Bale sets tone for Wales in Euro 2016

Wales manager Chris Coleman promised that his team were not coming to Euro 2016 “for a laugh”, but his players have been having the time of their lives in France.

From Gareth Bale’s training ground tomfoolery to Joe Ledley’s outlandish dance moves, the Welsh players have seemed immune to the pressures of major tournament football.

Friday’s quarterfinal with Belgium is Wales’s biggest game since a 1-0 loss to Brazil in the last eight at the 1958 World Cup, but Coleman’s men are taking everything in their stride. Naijabet.com

“With our team spirit, it’s like being with your mates on holiday,” said Real Madrid star Bale, lead prankster at the team’s Dinard base in Brittany, northwest France.

“Doing quizzes all the time, playing games. The fact we all enjoy spending time with each other, it helps with the downtime.”

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Czech Republic coach Vrba resign from his job

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Czech national team manager Pavel Vrba has quit the job and signed a contract with Anzhi Makhachkala, the Czech Football Association and the Russian Premier League club said on Thursday.

The Czech team suffered two defeats and drew once at the group stage of the Euro 2016 before being eliminated from the tournament. Naija and Bet

The result was a big disappointment for the Czech fans who had hoped for much more after the team won their qualification group which included last World Cup bronze medal winners, the Netherlands.

Vrba, 52, joined the national side in January 2014.

Vrba had successfully managed top Czech league team Viktoria Plzen, winning two titles and bringing the club twice to the group stage of the Champions League.

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Mosimane dismisses Enyimba in the reverse fixture

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane believes his side will beat Enyimba in the reverse fixture of their Caf Champions League clash in Nigeria in August.

The Brazilians prevailed 2-1 over the seven-time Nigerian champions on Wednesday courtesy of goals from Leonardo Castro and Wayne Arendse which rendered Dare Ojo’s stunning volley merely academic at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, Pretoria.

Mosimane believes that ‘Downs can repeat the feat when Enyimba enjoy home advantage in the reverse fixture. Naijabet

“Being patriotic as a South African, it’s good to beat a Nigerian team.

“There’s always that talk about South African teams not being able to beat Nigerian teams. This talk must stop at this point in time.

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Bournemouth sign Ake from Stamford Bridge

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Left back Nathan Ake has joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan from Chelsea, the Premier League clubs have announced.

Ake, 21, signed a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge last year despite making only 12 senior team appearances and spent the previous campaign on loan with Watford.

The Netherlands under-21 international made 32 appearances for Watford last season. Naijabet.com

“For a player of his age he already has great experience in the Premier League and we believe he will bring a lot to our squad,” Bournemouth Chief Executive Neill Blake said in a statement.

“He is an international player with great pedigree, so we are really excited to have him join us for the upcoming season.”

Manchester City sign Australia midfielder Mooy

Australia midfielder Aaron Mooy has signed a three-year deal with Manchester City, joining the English Premier League side from sister club Melbourne City.

Mooy is a creative attacking midfielder who enjoyed a stellar 2015-2016 season with Melbourne City, scoring 11 goals and providing an A-League record 21 assists.

Melbourne City were founded as Melbourne Heart but rebranded in 2014 after their purchase by the Abu Dhabi United Group, whose City Football Group (CFG) also owns and operates Mooy’s new club.

Mooy, who has played 15 times for his country, should be prepared to spend time on loan at other clubs if the experience of other Australians who have joined City is anything to go by. Naijabet

Defensive midfielder Luke Brattan, who moved to Manchester in October 2015, had a spell at Bolton Wanderers and will be loaned to the Melbourne franchise for the next A-League season.

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Hazard holds keys for Belgium Euro dream

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A Euro 2016 quarterfinal against Wales just across the border in Lille will almost feel like a home game for Belgium and a homecoming for captain Eden Hazard.

The 25-year-old was Belgium’s man-of-the-match in their 4-0 demolition of Hungary in the last 16, scoring one superb goal and setting up another. His coach Marc Wilmots said Hazard had been driven on by the prospect of going back to Lille, barely 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the Belgian border.

“If we had a 150 000 (capacity stadium) we could fill it. It’s very near the border and Eden Hazard especially wanted to play in Lille, that’s why he played so well,” said Wilmots.

For Hazard, it will be a return to the city where his career as a player took off. Naija and Bet

Hazard, from the small town of Braine-le-Comte in the French-speaking Wallonia region of Belgium, joined the Lille academy an hour’s drive away as a 14-year-old in 2005 and has never looked back.

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Wanyama ready for Tottenham’s challenge

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Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama says he is ready for his new challenge after joining English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

The former Celtic and Southampton midfielder has agreed a five-year contract with Spurs until 2021 and will now be reunited with his former manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Wanyama was speaking at a Nairobi restaurant on Tuesday night where he was unveiled as an ambassador for SuperSport’s Lets Play initiative as well as celebrating his 25th birthday. Naijabet.com

The colourful event was graced by the Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, Sport Kenya Chief Executive officer Gordon Oluoch, Football Kenya Federation(FKF) President Nick Mwendwa, SuperSport Head of Africa Auka Gacheo, KPL Chairman Ambrose Rachier, KPL CEO Jack Oguda and several other sports administrators.

In his speech, Ethuro described Wanyama as a shining star for the Kenya youth while Auka challenged FKF to up their game to show confidence to the corporates and well wishers .

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De Rossi unlikely to face Germany due to injury

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Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi looks unlikely to face Germany in Saturday’s Euro 2016 quarterfinal because of a bruised thigh.

De Rossi was taken off early in the second half of Monday’s 2-0 win over Spain and team doctor Enrico Castellacci said on Wednesday that he had taken a severe knock.

“He is working very hard, we are doing everything for him to recover and we can’t give a timeframe but we are aware that the problem is serious,” he said.

Midfielder Antonio Candreva’s groin strain has also not recovered enough for him to return, the team doctor said.

“Candreva has tried to recover in every possible way, working very hard,” said Castellacci. “There has been a significant improvement but not enough for him to be reintroduced into the team.” Naijabet

De Rossi’s absence would be a blow for coach Antonio Conte with Thiago Motta, his most likely replacement, also missing through suspension.

 

Unreal to be Rodgers first signing – Dembele

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Moussa Dembele has said he is privileged to be the first signing of manager Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Celtic as the striker joined the Scottish champions on a four-year contract on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Dembele, who came through the ranks at French champions Paris St Germain, joined Celtic from English second tier side Fulham where he scored 17 goals to secure the club’s survival in the Championship.

Rodgers joined Celtic on a 12-month rolling contract in May after he was sacked by Liverpool in October.

“It’s a massive thing to come to this club and to be Brendan Rodgers’ first signing is something unreal for me,” Dembele told the club’s website (www.celticfc.net).

“The manager told me that Celtic is a good team for me.

“When I come here I will have game time but I have to show that I can stay in the team, and it’s a good way for me to progress here with a massive stadium and the fans and the city.” Naijabet.com

Club mentality is secret to Italy success

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Without the star names that have graced Italy sides in the past, coach Antonio Conte says the secret to their success at Euro 2016 has been to shun the mentality of a national team and behave like a club.

Italy came into the European Championship with an ageing squad shorn of standout talents and with few tipping them for success.

Their tournament performances, however, have confounded expectations and a 2-0 victory over Spain on Monday propelled them into the quarterfinals, where they will face Germany in Bordeaux on Saturday.

Recent Italy teams went into major tournaments with individual talents such as Mario Balotelli or Andrea Pirlo, who attracted enormous amounts of media attention. Naija and Bet

For Conte, who has a notorious emphasis on the team ethic and industry over individuality, the way to achieve success is to mould the national team around the model of a club, where a well-drilled tactical system can stifle even the best opponents.

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