By Adedapo Adesanya
Following a setback suffered from the failure to acquire English top-flight side, Newcastle United, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly moved its sight to Italian giants, Inter Milan FC.
Italian media are reporting that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – among the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world with total estimated assets of at least $500 billion is moving its focus on a takeover of the struggling Italian champions.
Saudi Arabia has been making attempts to secure the European football market and is said to be looking to complete a flagship deal with the purchase of the Nerazzurri so it can compete with its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Qatar have been in the footballing business for over a decade through their purchase of Manchester City and PSG respectively.
Under Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a similar economic development strategy which includes multi-billion-dollar investments in sports.
Inter Milan’s current owners, the China-based Suning group, are looking to sell at least half of their shares in the club as it faces financial difficulties since completing their own purchase of a controlling interest in the club from an Indonesian businessman, Mr Erick Thohir five years ago.
Inter is reportedly losing around $14 million a month, and even though they raised around $152 million in transfer fees in the summer, primarily through the sale of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and Moroccan Achraf Hakimi, the Chinese firm is looking to significantly reduce its shareholding.
Meanwhile, after the failed Saudi bid, owner of Newcastle United Mike Ashley filed an anti-competition claim against the Premier League due to its failure to make a timely decision on the approval of the proposed $447 million takeover last year.
Qatar 2022: FIFA to Use Semi-Automated Offside Technology
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has announced that semi-automated offside technology will be used at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
The new technology will offer a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions on the biggest stage of all.
Following the successful use of VAR technology at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA President, Mr Gianni Infantino, declared in The Vision 2020-23 that FIFA would strive to harness the full potential of technology in football and further enhance VAR.
By working with Adidas and various partners, and especially with the Working Group for Innovation Excellence and technology providers, FIFA has spent the last few years further improving the VAR system, including the use of semi-automated offside technology.
How Does It Work?
The new technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch. The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making offside calls.
Al Rihla, the official match ball for the tournament, will provide a further vital element for the detection of tight offside incidents as an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor will be placed inside the ball. This sensor, positioned in the centre of the ball, sends ball data to the video operation room 500 times per second, allowing a very precise detection of the kick point.
By combining the limb- and ball-tracking data and applying artificial intelligence, the new technology provides an automated offside alert to the video match officials inside the video operation room whenever the ball is received by an attacker who was in an offside position at the moment the ball was played by a teammate. Before informing the on-field referee, the video match officials validate the proposed decision by manually checking the automatically selected kick point and the automatically created offside line, which is based on the calculated positions of the players’ limbs. This process happens within a few seconds and means that offside decisions can be made faster and more accurately.
After the decision has been confirmed by the video match officials and the referee on the pitch, the exact same positional data points that were used to make the decision are then generated into a 3D animation that perfectly details the position of the players’ limbs at the moment the ball was played. This 3D animation, which will always show the best possible perspectives for an offside situation, will then be shown on the giant screens in the stadium and will also be made available to FIFA’s broadcast partners to inform all spectators in the clearest possible way.
The workflow of semi-automated offside technology and the connected ball technology have been successfully trialled at numerous test events and live at FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and the FIFA Club World Cup 2021.
During these matches, the new technology was able to support the video match officials by helping them to make more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions in a shorter period of time.
The data collected during online and offline tests has been analysed and validated by the MIT Sports Lab, with TRACK at Victoria University scientifically validating the limb-tracking technology. Further insights into the technological capabilities of such multi-camera tracking systems are being provided by a research team at ETH Zurich.
More tests will be conducted in the coming months to fine-tune the system before a global standard is implemented to ensure that the new technology can be used in the world of football.
Speaking on the development, Mr Johannes Holzmüller, FIFA’s Director of Football Technology & Innovation said — “We will have the semi-automated offside set-up with 12 cameras and the official match ball with connected ball technology in all stadiums at the FIFA World Cup 2022. The new technology will provide video match officials with real-time offside alerts using artificial intelligence.
“As the video match officials will be quality-controlling these outputs, we still refer to the system as ‘semi-automated offside’ as the video match officials have to validate the proposed decision and then inform the on-field referee.
“By using the exact same data to create a 3D animation for in-stadium fans and TV viewers, fans will receive a quick and accurate visualisation of the offside situation. This process was developed with input from FIFA’s Fan Experience Panel.”
FIFA added that all details on the semi-automated offside technology set-up and the connected ball technology will be presented to the teams that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Team Workshop in Doha, Qatar on July 4-5 and then shared with the public.
The FIFA World Cup will hold in Qatar from November 21.
Highest Paid Nigerian Footballer – How Much Do Nigerian Footballers Earn
Highest-Paid footballer from Nigeria
The phrase “Naija no dey carry last” has been evident in football recently as there has been an influx of Nigerian footballers playing abroad. Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria with millions of fans supporting their clubs abroad. Nigeria has always been a home of incredible football talents and with more amazing young footballers showing in recent years, the weekly wages of Nigerian footballers has been on a rise.
The huge wages being paid to Nigerian footballers isn’t a surprise as the impact of the players is evident in those teams. Aside from the high wages they earn, Naija footballers are being traded for a huge amount of money. In the summer of 2020, Victor Oshimen became the most expensive African footballer of all time as he joined Napoli from Lille for about $80 million-plus add-on. Hardly any top European league without a Nigerian footballer performing at a high level and earning huge wages. A good sign for the Super Eagles as the national squad is now full of top talents.
We have decided to go on an adventure to reveal the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria, who are also featured in the best football predictions bettors will find on Takebet Nigeria. We have searched all leagues where Nigerian players compete, from European leagues such as English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga to other top leagues.
Let’s dig into the list of the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria.
Odion Ighalo – Striker, Al-Hilal – $170,000 (last know)
Odion Ighalo is one of the most popular Nigerian players. The striker became the first Nigerian international to play for Manchester United after he joined the club on loan from the Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020. Odion Ighalo scored five goals in 23 appearances before returning to Shanghai Shenhua at the end of his loan.
The Nigerian international joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab from the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in 2021. Ighalo scored 10 league goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua. Odion made his debut in 2005 and moved to Europe in 2008 where he joined Udinese. The Nigerian international joined Watford during the 2014-15 and scored 36 league goals in 90 appearances for the club.
Odion Ighalo represented the Super Eagles during the 2018 World Cup. The Nigerian international holds the record for the most goals scored during a single Africa Cup of Nations with seven goals in 2019.
Ighalo earned $170,000 per week in Al Shabab. Odion Ighalo joins Al-Hilal, another Saudi football club, after the AFCON 2021. His salary in the new club is currently unknown, but the striker is sure to keep his #1 spot.
Victor Osimhen – Striker, Napoli – $110,000
Victor Osimhen is currently one of the best strikers in Europe. The Nigerian international has been amazing for Napoli this season after a slow start to life in the Italian Club. Victor Osimhen became the most expensive Africa striker in history after he joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80 million in the winter transfer of 2020.
The Napoli striker has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for the Italian side. Osimhen had an incredible rise to glory as he wasn’t able to join either Zulte Waregem or Club Brugge in his early days due to Malaria. Victor was in Nigeria’s under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Boot in the tournament with 10 goals. He also won the Silver Ball award during the tournament.
Osimhen missed out on the 2018 World Cup squad. He made his debut for the national team in 2017. The Nigerian international made the squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and has been brilliant since then. He has scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for the national team.
Victor currently plays in Napoli and he earns $110,000 per week.
Wilfred Ndidi – Midfielder, Leicester City – $100,000
Wilfred Ndidi is currently one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. The Nigerian international has been incredible since he joined Leicester City from Genk in the winter transfer of 2017 for $20m. Ndidi has scored 10 goals in 196 appearances since he joined the club.
The Nigerian international won the most tackles in the Premier League (138) during the 2017-18 season. He also won the most tackles in the league in the following season of 2018-19. Wilfred Ndidi was an important player of the squad that won the 2020-21 FA Cup as they defeated Chelsea by a goal to nil.
Ndidi represented Nigeria during the 2016 Summer Olympics. He made the squad for the 2018 World Cup as they were knocked out in the group stage. Ndidi also represented the Super Eagles in the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. He has 47 caps for the Nigerian national team.
Wilfred Ndidi currently plays for Leicester City and earns $100,000 per week.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Striker, Leicester City – $80,000
Seniorman Kelz as he is widely regarded came into the limelight after an impressive outing during the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Ball award as the Super Eagles won the tournament. Iheanacho scored six goals during the competition as he won the Silver Boot.
Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City in 2015. Iheanacho scored 21 goals in 64 appearances for Manchester City as he won the English Football League Cup. The Nigerian international joined Leicester City for a fee of about $30 million in the summer of 2017. Iheanacho was brilliant during the 2020-21 season as he scored 12 goals in the Premier League, overperforming his expected goals of 8.20.
Iheanacho represented Nigeria during the 2018 World Cup. The Leicester City striker also represented the Super Eagles during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Iheanacho has scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for the national team.
Kelechi Iheanacho currently plays for Leicester City and earns $80,000.
Alex Iwobi – Midfielder, Everton – $68,000
Alex Iwobi started his club career with Arsenal as he joined the youth team in 2004. The Nigerian international made his senior debut in 2015 for Arsenal against Sheffield Wednesday.
Iwobi scored 15 goals in 149 appearances for Arsenal as he spent four seasons with the senior team. The Nigerian international joined Everton from Arsenal for a fee of about $45 million in the summer of 2019. Iwobi won the FA Cup and two Community Shields with the Gunners. The Nigerian international has scored six goals in 80 appearances for Everton.
Alex made his international debut for Nigeria in 2015 although he started as a youth international for England. The Everton player has scored nine goals in 53 appearances for the Super Eagles. Iwobi scored the winning goal against Zambia to secure a spot for the Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup. He was featured in the 2018 World Cup as Nigeria was knocked out in the group stage.
Iwobi played for the Super Eagles in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international was sent off in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as the Super Eagles suffered a 0-1 defeat to Tunisia.
Alex Iwobi currently plays for Everton and earns $68,000.
Victor Moses – Midfielder, Spartak Moscow – $56,000
Victor Moses was a popular player amongst Nigerian fans after he played a huge role in Chelsea’s Premier League triumph during the 2016-17 season. The Nigerian international started his club career in Crystal Palace before joining Wigan in 2010. Chelsea signed Moses in the summer of 2022 from Wigan. Moses went on loan to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United before returning for the 2016-17 season.
The Nigerian international was converted to a right wing-back under Antonio Conte as Chelsea won the league. Moses was later loaned out to different teams such as Fenerbache, Inter Millan and Spartak Moscow. The latter club signed the player on a permanent basis in July 2021. Victor Moses scored 18 goals in 128 appearances while playing for Chelsea. He won the Premier League, FA Cup and two UEFA Europa League titles with the Blues.
Victor Moses scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for the Nigeria national team. The Spartak Moscow player was an important player in Nigeria’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph. Moses featured for the Super Eagles in the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup where he scored a goal in the 1-2 defeat to Argentina.
Victor Moses currently plays for Spartak Moscow and earns $56,000.
Moses Simon – Winger, Nantes – $40,000
Moses Simon was Nigeria’s best player during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international started his senior club career with AS Trencin in 2014 where he scored 17 goals in 39 appearances before joining Gent in 2015. Moses scored 21 goals in 136 appearances with Gent as he spent four seasons at the club before joining Levante. The Nigerian international won the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup while in Gent.
Moses joined Levante on loan for the 2019-20 season with an option to buy. The deal was made permanent the following season as he signed a four-year deal. Moses has scored 17 goals in 85 appearances for Nantes.
Simon made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2015 against Uganda. He has scored six goals in 45 appearances for the national team. Simon represented Nigeria during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Highest paid Nigerian footballer FAQ
Who is the highest-paid footballer in Nigeria?
Odion Ighalo is the highest-paid Nigerian footballer. Ighalo joined Al Shabab from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020 where he was being paid $402,000. The Nigerian international was the first player to play for Manchester United after he took a pay cut and received $200,000 to join the club on loan.
The Nigerian international was paid $170,000 in Al Shabab, and he is thought to stay in the same salary range in his new Saudi club, Al-Hilal, which he joins after the AFCON 2021.
Who is the richest Nigerian football player overall?
John Obi Mikel is the richest Nigerian footballer with a net worth of about $57 million. The Nigerian international is one of the greatest footballers in the country’s history. Mike Obi made his fortunes while playing for Chelsea in the Premier League. He spent 11 seasons at Chelsea where he scored six goals in 372 appearances for the club. Mikel won two Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League, three FA Cup, one English Football League Cup and one FA Community Shield during his time at Chelsea.
Mikel Obi is currently a free agent after his contract with Kuwait SC was terminated just four months after joining the club.
Who is the most expensive footballer from Nigeria?
Victor Osimhen is the most expensive Nigerian footballer. Osimhen joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80m in 2020 after scoring 18 goals in 38 appearances for the French club. The Nigerian international has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for Napoli. Osimhen is being paid $110,000 per week in Napoli.
CAF Mulls Postponing AFCON 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire
By Adedapo Adesanya
The 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to hold in Cote d’Ivoire may be postponed due to climate conditions.
A report from a French newspaper, Le Monde, claims the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is considering postponing the next edition of the continent’s flagship football championship.
The 17th edition of the continental championship, AFCON 2023, is scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, in the West African nation.
Less than a year before kickoff, major cities in Ivory Coast are experiencing heavy rains with floods and CAF is beginning to admit that scheduling the competition in the middle of the rainy season may not necessarily be a bright idea.
“We are considering it; it is one of the possibilities,” admits CAF Secretary-General, Mr Veron Mosengo-Omba, interviewed by Le Monde.
“We asked Ivorian meteorologists to report to us on rainfall history in Côte d’Ivoire in June and July, but also to share their projections with us.”
With the 2022 World Cup billed for November 21 to December 18, 2022, it is impossible to push back the AFCON to January-February 2023 due to representatives set to represent the continent in Qatar.
There will be considerations for players who will not be able to participate in two major tournaments in the space of a few weeks.
The most likely alternative appears to be to postpone the AFCON to January-February 2024.
Climate disruptions appear to be the next worry for the African continent after the coronavirus pandemic halted the last tournament in Cameroon, which was later played earlier this year.
The subject is expected to be on the menu of the 44th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF scheduled for August 10 in Arusha, Tanzania.
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