Kompany ready for run-in

first_imgVincent Kompany believes his extended absence with a calf injury was a legacy of rushing back too quickly from a similar problem last season. The Manchester City skipper was out for virtually two months before making a goalscoring return in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Newcastle. Kompany revealed he had never quite got back to full fitness last term, when his presence was essential to City’s successful championship quest. “Last season, when we were going towards the title, I didn’t have enough time to do the real rehabilitation,” he said. Press Associationcenter_img “Usually it takes three or four weeks. We took four or five days. Eventually it catches up with you. Now I have taken the right amount of time and I have put in the right amount of work as well. If anything I feel really strong now.” Along with Sergio Aguero, Kompany’s absence has proved to be a handicap City were not able to overcome. Now both men are back, though the only realistic aims are securing second spot and regaining the FA Cup. Yet Kompany is certain City would benefit from a positive final few weeks when they begin the challenge again next term. “I feel there is still a lot to look forward to,” he said. “Whichever way we finish this season might set us up for the next one. “I always remember the way we finished the season before last. We ended on equal points with Chelsea, which was a massive boost, secured a place in the Champions League and also won the FA Cup. The year after that we went on to win the title. The end of one season has an impact on how you start the next one.” In the final analysis, manager Roberto Mancini will cite a lack of goals for his side’s failure to retain the championship won in such thrilling fashion on the last day of last season. With Carlos Tevez netting for the seventh time in eight games against the Magpies and Kompany scoring the first since his winner in last term’s Manchester derby, it is easy to wonder both why City have ended up in this situation and also whether they are only hitting top form because the pressure valve has been turned off. Mancini denies the latter situation is true. “When you play for a strong team like us, you always have pressure,” he said. “You should have pressure. We are in second but we still have to work hard because Tottenham are close and Chelsea are the same.” last_img read more

Crouch keen to extend Stoke stay

first_img The former England international is out of contract in the summer and so could now open negotiations with foreign clubs over a potentially lucrative Bosman free transfer abroad. However, the much-travelled frontman – who joined Stoke from Tottenham in late August 2011 and has been reported to be interesting former Potters boss Tony Pulis at West Brom – would prefer to stay on at the Britannia Stadium, with manager Mark Hughes keen to retain him. Striker Peter Crouch hopes a deal can be agreed to extend his stay at Stoke past the end of the season. “I don’t know what will happen in the future but at the moment, for the foreseeable future, I am happy playing for Stoke,” said Crouch. “My contract is up at the end of the season so I don’t know what the future will hold, but at the moment I will just continue to do what I do – that is work hard and hopefully score some goals.” Crouch added: “It is nice to hear when the manager has got belief in you and hopefully I can stay here for a few more years after this.” Stoke could not unsettle Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the same way they had in the home Barclays Premier League game before Christmas, and were well beaten 3-0. Crouch, though, relished his “gigantic” battle with 6ft 6in German defender Per Mertesacker. “I have always enjoyed it, I don’t want to give any defenders an easy ride and hopefully you can put yourself about to unsettle them,” he said. “I have tried to do that and always try to do.” Stoke fell behind early after sloppy defending allowed Laurent Koscielny a free header in the six-yard box, and from then on could just not contain the rampant Gunners as Alexis Sanchez struck twice either side of the break. Crouch said: “We have to try to stop them playing, to get in about them. They have world class players so if you let them play they are going to punish you and that is what happened. “In the game at home we did not let them play, we did not let them have any space and we played to our strengths. “The early goal here killed us and we were not able to get back from that.” The defeat was a first in four games and Stoke are 11th ahead of the visit to Leicester. Crouch said: “I think it has been a good season and that we can finish in the top half of the league. “Apart from at Arsenal we have been in every game we have played. Even in the games we have lost we have given a good account of ourselves.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Alessandro Fried, BtoBet: Fighting back against the franchise

first_img SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 StumbleUpon BtoBet grows Nigerian presence with Booster99 deal August 26, 2020 Related Articles BtoBet refines African SMS payment options with Tola Mobile  August 20, 2020 Share Share Submit BtoBet CEO Alessandro Fried believes that operators risk becoming merely a franchise of their platform provider if they take an off-the-shelf product with a prescribed user experience.Fried said that it does not make sense from a business point of view for an operator to opt to deliver the exact same user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to many of its market competitors. “In the betting market, you have on one side tier 1 operators such as bet365 or William Hill that have their own tech and develop their own UX,” he explained. “On the other side, many of the platform providers deliver not only the platform with their technology, but also the UX as they envision it. This creates a scenario where platform providers are delivering and transferring the same experience to their customers, with nothing that distinguishes one brand from the other in terms of UX.“Each of their customers then get the same betting experience, so the operator is not delivering its own experience. Ultimately it is the wrong approach to be undertaken because operators are becoming franchises of the same UX that comes part and parcel with the technology that is delivered from the service providers.”By contrast, Fried stated that BtoBet has dealt with this problem by disconnecting the whole UX aspect from the core platform technology, thus “unlocking the potential for each bookmaker to create their own individual player experience”.Individual operators working with BtoBet now have the freedom to differentiate totally the UI and UX for each channel through key elements – especially from a mobile perspective – such as front-end visualizations, side menus, and the way that the players access and interact with their betting slips.“Yes, the core technology and the core platform that BtoBet provides its partners to manage their operations is still the same,” said Fried. “A bet is always a bet, the risk is always the same, just as the odds are always odds. However, the way you present this makes all the difference. The way you deliver the UX and the way you engage your target players is totally unique, distinct, and reflects the operator’s own vision.“We have already undertaken this approach with multiple partners operating in the same region and the same market, yet employing different strategies to acquire and retain players, with distinct betting experiences and interfaces.“One has to also keep in mind that not all operators are ready, mature, and have the required infrastructure to undertake such an approach. This is why BtoBet has launched the White Label Partnership Program which caters highly customizable off-the-shelf solutions that can represent the first step to undertake their own brand UX.“Through this two-tiered approach we are able to cater for a wider set of customers with BtoBet positioning itself as the ideal technical partner to provide the necessary support, providing our experts to help them develop their brand identity and experience.” Despite its experience across gaming jurisdictions worldwide, BtoBet does not impose its own interpretation of the right experience upon its partners.Fried said: “For the bigger operators prepared to exploit the full flexibility of our sportsbook platform, there are two options. Either they have the knowledge and people to build it themselves, or we send a UX analyst and assign a team of developers to carry out the changes they want. The more a market matures, the more such an approach will reap its benefits.”BtoBet might have made its name in the industry through servicing emerging markets, particularly across Africa and LatAm, but this was more a case of taking the right opportunities as they came, rather than anything from a technical standpoint.  “The technology gives us the option to be present in any market,” said Fried. “Africa presented us with the ideal scenario. Mobile was strongly emerging, diverse payment methods as well. It was the perfect moment to acquire a leading position.“Similarly with LatAm, we are present in almost all the countries because it is also in a phase where the region is transitioning from grey to regulated markets. It is the perfect moment to acquire a position and be ready for regulation in the likes of Brazil and Peru.”Fried added: “Many industry players deem us as being the door to the iGaming industry in Africa. Why? Because we have adapted our technology for this market.“Yet this need for efficiency should never dictate delivery of just a standardized offer. When you take an off-the-shelf product, the process is already defined. You log in, deposit, select a bet, and subsequently place a bet. But if you want to innovate, there are various things one could do. “Let’s take the registration process as an example. In some countries the regulations in place allow you to obtain the data from the players through the payment method itself. One has to keep in mind that the freedom involved in building the UX is not restricted to just the front-end design, but the holistic approach of player acquisition and retention, even for things such as registration, the log-in process, the deposits, and cash-out.“Africa is a market in its infancy and requires a certain approach. Europe is totally different. It is a mature market, requiring its own strategy, with operators approaching us in order to depart from the legacy path to undertake a more flexible and scalable approach from a compliance point of view.“You have these established tier one operators who own their own tech and put resources into building the right UX. But they can get a little stuck when they want to move into other countries because they have a problem in adapting their technology. Expansion into new markets is therefore quite a challenge.“What they can do is migrate from one technology to something better. It is something we do, but we acknowledge that it is a difficult decision to make. However, we can achieve compliance for any given country very quickly because of the flexibility of our platform.”Finally, Fried revealed that BtoBet is waiting for the buzz to subside in the US, where the PASPA repeal brought about a frenzied fight for first mover advantage in May of last year.“There is a rush, but there’s no product at the moment,” he explained. “We are waiting for the market to mature a little bit so operators fully appreciate what we can give to them. “I think a lot of the earliest adopters will either fail or take just a small part of the business because they will adopt the European experience in the US. “When this buzz dies down, operators will be more knowledgeable about what tools they need to be successful in this market which is more advanced than its European counterparts in terms of UX, and the way technology transfer this UX. It is completely different from other jurisdictions in terms of entertainment and the betting experience itself.”last_img read more