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Crisis Never Far Away For Zidane As Real Madrid Doubts Linger



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Real Madrid have released the pressure on Zinedine Zidane temporarily, with the next job to fix their dismal start in the Champions League.

Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the Clasico on Saturday swerved a third consecutive defeat after losses to Cadiz in La Liga and Shakhtar Donetsk.

“There are always bad spells,” said Sergio Ramos. “Hopefully this one has only lasted a week.”

But the effects of the implosion against Shakhtar, who had 10 first team players missing due to coronavirus infections, still linger, with Madrid sitting bottom of Group B.

A win away to Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday would limit the damage, especially after Monchengladbach’s draw with Inter Milan kept the group tight.

And Zidane will know a convincing performance in Germany should suspend talk of a crisis and dispel doubts about his future, at least for now.

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Even for Real Madrid, two defeats seemed scant ammunition for the uncertainty around their coach that followed.

Some reports in the Spanish press were even discussing the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino if mistakes were not rectified at Camp Nou.

“I have always been critical of myself, it is what drives you to improve,” said Zidane. “After a loss, as a coach, most of the criticism comes at me and that’s normal.”

The quickness to question the Frenchman has become a regular feature of his tenure, even while the players sing his praises and the trophies have poured in.

It was only three months ago Real Madrid were winning their second La Liga title of his three full seasons in charge, to go with three triumphs in the Champions League.

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Success, though, has never been enough for Zidane. His reputation as a man-manager has always been a back-handed compliment, even if getting the best out of good players is surely the key to being the coach of a team like Real Madrid.

Barcelona wanted a return to the club’s DNA by putting Quique Setien and now Ronald Koeman in charge – but few could argue they are not worse off now than under the more pragmatic Ernesto Valverde.

The decision to sack Valverde was “not coherent or logical”, Gerard Pique told Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia on Friday.

If capitulation has become Barca’s recurring flaw, it is inconsistency that undermines Zidane’s Madrid.

When they stormed to the title during the 11-game run-in last season, it was with no other distractions and a trophy in sight.

With a less immediate prize and against lesser opponents, like Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, the suspicion is those players Zidane trusts completely become unreliable.

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“I have won many things with these players,” Zidane said. “I will always be with them until the end.”

Zidane routinely sidesteps the issue of his future, which creates a nervousness after he resigned so unexpectedly after winning the Champions League in 2018.

And perhaps that contributes to the sense of short-termism, an ageing team managed by a coach that seemingly refuses to look beyond the end of the week.

Every slip-up is projected as a slump and any doubts feed the idea Zidane might suddenly depart.

“Nothing changes,” he said. “Last year? The same. In my first spell? The same. What I have to do is do my job.”

Anything but a win on Tuesday and the cycle begins again.


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Kwara Football Academy Rewards Brilliance, Launch Football Magazine.



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By Yemi Sodeeq, Kwara.

It was all glitz and glamour on Sunday 30th of November when one of the leading football academies in Nigeria, Kwara football academy held her annual awards and prize giving ceremony.

The event had players from all the academy’s cadre and staffs being honoured for their outstanding performances after a painstaking evaluation and standard system of the college under the year in review.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Commissioner of Youth and Sports development, Kwara State, Mrs.Joana Nnazua Kolo who was represented by her husband, Mr Moses Kolo assured the academy of government continued support  and commended all the staffs and players  for their dedication and committment towards making the college great.

The Administrator of the academy, Kehinde Jimoh in his remarks revealed the 2020 edition of the award giving ceremony is  significant adding that even with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic,none of his staffs,players and students fell victim- hence the need to appreciate God.

Kehinde added that the academy under his watch decided to give scholarship to 25 players with 16 of them from all the local government areas of the state.

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According to the helmsman,the initiative which was meritoriously carried out by the technical department of the institution is to further strengthen it’s creed in establishing and showcasing talented players with a view to  help them make career out of their potentials.

Barrister Iyabo Banire, the permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports development in Kwara State in her own speech urged the institution to continue their stride in making the state proud as she also admonished the  players to remain disciplined in order to make the best of the opportunity the college has to offer.

In the player’s award category, Abdulakeem Umar had won the best player of the red team while Ohue winner led the Sky blue section. Joe Akpan was voted the best player in the Blue team cadre.

Samuel Sunday, who has been scouted by the head coach of kauno zalgris of Lithuania club tipped other players to become the best in Yellow team, with the goal of the year award going  to Godwin Oshagbemi , the son of the former Nigerian International and current goalkeeper of Kwara United,Daniel Aiyenugba won the
goalkeeper of the year.

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Garba Abubakar stole the show by emerging as the overall best player of the academy in the year 2020 after beating Samuel Sunday and last year winner,Godwin Oshagbemi to the most revered award of the day.

The staff’s award category produced Oladele funke as the best teacher of the year and with Hammed Fatai Olabamiji topping the administrative level, the olympique de marsielle trained coach, Muritala Agboola won the best coach of the year.

The academy which won 3 trophies this year also seized the opportunity of the event to  launch it’s official newsletter; ‘Knights of football action’-A magazine which contains all the latest information about the institution.

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Presentation of certififates and medals to the players who won the YSFON 37th edition of Ramat cup international for U-15 boys soccer tournament in Kano also made the climax of the ceremony.

Beneficiaries who received their certififate of scholarship includes
Yusuf Ismail and Abubakar Muhammed from Edu local government,Shola Adelekan from Moro, Aliyu Nafiu, Kaiama ,Suleiman Abdulkadir and  Usman Yusuf from Patigi
Musa Moshood and
Tunde Adeniji of Baruten and Offa local governments.

Others are Ahmed Abdulkadir from Ilorin West, Umar M.T Yusuf , Kaiama ,Muazu Abdulrahman from Patigi, Godwin Oshagbemi,Garba Abubakar,Azeez Sodiq, Ishiak
Shamsudeen,Muhydeen Yinus,Ohue Winner,Sunday Samuel,Ibukun Olawunmi and Rabiu Sanni all making the list.

Top football stakeholders at the event includes the Chairman of Nigeria Football Coaches Association,Kwara State, Tunde Sanni,  Prince Ademola Kiyesola,Kwara YSFON Chairman, ABS Ilorin FC Coach, Anthony Encho, CEO Phreestyle sports, Shogo Shodunnke, Alhaji Toyin Abdullahi, President,All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, (ANCOPSS), Kwara State ,CEO and publisher of Sportspro News,Bayour Issah among many others.

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“Shooting Sports; Parents Allow Your Children/Wards To Take Part In This Sport” – Coach Ali Yusuf Adagiri



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A Kogi-born Shooter/Coach of Shooting Sports, Mr. Ali Yusuf Adagiri, has called on parents in Nigeria to allow and encourage their children/wards to take part in the sports as it helps develop mental capacity.

In a telephone interview with sportswriters, Mr. Adagiri said that the unique sport has lots of advantage to shooters, urging parents to encourage the young ones partake in the game.

“shooting sports support youths in developing valuable conservation and natural resources related knowledge, instill good stewardship, enhances development of self concept, character and personal growth through safe educational and socially acceptable involvement in shooting. It promotes high standard of safety, sportsmanship, ethical behavior and also teach safe and responsible use of firearms, among others. If only parents in our dear Country can allow their children/wards take part in the games, I’m telling you there will be good returns because it also creates avenue for scholarship”

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He noted that shooting sport instills confidence in children, describing it as both mental and physical sports which can be performed both indoors and outdoors.

Coach Adagiri explained that Shooting Sports as a collective group of competitive and lucrative sporting activities involving team members, relies on mental power and people of ages can compete.
“Good coaching and instruction in any sport instills confidence in those participating in it and success can be easily achieved if we catch the players young with the co-operation of the parents”

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Football Legend Diego Maradona Dies At 60, Football World ICon Pays Tribute



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—-One Of The Greatest Players Of Them All Is Gone.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

He had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Declaring three days of national mourning, Alberto Fernandez, the president of Argentina, said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.

“Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”

Diego Maradona

Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.

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He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

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He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

Football world pays tribute

Brazil legend Pele led tributes to Maradona, writing on Twitter: “What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”

Former England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who was part of the England team beaten by Argentina at the 1986 World Cup, said Maradona was “by some distance, the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time”.

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Ex-Tottenham and Argentina midfielder Ossie Ardiles said: “Thank dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison. Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”

Boca Juniors, where Maradona enjoyed two spells and finished his career, gave “eternal thanks” to their former player.

Paris St-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar posted a photo of him as a youngster with Maradona, calling the Argentine a “legend of football”.

England captain Harry Kane and forward Marcus Rashford also paid tribute.

World Soccer Legend, Maradona passed on

Barcelona was the first club outside of Argentina that Maradona played for. He scored 22 goals in 36 appearances between 1982 and 1984.

Another of Maradona’s former clubs, Napoli, paid tribute. He played for the club between 1984 and 1991, making 188 appearances.

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