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Iwobi: Arsenal Made Big Mistake -Kanu

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Arsenal made a big mistake when they sold Alex Iwobi to Everton.
That is the view of Gunners legend, Nwankwo Kanu, who believes his former club should have done all they could to hold on to a player they had developed since he was eight.
Iwobi left the Emirates on deadline day, switching north London for Merseyside in a deal that could eventually total £40 million ($49million).
It was a transfer that came out of the blue, with Everton switching their attention to Iwobi after seeing bids for Wilfried Zaha repeatedly knocked back by Crystal Palace.
Arsenal rejected Everton’s initial offer for Iwobi, which was closer to £30m ($37million), but accepted the second when it arrived in the final hours of the transfer window.
It was a deal the Gunners hierarchy felt was a good one for the club, with the offer arriving at the end of a window that had seen Arsenal commit to over £140million ($173million) worth of transfers – including a club-record £72million ($89million) fee for Nicolas Pepe.
But for Kanu, the decision to cash in on the 23-year-old was the wrong one.
“I would say they made a mistake, 100 per cent,” the Nigeria hero told Tidesports source. “Why they let him go, I don’t know.
“He’s a boy who, in and out, is Arsenal. He always wanted to do his best for the club. He loves the club, but not only that he can play football.
“What he brings week in, week out, the fans need to appreciate that.
“I think he is still young and those are the type of people you want in the team, people who grew up here, who know everything about the club and want to die for the club.
“He was one of them, so for us to lose him and to let him go, was a shock. I couldn’t really believe we did it, but that’s football.”
Kanu knows Iwobi well, with the winger having become a regular in the Nigeria national team in recent years.
When the transfer went through, he wished his compatriot well on social media, tweeting: “We are proud of you and will continue to support you. Good luck with your new club.”
But the 43-year-old, who won two league titles during his five-year stay with Arsenal between 1999 and 2004, admits if Iwobi had asked for advice, he would have told him not to leave the Emirates.
“It was a surprise to everybody because it happened right at the end of the window,” said Kanu. “If I knew earlier, I could have said to him not to go and that it was better for him to stay.
“I would have said that there was no need for him to go because at Arsenal, he will still play. He’s that good and he needs to know that.
“I think Arsenal would have been the best place for him because it’s a big club and you want to play in a big club and in Europe. Those are the games you want to play.”

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Coach Henry Converts Nigerian Winger To Striker

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Following Nigerian winger, Orji Okwonkwo’s move from Bologna back to Montreal Impact, Coach Thierry Henry has plans to convert the player into a striker.
The Nigerian U-23 international has returned to the Major League Soccer (MLS) club on loan from Italian side Bologna, with an option for a permanent deal from next January.
Okwonkwo has mostly been deployed as a wide attacker during his career, but he could be in for a different role in the future – in much the same way that Henry himself was converted to a prolific striker by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
“Henry was the main reason Orji returned to Montreal Impact, Henry wants him to play as a top striker in the new season,” Okwonkwo’s agent Femi Olaniran of Quintessence Sports Management told Tidesports source.
“Henry is going to teach him how to play as a striker, he told me he sees himself as a young Orji. Orji has the pace too.
“Henry wants to train Orji exactly how Wenger trained him to become a deadly striker. This is a good move for Orji and he’s going to learn at Montreal Impact.
“In his playing days Henry was one of the best strikers in the world and it will help Orji in his future career.”

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We Were Better Than TP Mazembe – Zamalek’s Coach

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Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron insists his side was “better” than TP Mazembe in their CAF Champions League clash at the weekend and they were disappointed to be held to a goalless draw.
Zamalek and Mazembe played out a 0-0 in their Group A clash at the Al Salaam Stadium in Cairo on Friday night, with the White Knights unable to avenge the 3-0 loss they suffered at the hands of the Ravens when the teams first met in Lubumbashi back in late November.
The result means the DR Congo side will advance as group winners, while Carteron was left to rue a major disruption right before the match which saw Achraf Bencharki injured during the warm-up and replaced by Ahmed Sayed ‘Zizo’.
“I’m very disappointed with the draw, we were better and reached their goal on several occasions but we were unable to score,” Carteron said during the post match press conference, as quoted by Tidesports source.
“Bencharki is a great player and is very influential as he’s the team’s top goalscorer but Zizo performed really well throughout the whole game.
“The team is in very good physical condition and we were able to achieve great results lately. If we would’ve scored in the first-half no one would’ve talked about the players’ physical condition or the absence of a fitness coach,” he added.
The Frenchman praised his side for their recent performances, especially goalkeeper Mohamed Abo Gabal.
“Abo Gabal was slightly injured lately and he appeared today after fully recovering,” explained the coach. “Our players’ ability allows to play with just one striker instead of two, I rely mostly on the crosses.”
Zamalek will wrap up their Group A campaign with a clash away to Primeiro de Agosto in Luanda next Saturday, 1 February.

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Golf: Rahm Shoots Seven To Take Lead

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Spaniard Jon Rahm shot a seven-under 65 to take lead going into the final round in the Farmers Insurance Open.
The 25-year-old world number three holed for an eagle from 111 yards at the second and finished on 12 under.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, needing a win to return to world number one, is nine under after a fine 67, with Tiger Woods two further back.
Ryan Palmer, two ahead overnight after a 62 on the North course, was 10 under with a handful of holes to complete.
The final two rounds are played at the more challenging South course at Torrey Pines but round three was delayed by two hours on Saturday because of dense sea fog along the Californian coastline.
Rahm quickly made up for lost time and played the first nine in five under, adding another birdie at the 13th after playing from the bunker to within inches of the cup.
A sparkling tee shot to inside three feet at the 16th gave him a fifth birdie.
McIlroy began the round six shots off the lead but compiled six birdies with some typically spectacular shots, to match his opening day score.
He pitched onto the 607-yard 13th with his second shot, although three putts from there only gave him a par.
However his birdie putt at the 470-yard 15th was a lot easier as his magnificent approach from 155 yards finished a foot from the pin, while two more majestic hits at the closing par five saw him pick up another shot.
Woods, winner of eight titles at Torrey Pines, made a superb start, playing the first nine in four under, which included a chip-in from off the green to par the fourth.
He three-putted to bogey the 11th but then holed from 15 feet to par the last and ensure only one dropped shot in his round of 69.
“It was important because I felt like I was going to get left behind if I’d dropped another shot,” said the world number six, seeking to move ahead of Sam Snead as the PGA Tour’s outright leading title winner.
“It was a positive move today, I got off to a nice start early but I am still going to have to post a low one tomorrow – a lot of guys are ahead of me.”

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