Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been targeted by several clubs in the last few months. He is regarded as the next big thing in world football. This has led to interest from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Manchester city.

The defensive midfielder has been hugely impressive for the French national team at the under 20 level as well. He is currently part of the French national team at the under 20 World Cup in Turkey. Despite being involved with the national team, there have been several speculation about him moving to a club away from Sevilla before the end of the transfer window.

Despite being a highly rated midfielder, he has only an £ 8.5 million release clause in his contract. He was signed from French club Lens only last year and he still has four years left on his contract. However, Sevilla will not be able to stop a potential transfer of clubs agree to pay the release clause. They have expressed their interest in keeping the player for a long time. Even the 20-year-old acknowledged the interest from several top clubs like Real Madrid and Chelsea. He said last month that he will not talk about his future until the end of the World Cup.

“We want him to stay here but there are circumstances that could lead to an exit. We will not make any movement to sell. There is no need to sell and we all know that in the club,” said the Sevilla manager, as it is rumoured that Arsenal are preparing a bid for him. “I am flattered to be linked with Real Madrid. They are a top club, but Sevilla are fantastic for me at the moment. Chelsea are also a great team with a great manager, so let’s wait and see what will happen after the World Cup,” said the player last month.

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Barcelona recently brought in Valencia defender Jordi Alba, who has become one of the important members of the team. He is seen as someone who can become one of the best left backs in the world over the next few years.

Spain is already on course to providing a good backup to Alba after Valencia have been using midfielder Juan Bernat in this position recently. Bernat was first used in the left back position by Valencia last season. Spain saw this as a great way to take advantage of the defensive abilities in the player as well.

Bernat was used as the left back for the Spanish national team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup recently. Even though the player has said that he wants to be used in an attacking position, the fact that he is being compared to Alba makes him happy. According to him, Alba is one of the best attacking left backs in the world. He has said that new Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic has said that he could develop extremely well if utilised as a defender. Bernat is of the opinion that he can play as an attacking midfielder and as a defender quite comfortably.

He sees this as a great way to improve his chances of being selected for the senior national team.

“It is a compliment to compare me to the development that Jordi Alba has had, as he is a starter for the national team and for Barcelona. He is my friend and I hope that I can follow in his footsteps, because he is an example for me for all that he has accomplished. Djukic has told me that he sees me as a full-back because I have the qualities. I will be alternating between that and midfield,” said the 20-year-old.

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Barcelona defender Jordi Alba has said that Argentine star Lionel Messi still remains the best player in the world ahead of the likes of Brazilian star Neymar, who was recently signed from Barcelona from Santos. Neymar has been one of the much talked about youngsters in the world.

He has chosen Barcelona amongst several other interested parties like Real Madrid and Chelsea. He will be coming into the team, which has been built around Lionel Messi, who has managed to win the last four FIFA Ballon d’Or awards in succession. Alba believes that Neymar is an extremely good player, but he is still not at the level of Messi.

The 21-year-old will be moving to the Spanish club after the end of the Confederations cup in June. He has signed a five-year contract with the Spanish club. Barcelona managed to win the league title recently, but they have been disappointing in the other cup competitions. As a result, the signing of Neymar is expected to make them even stronger. The arrival of the 21-year-old striker could herald the departure of David Villa, who joined from Valencia a few years ago for £ 35 million.

Neymar had just one year left on his contract with Santos.
“I don’t know whether he [Neymar] will come here or not. He’s a brilliant player and in Brazil he’s showing he is a class above, but Messi is number one and maybe even the best in history. The technical team and the board will make reinforcements where they feel they need to be made. Personally, the team looks fine to me. Let’s hope we win more silverware next year. We have three games left and we will try to win all of them. We want to reach 100 points and equal Real Madrid’s record,” said Alba.

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Barnsley will be hoping to avoid the distraction of the FA Cup run, but having reached the quarter-final stage of the competition, the club will certainly be interested in going to Wembley.

Barnsley will be playing against the Premier league champions Manchester city in the quarter-final round. Hence, they are the underdogs going into the match. The manager David Flitcroft has been able to bring some success to the club since his appointment a few months ago. He has said that his players should not be paying too much respect to city, as the Premier league champions have the quality to punish them.

He has also asked his players not to become starstruck due to the fact that city have a number of high profile players in their lineup. Yaya Touré, Sergio Aguero, and Joe Hart are some of the high profile names expected to be named in the team sheet by the manager Roberto Mancini. Barnsley had a wonderful cup run only a few years ago when the managed to beat the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea along the way. Flitcroft has said that his players can repeat that feat once again, but they need to work hard. Barnsley are fighting against relegation in the championship.

“You can get starstruck by names and we can’t allow that to happen. We have quality in our group and we have demonstrated real fight. In any fight if you turn up and are prepared to work harder than the next man, then you have a chance. I hope the players don’t freeze, and try to play the occasion and not the football match, because this will be a tactical battle,” said the Barnsley manager. The 39-year-old will be hoping to make use of the home matches against Brighton and Watford in order to pick up points as soon as possible.

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Saturday 28th March is the last date for confirmed registrations for our junior and youth teams – that means to ensure your place in a team all junior players must be paid up this weekend.

We now have to confirm our team entries to the RJFMC in advance of the season commencing. Currently there are a few spaces in most grades. An exciting development is that for the first time in a number of years we will have both male and female 14/15th grade teams.

Once all registrations are received the committee can allocate players to respective teams, or where there are large numbers of players, arrange grading to respective teams or divisions.

In addition there are vacancies for coaches in a number of grades. Please contact the club if you are interested in coaching a team

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Luis Estevez has been selected for the NZ under 17’s world cup team; Luis played for the federation team last year before being head hunted by Auckland clubs.

Luis is joined in the squad by other local lads Matt Gibbons and Nikolai Molijn, whose sister players for the 12th grade team.

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The Winters Cup, a trophy played for in memory of Lavinia Winters, partner of former Ngongotaha AFC keeper (and current Te Puke Young ‘uns) Scrubber and a close friend of Shaun and Jo Kapua (as well as the rest of the club), has finally ended up in Ngongotaha’s trophy cabinet.

Te Puke arrived in style in their Corporate Box coach and were clearly intending to make a good day of it. Stembridge Road welcomed them with a cool southerly wind and temperature of about 8c.

With Scott Martin and Tristan Shannon joining the squad the Villager’s clearly were out to finally take to cup; some youth also made the 15 man squad with young Alex hardy strating and Nathan Tina on the bench.

First blood went to Ngongotaha with Uish tapping in a parried shot from Scott Martin; Ngongotaha dominated for much of the rest of the half, but with about 10 to go one of the two Te Puke strikers, found some space, pivoted and slotted a stunning shot into the top right corner. But clearly Ngongotaha were not in the mood for caving in; about two minutes later a Scott Martin corner was swung in from the left side and cleared everyone, only to be deflected home by a Te Puke player.

The second half had Te Puke opening brightly putting considerable pressure on the Ngongotaha backline, who were fortunate to have Chris saving everything chucked at him. The introduction of Dave Thomson and George Thompson was a touch of genius (allegedly) from coach Alan King – Dave’s first touch sent Uish through to a one on one with Scrubber the Te Puke the keeper, with the Nepalese striker finishing well.

A game that was played in excellent spirits and enjoyed by both sides.

The trophy will be again at stake in the next match between the Baywide sides.

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The club has received information from a company offering Cadbury’s chocolate for sale for fundraising. It has been suggested that these boxes of around 20 bars be offered to our junior members as a means of assisting families meet the cost of 2009 subs which are increasing by around $20 per player.

Each box will cost about $24 and each child can make $16 profit towards their subs. Please see the poll on the home page to register your interest.

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At this evenings Bay of Plenty League meeting in Tauranga decisions were made regarding the structure of next years leagues. Federation one will have 12 teams, with a new Federation Two division with ten teams. Ngongotaha confirmed their interest in playing in this division, as did AFC Fury, Te Puke and Tauranga Boys College from Bay one.

It is likely that Huntly, Hamilton North, Cambridge and Matamata A will also join this division. Two other teams will be added to make ten. For the 2009 season it is likely that there will be no relegation from Fed 1 to Fed 2, but in 2010 there is a possibility of three teams dropping from Fed 1 to make it 10 teams. There is also the possibility of a Federation Cup being introduced.

The Bay One and Bay Two divisions are likely to remain as 10 team divisions. The Tasman Cup will remain as a knockout for both divisions, but the Tasman Bowl may be restricted to Bay two teams. The rolling subs system used in Bay Two will be retained, but with clearer guidelines.

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