This weekend it is not all roads that will lead to Madrid. In England, most roads will lead to Old Trafford where an almost equally important rivalry between two of the BPL’s great teams will be ignited.
Manchester United and Chelsea will face off in what promises to be a match up between the coaches, two of the most experienced and renowned football managers in the world.
Luis Van Gaal will test his fledging Man Utd squad against a high riding Chelsea. In this encounter current form would matter little.
It is the team that gets its tactics right on the night that will carry the day.
Van Gaal is going through a difficult period with his team struggling to find the old rhythm that made Manchester United the most successful team in the history of the Premiership.
Mourinho has donned his armour of confidence and loquacity, and is daring any other team in the premiership to break down his defensive tactics and, at the same time, stop his rampaging forwards.
So, this weekend the battle line is drawn between them.
The Return Of The Foreign Coach to Nigerian football!
I truly believed that with the start of the era of Stephen Keshi as manager of the national team, Nigeria has seen the last of a foreign coach handling it’s national team.
I thought that Keshi’s generation, with their experiences in Europe and a little training in the coaching techniques, would kick-start the period when only qualified Nigerians would handle Nigeria’s national teams.
Keshi may have failed in his human relations and may also have been slightly deficient in some of his tactics, but he certainly did better than most of the foreign coaches that Nigeria hired since Clemens Westerhof.
Success as a coach is measured only with the results of a team.
It would be interesting to see which foreign coach would be hired, of all the names being touted by the media. We are waiting to see.
Keshi, with all his failings, won laurels and went beyond what any coach, local and foreign, had ever done for Nigeria.
Of his generation, there are a few that could have been challenged to come ‘try their luck’.
Sunday Oliseh is an interesting proposition. His limited experience in handling a big team notwithstanding, his intellect and analytical prowess, which are acknowledged worldwide should more than be a compensation.
Check out several of the best coaches in the world at the moment led by Pep Guardiola, and you would see a trend that swings away from old, retired and tired coaches, local or foreign!
So, a foreign coach? Without great players, any coach would ‘fail’. Unfortunately, Nigeria does not have exceptional players in this era.
Mark my words:Nigeria would soon be back to square one, looking for an indigenous coach from amongst our own!
Dazed By Premiership Transfers!
Eden Hazard does not play for Manchester City! Of course, he plays for Chelsea. He joined Chelsea from French club, Lille FC, in 2012 and has been an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s plan to win the BPL this season.
So, how did I get it wrong last weekend by listing him amongst Manchester City’s rampaging forwards this season? I admit that I was careless.
But come to think of it, who would not get dizzy with the massive movement of players in and out of Premiership clubs this season?
I find that, except the die-hard fans of specific clubs, keeping pace with player-movements has been a really herculean challenge. Take a walk with me!
Cesc Fabregas is back to the Premiership, not to Arsenal but to Chelsea. He is putting up champagne performances that Barcelona, with its array of stars, did not allow him.
Diego Costa is also in from Atletico Madrid, teaming up with Eden Hazard to form a lethal combination upfront that has ensured Chelsea remains in pole position in the premier league, ahead of defending champions, Manchester City FC, that have also been playing well but are five points behind Chelsea.
Within the BPL, Danny Welbeck moved from Manchester United to Arsenal, Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea to Everton, Barcary Sagna left Arsenal for Manchester City, Rio Ferdinand moved from Manchester United to Queens Park Rangers, Frank Lampard is back from New York City.
My head is already in a spin. Yet this is just but a drop. From outside the BPL come Radamel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria, Mario Balotelli, Daley Blind and hundreds of lesser known players. And the season is still so young!
I even hear that one-time Arsenal God-sent, one of the club’s brightest stars for a long period last season, German international, Mesut Ozil, is contemplating leaving the Gunners.
Any casual observer of the BPL will be left dazed with these movements.
Bottom line is that I goofed with the mis-information about Eden Hazard and I apologise to all those who must have been misled.
The chase at the top of the BPL is on with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea riding on the crest of a great start in the campaign.
They remain the only unbeaten side in the Premiership and Jose’s body language since the season started is that of an ‘arrogant’ posturing that he is ready to win the league this season.
But the BPL, as he knows quite well, is a football marathon race. There is still a long long long way to go!
The NFF Crisis Is Not Over!
As I was putting this article to bed, I saw the scroll of a news report that the elections that brought in Pinnick Amaju as NFF President has been nullified by a High Court sitting in Jos!
This situation is getting more complicated, I hope that this development is only that of ‘getting worse before it gets better’!