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As Pope Francis Relishes San Lorenzo’s Triumph, Read How Sunderland’s Win over Chelsea Was Divine.

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Pope Francis celebrated his beloved San Lorenzo de Almagro’s victory in the Argentine Primera Division on Wednesday, hoisting a replica of the team’s trophy for all to see.

A small group of the team’s managers and players met with the Pope on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica, presenting him with the replica of the title trophy and a red and blue team jersey with “Francisco Campeon” written on the back. A clearly pleased Francis raised the trophy for all to see.

San Lorenzo, named after a saint (after a local priest helped the club’s founders find a plot of ground to train on), and known – among other nicknames – as El Santo, ‘the Saint’, is a club which the then- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was not only a fan, but a paid-up member.

Photo Credit: AP. Pope Francis Receives a Replica Argentinean Championship Trophy from a Small Group of San Lorenzo's Managers and Players on the Step of the St. Peter Basilica.

Photo Credit: AP. Pope Francis Receives a Replica Argentinean Championship Trophy from a Small Group of San Lorenzo’s Managers and Players on the Step of the St. Peter Basilica.

The Saints, one of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’ clubs, clinched the Argentine championship last Sunday.

Wednesday was Francis’ last audience for 2013, during which the pope received birthday wishes.

Though the pontiff, who turned 77 on Tuesday, became a registered San Lorenzo member in 2008, he’s been a fan for much longer; when he was a young boy, his father played for the club’s basketball team, and took him to watch the football side regularly. He even got the title of ‘World’s Most Famous San Lorenzo Fan’ Viggo Mortensen before becoming the Roman Pontif.

The Then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Displays San Lorenzo's Jersey.

The Then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio Displays San Lorenzo’s Jersey.

San Lorenzo aren’t the only football team hoping to benefit from the preferences of the new Pope. Premier League outfit Sunderland and, even the Argentine national team, which has been drawn alongside Nigeria in the 2014 Fifa World Cup Group F, all claim to have the Pope on their side.

In October, Pope Francis was given a personalised ‘Black Cats’ shirt by Father Marc Lyden-Smith, who is Sunderland FC’s chaplain. He was in Rome on pilgrimage.

“As chaplain of Sunderland Football Club, they asked if I could present him with a shirt a shirt that had his name on the back- Papa Francesco,” Fr. Lyden-Smith said.

“It was a bit of miracle really. There were 120,000 people gathered in the square. We managed to get tickets up at the front and the pope was guided towards us.

Pope Francis Hoists Sunderland Jersey for All to See.

Pope Francis Hoists Sunderland Jersey for All to See.

“Some people from the North East managed to shake his hand and then I asked if he would accept the shirt and he took it and waved it in the air to cheers.”

It was miracle indeed, as Sunderland beat Newcastle 2-1 in the ‘Tynewear derby’ the weekend after the jersey presentation; even though Pope Francis had said “he is very diplomatic and wouldn’t say” he would be supporting the struggling club in that encounter.

Moreover, Sunderland have had a mixed season since September in the light of the sacking of their Italian boss Paolo Di Canio and yesterday’s progress into the semi-finals of the League Cup at the expense of Chelsea, whom they thrashed 2-1 after extra-time- ‘Pope Magic’. I chose the name because Chelsea played the match but Sunderland progressed into the semi-finals and ended Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten cup record (aside penalties).

Nonetheless, the English club which presently sits bottom of league standing will need every moment of divine inspiration to avoid relegation this season. Such miracle could have just started.

But the fact that no sitting Pope has seen his country win the World Cup since the Second World War comes as a relief for Nigerians ahead of their Group F tie against Argentina on June 25.

Nigeria, which like their South American opponents boast a large number of Catholic faithful, also need some of that ‘Pope Magic’ to come top in their fourth World Cup group stage clash against the Argentinians at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil next summer; considering the manner with which they’ve lost their previous two encounter at the same stage.

The good news is that there will be no Taribo West or Adeboye Onigbinde to trade blames in Brazil and Messi would have bore that fright at the sight of Vincent Enyeama in goal for Nigeria.

It’s six months to the world’s biggest football showpiece. If our Nigerian Cardinals, Bishops and Priests have not yet done us a good-enough favour by presenting an Eagles jersey to the first citizen of the Catholic church to add to some of his personal effects, which includes items of San Lorenzo memorabilia, shipped over to his new home in the Vatican, we could count on good preparation- yet not far from what Coach Stephen Keshi is trying to achieve with the home-based Eagles ahead of CHAN.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    December 19, 2013 at 4:54 am

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Football

Diego Maradona: Biography And Facts (Video)

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Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona

The news of the death of Diego Maradona has sent shock waves to football lovers around the world.

The 60-year-old football legend died on Wednesday, November 25, after suffering from cardiac arrest in his home country.

The country of Argentina is currently grief-stricken over the demise of the 1986 World Cup winner. His body arrived at the presidential palace in the country to lie in state. 

Maradona, who was born on 30 October 1960, holds a record that is nearly unmatched. He is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.

The footballer came from humble beginnings and he received his first soccer ball as a gift at age 3 and he developed a soft spot for the game.

At age eight, Maradona was discovered by a talent scout while he was playing in his neighbourhood club, Estrella Roja. 

The footballer, at age 12, thrilled spectators with his mastery of the art of football during the halftime intermissions of first division games.

He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

Sadly, his life wasn’t always all sunshine and rainbows as he was addicted to cocaine from the mid-1980s until 2004.

Maradona married long-time fiancée, Claudia Villafañe, on 7 November 1984, and they had two daughters. The couple later went their separate ways in 2004.

He listed Brazilian playmaker, Rivelino and Manchester United winger George Best among his inspirations growing up.

Maradona made 91 appearances for Argentina between 1977 and 1994 and he scored 34 goals at international level before ending his career.

He had the best years of his club career in Italy, as he played a massive role in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons. 

He was the all-time leading goalscorer for Napoli, with 115 goals, until his record was broken by Marek Hamšík in 2017.

Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

As a coach, Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia de La Plata.

 

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Football

Football Legend, Diego Maradona Dies At 60 Following Heart Attack

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BREAKING: Football Legend, Diego Maradona Dies At 60 Following Heart Attack

Diego Maradona

Argentina and Napoli legend, Diego Maradona has passed away at the age of 60 following a heart attack.

The Gimnasia coach had been hospitalised at the start of November, days after celebrating the landmark birthday, after complaining of low spirits and fatigue.

Recall that some weeks ago, it was reported that the football legend had a blood clot on the brain, which doctors later revealed was operated on successfully.

Also Read: Manchester City Could Offer Barcelona Star, Lionel Messi A Pre-contract In January

Two weeks after being discharged from the hospital and recovering at home, he reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest on Wednesday morning.

The Argentine national team’s official Twitter account confirmed the news on Wednesday.

https://twitter.com/Argentina/status/1331637593457520642

 

 

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Betting

The Contribution of Sports Betting to the Economy of Nigeria

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Most of us have grown up with gambling lore that left us petrified to our core. Gambling ruins lives, gives rise to financial and legal problems.

This is all that we have grown up learning. However, this is only partly true and must not be taken too seriously. Sure, gambling has its disadvantages and evils.

However, the activity, in its entirety, is not addictive. It is what humans make out of it. Human beings give up self-control and spiral into a bottomless pit of despair due to that.

Gambling, when indulged in appropriately, does no harm. In fact, it is one of the biggest industries and contributes significantly to the global economy.

The moot point of this article is to have a look at the betting industry of Nigeria. While we do that, we shall also examine how much the industry contributes to the economy of the nation.

Therefore, let us now have a look at the industry and venture a few important points throughout
the article.

How Does the Betting Industry of Nigeria Look Like?

The gambling industry of Nigeria resides in the areas of gray. One cannot look at it in either black or white.

Gambling activities are considered illegal in Nigeria, with the exception of a few. And betting on sports happens to be one of those exceptions.

Online gambling in Nigeria is allowed only on offshore-owned and operated casinos. Locally operated casinos are not allowed to function in the land.

Now speaking of betting, one must note that the betting industry happens to be a key player in Nigeria’s economy. There are over fifty functional and legal betting sites in Nigeria.

As we mentioned before, betting is entirely legal, unlike online gambling. All those who want to gamble on sites like Usafriendlypokersites.com can do so with the use of VPNs.

Nigerians are incredibly passionate as a people about their sports. That is why the idea of making money by betting on their favorite sports has a lot of appeal.

With about 200 million people in the country, the betting industry has found a solid footing in the market. It has been estimated that over the last few decades, Nigeria has grown to become the second-largest betting market in South Africa.

Over 60 million people find entertainment through online betting sites in South Africa. Therefore, one can understand, going by the statistics that Nigeria has evolved over the last few years when it comes to betting.

Reasons for this Massive Growth in the Popularity of Online Betting:

One of the primary reasons for this massive popularity in online betting is the increase in technological innovations.

Nigeria, over the past few years, has seen technological expansion and super-fast connectivity. Almost everyone has access to smartphones now.

This is what makes it so easy for people of every age group to bet online. The constraints that the nation had in technology and connectivity are no longer an issue.

It is estimated that in the next few years, the country shall see more such innovations and expansion. This will, therefore, act further as a catalyst to the growth of the online betting industry.

The Government is Now Tightening the Noose around Online Betting to Raise Revenue:

As we already mentioned a few times before that Nigeria had strict laws related to online gambling.

The government also did not pay much attention to the betting industry. However, things have changed now and shall change further down the line.

The Nigerian government is now formulating some strict laws so that it could pull the revenue from betting into the coffers.

This is also one of the most significant reasons for the growth in Nigeria’s economy. Online betting is a lucrative industry, and we can already deduce that from we discussed.

With the government paying more attention to the industry, crime rates can be reduced, and better revenue can be raised.

If anything, the involvement of the Nigerian government shall only serve as a fresh change. Plus, with a better structure in the betting industry, more people can find jobs and livelihood.

Wrapping It Up:

We can see how the online betting industry of Nigeria has become one of the chief contributors
to its economy.

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