â€œThere is serious trouble ahead because Nigeria have experience, they know how to counter-attack and they know how to score,â€ stressed the Argentine football legend who watched his country squandered the lead to share points with Iceland last Saturday.Maradona went on to blast Sampaoli for his poor tactics against Iceland.â€œHis (Sampaoli) game-plan was a disgrace. Even though the Iceland players average 1.90m in height, we played all our corners into the air. We had no short game,â€ Maradona recalled.Last year, Argentina threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to Nigeria in an international friendly in Russia. The perennial group stage customers are to clash in their last Group D game on June 26 here in Saint Petersburg.Argentina took the lead through Sergio Aguero in the 19th minute Saturday as a cigar-puffing Maradona looked on from the stands of the Spartak Stadium.But minnows Iceland, playing at their first ever finals, leveled four minutes later through Alfred Finnbogason.Messi, whose performances in World Cups are arguably the only blot on an other-worldly career, spurned a chance to take the lead when his 63rd-minute spot kick was saved by Hannes Halldorsson.But Maradona avoided criticising his heir apparent and instead pointed the finger at Sampaoli.â€œI donâ€™t blame the players. I could blame the lack of work rate. But I canâ€™t blame the players, much less Messi, who gave it all he had,â€ he said.â€œI missed five penalties on the spin and I was still Diego Armando Maradona. I donâ€™t think that they dropped two points because Messi missed a penalty,â€ added Maradona, who led Argentina to the quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010 as coach.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Argentina Legend Diego Maradona has warned his countryâ€™s Coach, Jorge Sampaoli, not to return home from the World Cup in Russia if the Albeceleste loses to Nigeria and fails to qualify from Group D to the knock out stage.Maradona who played against Super Eagles at Nigeriaâ€™s debut at the Mundial in 1994 in USA told Argentine Television Telesur’s ‘De la mano del Diez’ show that the way his country played in the opening game of Group D against Iceland leaves much to be desired.â€œIf he carries on like this, Sampaoli canâ€™t come back to Argentina.
The family of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf seems determined to secure a hold on the nation’s emerging oil and gas sector.NOCAL, the Cabinet and the National Legislature ended a week-long Round-table Consultation on the Draft Petroleum Law of 2013, a proposed legislation intended to safeguard the emerging economic powerhouse. The President’s Family was represented in three generations: Mrs. Jenny Bernard, the President’s elder sister, their brother, Mr. Carney Johnson, a mining executive; Mrs. Bernard’s son, Estrada Bernard, Jr. and wife; as well as their son, Estrada, III.A staff of NOCAL, who begged anonymity, told this paper that the First Family was instrumental in selecting one of its members—Estrada Bernard, III—to make a presentation at the program, which was held at the Monrovia City Hall over the weekend. The first family came together to grace the roundtable discussion and cheer their young relative on as he made his presentation.Estrada Bernard, III is the grandson of Jenny Bernard, the elder sister of President Sirleaf. Madam Bernard or ‘Aunt Jenny’, as she is affectionately called by many, is regarded as an “influential personality,” in the Unity Party-led government.Flown in from Alaska, 17-year-old Bernard, III, admitted that although he is not a Liberian, he was asked by the organizer to make a presentation on oil and gas.Young Bernard attempted to compare Liberia’s situation with the U.S. state of Alaska, but fell short of telling the audience how the oil and gas sector would be properly managed in order to benefit the Liberian masses.His presentation focused on comparing Alaska and Liberia in terms of natural resources and population. He failed to show, however, how Liberians can actively participate in the oil and gas sector in order to avoid the bad experiences of other nations, especially African nations with oil deposits.When asked about the significance of inviting a teenager of the first family to make a presentation on a critical sector in which he (Bernard) has no experience, Jacqueline Khoury, Director of the NOCAL Board responded; “We didn’t want to grab a kid in Liberia and have to school him on making a presentation.”She noted that the President’s grandnephew has made over 200 presentations across the U.S, but failed to indicate whether those presentations were in any way connected to oil and gas, and their implications for Africa.Responding to inquiries about who picks up the tab for Bernard’s travel and stay in Liberia, Khoury claimed “The Alaskan State government is responsible for him and for other experts invited to the forum.” No supporting documents were provided, even though a request was made for them.Despite reluctantly accepting the resignation of her son Robert Sirleaf, as Board Chairman of NOCAL, President Sirleaf and family appear to signal by this action that the first family “has a firm grip on the oil and gas sector,” a participant at the Roundtable, who declined to be named told the Daily Observer.“When Mr. Sirleaf left government,” our source explained, “he was reintroduced to government a short period afterward when he was appointed Ambassador to the Gulf State of Kuwait. His appointment brings a US$14 million loan agreement between Kuwait and Liberia, thereby increasing Liberia’s debts.”In late February, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf transmitted a US$14 million loan agreement to the National Legislature for ratification.The loan agreement, she said, is intended to facilitate the rehabilitation of the Greenville Port project under the watch of the National Port Authority (NPA).NPA Managing Director Matilda Parker confirmed to a SKY FM phone-in talk show last week that the loan, provided by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, is intended to help boost the physical infrastructure of the seaport of Greenville. The loan agreement was consummated between the government of Liberia and the Kuwaiti Fund last year, but requires legislative ratification before implementation in line with the Liberian Constitution.In spite of the US$4.6 billion debt canceled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the last Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) 2011/2012 report announced that the country’s debt now stands at over half a billion dollars.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)