Tag Archives: endless

Vincent Kompany tackle: Video special of the football"s challenges

VIDEO: As we face up to a world without tackling, Sportsmail looks back at some memorable challenges


15:49 GMT, 15 January 2013



16:12 GMT, 15 January 2013

There was an outcry of disapproval after Vincent Kompany was given a straight red card for his full-blooded challenge on Jack Wilshere.

The Manchester City captain’s challenge was robust but he won the ball, sending out the message that players will be handed their marching orders for aggressive challenges.

Does this signal the death-knell for the old-fashioned tackle And if the letter of the law is followed, we may never see the likes of these challenges – as nominated by Sportsmail’s reporters – again…

Bad Kompany: The Belgian harshly saw red for this challenge on Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Bad Kompany: The Belgian harshly saw red for this challenge on Arsenal's Jack Wilshere


KEVIN BALL (Sunderland) on Duncan Ferguson (Newcastle United), St James’ Park, August, 1999

Very few players in the game, never mind the North East, have relished a tackle as much as former Sunderland captain Kevin Ball. And they certainly like a tackle up here.

But on the night Sunderland pulled off a rare win on enemy territory and with the game in the dying minutes, ‘Bally’ pulled off a typically well-timed, hard but fair challenge on Duncan Ferguson. Only the ball flew from the pair who were 30 yards from goal, over Thomas Sorensen and hit his bar, denying Newcastle an equaliser.

This one of the most memorable Tyne-Wear derbies – Ruud Gullit put Alan Shearer and Ferguson on the bench and paid the price in the endless rain. But if Bally of all people had scored the equaliser, even Sunderland’s former manager and current reserve-team boss wouldn’t have been able to live it down.


PAUL McGRATH (Aston Villa) against Helsingborg, Olympia, September, 1996

The big man had just been dropped by Brian Little. If memory serves, he came on as a substitute in this game and was seriously peeved. With about five minutes to go, the ball broke down the right, just in front of the dug-outs. McGrath wasn’t the quickest but, my life, he shifted to make his mark. He took ball, man, trainer’s bag, the lot, right in front of Little – and me, sat in the press box towards the back of a small stand.

It was fair. But it wasn’t so much a tackle as a statement. I remember nothing else about this game. The thought of that challenge has stayed with me throughout my career.

McGrath was a solid bloke and I felt a tinge of sympathy for his opponent that night. Honestly, he absolutely cleaned this guy out.

Hardman: McGrath (left) was known for his tackling prowess

Hardman: McGrath (left) was known for his tackling prowess


STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool) on Phil Jagielka (Everton), Anfield, March, 2008

Never one to do things by halves, Gerrard ignited the home crowd with a typically uncompromising double tackle on Jagielka. An initial block challenge near the halfway line sent the ball spinning towards the corner flag, with Jagielka sprinting after it and Gerrard scrambling to his feet and setting off in hot pursuit.

As Jagielka caught up with the ball, Gerrard was a good four or five yards behind but that didn’t stop him hurling himself into a full-length studs-first tackle that sent the ball flying into the Kop. A blur of red, the Liverpool skipper might have been inviting trouble in the current climate but there were no repercussions then.

Neither should there have been. It was the cleanest of contacts and Jagielka was rattled but unharmed. Gerrard at his most committed, and it soon spread to his team-mates, who dominated and should have won by more than an early Fernando Torres goal.


PHIL NEVILLE (Everton) on Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) Goodison Park, October, 2008

Not many tackles can lay claim to changing the course of a team’s season – but, according to Everton manager David Moyes, this one did. United were cruising at Goodison Park, 1-0 up thanks to a Darren Fletcher goal, but on the hour Phil Neville launched a ferocious challenge on ex-team mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who had already been half-felled by Steven Pienaar. Neville’s lunge sparked fury in the away section and he was booked by Alan Wiley. Later replays showed he got the ball but the whistle had already gone.

The incident (48 seconds into this video) whipped up the crowd and Everton began playing with increased vigour. Soon after, Marouane Fellaini scored an equaliser. They had lost three of four at home up to that point but won their next three Premier League games to finish fifth in May. As for the best overall tackler I have seen – Ryan Giggs takes that accolade. His slides are always silky smooth and generally he wins the ball.


STUART PEARCE (Wealdstone)

Bobby Gould said he went to watch Stuart Pearce playing for Wealdstone and left after the first tackle when the part-time electrician sent the winger flying. Legend has it the winger ended up closer to Bobby and his wife in the stand than the pitch and Coventry, where Gould was manager, soon paid 300,000 for the player who went on to become England’s greatest left back.

It was a huge amount of money to pay for non-League part-timer but money well spent as Pearce went on to play 78 games for his country (even if most of his success came with Nottingham Forest).

Psycho: Pearce wasn't one to shy away from a challenge

Psycho: Pearce wasn't one to shy away from a challenge

Psycho: Pearce wasn't one to shy away from a challenge

Anyway, I guess that’s Bobby’s favourite tackle, not mine. I’m going to pick a player I liked watching tackle for England and that’s Paul Ince. I was there in France, during the World Cup, when he was asked about it. He said this: ‘I love tackling, I really love it. It’s better than sex. My wife is not going to be too pleased, but I love the sound of it, the crunch, the noise, the act of tackling. I was born to tackle.’ I think he was too. I wish I could have tackled like Paul Ince.


JAMIE CARRAGHER (Liverpool) on Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan), Istanbul, May, 2005

The memory of how Liverpool came back from the dead to win their fifth European Cup remains as fresh as ever, with that incredible three goals-in-six minutes flurry, but it sometimes tends to be forgotten that they also had to withstand a late siege from Milan.

As the Italians tried to pilfer a win late on, Shevchenko powered into the Liverpool area and had skipped past Sami Hyypia but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Carragher swept in to spirit the ball from his toe with immaculate timing. Given what was at stake, it has to go down as the best, most important tackle I’ve seen.

That game was also responsible for the best save I have ever seen, too, with Jerzy Dudek’s scarcely believable parry from the hapless Shevchenko.

Master of the art: Carragher dives in to challenge Mark Viduka

Master of the art: Carragher dives in to challenge Mark Viduka


STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool) on Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Anfield, March, 2007

Ronaldo – soon to become the most expensive player in the world – and the best tackler on the planet. Gerrard nicks possession just when United are in a threatening position with Ronaldo in possession. Minimum fuss, goes to ground for a split second, nicks the ball and Liverpool are on their way up the field. Pure class.


MARK FISH (Bolton) on Michael Owen (Liverpool), Reebok Stadium, November, 1997

The 17-year-old Owen was lightning and nobody could catch him. So when he went through on goal, home fans feared the worst. But Fish, playing one of his first games for Bolton, somehow managed to keep within an outstretched leg of the Liverpool striker and just as Owen was about to shoot slid in, scooped back the ball, got up and played the ball to a midfielder. Easy.

Mark-ed man: Fish (left) gets to grip with Owen once more while at Charlton later in his career

Mark-ed man: Fish (left) gets to grip with Owen once more while at Charlton later in his career


CHRIS SOLLY (Charlton) on Steve Morison (Millwall), The Valley, March, 2010

Nine minutes into this fierce south London derby Morison, one of the most prolific strikers in League One that season, was sent through on goal by a long ball that caught out centre backs Jose Semedo and Miguel Llera. But 19-year-old left back Solly hurtled towards the middle and produced an unbelievable recovery tackle taking the ball first, then the man, and a large chunk of the turf in the process.


BORIS JOHNSON (England) on Maurizio Gaudino (Germany), Madejski Stadium, May 2006

They say great tackles can change games but this one changed an entire career. Boris was seen as a bumbling buffoon before this remarkable rugby-style tackle. Now he’s still seen as a bumbling buffoon but is somehow in his second term as Mayor of London.

OK, it’s not a proper tackle, so don’t try this one at home, kids (or on the training pitch) – it won’t get your football career very far. But it was very funny.

Des Kelly: Christmas gift guide for all sports fans

All you need for the festive season… my Christmas gift guide for all sports fans



00:44 GMT, 22 December 2012

Christmas is a time for giving. It’s a time for giving your work colleague a seasonal dose of the Noro-virus. Giving the pungent postman a wide berth. And giving children chocolates you secretly suspect may have been hanging in that old sock since last year.

Giving is what the season is all about. However, if you haven’t bought anything by now, it may be too late already. Nobody goes shopping in actual shops these days. Shops are merely places where you inspect the things you intend to buy online for less money when you get home.

If my experience last year is anything to go by, these are delivered sometime around January 4, long after family members gather around a tree to sing carols, notice there are no presents and cry ‘Santa is dead!’ or ‘You obviously don’t love me!’

So which gifts are perfect for the sports fan Here is my Christmas Gift Guide.

Lance Armstrong Chemistry Set
The Ramires-izer Translation Machine
Follow Des on Twitter

More from Des here: @DesKellyDM

We live in the age of the iPhone and the App. But this magnificent device takes us to another level of sophistication. New voice recognition software doesn’t just interpret what any ‘foreign’ individual says; it takes a perfectly ordinary remark and transforms it into a damaging racial slur.

Allow me to demonstrate the power of the Ramires-izer:
Speaker A: What a lovely evening we’re having.
Ramires-izer translation: Shut up you monkey.

This brilliant gadget can generate endless hours of misinformation, huge FA inquiry costs, massive lawyers’ fees and career-threatening hostility for those who have been Ramires-ized.

Use it NOW — and issue a mealy-mouthed statement of ‘regret’ a few weeks later.

Price: a considerable amount of lost credit.

On sale at the Chelsea Megastore.

Having a word: Mark Clattenburg and Ramires during Chelsea's clash with Manchester United earlier this season

Having a word: Mark Clattenburg and Ramires during Chelsea's clash with Manchester United earlier this season

The Inflatable Anfield Striker


Twitter Avatar

Loading tweets…

Take the concept of playing a ‘false No 9’ to a whole new level with this revolutionary invention, one that is certain to shake the world of football to its foundations.

Are you tired of seeing your team run out without a recognised centre forward like Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers Do you worry other clubs might spot the owners are trying to bluff their way through a Premier League campaign on the cheap

Fear no more. Just ask the board to pump some of their hot air into the Inflatable Anfield Striker.
It will fool opposition defenders and confound Arsenal’s zonal marking tactics.

And our Inflatable No 9 is GUARANTEED to be faster than Per Mertesacker; CERTAIN to seize on a careless error by David Luiz and HIGHLY LIKELY to drink less than Andy Carroll.

Available for a bargain price of 50million. Order now to avoid disappointment in the January sales.

Mario’s Man-Maps

you lost Are you too dim to operate a satellite navigation device Are
you male and, therefore, genetically prevented from asking for
directions Scientific studies prove men are biologically incapable of
admitting they are unable to find their way.

is why, during reproduction, millions of male sperm cells are released
in a desperate attempt to find a female egg placed directly ahead of
them that, in relative terms, is also the size of Wales (it’s always
‘the size of Wales’).

Even then, only one completes the journey.

We have the solution men have been
looking for, but refused to admit they couldn’t find. You will never be
lost again with Mario’s Man-Maps, officially endorsed by the
hard-of-thinking Manchester City footballer Mario Balotelli.

Mario, simply turn off the SatNav in your vehicle, reach for your
detailed map, open it carefully — and then wave it around out the window
of the car until it attracts the attention of a passing taxi driver.

pass the cabbie the address of the destination and follow him. This
gives you the dual comfort of never having to leave your Bentley AND
never having to use your brain.

Price: 500, cash only, from Manchester to London.

Flammable. Keep away from fireworks. Can also be used when you take your employer to a tribunal and they tell you to ‘get lost’.

Super Mario: Balotelli often has his own special way of travelling

Super Mario: Balotelli often has his own special way of travelling

Lance Armstrong Chemistry Set

Create cocktails of drugs in the comfort of your own home with Lance Armstrong’s amazing chemistry set. If, like Lance, you have spent years living a lie and covering up a career built on the illegal use of blood-boosters, steroids, human growth hormones and masking agents, there is only one way to forget the humiliation. More drugs! Spend your retirement years mixing mind-bending substances that completely erase the concept of guilt from your memory.

This allows you to spout blanket denials, pledge to take lie detector tests and pose in front of Tour de France yellow jerseys boasting of your ‘victories’ without any sense of shame whatsoever. What better way to show the drugs do work

Price: about 100m of sponsorship.

Available from all good… bad chemists.

Previously sold as the Ben Johnson Chemistry Set. Syringes not included.

British Swimming Lead Medals
Former performance director of British Swimming Michael Scott

Former performance director of British Swimming Michael Scott

Who needs gold medals Who needs to stay afloat British Swimming will take you under with their lovingly crafted, heavy lead gongs.

Former performance director Michael Scott inspired Team GB to new lows in the pool at London 2012 with his unique coaching mantra ‘I’d rather do it Down Under’.

In honour of the ex-coach, who is now back in Australia, where he appeared to be living most of the time anyway, you can go ‘down under’ too.

Just hang this expensive dead weight around your neck in honour of the pathetic splash that swimming bosses delivered despite 25m of public funding.

Price: 8.4m per medal.

Special offer: To sink without trace, add a pair of concrete boots branded with the name of British Swimming CEO David Sparkes — and receive a chauffeur-driven Mercedes FREE!

The ‘BaleBag’ safety shirt

Based on the latest automotive airbag technology and championed by Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale, this innovative football jersey automatically senses when a player has thrown himself through the air.

In the moment after a player dives — I mean ‘protects himself from injury by evading contact from a defender’, this shirt registers the change in gravitational force and air pressure and immediately inflates.

This prevents the player suffering further injuries during contact with the turf from a great height. The BaleBag Safety Range includes inflatable elbow and kneepads as optional extras.

Price: contact your insurers.

Also available: the YoungBag Safety Shirt, endorsed by Ashley Young.

Gareth Bale
The FergieTime Chronograph

Liverpudlians have long suspected the concept of time has a Manchester bias — which they have sought to correct by trying to turn the clock back to the 1980s, when they were good. But Sir Alex Ferguson’s new range of watches will extend time like never before and comes with a host of new features:

The in-built calendar not only adds minutes to real time, but entire days. So while the record books say Ferguson’s birthday is December 31, in FergieTime this becomes November 61.FergieTime watches link directly with a referee’s timepiece and fourth official’s electronic scoreboard, to allow the manager to directly input the minutes he wishes to add.Alternatively, you can press FergieTime’s unique ‘Play Until We Score’ feature and just let the timepiece do its business automatically.

Price: 25 years at the top.

Retirement clocks not available until 2014.

What's the time, Sir Alex: Ferguson and his watches have become part of folklore

What's the time, Sir Alex: Ferguson and his watches have become part of folklore

Italian Football Yearbook 2013-14

Don’t miss the ‘Christmas edition’ of The Press Pass on talkSPORT on Sunday at 6pm — by Christmas edition, I mean we’ll do most of the usual stuff, but with a sleighbell sound effect in the background. I’ll also be wrestling on air with
Micky Quinn on Christmas Eve from 10am until 1pm. Verbally, not in reality. That’s a horrible
image at any time of year.

No football fan or player can live without this superb guide to Italian football’s season ahead. It is in the style of England’s famous Rothmans Yearbook, once prized by collectors. Unfortunately, most of those collectors are now dead due to their susceptibility to cigarette brand sponsorship.

But the Italian Football Yearbook not only beings you all the teams, fixtures, players and statistics —but ALL THE RESULTS for next season as well! Take a look…

September 29, 2013 — Juventus 3 Napoli 0. Scorers: Vucinic, Pirlo, Marchisio. Half-time: 1-0.

This guide taps into the Italian game’s unique tradition where clubs, referees and directors decide the outcome of matches well in advance and Juventus collect the Scudetto.

Price: How much have you got

Coming soon: the 2013 Pakistani edition of Wisden, edited by former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt. With all the results for the coming year, including our new dot-ball feature for spot- betting success.

And One Genuine Suggestion…

If you do want a small sporting gift for yourself, download the Hillsborough Justice Collective’s cover of The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

They aim to top the UK singles charts on Christmas Day and all the proceeds will go to the families of 96 fans who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final — and help them continue to fight one of the most disgraceful establishment cover-ups in British history.

Well done to Everton chairman Bill Kenwright for choosing the song. And not only will you be helping the noblest of causes, but you will also be keeping a Simon Cowell act off the top spot as well.

* Happy Christmas to you all and many thanks for all the emails, tweets, the handwritten letters, books, holiday offers, complimentary sporting goods, recommendations, anonymous tips, nude photographs and unsolicited bundles of cash that you send to me throughout the year. I cherish each and every one of them.

Artificial pitches are coming to Rugby Union

Fantastic plastic will end the winter mudbaths for the better, despite what traditionalists might say



00:19 GMT, 21 December 2012

Those ‘traditionalists’ who are permanently up in arms about any change to the precious status quo have a prime new focus for concern and complaint.

Artificial pitches are coming.

The purists will have a field day, so to speak.

There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Saracens take their place at the vanguard of the revolution by moving to Allianz Park, their new home in Barnet, next month.

A thing of the past: Mudbaths of the like which led to this famous image of Fran Cotton will become a thing of the past when artificial pitches are brought into rugby union

A thing of the past: Mudbaths of the like which led to this famous image of Fran Cotton will become a thing of the past when artificial pitches are brought into rugby union

There they will play on a synthetic surface, which will also be available to the community.

It has emerged that Wales are considering the use of artificial turf at the Millennium Stadium, where there have been endless problems with the grass.

No doubt, the prospect of Tests being played on a hi-tech, all-weather carpet will crank up the traditionalists’ anger still further.

Such resistance is absurd. This is positive progress, not something that betrays the heritage of the sport.

Much of the opposition is based on the out-dated notion of so-called ‘plastic pitches’ being dangerous.

But the state-of-the-art surfaces, with grass yarn laid on rubber, are far removed from old-fashioned Astroturf.

Pioneers: Saracens will have an artificial pitch when they move to their new home, Allianz Park in Barnet, next month

Pioneers: Saracens will have an artificial pitch when they move to their new home, Allianz Park in Barnet, next month

They have been heavily tested and
declared safe. Improved grip means less danger of scrum collapses, which
in turn reduces a major source of serious injury.

of the argument against this innovation is that teams must deal with
what the forces of nature throw at them. Well, this is Britain, so there
is plenty of rain and wind to keep rugby real.

if games at the Millennium Stadium end up being played under a closed
roof, on a fake grass pitch, as if in a vacuum, this column has no

The most talented players will still manage to stand apart, even if basic skills are easier to perform.

face it, no-one has ever gone to a match in the hope of seeing slips
and knock-ons. The end of winter mud-baths leading to stodgy contests
wouldn’t be lamented here.

Six Nations winners Wales are considering artificial turf at the Millennium Stadium

Six Nations winners Wales are considering artificial turf at the Millennium Stadium

iconic picture of Fran Cotton looking like a creature from the swamps
would serve as an image of a historical reference point.

If summer rugby is not on the agenda (more’s the pity) then these durable, consistent surfaces represent a compromise.

presumably still pine for heavy, cotton shirts and heavy, leather
balls, not to mention rotund props who can’t run and have to perform a
forfeit if they actually throw a pass.

Move on — the game is changing, for the better in this case.

More from Chris Foy…

Chris Foy: Crowd at HQ must roar to silence wails of the Welsh

Chris Foy: Early World Cup draw can sow seeds of discontent

Chris Foy: New guru Parker will soon learn rugby is not an exact science

Chris Foy world of rugby: Lam's back, so it could be the chop for Howley

Chris Foy: Six injured and counting, Lancaster needs stability

World of rugby: Ireland facing the music as Strauss gets a call-up

Chris Foy: More referees will follow Lawrence's example and quit if this hounding goes on

Chris Foy: Let's play! Time for TV war to take a back seat as the Heineken Cup returns


Quote of the week

Brian O’Driscoll on his lifestyle changes: ‘I have the T-shirt from going out in my twenties, I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to. You get to a point where your life and family situation dictates certain things and you are just content in living that way.

As a 22-year-old you look at guys like me now — 32-33 — and you say, “Jeesus, settled down and married, I couldn’t imagine anything worse”. But I look at the 22-year-olds now and I say, “You can keep your wild lifestyle”. I have been there, lived it, enjoyed it, but you just shelve that. God forbid, it’s dinner parties I go to now, not nightclubs!’

Sarries out of tune with Munster

While the bold step of installing an artificial pitch illustrates the best of Saracens, what happened in Watford last weekend showed the club in a much dimmer light.

Those who were at Vicarage Road for the visit of Munster will not forget the Tannoy torture in a hurry.

With a huge contingent of away fans in attendance and in fine voice, as ever, a conscious decision was made to dilute their impact on proceedings by blaring out the awful ‘Stand up for the Saracens’ over the public-address system.

Saracens will have artificial turf when they move to their new home, Allianz Park next month

New feel: Saracens will have artificial turf when they move to their new home, Allianz Park next month

That one, grating line was repeated perhaps a thousand times during the game — often cynically played louder if Munster fans were singing.

It didn’t just ruin their experience, it also antagonised many home fans too, judging by angry comments on the club’s website.

Saracens don’t have enough loyal supporters to alienate the ones they do have. This was a terrible error of judgment and must not be repeated.

In addition, the authorities should ban this barrage of music while the game is taking place. Before, after and at half-time is fine, but not during.

New man at the helm: Scott Johnson

New man at the helm: Scott Johnson

The last word

There must be something sensational on Scott Johnson’s c.v., some startling revelations which apparently prove to prospective employers that he is capable of wizardry. Either that, or he’s just a master at talking himself into top jobs.

The Australian has been installed as Scotland’s interim head coach, based on his ‘wealth of experience of international rugby’. Well, he worked in the Wales set-up under Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Mike Ruddock, but was widely implicated in the latter coach’s abrupt exit.

After an abortive stint in charge, Johnson drifted home to act as assistant to the Wallabies. Then he had a brief stint with the USA, and a colourful period of mixed fortunes as Ospreys director of coaching before joining Scotland.

To this day, he is perhaps best known for referring to New Zealand as ‘a poxy little island in the south Pacific’ — which is telling in itself. It may be in Scotland’s best long-term interests if the Six Nations is an unmitigated disaster.

Ashley Cole is Jose Mourinho Real Madrid target

Battle of the ex-Blues: Jose hoping to pip Carlo to Chelsea defender Cole



11:39 GMT, 17 November 2012

Jose Mourinho wants to beat Carlo Ancelotti to the signing of Ashley Cole by picking him up in January.

The 31-year-old Chelsea left-back has been strongly linked with a free switch to Paris St-Germain when his contract expires in the summer.

Options: Former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti both want Ashley Cole to sign on the dotted line

Options: Former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti both want Ashley Cole to sign on the dotted line

But with Marcelo injured with a broken
foot until at least the new year, Mourinho is hoping to beat his fellow
former Chelsea boss to a reunion with the England star, report The

Chelsea do not want to offer Cole a deal that stretches longer than 12 months as per their new club policy on players over 30.

Cole took to Twitter on Friday to say 'Just want to take a moment to thank you all for your endless support. Couldn't have made it this far without you and I sincerely appreciate it.'

The unprompted message has been taken by some Chelsea fans as a sign the player's time at Stamford Bridge is coming to an end.

In true Cole style he added: 'And to all you non-supporters out there, I definitely couldn't have made it to the top without climbing over you!! #HatersCantBreakMe.'

The defender is still performing well for the Blues but, with promising youngster Ryan Bertrand emerging, Chelsea are willing to take the risk and let Cole leave.

Cole may be fit for Saturday's game
against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns after missing the previous
two Chelsea matches with a hamstring injury.

John Terry misses out after Luis Suarez landed on his leg during last Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

The Chelsea skipper is set to be out for three weeks.

Come join me: Mourinho would love to bring Cole to the Bernabeu

Come join me: Mourinho would love to bring Cole to the Bernabeu

Sepp Blatter shocked after Somali sport chiefs die in suicide bombing

Blatter shocked after Somalia's sport chiefs killed in suicide bomb blast



14:08 GMT, 4 April 2012

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed his shock after the heads of Somalia's football federation and Olympic committee were both killed in a suicide bombing attack.

Somali FA president Said Mohamed Nur and Somali Olympic Committee president Aden Yabarow Wiish died after the blast on Wednesday in the national theatre in Mogadishu.

Blatter said in a statement: 'I am shocked to hear about the attack that has today taken the lives of several people in Mogadishu, including the president of the Somali Football Federation Said Mohamed Nur and Somali Olympic Committee president Aden Yabarow Wiish.

Scene: An ambluance outside the National Theatre

Scene: An ambluance outside the National Theatre

Aid: Soldiers secure the building after the blast

Aid: Soldiers secure the building after the blast

'I knew both men personally and can only say good things about their endless efforts to promote sport and football in their country. They will be sorely missed.

Sad: Sepp Blatter says both men will sorely be missed

Sad: Sepp Blatter says both men will sorely be missed

national theatre

'At this very sad time, my thoughts and those of FIFA and the worldwide football community are with the families and loved ones of all the victims of this attack, and especially to the football and sport family of Somalia.'

The two officials had only recently inspected the reconstruction of the national stadium in Mogadishu after years of civil war in Somalia.

Grant Holt: Norwich players must work harder for England call

Holt hits out after international snub for him and his in-form Norwich team-mates

Grant Holt feels playing for Norwich could be hampering the international ambitions of several players at the club.

The Canaries skipper scored his 10th league goal of the season against Manchester United at Carrow Road on Sunday, only for the visitors to grab a stoppage-time winner through Ryan Giggs.

Holt, 30, has more goals to his name than the likes of Darren Bent, Fraizer Campbell, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, all of whom were included in Stuart Pearce's experimental England squad for the friendly against Holland at Wembley.

Head boy: Grant Holt is one of the form striker's in the Premier League

Head boy: Grant Holt is one of the form striker's in the Premier League

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was also overlooked in favour of veteran Robert Green, who is in the npower Championship with West Ham, while playmaker Wes Hoolahan has yet to feature in the Republic of Ireland's plans ahead of Euro 2012.

Holt – who has scored in all four divisions – accepts proving your worth at one of the Premier League's smaller clubs can seem an endless battle.

'Like anyone, the dream is to play for your country, some fulfil it, some don't,' said Carlisle-born Holt, who used to work as a tyre fitter while he tried to break into the professional ranks. 'There are a lot of people [in our squad] disappointed.

'You look at Wes Hoolahan, who has not had an Ireland cap for a couple of years and has been one of the best Irish players for a long time; John Ruddy was overlooked, you might say it is a Norwich thing. We are not a big club, so maybe that is what it is.

'The lads will keep doing it for Norwich and then see where it takes them. If they keep working hard, then they will get noticed.'

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed by how Norwich approached the game, recovering from conceding an early goal to Paul Scholes to attack with purpose as they put centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans under pressure while also forcing David de Gea into a number of fine saves.

Ruddy good effort: Norwich's goalkeeper has been overlooked for England

Ruddy good effort: Norwich's goalkeeper has been overlooked for England

However, after Holt had swept home an equaliser with seven minutes left, Paul Lambert's men were unable to hold off the Red Devils onslaught, with Welbeck somehow missing his header from two yards before Giggs secured victory in stoppage time.

Holt feels the squad can learn from the experience as they prepare to tackle Stoke after the midweek internationals.

'Sometimes maybe there is a bit of naivety and we just have to tighten up a bit,' Holt said. 'But we will get this out of our head now, we played well but did not get anything out of it, so we will just go again at Stoke next week.'

Despite the defeat, Norwich remain comfortable in eighth place with 35 points.

Lambert has guided the Norfolk club back up among the elite from the depths of npower League One, which puts the valiant performance against United into perspective.

'Two years ago we were playing Oldham. Now we are something like 60 places better off, so that's how far we have come,' Lambert said. 'As disappointed as I am with the result against United, we gave it a right good go. This team have shown again they are strong enough to pull each other through.'