Feature: The Increasing Success of Football Betting

Football betting has long been popular amongst those that like to gamble, as illustrated by the ubiquitous presence of betting shops on high streets across the United Kingdom. Yet unlike many formerly popular industries, the world of football betting has thrived in the era of the internet.

Indeed, all of the major bookmakers like bwin.be have setup online versions of their physical shops, leading to not only a mass exodus from the high street to the virtual world of online gambling, but it has tempted a greater proportion of the population to gamble on sports than ever before.

Now, in terms of popularity, football betting is matched only by the wealth of similarly popular online casinos.

Reasons for the continued and increasing popularity of football betting:

1. Convenience – this is arguably the main reason for the aforementioned surge. The added convenience has been generated by giving those interested in sports betting the ability to find tips and odds information, in addition to being able to place bets securely online.

The World Wide Web has therefore made football betting into something that is very accessible in terms of the ability that the average punter now has to make an informed betting choice.

 

2. Audience – There has been a marked increase In the level enthusiasm for sport in general amongst the public, but it is football – and the Premier League in particular –that has seen a surge in popularity and therefore in the number of people betting on its results.

 

3. Advertising – The likes of Bwin are experts in marketing their brand and bringing themselves to the attention of a mass audience. Indeed, sponsorship deals with European footballing behemoths, Real Madrid and AC Milan, have obviously brought the betting site to the attention of a massive audience, thus helping to increase the popularity of sports betting on a global scale.

 

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Stephen Keshi: AFCON-Winning Manager Makes Us All Believers of Discipline

The renaming of the Asaba stadium to STEPHEN KESHI was a fantastic decision by Delta State Governor,  Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi took Nigeria from the doldrums of failure to the pinnacle of success in 6 weeks. The manner he did it is even more glorious than what Otto Rehhagel achieved with the Greeks. The former Mali and Togo manager proved all the doubters wrong by bringing home a trophy that has eluded the most populous black nation in the world for 19 barren years.

When assembling the Victorious team, he left out so many so-called stellar names like Osaze Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, Victo Obinna Nsofor, Chinedu Ogbuke, Taye Taiwo, John Utaka, Yakubu Aiyegbeni to mention but a few. People growled, frowned and groaned regarding his stance on players who he deemed surplus to requirement because of their lack of respect, indiscipline, poor form and unpatriotic attributes.

Osaze was adamant that he was the right choice for the position of Super Eagles skipper which was never vacant in the first place. How he wanted to topple Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama was inexplicable. His rudeness, arrogance and disregard for constituted authority simply exemplified his unacceptable behaviour.

Keshi made decisions based on what he thought best suited the team. He didn’t want a repeat of the mafia and sects that characterized previous squads. The ‘Boss’ Keshi is no saint. Judging by his antecedents when he was a player and skipper of the old Super Eagles. But his managerial career has been built on discipline, unity and oneness since it commenced and that has brought him the success he has garnered up till this present day.

His blend of home and foreign based players was seen as experimental to a lot of Nigerians. He paid deaf ears to criticisms, jeers and negative opinions to focus on the job of accomplishing his set objectives. The road to success is very narrow and thorny. The first two matches didn’t go well. Consecutive draws v Burkina Faso and defending champions, Zambia were crushing blows to Stephen’s ambitions. But he remained resolute, calm, and goal driven.

The final group match v Ethiopia was almost going to end in disappointment until a certain Victor Moses stepped up the gear and made himself an instant hero with two well taken penalties in the last 10 minutes of the game. 2-0 it ended and the Super Eagles were in the Quarters to face massive favourites, the Ivory Coast. Then the NFF struck.

The Nigeria Football Federation led by Aminu Maigari directed its Secretary, Mr Musa Amadu to book tickets back to base for the Nigerian contingent before the match v the Ivory Coast. The boss was furious on getting wind of this information, but decided to lead his boys to go all out v the Ivorians. At the end of the game, the unfancied Eagles dominated the highly favoured Ivory Coast team in a 2-1 win.

Keshi was ecstatic and told former Super Eagles goalie cum Super Sport analyst, Peterside Idah of his dream and objective to hoist the AFCON and afterwards tender his resignation letter. The semi-final was more straightforward. Mali were put to the sword. The 4-1 bashing of the Aigles sent shock waves round the African continent.

In the final, the Burkinabe met with a reinvigorated Nigerian team that couldn’t afford to lose. It ended 1-0 Nigeria and the 3rd ANC was sealed in exemplary fashion. KESHI and his CHOICES were VINDICATED!

It wasn’t only the Nations Cup win that made Keshi loved, adored and respected. It was his man management, timely substitutions and mastery of the game when it became difficult that stood him out as a man who was well groomed and brilliant.

For the first time since the 2005 WYC, Mikel Obi played extremely well much to the admiration of those who disliked him (including me) for his sluggishness and boring play. The midfielder was at his best at the just concluded Tournament and led the way in passes made and passes completed.

It was seen as a huge surprise when Jonathan Pitroipa of Burkina was named Player of the Tournament ahead of Mikel, Moses and Emenike. Perhaps the Technical Study Group of CAF had other ideas. Emmanuel Emenike bore the burden of being the main striker as Ikechukwu Uche failed to show up.

The former Getafe striker was useless and ineffective throughout the tournament. Sunday Mba, scorer of the winner v CIV and the Championship clinching goal v the Stallions of Burkina Faso warmed his way into the hearts of Nigerians who sang glory songs with his name after the final whistle was blown.

It was a successful journey for the BIG BOSS who resume is now intimidating. He made do his promise of resigning immediately after the Tourney ended. Nevertheless, after due consultations with Bolaji Abdulahi, the Minister for Sports, he rescinded his decision to resign and then re-signed.

He and the Super Eagles were well received by the Government of Nigeria. National honours, land, and cash rewards were among the goodies doled out to the team after an amazing and successful two weeks of competition in South Africa which culminated in excitement, merriment and mission accomplished.

 

Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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AFCON Final Preview: Nigeria vs Burkina Faso

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have against all expectations qualified for the FINAL of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. It has been an astronomical rise for the Giants of Africa as they were once known.

The young team put together by former Eagles captain, Stephen Keshi has proved all the doubters wrong by sending the Ivory Coast out of South Africa and dismantling Mali in the semis to earn a shot at a title which has eluded them for the past 19 years.

Coach Stephen Keshi who is affectionately called the ‘BOSS’ is aiming to become only the 2nd man to win the Nations Cup as a player and manager after Egypt’s Mahmoud Al Gohari. The former Eagles captain won the trophy in 1994 when Tunisia hosted it.

The Nigerian coaching crew have been sweating on the fitness of key players-Emma Emenike and Victor Moses who picked up injuries in the 4-1 humbling of the Aigles of Mali in the previous match. Other players are available and hungry to come back home with the trophy.

The Burkinabe were almost robbed by the Calamitous Slim Jdidi in the semi final showdown with Ghana. A series of astoundingly bizarre decisions went the way of the Ghanaians in the match including a soft penalty which should never have been and worse still, the RED CARD awarded to Star Stallion, Jonathan ‘Beninwende’ Pitroipa- a decision which has since been reversed.

Belgian tactician, Paul Put will be hoping to ‘put’ the name of Burkina Faso among Nations that have won the AFCON later today when proceedings end.

Both teams know a bit of each other. They were in the same group (C) and the game contested between them ended in a 1-all draw made possible by a last minute Alain Traore equaliser. The Lorient front man whose 3 goals ensured that the great Stallions qualified for the knockout stages.

The unlikely finalists will slug it out this evening at the beautiful soccer city stadium in Johannesburg with all eyes on the men on the sidelines who have somewhat contrasting fortunes. Paul Put the Belgian manager has been ostracised in his home country over allegations of match-fixing and bribery (The YE ZHEYUN SCANDAL) and cannot manage in his country unless a fresh license is given to him by the FA of Belgium.

He has found a new home in Ouagadougou and has surprisingly reshaped the football philosophy in Burkina. The former Gambia coach (2007-2011) affirmed that he gave his boys clips of Greece’s 2004 Triumph, Chelsea’s UCL win last season and Zambia’s road to success last time out, to show them that underdogs can come from nowhere and upstage the so-called cup favourites.

The videos have made the desired impact to his delight and he will be hoping to add his name to the Di Matteos, Renards, and Rehhagels of this World in a few hours. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi the 50 year former Super Eagles skipper is a man well respected and revered in Africa.

After guiding Togo to the 2006 World Cup against all odds and managing the Malian National team with considerable success, he has etched his name in the jistory books and expects to add a Nations Cup trophy to his burgeoning resume after today’s battle. It will even be more remarkable because of the number of so-called big boys he left out of his final squad list.

The likes of Osaze Odemwingie, Taiye Taiwo, Obafemi Martins, Yak Aiyegbeni, Obinna Nsofor, etc were overlooked for Kenneth Omeruo, Obaobana, Brown Ideye, Sunday Mba and co. Even Captain Joseph Yobo has been warming the bench for the past 4 games. It has reaped the desired results as the EAGLES have swept aside all before them in their quest for Continental glory. One more hurdle to scale.

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS:

NIGERIA:

Enyeama, Ambrose, Obaobana, Omeruo, Echejile, Mba, Mikel, Onazi, Ideye, Moses, Emenike

 

BURKINA FASO:

Diakite, Koffi, B.Kone, Koulibaly, Panandetiguiri, D. Kone, Rouamba, Pitroipa, Nacoulma, BANCE.
Aristide Bance is deputising for the injured Alain Traore who sadly, can play no further part in this tournament. Burkina Faso have been boosted by the decision of CAF to rescind the RED CARD awarded to Pitroipa and the suspension of Slim Jdidi who should not be handed a whistle again for another 2 years. Bance scored the leveller v the Black Stars and took his penalty well in the shoot-out.

Captain Joseph Yobo will watch from the bench once again as his guys try to win the AFCON for the 3rd time ever. The team leader is in his 1st ever final, alongside all his other teammates. Vincent Enyeama will lead the Eagles out, but it remains to be seen who will lift the trophy should the Nigerians emerge victorious. This is Nigeria’s 7th final-only Ghana and Egypt have appeared in more.

Old Stallion, Moumouni Dagano has appeared in 6 ANC (African Nations Cup) Tournaments, but has registered just 1 goal. An appalling stat.

 

Written by Ohireime Eboreime

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AFCON 2013 Team Focus: Ivory Coast

Arguably, Ivory Coast are the best team in Africa, and they’ve been the best team in Africa for a long time. Didier Drogba’s age and impending retirement won’t change that with a variety of capable target men waiting in the wings.

They’re deep in midfield and on the wings, and while they’re not deep in defense, their starting back line is still one of the best on the continent. There’s no footballing reason to not pick them to win the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was a similar case last year, when Drogba missed a key penalty in the final against Zambia, who went on to lift the Cup. It was the case three years ago, when they were shockingly bounced out of the quarterfinals by Algeria.

Their 2008 loss to a Cameroon side led by Samuel Eto’o in his prime and their 2006 loss to Egypt in Egypt were more understandable, but they were probably the most talented side in those tournaments as well. It’s been nearly a decade since Ivory Coast weren’t one of the top sides on the continent.

And yet, the best generation of players their country has produced — and perhaps the best generation of players one African nation has ever produced — has failed to win a continental crown or advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup.

Not because of any obvious deficiency or lack of balance in their squad, or because of rumored locker room rifts, or because they’ve come up against bad matchups, but simply because they haven’t performed at their best for an entire tournament.

All of the key cogs from last season’s team have returned for another shot at the Africa Cup of Nations. Jean-Jacque Gosso and Kafoumba Coulibaly, a couple of defensive-minded role players from last year’s team, are the only contributors who haven’t returned.

Gervinho is possibly in the poorest form of his life, but Didier Ya Konan and Solomon Kalou are playing regularly for their clubs, while Arouna Kone, Wilfried Bony and Lacina Traore are in excellent form and give young manager Sabri Lamouchi options up top to compliment Didier Drogba.

Their midfield unmatched in athleticism and more balanced than any other team in the tournament. With Yaya Toure playing the most advanced role, in front of a double pivot of Didier Zokora and Cheik Tiote, the Ivory Coast should be able to dominate all of their opponents through the center.

While Les Elephants’ back line doesn’t quite boast the quality of their forward and attacking ranks, it’s still one of the best in Africa. While Sol Bomba has never performed at the highest level of the game, he’s been a solid defender for his country since 2008.

Kolo Toure is still one of the best defenders on the continent, but his lack of recent playing time at center back for Manchester City could be an issue for his team.

The fullback positions aren’t set, but the team has plenty of depth, and will probably start the tournament with Sahka Tiene and Emmanuel Eboue outside. The consistent, but not spectacular Boubacar Barry should remain in goal, though he’s been pushed recently by Daniel Yeboah.

 

Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1)

GK Boubacar Barry, LB Siaka Tiene, CB Sol Bamba, CB Kolo Toure, RB Emmanuel Eboue, CM Cheick Tiote, CM Didier Zokora, LW Salomon Kalou, CAM Yaya Toure, RW Gervinho, ST Didier Drogba

 

Key Player: Yaya Toure

Drogba is still a star and will still be a key player for the Ivory Coast, but the striking talent behind him on the depth chart has risen to the level where his country is no longer entirely dependent on his goals.

They are, however, very dependent on the all-around game of Yaya Toure. He is by far the most versatile midfielder on the continent and will shoulder a lot of creative and defensive load through the center for his team.

 

Prediction: Champions

Once again, this is the best squad in Africa. It’s not particularly close. But it didn’t matter in last year’s final when an organized, well-meshed and motivated Zambia team played a spectacular match to capture the title in an upset. That team is still together, with the stars of last year’s campaign no longer inexperienced.

Hosts South Africa will have similar motivation, and like Zambia have plenty of solid under-the-radar talent. Ghana and Nigeria are always dangerous.

There are plenty of different ways that the Ivory Coast could potentially slip up, but they really shouldn’t. They’re the best team on the continent, by far, and if they do not win the tournament, it will be because they didn’t bring their best. Again.

 

Written by Aniefiok Okon

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AFCON 2013 Team Profile: Algeria

Welcome to the first of 16, 1 a day, team profiles for every team participating in AFCON 2013. Then a blog every night, which will be a match reviews(s), depending on how many games there are a night.

 

Algeria

One of Africa’s 6 teams that participated in World Cup 2010, although they finished bottom of their group with Slovenia, England, USA. The highlight of their tournament was holding England to a 0-0 draw in South Africa, where – coincidentally- the African Cup of Nations 2013 will be held.

 

Group

A tough group for Algeria with Ivory Coast, who have the likes of Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba and more. Tunisia have been one of Africa’s better nations though that reputation has been tarnished by their recent African Cup of Nations performances.

Togo, one of the nations with more unknown players but do a pose a threat with country legend, Emmanuel Adebayor.

 

Star Player: Sofiane Feghouli

One of the jewels ready to take centre stage in South Africa. At 22 year old, the young Valencia star will want to make people leaving this tournament remembering this fantastic player.

Earning respect from Emery and Pellegrino and interest from European Giants PSG. He said in an interview with Le Buteur, “Personally, I dream of reaching the final. I set objectives for myself, I am an ambitions person. People tell me: ‘on the pitch, you don’t leave any stone unturned and we like that! Keep up the good work!’ I have the sense of being appreciated.”

The PSG link is strong, with Nene the wrong side of 30, it would be of no surprise of this tournament depends on a move in the summer. Though already at one of Spain’s top sides, the mouthwatering prospect of moving to PSG will be too much for a young Sofiane Feghouli.

Whether or not Feghouli does live up to high expectations he has been given remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth keeping a look out.

 

Written by Cain O’Bennett

Follow him on Twitter @goalCain

Check out his excellent blog on everything AFCON 2013, http://afcon2013.wordpress.com/

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