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Manchester City

Manchester City poised to make History

Never in the history of Manchester City has the club ever played in the UEFA Champions League Finals. Only once has Manchester City reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League. That was in the 2015/2016 season under coach Manuel Pellegrini. Manchester City was eliminated by Real Madrid 1-0, after a barren draw in the first Leg.

Today, the 4th of April, 2021, the current EPL Leaders, and one of the only two English clubs remaining in the competition, play host to Paris Saint Germaine of France in a crunch 2nd Leg UCL encounter. The first Leg ended 2-1 in City’s favour, with goals coming from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

What Manchester City needs to progress to the final for the very first time is a win, a draw or a 1-0 loss. On current form, Manchester City is the overwhelming favourite to progress ahead of the Parisian club, with Kylian Mbappe, the danger man of PSG rumoured to be nursing an injury.

Pep Guardiola is expected to keep the same starting eleven that achieved a huge result in Paris, except for one or two changes at left-back, where Oleksander Zinchenko is expected to start in place of Joao Cancelo.

The expectation is high, and all eyes would be on the home side to perform at their very best. Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva are expected to orchestrate the midfield, while Ruben Dias who has been a Trojan in defence is expected to start alongside John Stone or Aymeric Laporte. Kyle Walker is a sure berth at right-back.

In between the sticks, Ederson Moraes is assured of his place after a splendid performance in the first leg. Upfront, Riyad Mahrez, Foden and Debruyne are expected to start. Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho, Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres and Benjamin Mendy are options on the bench.

One notable absentee from the PSG side would be Senegalese defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye who was red-carded in the first leg after a reckless challenge on IILkay Gundogan. Danilo Periera is expected to take his place.

History beckons on Manchester City and the beauty about today’s clash are the motivation and spirit within the camp. It would be the last chance for Sergio Kun Aguero to have a feel of the coveted trophy, and the boys would want to give him a perfect parting gift.

Both sides are desperate to reach the finals, and Brazilian international Neymar speaking ahead of the encounter says “I am ready to die on the pitch to ensure my team progress ahead of Manchester City”. That is surely a rallying call.

The match is billed to be an exciting encounter as both sides are noted for an attractive brand of football. The Etihad stadium beckons on the Manchester City warriors to make a push for history. Heroes are bound to be made and tears of sorrow and disappointment will surely flow. The end of 90 minutes will determine the course of history.

Aneke Courage

Aneke Courage- I admire Kevin De Bruyne and would Love to Play like him

These were the exact words of 17 years old Aneke Courage Chikasiemobi, an attacking midfielder who is on trial with FC Centaur, Russia. The enterprising midfielder who was born in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, has always had the dream of being a footballer from childhood. He started playing while he was 10 and has never stopped loving the round leather game.

Humble beginning

“My parents never supported me in the early stage of my football career. I was beaten several times for coming home late from training and for choosing football rather than academics. It was tough back then”. This is a familiar story with most players back in Africa. The awareness has however changed over the last couple of years, as more parents are now encouraging their kids to pursue their dreams.

Cassi, as he is fondly called, started his footballing journey with Dynamos FC of Enugu, Nigeria, before switching over to Star Plus FC Enugu, Nigeria. The 5 ft 7 in tall midfield maestro who had shared his experience of struggling to find a sponsor to help him pursue his football dreams also had challenges with injuries.

Why football?

Cassi who will turn 18 this October, confessed that he had always had a love for the game while growing up. “My desire had always been to get paid for playing the game I love so much. Football gives me Joy and I catch so much fun playing it”

Aneke Courage who can play anywhere in attack except in the left-wing expressed his admiration for Manchester City Attacking Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. “Kevin De Bruyne is one player I look up to and I hope to play like him someday.

Move to Russia

The dream of every football player is to become a professional and move a step higher in his football career. It wasn’t different for Courage Aneke, who had always nursed the ambition of moving his career a step higher. That dream became a reality early this year January when he stumbled on an Instagram post about FC Centaur. He immediately made contact with them and was sent an invitation to come for trial with the Russian 4th Division side. The club which was founded on April 16th, 2009 is the largest private Club in Russia.

When asked about adapting to life in Russia, Aneke Courage was honest about his experience. Hear what he said: “Adapting to life in Russia wasn’t easy. It was tough, battling with the cold and the language, but I am learning the language gradually and am getting used to training in the cold”. The coaches usually train us using the Russian language. Luckily for me, some of my teammates can speak English and Russia fluently. He has so far played 22 games, scored 6 goals and provided 9 assists for the Moscow based team.

Standard of the Russian League

According to Aneke Courage whose favorite team is Borussia Dortmund of Germany, The standard of the Russian League is not too high compared to the Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, and the Italian Serie A. The major reason for the low standard of the League is because the majority of the players in almost all the teams are homegrown players. Foreign nationals are not given much opportunity in the Russian League.

Racism in Russia

Russia has always been in the news when it comes to the issue of racism in sports, especially in football. In 2011, fans of Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow displayed a banner. It was about Nigerian striker Peter Osaze Odemwingie featuring a banana saying ‘Thank you, West Bromwich Albion after the player left to join West Bromwich Albion. Aneke Courage confirmed he had not experienced any form of racism since he’s been on trial with FC Centaur. He however mentioned the attitude of match referees who often made calls against blacks on the field of play.

Aspirations

Aneke Courage who loves listening to music and also praying before crucial games, already has his mind fixed on his next move. “My dream is to move to a professional side in Denmark next year. I believe that with Hard Work, whatsoever you want to achieve in life is possible. Believe in yourself and remember nothing is impossible with God”. When asked if his parents have changed their mind as regards supporting his footballing career? He smiled and answered: “ They support me 100%”.

Helping others to succeed

The beauty of helping others to succeed

Life is all about helping others to succeed and never about taking advantage of others in our quest to succeed. Unfortunately, the passion to succeed at all expense sometimes becloud our human nature. The greed to be on top at all costs can sometimes make some individuals forget the pain and suffering those they trample on in their quest for glory.

In 2019, a selfless runner, turned back to help a fellow competitor, who was sitting on the ground exhausted, just meters from the finish line. The runners were taking place in the CAT 10K Thailand Championship, around the Supachalasai Stadium in the capital’s Pathum Wan District, where there were highs of 32 degrees celsius. He sacrificed his chances to win a tournament but won the heart of thousands of spectators who cheered him on.

Read another inspirational story recently, and it drives home the beauty of helping others to succeed in life. Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was only a few meters from the finish line, but got confused with the signs and stopped, thinking he had finished the race. A Spanish man, Ivan Fernandez, was right behind him and, realizing what was going on, started shouting to the Kenyan to keep running. Mutai did not know Spanish and did not understand.

Realizing what was going on, Fernandez pushed Mutai to victory. A reporter asked Ivan, “Why did you do this?” Ivan replied, “I dream that one day we can have some sort of community life where we push ourselves and help each other win.” The reporter insisted “But why did you let the Kenyan win?” Ivan replied, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.” 

The reporter insisted and asked again, “But you could have won!” Ivan looked at him and replied: “But what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honor of this medal? What would my mother think of it?” The values are transmitted from generation to generation. What values do we teach our children and how much do you inspire others to earn? 

Most of us take advantage of people’s weaknesses instead of helping to strengthen them. Winning is good, but creating a lasting bridge of love and empathy is worth more than a thousand laurels put together. Let’s keep promoting positive values wherever we go and help others reach their goals in life

Affiliate Marketing

The amazing opportunities in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity you truly believe in the value of the product you’re selling because many times, you can make money from something you would probably recommend anyway.

“Being an affiliate marketer is very cost-effective. You don’t have to put much money in an affiliate program in order to gain a lot.

“It’s the ultimate win-win situation. All affiliates get something from the arrangement, as does the company running the affiliate program, making it a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“Show the real you in your emails. You can’t control what people think of you—only what they see of you. Write about intimate stories, casual conversation, and flaws.”

“Great emails go unopened, great videos go unwatched, and great articles never get read because their headline sucks.”

“If you think of your target market like a pond of fish and you’re only using one hook, one selling system, and one way of targeting, then you’re only resonating with a small, small part of your market.”

“Landing pages need to look appealing, but most of all they need to convert.”

“In a nutshell: you need a landing page to achieve a particular goal, whether that’s building your brand, growing your email list or making a profit. At its core, it facilitates some type of opt-in process.”

“Once somebody is on your landing page, you want to start a conversation with them.”

“The promises you make in your ad are the ones you keep on your landing page.”

“When people are on your website, they may want to fill out a form, but a lot of people just want to talk to you now. They don’t want to fill out the form and wait.”

“The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”

“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.”

“You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there and bring them back to your store.

“The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They’re not going to buy it unless they know about it.”

“If you look like you’re selling, people see it and run the other way. Everything has shifted. The stories that have emotional content are going to make people know, like, and trust you.”

Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.

In advertising, not to be different is virtual suicide. The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

Legends

Legends never say goodbye

Legends are individuals who are extremely famous and have impacted their field of endeavor. Their names never fade away even when they transit from the earth. Manchester City over the years has got some amazing legends. They have made the club so popular since its inception. Colin Bell, Francis Lee, Dennis Tueart, Mike Summerbee, Peter Doherty, Bert Trautmann, Asa Hartford, Uwe Rosler, Shaun Goater, Vincent Kompany, David Silva…The list of Legends goes on and on.

Backtrack to the year 2012. Precisely on the 13th of May, 2012, Manchester City was trailing QPR 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in a must-win game, to secure the EPL title after a 44 years wait. Time was ticking away, and with less than 10 minutes on the clock, the frustration of losing the title to arch-rivals Manchester United was too bitter to swallow.

Fans on the stand were already in agony. Manchester City needed a savior. The resurgence started with an equalizing goal by Edin Dzeko in the 91st minutes. There was palpable tension in the City technical area, as Roberto Mancini was pacing up and down the touchline. There were just 5 minutes left of extra time, and Manchester City needed someone who could do the impossible. Up stepped Nigel De Jong who made a decisive pass from midfield to Mario Balotelli on the edge of the QPR penalty area.

The Italian striker had never made any previous assist in his City career, but on this occasion, as he received the pass, he tried to maneuver his way but stumbled. When it seemed he was almost been dispossessed of the ball, Mario stretched all the muscles on his right leg and made the all-important pass to Kun Sergio Aguero.

The Argentine international skipped past QPR defender Taye Taiwo in the 96th minute and hammered an unstoppable shot into the lower right of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. Football commentator Martin Tyler captured the moment in one of the most dramatic final games of the English Premier League.

Manchester City are still alive here..Balotelli…Agueroooooooooooo!! I swear you will never see anything like this again. So watch it, drink it in”.

There was a commotion at the Etihad as the ball went in. The sound of euphoric City fans echoed to the stadium of Light where United was waiting for some good news. It was shock and disbelief that was etched on the faces of sir Alex Ferguson and his United players. They had just defeated Sunderland 1-0 and the belief was that Manchester City may slip up at home.

Sergio Aguero became an instant Legend. His name was etched in gold. The young and the old poured into the Etihad pitch at the blast of the final whistle. There were tears everywhere. It was the tears of joy.

Fast forward to 9 years later,  and the much-revered striker who is now 32 and at the end of his current City contract seems to have lost a bit of the spark that saw him emerged as the best striker in the league.

Statistics don’t lie

The City legend has broken some incredible records since his debut against Swansea City on the 15th of July 2011.

** Highest number of hat-tricks in Premier League history (12)

** The Most goals scored in the last decade (174)

** Most goals/assists against other EPL top six sides (54 goals/ 12 assists)

** Winner of the most player of the Month(POTM) Awards (7)

** Highest foreign goal scorer (180)

Over the past few months, however, there has been speculation about his replacement, as Gabriel Jesus who is his striking partner is not seen as a long-term replacement for the City legend. Names like Erling Haaland of Borrusia Dortmund of Germany, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan of Italy, and lately Danny Ings of Southampton of England. The obvious target is Erling Haaland, the 1.94m tall Norwegian striker who has set the Bundesliga on fire with goals.

Injuries have hampered Sergio all through his City career, and as he gets older, the injuries have seemingly slowed him down. In the 2019/2020 season, Sergio missed 20 matches, the most he had missed since moving to the blue side of Manchester. His injury woes include Calf, hamstring, knee problem, Thigh problem, groin, and muscular problems.

Unfortunately, Legends don’t say goodbye. City faithful aren’t ready to let go of their Argentine talisman. The fairy tale that started in 2011 seems to be coming gradually grinding to a halt. The possibility of an extension to his current contract is high, but the City hierarchy is planning for the inevitable.

The top priority this coming transfer window will be to get a long-term replacement for a man who has shown his loyalty, love, and respect for Manchester City. In an exclusive interview he had with an Argentine Newspaper four years ago, Sergio poured out his innermost feelings about the club:

I am very happy at City, very happy since the day I came. I knew that the project was good, and in my head, there is nothing else but Manchester City, so how long I’m going to be at City is just never a question”

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