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West Brom hires Sam Allardyce as their new coach



Sam Ada

West Brom hires Sam Allardyce as their new coach. The former England boss has previously taken charge of seven clubs in the Premier League and is yet to be relegated from the top flight. Allardyce joins the Baggies along with long-time assistant Sammy Lee with the club 19th in the Premier League table with seven points.

West Brom have appointed Sam Allardyce as manager on an 18-month contract. Allardyce, 66, has not managed since leaving Everton in 2018 but takes over after the club sacked Slaven Bilic.

The Dudley-born manager started his coaching career with West Brom under Brian Talbot in 1989 and his first game as boss will be when the Baggies host Aston Villa in a West Midlands derby on Sunday.

The Baggies have gathered their seven points from 13 league games, with eight defeats, though they earned a surprise 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday. They have won only one Premier League match this season, beating bottom club Sheffield United 1-0 on 28 November.

West Brom sporting and technical director Luke Dowling, said: “In Sam we have a man who has a proven Premier League pedigree with a track record of improving every club he has managed.

“We believe and, more importantly, Sam believes, we have a group of players that have the quality needed to give the club its best chance of Premier League survival.” Allardyce was sacked by Everton in May 2018 after six months in charge. The side were 13th in the Premier League when he took over and finished the season in eighth but Allardyce was criticised for the side’s style of play during his reign.

Before joining the Toffees, Allardyce had resigned as Crystal Palace manager after five months with the side.

The Palace job was his first since an ill-fated one-game spell as England manager which ended following a Daily Telegraph investigation that claimed he offered advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers.

The FA said Allardyce’s conduct “was inappropriate” and he apologised, adding “entrapment had won”. Allardyce‘s managerial career has also included spells with Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland.

Analysis – West Brom will hope Allardyce has not lost his magic touch
Simon Stone, BBC Sport

Most PL games managedMatchesWDLWin %
Arsene Wenger82847619915357.5
Alex Ferguson81052816811465.2
Harry Redknapp64123616723836.8
David Moyes55721515119138.6
Sam Allardyce51217413820034

The ruthless manner West Brom have acted since Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle is underpinned by one thing – Premier League survival. In 2017, they sacked two managers in a desperate attempt to stay up, which ultimately failed.

Unlike near-neighbours Wolves and Aston Villa, who have received huge investment from their owners, Baggies chief Guochuan Lai does not put money into the club. Ideally he would sell up and move on with a tidy profit.

But for that to happen, West Brom need to stay in the top flight. When former chief executive Mark Jenkins spoke to BBC Sport in August, he said the club would have needed a cash injection to get it through the current campaign had promotion not been secured.

Those responsible for running the club do not want to find themselves back in the same situation. So, after losing at Newcastle, it was decided to make a change. However, rather than leave the club rudderless as it prepared for a game at Manchester City, Bilic remained at the helm until all the issues around bringing in a replacement were resolved.

That Bilic was a dead man walking when he watched his team produce a defiant performance to get a point at Etihad Stadium – and then learned of the rumours he was to be sacked before he had returned to the Midlands – does not look great for West Brom.

But the brutal truth is Bilic will be compensated – and West Brom did not believe he was the right man to drag them out of the mire.

Allardyce, on the other hand, has form for doing exactly that. Most notably he pulled Sunderland away from trouble in 2016 and then, after his traumatic spell with England, did the same with Crystal Palace the following season.

His body of work also includes taking Bolton into Europe, West Ham into the Premier League – and keeping them there – and stabilising Everton by lifting them from 13th to eighth in 2018.

More than two-and-a-half years have passed since Allardyce – a Wolves fan as a boy – took charge of a top-flight match. West Brom will desperately hope the 66-year-old has not lost his magic touch.

Source – BBC News


Nigerian soccer fans confident of AFCON win



Nigerian soccer fans

Soccer fans in Nigeria have expressed their confidence that the Super Eagles will win the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The Nigerian team qualified for the finals after defeating South Africa in the semi-final round of the competition. They face hosts Ivory Coast for the last game of the tournament today.

This will be the second match between both teams. The elephants of Ivory Coast suffered a 1- 0 defeat in their encounter with the Super Eagles at the group stage. Nigerian soccer fans say they are confident that the team will also win the final game.

Moshood Olatunji says, “We’re taking the cup. We’re not bragging and we’re not being pretentious and we’re not underestimating any group. But I think the Nigerian team started slow and they really worked as a team. The thing they had that I could see was the teamwork. They play for each other, they’re not playing for the coach, they’re actually playing for each other as a team. And I think if they carry that attitude into the finals, there’s no stopping us.”

Maxwell Ogbaje says, “I’m not surprised that we got to where we are today. We actually have a strong team. We have been at our best. It’s not just by chance, people see it that the one zero, one zero has always been a lucky thing, but it’s not. There’s actually good effort from the team that has brought that success.”

“Let them keep doing what they are doing especially the back 5. It’s a fantastic tactic that the coach Peseiro has been able to knock the boys with, so they should do what they do. They should be tight behind and they should take their chances. They should hit them on the counter and I believe if they are able to do that and they stay together, then Nigeria will be able to carry the day,” says Sam Maimagani.

It’s the eighth time Nigeria has made it to the finals in the Africa Cup of Nations and the 4th for Ivory Coast.

Nigeria is already a three-time winner of the Africa Cup of Nations and a triumph in today’s encounter will make it the 4th in 10 years.

A win for Ivory Coast will make them a three-time champion of the AFCON. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu is expected to be at the game today to cheer the Super Eagles to victory.

Source: SABC

In other news – Phelo Bala’s father has passed away

His death was announced by his stepson and musician Loyiso Bala on Saturday, 10 February on his social media platforms. Jafta died this morning in the hospital.

The Bala Family

The Bala Family is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved father, Sebenzile Jafta. He departed this morning. Read more

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Bayern Munich wins 11th straight Bundesliga title




Bayern Munich leapfrogged rivals Borussia Dortmund to clinch their 11th consecutive Bundesliga title in a last-day drama in German football on Saturday, May 27.

In a climactic season finale, Bayern Munich ended up celebrating an unexpected title win while Dortmund’s dream of their first league trophy since 2012 was left in tatters following a 2-2 draw with Mainz.

Dortmund were leading by two points before their last match for the season but were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Mainz on Saturday, allowing Bayern to finish in first place with a goal difference.

RB Leipzig and sensational Union Berlin are third and fourth respectively and will also compete in the Champions League next season.

Hertha Berlin and Schalke 04 have been relegated, while VfB Stuttgart will go into the relegation playoff.

In other news – Celine Dion cancels 2023-2024 shows over health

Last year Celine Dion revealed that she was suffering from a rare neurological disorder. The Pop icon on Friday canceled all her remaining shows scheduled for 2023-2024, saying she was not strong enough to tour as she battles a rare neurological disorder.

Last year the 55-year-old Canadian singer revealed that she was suffering from the rare medical condition that was affecting her singing. Learn More

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India look to next generation at Women’s T20 World Cup



Women's T20 World Cup

India is looking to a new generation of talented young cricketers led by teenage batter Shafali Verma to propel them to a first Women’s T20 World Cup title this month. Long-serving skipper Mithali Raj and record-breaking fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, trailblazers for women’s cricket in India, both retired last year.

New captain Harmanpreet Kaur said both players are still on hand to give advice, but it is time to look forward. Whenever we need they are always available to us, that’s what you expect from senior players,” the 33-year-old told a recent press conference.

“Nobody can fill their places, but the young girls who are getting the chances are doing well. One of the players who has grabbed her chance is Verma, an attacking opening batter who led India to victory in the inaugural U19 T20 World Cup in South Africa last month.

The 19-year-old will be back on familiar ground for the T20 World Cup, which is again in South Africa. It starts on February 10 and India are chasing a breakthrough first title, having been runners-up behind hosts Australia in the last edition, in 2020. Their first match is against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 in Cape Town.

Verma made her international debut at the age of just 15 and was in the team that reached the T20 World Cup final in 2020.

She also played in the one-day World Cup and was a member of the Indian side which took silver at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The youngster looks up to big-hitting England batsman Liam Livingstone for inspiration and considers Indian great Sachin Tendulkar a role model. After captaining India to victory in the U19 World Cup, Verma said: “This is just the beginning.”

“When I entered the Under-19s, I only focused on winning the Under-19 Cup and we have won that today,” ESPNCricinfo quoted her as saying. I will look to take this winning confidence with me and win the senior World Cup.”

Besides Verma, the India team also includes Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma and Renuka Singh. The women’s game is making inroads in the cricket-mad country, with the inaugural Women’s Premier League set for March, ahead of the men’s IPL.

Last month, India’s cricket board auctioned off five women’s IPL teams for $572.5 million. The new generation “are ready to be the representatives of the modern generation of women’s cricketers”, cricket journalist Sharda Ugra told AFP.

“The women’s IPL is going to start and they are the perfect representation of the kind of Indian women cricketers that belong to the T20 generation. They have the right mindset and they are very, very talented.

Source: eNCA

In other news – Idols SA canceled after 21 years

Idols SA is reportedly coming to an end after 21 years of entertainment. Phil Mphela, an entertainment commentator announced the latest development about the show on Twitter.

Idols SA

After 21 years, #IdolsSA will be bowing out of our screens. The show has been renewed for a 19th season, which will be the show’s final season,” he wrote. Learn more

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