Gennaro Gattuso was renowned in his playing days for his combative style, grit and determination but, as a coach, he believes his Napoli side are showing other qualities — even if nobody has noticed.
“It takes time to get rid of a label, but that doesn’t matter,” the fiery former midfielder told a virtual press conference on the eve of the Champions League round of 16 second leg at Barcelona.
“You just have to be able to read the data and the numbers. Maybe in Italy, we don’t know how to do this and people want highlight my name,” he said, referring to his nickname Rino which means growl.
“But the numbers say otherwise.”
“If the tactical organisation is mistaken for defensiveness, it’s not my problem,” he added.
“I did important things as a player but with totally different characteristics to what I’m looking for today as a coach.”
He pointed out that his side have improved in possession and are the team that dribbles the most in Serie A.
Gattuso took over in Napoli in December with the side in disarray but has reversed their fortunes in the last few weeks.
They won the Coppa Italia in June, the first major trophy of his coaching career, and finished seventh in Serie A after an impressive finale.
Still, he recognised that his side, who were held 1-1 in the first leg in February before the COVID-19 outbreak, had a mountain to climb in Saturday’s match.
“I mustn’t make the team tense,” he said. “I’ll talk to them tomorrow. But I always say you have to remember where you started, the story you wrote yourself. That’s how I’ve always seen it.”
“Before you reach this level, there is the neighbourhood, the beach, the first kick of the ball, the youth teams and everything else. It won’t hurt my players to remember this.”
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)https://nnn.ng/gattuso-says-his-napoli-are-not-just-about-grit-and-growls/
Italy votes in referendum on downsizing parliament
Polls closed in Italy late on Sunday in the first of two days of voting on a constitutional referendum over the slimming down of parliament.
Voting is also on in local elections expected to favour the right-wing national opposition bloc.
Voting continues on Monday, with polls opening at 7 am (0500 GMT) and closing at 3 pm.
Results are expected later the same day.
Some 51.6 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum on reducing the number of lawmakers in Italy’s two chambers by roughly one third.
The Chamber of Deputies would go from 630 lawmakers to 400, and the Senate from 315 to 200.
By Sunday evening, voter turnout had reached 29.98 per cent in the four of the seven regions for which figures were available, according to the Interior Ministry.
In the referendum on the planned reduction of the parliament, 29.71 per cent of the 51.6 million eligible voters had cast their votes.
Observers have feared a low turnout amid concerns about people being infected with the coronavirus.
No minimum turnout is needed for the vote to be valid, amid expectations that the reform will be approved.
Elections are also taking place in seven regions and just under 1,000 cities, including Venice in the north and Reggio Calabria in the south.
The main national government parties – the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) – have been bracing for a poor showing.
The national opposition, led by Matteo Salvini of the far-right League, is expecting to win in at least three regions, including Veneto and Liguria in the north.
The PD is confident of victory only in Campania, the region around Naples, and is desperate to avoid defeat in Tuscany, a former leftist stronghold where a League candidate could achieve a historic win.
The M5S has no strong candidates, but is likely to console itself with a referendum win.
It considers reducing the size of parliament part of its quest to end perks and privileges for politicians.
Critics of the constitutional reform say it produces minimal cost savings and risks undermining the democratic system by weakening the authority of parliament.
In any case, a defeat for the government parties is unlikely to topple Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as the PD and M5S have strong incentives to try to hold on to national power together.
One is the prospect of managing more than 200 billion euros (238 billion dollars) in loans and grants from the European Union due to arrive from 2021 as part of the bloc’s post-coronavirus recovery fund.
Another is the opportunity to influence the parliamentary election of the next Italian president, due in January 2022, and avoid snap national polls, which the PD and M5S would likely lose.
Pandemic-era restrictions were in place across all polling stations, many of which are located in school buildings.
Voters currently in self-isolation due to the coronavirus were permitted to vote from home on submitting an application on a one-off basis.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242
The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .
It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.
Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.
The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.
Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.
“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Golf: DeChambeau muscles his way to United States Open victory
A bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau bashed his way to a six-shot United States Open victory on Sunday, silencing any lingering questions as to whether his brawny game could translate to the major stage.
World number nine DeChambeau, who began the day two shots back of United States Open debutant Matthew Wolff, clinched his first major title with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts.
He shot a virtually flawless three-under-par 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.
“On nine is when I first thought, ‘OK, this could be reality’,” DeChambeau, speaking during the trophy presentation, said of his mindset after an eagle at the par-five ninth.
“I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do it’. And then immediately after, I said, ‘nope, you’ve got to focus on each and every hole’.”
Wolff (75), appearing in only his second major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn but fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.
A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance.
For his efforts was the only player to break par in the final round as he cruised to a maiden major at his 16th attempt.
He attacked Winged Foot all week like few other golfers can.
So confident in his approach, DeChambeau unleashed his driver on practically every par-four and par-five hole as he figured the birdie chances would outweigh the risk that Winged Foot’s nasty rough creates.
DeChambeau grabbed the solo lead after five holes, hit a perfectly-paced 40-foot eagle putt at the ninth to maintain a one-shot cushion.
It was a tournament that came down to a two-horse race between him and Wolff as they made the turn.
The 21-year-old Wolff was bidding to become the first player to win the United States Open on his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.
But he bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before a double-bogey at 16.
“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first United States Open, second-place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”
Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (73) birdied the last to finish alone in third-place, a distant eight shots back of DeChambeau.
He was one shot clear of Harris English (73), who made a double-bogey at the first where he lost his tee shot.
Xander Schauffele (74) looked ready to make a back-nine charge after making the turn fresh off back-to-back birdies.
But the world number seven made five consecutive bogeys from the 13th and finished in fifth-place.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (75), who finished in a share of eighth-place, was almost left in a state of disbelief at DeChambeau’s win.
This was given his inaccuracy off the tee at a tournament renowned for its thick rough.
“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a United States Open champion does,” said McIlroy.
“Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.
“But it’s just – it’s not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Health workers suspend 7-day nationwide warning strike
Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU National Chairman, made this known in a statement at the end of its expanded National Executive Council meeting on Sunday in Abuja.
Biobelemoye directed all members of the union to resume work by Sept. 21 and also await further directives.
The union demands included disparity in the payment of hazard and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.
“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to an end midnight of today, Sept. 20.
“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.
“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.
“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.”
He also alleged that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.
He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.
“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare service delivery.
“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.
“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 while awaiting further directives.
“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide