Showing posts from June, 2016

I’m going for medal at paralympics – Obiora

Being her second appearance at the Paralympic Games, Faith Obiora believes she would return to Nigeria with a medal at the end of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil. The captain of Team Nigeria to the 2010 Commonwealth Games told NationSport that with her preparation coupled with her experience, she is capable of clinching a medal in the para table tennis event of the games. “In Morocco, I must admit that it was not easy qualifying for the Paralympic Games but I think I worked hard for the qualification,” she said. Obiora, who has been training at the National Training Centre of the Lagos National Stadium, is in fine form the games while hoping that she would make it to the podium. Crowned African champion when she won the Women’s Singles Class 1-5 title in Agadir, Morocco last October, Obiora will be the one female amongst the three players from Nigeria who will be competing in the Brazilian city. Others are Ahmed Koleosho (Class 3) and Emmanuel Nick (Class 4) are…

Leicester to battle PSG, Sevilla and Lyon for Hatem Ben Arfa - Aulas

Hatem Ben Arfa has attracted attention from clubs across Europe after revitalising his career at Nice.Premier League champions Leicester City have entered the race to sign France international Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas believes.
Ben Arfa, 29, is in high demand after getting 17 league goals and six assists to help Nice finish fourth in Ligue 1.
This week Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla were confirmed as the favourites to sign the player after Nice admitted that they had given up hope of persuading him to sign a new contract.
 Ben Arfa is now a free agent and Aulas revealed that Lyon could face fresh competition in their bid to sign the former Newcastle attacker.

"With Ben Arfa it's a question of passion," Aulas said during an interview with Canal Plus on Tuesday. "He's close to our desire, our enthusiasm, our supporters.
"I really believe that he wants to come to Lyon. If he doesn't come, it would be for reasons that …

Chelsea close in on Marseille's Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi - reports

Michy Batshuayi is currently with the Belgium squad at Euro 2016. Chelsea are close to completing the signing of Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille in a deal worth £33 million, according to multiple reports. Batshuayi has been one of the most coveted players of the transfer window, with Marseille said to have rejected bids from West Ham and Juventus earlier this summer before Crystal Palace reportedly had an offer of £31.6m accepted on Monday.  L'Equipe, which first reported the story on Tuesday evening, reports that Chelsea have agreed to pay £33m to secure Batshuayi, making him the most lucrative sale in Marseille's history ahead of Didier Drogba, who made the same switch in the summer of 2004.  Batshuayi will reportedly undergo a medical at Belgium's Euro 2016 base in Bordeaux, where Marc Wilmots' men are preparing for Friday's quarterfinal clash with Wales in Lille, before signing a five-year contract. The deal would make the 22-year-ol…

England can wait for Arsene Wenger, others under contract - FA chief

The FC guys discuss the rumours that Gareth Southgate is set to become interim manager of England, with Arsene Wenger tipped to take over on a permanent basis. England could be willing to wait for a manager such as Arsenal's Arsene Wenger to complete his current contract as the Football Association searches for a manager to replace Roy Hodgson, chief executive Martin Glenn has suggested. Monday brought the well-travelled 68-year-old's turbulent four-year reign to a shuddering halt, with the shock Euro 2016 exit to Iceland in the last 16 leading to his immediate resignation. Talk swiftly turned to finding Hodgson's long-term successor, and Glenn would not rule out waiting until the end of the Premier League season should the right person then be available, with Wenger one such high-profile manager whose deal expires next summer. "It is a possibility, of course," he said when asked if he would be prepared to wait for a contract to expire. "If y…

Why Serena will go 'super protected' to Rio

‘I really loved going out there and competing...standing out there and being an Olympic athlete’
‘I'm going in with a whole mindset of how do I protect myself’

Serena Williams wants to defend her Olympic title.Serena Williams is intent on defending her Olympic titles in Rio and finds it sad that several athletes will miss out on an ‘amazing’ experience because of worries about the Zika virus.
The 34-year-old American, who won singles and doubles titles at London 2012, beat Amra Sadikovic 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon first round on Tuesday.
"My experience has been really amazing at the Olympics. I really loved going out there and competing...standing out there and being an Olympic athlete," Williams told reporters.
"It is really one of the best experiences that I've had."
Several high-profile athletes have said they will avoid the Olympics because of health fears. World number one golfer Jason Day announced on Tuesday that he would not go to Rio.

Euro 2016: Germany desperate to rewrite history vs Italy

Germany players applaud their supporters after their 3-0 win against Slovakia.Germany are determined to snap their tournament losing streak to Italy dating back almost half a century when the two meet in a Euro 2016 quarter-final on Saturday in Bordeaux, players said on Wednesday.
The world champions have lost to Italy in every single tournament knockout match they have played against them, starting from a 1970 World Cup semi-final.
They also lost the 1982 World Cup final, a 2006 World Cup semi-final in Germany and a Euro 2012 semi-final to them.
The Germans, four times World Cup winners like the Italians, have also met Italy on four occasions in group stages of tournaments, drawing every time and failing to record a single win over them.
"We have matured and developed but we know that everything is possible," Germany's goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke told reporters. "We know we have to bring a top performance but we are ready, ready to rewrite histo…

How will history remember Argentina's Messi

Lionel Messi does not need a Copa America win to feel like the king of the world. He captured that crown a long ago, says Dhruv Munjal

The look on Lionel Messi's face says it all after he fluffed his kick in the tie-breaker in the Copa America Centenario final between Argentina and Chile.In the end, the night of the supposed coronation turned into a diabolical night of abdication. Just that Lionel Messi does not need to win a Copa America to feel like the king of the world. He captured that crown long ago. And nobody can take that away.
Against Chile on Sunday night, the usual deadpan calm before Messi stepped up to take Argentina’s first spot kick in the shootout was palpable. The ball had been immaculately placed; no deep breaths, no jangling nerves. Just that familiar phlegmatic face. For a few nervy moments, the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford was the scene of the stirring climax of a Hollywood film: Time paused and everything stood still. Much to the horror o…

'Saina Nehwal can turn Olympic bronze into gold medal'

‘India's best chance of medals will come in the women's singles’
‘Saina has a lot more variety now’
‘Earlier her game was more or less predictable’
New-look Saina Nehwal primed for Rio success, says Prakash Padukone.
Saina Nehwal is better equipped to win a medal in Rio in August than the Indian shuttler was when she claimed a bronze at the London Olympics four years ago, former All England champion Prakash Padukone said.
Hopes that the former World No 1 can turn bronze into a first Olympic gold medal in the sport for her country were raised when Nehwal won the Australian Superseries title.
Rio will mark a third Olympics for Nehwal, who beat former world champions Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand and Wang Yihan before overpowering China's Sun Yu in the final in Sydney.
"Saina has a lot more variety now," former men's World No 1 Padukone said in an interview.
"I think she plays a lot more at the net now. Earlier her game was more or less predictable. Sh…

Euro Preview: Ronaldo poses biggest threat to Polish defense

Polish centre backs will face their toughest challenge yet when they come up against Portugal Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo attends the training.
Poland have an impressive defensive record at Euro 2016 but standing in their way to a semi-final spot is arguably one of sport's greatest-ever athletes, Cristiano Ronaldo. The monstrous Polish centre back pairing of Michal Pazdan and Kamil Glik face their toughest challenge yet when they come up against Portugal in the last-eight clash in Marseille on Thursday, though their previous matches have not provided much by way of preparation for facing the Real Madrid star. Describing 29-year-old Ronaldo as the 'perfect athlete', US lifestyle magazine Men's Health says he hits speeds of more than 32 kph, jumps nearly a metre in the air off one leg, runs an average of 16 km per match and hits more winners in the last 20 minutes than anyone else. He is the only player to have scored a goal in four Euros going back to 2004…

England to name Southgate as temporary manager?

‘Southgate is believed to have already been asked whether he is prepared to take over on a temporary basis’

Manager Gareth Southgate talks with his players during an England Under 21 training session.England under-21 coach Gareth Southgate looks likely to be put in temporary charge of the national team after the resignation of Roy Hodgson following the side's Euro 2016 exit, British media reported on Wednesday.
"Southgate is believed to have already been asked whether he is prepared to take over on a temporary basis and has indicated that he is," the Daily Telegraph said.
A three-man Football Association (FA) panel has begun the job of finding a successor to Hodgson, who resigned in the wake of England's humiliating 2-1 defeat by Iceland in the last 16 of the European Championship on Monday.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn has suggested that England might wait to fill the post because it is "such an important decision", meaning it is unlikely t…

Euro 2016: How the last 8 teams measure up

The stage is set for the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. Here's a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the last 8 teams in the fray.

BELGIUM Belgium's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring a goal against Hungary.
Belgium's tournament began with a 2-0 defeat by Italy, which prompted almost immediate recriminations, that included a round of clear the air talks between coach Marc Wilmots and his players. Since then they have begun to live up to expectations with the midfielders Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Axel Witsel shining in recent games. Striker Romelu Lukaku, who bore much of the criticism after spurning chances against Italy, has continued to lead the attack and looked sharp. Toby Alderweireld and Thomas Vermaelen have marshalled a defence that has not conceded in their last three games with the imposing Thibaut Courtois largely untroubled in goal. Yannick Carrasco had been the first choice for the right-hand side of the attack but lacked impact and was replaced for…

Euro 2016: Iceland want Leicester-type ending

Iceland players celebrate their team's 2-1 win against England.
Surprise Euro 2016 quarter-finalists Iceland want a fairytale ending to their run, like the one that Leicester City enjoyed when they stunned the soccer world by clinching the Premier League title this season, team coaches said on Wednesday. Leicester, with no big names in the squad, finished ahead of far more illustrious English clubs in what was one of the biggest upsets in club football. Iceland, in their first major tournament, have already taken the competition by storm, advancing past the group stage and then beating England 2-1 on Monday to set up a quarter-final clash with hosts France. "I think I would like it to end like it ended with Leicester City," Iceland joint coach Heimir Hallgrimsson told reporters. "They played on their strengths and we are trying to play on our strengths. "There is the same team spirit in both teams. We are willing to work for each other." While Ice…

Euro 2016: Spain veteran Casillas hints at retirement

Spain’s veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas.Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has given a strong indication that he will retire from international footbal after 16 years.
The 35-year-old did not play in any of Spain's four games at Euro 2016 with national team coach Vicente del Bosque picking Manchester United's David De Gea in goal.
Casillas, who made his debut in 2000 and is Spain's most capped player with 167 appearances, posted a video on his twitter account (@casillasworld) of a Rambo film with the dialogue saying: "I don't know where but I'm going."
"He then posted a message which said: "I'm proud to feel the love of the people today and as always, everyone together for the national team."
De Gea made a string of saves to keep Spain within striking distance of Italy on Monday before Antonio Conte's men got a late second goal for a 2-0 second-round win.
The goalkeeper also expressed hope for the future of the national tea…

Euro 2016: Lewandowski takes on less glamorous role for Poland

Poland's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after the penalty shootout and winning the match against Switzerland.It is a measure of the importance of captain Robert Lewandowski to Poland that the striker is the first name coach Adam Nawalka writes on the team sheet despite his goal drought at Euro 2016.
Most forwards who go more than 10 hours without scoring would be warming the bench and facing criticism from the media and fans.
But the Bayern Munich striker will be a key part of Poland's efforts to defeat Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Thursday's quarter-final in Marseille.
After scoring 13 goals in the qualifying, Lewandowski's statistics in his first four games in France make disappointing reading: no goals, two attempts on target, three attempts off target and three blocked attempts.
His best chance in the opening minutes against Ukraine flew
over the crossbar. Beyond a second chance in that game when he
turned his defender and shot just wide, he wa…

India lose to Germany in 6-Nations Tournament opener

Indian men's hockey team witnessed a disappointing start to its campaign at the six-nation Invitational tournament, losing 0-4 to Germany in their opening match in Valencia on Monday.
In a first quarter blitz, Germany took the lead in the fifth minute via Mats Grambusch.
Grambusch doubled Germany's lead minutes later before Moritz Furste scored a third in the 14th minute to take a 3-0 lead into the first break.
India came back stronger in the second quarter and soon started to make inroads into the German defence.
The Indians soon started playing tactically compact hockey, denying Germany the ball in scoring areas. The two teams went into the half time break with Germany leading 3-0.
The third quarter witnessed a tough battle as India, looking to get back into the game, started pushing forward in numbers.
Germany, defending deep and working on the counter, soon lost players to fouls —- first Martin Zwicker and then Christopher Wesley penalised for fouls. But Ind…

World number 772 Willis wins in Wimbledon dreamland

Great Britain's Marcus Willis celebrates with friends after winning his match against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis. World number 772 Marcus Willis proved the unlikeliest of home Wimbledon heroes on Monday, sealing a fairytale 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory over Ricardas Berankis, ranked more than 700 places up above him. Cheered on by a packed and rowdy crowd desperate for a British win on day one at the tournament, the Briton showed all the guts and guile he needed to get through two rounds of qualifying, as well as the coaching he does to pay the bills. Just winning the first-round match has guaranteed 25-year-old Willis 50,000 pounds ($66,000), so it was no surprise he fist-pumped and saluted every winner against the world number 54 from Lithuania like he was lifting the trophy on the final Sunday. He saved five break points in the eighth game of the final set before serving it out and he was greeted by near delirium on Court 17 before being swallowed up by the hugs of frie…

The greatest player ever at Wimbledon

No player has left such an impression on Wimbledon as Bjorn Borg, who won 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles.
Bjorn Borg on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have won more titles in the Open Era (since 1968) at Wimbledon. Federer alone has contested the most finals (10) at SW19. Federer, Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic have won more matches on the famed grass courts. But no man has left such an indelible impact at the All England Club as Bjorn Borg. The genial Swede, who turned 60 on June 6, won five consecutive Wimbledon titles before McEnroe stopped his charge in the 1981 final.
Borg followed by a television crew at his London hotel during the Wimbledon championships.
Though Federer has since matched the successive titles' record, Borg still owns the record for the best win percentage (93 per cent) -- with just four losses in nine appearances. He remains the lone player to have won the tournament without dropping a set,…

World No.1 golfer Day withdraws from Rio Olympics over Zika fears

Jason Day The world's top-ranked golfer Jason Day on Tuesday withdrew from August's Rio Olympics, citing fears over the Zika virus.

"The reason for my decision is my concerns about the possible transmission of the zika virus and the potential risks that it may present to my wife's future pregnancies and to future members of our family," the Australian said in a statement posted on Twitter. "While it has always been a major goal to compete in the Olympics on behalf of my country, playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family. I will not place them at risk," the 28-year-old Day added. Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, but a number of big names, including four-times major champion Rory McIlroy, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, have pulled out due to Zika concerns. The mosquito-borne Zika virus can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neur…

Serena, Kyrgios advance

Serena toils to scrappy win in opener Serena Williams reacts after winning a point during her first round match against Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland. Defending champion Serena Williams stuttered to a low-key and error-strewn 6-2, 6-4 first-round victory over Swiss qualifier Amra Sadikovic. Looking ill-at-ease, as though her quest for an elusive 22nd Grand Slam title was weighing heavily on her shoulders, Williams struggled with her serve and sprayed balls wide on both sides of the court. She served three double faults in the fifth game of the first set. It was Williams's first match since she lost the French Open final to Garbine Muguruza this month and the American should have had few problems against Macedonian-born Sadikovic, ranked 148th in the world and with little main tour experience. By turns urging herself on and telling herself off, Williams eventually secured match point when her opponent just missed a lob and sealed victory after challenging a wrong call when he…

Zenit St Petersburg star Hulk set to join Shanghai SIPG - reports

Shanghai SIPG are set to sign Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk, according to Chinese and Russian media. The Chinese Super League club are reportedly set to pay around €55 million to sign Brazil international Hulk, which would represent the league's most expensive ever deal. A source told the TASS news agency in Russia that the transfer fee would increase should Hulk score more than 15 goals. He is also reported to have agreed an annual salary of €20m, which would make him the CSL's best-paid player. Reports said Hulk, whose Zenit contract is due to expire in 2019, is set to arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Wednesday before undergoing a medical. The 29-year-old joined Zenit from Porto in 2012 and won the 2014-15 Russian Premier League title, when he also finished as top scorer, and the 2016 Russian Cup. He scored 77 goals in 147 games for the club. CSL clubs are restricted to five foreign players in their squad, with one of the five having to hold …

Moussa Dembele completes move from Fulham to Celtic

Moussa Dembele has officially completed his move to Celtic. Moussa Dembele has been confirmed as Brendan Rodgers' first signing as Celtic manager.
The highly rated French forward has signed a four-year contract at Celtic Park after leaving Fulham.

Spain fall short in a game of fine margins, but the future offers hope

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque says his side were 'timid' after they were beaten 2-0 in the last 16 by Italy at the Stade de France in Paris on Monday.
PARIS -- The answer to what has happened to Spain lies with Xavi Hernandez. And not just his absence from the national team, for that would be awfully simplistic. Xavi said in more than one interview that "because [Spain] tend to be a small, slight team, we have to be at our absolute utmost, in form, fit and passing well, in order to compete against a series of teams who are bigger, faster and stronger than us." While Spain ruled, they did so not simply because they were technically exquisite, nor even just because they had a clutch of historically good and inspirational footballers -- think Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Iker Casillas -- but also because they spent the vast majority of the period between 2007-13 training, preparing, thinking and then performing at their absolute maximum. To paraphr…

Iceland's win over England was no fluke: They earned it

Iceland fans share their raw emotions and first thoughts following the final whistle at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.
PARIS -- There were about 30 seconds after Iceland's historic triumph over England that would soften the hardest, most logical hearts. The players, soaked through and still in their dream state, stood on the grass, facing their delirious supporters. Their group-stage finale had been watched by an astonishing 99 percent of their country, either in person or on TV; 99.8 percent were watching now. Led by their bearded captain Aron Gunnarsson, Iceland's 23 and their adoring thousands clapped their hands in unison over their spinning heads. First they clapped once, then twice, then three times, each time a little more quickly than the last, until eventually their applause built to a crescendo that sounded like a hailstorm on a metal roof. It's in the pursuit of that moment that any of us watches sport. And that particular moment, one more of Iceland'…

Iceland 'should have beaten the English by a bigger score' - Ragnar Sigurdsson

Ragnar Sigurdsson scored Iceland's equaliser and went close with an acrobatic overhead kick.  Iceland defender Ragnar Sigurdsson says that England underestimated his side and could have lost Monday's round-of-16 game by a bigger score. Sigurdsson, 30, was named man of the match after an excellent display in the heart of defence during Iceland's stunning 2-1 win over England in Nice on Monday. And the scorer of Iceland's equaliser believes that England went into the game with the wrong attitude. "It's important to say it -- the English thought it was going to be an easy match," Sigurdsson said. "But we really have confidence in ourselves. "I dreamed of taking on England a few years ago. I'm happy that my wish has come true and above all to have beaten them." France will start as favourites to win Sunday's quarterfinal at the Stade de France, but Sigurdsson has called on Iceland to raise their game once more. "They're a goo…

England captain Wayne Rooney denies player revolt over Roy Hodgson

England captain Wayne Rooney has said reports that senior players had lost faith in manager Roy Hodgson during Euro 2016 were "completely untrue," in a statement to Press Association Sport. Reports had suggested that some players were upset about the changes in personnel, the use of Raheem Sterling in the XI against Iceland and some tactical decisions. However, Rooney hit out, claiming that was not true. "In response to the recent media reports, I'd like to say that [suggestions senior players lost faith in manager Roy Hodgson are] completely untrue," he said. "On behalf of the players, we completely supported the England manager but we understand his reasons for stepping down. "We had absolute faith in the build-up and throughout the tournament." Hodgson told a news conference that he had no regrets over anything at the tournament. "I do not know, it is too early and the emotions are too raw," he said. "I don't think …

Euro exit: English WAGs comfort the stars

England's Jamie Vardy with wife Rebekah Vardy at the end of the match The Wives and girlfriends of the England stars, playing in cash-rich Premier League, have rocked England shirts with their other-half's name on during the Euro 2016 in France. During the match against Iceland they were seen watching intensely from the stands at the stadium in Nice on Monday night.

President, Maradona urge Messi to stay with Argentina

Lionel Messi with Diego Maradona.  Argentina president Mauricio Macri has personally contacted star striker Lionel Messi and urged him not to call it quits to the national team. The 29-year-old Messi announced his retirement from the international football after missing his spot-kick in the decisive shootout as Argentina once again lost to Chile for a second straight year in the Copa America final at Met Life Stadium, the United States on Sunday. Macri said that he was really proud of the national team's performance and requested the Barcelona star not to listen to the criticism. The Argentina president also took to micro blogging website Twitter, asking Messi not to leave the team. "I never feel greater pride in our team. I hope the joy of seeing the best in the world will continue for many years more. #NoTeVayasLio," he tweeted. Meanwhile, Legendary Argentina footballer Diego Maradona also appealed the Barcelona talisman to reconsider his retirement plans for …