The 2019 UEFA Super Cup pitches Champions League winners Liverpool against Europa League champions, Chelsea, in an all-English clash set for the Vodafone Park in Istanbul tonight.
This will be Liverpool’s six appearance in the Super Cup and a first since 2005. They are three-time winners of the trophy (1977, 2001, 2005) and looking to join Spanish giants Real Madrid on a tally of four Super Cup titles.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be making their fourth appearance in the Super Cup. The London side won the competition on debut in 1998, but lost in back-to-back showings in 2012 and 2013.
The Blues enter the match under something of a cloud, having suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat away to Manchester United in their opening Premier League match this past Sunday.
The Reds, by contrast, opened their domestic campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of Norwich at Anfield, featuring an opening goal from Egyptian superstar, Mohamed Salah.
The Pharaohs forward is set to lead the African influence on the Super Cup match in Turkey, though Liverpool could field several more of his continental brethren.
Cameroonian centre-back Joel Matip could well come into the defence alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Joe Gomez not likely to be risked for a third major match in 10 days following his lengthy injury absence last season.
Guinea Dynamo Naby Keita could also be brought into the starting XI and given the task of hassling Chelsea’s Jorginho, who is so often at the centre of their passing patterns.
Yet, the real question from an African fan’s point of view is whether Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp will field Sadio Mane from the start.
The Senegalese star has started in neither the Community Shield nor the Reds’ win over Norwich, though he did appear as a late substitute in the latter match.
It has been less than a month since the Teranga Lions forward played in the Africa Cup of Nations final, and Divock Origi has performed strongly in his absence, but Klopp may still be tempted to unleash Mane on a wounded Chelsea.
In head-to-head terms, Liverpool and Chelsea have met in 172 matches. The Reds have claimed 72 wins compared to 59 for the Blues, while 41 games have been drawn.
Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.
Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses – Aikhomogbe
Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.
Enyimba Players Vow To Support Finidi
Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.
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