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Mikel denies donsting $30,000 to Olympic team

I spent over $30000 helping to organise logistics at Rio 2016 – Mikel

The last is yet to be heard of Nigeria’s chaotic preparations for Rio 2016 as team captain, Mikel Obi has revealed just how much he was involved behind the scenes. Speaking with goal.com the Chelsea midfielder said:

“I think if we talk about the money that I put into the team I think it was more than [£30,000] but we just had to do it.

“I said to myself, ‘I won’t let this happen. If I can help, I’ll try to help’. Sometimes there was no food, sometimes there was no pitch to train on, there was no bus to go to the training ground. So all of this was what me and the coach had to figure out, and get money together.

“I came to the camp. I sat down with the boys in Atlanta and I could see the frustration, the pain and the anger. Their aim was to play in the Olympics, their goal was to play in the Olympics.

I spent over $30000 helping to organise logistics at Rio 2016 - Mikel

“And for me being there and seeing what they are going through, they are young boys, they want to start their career and someone in the ministry is trying to crush that dream.”

On the now infamous incident which saw the team arrive Rio with just hours to spare after haphazard travel arrangements he said: “There was just no flight provided by the Nigerian ministry. “We planned to leave three or four days before the tournament, but we ended up leaving the day of our first game. It was a difficult one. I don’t think I have ever seen something like that before, it was crazy.

“[After our last minute flight] we got to the hotel, dropped our bags, grabbed some sandwiches, something to eat. A little bit of food. Then headed straight back to the stadium because we hadn’t even done our accreditations then, so we had to go there and wait in the line, do our accreditation.

“It was absolutely hectic. I don’t know how we managed to go onto the pitch and win that game, it was absolutely mind blowing.”

He also spoke of his pride at winning bronze, Nigeria’s only medal at the competition.

“Sometimes I wear my medal around the house, it gets my missus jealous,” he joked as he showed off his medal. “The kids love playing with the medal. I am sure one day they will know what this really means.”

Still on the problems the team faced en route Olympic glory he said: “We had lots of problems outside the pitch, but I always told the boys that you shouldn’t let that affect what we came here to do. We still want to achieve what we came here to do. We still have to represent our country and play for ourselves and our family and the people of Nigeria.

“So if the ministry don’t want to take responsibility, we have to make sure we play for ourselves and our country. The boys understand that and we made sure they went along with my message that I kept putting across to them every single day and we managed to achieve what we did achieve.”

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights - Antonio Conte

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has revealed that the thought of playing against Barcelona and Lionel Messi gives him sleepless nights.

The Italian’s men will host the Catalan giants in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. According to him;

“In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep well,” he said.

“When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.

“They can move a result a lot of the time. We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it’s very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game.”

Barcelona vs Chelsea meetings is best remembered by their semi-final meeting in this competition in 2012 when they surrendered a two-goal lead to crash out at the Nou Camp as Roberto Di Matteo’s side went on to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Lionel Messi will be hoping to score his first goal against Chelsea, having drawn a blank in his previous eight outings in this fixture.

Anthonio Conte however knows it will be difficult to keep Messi quiet. According to him,

“We are talking about the best player in the world,” he said when asked about a plan to cope with the Argentina ace.

“Messi has the capacity to solve the situation and create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score.

“We are talking about a fantastic player. We have to pay great attention, but not only to Messi.

“We have to know that, during the game, we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must have the idea to go and score at any moment.”

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

League 1 side Wigan Athletic stunned a 10-man Manchester City’s hopes of a quadruple with a shock 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

Will Grigg scored the winner for the underdogs in the 79th minute when he finished brilliantly from the edge of the box.

Manchester City dominated the match, having 29 shots and 83 per cent of the possession, despite Fabian Delph’s Red Card at the end of the first half for a high tackle on Max Power.

The defeat is City’s third of the season who had created enough good chances to win the game, especially in the first half, despite Wigan looking dangerous on the break.

 

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Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

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Romelu Lukaku to appear in Los Angeles court today over July arrest

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

Manchester United has booked their place  in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday night.

It was more of a “Monkey working while the baboon eats” and a night of VAR controversy after Juan Mata’s goal was ruled out .

Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net  just three minutes after kick off and the second just after the break (55) – but it was Mata’s disallowed effort for which the game will be remembered for.

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

With VAR in use, Mata thought he had made it 2-0 just before half-time when breaking in behind and finishing past Jonas Lossl. However, after a big delay and confusion with the VAR pictures, Kevin Friend ruled out the goal as Mata’s knee was marginally offside despite the lines used by VAR not looking straight.

Huddersfield enjoyed plenty of possession and registered 19 shots on goal but United’s defence – marshalled by the excellent Chris Smalling – kept their eighth clean sheet from their last 10 matches.

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