For women who love football, and for men who love it when women know the football game.

womenforfootball.com- Yesterday, as I was juggling with my full time job, writing a football article and many more things, I also finally put the time aside to register my name for 2015 Canada Pan Am Games’ Torch Relay Contest! I feel so excited and really looking forward to get a call from Pan Am games’ officials that I will be one of the lucky Torch Bearers at the games next Summer. According to the website, they will announce the list of Torch Bearers by the end of December 2014.

TorchRelayContest

If you have not already done so, you can visit www.toronto2015.org/torch-relay  and register your name and the reason why you are interested to be one of the Torch Bearer at the games.

I have also submitted my application to volunteer at 2015 Pan Am games next Summer. After initial form application submission, you will be contacted to pass an online interview and they will inform you of the position and duties by end of 2014.

To volunteer at 2015 Pan Am Games, visit this page and be part of the game like many other Canadians.

womenforfootball.com – Another exciting round of UEFA Champions League games are underway. There have been three matches played by teams in Group games so far and there are three more left before knock-out stage of the Competition.

Although we are only half-way through the group games, there are several interesting facts and records about the games so far, that are worth listing here.

Five interesting facts about Champions league 2014-2015:

  1. Highest margin of victory: This week, in series of Match three games of UEFA Champions League, four matches contained five goals or more each game: Bayern Munich 7–1 Roma, Shakhtar 7-0 Bate, Chelsea 6-0 Mairbor, and Atletico Madrid- Malmao 5-0. Never before, the margin of goals and trashing of opponents occurred in so many instances within one week.
  2. Highest scoring teams: So far Primeira’s Porto and La Liga’s Real Madrid have proved to be the scoring machines of the competition, each scoring ten goals so far. Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund follow closely with nine goals scored each so far.
  3. Manchester City’s dismal Champions League record: Manchester City, despite winning domestic league silverware, have been continuously the most underperforming English team in Champions League. In the past five seasons, only once they managed to advance to knock out stage. This season, it seems the dismal trend has dragged on with the team; With three games into the competition, they are placed third behind Bayern Munich and Roma with seven point difference with top team.
  4. The most contested Group: With three weeks into the games, Group A seems to be the most contested group, with only three points differentiating between the group leader and lowest ranked team.
  5. Record Breaking Ronaldo: Cristiano Ronaldo, who has two goals under his name so far in the games, is just one goal shy of reaching Raul’s record as highest scoring player in Champions League history. Legendary Raul and former Real Madrid player, had scored 70 goals in UEFA Champions League and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the same outfit will soon reach that milestone.

womenforfootball.com -

Last year this time, Manchester United fans were fuming over the Red Devil’s poor start in 2013-2014 season. Slowly, chants against David Moyes, Ferguson’s hand-picked manager, echoed throughout Old Trafford. Six games into the new season only, and Manchester United have managed to gain seven points from maximum 18 points. While in charge, Englishman, David Moyes sealed around £65million in two transfer windows, breaking the club’s record transfer fee to bring Juan Mata to Old Trafford. Although he was eventually dismissed in April, but by the end of the season, Manchester United finished in seventh spot; A rare ranking that disqualified them from elite Champions League games.

Fast forward to this season, the well know Dutch manager, Van Gaal was brought on board with long list of wanted players and promises of rebuilding the team. Upon his arrival, Van Gaal was allowed to spend near-triple Moyes’ transfer sum and demolished that record transfer fee once again by signing Angel Di Maria for £59.7m. But six games into the new season, are Manchester United faring better than David Moyes’ era? We will find out in this article by comparing the points gained in each games and quality of opponents.

During David Moyes’ first six games, Manchester United played three Home games against:

Chelsea(0-0), Crystal Palace(won 2-0), West Brom(Lost 1-2): 4 points from maximum 9 points.

Red Devils also played three Away games against: Swansea(won 4-1), Liverpool(Lost 1-0), Man city(Lost 1-4): 3 points from 9 points.

In total, Manchester United recorded two wins, one draw and three losses. In terms of quality of opponents, two of their opponents in the first six games under Moyes were against top tier games, including Chelsea and Manchester City. As it is well recalled, in 2012, Manchester City finished as the Runner-up and Chelsea was 3rd in EPL ranking.

In comparison, during Luis Van Gaal’s tenure in the first six games, Manchester United have played these three Home games: Swansea(Lost 1-2), QPR(Won 4-0), West Ham(Won 2-1) : 6 points from maximum 9 points.

Also these are the results in the three Away games against: Sunderland(1-1), Burnley(0-0), Leicester city(Lost 3-5): No win yet. 2 points from 9 points.

In total, under Van Gaal, Manchester United have secured 8 points from maximum 18 points. Only a mere one point more than Moyes’ record, while the quality of opponents in the first six games this season has been arguably rather poor.

Also as the history of Manchester United shows, if the club was placed at fifth spot or lower in the first few games, they had never managed to bounce back to top four spot again by the end of the season.

To summarize the head to head comparison between Englishman David Moyes and Dutch manager, Van Gaal, here are the interesting findings:

  1. No away win recorded by Van Gaal yet, versus Moyes’ one away win during the same period.
  2. Manchester United have conceded nine goals in six games under Van Gaal, versus eight goals under Moyes.
  3. Van Gaal has spent £59.7M or 3x times Moyes in transfer market.
  4. No top tier team in the first six matches yet under Van Gaal, compare to Moyes’ games against Chelse and Manchester City.
  5. Van Gaal has secured one point more than Moyes’ time during the same period.
  6. Manchester United have recorded third worst start in EPL under Van Gaal, versus Moyes’ worst start in EPL history.

The question is this: Is spending three times more than the previous manager, while playing weaker opponents and only securing one point more than preceding manager, worth the big investment Manchester United made in Summer transfer market rebuilding whole new team with a new manager?

womenforfootball.com -  Football fans may have noticed the recent buzz around FIFA official’s comment about “potential cancellation of Qatar World Cup 2022 due to heat”. Here is an article on 5 mistakes FIFA make in Qatar World Cup controversy. It was recently published at SWOL.co as well:

Joseph-Blatter-is-greeted-by-AFC-president-Mohammed-bin-Hammam

“Qatar will not be hosting the 2022 World Cup games”, said FIFA executive committee member. Theo Zwanziger’s bombshell swept news media on Monday. Almost immediately after, FIFA Spokesperson clarified this comment was solely “Zwanziger’s personal opinion” and postponed official comments to FIFA’s meeting in December.

The issue is not merely the fact that FIFA has awarded hosting World Cup 2022 to Qatar. The issues have rather been the embarrassing mismanagement by FIFA ever since that decision. Here, we look at top 5 mistakes FIFA have made in managing the controversy.

  1. Qatar Heat: The main reason for cancelling 2022 World Cup is life-threatening heat in Qatar, according to Zwanziger. This is a fact well pointed out by many critics and health officials long time ago. The question is why FIFA officials have realized this point now? It seems rather odd that access to Internet and simple research on weather temperature in Qatar, could not be made by FIFA officials before awarding the biggest Sport event to Qatar.
  2. Changing date to Winter World Cup: One of the proposed suggestions by FIFA to escape Qatar heat during Summer has been to move the World Cup games to Winter instead. A first-time occurrence in history of football, if materializes, that will be a major disruption to European, African, and majority of Asian and South American league teams. With the exception of Japan, South Korea and USA, about 29 participating national teams will have to change their league schedules from Autumn-Spring to Spring-Autumn a year head.
  3.  Not protecting Labour rights in Qatar: Although not surprising to emphasize that FIFA never interferes with Human Rights issues of the hosting country, but it has been an outcry for help for thousands of exploited migrant workers who have lost their lives, an estimate of 970 so far, during stadium construction due to heat and safety issues, while they legally “belong to an employer” and have no right to leave their jobs or leave Qatar once hired. The fact that FIFA puts a deaf ear to Amnesty International’s warnings is cause for concern for the only Organization body of football.
  4. Insisting on rotation policy: FIFA’s rotation policy is one of the prides of FIFA president, Sepp Blatter’s initiative since 2006. The rotation policy mandates the organization to award World Cup games each time in a different continent. True that will prevent favoritism towards European continent hosting the games over and over, but just because in 2022 it will be Asia’s turn to host the games, it does not mean all Asian countries have the required conditions to host a major football event.
  5. Hiding bribery investigation report: Another mismanagement by FIFA has been putting a lid on bribery investigation report during Qatar World Cup bidding process. Michael Garcia, New York Lawyer who is the leading investigator into bribery charges involving Qatar and FIFA officials, has publicly challenged FIFA to publish the report he has submitted to the organization. The fact that some of FIFA members are likely involved in bribery charges and therefore FIFA refuses to disclose the report, not only jeopardizes the whole process of awarding World Cup games to bidding countries, but also undermines the whole Organization’s legitimacy.

As evident by these facts, FIFA is managing the controversies in the worst possible way in every sense and the trouble does not end there; Whatever the decision FIFA takes in cancelling 2022 Qatar World Cup or keeping the plans as is, or even modifying the schedule of the games, FIFA will inevitably be the biggest culprit of 2022 World Cup games. They are the ones who will be held accountable for making the decision without a thoughtful process in the first place.

womenforfootball.com – Recently I wrote a piece about Mario Balotelli’s transfer from AC Milan to Liverpool at a lower price than his previous move. Here is a piece about why I think Super Mario, as he is called, will likely succeed at Liverpool and this was a wise move by him and Liverpool.

Anfield Move More Important For Super Mario

 

Mario_Balotelli

After several days of transfer rumors surrounding Liverpool’s hunt for Mario Balotelli, on Friday in a reportedly £16 million deal, the out of favor AC Milan striker travelled to Merseyside to join the EPL team.

Mario Balotelli is not a stranger to the English Premier League having previously worn Manchester City colors, but his off-the field controversies turned unbearable for former Citizens manager Roberto Mancini, and he was eventually sold to AC Milan. At the time, Super Mario was sold at £20 million but his continued poor form and inconsistency has seen his price drop yet again.

During his Italy return the Italian striker faced several racial profiling and racial chants against him during his time in Milan which saw him greatly effected. Yet his goal tally was impressive even at his new home, including 12 goals in 13 games in half a season since he joined in January 2013. Last season, he also netted 18 goals in 41 matches.

Considering his goal records and impressive performance at club level, signing the 24-year-old Balotelli at lower rate than his previous contract, is quite a bargain for Liverpool.Despite his form and game play being heavily criticized, it is hard to argue with a 30 goal return in 54 matches.

Liverpool sold their top scorer, controversial striker Luis Suarez, during the Summer transfer window and may have just captured the perfect replacement at bargain price.

Although Balotelli is more or less just as controversial on-the pitch as Suarez was, the stadium atmosphere at Anfield and fans’ welcoming approach to their top players will immensely help calm down the Italian striker. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has proven to be a very capable manager to contain his team’s dressing room avoiding spats, and is likely exactly what Balotelli needs in a figurehead at the club.

The Liverpool move is a much needed transfer for Super Mario as he needs a place to truly be at home and find his talent once more. Liverpool fans are more welcoming than AC Milan’s, and Rodgers is a more capable man-manager than Mancini was at City and his several managers at Milan have been. What will hope Balotelli the most is the stability and structure that Rodgers has created with his staff at Anfield. If Mario manages to keep his cool on-the pitch too, the opponents’ net will be sizzling and Liverpool will have yet another weapon in attack.

Original article at http://swol.co/liverpool-anfield-move-more-important-for-super-mario/35323#rxxCMm0w7tGb4MMA.99

womenforfootball.com – This is one of the articles I contributed at SWOL.co this week. As you are aware by now, Luis Suarez was signed by FC Barcelona during the Summer transfer and here is the story on his official unveiling at his new club and his pledge for the new season:

Barcelona: Luis Suarez Unveiled and Makes No More Biting Pledge

Luis Suarez at Barcelona

Luis Suarez at Barcelona

The Uruguay and former Liverpool superstar was unveiled at FC Barcelona’s Friendly match on Tuesday. Luis Suarez , despite his outstanding performance for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup, was best known for his controversial biting scene against Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and his lengthy suspension.

Yet, FC Barcelona insisted on their pursuit of former English Premier League’s top scorer and Player of the Year to land the striker in a £75 million deal with Liverpool during the Summer.

Suarez, who is suspended until October from all official matches, was unveiled by FC Barcelona in a presentation to the fans on Tuesday in a ceremony that was overshadowed over his biting incident. It did not take the media too long during the press conference before asking him about his suspension and biting incident.

Luis Suarez however, for the first time, pledged to “no more biting” in upcoming season at La Liga.

”I say to all the fans, don’t worry, because I won’t do that anymore,” the former Liverpool striker said.

”The suspension is what it is, and I have to accept it,” Suarez said. ”After what happened I didn’t want to do anything. I was depressed. But while I was with my wife and children I had to accept reality. I asked for forgiveness as I had to do, and now I have to think about the present.”

When asked for the reason for repetitive violent behavior during football games, Suarez refused to go into details about what he considered was at the root of his violent behavior. He called it a ”private” issue that he was treating with the ”appropriate professionals.”

‘Of course I was worried, but not only about the transfer (to Barcelona), but also about myself, for what I had done. I try to erase it,” he said. ”The lesson I take from it is personal. I try to forget it.”

The lengthy suspension will effectively rule him out of the first eight Spanish league matches and three of Barcelona’s six Champions League group stage matches.

Suarez also remains banned for Uruguay’s next eight competitive matches and will miss next year’s Copa America and some World Cup qualifying matches.

”It hurts not playing for Barcelona but it hurts even more not playing for my country,” Suarez said. ”I love my country. The fact that I will miss the next Copa America hurts very much. But I have to try and forget it.”

In terms of tactics, many pundits have questioned the need for third striker competing for a role on the pitch, while Barcelona already enjoy the goal production of Lionel Messi in particular and also Neymar. However, if Suarez keeps his words and avoid another biting controversy, considering his immense scoring impact at his former teams, Barcelona may soon become an unstoppable attacking force that La Liga and the Champions League opponents can hardly reckon with.

Original article at http://swol.co/barcelona-luis-suarez-unveiled-and-makes-no-more-biting-pledge/35280#pymYHsSEhqIKQk2k.99

womenforfootball.com – As indicated here, I booked my ticket and with lots of excitement headed to National soccer stadium(BMO Field) to watch Canada-Ghana match.

The atmosphere was great: Based on Stadium announcement, there were over 14,000 spectators. Obviously mostly were Canadian fans and surprisingly I saw many Canadian guys too coming with their guy friends and watching our women U-20 team; Which was a great supportive scene to watch. Ghanaian fans too were as loud and cheerful as possible, all along celebrating their 1-0 lead.

About the game itself, Canada U-20 team was playing cohesively in the first 15 minutes of the match, but defensive errors were obvious. And after Ghana scored the goal, Canada tried to attack on numerous occasions, specially in the Second half, but lucky was not on their side, and many times they would compromise their defense at the back to be able to attack. Overall, Ghana’s team balance and transition was much more superior to Canada, in my opinion.

Canada’s Number 2, Yekka, and Number 5, Buchanan were superb though with their tackling but it takes the whole team and lots of luck to win a match.

So far, with that 1-0 loss to Ghana, and DPR Korea’s win over Finland, DPR Korea is leading the table, followed by Ghana, and Canada is sadly at the bottom of the table. I really hope Canada bounce back in the next fixtures against Finland and DPR Korea, so that at least they can qualify to the knockout stage. For that, they need to finish among top 2 teams of the Group in terms of points.

Here is Group A standing so far:

 

U-20-Canada-standing

And as promised, here are some pictures from the match:

Canada-Ghana1Canada-Ghana2Canada-Ghana3ScorelineCanada-Ghana-5

And this is a match report by Metro Canada which includes interviews with Canada coach after the match:

http://metronews.ca/sports/1118333/canada-loses-u-20-opener-1-0-to-ghana/

 

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