Yaya Toure Kept from Representing Country

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

tourx_yayaEnglish Premier League football club Manchester City has been granted special dispensation to delay Yaya Toure’s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Ivory Coast international had looked set to miss out on the Football Association Cup third round match against Manchester United and the first leg of the League Cup (Carling Cup) semifinal matchup with Liverpool, but he will now be able to feature in both matches.

Although glad he can take part in two important matches, Toure admits to feeling indifferent about the situation, with his loyalties split between club and country. The star midfielder told reporters, “Our country needs people like myself and Didier Drogba because there is a war and it’s important we do what we can for our people, but this is also a crucial time of the season. There are two crucial months coming up and now I am going to miss one of them. The team, the club and the manager need me, but I will have to go away and play in a different competition. It’s difficult as I am very focused for City and we need all the players. I have to go because my country is going through some difficult things, but I am a little bit guilty and confused about it. My loyalties are divided and I do feel a little bit sad. But City will cope.”

The tournament, hosted in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, begins on January 21st, with Ivory Coast’s first match taking place in Malabo against Sudan on January 22nd. Meanwhile, Manchester City sit atop the English Premier League with 38 points, two points ahead of cross-town rival Manchester United.

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Edin Dzeko Named English Footballer of the Month

September 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

9685373_95ior3Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has been rewarded for his sparkling start to the new football season by being named Barclays English Premier League Player of the Month for August. The 25-year-old Muslim from Bosnia and Herzegovina has scored six goals in City’s opening three matches, including goals against Tottenham in a 5-1 win on the road last weekend.

Dzeko started slowly with Manchester City after his £27million move from Wolfsburg in January. He arrived at Man City with a reputation as a prolific goalscorer, with 85 goals in 138 appearances for former German champions Wolfsburg. But it took him three months to score his first Premier League goal, and he finished the season with only six goals in 21 appearances, a goal total that he has already equaled in the new season in only three appearances.

In an interview with The Mirror this past summer, Dzeko admitted that he arrived at City in a troubled state of mind, his head scrambled by the protracted nature of his move. He also admitted to struggling initially to adapt to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League. “I was sick of all the talk about the transfer,” said Dzeko. “It had got to my head a little bit [by the time he arrived at City]. But still I think I had some good games and scored some important goals. I was new in the team and it was a hard season. It’s always difficult to come to a new club midway through a hard season like that. But I know what I have done in the last six months. Now it’s my second season and I want to do better. Manchester City didn’t pay money for me because they saw me once on YouTube or something like that. They saw me scoring good goals. I haven’t forgotten how to score goals and I will show that next season. Every player needs time to settle in and get used to things; from the league to other players – everything. But I’ve had a full pre-season with the team now, which I think is the most important thing for any player, and I’m working hard. We’ll see what happens. But I know this season will be much better.”

“The Premier League is different,” said Dzeko. “The players are much stronger and much faster. After a few games when I first came, I realised the referees don’t whistle for many things. It’s not like that in Germany – with every small contact there’s a foul. In England it’s different and you’ve got to get used to all those things. It’s now behind me.”

Now Dzeko looks to have constant competition for playing time on a high-profile team such as Manchester City, with this summer’s arrival of Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero, and the recent addition of fellow Muslim Samir Nasri. But Dzeko seems undaunted by the competition.

“There’s always competition in football,” said Dzeko.”I don’t think about that, though. I know what I can do. I do my best in training and I think I train very well…The manager is telling me all the time ‘I believe in you’ and ‘just work hard’, which is what I’m doing.”

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