Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pro United post. For Dorancy and all the devilz!

Manchester United don’t have a great record at the Emirates stadium, never winning a match there in the three years since Arsenal moved stadiums.

Vidic almost gets in the head of Emmanuel Adebayor

However, United's second leg Champions League semi-final isn’t just any trip to Arsenal. We can go there with the hope of winning, but it isn’t their primary objective. Any score draw will see the Reds in the final as well as a 2-1 defeat.

Manchester United hold all the cards going into the Emirates match

History is in United's favour!
Every result United've achieved at the Emirates before would be enough to see them through to the final of the European Cup. Is Arsenal’s defence strong enough to stop them scoring?

And is their attack good enough to score three against the Reds? Who knows, but Ferguson said he would settle for a 1-0 before the game and it certainly does give us the advantage!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Choke. Apply to sports. Pronto.

Week in, week out the various leagues of the world involve several Africans. But do they get deserved recognition?
Forgive me, but when I saw this on Youtube praising our own hiplife, i gawked. But that was cool honestly. I really felt a surge of pride. Here's the clip.

Retracing hiplife

Well, what amused was that in a long while, this is a very western(?) production - albeit Al Jazeera - which some may argue has a pro midEastern philosophy - was not biased toward themselves. Instead they gave credit where it was due.

Cue in sports. Week in, week out the various sports leagues of the world involve several Africans in their pursuit of money and success. But do we, as Africans get enough recognition?

Answer: a great blog from mtnfootball. Spread the word, for Africa has done so much for humanity!

Let the ref assists begin!

From that inward view of the African game in my last post, let's go overseas a bit.

I took the time to see the highlights of the English premier league. And as interesting as it is you cannot imagine how i feel with my growing sense of feeling that the current champions get off with a lot of luck.

And so, was Michael Carrick fouled enough to warrant a penalty? I will NOT speak much but here is an extract from the BBC Match of the Day people made up of host Gary Lineker - yeah, my namesake - and his guys.

MoTD Analysis: Man United - 'Spurs

Video 1 from Dummy Account on Vimeo.

Made your conclusions? So, let's just bring this scenario to Africa. With few matches to pull down the curtain, any of such referee assisting championships in Africa can cause a lot of chaos, anarchy and bloodbaths. And I sure aint exaggerating.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend African wrap

This African football seasons are winding up and things are looking tight. Really.

Got the White Knights two vital strikes

Egyptian top-flight football is climaxing and Zamalek continued their improved form as they beat Petrojet 2-1. Sherif Ashraf got two fine goals. The White Knights are now unbeaten in four, winning three of those, after a desperate season that had seen them flirting with the relegation zone at one point.

As for Petrojet, the defeat ends any plans they had of securing a Champions League place for next year, though they do remain third in the table. Zamalek have moved up to sixth.

Ahly lead the table with 52 points from 25 matches, followed by Ismaily (51 from 26), Petrojet (46 from 27), ENPPI (44 from 25) and Haras El Hedood (43 from 25).

Over in Gambia, Steve Biko FC and Gambia Under-17 striker Kawsu Jatta died this week due to complications from a heart defect. The forward, who was prolific for his country’s Under-17 side during the 2009 African Under-17 Championship qualifiers, failed to make the trip to the finals in Algeria after he lost consciousness at a Baby Scorpions training session at the Independence Stadium.

Tests conducted by the team’s doctors revealed the player had a heart problem and suggested he seek specialist medical treatment before continuing his career.

Here in Ghana, the season does not resume until May 3.


That's a long way away, but in the interim we've enjoyed some Otumfuo football which Kotoko won.

Sure he didn't fix the matches? Yikes!

And then on the national front, the Under-20 team are in camp today for a six-day training programme ahead of the start of the 2009 Fifa World Youth Championship in September to be hosted by Egypt. Coach Sellas Tetteh has called up a 25 man list for the programme I hear begins today and runs till May 30th.

The boys are on a high after that neat performance in Rwanda. They brought the trophy home, man. Anyway Borbor's list dominated largely by locally-based players also includes one foreign-based player.

And so that is the wrap for the continent. Beep.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Top African banger

As we speak, Barcelona are nearing another La Liga title. To say that Samuel Eto'o has 'helped' them would be stating the obvious. Don't even speak of goals, let's do that later.

His work rate is absolutely phenomenal. He runs everywhere, works for everybody and he is an absolute gem of a player. Yes, he may not be the skillful Messi, but he is a vital cog in the wheel for the Blaugrana.

The point I am coming to is that, as it is now, would you say that Eto'o is the best African player at the moment? I hear a chorus for Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and others.

But for me, the fact that none of the others can be bought for the whopping €39 million (£35m) transfer that Manchester City offered is testimony that Eto'o is the man.

Now let's go for the stats.

The prolific 28-year-old, who has scored 26 goals in 29 league games this campaign has 33 goals in all competitions. That's something, people.

Compare Didier who has 22 in all competitions, never mind that he had a rubbish time under Scolari and all that. That the English game is hotter than the La Liga is open to argument. Especially considering that the 'lower-table' La Liga teams are better opposition on the average than English Premiership 'lower-table' sides.

So that's off. Meanwhile I really cannot think of any other threats to Eto'o at the moment. I look back to the start of the season and think Amr Zaki, but he's gone downhill since his explosive start and has 24 bangs.

Now, Michael Essien. He is phenomenal but in terms of impact, I simply feel Eto'o has had more. Most lay-football fans watch the Premiership more than any other, so they may be tempted to put Essien atop. Yes, 10 goals for one in his position is good. But in my book, he doesn't cut it..yet.

What? Adebayor? 27 goals? 6 assists?

Once again, the key word is I-M-P-A-C-T.

Thank you. So, you've listened to me. Now it's your turn.

And so, if the African Player of the Year were held at your home, office or favourite sports hangout today, would you invite Eto'o for the top gong? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Football wins

Yes, it has.

Who let the goals out - or in?

A roaring start to his ascent to legendary status in Arsenal lore, Andrei Arshavin is the man. But there's that small matter of the prolific Spaniard...

We however, have to talk about the leaky defenses of both teams, a tale which is punctuated by the priceless look on Mr. Fabianski's young face...

That was after the fourth and final goal of the goalfest. Great stuff from great teams. Certainly, both managers have some talking to do to their lads, don't they?

Yes, they do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Relived: Red magic vs Red nightmares

Tonight, Arsenal play at Anfield.

After his exertions or Saturday against Chelsea, Ade has been rested. As has Robin van Persie, for a much more serious problem. The good news for the Gunners though is that Bacary Sagna's back.

The Scousers are also counting a huge loss because their inspirational captain Stevie G is still unwell. The significance of this game is not lost on the 'Pool faithful at all. With six games to go, they badly need a win to go atop the league and it is also a morale boost for its team...which needs it badly.

Magic vs Nightmare

For long-time Scousers this game brings back painful nightmares while for Gunners it's of snow-white magic..20 years old. On 26th May 1989 Arsenal went to Liverpool needing a 2-0 win to clinch the title. Because of fixture congestion and the Hillsborough disaster, the fixture had been put back to the end of the season, after Liverpool had won the FA Cup.

This created a unique situation where the 2 teams still in with a chance of the title played each other for it at the end of the season. And let's face it, the sympathy of everyone but Arsenal fans was with the double-chasing scousers.

The odds were against the Gunners. Liverpool hadn't lost by 2 goals at home in donkeys years. But master tactician George Graham went there with a plan, and it worked.

Alan Smith glanced in a header early in the second half, and with the Liverpool bench in triumphal mode as the game entered the last minute, Arsenal launched one last attack.....

It's up for grabs now...

And after that famous victory, sweet vengeance will be enough to motivate the 'Pudlians and as for Arsenal, well, they really have nothing to lose but pride, yes?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

United vs Everton preview: the pitch in the spotlight

Center-stage should be taken by the pitch at Wembley today when the Devils meet the Toffees.

For a pitch that was only renovated recently it really is despicable. Did I hear almost 800 million pounds sterling? Oh, my. Wenger has a point, then?

Looking on from the sidelines would be a worried Fergie and Moyes. Their teams are premiership spoiled and they like to pass the ball around...well, United moreso. However with that aside, it is looking like being an evenly fought game. Everton are not a pushover. Think Cahill, Pienaar, a possible Loius Saha who has a virus, Fellaini...

Yes, United have a strength in depth but the Toffees know how to keep their cool in big ties.

Manchester United (from):
Van der Sar, Foster, Kuszczak, Neville, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rafael, Fabio, O'Shea, Evans, Ronaldo, Anderson, Scholes, Fletcher, Gibson, Carrick, Park, Nani, Giggs, Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Macheda.

Everton (from): Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Pienaar, Neville, Rodwell, Fellaini, Cahill, Yobo, Saha, Vaughan, Nash, Gosling, Jacobsen, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Baxter.

Say, when the Devils meet the Toffees, won't the Devils eat the latter? Just a soliloquy...just like Hamlet's!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dear Sir/Madam, the deals are on!

One ICT sub-sector in Ghana that has been difficult to penetrate is e-commerce. It simply is woeful.

Ghana is tucked neatly in the West coast of Africa, the second largest continent in the world in size and population.

While growing up, there was a buzz about a device called the Personal Computer (PC). And growing up, I became fascinated with this new thing. Many years on, I can safely say that my internet-ting is in good hands because I usually get internet access.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says that there are 880,000 Internet users as of March 2008, that’s 3.8% of the population.

But one area that has been difficult to penetrate is e-commerce in Ghana. It simply is woeful. In the years leading up to today, many companies have sought innovative ways to buck this trend. BusinessGhana and others have done quite well in this regard.

In brief BusinessGhana operates on what I call the "yellow-pages philosophy" where people come to the site and look for stuff to buy and then…buy them.
It has more or less held a monopoly. Until now.

The place doing well as well is ghanadeals. set up not too long ago, it is seeing a phenomenal growth in traffic over the period of its inception. For a sports journalist like me, the prospect of having to be able to buy goods and equipment peculiar to my job is wonderful.

The hassle of going to town, roaming and sweating before getting my laptop bag or other accessory has seen the back-pages recently. And I'm relishing it. Why don’t you, too.

It’s called, once again,

Enjoy the experience!

England wrap...

Arsenal lose to Didier Drogba 2-1 at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final. I can't imagine why Arshavin and Nasri were not introduced if that would have prevented Lukasz Fabianski from coming out that time. Malouda got the Blues equalizer and would be glad...

Well, that is behind now and we look forward to United vs Everton tomorrow. Till then...some scores

Premier league results

Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham
Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham
Portsmouth 1-0 Bolton
Stoke 1-0 Blackburn
Sunderland 1-0 Hull

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Come what May....GFA vs Gov't

I am sure that was his reaction after the game and funny thing is Arsenal play several big teams before the end of this season.

Come what May, Arsenal shall have a trophy in our hands. That should be nice, really. After waiting so long. What happens is that the Gunners play Chelsea on Saturday, Liverpool next Tuesday and then two Man United UCL games. Having said that it is possible Arsenal can play Chelsea in the UCL final too, as well as United in the FA Cup final.

Wow, what a prospect! Whatever it is, the final stretch should be great to see. Back home, trouble here, trouble there, trouble everywhere.

Trouble here

This morning at the Secretariat of the Ghana football association the GFA president met the press to give its position on recent developments. I'll just give the pointers to what he said, the full text of which is here.

A somber looking Nyantakyi told the gathering that the alleged report the government transition team has recommended that the tenure of the FA should be reviewed or halted altogether is misleading. He also questioned the motives behind several of the transition teams’ recommendations saying that the recommendations were without legal grounds or basis.

Top of the list was the issue of auditing the accounts. Though agreeing that audits were necessary in any public institution, Mr Nyantakyi intimated that there was no current need for an audit into the 2006 world cup accounts and specifically the payment of bonuses, per diem allowances and other emoluments paid during the last mundial because he thought that would be redundant.

The GFA boss also reminded the gathering that the 2006 world cup accounts have already been audited by the Office of the Auditor General of Ghana and its findings had been seconded by Congress of the Ghana Football Association, the then Ministry for Education, Science and Sports and also the Parliament of Ghana.

Essentially Nyantakyi has asked the Government to stay the fuck out of the FA's business. Ouch."

Now the GFA boss mentioned that his outfit has difficulty in accepting the recommendation by the government transition team that the government should appoint representatives to the Management Committees of the various national teams. Mr Nyantakyi clearly stated that this amounts to interference and reminded the gathering that FIFA frowns on such acts.

The GFA boss also clarified the role of management committees, saying that such bodies hardly handle cash meant for financing programmes of the national teams. Instead the GFA boss said that direct cash components are handled by officials of the sector Ministry and not members of management committees.

Finally, the GFA boss questioned the reasoning behind the government’s interest in buses and footballs meant for the Glo Premier league supplied by sponsors to the national teams, since he claims those entities are not the bona fide property of the government, adding that the balls do not in anyway distract the proceedings of the league.

In effect, the GFA is really pissed with Hon. Muntaka and cronies. And no mistake!

In essence, the GFA president reiterated the body’s collaboration with the sports and youth ministry to ensure that Ghana achieves her target including a qualification to next year’s world cup in South Africa calling for the need for all to remain focused on work at hand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meetings to behold

Job done for the Gunners and the Red Devils. A meeting that would stir up a lot of passions.

Good work, both teams. Barca - Chelsea should be great as well. What a couple of weeks to anticipate.

For now, though, later.

Don't you love the game of soccer...?



My cap and pants are off to what could be the greatest night of European soccer I have ever seen. Period. I wrote earlier that Liverpool have a tall order, but by God, did they show class!

Watching as a neutral was nothing short of pure football magic, really. Hats off to them again. Now, as it is, United and Porto would renew issues at the Dragao later tonight while Arsenal also do their thing.

I'm hearing that Rio would be back for the game for the Reds while Arsenal are schedule to have Ade and RVP.

Djourou is out and so Wenger would have something of a selection headache. But should United and Arsenal go through it would be a victory for English football. Doubtless. So, we can only wait for games as fitting as last night's.

Till then.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's a 2-day slugfest!

They say the sign of a great side is their ability to bounce back from defeat and if that’s the criteria then Liverpool more than matched it with a fine display in their 4-0 drubbing of Blackburn over the weekend. After the below par and error-prone performance against the Blues CL last week, the Scousers are left with a mountain to climb in the second leg tonight at the Stamford Bridge.

However coach Rafa Benitez still believes that his players have not given up the ghost and success or failure rests with them. He says of Gerrard:

"It is not a massive risk if we use him. If we lose a player for 10 to 14 days it will be bad but would only affect one game. It's a calculated risk. We've been written off but with Steven and Fernando Torres together on the pitch we have a good chance."

If Rafa acknowledges the scale of the job he has to do, his counterpart Guus Hiddink at Chelsea has also deflected attention from himself, insisting that results would do the talking for him.

" A lot of people have said that if you win an away game in Europe like we did, then you won't have any concerns for the second leg. But we're not thinking like that. Liverpool are a very good team who play beautiful football and we're very aware of that. There is no reason to have complacency against any team, but especially Liverpool with what they have done in the past."

Well so we do have a game on our hands even though some will say it may have been decided last week.

Meanwhile at the Allianz Arena in Germany, Bayern Munich have an even more daunting task considering they are 4-0 behind a relentless Barcelona. Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves were restricted to substitute appearances at the weekend in order to rest for the tie against Bayern Munich. Veteran defender Carles Puyol made his comeback from injury against Valladolid on Saturday and should start for Barca.

Bayern defender Lucio is likely to miss the first leg with a groin strain, while Miroslav Klose (ankle) is out. Defender Martin Demichelis is fit and available, while French midfielder Franck Ribery should also feature. The German side have won three and drawn one of their four games against Barcelona in Europe and have come out victorious on both of their previous visits to Spain. The two sides go into the game in contrasting form, Barcelona recorded a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid after a strike from Samuel Eto’o, while Bayern went down 5-1 to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

Tomorrow: Arsenal - Villareal, Porto - United. Beep.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


The vaunted on-formness of Liverpool has gone rat-a-blast. What a win by Chelsea. Let's face it, I definitely did not see this kind of 3-1 result coming. However, my pal at Atlantis made an important point after the game.

Said he: "Essien's absence in the two legs that 'Pool lost to Chelsea was the difference." If you do not believe, I think this BBC blog would bear me witness. The 'Pool fans did well by sports-manly applauding the Blues off - truly deserved, if you ask me.

At this time, it's time to go, but not before I mention the most one-sided game of all time, champs league-wise. Barca 4-0 Munchen by the end of the first half!

See ya tomorrow.

1 day gone, one day to go.

Yesterday brought to us the hugely awaited Euro champions league date after that long international break. Teams came back either on full throttle or fully depleted or a half-and-half of the two.

Red joke
First, of course was Man United. They were screaming favourites. Yes, they were. And they fell flat on their faces. Ronaldo was non-existent and it looked like Fletcher and Rooney carried the team. The defence leaked so bad it was not funny. Porto took a fourth minute lead, then United cancelled through a gift goal by Rooney. And then Tevez came on getting to the end and he did his magic. Yet, the Reds contrived to get a the Theater of Dreams. Sheeesh. That's a scary thought because Hulk and his pals played a darn good game of attacking soccer that they are set to replicate later. Van der Sar's frustration and beating of the turf summarized the team's dismal performance in the last month.

Red seriousness
On the other half of the red jerseys, Arsenal played away at the El Madrigal and got a vital 1-1 draw. As I wrote in my show's script today, the highlight was Adebayor's acrobatic classic equalizer. Here's a picture of the goal. Well, a picture is worth a thousand what's a video worth? Judge for yourself!

Ade's peach

That was a sweet finish and it immediately reminded me of Ronaldinho's bicycle kick guessed right...Villareal in 2006!

Dinho's classic

All's well that end's well. So, let's hope for equally cracking games between 'Pool and the Blues plus the Blaugrana and Bayern. Adios.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The weekend in a few UCL previews

The news is that Kotoko have crashed out of Africa. Goodness gracious. After taking a 3-1 lead here two weeks ago, they go and concede two unreplied away goals. Nutters.

Meanwhile, the English premier league turned out two late goals to secure victory: one each by United and 'Pool. But still i wait to see the Macheda goal for meself. But ahead of this week, the prepartions for the Ghana 2009 Hockey Nations Cup continue as they have last week and some other events may come up. All the best in all the week!

Speaking of the Hockey nations Cup, the (LOC) of the Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) Cup of Nations, to be staged in Ghana, on Friday inaugurated seven sub-committees to organize a successful organization of the championship. They held it at the former CAN 2008 offices at Ringway. Rex Danquah was in the thick of things as usual. "The man with the thousand duties" as Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah likes to describe him.

The seven sub-committees will deal with various aspects of the organization and hosting of the championship. Now these are their long-sounding names: Accommodation & Transportation; Protocol, Arrivals, Departures & Ceremonies; Medical & Doping; Security, Volunteers & Accreditation; Technical & Fields; Marketing & Media Relations and Team Relations &
Matches Coordination

Now the whole gamut is chaired by Mr Abuga Pele the former Ranking Member on Youth and Sports. My man Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah is also on the bill. We hope they deliver for Ghana's sakes!

In any case we see the start of the next stage of the champions league this week.
Defending champions Manchester United will look to shrug off their recent slump and avenge one of their most heartbreaking Champions League losses of all time when they face 2003-2004 champions Porto. Revenge will be another subplot as Villarreal will clash with Arsenal in a rematch of the 2005-2006 Semi-Finals. Additionally, Liverpool and Chelsea have battled each other so many times in the Champions League that both sides have a reason to be vengeful towards the other.

Revenge will also be a factor when Bayern Munich will take on Barcelona, even though the two traditional powerhouses haven’t met in the Champions League since the 1998-1999 season, when Bayern defeated Barcelona twice in the group stages. Those losses helped knock the Catalans out of the competition, which was especially painful since it cost them a chance of playing in the Final, which was held at the Nou Camp.