first_imgAS Mauricio Pochettino sat sobbing in the dressing room after last year’s Champions League final, he thought it was not meant to be like this.He had always expected to end the greatest night of his managerial career so far in floods of tears — just ones of joy.4 Mauricio Pochettino could not stop crying after losing the Champions League final with Spurs last seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty4 Harry Kane, rushed back from injury, could do nothing to prevent a Liverpool win in Madrid – the beginning of the end for PochCredit: Getty Images – GettyInstead, those streaming out were of sadness and despair.As the anniversary of Tottenham’s debut in the final of Europe’s elite competition approaches, their former boss Poch admits he was so devastated after the 2-0 loss to Liverpool in Madrid he could not stop CRYING.Not only was the Argentinian upset about the Wanda Metropolitano defeat, which saw a controversial first-minute Kop penalty destroy his dream and the gameplan his squad had fine-tuned for three weeks.He also realised through the salty bitterness that it would ultimately and inevitably spell the end of his five years in charge.And so it came to pass as Poch — who, it should be pointed out, had not helped himself with his wacky comments and team’s poor Premier League form — was relieved of his duties by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and replaced by Jose Mourinho within hours of his November sacking.For the last six months Poch has been on “gardening leave” during which time the only thing he has grown is the interest on his bank account from the £8.5million-a-year salary he continued to rake in from the club as part of his severance.In his first newspaper interview since becoming a free agent, he explains that famous night in the Spanish capital was the beginning of the end of his time in N17.He said: “I think it was very difficult to accept the way the game went.“When you prepare for three weeks with the responsibility and in the way we did, and worked, with all the staff and players. We were very focused.“I think we were convinced and I was convinced that the final was going to go our way. That was completely in our minds. But no one is prepared after 30 seconds of the Champions League final to concede like that.When the decision came it was right and we needed to move on.Mauricio Pochettino on his Spurs sacking“The goal changed the whole game, all the emotions. It is difficult to prepare a team for that happening.“I was so disappointed afterwards. It was difficult to stop crying, to stop feeling bad.“It was a massive achievement. And you can use the example of Liverpool after they lost to Real Madrid the season before, that was a massive motivation and inspiration to be back in the future.“But I knew after five years and with the way we were working, all the things that happened, it was going to be difficult to change a little bit in our minds and to stay open to design another plan, or a strategy to build again, a different chapter.“A different project was going to be difficult to maintain — to keep improving.”Former Espanyol coach Pochettino switched to Tottenham from Southampton in May 2014 and turned the North Londoners into a top-four club.He also did this while overseeing the move from their old White Hart Lane home to a sparkling new £1billion stadium on the same site.Construction problems led to delays as Spurs played the best part of an extra season at Wembley.Pochettino’s ability to keep them up among England’s top clubs, despite almost two seasons without a home game, enhanced his reputation as one of the game’s best coaches.It saw him attracting interest from a number of rivals, including Real Madrid and Manchester United.4Many will say Pochettino, 48, should have walked away from Tottenham on June 2, the day after the Champions League final.But he insisted: “No. Because my commitment with the club, with Daniel and of course with the players, the fans, was massive.“I said to Daniel that we finished in the way that no one wanted but the end, because of our commitment, our emotion and our feeling — in football — it needed to happen.“If not, our relationship would have continued forever! And maybe that’s no good for the club or for us.“When the decision came it was right and we needed to move on.”Pochettino was given the boot by Tottenham after the Champions League hangover turned into a major headache for chairman Levy and the club’s board.Yet Poch remains grateful to the man who axed him — and even phoned him last week to say so.He said: “What I was talking about with Daniel was to say thank you for trusting in us.“I also joked with him, ‘Oh, you only signed me because the manager you liked at that time, Louis Van Gaal, chose Manchester United!’I am so happy that he is at Tottenham, replacing me. He is a top coach and we have a very good relationship.Mauricio Pochettino on Jose Mourinho“Daniel told me that at the time, he was very clear about that, it was very public. I was a very young coach, with my experience in Spain and my one-and-a-half years in Southampton.“The football vision at Tottenham was completely different then to what it is now. Today, they are one of the best clubs in the world and we feel very proud of that.”Pochettino, now sporting a grey beard, has remained in London during lockdown.Shortly before the crisis he went for a coffee with Unai Emery — axed by Arsenal days after Poch left bitter rivals Spurs.And he has even spoken with his Tottenham successor Mourinho.Poch said: “We’ve known each other for a long time. When I was the coach of Espanyol and he was at Real Madrid.“During that time we were going to play Real Madrid when some information appeared that maybe I was on their radar in case Jose goes.“In the press conference before the game the media asked me about that.“I said ‘Oh, I am not thinking about that and, by the way, my kids are sleeping in Espanyol pyjamas every night. So it’s very difficult for me to think about changing’.“So, when I arrived at the stadium, Jose was waiting with a bag with a very nice bottle of French red wine and two kits of Real Madrid, shirts and shorts. He said, ‘OK, these are for your kids to wear from now on!’Latest Tottenham newsHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrong“I am so happy that he is at Tottenham, replacing me. He is a top coach and we have a very good relationship.“I always thought I’d replace him. When he was at Real Madrid and I was at Espanyol I used to joke, ‘Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid’ and look at how life works out!“He has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?”4 Pochettino was tipped to replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid but it was the Portuguese who took over from the Argentinian in North LondonCredit: Getty – ContributorEx-Tottenham boss Pochettino scores incredible hole-in-one playing foot golf while in Qatar for Fifa Club World Cuplast_img read more

first_imgRep. Koffa: “I condemn my kinsman’s statement by forming a so-called Kru Defense Force.”Rep. Koffa, others condemn Formation of “Kru Defense Force”Grand Kru County District #2 Lawmaker Fonati Koffa has out-rightly condemned in strongest terms statement made by former rebel general Augustine Nagbe, aka General Power, last week that he will form a tribal force comprising Krus to defend and protect President George Weah.Rep. Koffa is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the committee on Governance and Government Reform Committee and Election and Inauguration.“I feel compelled in no uncertain terms to condemn my kinsman, whose nom de guerre (whose war name), is General Power, and urge him to desist from talks of urban militarism. Similarly, I condemn all those engaged in incendiary rhetoric in the name of free speech,” Rep Koffa said.He added, “The Liberian state and people have endured much; our common challenges must be faced with clasped of hands one to another, not clutched fists.”Rep. Koffa is the first and only high profile official from the Kru ethnic group to issue a statement condemning the threatening statement the former rebel general made. General Power is on record for forcing a woman at gunpoint to eat human feces in West Point, a suburb of Monrovia, during the civil war.Alfred Chea, a Liberian journalist, added that the statement by General Power is such a “stupid” one that the President has to distance himself from it “because it has the propensity not only to threaten the country’s peace but to demoralize him (the President).Emmanuel K. Urey, founder of One Life Liberia, also said that because justice has not been brought against those who committed heinous crimes in the country to account for their actions, former rebel leaders like Power and others will continue to flaunt their freedom with intimidation tactics.“We do not have to dignify these people by giving them a position, and it is because of giving them a position in government that is making that other ‘stupid’ man to make that statement.  Do you know what tribalism has done in this country?  Tribalism caused people to be slaughtered for no reason, but only because they belonged to certain tribes,” Urey said.The statement by the ex-general does not only pose threat to the country’s existing peace but also adds ingredients to the tribal sentiments that continue to divide Liberians, which the Liberian Constitution frowns on and obliges the state to take steps in abolishing.In Article 5c of the Liberian Constitution, it is stated: “The Republic shall take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government, nepotism, and all other corrupt practices.”The Constitution, though, has a clause as part of the national government’s obligation, division on the basis of tribe remains an impediment to the unity of the Liberian people, and conflicts related to ethnicity are in most parts of the country.In Sinoe County where the Krus and the Sapos find themselves living together, the Sapos have made numerous complaints through their Representative, Matthew Zarzar, of social marginalization by the Krus.In Nimba, the Mandingos accuse the Gio and Mano people of denying them of their land, and have, therefore, taken the government to the ECOWAS Court for not doing much so that they can regain their land after the civil war.Similar tribal discrimination exists between the Mandingos and other tribes of Lofa and Bong counties.Although the Liberian Constitution gives the appointing power to the President, and the Senate confirms where applicable, it is widely known that most of the top officials of the George Weah Administration are from the South-east and of the Kru and Krahn ethnic groups, something that critics view as an act of tribal and social discrimination.Since the former rebel general made the threatening statement, there has been no word from the Executive Mansion as to whether the President condones such sentiments or not. Neither has the Ministry of Justice spoken out on the statements made by ‘General Power’, which are no doubt a threat to public safety.While the public is yet to hear what the President’s view is about the ex-rebel general’s statement, many eyewitnesses have attested that an exclusive training aimed at protecting President Weah outside of state security protection is ongoing at his newly built 46-unit condominium opposite the Baptist Seminary along the ELWA-RIA Highway.Although government is yet to respond to the “secret training,” a reliable source informed this newspaper on Monday, November 25, that General Power is always at the so-called base directing the trainees —all dressed in T-Shirts bearing President Weah’s portrait, learning to shoot weapons and with the advice that they are preparing to counter a planned protest on December 30 led by the Council of Patriots.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more