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Arsenal, Barca Set To Serve Champagne Football

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Arsenal host Barcelona tonight  fuelled by the belief that they can eliminate the European champions over the course of two legs that promise great entertainment and incredible drama.

The Gunners remain in the race to claim the Premier League crown, though their hopes of dethroning Manchester United and usurping Chelsea took a shot at the weekend as a bad Manuel Almunia error gifted Birmingham City a point on Saturday.

“Barcelona is a different competition and we have a few days to recover and prepare. But it felt like a defeat on Saturday,” manager Arsene Wenger told the club’s official website, having previously blamed the state of the St. Andrews pitch for his side’s failure to register three points.

“It is always hard to pick the players up when you get a result like that. We are on a run that is very difficult, where we know there is no room for error at all, so Saturday was a big disappointment for us.”

When Arsenal have been faced with crisis points in this campaign, they have generally responded well. Against the very best – Manchester United and Chelsea – they have failed to acquire a single league point, yet the Gunners remain a very real threat in the title race, while an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at Porto in the Champions League was brilliantly rescued with a terrific 5-0 response at the Emirates.

Having failed to defeat an elite side this season, questions will be raised over the ability of Wenger’s side to defeat la Blaugrana, who have become known as the best of the best over the last 18 months.

Compared to the all-conquering Barcelona side of last term, this season’s Barca have received a remarkable amount of criticism. With the increased competition from Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola’s side have been placed in the spotlight, and though they have consistently responded, they have rarely convinced.

Recent results have not seen the Blaugrana sweep away opposition in the manner they achieved last season, while their football has not always been as fluid and eye-catching. Their results, in La Primera Division at least, have been just as strong, while progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League has been achieved, albeit with a few scares along the way.

Stuttgart certainly gave Guardiola’s men a fright in the last 16. The Bundesliga outfit grabbed the lead in the first leg, though they were ultimately unable to match the power of the Catalans when forced to travel to Catalunya. Lionel Messi, as has been the case so often of late, was Barca’s inspiration behind a 4-0 second leg victory, and the little Argentine marvel will be the player Arsenal most closely need to police over the two legs.

Goalkeeper Victor Valdes has indicated that the Camp Nou outfit are feeling confident going into this fixture. “We are not going to play conservatively at the Emirates. Barcelona are capable of winning anywhere,” he asserted.

Only the second team to take anything from Mallorca’s ONO Estadi this season, having recorded a 1-0 victory thanks to a predatory Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike on Saturday, Barca can approach this fixture with optimism, despite their naysayers

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W’Cup Qualifiers: Will Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal Qualify?

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The African World Cup qualifier draw was held in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday night, which Nigeria fell into group C with Cape Verde, Central Africa Republic and Liberia.
Feelers from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) say jubilations are on following Nigeria pair with countries in the group.
The group seems to be an easy ride for Super Eagles to qualify at this preliminary group stage looking at the countries drawn with Nigeria, but football being what it is in recent times has no underdogs.
Generally, Football powers in Africa are celebrating as they were drawn with countries they felt they can overrun.
Defending Champions, Algeria, also see themselves as lucky as they are to lock horns with Burkina Faso, Niger and Djibouti in group A.
But group G and H seem to be the toughest groups as been speculated by football followers. Group G, comprise Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, while group H, have Senegal the country home of the reigning African best footballer, Sadio Mane, Congo, Namibia and Togo.
I have no doubt that there will be surprises as some of the football powers in Africa continent will be eliminated in this preliminary stage.
I want to say football has gone beyond winning on mass media and   mere big names; we are no longer living in past glories.
Liberia is not known as a football nation in Africa, but George Weah, now President of Liberia was the only African that has won world footballer of the year, same year Europe and African best.
The author is skeptical that some football nations will not see the light of the day if they did not prepare well.

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2022 W’Cup: Super Eagles Drawn Against Tricky Teams – Rohr

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Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has said that his team has been drawn against tricky teams, in the second round of Africa’s World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
Last Tuesday, Nigeria was paired with Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C.
“We have three tricky opponents in Group C. A few years ago, Cape Verde were Africa’s best FIFA ranked team, CAR have some good players in Europe.
“We played a friendly in Liberia recently that wasn’t easy…we’ve to be at our best against them,” Rohr said, according to the team’s official.
The Eagles are seeking to reach the global tournament for the seventh time.

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Rumuodomaya Unity Cup Gets Accolades

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The just concluded Rumuodomaya in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State Unity Cup has continued to receive commendation. The recent one came from Chief Stanley Ichegbo, as he expressed satisfaction with the competition.
Chief Ichegbo made the commendation at the finals of the tournament, at Model Secondary School Rumodomaya, over the weekend.
He stated that the Unity Cup has brought unity and harmonious living in the area, adding that it has given everybody sense of belonging.
“Indeed our 2019 Unity Cup Competition has brought the people of Rumuodomaya much more together. This tournament has advanced the cause of peace in our area. In fact, if not for anything it has kept the youths busy during the period,” Chief Ichegbo said.
According to him, Rumuodomaya is one of the most peaceful communities in the Niger Delta.
“Rumuodomaya is about the most peaceful community in the Niger Delta. Besides, I must tell you that the people of Rumuodomaya are peace loving and hard working,” he added.
The prominent Chief in the area further lauded the organisers for the success recorded.
Speaking, the sponsor of the competition, Apostle Samuel Nsirim, disclosed that he was motivated and inspired to organise the competition with the intention to discover hidden talents to enable him form a formidable football team.
“This competition is aimed at discovering budding talents as well as to select or chose good players that will be exposed to the world,” Apostle Nsirim said.
Also speaking, Barrister Samson Worlu said that Rumuodomaya Council of Chiefs are passionate about the activities of the youth.
“We are passionate about sports development at Rumuodomaya. Infact, what we are doing today is to develop our youths through sports” Worlu said.
At the end of competition, Rumukpokwu emerged winners as they won Rumuohomachi 8-7 in a penalty shootout after playing one all draw in regulation time.
David Amadi won the Most Valuable Player( MVP) of the tournament while Kingsley Worlu emerged the highest goal scorer with 5 goals.

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