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Tag: Bernardo Silva

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.

Gidado Toyeeb

I am not scared of bigger players- Gidado Toyeeb

Austin Okocha, Juan Mata, Bernardo Silva, Lionel Messi, Xavi, and David Silva. These are all world-class players. They all have some common traits. They are attacking midfielders and they aren’t the biggest in terms of size or height. What they lack in size, they compensate with skills, goals, and defense-splitting passes and assists.

One advantage players with small physique have, is their low gravitational force, which makes them more stable while dribbling and very difficult to dispossess whenever they are with the ball. An example is Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, the Late Diego Maradona, and David Silva. These players were exceptionally good when on the ball and they had this uncanny way of utilizing small pockets of space in the field of play.

Gidado Toyeeb, an attacking midfielder with Remo Stars FC shared with me during an interactive chat recently, about his love for Bernardo Silva, the Portuguese international who presently plays for Manchester City of England. Weighing at 68KG and a height of 5 feet, 4 inches, the Lagos born footballer doesn’t lack the confidence to take on bigger players.

I prefer the taller players because it is easier for me to maneuver around them. I don’t have problems dealing with players that are bigger than me

Gidado who was nicknamed “Baba Kekere”, while playing with Crest Football Academy (Formerly Cowbell Football Academy) because of his height, never allowed his small size to stop him from achieving his dream. The Academy which was owned by Godwin Dudu Orumen helped shaped his career.

He was also part of the victorious U-15 team that represented Nigeria at the 2014 African Youth games held at Gaborone, Botswana. Gidado coincidentally captained the team, which went on to win the Gold medal at the competition. They defeated Swaziland 3-1 in the final.

The team led by coach Danladi Nasidi, defeated host Botswana 2-0 in their opening game, before playing a 0-0 draw with Mali. They trashed South Africa 3-0 in their third game before defeating Tanzania 2-0 in the Semi-Finals.

Asked to share his experience at the competition, Gidado remembered with nostalgia, the excitement that came with winning his first major honor as a footballer; “It was great. It’s the best feeling ever, wearing the green white green jersey of Nigeria. Nothing feels better. The happiness, excitement. It was my best moment as a footballer, and I was the captain of the team”.

He didn’t score in the tournament, but chipped in three-assist, as the team scored an impressive eight goals while conceding just one goal en route to winning the Gold Medal. He jokingly shared how his teammates and friends threatened him because of his height. he said he has however come to accept his faith, as he didn’t create himself.

Gidado who is the eldest of four kids remembered the rough treatment he usually got from his Dad whenever he came home late after playing street soccer. “Dad and Mum didn’t approve of me playing street soccer at that time. Mum didn’t even want me to go into football. It was not until I went to England in 2011 for the Copa Coca-Cola Mini Tournament, that they began to approve of my taking  up football as a career.

When asked about the secret of his success in Remo Stars FC. He attributed his performance so far to the influence of the Remo Stars FC coach. “My present manager usually has a mantra, and that is IJA, which when translated from Yoruba means FIGHT. It’s not about been talented alone. You must be ready to give your all at any given moment. You have to be ready to Fight

On a final note, he has this little advice for aspiring footballers: “As an aspiring footballer, you have to be confident. You got to be disciplined. There would be lots of obstacles. Be ready for challenges and stay focused. Hopefully, everything will fall in place”

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