In some cases where one is determined (or desperate) to get a romantic relationship started (or keep an already existing one going) with that one older person, “age is nothing but a number” gets uttered. For Taribo West however, age became an unwanted topic.
The former Nigerian international, among a few (like Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic) to have played for both Milan clubs, was commented on (whatever for) by a former Partizan Belgrade President. And indeed Zarko Zecevic was enthusing about erstwhile Pastor Taribo’s time at Belgrade, stating that West played well during his stint there.
Problem is, Zecevic indicated in his compliment that West was a good dozen years older than he claimed to be when he joined the club in 2002, saying the former defender was actually 40 years old rather than the 28 he claimed to be. Meaning Taribo will be 51 years old now rather than 39 as found when you ask Google or check his wikipedia page.
Apart from (perhaps) inadvertently and innocently staining what was intended to be complimetary remarks, Zecevic by so saying has given the suspicion on the eligibility of a number of Nigeria’s historic Atlanta 96 winning team another attempt at resurrection.
Taribo has debunked the comments by Zecevic, saying “I have my record in the professional League with Obanta United since the 1990’s and all along, I have been keeping with my true age.” while also pondering why it is now such matter has been raised, almost a decade after he left the club.
Age falsification has been a menace in Nigerian sports, so much it has become banter among football lovers in the country, especially when the male and female junior national football teams participate in international competitions.
For some time, another source of banter, via his tweets, has been English midfielder Joey Barton who is on loan at Olympique Marseille from Queens Park Rangers and has tweeted certain (un)popular opinions about the end of his tumultuous time at Newcastle United, matters involving him at QPR, players called up or otherwise to the English national team and, among others, Justin Bieber.
However, his tweet in which he referred to Thiago Silva – of archrivals Paris Saint Germain – as an overweight ladyboy has landed the very opinionated Barton in some trouble, with PSG threatening to take legal action against the player and his club while the French Football Federation ethics committee will now look into the matter with a view to suspending Barton from competitive matches for the comments.
Barton and l’OM have since released a statement, apologising to PSG (which would be a rather humbling experience for l’OM) and to the Brazilian defender for the comments made soon after PSG’s dramatic 2-2 draw at home to Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League first leg quarterfinal match.
Despite starting the match on Tuesday night in rampaging manner and being denied a goal by the post, PSG fell behind some minutes to half time when a delightful Dani Alves pass over the defence found none other than Lionel Messi.
The drama came in a Messi-less second half when PSG equalised midway through the second half via a Zlatan rebound with Zlatan clearly offside. Xavi would then put Barça back in front from the penalty spot with a minute left in normal time, only for Victor Valdes to (amusingly) fail in keeping out a rather tame Blaise Matuidi shot four minutes into stoppage time.
Tuesday night’s other encounter saw David Alaba* score the competition’s second fastest goal ever – at 25.02 seconds – as Bayern Munich once again put up an efficient performance in a comfortable 2-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Arena.
Real Madrid put up an even more precisive display on Wednesday
night in easing to a 3-0 win over Galatasaray at the Bernabeu, while elsewhere in Spain, Borussia Dortmund showed just how a team can be wasteful in front of goal in its goalless draw at Malaga.
Swiss side FC Basel showed a bit of Real Madrid and Dortmund on Thursday night in a Europa League quarterfinal clash at Tottenham Hotspur, racing to a 2-0 lead and missing further chances as Spurs fought back to claim a costly 2-2 draw.
Andre Villas-Boas had described his players as being “superior” compared to the Basel side ahead of that match, yet it was Basel that looked the likelier of both sides to win on the night. A bad night was made worse for AVB and Spurs when star player Gareth Bale was stretchered off in the closing stages with an ankle injury.
AVB previously had stated (after beating Inter Milan 3-0 in the first leg at the round of 16 stage) that the club didn’t need to prove it could play well without the Welsh winger in the team. Now with Bale out for two weeks and the return leg at Basel sandwiched between matches against Everton and Chelsea as they battle to finish in the Premier League’s top four coming up, AVB will hope his earlier assertion hasn’t met with Karma.
Chelsea and Arsenal will be out to take advantage of any Spurs slip-up at Goodison Park on Sunday, with Chelsea; fresh off a Juan Mata inspired, Fernando Torres-scoring 3-1 win over Rubin Kazan, hosting Sunderland on Sunday as well in Paolo di Canio’s first match as the visitors’ manager, while Arsenal visit West Brom on Saturday where a win will put the Gunners in the top four for 24 hours at least.
Newcastle United, that lost 3-1 at Benfica in the Europa League after taking the lead in Lisbon, welcome Fulham to St. James’ while Europa League chasing Liverpool host West Ham United. But the biggest match comes up on Monday night when both Manchester clubs clash at Old Trafford.
A win for United will put the Red Devils one match from a 20th league title but City, bolstered by Yaya Toure signing a four-year contract extension on Thursday, will be out to put the celebrations on hold for a little longer.
Elsewhere this weekend, Bayern Munich will clinch a 23rd Bundesliga title with a win against Eintracht Frankfurt, regardless of other results, while in Italy, Spain and France, Juventus, Barcelona and PSG still have a little way to go before clinching their respective domestic league titles.
Juventus face a relatively easy (on paper) match at home to Pescara in the Serie A on Saturday while Barcelona host Real Mallorca also on Saturday, with PSG facing a tricky trip to Rennes on Saturday too.
Away from the top, the Rome derby between Lazio and Roma on Monday night should make for interesting viewing, with both sides chasing a top five finish which guarantees at least a spot in next season’s Europa League. Another is Wigan Athletic’s trip to Loftus Road to face QPR in a relegation battle.
In Africa, Nigerian champions Kano Pillars take a healthy 4-1 lead to their first round second leg CAF Champions League match at Leopards on Saturday, with Rangers hosting Vital’O on Sunday in Enugu following a goalless first leg.
Naze Millionaires Heartland take a slender 2-1 lead to their second leg CAF Confederations Cup first round tie at US Bitam while Lobi Stars held a 3-1 lead against Muculmana in their first round match. Unfortunately, the Makurdi based side got crushed 7-1 in Mozambique on Friday night.
The Rome derby is the match I’m most looking forward to this ‘weekend’. Whichever match is your choice, hope you enjoy it, as well as the rest of your weekend. Cheers.