Archive for May, 2009

Sheep & Wolves

Episode Three:
Lance: Sleep master, we’re here!

Lance’s persistent tapping on Tony’s shoulder woke the banker up, they were parked in front of his bank branch at Victoria Island and Tony had slept off in the car. He took a look at his left wrist, “Jesus, nine thirty!” he exclaimed.

Lance: well, the traffic on the 3rd Mainland was just the beginning bro, getting through the chaos in Ikoyi was a miracle!

Tony: I’ll need another one to happen if I’m not to be sacked!

Lance: Don’t worry your head on that man, your car broke down, traffic was chaotic…

Tony: I wish it’d be that rosy but even roses have thorns!

Lance: You do have a point

Tony: Thanks a lot though, and sorry I’ve dragged you to be late…

Lance: Actually, I was going home…

Tony: Oh, where do you stay?

Lance: Admiralty Way, my folks house there at least though they’ve relocated to the U.K.

Tony: We should catch up man

Lance: yea, this is my card; the second number’s my personal cell. We can arrange something later.

Tony: Ok

Lance: And don’t worry about the car, we took it to a service centre around and thank goodness you had your papers in the car. So you can go pick it up there later.

Tony: Thanks man, I owe you biggie!

Lance: you sure do, later now.

Tony: Later…err, how did you know this is my branch?

Lance: I came across one of your business cards while searching for the car papers.

Tony: Figures, thanks again.

And with a wave of the hand, Lance drove off for home while Tony went into the bank awaiting the shortest day at work but as he stepped into the baking hall, he got the rude shock from one of the girls over the counter, “Mr Tony, thank God you’re here, thank God!” she said frantically.

After asking what was wrong, Tony found out the bank had just been through a robbery. The robbers; eight in number, had been waiting for everybody to arrive and when the manager came in, they took her in for a few minutes, by the time they returned she was bleeding from her nose and was walking uncomfortably.

But when she got to the main safe with three of the robbers, she had a change of heart and decided not to open it. One of them lost it at that point and shot her from point blank. The one that shot her was shot in return by another who shouted something about them not being able to open the safe again.

The third robber there however noticed the manager had inputted the pass code to the safe, all that was needed was her fingerprint and the key to open the safe and both would not be much trouble since she was lying there almost lifeless and the key was in her left hand.

The two then called her, the girl from the counter, to join them in filling the bags with money and four bags were filled. So the two left, a two bags for each one of them and joined the five in the banking hall and after a few minutes, they begun ransacking the counters and customers as well as the staff before making away with two of the company cars, after somehow disabling the tracking system on each car.

“So where’s Bridget?” Tony finally asked after gulping all that information, “oh, they’re just about getting her ready to receive proper treatment” said the girl who then led him to where the bank manager had been treated by a doctor who was in the bank when the robbery took place.

“Oh my God”, Tony gasped at the sight of blood all over Bridget’s all white formal outfit. It was now stained with the deep red of her blood and she was barely conscious when she spotted Tony, “it’s… it’s good to… see you.” The short sentence had taken a lot from the little strength left in her but you could see in her eyes she was grateful to see him and it made him wonder if his anger at her was warranted at all.

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Some of the Most Unfortunate Football Strikers

This is a compilation of some of football’s best strikers who for one reason or another have seen their careers…or better yet, sight on goal become blind partially or totally. In plain English, I mean they have become a shadow of their former deadly selves or have been forced to retirement.

First on the list is Marco van Basten and believe me, there are a precious few who match the Dutchman’s strike rate, let alone beat it.

Marco van Basten in his hey days
Marco van Basten in his hey days

218 league goals in 280 appearances for AFC Ajax and AC Milan speaks volumes in the Hall of Football Fame which also has numerous Dutch league and Cup titles along with Lega Calcio shields and ultimately the Champions League with Milan.

It then IS very unfortunate he did not get to inflict more damage on opposing defenses when at the ripe age of 28, his career came to an end no thanks to an ankle injury.

His coaching stint also has not been so successful, but not so bad, after leading a promising Oranje team to the Euro 2008 quarterfinal before finishing third behind surprise packages AZ Alkamaar and FC Twente in this season’s Dutch Eredivise…he resigned his post from Ajax afterwards.

Next is Dario Silva of Uruguay who among other clubs played for Malaga, FC Sevilla and Portsmouth before the worst happened.

Dario Silva in training with Alvaro Recoba
Dario Silva in training with Alvaro Recoba

In September of 2006, the striker along with two ex-footballers was involved in an accident when Silva lost control of his pick-up truck.

Sliva survived, but at the cost of his right leg which was amputated from knee down after he was thrown out of the truck, thus fracturing his skull and leg.

Martin Palermo however did not suffer like Silva did but his ego took a bit of mud when in the 1999 edition of the Copa Libertodores, he missed three penalties for Argentina against Colombia, a feat that earned him an unenviable place in none other than the Guiness Book of Records.

Palermo also never came to terms with his scoring boot in Europe as stints with Alaves and Villarreal show but his average with Boca Juniors is phenomenal with over 200 goals in under 250 appearances in two spells at the club.

He unfortunately has played seven times only for Argentina and scored three goals and while it may seem his world record feat ended his national team career, a spate of injuries at the time was the actual cause and with players such as Messi and Tevez and Aguero (who has a child-to-be with Maradona’s daughter, Maradona being Argentina boss now), it is hard for Palermo to break back into the national team.

So what other forward of high profile could have suffered career disappointment and there came Miguel Mista of Spain and more specifically, Valencia CF.

Full name Miguel Angel Ferrer Martinez, Mista was Rafael Benitez number one forward during their time at the Santiago Bernabeu with Real Madrid’s reserves.

Both then moved on to Tenerife where Mista’s goals helped the modest club to promotion into the Primera Liga in 2001 before both again moved onto bigger turfs with Valencia where two league titles and a UEFA Cup trophy was won.

Miguel Mista in the good days of los Che
Miguel Mista in the good days of los Che

Mista finished top scorer in the la Liga; earning the Pichichi title, in 2004 with los Che before finally parting ways with Benitez who left for Liverpool while he went ot Atletico Madrid.

Bad move that was as the man he replaced, Fernando Torres, flourished at Liverpool with Rafa while Mista failed to make any impact AT ALL with Atletico, crashing into obscurity faster than the moles dig into the earth.

Next in the list of unfortunates is former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who unknown to many, began his career quite poorly before a move to Boavista proved his break in front of goal, scoring 20 goals in 29 league matches for the Portuguese club.

That earned him just the Portuguese Cup though and a move to England with Leeds United for whom he continued his prolific scoring form and after two seasons; coinciding with Leeds downturn, he moved to Atletico Madrid.

At Atletico, he amazingly scored 24 league goals and 10 more in other competitions, yet was unable to save the club from the ignomity of relegation that season, prompting a move to Chelsea.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

At Chelsea, he finished top scorer in three of the four seasons spent at Stamford Bridge but failed to land the league title with the Blues.

Hasselbaink NEVER won a major title at his sojourn round Europe; except the Portuguese Cup and Super Cup with Boavista and Community Shield with Chelsea, also failing to make any impact with the national team with the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooij, Dennis Bergkamp, Roy Makaay and Patrick Kluivert well ahead in the pecking order.

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Top 10 Players of 2008/09 Part Two

This week, the task of picking the five that complete this list is quite a headache and therefore, the five should be worthy footballers for making this.

Nemanja Vidic
The Serbian’s impact on the Premier League generally and the Manchester United defense especially is so immense, I would actually root for him in the Player of the Season awards instead of being overly emotional ala PFA Player winner Ryan Giggs.

With Vidic, Rio Ferdinand is a better player and in his absence we all know how vulnerable the Red Devils’ defense line can be. Vidic is such the defender, Sir Alex said “he is never happy unless he leaves the pitch with a bruise”, now that’s the mark of greatness.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney does have a passion for the Three Lions

Rooney does have a passion for the Three Lions

This boxer-supposed-to-be is my Manchester United player of the year along with Vidic and a certain Carlos Tevez (who just misses this list thanks to SAF’s refusal to start him on the regular) and this is because he has played most of the season from the wings and played very well actually.

I wonder how Rooney became such a team player; Rooney that was quite the selfish one, but people change right? You just pity the fact though that he is English because I just don’t see England winning any major trophy anytime soon.

Werder Bremen’s Brazilian midfielder is almost an example of one tree making a forest as he unmistakably is the force behind Bremen’s run to the last UEFA Cup final to be played later this month.

Brazil international Diego

Brazil international Diego

He is a good controller of the ball, is the chief assist man in the German club and most importantly scores crucial goals, qualities which makes his stay at Bremen a knife edged privilege for the club.

Michael Essien
His absence from the Chelsea midfield was actually well managed by Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi but when he returned, we all saw why Essien is a better player than Mikel.

Michael Essien absence in mid-season probably cost Chelsea more than it could afford.

Michael Essien absence in mid-season probably cost Chelsea more than it could afford.

Yes Mikel has a better pass completion rate as well as good mental reading of games but Essien more importantly is not far behind on those aspects and as a bonus, scores goals!

??? ???

This I’ll leave to you to choose though I can say some of the players I have in mind for this final spot. Diego Forlan is one of them with his goals for Atletico Madrid, most of which are not tap-ins like say a Samuel Eto’o.

There also is Robin van Persie who I feel has been Arsenal’s best performer this season; Arshavin’s assessing is for next season. Alessandro del Piero, Franck Ribery, Gonzalo Higuian, Raul, David Villa and Ajax striker Suarez have also performed excellently this season.

However and expectedly, names such as Didier Drogba, John Terry, maybe Cesc Fabregas, Ryan Giggs (???) and the likes would make the real lists.

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And there was Ovrebo

Now I thought it was just the English referees that made farceful decisions on the football field and like Polly, along came Tom Henning Ovrebo who wore the all black in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg between Chelsea and Barcelona.

Drogba falling under Abidal's challenge in the box

Drogba falling under Abidal's challenge in the box

First though, a few classic referee decisions. In the 2006 World Cup against who was it again, Croatia had a player sent off by a referee from Queensland but that was after the Croat got three yellow cards.

Then there was the other ref who turned a blind eye to Cristiano Ronaldo taking his shirt off in celebration against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League very recently.

But none comes better in farce than Ovrebo’s display at Stamford Bridge; and before you all go “why’s this Gooner sulking” and so on, the ref even got a decision or two wrong on Barcelona’s part. First Florent Malouda being pulled by Dani Alves.

Maybe the referee felt a bit of Malouda’s toe was outside the box so the foul did not warrant a penalty. That’s the only excuse I can think of for Orvedo as the Norwegian cannot possibly claim he had no clear view of the foul…he was right in the action.

Then there were the two shouts for penalty by Drogba. I’ve actually seen both given but I’m tempted to say being Drobga, you kinda lose a good bit of credibility when you fall under challenge in the area and we all know how the Drog is along with Cristiano Ronaldo and maybe Fillippo Inzaghi.

Then came Abidal’s red card. It would be easy to say it was deserved but emotions aside, Abidal was not the last man as Yaya Toure was closing in on Nicholas Anelka when Abidal and Anelka tripped each other; though Abidal feels he was the one tripped. Eitherway, that was no red card, and as a matter of fact, no card at all!

Red Card or not?

Red Card or not?Orvedo took the farce to new heights when Anelka's flick to get past Gerard Pique was caught by the Spanish defender's outstretched arm, 10 out of 10 those have been given but welcome to the new generation of referees fathered by Orvedo. After that, you just got the feeling Barcelona would score somehow and like we all say, the rest is history.Andres Iniesta turns the night Blue at the Bridge

There however was time for one more controversial decision as Ballack’s stoppage time volley deflected off Seydou Keita. Now I wouldn’t say that was a definite penalty, let’s just leave that at that.

In all, I felt like I was watching the CAF Champions League (no offense) as clearly, something just was not right about the ref…or maybe UEFA and/or FIFA aren’t fans of watching a consecutive all-English final?

Whatever it is, the referee totally spoiled the spirit of the match and made the champions league semi-finals, in all, a total no-contest; yes Arsenal put up nothing like a broom let alone a challenge against United!

So now, I’ll just do with watching Kano Pillars and Heartland rep Naija in the CAF Champions League. I think at least one of them would make the final stages of the competition. you?

Drogba bearing his mind out to Ovrebo

Drogba bearing his mind out to Ovrebo

Last word, Drogba’s theatrics after the final whistle was totally immature and unwarranted but can you really blame him? Yes the world will say yes he was wrong (and somehow I found his show quite comical)  but then being Drogba; known for his theatrics in the box, no one would take him seriously. Anyhow, here’s hoping for a clean and true final…I’m backing United on this one, going by my earlier prediction and not by sentiments.

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Top 10 Players of 2008/09 Part One

Lionel Messi
Touted as the next World Footballer of the Year, the Messiless
Argentine ace has been in devastating form for his equalling
devastating club Barcelona this season, being the main force behind
the Trinity at the Camp Nou.

His case for football’s top individual prize is given more credence
with his status as top scorer in the ongoing UEFA Champions League
though winning the trophy itself would all but ensure he gets the
crown he so much craves.

CR7 vs. Messiless Lionel

CR7 vs. Messiless Lionel

Cristiano Ronaldo
The current World Footballer of the Year has not had the same season like he did last season but 25 goals in all competitions so far by a right winger’s standard is a very good season; that’s how much we all love to hate the Portuguese who scored 44 goals last season.

Yes he started the season slow but he has picked up ever since,
becoming top scorer in the Premier League but most importantly, he
actually has begun performing in the big matches, last year’s
Champions League final was the first of such. Besides, Messi has not
scored 30 goals in all competitions this season has he?

Xavi Hernandez
In the walloping of Real Madrid (El whatever else but Clasico), Xavi
returned a 93% record for passes completed in that match, including
the ones that directly led to four of the six goals that night.

That is how influential the longest serving Blaugrana player has
been this season, contributing a few crucial goals as well along the

Andres Iniesta
Lionel Messi may be the trigger, Xavi may be the heart but Andres
Iniesta is the brain of Barcelona this season, silently doing the
hard work of creating opportunities and scoring a few as well.

If the fans had their way with the selection of the Player of the
Year, I get the feeling Iniesta would win or in the worst case give
Barca teammate Messi a good run for his money but we all know that
low scoring midfielders hadly ever get the nod, pity.

Steven Gerrard
Captain Fantastic is a better leader than Rafael Benitez on and off
the pitch as he has created goals especially for Fernando “El-Nino”
Torres and scored a good amount for the club.

Stsven Gerrard with manager Rafa Benitez

Stsven Gerrard with manager Rafa Benitez

It then is unfortunate that all his good work would come to nothing
largely to the big mouth of his gaffer as arch-rivals Manchester
United edge ever closer to a record equalling 18th league title win,
extending Liverpool’s league title drought to 20 years as a result.

The next five players will be revealed soon enough but truth is I
have just two players more to definitely make the top ten and a few
probables to choose from.

After this article, there will be the top ten clubs of the season
which will include a few clubs you don’t get to mention every now
and then. Top ten matches of the season should also raise a few
brows right?

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Sheep and Wolves Episode 2

Episode Two:
Tony: and what da f*** were you thinking getting pregnant in the first place. And better yet, I’m not the responsible dick!

Jocelyn: well you got something else right…

Tony: My God, what else did u do???

Jocelyn: You’re such a dick, that’s what you got right!

Tony: Have you lost your mind, I should be the only dick in your gaddamn life!

Jocelyn: and once again, you’re spot on about that Tony, you’re such a dick you know!
Tony: what the f*** is this b**** talking about???

Jocelyn: you’ve been such a dick Tony, you don’t realise a woman has needs too!

Tony: well I’m sure your degree means you have intuition

Jocelyn: and what’s that s’posed to mean???

Tony: well, I read Banking and Finance not mind reading for starters…

Jocelyn: *palms her forehead* GOD you’re such a prick.

Tony: Well help me out here, I work in a bank where my manager’s some crazy b**** and apparently my fiancée’s taking cue

Jocelyn: that’s just the problem, you never got over the fact that Bridget got that manager’s job you SO wanted…

Tony: …what makes…

Jocelyn: …then you drown yourself in your misery after spending three quarters of the day at work; probably fantasizing half the time about a job you’ll never have

Tony: Oh! So working my ass off at work’s now the sin?

Jocelyn: When you become a stranger to me, yes it is!

Just then a neighbour from the apartment just above stamped his foot on his floor to get the arguing couples’ attention,

Neighbour: Some of us are trying to sleep here!!!

Tony: And some of us have work to go to!!!

Neighbour: Then be going or I swear to God they’ll never see you there again if you two continue shouting!!!

Tony and Jocelyn stopped arguing and went about preparing for the day; Tony has just managed to knot his tie and stormed out of his apartment, leaving Jocelyn behind, who all along was pretending to be doing something when all she wanted was for Tony to be gone…so she could cry all she could.

Tony and Jocelyn stayed in one of the two 3-bedroom apartments in the three storey building at the Akoka suburbs and until recently, they had been just “next door neighbours” with the rest of the tenants; that was before the issue of Bridget getting the manager’s job at one of the top banks.

He had met her just after completing youth service; in fact she had splashed mud water as he alighted from the bus that had just arrived from Damaturu where Tony had just finished his Youth Service. Jocelyn meanwhile was driving by in a pot-hole ridden part of the Ikorodu Expressway when she bathed the poor Youth Corper.

Tony: WHY NOW!!!

Jocelyn: *alighting from her Kia Rio hatchback* I’m so, so sorry bros

Tony: I no be your bros, at all at all!!!

Jocelyn: ahan no vex naa, I said I’m sorry

Tony: O baby, sorry’s not enough o. I just got back from Damaturu and I remember taking my bath before leaving and…

Jocelyn: …and I could give you a ride home from here as compensation

The offer certainly caught Tony off-guard, he stayed with his parents at Iyana-Ipaja and he had been worried about how he would go about getting his luggage home, getting to the park back at Damaturu was not a journey to remember; how did he gather so much load by the way he wondered…

Jocelyn: Feel free to hop in whenever you’re done daydreaming oga

Tony: What? Oh, err, daydream, what for?

Jocelyn: Just get your stuff in and let’s go

Tony: On one condition…

Jocelyn: But I’m giving you a ride now…

Tony: And I need food badly!

Jocelyn: Ehn, you can buy gala on the way…

Tony: I don’t think you understand, I just spent the better part of 35 hours on the Nigerian road from a place where someone with sardine was King and the one with two wraps of noodles was God, literally!

Jocelyn: Oh my God, that bad!

Tony: Just the tip…I need real food and you owe me that!

Jocelyn: ok, ok, we’ll stopover at whatever eatery that comes first and eat there

Tony: You ARE God-sent!

They drove for about 40 minutes before finding an eatery preferred by Tony; where he knew he could get heavy food, and when he placed his order, Jocelyn cursed at the thought of how she entrapped herself with “this corper!”

As it would turn out however, Jocelyn and Tony were at the eatery for two hours before setting out finally for Iyana-Ipaja to drop Tony. Both exchanged numbers; Tony was fascinated that Jocelyn was a website developer working on her own having earned her degree two years earlier. It was from then on the two started being friends but now every thing seemed like they belonged to another life.

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