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LifeStyle of Thursday, 24 December 2020


Kindergarten boys now play for Arsenal – Ali Baba

Ali Baba is a known fan of Arsenal Football Club Ali Baba is a known fan of Arsenal Football Club

Ace comedian and actor, Atunyota Akpobome, better known as Ali Baba, has expressed his disappointment with the performance of Arsenal in the English Premier League.

Ali Baba, who said he started supporting the Gunners in 1981, said the only thing keeping him going with the club is loyalty.

He said this while speaking on PUNCH Online interview programme, Kick&Follow, where football stars discuss topical issues in Nigerian and international football.

Arsenal are languishing in 15th place in the Premier League after their worst start to a league season since 1974-75.

Mikel Arteta’s team are just four points above the relegation zone and were thrashed 4-1 by Manchester City in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Commenting on the downward slide of the Gunners, Ali Baba said, “As a fan, I feel very bad especially with the fact that the Arsenal that we used to know, that had men play football, has watered down to underaged players who cannot match strength for strength with the players that we see these days.

“Just look at our defence, back in the days when you have (Patrick) Vieira, when you have Kanu Nwankwo, you will see that these are men and they will match you bone for bone, power for power. It is not these secondary school boys that are playing the game now, look at (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang.

“Football should be played by men. Look at the Manchester City team, they just have a sprinkling of smallies, may be two or three small boys. The real job is being done by (Sergio) Agüero and others because they have experience on their sides. This kindergarten team that we have is not the Arsenal that we used to know.

“I started following Arsenal since 1981 from the Barracks because most of the military men all followed Arsenal before Premiership even started. My dad supported Arsenal too but the Arsenal that we have now, the only thing keeping us there is loyalty.”

The comedian, however, expressed optimism that the London-based team would not be relegated, adding that ‘big boys’ should be injected into the team.

“We will not be relegated but from the time that we started coming fifth, sixth, you knew that the game was hot, and all you needed to do was to buy players and leave these feeder team to be playing underaged football. You can then bring one of them in to be playing with the big boys,” he said.