Sadio Mane tipped to succeed at Bayern Munich

A Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup winner with Liverpool, Sadio Mane is now embarking on a new chapter in his career at Bayern Munich.

The 30-year-old forward joined the German giants for a fee of £35m after six years at Anfield, where he scored 120 goals in 269 games.

Mane, who was key to Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations victory in February, netted on his competitive debut for Bayern as the Bavarian club won the German Super Cup last Saturday.

Former Nigeria international Efan Ekoku is backing Mane to adapt to the Bundesliga and be a hit for the six-time European champions.

“I think that as a top-class player and professional, he will succeed at Bayern for sure,” Ekoku told BBC Sport Africa.

“He’s made a good choice. If you’re going to leave a big club like Liverpool and if you are still at the peak of your powers, then you’ve got to choose wisely.

“Mane has done and gone to a club as storied as Liverpool, over the last 40 to 50 years, in Bayern. The chances of him being successful in the Bundesliga with Bayern are just as great, if not more so.”

After spells at Metz, Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton, Mane moved to Liverpool in 2016 and went on to score 90 Premier League goals for Reds, finishing his final season with 23 goals in all competitions.

Mane told BBC Sport Africa last month that his reason for quitting Liverpool was to seek a new challenge, and he is expected to make his Bundesliga debut against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday evening.

Yet, despite his growth and remarkable success in England, former DR Congo captain Gabriel Zakuani expects Mane will have to adapt to a new system in Germany.

“We know Mane is a workhorse – and he’s got the quality to go with it – but it will be difficult for him,” Zakuani told BBC Sport Africa.

“I think it could be a different sort of challenge for him, because at Liverpool he had a system spot on, in that he had everyone doing the hard work with him.

“With Bayern Munich it’s completely different – they play a different style, so he may struggle to adapt, but Mane is the sort of player that loves learning.

“We’ve seen the changes he’s had since he was at Southampton, and how he’s become a world star. Now he’s going to Bayern as a big-name player, so I’d expect him to do well, eventually, but it may take him a little bit of time to bed in.”

Ekoku, however, thinks adjusting to life in the Bavaria should prove no problem for Mane.

“If Mane can hit 18-20 goals in the league and 25-plus in all competitions over the last four or five years for Liverpool, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be hitting those figures in the Bundesliga,” the 55-year-old former Norwich City striker said.

“It’d be tough as it’ll take him a while to adjust. I think he should acclimatise pretty well.

“Mane is a competitor, he’s a real warrior. I’ve got no doubts about him.”

The 2021-22 campaign was a successful one for Mane, who won the Nations Cup with Senegal before helping Liverpool win the League Cup and FA Cup and finish runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

He will replace Robert Lewandowski at Bayern, with the Poland international sealing a transfer to Spanish giants Barcelona.

But Zakuani believes the reigning African men’s Player of the Year is a completely different player from the 33-year-old Pole, who scored 344 times in 374 games for the Allianz Arena outfit.

“I don’t think it’s comparable with Mane playing more from wide, but his goalscoring record was good lately for Liverpool.

“Going into the Bundesliga, they will probably expect him to chip in with the bulk of the goals because of the fee, because a lot of German clubs don’t tend to pay that sort of money.”

Ekoku, the first player to score more than three goals in a Premier League game and also the first African to score a hat-trick in the division, agrees.

“I don’t think it’s a straight swap. I don’t think there are many players like Lewandowski in world football,” he said.

“But I think (Bayern coach) Julian Nagelsmann is looking for a different type of Bayern attack anyway. We all saw what he did at RB Leipzig. And so it’s probably building smaller mobile forwards and having players like Mane, and [Serge] Gnabry and [Leroy] Sane, who will be interchangeable.

“I think that’s the way that Bayern will play moving forward. If you want to get a younger version of Lewandowski right now, nobody can say who exactly who that is.

“They’re looking to the future and Mane is a few years younger than Lewandowski so there’ll be a slightly more fluid Bayern attack – and Mane, style-wise, fits perfectly.”

Source: Modern Ghana

Gernot Rohr: Former Nigeria coach wants his outstanding debt settled

Gernot Rohr wants the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to settle its outstanding debt to him, but his former employers insist he will not have to wait long to be paid.

The 69-year-old was sacked as Super Eagles coach in December before the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations kicked off in January, prompting Rohr to go to football’s world governing body Fifa to seek compensation for unfair dismissal.

A Fifa tribunal ordered the NFF to pay the Franco-German about $380,000 in May, adding that the NFF would be sanctioned if Rohr was not paid in full within 45 days.

“I received part of the payments from Fifa but not everything has been paid,” Rohr told BBC Sport Africa.

“The ruling already said the interest must be paid, now we are waiting for the outstanding with the interest.”

The financially-stricken NFF attributed the delay in payment to their precarious financial situation, hence the body decided to utilise a percentage of its Fifa development funding to clear Rohr’s debt.

A top NFF official said the latest remarks from Nigeria’s longest-serving manager are understandable – but stressed Rohr will be paid his outstanding $127,800.

“We agreed to this mode of payment (Fifa development fund) with Fifa to enable us clear the debt,” the official, who preferred to remain anonymous, told BBC Sport Africa.

“The NFF received a letter through his lawyer that he wants to be paid the outstanding and additional interest, which is understandable.

“Rohr refused to tell the media that he was paid over $250,000 and that the outstanding is actually $127,800, but this is normal. We are very optimistic that he will be paid soon and this case will be closed.”

However, Rohr, who somewhat brought stability to Nigeria’s often volatile national side in over five years in charge, said Fifa’s ruling to add on interest in his compensation package must be respected.

“Yes [it is the amount quoted] but it’s a little more than the sum now. There are also interests that have to be paid,” he said.

“We are talking about it in dollars amount, which has increased and this is what Fifa said in the ruling.”

Rohr was was highly praised for rebuilding Nigeria between 2016 and 2018, but nervy and lacklustre performances in more recent years and his conservative approach were heavily criticised by the local media and fans.

Despite leading the Super Eagles to both Africa’s 2022 World Cup play-offs and qualification for this year’s Nations Cup finals, he came under fire for poor results against lower-ranked opponents during qualifying for Qatar.

Rohr, who guided Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup and to third place at the 2019 Nations Cup in Egypt, was subsequently replaced by Augustine Eguavoen.

His successor led the team to the last 16 in Cameroon this year, and was then tasked with reaching the World Cup finals in Qatar.

But Nigeria were eliminated on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw with Ghana in Abuja in the second leg of their play-off in late March.

Eguavoen stepped down from the job as coach, while the rest of his coaching staff were dismissed.

Fifa’s order to pay Rohr compensation comes after the NFF were fined $154,000 for crowd trouble following their draw against the Black Stars.

Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro has since taken over as Nigeria coach, and has made a perfect start in qualifying as the West Africans seek a spot at the 2023 Nations Cup in Ivory Coast.

Source: Modern Ghana

We believe in support for local game and sports development, says new betPawa shareholder Mr. Eazi

Renowned afro-pop musician and shareholder for betPawa Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade also known as Mr. Eazi says the company’s love for the local game and sports development was key to the decision to sponsor the Ghana Premier League.

betPawa was unveiled on Wednesday as the headline sponsor of the Ghana Premier League for an initial period of three years’ worth $6M.

‘’The company’s high profile appetite for growing and harnessing talents, creating opportunities and rewarding fans across its markets are a few of the many reasons for [partnering with the GFA’’ he said at the press conference in Accra.

‘’At betPawa, we believe in support for the local game and sports development. It is in that spirit and I being a Kotoko fan, we decided to come on board.

‘’We are looking forward to a prosperous mutual benefit partnership’’ he added.

betPawa operate online Sports betting designed to help users to bet on games with 24-hours customer support. The Estonia based company also operates in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria.

Source: Modern Ghana

We are not fools – Alhaji Grusah slams Hearts & Kotoko over share of new GPL sponsorship money

Owner and bankroller of King Faisal, Alhaji Grusah has cautioned the Ghana Football Association [GFA] not to award Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak a bigger share of the new sponsorship money for the Ghana Premier League.

The country’s football governing body on Wednesday announced betPawa as the new headline sponsor for the Premier League for the next three years worth $ 6 million.

However, Kotoko and Hearts have reportedly demanded that the (GFA give them a larger share of the League’s sponsorship deals.

According to Grusah, the 16 remaining clubs are not ‘fools’ to sit back and allow the FA to grant Kotoko and Heats their wish.

The vociferous football administrator tagged Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak as ‘greedy’.

“If you are big, you are big in your house. What’s their budget? Do they know my budget? Poor man eats, rich man eats, nobody feeds anyone. If we the rest of the clubs will sit and act like fools for these people…Who are they? Do Kotoko and Hearts finanace King Faisal? Selfish people. I’m going to tell the clubs that no one should agree. We should boycott the league for them to play. Do they know money than us? Come on.”

“FA cannot share the money to satisfy them, and for what reason? Who are they? Do they even know (how) administration(works)? Are they premier division or super premier division? (then) Hearts and Kotoko should play their league for us to also play ours. Do they know more money than us?” he added.

The two giants argue that they have the biggest fanbase and therefore deserve a bigger share of deals. But for Grusah, their argument is baseless.

“What numbers? If my team is playing, a Kotoko fan can choose to watch or not. Do they know how I manage my team? Hearts, 1911, is it not just last year that they got themselves training pitch? Me alone, I’m constructing a training pitch for King Faisal. I’m going to find out if they have sent such a letter, they will see. They can’t suggest such nonsense. Do they fund us?” Grusah vehemently disagreed.

Source: Modern Ghana