Team Spirit – What Causes It?

Watching the matches in the FIFA world cup, I notice that the national line-ups apparently vary as to team spirit. You might wonder why this matters. Why is team spirit important? What brings it about? And what hinders it?

Sweden’s team spirit

After eliminating very good teams, Holland and Italy in qualifying, Sweden played their part, in sending defending champions Germany home early, by topping Group F. They lack individual talented players, but as a team with a collective spirit they’ve got heart and stand up to the challenge. They do well through determination and organisation.

«Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.» (Helen Keller, deaf/blind political activist)

In keeping with his no-frills squad, the manager had not picked Sweden’s all-time top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The player had angered many of his former fans with what were seen as characteristically self-obsessed comments.

«As a team, we play as a collective, all the players together. With Zlatan, as a person, as a player, he’s an individualist, and the play goes around him. Instead, now, we play more the team all together.» (goalkeeper, Karl-Johan Johnsson).

Every single player has bought into the idea of working hard for each other and having fun together as a bigger group outside the pitch.

Leicester City’s team spirit

Winning the English Premier league, Leicester City is another football team whose performance has exceeded what might have been expected from the sum of its parts.

Leicester had some good players, but looking at the whole squad and comparing it to the so-called «top» clubs, it’s easy to see why they were such long shots to lift the title.

«You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.» – (Babe Ruth, baseball player)

Pundits spotted the players’ sense of team identity as a crucial factor in their success. The squad knew the manager would be there the following season. He persisted with most of the first team players he inherited. This continuity built on the legacy of the club, another cornerstone of a strong team identity.

Team spirit was also helped by the players viewing the objective of the club (i.e. avoid relegation) as one they were capable of achieving. So there was no fear of failure.

Many technical sides defend by playing lots of safe passes and so not letting the opposition have the ball. However, possession makes for a poor predictor of team performance. City were not afraid to play three misplaced passes if the forth move led to a goal. Team members felt positive and proud to be part of a group playing a successful fast-paced counter-attacking brand of football.

Other football teams

Boys playing football need to learn to pass the ball unselfishly rather than dribble past opponent after opponent until they lose the ball. They need to be a team player and not purely an individualist. Some flair adult players have been encouraged to succeed at the expense of collaboration when it is needed.

Professional football squads in England include highly rated players from other countries. These tend to have dissimilar languages, cultures, values and problem-solving approaches to difficulties. This can hamper the growth of team spirit.

Most football managers realise that team spirit can be hindered by voicing criticism of players in public. However leaders vary in their team building skills.

Trade Unions

Without any emerging team spirit within a trades union, industrial disputes would fail. Unity is strength. Members need to identity with the cause and trust each other to sacrifice short-term income. Then they have a chance to negotiate from strength and gain better working conditions and pay in the future.

Personal services

Worker’s morale is important in all walks of life. For example in many organisations dealing with human troubles and personal change – like educational, health and social services, or those to do with spirituality – team spirit can be fragile when one is faced with difficult-to-succeed-with-clients.

Many of these organisations use teams of workers with different types of professional training who may not see eye to eye. Dealing with complex and highly personal matters raises matters of deep principle. This can mean that people can be unwilling to modify how they approach things, leading to a degree of inflexibility. Leaders can help by team building encouraging the giving and receiving of support, communication and sharing. Without this, mixed groups tend to show disharmony as well as collaboration.

«Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.» (Patrick Lencioni, business management writer)

Unpaid volunteers tend to want to carry out their responsibilities on their own terms. With volunteers doing only short hours, team spirit suffers if members have little opportunity all to meet together to resolve different viewpoints.

Heavenly community spirit

When we make friends, we tend to do so with people who share our interests and values. With them we often feel most at home and free to be ourselves. It may be hard to imagine such a sphere where community spirit prevails. Emanuel Swedenborg painted such a picture of heavenly community. In such a scenario there are no rows about how things get done. No egos wanting their own way. People joining together in the right spirit. Only wanting what is best for each other and for the team and community as a whole.

«None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.» (Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun)

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Living in The Gambia

SUMMARY
I enjoy traveling around West Africa, especially around culturally rich regions blending nature with modern infrastructural developments. Both my air and road travels around this ECOWAS subregion in the last 15 years has been both instructive and enriching for me. I have been culturally immersed with diversity in languages, religion, culture, food, architecture, climate, economic life, flora and fauna.

The knowledge acquired, cannot be quantified in monetary terms, and i will recommend this educational tours to our youths to enable them appreciate and tolerate other cultures, thus reducing conflicts and disputes among countries countries. Somewhere else, i have written and held several seminars on working and living in Ghana about 11 years ago.

Today, the success story of Ghana is evident to all and this country Ghana, has emerged as one of the best economies in the subregion. Again, i am introducing another emerging great economy to you, The Gambia.

Before the whole world flood here, and you'll be left out, why not take my advise seriously and invest, work, live or holiday in this beautiful country to experience what I'm talking about? I love this peaceful country blessed with hospitable people. Gambians welcome you with natural inspiring smiles. The Gambia is bounded round by an historical river, rich in natural resources of sea foods, animals and healing powers. Welcome to The Gambia, the smiling coast of West Africa.

From the natural beauty of Makasutu Village, historical sites of Kunta Kinteh village, James Island, Kachikally Crocodile pool, Kanilai Farm, and so many other sites to the beaches and people, you will hardly want to leave. Little wonder, there are so many repeat tourists coming to The Gambia for the past 10-15 years that I've met. They come from all over Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa. At the beach, the beauty of the Sea, the sand and sun will remind you of Mother Africa.

How about the investment climate, very favorable and investor friendly.With a stable economy with a single digit inflation rate and currency exchange of US $ 1.0 = GMD26 (As at 9th April, 2010). The Gambia is a multicultural country with a lot of immigrants from West Africa, Europe, America, Middle East and Asia permanently living as investors, working with several NGOs, some retired investors while many others are engaged in importation businesses and owned several shopping malls. The Gambia is home to investors, volunteers, professionals pursuing their career, and holiday makers who has made this peaceful country their destination. Welcome to The Gambia, where there is no discrimination based on religion, creed, color, race, gender, social status, disability and with zero tolerance to corruption. Read on! Alsamadeh!

MARKET
The major markets are in Banjul, Serrekunda and Brikama. Here, you can shop for staple foods like fish, meat, vegetables, clothings, jeweleries and fashion accessories. The locals welcome people with natural smiles after exchanging the religious greetings: "Asalamalekun", meaning, peace be unto you. Traditionally, Gambian women go to market daily to buy what to cook.They can be seen with the plastic baskets with holders thronging to the busy markets to shop for fresh fish, meat, vegetables and take time to greet each other asking after each others' families, relations and get updated about current social events and other women gossips. Some of the elites, however, prefer to shop in shopping malls around Kairaba Avenue, and buy foods in large quantities to store at home.

Mini-markets, or what some call supermarkets are all over the Greater Banjul area competing with the traditional markets. There are also the neighborhood shops, called "Fulah Shops", owned mostly by Mauritanian citizens and in some cases by Guineans. This is the place to get the locally made bread called, "Tapalapa". This is usually a long banana shaped clay oven baked bread that is usually transported on bicycles by the suppliers early in the morning, mid-day and sunset time. I prefer buying this, when fresh, it's soft and more appealing than the stale hardened and uninviting ones. A full one goes for D5 and the half is D2.50. The bread is usually sold with a nice spread of butter, mayonnaises, egg, potato and spiced with jumbo or Maggi sauce depending on the buyer's preferences.

There is also "Senfu", which has a crumb nature and much cheaper, being sold for D3 for a full roll. However, i noticed the "Senfu" is not as filling as the "Tapalapa" that can keep me going for the whole day, like a bowl of "Fufu", which is the energiser for most Nigerians, Ghanaians and Sierra- Leoneans in The Gambia. The local "Fufu" unlike the ones found in Ghana and Nigeria are made from "Saddam Rice", as it is called locally, by milling it into powder and cooked into a solid paste in a pot. The most popular lunch meal, among Gambians, is the jollof rice, locally referred to as "Benechin". Different types of stew are prepared to eat the rice meal like "Plasas", "Super ganja", "Damoda", etc. I enjoy the Gambia breakfast meal of "Thura Girthe", which is very rich in protein. This is a mixture of well pounded rice cooked with milled groundnut and eaten with a spread of yogurt "Sour Milk".

Gambians eat together. Small groups of between 5-8 people are usually seen eating from the same bowl, and yet, when a visitor appears, he or she is beakoned to still join them and share out of it. This is the true love, i'm yet to see anywhere. If you think there is no free meal anywhere, you're wrong; come to The Gambia! This explain the reason for very low or non-existent crime rate. At least, a lunch meal is guaranteed for anyone living in The Gambia. Food is shared, no one goes home hungry. The women also waste a lot of food by always preparing a lot expecting visitors to join them when serving their meals. They package the rice meals in large wide bowls with a cover and wrap it in a traditional manner with cloth, that will secure the food from spilling and carry to their husbands at their respective working places for them to eat with colleagues. Sometimes, they go travel long distances, to deliver the foods, like a family living in Lamin and the husband working in Serrekunda.

WORK HOURS

The official working hours is 8 am- 4pm from Monday to Thursday. Friday is half day. Most of Gambians are Muslims, and they go for the Friday Special prayers in the afternoon. Although, the "African time" concept is still prevalent among the people, this is common with the government workers, the private sector is better. Most serious business appointments start from 9am, even though, they are scheduled for 8am.

The major reason sometimes for arriving at work late, can be as a result of unavailability of commercial vehicles to transport workers to their respective places of work. Even, at places of work, Gambians do not forget to take their Chinese herbal tea called "Atire".

GAME OF FOOTBALL

A first time visitor, to The Gambia will think the game of football has it's origin from here, because of the love and passion attached to this game. There are quite a number of playgrounds that are never kept idle because of the teeming youths that religiously train and play daily matches, especially in the evenings after work or school. Similarly, on weekends, first thing in the morning, you will notice everyone exercising or playing the game they love most; football.

The discussions of most of these youths that constitute half of the country population is centered on the European matches. Teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid, AC Milan and other big teams have passionate fans in The Gambia.

There are many Football Viewing centers that are making a fortune showing the live matches to most Gambian. Although, some of these youths might not know the capital of Nigeria, they often tell me it's Lagos, but they certainly know all the European Club Managers, first line ups and transfers of these key players, not to talk about the latest scores in the premiership or championship.

The Gambia's national team, called the "Scorpion" is adored and you dare not say anything bad against this team in order not to incur the wrath of my football lovers. A loss in game when "Scorpions" play, will turn the entire country into a grave yard, "a mourning period". But with a win; the Brazilian samba dancers will envy the dance steps of both the young boys and girls singing: "ho, ho ho ho, ha, ha, ha, ha..haleyomii". Therefore, to make friends with Gambians is so easy, just pick up a football topic!

BEACHES

The climatic conditions of The Gambia is slightly different from other ECOWAS countries. There is only one cycle of rainfall which starts around June and ends around October. It is usually hot during the raining periods, unlike other countries that experience cold periods.

The Hamattan period starts from November to February. However, the weather experiences erratic changes sometimes. The beaches are clean and provide succor to visiting tourists that want to experience the beauty of the sun, the sea and the sand of The Gambia.

There are several beaches to visit. From Banjul beach to Palma Rima, Senegambia and up to Sanyang. There are so many private beaches along this line. Most white tourists called "Toubabs" are usually welcome at these beaches that have attractive traditional bars with natural juice, canned drinks, barbecue and special packages for visitors.

The menace of "bumsters" have been curtailed and there are tourist police patrolling most of the busy beaches to deter the "unsolicited friends". The beaches are besieged by almost all Gambians during festive periods or during major musical concerts or shows.

FESTIVE PERIODS

A visitor arriving The Gambia around Easter or Christmas will think all Gambians are Christians, with the celebration and partying. Similarly, around the Muslim festivals of "Koriteh or Tobaski" will give one the impression that there is no single Christian in town.

This is the beauty and diversity of the Gambian hospitality and tolerance of other religions in The Gambia. The people enjoy good music. The local artists are adored, some of whom are Jalibah Kuyateh, Titi Kololi, Freakie Joe, Asan Njie, Olugander and Sambou to mention a few.

The women, both young and old, enjoy dancing. The very physical dances of jumping and kicking the air is common and i often wonder where the women get the extra energy and strength from. Some young men that are not used to these dances, dare not challenge these women in a dancing competition, if they do not want to be hospitalized.

The entertainment industry is therefore very vibrant. Most people relax by watching Nigerian, Senegalese and Ghanaian home videos. There are several video rental shops to pick the latest Nigerian films from. Most of the banks and hotels show foreign channels like DSTV, CNN, AlJAZEERA, EUROSPORT etc.

PAID WORK IN THE GAMBIA

Except for ECOWAS nationals, that are allowed to work freely in some key government sectors like Education and Judiciary, other nationals are only allowed to work as expatriate and have to go through a scrutiny and get approval from the immigration department, before they can be permitted to work with the government.

However, investors are allowed to bring in their work force, provided they abide by the immigration laws of obtaining a work / residential permit. Openings exist all year round for qualified teachers in Senior secondary schools all over the country.

Most of the vacancies are usually filled by Nigerians, Ghanaians, Senegalese, Sierra-Leoneans, Liberians and a handful of other ECOWAS nationals. Openings also exist for lecturers in University of The Gambia, several professional training institutes and other tertiary institutes like Management Development Institute (MDI), Gambia College and Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI).

Although, the private institutes remuneration is higher than the government pay scale. Most of the secondary schools in the provinces are in need of teachers, most teachers rather prefer to transfer to the urban cities leaving the rural villages without qualified teaching force.

Government subsidized schools remuneration package for non-Gambian teachers are between D3,500-D4,000 per shift (Morning or afternoon) depending on the entry level experience and qualification. The private schools pay between D4,500-D10,000, depending on the school and experience of the teacher.

Most schools prefer teachers that have gathered "Gambian experience", meaning, they must have taught in The Gambia for some years to understand the system. Combining both shifts means more income. Most government schools prefer to pay full salary for the morning shift and half salary for the afternoon shift. There are other several opportunities of income earning, by organizing study classes for the students after close of school by some teachers. Most teachers often change school to those paying more, and every term witnesses a mass drift of teachers around.

The coveted schools are: Marina International, SBEC, Zenith, SOS, Scanaid and West African International. Linguistics and sciences are the preferred subjects often in high demand. English language, English Literature, Mathematics, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agric Science, Applied Electricity etc, are "hot cake" subjects for most schools.
ECOWAS qualified teachers (M.Sc, B.Sc & HND holders in the subjects listed above) are usually being employed in secondary schools in The Gambia.

Other professionals needed to work in the private sectors are:

1. Lawyers with LL.b degree that have successfully completed Law school and called to Bar to work as
Magistrates / Judges with the Ministry of Justice.
2. Professional Graphic & Website Designers.
3. Professional Advertisers.
4. Desktop & Laptop Repair Technicians.
5. Automobile Technicians.
6. Theater Arts & Dramatic artists.
7. Film Directors & Producers.
8. Professional Actors & Actresses.
9. Radio & TV Program Presenters.
10. Fish Breeding & Farming
11. Aquarium Making & Gold Fish Rearing.
12. Leadership Development Trainers.
13. Trainers in unique skills & vocations.
14. Cottage Industry set-up trainers (Body creams, soaps, cartons, shoe polish etc.)

The financial industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth with addition of more banks joining the league recently, bringing the total number of banks to fourteen in The Gambia. Most of these Nigerian banks are opening up branches and will need more staff.

Although, it is far cheaper to hire the locals than expatriate by the banks, because of the special tax paid for not hiring Gambians. The same rule applies to the Hotel and Tourism industry. The Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs are allowed to bring in their personnel.

Volunteers are also welcome in The Gambia. Volunteers can have a cultural immersion and gain international experience in this peaceful country. For holiday makers, i will recommend visiting this small but unique country for those in search of a Peaceful, Affordable and Memorable African Retreat (PAMAR!)

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

1. ECOWAS CITIZENS

The government welcome investment in all sectors, special attention is, however, given to Agriculture because of the importance of food security to any nation. Other sectors like Real Estate & Properties, Mining Industry, Hotel & Tourism, Health, Education, Manufacturing and Agro- allied Sectors are key areas to go into and get government incentive, in tax relief and total support.

ECOWAS citizens enjoy free movement of persons and goods within the 16 countries block, the required capital needed to re-locate to the Gambia to work, live, invest or holiday is far less than what is required to settle down in other ECOWAS countries. With the electricity tariffs coming down (thanks to the government initiative), NAWEC, the electricity company is doing her best to guarantee stable supply of electricity and many businesses solely rely on this stable electricity supply.

Incidences of armed robbery attack are very rare. I have not noticed or witness or hear about armed robbery attacks in the last six years. I only read in one of the newspapers, one or two times, about such attacks in the provinces some few years ago. People move about without fear of molestation or attack. Petty mobile phone theft are usually common.

The residential houses are affordable, and rents of one to three months advance payments, are demanded. The people are warm and hospitable. For as little as D500 per month, a room can be rented around the busy areas like Brikama, Latrikunda, Lamin, Tabokoto, Wellingara and Coastal road areas.

The 2-bed room apartments with all the conveniences goes for between D1,500-D2,500 per month in these areas depending on the finished taste and proximity to the busy highways. ECOWAS citizens can enter and settle in the country with opportunities to start small businesses.

For these wise residents in the country, there are several businesses to choose from and do effortlessly in this investment friendly country. Anyone coming to The Gambia for the first time, must first of all plan and prepare, knowing what to do and where to stay and having adequate information about the culture and business climate.

2. WORLDWIDE INVESTORS (MEDIUM / LARGE SCALE BUSINESSES)

The specific areas, wise investors, can rush into to invest presently, from our detailed research findings are:
A) Setting up a private University with residential campus to attract all ECOWAS citizens.
B) Eateries like MacDonald's, Chicken George, Mr. Briggs, Sweet Sensation, Tantalizers, TFC, etc
C) Botanical Garden / Love Garden around the Tourist areas.
D) Building low Cost Homes to be sold or rented out to people.
E) Ground nut processing factory.
F) Feed Mill for Poultry, Rabbitry and Turkey Production.
G) Cashew Processing Factory (CNS Oil, brake oil, glue, rubber, electrical wires etc).
H) Natural Juice canning factory (Fruits like mangoes, orange, lime etc abound).
I) Fresh Flower production and export.
J) Fish Canning / Food packaging for export.

There are other 90 businesses we have surveyed to be potential instant money earners for wise investors to take on. Kindly request for a detailed project profile on this. The Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency, (GIPFZA) welcome investors with unique offers of tax relief, government support and non-bureaucratic processing of necessary documents to allow for quick set-up and investment in The Gambia.

To have a fair idea of ​​the business climate, i recommend that all potential investors read the latest business directory (The Gambia Business Directory).

INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT & BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

The Gambia, though small, but has a robust economy with fourteen commercial banks, four GSM companies, a good number of airlines plying the subregion and the outside world. There are more than five daily newspapers, around eight radio stations and many hotels of international standards including the 5-star Sheraton Hotel.

The major roads from the airport to most busy commercial centers like Kairaba, Brufut, West Field, Senegambia, Brikama, Latrikunda and Banjul are all tarred with well lighted street lights. Clean, fresh and treated pipe borne water is available to most homes 24hrs uninterrupted.

Communication and internet services are quite cheaper than most other countries. The cost of starting a business in The Gambia is far cheaper both in the short term and long term. The real estate business is enjoying a great boom with 30% return yearly on investments, and the Meltdown phenomenon is not easily noticeable in The Gambia.

The Gambia is a tourist destination and repeated visitors are common in this wonderful and peace loving smiling coast of The Gambia. Although, The Gambia is a tax based economy, the government makes substantial earnings from Tourism and exportation of agricultural commodities like Groundnut, Fishes, Cotton and solid minerals.

It is mandatory for every resident to have a TIN number (Tax Identification Number) before a bank account can be opened. New buildings are coming up daily and it is common sight, to see most of the property owners advertising their phone contacts for those interested in renting or leasing these properties from high rise buildings in Senegambia axis, Kairaba, Fajara, West Field, Tallinding, Tabokoto , Abuko, Lamin, Yundum etc.

Gambians in diaspora are rushing home to invest in this high yielding property sector. A visitor that last visited the country a year ago, will notice a remarkable difference in this infrastructural developments. The Gambia is a clean country, especially with the introduction of the monthly cleaning exercises, called "SETSETAL", which is a special cleaning day for everybody on the last Saturday of the month between the hours of 8-1pm and thereafter there is free movement .

Municipal officials go around to ensure the wastes are properly disposed and ensure compliance to the law, that all shops and businesses most be closed and no movement of commercial vehicles, until the end of the cleaning exercise.

Health wise, it is safe to live in The Gambia, because the health delivery system is very efficient and well equipped with the best medical personnel in The world. There are various health centers, well spread around the country with ambulances standing by to quickly evacuate emergencies to Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, RVTH, Banjul where complicated cases are usually taken.

Visitors coming for the first time, therefore, are advised to take the appropriate vaccinations recommended. ECOWAS citizens must take vaccinations against yellow fever, meningitis, Polio etc and ensure these are stamped on their Yellow Card, this is even taken more seriously, when traveling by road through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal to The Gambia . Not having a valid Yellow Card could cost you a fortune in fines you'll be asked to Pay!

Medical services is free to Gambians, except the registration card which is D5 only. ECOWAS citizens are, however, required to pay for cost of treatment and hospitalization, depending on the treatment. Tourist visiting The Gambia are advised to have a Travel Insurance when visiting

Transportation within the country is affordable. Moving from one location to another is quite easy. There are three categories of commercial road transportation. One, is the commercial Bus, that only allow maximum of three passengers on a row which is convenient, unlike four on a row in several other countries. This type of buses go around the major destinations like Banjul to Serrekunda (D6), Banjul to Tabokoto (D10), Banjul to Brikama (D15), Serrekunda to Senegambia (D5) etc.

The second category is the yellow and green painted taxis that take people for D5 a drop or chartered services for most tourists and locals, called "Town Trip". The last category, are the green painted and branded "Tourist Taxis" for tourists from and to the airport, hotel areas, most beaches and historical sites for new visitors. They are more expensive than the yellow painted ones.

Except when it is very important, first time visitors are, however, encouraged to avoid going out around the rush hours, like 7-8am and 4-6pm, especially when commuters are going to or returning from work. From Tabokoto, Lamin, West field, Serrekunda and Brikama in the morning to Banjul and returning back home in the evening is always very hectic and expensive to take a taxi. The bus-stops are usually congested and the traffic chaotic around these periods.

There are many well organized tour operators with luxurious air conditioned buses to pick from and to the airport all visitors and tourist that arrange their visits through them. They also partner with most hotels on tours to historical sites and around the cities.

There area ferry services available to transport people across the River Gambia. From Barra to Banjul is D25 only. Visitors can come in to the country either by land through The Gambian border with Senegal at Hamdallah, or from Guinea and Cassamace, Senegal through Basse. By air is through the only airport at Yundum. The Banjul International Airport, one of the best in the subregion with the longest run-way and modern radial facilities installed.

The airport is not always busy and travelers should always inform someone to pick them at the airport, especially during the weekends when commercial activities are low. However, tourist taxis are available at any time for between D500-D800 depending on the distance, usually between 15-30km from the airport.

There is a Bureau de Change at the airport to change money from other currencies like Euro, dollars, pounds and CFA to Dalaisi. For Visa Card carriers, there is ECO Bank ATM at the airport. Bank PHB and Trust bank also have their ATMs at the airport.

On arrival in the country, when you hear "Nagadef?", Meaning how are you, just answer "Jamarek", meaning i'm fine. After a hand shake, say "Jerejef", meaning thank you.
Jerejef, Jarama, Baraka (meaning thank you in 3 different local languages).

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Fallen Heroes in the Annals of Nigeria Football History

Professional football as a competitive sport has had its unfair share of tragedies over the years. It is both entertaining and dangerous especially on the field of play. The Nigerian sporting family witnessed one of the most horrific football tragedies on the 23rd of December 2008, when nine female amateur footballers and two coaches were burnt beyond recognition in an auto crash on their way from Jos, Plateau state.

The tears of sorrow had hardly dried up, when 15 members of an amateur side, F.C Jimeta from Adamawa state, Nigeria, died in another auto crash on the 26th of January 2009. Twelve of the dead were players, while the remaining three were trainers.

The tragedy that took place on the 26th of January 2009 had hardly subsided when another devastating incident occurred on the 21st of February 2009. In a single swoop, 13 Football supporters of Nigeria Premier League side Ocean Boys F.C of Yenegoa were killed by persons suspected to be cultist, on their way to attending a premier league match involving their team and Bayelsa United at the Ughelli Township Stadium in Delta State, Nigeria.

Nigerian footballers have also had their fair share of tragedies on and off the field of play. Below is a list of some of the players who have braved all odds to bring joy to football loving Nigerians but later succumbed to the cold hand of death.

  • Samuel Okwaraji

Nigeria enterprising midfielder Samuel Tochukwuma Okwaraji slumped and died on August 12, 1989 during a World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola. He died of a heart related ailment.

  • Amir Angwe

Amir Angwe died on the field of play while starring for Julius Berger F.C on October 29th 1995. It was later discovered that he died of a heart attack.

  • George Igenewari

The younger brother to Nigerian former international- George Finidi was slain by the bullet of rival supporters during an F.A Cup match involving his club- Rangers F.C and Stationary Stores of Lagos in 1995.

  • Tunde Charity

He was a member of the Flying Eagles team that participated in the 1989 U-20 World Championship held in Saudi Arabia. He died of a head injury sustained in the playing field while featuring for Bendel Insurance F.C in a league match in 1997.

  • Boniface Danjuma

This Plateau united player died on August 12, 2006 after he slumped and was confirmed dead 13 minutes into the second half of his team tie with city rival JUTH of Jos at Nassarawa stadium, Keffi.

  • Orobosa Adun

He was the first choice goalkeeper of Warri Wolves F.C of Warri Delta State. Slumped and died on May 26th 2009 during training as a result of injury sustained when he was attacked by thugs of Rangers international of Enugu.

Around the English Premier League – Round 30

Manchester United has reached its third week at the head of the Premier League and with its triumph at home has open up a bit more the gap between it and City.

On Saturday Manchester City visited Britannia Stadium to meet with Stoke City for their away match and after a pretty plain first half they finished in a 1-1 draw. Although the Sky Blues toughed it up in second half, at 59′ Peter Crouch grabbed the lead for the Potters with the help of Jermaine Pennant. First Asmir Begovic fired the ball with a powerful hit that Pennant intercepted and immediately headed to Crouch, who then struck it with a superb shot that send the ball over Joe Hart and straight to the bottom of the goal.

Right away Mancini responded by sending in Adam Johnson to substitute Silva, but even though Johnson made a couple of dangerous intents, he was stop each time. At 72′ the Citizens’ boss made another change calling in Carlos Tevez; however the Argentinean didn’t perform as well as in the last game. Instead the one in charge of leveled the scoreboard was Yaya Toure with a potent shot from a long-range within the last 15 minutes of the encounter.

The 1-1 left Roberto Mancini quiet upset and even made him keep for himself whatever thoughts he had about the performance of his men and how it affects the race they have with United for the championship title. The point earned by the Sky Blues placed them on the first position for more than a day, while they were waiting for the Red Devils fixture against the Cottagers on Monday. Unfortunately for Mancini’s side its nemesis won that match and distanced itself a bit more from City, which now has 70 points while United holds 73 points.

Manchester United is looking for its twentieth Premier League title and the winning streak that is experiencing is helping them secure the first spot -at least for now, because their track in the standings throughout this season is kind of similar to theirs 2009/10 season track, in which they fell within the last 3 fixtures. Be that as it may, on Monday the Red Devils grabbed their 12th triumph at home, beating a Fulham that stood up firmly and only were unable to stop one goal. At 42′ John Evans caught the ball following a close intent from Ashley Young, but when Evans was in the move to score, he realized that Wayne Rooney had a better chance to score, so passed it over and Wayne fired it to the bottom of the net.

On the other hand it looks like Tottenham might be reinforcing, although at the end of the encounter it couldn’t score once, at least they defended their goal perfectly from the tough Chelsea and even had the best chances to score. Indeed this London derby was very even and therefore the 0-0 result it was somewhat fair. The extra point saved the Blues from losing the fifth place to Newcastle that tied them with 50 points on the standings, while the Spurs ended up 3 points away from Arsenal, still with good chances to recover the third place. However it won’t be easy for Harry Redknapp’s men, for at this point they need Arsenal to make a mistake, while they have to be undefeatable -instead, that’s how the Gunners have been lately.

The other matches from round 30: Swansea 0-2 Everton; Sunderland 3-1 QPR; Norwich 2-1 Wolves; Liverpool 1-2 Wigan; Bolton 2-1 Blackburn; Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa; West Bromwich 1-3 Newcastle.

Compra online la Camisetas de fútbol! En JD encontrarás las del FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, la selección de España y equipos internacionales. by Camilla Mancini