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Report says Wenger Didn’t Resign But Was ‘Asked To Leave Arsenal’

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Officially, he wasn’t pushed. He jumped. But it’s the sort of leap you take into thin air when a group of board members with machetes have chased you to the top of the building and there’s no way out. At some point the haze will clear, the retrospectives will end, the tributes will fade and we’ll be left with one incontrovertible fact.

Arsene Wenger was asked to leave.

Many would argue that it should have happened sooner. Maybe they are correct, but that’s an argument for another time. What matters here are two things.

One is that what became a running meme, the idea of an eternal Wenger refusing to leave the Colney training ground and Arsenal’s shareholders, led by the Kroenke family, appeasing him ad infinitum is no more. The other is that, as The Wall Street Journalreported Friday morning, Wenger chose to announce his exit on his own terms rather than “suffer the ignominy” of being fired at the end of the season.

Realistically, there were three scenarios for Wenger. Stay until the end of the season, perhaps win the Europa League along the way and then announce his departure, one of those “mutual consent” deals that clubs use to mask sackings. Another was hanging in there by his fingernails and getting the metaphorical bullet come the end of May. The third is the path he chose after it became clear to him that nothing, not even a European trophy and a return to the Champions League, was going to change Arsenal’s collective mind to get rid of him.

Out of the three paths available at this fork in the road, he chose this one – announcing his departure now – in part to eliminate the uncertainty over the club’s future. It’s no secret that there’s a (well-founded) belief around the club that last season’s speculation and indecision did them no favors. It hurt them on the pitch, and it weakened their negotiating position regarding their two star players: Alexis Sanchez, who eventually moved to Manchester United, and Mesut Ozil, who did extend his contract albeit with a massive raise.

Wenger’’s announcement accelerates the transition process and removes the question marks. In some ways, it’s his parting gift to a board that has steadfastly backed him for the past decade until it felt it could do so no more. In other ways, by all indications, it was an extremely painful step for him to take.

It was also no coincidence that when Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, addressed the media on Friday evening, Wenger was not present.

This is not just a man who has known only one club and one environment for the past 22 years; it’s a man who built the ecosystem in which he existed. The stories of the sort of club Arsenal were when he took over are legion. He built the London Colney training ground, he helped design key details at the Emirates Stadium and he micromanaged everything down to the players’ diets, which went from the potato chips and bacon sandwiches so prevalent in the English game in the 1990s to the pasta, salmon and steamed vegetables we see today.

Wenger built London Colney just as he built the modern Arsenal, and now he is no longer needed or wanted. That’s a punch in the gut, no matter how reasonable or inevitable it might have been and no matter how long it had been coming.

Some will ask: why did it take so long? According to sources familiar with the situation, the issue of his exit goes back several years, with the Kroenke family itself split over how to proceed. Ultimately, Stan Kroenke (just two years older than Wenger) pulled rank and opted to keep him. The two men might be wildly different, but those who know him say the elder Kroenke long felt a certain affinity with the Frenchman.

That said, according to my sources, the situation had become unsustainable. Other than 2015-16, when Tottenham’s late-season collapse allowed him to sneak into second place, 10 points behind Leicester, he had not finished higher than third since 2004-05 and hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in eight seasons.

For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that Kroenke – who has never hidden the fact that he is, primarily, a businessman – was content with Champions League participation (the “top four trophy” for which Wenger was so often mercilessly derided) as long as the revenues rolled in and the EBITDA looked good.

But recent events threatened to hit Kroenke where it hurts: in the wallet. The Ozil/Sanchez fiasco was one example, but, more than that, the Wenger protests and the empty seats at the Emirates were threatening the Arsenal brand.

This is the club with the biggest, most modern ground in one of Europe’s great capital cities. It oozes power and privilege; it’s the club of the marbled halls and the Invincibles, the one with a London tube stop named after it. In a world where clubs so often rely on image and brand to drive revenues, especially overseas (Manchester United being Exhibit A), Arsenal risked slipping behind.

The process to move on from Wenger began earlier this year. Dick Law, the recruitment specialist and Wenger loyalist, departed, and Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat arrived. These were men formed elsewhere, at Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund respectively, who brought a different sporting outlook and culture. They were not Wenger guys; he might have accepted their appointments, but they spoke to a changing of the guard.

Equally, the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January spoke volumes: he was repeatedly offered to Arsenal in the summer but Wenger opted for another center-forward, Alexandre Lacazette, instead. When the Dortmund striker showed up at the Emirates anyway, it was the most obvious sign that it was the beginning of the end.

Still, Wenger hung on. He had been given a two-year contract extension last summer; he figured he could work with the newcomers and find a way to square the circle. The future had not yet been written, only hinted at. With a strong 2017-18 season, a run at the Europa League and some new talent emerging, perhaps everything would be fine.

The club felt this was not the case. They made it clear that, one way or another, he would be replaced. Arsenal was bigger than Arsene. He might have built this home, but someone else will be living there very soon.

And so he spoke out now, to lift the cloud of uncertainty and speculation while also giving the club – and himself – the best possible chance of going out on a high.

Wenger has no idea what will happen next. (ESPN)

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10-Man Rangers Stopped in Job by Nasarawa United

Despite the loss, Rangers still occupy the 3rd spot on the log with 51 points

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Rangers International F.C

A 60th minute penalty goal converted by Tochukwu Michael for host, Nasarawa United, condemned the ‘Flying Antelopes’, Rangers International F.C to another defeat on the road in a match day 33, NPFL 2021/2022 season played inside the New Jos Stadium, Sunday, June 12, 2022.

The referee had adjudged that player, Aliyu Abdullahi of the ‘Solid Miners’ was fouled inside the box and awarded what looked like a soft call and in the aftermath of the call, Rangers’ defender, David Chimezie was shown the red card to reduce the strength of the visiting side.

Despite going down by a goal and a man, the coach Abdul Maikaba tutored side took the fight to the host with the attacking duo of Israel Abia and Ossy Martins probing for openings that were easily snuffed out by the duo of Victor Collins and Manga Mohammed while goalkeeper, Ameh Godwin was alert to his duties to punch out an Eso Achibong’ free kick on 78 minutes.

The host were the quicker off the block in this encounter with Chinedu Ohanachom, Sunday Okereke and Tochukwu Michael leading the assault but met stiff resistance from David Chimezie and Olawale Doyeni in the heart the the visitors’ defense as the trio of Shedrack Asiegbu, Eso Achibong and Tofik Omar were at their best in the middle of the pack.

Opportunities were very scarce for either side but Asiegbu could have shot the visitors in front on the stroke of half time but his well taken shot from the edge of the box was well read by Ameh Godwin while Ohanachom Chinedu drilled his effort wide at the other end after he was left with much space.

Coach Abdul Maikaba said after the encounter, “My boys played very well today but for some calls made by the referee, we should have earned a better result. The referee made it look like we had two separate rules for the two sides in the encounter. Sure, it is a setback but we hope to keep fighting till the end of the season as we believe that our target will be achieved.”

Despite the loss, Rangers still occupy the 3rd spot on the log with 51 points while Enyimba is in hot pursuit on 4th position with the same number of points after they demolished kwara United 3-0 in an earlier fixture today.

Rangers will next play Rivers United in a matchday 34 fixture at their adopted, Awka City Stadium later this weekend.

RANGERS TEAM: Bamidele Adeniyi, Tope Olusesi, Bala Akintunde, Tofic Omar (Charles Tiesso -87th Min.), David Chimezie, Olawale Doyeni, Chidiebere Nwobodo (Moses Effiong -78th Min.), Eso Achibong, Christian Nnaji (Ossy Martins -78th Min.), Israel Abia, Shedrack Asiegbu (Ernest Governor -61st Min.). UNUSED SUBS: Nana Bonsu, Philip Clement, Samuel Pam.

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Nigeria Has No Business Not being at the World Cup – Coach Anthony Adedeji

The UEFA licensed coach said this during a recent interview with Brandfit

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Coach Anthony Adedeji on Super Eagles and World Cup (4)
Coach Anthony Adedeji

Switzerland-based Nigerian coach, and former national team player, Anthony Adeyemi Adedeji, has said that the Super Eagles of Nigeria have no business not being at the FIFA World Cup and should have won the African Cup of Nations if they had technical guidance.

The UEFA licensed coach said this during a recent interview with Brandfit.ng.

He said, “When I speak about tactics and what I see some people think I just want to criticize but I am not an armchair critique because in my league here in Europe I have been winning my league for years so I know what I am saying. Nigeria did not qualify because our coach played direct football which is easily readable and predictable. He showed his hands by consistently focusing on Moses Simon.”

It would be remembered before and during the African Cup of Nations in Cameroun, who manages FC Gossua said severally that Nigeria needed a technically active coach if the Super Eagles are to win the continental football festival and qualify for the world.

In a live sports programme called Sports Ville aired on Channels TV, the multiple trophy-winning cups said Nigeria will not make it to the quarter-finals at the African Cup of Nations because the technical bench is not well-equipped to manage Europe trained players.

According to him, “I respect Coach Austin as a great coach but he has not been on the pitch for some time and it was too sudden to get him involved without an upgrade in his technical knowledge. I said at the programme that if we don’t get a tactically sound coach for the Super Eagles, we would not get to the quarter-finals of the Cup of Nations. My co-guest disagreed with me and I promised to get him anything he mentions if Nigeria gets to the quarter-final and to some it sounded like I wasn’t patriotic but I knew what I was saying.”

He continued, “You saw how a low performing Tunisia tactically defeated a better-skilled Super Eagles. The Ghanaians got an English Premier League coach, Hudson, a tactical gift and tested coach and they defeated us. They are going to the World Cup while we will watch from Nigeria. I am not happy we are not going to be at the World. We can have Nigerian coaches manage the senior and youth teams but they have to be the best and must acquire the requisite modern qualification and knowledge in coaching because football knowledge is moving fast and you can’t afford to use the knowledge you acquired two years ago today.”

The coach has managed several European clubs in the past 13 years winning trophies. He has coached the Under 14, Under 16, Under 17, Under 21, Under 23, and currently coaching the senior team of FC Gossua since 2020 till date.

The former Flaming Flamingo Stationery Stores player won the 1998 Oba Cup with Flaming Flamingoes, and captained India National FC, New  Delhi, in the 1999/2000 season to emerge as League Champions for the first time after 48 years, the same year Tony joined the team.

“Nigerian coaches have performed far better than foreign coaches with the Super Eagles, coaches like Stephen Keshi, Shuabu Ahmodu. We don’t have the best indigenous coach in Nigeria aside from the technical sound coach Emmanuel Amuneke but he wasn’t given the chance to lead the team? Nigerian Super Eagles is a very big brand and we should never experiment with it. We should not get a coach just because of the colour of his skin but the value he can bring to the team,” he said.

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AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles vs Sao Tome LIVE on Startimes

The AFCON Qualifier match can also be viewed on the StarTimes-ON mobile app.

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Super Eagles AFCON Qualifiers

Affordable pay-TV platform, StarTimes will air the AFCON Qualifiers‘ game between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and São Tomé & Príncipe on Monday at 2pm live and in HD on its World Football channel.

Nigeria kicked off their AFCON qualifying campaign on a winning note after coming from behind to defeat the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone 2-1 at the MKO Abiola Stadium on Thursday evening.

However, São Tomé and Príncipe began their qualification campaign on an unimpressive manner, as they lost 5-1 to Guinea-Bissau.

Even though it was a victory against Sierra Leone, Super Eagles team displayed a lacklustre performance.

After the match, Super Eagles’ head coach, Jose Peseiro, said he would be happy to see his team not just winning matches but also playing well to secure more victories.

Ex-Nigeria midfielder Henry Nwosu has warned the Super Eagles against underrating Sao Tome & Principe in their next Group A 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier scheduled for Monday.

Meanwhile, Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo believes he and his teammates will improve after their 2-1 victory against Sierra Leone.

“It’s our first game with our coach, with all of us together, we are going to improve, and we are going to get better in the games to come. We can always improve, we are definitely going to get better and stronger in the games to come.”

Football lovers in Nigeria can look forward to this exciting showpiece on StarTimes.

The AFCON Qualifier match can also be viewed on the StarTimes-ON mobile app.

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