Anne, A Lady And A Half

There are girls, then there is Adetoun.

I don’t think I express my appreciation to you often enough for having given me happy times, so I’ve decided to write this.

This way I can sit down and gather my thoughts together and present them to you with a small token of my love.

I want to assure you that the passing times have not diminished my love for you in the least. Instead, my love has only deepened with time because it always gives me more opportunities to appreciate how you successfully manage every new challenge that confronts us. Please don’t ever concern yourself with a gray hair here or a wrinkle there, my Dear. Although you are as beautiful to me as ever, I also admire your inner beauty, which merely intensifies with the passing times.

I finally understand the meaning of all those songs that talk about endless love. I don’t think they are just hyperbole or poetic expressions, after all. I believe now that a love that has endured this earthly test can never end. I swore to love you for time and all eternity and I will happily do that, my Love. I am so grateful that you continue to love me, too despite my failures and shortcomings. Thank you for always being there and helping me to be all that I can be.

Thank you for being so good to me and for being so loving, patient, and kind. You’re as thoughtful today as you were on our first date. Things got better as we got to know each other more. I’m thankful that you’re so willing to listen to me and to share with me your feelings and dreams, even your concerns and your worries. I always heard how important open communication was in relationship, and now I wholeheartedly believe it.

Crazy as it may sound, and although I’m not promising anything, I look forward to growing old together. I once heard that men are like fine wine–they only improve with age. The thought of all the upcoming years spent by your side brings me a joy and a peace that I can hardly comprehend. I know that, no matter what, we’ll stay together, through thick and thin. That’s what real love and commitment is all about, and that’s what I have for you.

Honey, I know how blessed I am, and I want you to know that I know it.

For All My Love,

MikeThePundit

Super Falcons World Cup Campaign: The Thought Of A Patriotic Nigerian

It all started by being crowned African champions, for a record ninth time in Ghana last December, the Super Falcons thus became only the seventh nation to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This time around Thomas Dennerby and his girls headed to France

About 15 test games were organised for the team pre-world cup, with camps/games held in China, Cyprus, Spain, Ivory Coast and Austria (widely agreed as the best-ever for any Nigerian team going to the Women’s World Cup and even wrote to thank the NFF).

From Reims to Grenoble to Rennes, then back to Grenoble. The Falcons set out for their world cup campaign, lost 3-0 to Norway, inspiring 2-0 win against South Korea, then the VAR drama, penalty to France, Ngozi Ebere sent off, Renard missed the kick, VAR said Nnadozie infringed, penalty retaken then scored by Renard again, encroachment in the area, goal stood and Nigeria eventually lost 1-0 to France in a spirited display from the girls.

Trust Nigerians, you know quite well right?. VAR is a scam, IFAB does not know what they’re doing, Racism at its peak, FIFA favours the host country, FIFA hates Africa; these and many more ran through social media, Nigerians were livid to the extent of abusing the female commentator for the match but that’s not the story really!

The story was the manner in which after 3pts only, the Super Falcons edged through to the last 16 as one of the four best placed teams. 72hrs they had to wait in their hotel rooms, the Argentines helped out, Cameroon almost did us dirty, then the Chileans and Aunty Lara (Lol) missed a late penalty as Nigeria rode on mother luck to advance.

Next was Germany in the second round, forget what they told you, we never stood a chance and rightly so, we lost 3-0 and exited the tournament.

This thought of mine can go down as an unpopular opinion with many but the truth is really bitter, many people expected too much from the girls to the extent in which emotions took over our objectivity about the girls performance at the World Cup.

Yes, it was the first time in 20yrs we’re getting to the last16 but still, the Super Falcons had a below par performance. The display pattern couldn’t be define, the big girls flopped on the world stage, Dennerby panicked and the only difference was the Round of 16 qualification.

The type of energy we channeled towards the France vs Nigeria game should go straight to the development of female football in the country. We need to review how we excel on the African continent, consistently qualify for the World Cup, only to deliver an average performance on the world stage.

We really need to do more as a nation, while female football is evolving, we are here lagging behind. The Nigeria Women Professional League is not encouraging, the organisers aren’t doing enough, the level of play is on the down slide and many more.

We go again, first the All Africa Games, then the Olympic Games next year, sacking Dennerby would be a step in the wrong direction, continuity is needed with him. Let’s see what he has to offer as per bringing in fresh legs to the team and maybe he can be more proactive. Then, we’d be able to judge the Swedish man.

But before then, let’s understand that we’re right behind in women football, retracing our steps will take years, leave patriotism, go back and work out modalities to better our football.

NPFL: Should The LMC Embrace The Abridge League Format ?

The year was 2018, the month was July, just after the FIFA World Cup, crisis rocked the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, was abruptly ended with Lobi Stars of Markurdi declared Nigeria’s CAF Champions League representative and nominal champions.

However, the big one was that, no team got relegated from the 2018 NPFL season and the total team to participate in the 2019 League season increased by four, make that 24 teams.

Huge problems for the LMC right??… Not to worry, the League Management Company led by Shehu Dikko after a meeting with club owners agreed that the 2019 League season will be in an abridge league format, Group A and B in order to meet up with CAF Club competition deadlines and align with the European Football calendar of August/May for the 2019/20 Season.

A Championship playoff was to come after the conclusion of the regular season and thus Enyimba were crowned champions of Nigeria for a record eighth time having won four of their five matches at the playoff also known as Super Six in Agege, Lagos.

With the success recorded in the just concluded season, how about if the LMC consider having the league in an abridge format.

Yes, 24 teams will no longer be involved as the number of teams moves back to 20 teams but putting into consideration the Nigeria system, one is tempted to have the league played in an abridge setting.

Now, the Nigerian system means a whole lot here, we blame the LMC for every single thing that goes wrong in the league while neglecting what might have been if we have a working system in Nigeria; all sectors working at premium.

Playing the league in an abridge format will ensure the sustainability of teams; teams will have less travel to make in order to attend games. Imagine an MFM FC traveling to Maiduguri to play a match against El Kanemi warriors, hectic journey right??…. The abridge league version will however give leverage for teams to play in their region thereby having a short distance trip to make so as to honour games.

How about if we look into players fatigue??… The bane last season wasn’t really the distance covered by players on their travels but the numbers of jam packed fixtures. Players play on a Sunday/Wednesday/Sunday timing which taking a clearer look into only works in the European leagues where there is a functioning system.

With the numbers of teams set to be twenty, an abridge version with 10 teams in each group will only mean a Sunday/Sunday match days for players. Less distance on the road, enough rest before the next match day, enough time perhaps for managers to also thinker their tactics.

Then, the Championship playoff. I only saw the last match day of the just concluded playoff and judging by what I saw plus the trend of the playoff on social media, one can easily conclude that it was a great football fiesta at the Agege Township Stadium – don’t remind me of Rabiu Ali and Kano Pillars please – the six best teams in the land converged, every match day had cracking fixtures, goals aplenty and then, worthy champions in Enyimba.

The championship playoff can be moved by the LMC every season to various states. This would also help some states that are yet to taste NPFL football to know what it really is to have league games in your vicinity. It would also see a huge climax to the NPFL every season if the abridge league comes in place.

Enough said, there are no define ways to playing a league, no reason to always go by the European league format.

Truth is, we need to learn how to do things in our best interest and choose what works best for us even beyond football organisation but as a nation.

AiteoCup: The Unthinkable Comeback And My Asaba Diary

Oh, that was not meant to happen, that actually happened. In all of the local matches I have been privileged to cover, the 2018 Aiteo Cup final between Rangers Intl and  Kano Pillars is unarguably my best game.

Arrived Asaba on Tuesday evening alongside a Kano Pillars fan who came in from Lagos, he had all of Sai Musa Gida souvenirs, I took special interest and interviewed him, that looked like a magic to him and so he decided to pay for my hotel bills and I checked into Peacock Hotel, a 5mins walk to the stadium.

Dropped my luggages and went to the stadium, getting there I nodded my head in approval of the facilities I saw, top notch and pure standard. 
The night went with me watching Roma vs CSKA Moscow in my room, good game no doubt. 

Game day, woke up to this cold weather in Asaba, so I decided to do a walk out, coffee and bread came through, and surely the cold reduced.
 
Towards 12pm was the Delta SWAN vs SWAN Selected game which ended 1-1, some NNL officiating in that game though. Match over and we headed straight to the Hampton Hotel for the NFF Annual General Meeting and pick up our media accreditation for the final.

With that sorted, I went back to my hotel, 4pm and I need take my bath and look handsome, just so you know. That went, 4:20pm was the time I took my seat at the media tribune, late comer you want to say?.. No, I am not.

15mins later and the true essence of my Asaba trip started unfolding in my eyes. Yes, I said 15mins, just because the match was signalled underway by Lagos based referee Adebimpe Quadri at 4:35pm.

Kano Pillars started well and little wonder they opened the scoring with just 5mins on the clock, Rabiu Ali – who will later lose his spot kick in the shootout – smashed home a shot just inside the area which clipped the underside of the bar and went in.

1nil Sai Musa Gida but they weren’t done yet as Alhassan Ibrahim scored from a corner kick, yes, you read that right, a corner kick. Femi Thomas in goal for Rangers made a mess of it and suddenly the Flying Antelopes were all over the place. They lacked coordination in defence, lethargic in midfield and uninspiring in attack. 

Kano Pillars were the better side as the game ended 2-0 at halftime. 
During the 15mins break, Reekado Banks and Phyno thrilled the fans with their respective hit music, the latter gaining so much attention as you know, this is Delta State.

Back to the game for the second 45 and Pillars will start from were they left in the first half, Nyar scored a right footed effort and just as we’ve seen all day Femi Thomas was not up for it and Pillars will race into a 3goal lead. That, was the last we’d see of Femi as Ogunbote substituted him for Ghanian Nana Bonsu. Also in was Kevin Itoya.

Kevin Itoya started what looked like an unlikely comeback, first he left fly from 30yards out before Chidere Eze riffled in another with 18mins of normal time left to play. 
What?….. 2-3.. What went wrong with Kano Pillars??, what did Ogunbote tell his boys at halftime??.. Well, your guess is as good as mine. 

Rangers Intl kept asking all of the questions and will eventually find their equaliser as Ajani Ibrahim rolled home in the box on the 91st of 8minutes added time.

Wow. Just wow. The stadium went crazy, Kano Pillars fans, didn’t know what had hit them as they started leaving in their numbers while destroying the seats in their stand.
The Rangers end didn’t see that coming and after being silent for most part of the game picked up their voice from nowhere, “HOLY HOLY Rangers” rang round the Stephen Keshi Stadium.

Full-time and straight to penalties. Rangers Intl scored all of their four kicks with Kano Pillars missing two. 

Isaac Loute delightfully poking home the winner for Rangers Intl. 
Ladies and gentlemen, the stadium erupted, pandemonium, pitch encroachment, loud noise and tears of joy around. 

Rangers Intl are Cup champions for the first time in 35years and Gbenga Ogunbote wins his first ever managerial trophy.

That was a game and a half. Such an amazing pleasure to see that masterclass unfold in my eyes. Like Mr Wole Otayemi would say “I covered it!!!!!”

Asaba was interesting and I’d love to be back here. 
See you soon, Asaba!
MikeThePundit Respect. 

Welcome To My Blog

Took me a while to realise that I have to come up with a blog of mine. 
By the way, welcome! We will be discussing a whole lot here on my blog, basically Sports! 
Before then who is MikeThePundit????…

Born as Michael Imianvan Osareme, hails from Edo State.

Mike is a SPORT BROADCAST JOURNALIST and a content provider. Football Commentator and Writer. 

You could catch me up on your TV or Radio. 
Once again, welcome and let’s go on a ride.