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Brian Sanders

Italia Weekly Podcast

 Posted by on February 19, 2013 at 12:39 am  Blogs/Media, Italy, Podcast, Serie A
Feb 192013

Flying solo Brian Sanders soldiers on to bring the latest in the Serie A and the journeys of Italian teams in the Champions League and Europa League.

click here to listen

African Cup of Nations Preview

 Posted by on February 10, 2013 at 11:52 am  European Champions League
Feb 102013

In this world of football usually you don’t find yourself with a chance to have a totally new country win their continental competition.

Not with the African Cup of Nations.

For the second consecutive tournament the final has the possibility of a new country claiming the title of champion of Africa with Burkina Faso seeking their first Cup of Nations title.

The opposition is the much more stable version of Nigeria, winners of two cups.  Nigeria missed out on the last tournament but with this tournament winner having the opportunity to represent all Africa in the Confederations Cup this summer in Brazil.

Nigeria is led by former Super Eagle Stephen Keshi who has ample experience with coaching national African sides. It has been his experience that has been the needed calming factor in not just qualifying but progress during this competition.

Before arriving to steer this ship Nigeria had missed out on the last tournament and had constant changes going on which can destroy any squad harmony that might be built up.

Should Nigeria succeed in winning lookout other nations because Africa is looming and is ready for combat…but aren’t we forgetting someone…

Surprise, its Burkina Faso.

If someone would’ve said that Faso would be a finalist you could’ve won quite a bit of money based on the odds before the tournament.

While still the underdogs here they have been able to churn out results that were able to put them through.

Sure these two met at the group stage to a 1-1 draw but nobody was sure as to what either teams could do as it was the opening game.

Now we have a confident Nigeria side that has been taking care of business versus a Burkina Faso that churns out results.

Its Africa’s time now.

Prediction: Nigeria uses what they learned in their group stage match-up and know what to expect. Not going to be easy but 2-1, perhaps needing extra time as Nigeria wins

Feb 062013

And then there were four.

The Cup of Nations continues to excite as the semifinals are here with some more twists to the plot.

Mali was able to outlast the hosts on penalties which sets up the chance to progress to the final for only the second time ever.  All things considered when you have the kind of turmoil at home it is sometimes difficult to put together a good run like this.  With captain Seydou Keita running the midfield they have once of the best in Africa to look to when the chips are down.

In a little bit of a surprise Ivory Coast, who looked so dominating in the group stage,was undone by a Sunday Mba goal that put Nigeria through to the semifinals. Can they progress to the final and win for the third time and first since the mid 80s? There is the talent here, it is only a matter of putting in the performance.

In a match-up that was the most interesting between Burkina Faso and Togo it was the lone extra-time goal by Jonathan Pitroipa that was the difference in putting The Stallions through to the semifinals for only the second time ever. There is the chance here if the play off Moumouni Dagano is quality but it will be asking a lot.

Ghana was more than happy with their situation of possible semifinals. After a nervous 2-0 win over Cape Verde they will be extremely tempted to look beyond to the final but that would spell disaster. There is quality at nearly every part of this squad and with as much on the line The Black Stars will be hard to beat.


Ghana v Burkina Faso: Ghana is in a great situation but Burkina Faso has been upsetting the apple cart all tournament. It will take extra-time to find the winner here, but talent will out. Ghana 2-1 a.e.t.

Nigeria v Mali: Nigeria was not anticipated by the betters to be here when they had Ivory Coast as quarterfinal opponents but here they are. Mali will now fancy it more against Nigeria. For Nigeria players, who missed out on the last tournament, they will be thinking that after beating the favorites they can win it all.  Nigeria on penalties 1-1 a.e.t.

Quarterfinals Set for 2013 ACON

 Posted by on February 2, 2013 at 8:50 am  Africa Cup of Nations 2013
Feb 022013

As usual the thrills and upsets have been found as the unexpected always does in the African Cup of Nations.

Alone from Group A the hosts South Africa, after all the turmoil that they have had in recent years, are looking like they have something together. Debutant Cape Verde took their chance with Angola and Morocco fumbling their chances and voila they are into the knockout stage in their first tournament, bravo.

Group B was more straight forward with continental power Ghana exerting strong dominance over the opposition. The battle for second place was really down to DR Congo failing to take advantage as they drew with all opponents they played. In the deciding game against Mali DR Congo needed to win or not progress but Mali held firm and find themselves in the quarterfinals.

The best thing about Group C was the fans of Ethiopia who, like the Irish in this past summer’s European Championships, were the very best of fans at the tournament so far.  While Nigeria was able to qualify it was the failure of champions Zambia to progress and it was Burkina Faso who were able to take advantage of the constant draws from the reigning champion.

Group D is more of the failure of the North Africans to take advantage of their opportunities and Togo finds themselves in the quarterfinals after the tragedy of the 2008 tournament. Ivory Coast breezed through and are looking like a champion should.


Mali v South Africa:  the hosts are showing that they are progressing as a side and with the home fans it is a real possibility that they can ride this thorough to the semifinals. Prediction: South Africa 1-0

Ivory Coast v Nigeria: this is the most classic match-ups of the four quarterfinals as it is between possibly two of the three most talented sides, on paper. Thing is Ivory Coast has the experience of progression in recent years and its the experience that will make the difference here. Prediction: Ivory Coast 1-0

Burkina Faso v Togo: If someone said that both would make the quarterfinals they would be laughed at constantly, and yet here they are. Possibly the most interesting quarterfinal and most difficult to predict. Team chemistry will count for more than talent here. Prediction: Burkina Faso 2-1

Cape Verde v Ghana: Cape Verde making it this far is a great accomplishment but Ghana is one too far. Ghana has been in good form and should win this easily and have an excellent opportunity to make the finals. Prediction: Ghana 3-1

Shirt Sponsor For Sporting Kansas City

 Posted by on January 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm  Sporting KC
Jan 172013

Sporting Kansas City and Ivy Funds, a local Kansas City company, have agreed to a 5 year deal worth $2.5 million a year for the first ever shirt sponsorship in the history of Kansas City.

Ivy Funds is an affiliate of Waddell & Reid and has been since 2003.  They are one of the fastest growing mutual fund families according to the Kansas City Business Journal. The parent company has been located in Kansas City since 1937.

Sporting was until announcement of the deal one of two Major League Soccer sides who had yet to have a shirt sponsorship, the other being the Colorado Rapids. Currently the San Jose Earthquakes, who have had a sponsorship in the past, do not have a deal currently.

While most of the shirt sponsorship deals in MLS are worth more per a year, LA Galaxy $4.4 million a year, Sporting President Robb Heineman had constantly said that they were looking for a deal that mutually benefited both parties and not one that was financially driven.