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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Samir Nasri Goes to Manchester City

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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The Sheikh of Abu Dhabi has been trying to secure this deal all summer, and he finally got his man. Manchester City football club of the English Premier League have finally secured the services of French Muslim footballer Samir Nasri from his former club, fellow English League rivals Arsenal.

The Abu Dhabi-owned football club reportedly obtained Nasri for a transfer fee of £24million. The 24-year-old midfielder subsequently signed a four year contract with Manchester City. This would be the fourth major signing this summer for City, but it would only be the second most expensive, after the club record £38million purchase of Sergio Aguero. Nasri will likely make his Man City debut this Sunday against Tottenham.

Nasri had just one year remaining on his contract at Arsenal, whom he joined in 2008, and the London club have agreed to sell now rather than risk losing him on a free transfer next summer. English Premier League rivals Manchester United had also shown interested in the Frenchman. And in recent weeks, there was growing tension at Arsenal with the common knowledge that Nasri wanted out. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger even included Nasri in the starting lineup this past weekend against Liverpool even after it was apparent that the club was close to a sale. He was, however, left off of the roster for Arsenal’s midweek Champions League qualifying match against Udinese.

This was a rough week for Arsenal, who were forced to sell captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona the week before, followed by a home loss to Liverpool. Now they have been strong-armed into parting with another of their young talents.

Nasri came up in the Marseille youth system and made his debut for the French club at the age of 17. He came to Arsenal in 2008 for £15.8million. But he struggled for a couple of years, and was even left off of the 2010 French World Cup team. But he finally broke through last year with 15 goals and a nomination for Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.

Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini told www.mcfc.co.uk: “He’s a fantastic player because he has technique, he has mentality. I knew him when he played for Marseille. I followed him when I was at Inter and we wanted to take him five years ago. But I think in the last few years in the Premier League he’s improved a lot. Now I think he’s a top player.”

Nasri now joins a Muslim-laden squad in Manchester City. The Ivorian brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure are there, as well as fellow Ivorian Abdul Razak, and Somalian midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, not to mention the Emirati ownership.

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Eric Abidal Negotiating Contract Extension with Barcelona

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

Eric_Abidal-4Barcelona have reopened  contract extension negotiations with Muslim left-back Eric Abidal. This was reported by Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta earlier this week. Just four months ago, Abidal was fighting for his life after a tumor was discovered in his liver. He subsequently underwent surgery in March to have the tumor removed. And he was able to recover so remarkably quickly  that he was able to return to action on May 3rd. And he even made an appearance in Barcelona’s Champions League final win over Manchester United later that month.

Abidal was born in Lyon, France, but is of Martinique descent. Before joining Barcelona in 2007 he played for Lyon and Lille in France, and Monaco before that. He has 55 caps for the French national squad, having made his international debut in August of 2004. He most recently played center back for France in their disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign.

Currently, Abidal only has one year remaining on his current contract, and Barcelona appears eager to retain the 32-year-old defender’s services. “We made Abidal the offer of a new contract before his illness,” said Zubizarreta during a press conference. “Discussions have started again and we will try to come to an agreement. It will take time but we hope that we can conclude a deal and make an announcement soon.”

Reports in the Spanish press are that Barcelona had initially offered Abidal the two-year deal that he wanted, only to withdraw the offer and come back with a proposal to give him a rolling one-year contract instead. Such rumors could make for a contentious negotiating environment, but both sides seem to have avoided stirring controversy. “Eric has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to stay at Barcelona and finish his career at the club,” the player’s agent David Venditelli told Catalan television station TV3 last month.

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Samir Nasri in Demand

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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France’s Samir Nasri controls the ball during their Euro 2012 Group D qualifying soccer match against Belarus at Dinamo stadium in Minsk June 3, 2011.

REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

The agent of Arsenal scoring sensation Samir Nasri indicates that talks between the player and Arsenal are still ongoing, despite reports to the contrary. There have been rumors of interest on the part of Manchester United amidst reports of Nasri’s displeasure with Arsenal’s attempts, or lack thereof, to improve thus far in the offseason.

“I want to clarify that there has been no break with the Gunners over the contract’s renewal and we should meet again soon with Arsene Wenger,” Nasri’s agent Alain Migliaccio told calciomercatoweb. “There are a few clubs interested in Samir, but it is useless to name them. Before listening to other teams, we need and we want to talk with Arsenal.”
Nasri had a prolific season with Arsenal, making for a nice bounce-back after having been left off of the French World Cup team last summer amidst politics and infighting. However, much of the mayhem has since tied to outgoing French coach Raymond Domenech, so Nasri’s reputation has been rehabilitated sufficiently with his play for Arsenal this past English season. And with his value at an all time high, Arsenal owner, American Stan Kroenke, is reportedly set to break the bank to keep him.

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