NFF fires Stephen Keshi

The executive board of the Nigerian football federation has relieved Stephen Keshi of his job. The ex international took over the mantle of the Super Eagles gaffer in December 2011 after the nation failed to book a ticket to the AFCON 2012 tournament.

Nigeria won the African cup of nations under his tutelage in a tournament that was hosted in South Africa last year. The team laboured to go beyond the group stage of the tournament after playing draw against Burkina Faso and Zambia.

Victor Moses scored a brace in their last group match against Ethiopia before the team went on to claim the African title for the first time in 19 years.

In June 2013, Nigeria participated at the FIFA Confederations cup that was held in Brazil. The team beat Tahiti by 6-1, but lost their games against Spain and Uruguay.

The NFF decided to appoint a technical adviser that will assist Keshi, but the former Togo manager, rejected the offer as he claimed that there was no need to get a foreign assistance.

Sylvanus Okpala that assisted him had been fired by the board due to financial and disciplinary issues.

                                    Where did Keshi go wrong?
Stephen Keshi was at loggerheads with the top players in the team. He accused players like Ikechukwu Uche, Peter Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins of indiscipline and lack of commitment.

Uche's case was more pronounced because of his scintillating form in the Spanish league, but he was ignored by Keshi.

The manager refused to update his knowledge and his lack of technical depth affected the team's performance against established sides like USA, Greece, Scotland and Ireland.

Keshi also led the home based team to the third place at CHAN 2014 event. He chose a 3rd choice goal keeper in a club as the national team's first choice at the mundial. He eventually conceded 8 goals.

His poor tactics also led him to replace an injured Elderson Echiejile with a midfielder.

Finally, his poor form in the AFCON 2015 qualifiers where his wards picked just 4 points from a possible 12 nailed his coffin.

The Super Eagles can still make it to Morocco 2015 if they beat Congo Brazaville and South Africa in November.

Swansea shocks Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford

Manchester United has started the 2014-2015 English premier league season with a shocking 2-1 home defeat against Swansea City.

Louis Van Gaal was hoping to start his career at Old Trafford on a bright note, but Monk's men had other ideas. The Welsh team took the lead through Ki Sung Yueng in the 28th minute against the run of play. Phil Jones forced Lukasz Fabianski to make a great safe in the first half.

The Red devils were not too impressive and didn't show the sign of a team that is ready to make the top four at the end of the season. Javier Hernandez, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney were on the starting line up, but Swansea didn't give them the chance to create clear cut chances.

It was a match that witnessed just four corner kicks that were taken by the home side. The last time United lost a match on the opening day of the league was in 1972. While the Welsh team also claimed their first victory over their fancied hosts for the first time in 83 years.

The former Dutch manager deployed a 3-5-2 formation that also featured Ashley Young. The Englishman later got injured and was replaced by Lingard.

After the restart, Rooney got the equaliser for the home side. The captain scored via a scissors kick to revive the hope of the Old Trafford faithfuls. He was denied a brace when his free kick came off the crossbar,

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the winning goal for Swansea after United defenders failed to take clear their lines.

Garry Monk's men recorded the first three points of the new season.

Fear of ebola threatens AYC Qualifier

The football association of Lesotho seems to have pulled the country's under 20 national team out of the scheduled African Youth Championship qualifier against Nigeria.

The ebola virus disease that is currently ravaging some parts of West Africa is the reason for this decision. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have recorded over 1000 deaths in the last few months while Nigeria have witnessed the death of 3 citizens in Lagos. The citizens died after having contact with Patrick Sawyer who died from the same disease. The Liberian flew to Lagos with the disease.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian football federation has claimed that they have not received any official notice from Lesotho. The two countries were billed to play the first leg tie of the final qualifying round for the 2015 African Youth Championship.
Some members of the flying Eagles of Nigeria were part of the under 17 team that won the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2013.
The venue for the proposed match is the Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna,Nigeria.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is expected to decide on the overall winner of the tie if Lesotho should boycott the match on Sunday 17th August,2014.

Germany becomes soccer World champions

Germany has won this year's edition of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World cup in Brazil. The European country has become the first side to do so on South American soil. The Joachim Loew tutored side overcame a spirited effort that was put up by Argentina in Rio de Janeiro.

It was the third meeting between these two sides in a final. While the Argentines won the 1986 edition, Germany recorded a 1-0 win four years later.

Lionel Messi couldn't re-enact his group stage form against the three time World champions. The Barcelona forward scored in the first four games of the tournament but his goals seems to have dried up after the second round match against Switzerland.

Germany dictated the final match, but they were unable to break down the highly disciplined Alejandro Sabella led team. Gonzalo Higuain had the chance to put the two time champions in front when he got to the end of a through pass, but the Napoli frontman fired the ball wide.

Lionel Messi and Palacio also missed the chance to score against Manuel Neuer who was adjudged the best keeper of the tournament.

Mario Gotze came in as a late substitute for Miroslav Klose and the Bayern Munich player became the hero of the day. He latched on to the ball from the left before beating Sergio Romero on the near post.

Germany has now won the World cup on four occasions. The next mundial will be in Russia in 2018.

German machine massacres Brazil at home

Germany have ended the hopes of a sixth World cup title for Brazil. The semi final match was played in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday night. Thomas Muller opened the scoring after 12 minutes of action. A corner kick by Miroslav Klose was not defended by the Brazilians and Muller fired in a shot to put the German machine into the lead.

The Brazilian defence was on vacation as the Germans ran riot of an uninspired team. After it was clear that the Brazilians had no idea of breaking down the German defence, the European giants decided to create some records.
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Klose became the highest goal scorer in the history of the tournament. The Lazio striker scored his 16th World cup goal after the Brazilians failed to clear a lose ball in the penalty box.

That goal came in the 23rd goal while the Brazilians were ball watching. They seem to have forgotten how to play football.

Toni Kroos made it 3-0 in the 24th minute. Two minutes later, he made it 4-0. A sweeping move in the 26th minute was too smooth for the Europeans to handle.

Sami Khedira made it 5-0 in the 29th minute via a well taken shot by his left foot.

Four goals were scored within a space of  6 minutes as the Brazilian fans couldn't hold back their tears. Felipe Scolari ran for cover when he became dazed by the rampaging Germans.

In the second half Andre Schuerrle scored  brace in 10 minutes. His first goal came in the 68th minute after the hosts failed to thwart a sweet move by the Joachim Loew's men. The Chelsea player made it 7-0 with an emphatic effort in the 78th minute. He got to the end of a ball on the edge of the penalty box and released a shot that went in through the underside of the crossbar.

Fred and Fernadinho were substituted after the restart. Fred, Hulk,Luiz, Dante and Bernard were appalling to watch. Mesut Ozil missed a golden in the 89th minute before Oscar scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute. Final score: 7-1

Scolari was also in charge of the Portuguese team that was hammered by 4-1 in the third place in the 2006.

African teams and their nicknames

One common thing among African teams is the uniqueness in their nicknames. While some of them of using animals like lion, antelopes and squirrels, others are comfortable with their national emblem.
                                          Mike Beat Place
The senior national team of this country is called the Desert foxes. The  Algerians have won the African cup of nations once. The team conquered the continent on home soil in 1990. They have made four appearances at the FIFA World cup.
They reached the second round of the Brazil 2014 World cup.

The South African nation has never won any notable tournament till date. The Palacas Negras of Angola made their first and only appearance at the World cup in 2006. Angola denied Nigeria a place at Germany 2006.

Burkina Faso
The stallions of Burkina Faso made the headlines of African football for the right reasons in 2013. The team reached the final of the nations cup before losing to Nigeria. Jonathan Pitriopa emerged as the best player of the tournament.
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The Central African nation has won the African cup of nations four times. Their last victory was in 2002. The Indomitable lions have made seven appearances at the World cup. The country also finished second in the FIFA confederations  cup in 2003.

The Pharaohs of Egypt are the most successful African team with seven titles to their kitty. Unfortunately, their last appearance at the World cup was in 1990. The North African nation have also excelled at the club level. Al Ahly have won the CAF champions  league 8 times, while Zamalek can boast of 5 titles. Al Ahly also finished 3rd at the FIFA club world cup in 2005. Hossam Hassan has the highest caps for the country.
                                        African news
The antelopes hosted the first edition of the African cup of nations in 1957. They have never qualified for the World cup. The current squad is known for playing entertaining football.

The Azingo national is one of the most improved nations in African football in recent times. The nation co-hosted the AFCON tournament with Equatorial Guinea in 2012. Their women team are the reigning African champions.

The Black stars have won the African title on 4 occasions, though their last victory was in 1982. The West African nation made their debut at the World cup in 2006. They have played in three of the global mundial.

The Harambee stars have played numerous World cup qualifiers, but they have never made it to the World stage. The East African nation are seeking for their first African title.

The lone stars have produced the only African to have won the World best player award. George Opon Weah won the award in 1995. He also emerged as the African and European player of the year in the same season. Liberia have not won any notable title in their history.
The Eagles of Mali are gradually getting close to the summit of African football. The team finished third at the AFCON tournament in 2013 after beating Ghana in the losers final. They are seeking for their first World cup appearance. Seydou Keita is the most successful player to have come from that country. Frederick Kanoute won the African player of the year in 2007 while playing for Sevilla.

The Atlas lions of Morocco will host the 2015 edition of the AFCON tournament in January. Rabat is the capital city of this beautiful North African nation. The national team has played at the World cup and also emerged as African kings in 1976. Raja Casablanca has won the CAF champions league while FAR Rabat can also boast of winning the CAF confederations cup in 2004. Nurudeen Naybet and Mostapha Hadji are the most successful players from Morocco. Hadji was the best player on the continent in 1998.

Part 2 of this article will soon be published.

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Argentina vs Netherlands soccer preview

The World cup stadium in Sao Paulo will be alive again on Wednesday when the second semi final of this year's FIFA World cup takes centre stage.

Argentina will play against Netherlands in an explosive encounter. The South Americans have won the tournament on two occasions, while the Dutch side have lost their  two finals in 1978 and 2010.

They actually lost the 1978 final against a Diego Maradona inspired team. This time around, Lionel Messi will be the focal point of the 'Albaceleste'. Messi has scored four goals in Brazil and he will be expected to play a key role in taming the 'Oranje' of Netherlands on Wednesday.

Coach of the Argentine team,Sabella could feature Sergio Aguero in this fixture. The Manchester City striker has missed the last two matches due to a groin injury he sustained against Nigeria. He will be subjected to a late fitness test.  No one can guarantee that the ex-Atletico de Madrid player will be influential against Louis Van Gaal's men.
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Angel Di Maria is out of the World cup and he won't be expected to play a part in Wednesday's fixture. The Real Madrid striker got injured in the game against Belgium.

The Europeans
Netherlands overcame a dogged Costa Rican team in the quarter final on  Saturday via penalties. The trio of Arjen Robben, Wesley  Sneidjer and Robin Van Persie will lead the Dutch assault in Sao Paulo. RVP and Robben have scored 3 goals each.

This is the third World cup semi final in the last five appearances for Netherlands. Louis Van Gaal will obviously replace Clissen with Tim Krul if this match should go beyond 90 minutes and extra time.

ChatSoccer predicts a 3-2 win for Netherlands.

Kick off time: 20.00 UTC