first_img The Super Eagles could do more by turning set pieces into victory songs, writes Ikechukwu James“So, your prediction about the Super Eagles came to pass!”“I gave no prediction about the Eagles. I only made an objective and empirical analysis and came to the logical conclusion.” “They did crash out at the very First Round as you said. But most of the analysts thought Nigeria would do well in Russia, at least Second Round or Quarter Final. Some even didn’t rule out a Semi-Final or appearance at the Final!”“What should we do now to those analysts? They did give Nigerians a false hope?”“We should lock them up.  After all a particular country in Europe attempted to jail its scientists for poor analysis of a potential earthquake.”“It’s clear they’ve burnt their fingers again. Unfortunately, if they don’t learn from this, they will lead the nation astray the next time.”“The good thing is that no one can blame the President for the poor results at Russia 2018.”“Indeed, under the present administration, they got unprecedented support. ‘Unprecedented’, in its true meaning, not the hackneyed use by politicians.”“No problem of match bonus, squabble over allowances or even players quarrelling with one another, as often the case in the past.”“The winning bonus was even increased from 10,000 Pounds to 15,000 Pounds at a time!”“The government did more than enough and the administration deserves all plaudits for that. But those players cannot give what they don’t have, as you pointed out before they departed the shores of this country to Russia”“Yes, most of these players don’t get a good deal when they move to European clubs. Hence they have no good opportunity to develop their soccer talent and play in the top teams in Europe. Sitting on the bench or being on loan from time to time isn’t the best for our players.”“That’s true. I often wonder the role of the Nigeria Football Federation on this. The president can’t leave the most important affairs of government to come help you manage these boys.”“Have you asked why they don’t play in Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus, Napoli, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and so on? I think most of these players are average, and we need to accept that reality. Of course, they can improve with time.”“Yes, it’s not enough to say you play in the English Premier League, do you play for the top teams?”“But my major gripe with the Super Eagles’ managers and NFF over the years has to do with how the players waste set pieces – free kicks, corners, etc. It is most disturbing.” “Yes, I know you worry a lot over this for many lamentable years. You did write about this after the Nations Cup, tagged Ghana 2008. Unfortunately, the players continue to squander set pieces while other countries maximise theirs to coast home to victory.”“Of course, I remember my points then. ‘Although the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are hated world over for their rough tackles, we must not close our eyes on the sense of urgency with wish they played at that Ghana 2008. Every set piece was like a penalty – and that thrilled my heart.’ Just how many corners and free-kicks do Super Eagles usually fling away! What actually do you learn in training if you play 20 corner kicks and 20 free-kicks without threatening a goalkeeper with any? ”“It was the same situation in Russia 2018. The Super Eagles wasted all the corner kicks and free-kicks while other countries benefited from such. Not even one single corner kick moved close to threatening a goal-keeper or caused the spectators to rise in panic or joy of a near goal. It was not good at all. The coach and NFF ought to worry gravely about this. What exactly do you do in training? In the match against Iceland, the Eagles had no single shot on goal for the first 45 minutes. That was shocking to anyone!” “Yes, I watched Germany 2006. Watched Italy, Argentina and others. Set pieces were regarded almost as penalty kicks. So I began to wonder why over the years, Nigeria had not mastered the art of scoring through set pieces. So many goals were scored by great and serious teams through set pieces. We either balloon our free-kicks to the skies or in the hands of the goalkeeper.  Perhaps one out of 200 may threaten a goalie and hit the back of the net! No, it’s damn shameful how the Eagles waste set pieces. How I wish we could learn to do it like Brazil, Italy, Argentina. But we need not go that far; even our own neighbour here, Cameroon, had mastered the art of turning set pieces into victory songs. Did we see how Ghana edged out Morocco and steamrollered their ambition of proceeding further in the competition through set pieces in Ghana 2008 Nations Cup? Look at that free-kick that Michael Essien converted into a TV goal! That, like the commentator remarked, only happens in training. That is the product of training. But when you claimed you had a wonderful training but on the big occasion, you throw away free-kicks and corners, what should we make of that? And I have to calm my anger at this stage.”“Really, it’s unfortunate Nigeria couldn’t go far at the ongoing World Cup. Some small businesses will surely be affected, especially the Match Viewing Centres. You know enthusiasm will wane once Eagles are no longer in the competition.”“I did enjoy some of the meals served at one of the Viewing Centres, especially the Ofada Rice.”“I used to like the rice. But I had to give it up because of the stress my wife used to go through in picking out the stones before cooking.”“I didn’t see a single grain of stone in the one I ate at that Viewing Centre and I was told it was the Ofada Rice produced by the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture. As a matter of fact, I went to buy a bag after that restaurant experience. The name is MITROS Ofada Rice and you can buy a bag as low as N2,500. So nutritious and not a single grain of stone can be found in it.”“I guess that was the one launched last December by the Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun. The man is really trying.”“I think so. A lot of people like Ofada. Buhari is really determined with this rice matter. But let’s hope the Eagles, the coach and NFF will absorb the lessons of Russia 2018 and perform better at the next tournament! They need to do something better with set pieces. We need to be scientific with the way we play soccer. Football has become a science.”James, a sport enthusiast and social commentator, wrote from LagosShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more


first_img Alternative betting markets: short-term filler or long-term fixture? May 12, 2020 Share Submit Amelco continues international expansion with Colorado licence July 2, 2020 Related Articles Amelco solidifies US presence with Continent 8 deal August 26, 2020 Share StumbleUpon Some of the leading suppliers to the sports betting industry offered their insights into the future for sportsbook personalisation based on automated customer segmentation, advanced behavioural analysis and predictive AI-driven models. The fourth round table participant was Amelco, represented by Trading Director Sam Foulkes.SBC: What role does pricing and risk have to play in the differentiation of a sportsbook offering? SF: For operators, the actual prices of selections are of diminishing importance. At the moment, we’re seeing sportsbooks offer largely similar prices – as recreational bettors are often not price sensitive – and focus on attraction via a high-quality proposition. Pricing more markets is also becoming a common strategy for differentiation; this demand has been the driver for Amelco’s delivery of new products such as Quantum Outrights. As a result, operator focus is shifting towards service-level quality – with the focus now on which markets are published and when they are published taking precedence over pricing. Personalisation at this level means it is essential to keep things simple for the customer so that when they navigate towards your sportsbook, they are quickly presented with the markets that they are most interested in. From a risk perspective, operators demand an easy life, so being vastly different on price is undesirable. Depending on territory and channel, Amelco aims to offer an optimised price; we try to be as competitive as possible for customers, while at the same time, keeping tight control on risk for our operators. We utilise third party price feeds to monitor the global market, giving our models knowledge of price competitiveness ahead of updating our own odds.SBC: How can operators build on their customer analytics to both enhance player experience and drive higher margins? SF: At Amelco, we leverage machine learning technology to segment players. When you consider the size of some of our customer databases, which is usually in excess of a million, having entirely automated segmentation is the only effective option. The way this works is relatively simple. Throughout a customers’ life-cycle, they will display several behaviours which we use to predict their lifetime value. This information allows us to then deliver targeted promotions to that customer depending on which point they are in within that cycle. Trends within player demographics and their bet history are used to push content which we predict they are most likely to be interested in – and removing content that is unlikely to be of relevance. This mechanic is replicated at scale to deliver a sophisticated segmentation engine. Output segments can be pushed to areas of the operator’s choice, including new and higher margin products, flagging responsible gaming protocols and VIP segmenting. SBC: How can AI and analytics be used to personalise and tailor the sports betting experience?SF: Our segmentation engine enables advanced personalised content. Once we have built a profile of players’ interests, we are then able to deliver the most relevant content and promotions that would be of interest – and in turn, improve their experience.  The nature of machine learning means that over time, as more data is captured, the more accurate our output analysis will become as the model will find patterns within player behaviour that would ordinarily not be picked up in a manually driven segmentation solution. SBC: A lot has been said recently about gamification, what can it do for sportsbook?SF: Gamification is, by far, the most powerful retention tool available to sportsbook. It has enormous potential, but its success will depend on how effectively it is combined with segmentation and strategised towards retention.When it’s aligned with an advanced segmentation engine, gamified products can be used to steer customers to desired site content at key times. This strategy is currently being adopted industry wide, by driving mass engagement via free-to-play opportunities. Another area of growth we’re seeing is by incentivising customer navigation into desired products via achievement-based rewards.last_img read more


first_imgSAN ANTONIO — Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday was fined $25,000 for what the NBA termed his “public criticism of officiating” after the San Antonio Spurs’ 111-107 Game 5 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center.Rivers referred to several plays, including an offensive goaltending call against Matt Barnes in the second quarter, a traveling violation on Blake Griffin in the third quarter and J.J. Redick’s sixth foul – on Tony Parker – with 48.5 seconds to play and the Clippers down 107-105.“I don’t complain much, but I thought we got some really tough calls tonight, some brutal calls,” Rivers said postgame.He was asked his thoughts about the fine Wednesday at the team hotel. Like vintage Doc, he made a joke about it. “It was a good call,” he said. “It was, it was a great call.”He said he didn’t go into his rant knowing this would happen.“No, no, I don’t plan … sometimes I’m smart enough to plan things, sometimes I’m not,” said Rivers, whose team is down 3-2 to the Spurs in their Western Conference best-of-seven series; Game 6 is Thursday night at 6:30 at AT&T Center. “I just felt like it needed to be said. So, I’ll take it.”The 50-50 gameRivers on Wednesday reiterated what he said after the Game 5 loss, that although he was upset at some of the calls that went against his team, there were other things that contributed to the loss. “The Spurs made plays,” he said. “We had 10 uncontested 3s we didn’t make (them). But I just thought the game came down to the 50-50 game. You look at all these other things that everyone looks at, this unit, this group, this player, the 50-50 game was the difference in that game.“They made all the necessary plays, to me, to win the game. Every loose ball, they got. And they got turnovers down the stretch, so you have to give them credit. It was their defense.”Rivers was a bit more harsh about the 50-50 thing in the postgame news conference.“I think going into this series, we’re the team with the speed,” he said. “A loose ball is a fumble and the team with the speed should get it.”The Clippers were 1 of 14 from 3-point range.Jordan’s ‘dumb play’Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was real tough on himself following Tuesday’s loss. It was his offensive goaltending violation of a missed shot by Blake Griffin with 4.9 seconds to play that helped the Spurs emerge victorious.Watching the replay, it’s really tough to decipher whether the shot would have fallen without Jordan touching it.“I was under the basket, so I couldn’t really tell,” Jordan said. “I was trying to make a play on the ball, but it ended up being a dumb play.”Jordan tipped the ball in, but the basket did not count. The Clippers were down 108-107 at the time.Hats off to DuncanGriffin scored a game-high 30 points in Game 5, but he made just 1 of 9 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter, partly because of the defense of Tim Duncan. Duncan, who turned 39 Saturday, remains a marvel.“Yeah, he was good,” Rivers said. “Not only offensively, I thought he was good defensively.”Rivers spoke of the block Duncan had of an, 8-foot shot attempt by Griffin with 59.9 seconds to play and the Spurs up 107-105. Duncan’s teammate, point guard Tony Parker, raved about it.“That play was huge for us,” Parker said. “Huge block, huge play.”More checking outThe Clippers had a 27-13 lead late in the first quarter Tuesday and looked good. Just like that, the Spurs went on a 15-0 run. Mentally checking out has been an issue all season. But Rivers didn’t see it that way.“There are runs in games,” he said. “When we were up 14, I was hoping we would stay up that much. It’s the NBA. I don’t put a lot of stock into that.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more