message to Rafa after the latter won a record 21st Grand Slam in Australia this year. The world was even more mesmerised seeing Rafa break down in tears during Roger’s farewell match. The way Rafa and Roger have managed their rivalry publicly only helps promote the intrinsic values of sport – fair play, respect, and above all, healthy competition.

Mind you, being bothered by the absence of a Ronaldo congratulatory message to Messi, doesn’t in any way imply with certainty that Messi would have written one in the reverse situation.

Ronaldo and Messi are like the tennis GOATS. A Ronaldo public message to Messi at this point will only add to the Portuguese’ greatness, just like one from Messi in case Ronaldo won will only augment Messi’s greatness. Such will further make their rivalry an exemplary one to kids as well the entire world.

I am still waiting…

Gun Violence: Tory Lanez found guilty of shooting Meghan Thee Stallion

Rapper Tory Lanez found guilty of sh@@ting Meghan Thee Stallion and could face more then 20 years in prison.

Canadian rapper, Daystar Peterson better known as Tory Lanez, has been found guilty by a Los Angeles jury on Friday of sh@@ting a fellow artist, Megan Thee Stallion, in both of her feet following an argument about their romantic entanglements and respective careers in the summer of 2020.

He was convicted of three felony counts: a§§aults with a semiautomatic handg¥n, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle and discharging a firearm with gross negligence. He faces more than 20 years in prison and could be deported when he is sentenced on Jan 25.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated since Thursday before convicting the 30-year-old Canadian rapper. Mr. Lanez, who had been free on bail during the trial following a period of house arrest, was immediately taken into custody.

POLYGAMY: Never going back – May Yule Edochie

May Yul Edochie has taken to social media to set records straight. This came after her estranged husband Yul Edochie made a public apology on social media begging her to come back home. In her words:

I strongly believe that mistakes are a major part of human existence. It is our response to these errors that count. In other words, forgiveness is one thing, and righting a wrong is another.

FORGIVENESS is the highest | most beautiful form of love for me. There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Hence, my ability to forgive the mistakes of the past, present, and future with respect to the issue on ground is in the interest of my mental health and inner peace.

I decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear. I am still very much incapable of HATING anyone, let alone the father of my children. The fact remains that anyone can choose to practice POLYGAMY, but can’t be impelled to accept what was never bargained for.

To reaffirm my stands, I will not be CAJOLED into accepting polygamy, which goes against my beliefs, faith, and values.
I will not be NUMBERED in a home that we started building with love, faith, tears, hopes, and prayers in a CATHOLIC marriage of 18 years following a long term premarital relationship.

This is also a passionate appeal to put an END to the constant “show” on the social media space where our kids are growing into unless it is absolutely necessary. Let’s prevent our lovely children from all the incessant drama series that might take a toll on them directly or indirectly amongst their peers.

I will not be CAJOLED into accepting polygamy – May Yule Edochie

May Yul Edochie has taken to social media to set records straight. This came after her estranged husband Yul Edochie made a public apology on social media begging her to come back home. In her words:

I strongly believe that mistakes are a major part of human existence. It is our response to these errors that count. In other words, forgiveness is one thing, and righting a wrong is another.

FORGIVENESS is the highest | most beautiful form of love for me. There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Hence, my ability to forgive the mistakes of the past, present, and future with respect to the issue on ground is in the interest of my mental health and inner peace.

I decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear. I am still very much incapable of HATING anyone, let alone the father of my children. The fact remains that anyone can choose to practice POLYGAMY, but can’t be impelled to accept what was never bargained for.

To reaffirm my stands, I will not be CAJOLED into accepting polygamy, which goes against my beliefs, faith, and values.
I will not be NUMBERED in a home that we started building with love, faith, tears, hopes, and prayers in a CATHOLIC marriage of 18 years following a long term premarital relationship.

This is also a passionate appeal to put an END to the constant “show” on the social media space where our kids are growing into unless it is absolutely necessary. Let’s prevent our lovely children from all the incessant drama series that might take a toll on them directly or indirectly amongst their peers.

Worst World Cup Ever, Christiano Ronaldo’s Sister Wails

Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister has described this year’s World Cup as ‘the worst ever’ in a dramatic post on social media.

Katia Aveiro, 45, watched on as her superstar brother was eliminated from the competition in the quarter-finals after Portugal fell to a shock defeat by underdogs Morocco.

Taking to social media, Aveiro wrote: ‘The worst World Cup of all time… that thankfully gave us a great final. What a match. Congratulations to Argentina.’

In addition, she wrote: ‘Kylian Mbappe. This boy is unreal. What a bright future awaits you. Incredible.’

There had been questions over her brother’s commitment after suggestions that he was willing to walk away from the national team camp during the World Cup. But Ronaldo later stayed as his side crashed out in the last eight.

His sister had urged him to leave the World Cup and come home to a place where he has ‘all the gratitude and not ingratitude’ following his demotion to Portugal’s bench.

Ronaldo was visibly unhappy after being dropped for Portugal’s World Cup last-16 clash with Switzerland. He lost his starting place to Benfica’s rising star Goncalo Ramos.

D’banj Speaks Up After Release

The legendary Music star, Oladapo Oyebanjo popularly known as D’banj, has broken his silence after his release from the custody of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.

D’banj was detained over allegations of fraud associated with The N-power program

Oladapo took to his Instagram account a few hours after he was released on Friday and denied any fraudulent dealings and that he was released based on self recognition.

He said, “Global thank you to the world. I was invited on an ongoing investigation in ICPC. I have assisted the commission with all I know and I am confident in their capacity to unravel the truth. I have no business with fraud, all I do is chop life. I was released on self-recognition because nothing was seen or found on me. God bless you all my people.”

Credit: Instagram | iambangalee

Wizkid becomes the First African Artist to Earn a Diamond Certification in the US

Ayo Balogun popularly known as Wizkid who has been the forerunner of the fast growing Genre Afrobeats for more than a decade has ones again made history in the US.

This time, he did it with ONE DANCE with his Canadian rapper Drake and British singer Kyla. One Dance was the lead single off Drake’s fourth Studio Album “Views

The artists co-wrote the dancehall and afrobeats song with its co-producers Nineteen85 and Noah “40” Shebib, with production assistance from Wizkid. Crazy Cousinz and Kyla received songwriting credits for the sampling of their 2008 UK funkysong “Do You Mind“.

The global smash hit has earned multiple certifications in different regions across the globe but today, RIAA confirmed its sales of 10,000,000 units in the biggest music market in the World, US.

From RIAA

This makes Wizkid Africa’s most certified Artist of All time and the first ever Nigerian/ African with a Diamond certification in The US