Hello readers , welcome to another Saturday edition of sports weekly on EB. Today we have lots of updates ranging from shores of Nigeria to Global.
Below are the Headlines:
- WAYNE ROONEY GUTTED BY INJURY BLOW
- OSAZE ODEMWINGIE 2.5M
- LOCAL NNWL FOOTBALL SCANDAL 146 GOALS , NFF YET TO MATCH REPORTS
- MOURINHO DROPS MIKEL , PICKS MOSES FOR ASIAN TOUR
- NSC DG INVITED TO EXPLAIN HOW THEY SPENT 3BN – GAIYA
- DOLPHINS FC SIGNS 6 NEW PLAYERS
- FEMALE BASKETBALL: AFROBASKETBALL WOMEN 2013 CAMP ENDS , NBBF
- TEAM NIGERIA TO TAKE PART IN SIX SPORTS , NOC CHAIRMAN , NDANUSA
- COMMUNIQUE OF MEETING OF CLUB OWNERS AND MANAGERS
- KESHI INVITES 24 FOR ABIDJAN CRACKER
- MARION BARTOLI OVERWHELMS SABINE LISICKI TO WIN WIMBLEDON TITLE
- ANDY MURRAY WINS WIMBLEDONWITH EMPHATIC VICTORY OVER NOVAK DJOKOVIC
- EAGLES UNDER PROBE FOR BONUS SAGA
- REFREE BEHEADED IN BRAZIL AFTER KILLING FOOTBALLER
- GOLDEN EAGLETS SCREENING
- SUNDAY OLISEHS REPLY TO SUPER EAGLES HEAD COACH , STEPHEN KESHI ON HIS TWITTER PAGE
Now the news update in detail……………………..
WAYNE ROONEY GUTTED BY INJURY BLOW
Wayne Rooney has been left unhappy after an injury blow forced his exit from the Manchester United pre-season camp in Asia.
Rooney revealed on Thursday he was ‘gutted’ to be leaving the tour but shared his manager’s opinion that the injury is unlikely to keep him out of the start of the new season.
“Gutted to have picked up a niggling injury especially as training was going so well, heading back to Manchester to have it assessed fully but early indications are nothing to worry about,” he said on his Facebook page as he headed for the airport.
The hamstring problem means Rooney will miss the trips to Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, in addition to United’s tour opener against Singha All Stars in Bangkok on Saturday.
According to initial calculations Rooney’s one month on the sidelines would also mean the England international could miss the Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley on August 11.
Rooney’s obvious lack of match practice further makes him doubtful for England’s friendly with Scotland and the Premier League opener at Swansea on August 17.
OSAZE ODEMWINGIE SWOOP FOR £2.5M
Crystal Palace gaffer Ian Holloway is to make a £2.5m swoop for controversial West Brom and Nigeria forward Osaze Odemwingie. Holloway wants the all action striker to join ‘The Eagles’ and give them extra variety in their attack as they try to maintain an EPL status.
Odemwingie is out of favour at ‘The Hawthorns’ after his bizarre attempt to force a move to QPR in January. Albion will take less money for Odemwingie than they wanted in the last window, but they are prepared to get him off their books.
The former Lokomotiv Moscow star was previously linked with Swansea City in the past.
MOURINHO DROPS MIKEL , PICKS MOSES FOR ASIAN TOUR
Super Eagles and Chelsea holding midfielder John Obi Mikel was excluded in coach Jose Mourinho‘s squad that jetted out to South East Asia for their pre-season tour while compatriot Victor Moses made the trip.
The travelling squad list made available on the club’s official website revealed that the Nigerian star who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Turkey will not be part of the Blues’s preparations for the coming season.
Accompanying Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff during the first leg of the tour in Thailand will be a star-studded group of players including 17 full internationals, plus a selection of the promising young talent being developed by the club and all three new signings Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and Mark Schwarzer..
First stop is Bangkok where the players will take part in a week-long training and attend coaching clinics in the local community before the first match of the tour next Wednesday. After that the capital cities of Malaysia and Indonesia will host the Blues for further games.
The travelling squad:
Petr Cech, Mark Schwarzer, Jamal Blackman, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Tomas Kalas, Ashley Cole, Ryan Bertrand, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Josh McEachran, Marco van Ginkel, Ramires, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Andre Schurrle, Demba Ba, Romelu Lukaku, Sam Walker, Nathaniel Chalobah, Lucas Piazon, Islam Feruz.
LOCAL NNWL FOOTBALL SCANDAL 146 GOALS , NFF YET TO MATCH REPORTS
The Nigeria Football Federation say they are yet to receive match reports, five days after the two National Amateur League games that produced a record 146 goals last weekend.
In a mind-boggling show of shame never previously witnessed in Nigeria football, Plateau United Feeders somehow manufactured a 79-0 victory over Akurba FC while Police Machine FC demolished Babayaro FC 67-0.
The two matches were alleged to have been fixed, as the winning teams are gunning for promotion.
A member of the NFF Disciplinary and Organizing Committee, Mike Umeh told Vanguard that his committee is still waiting for the match commissioner’s match report, before it can take any action.
“We are yet to get the report” he said.
“But I can assure you that every individual involved in those matches; the referees, match commissioners, club officials, players, even the state FA officials and everybody that had a role to play in the two games have some explaining to do.”
Although the four clubs and the results have been suspended, we are yet to take the final action as regards this case. The Amateur League has a board and not until they submit their report to the Disciplinary and Organizing Committee, there is not much we can do.
Football fans are watching with keen interest what action the Nigerian FA will take in order to prevent a re-occurrence.
NSC DG INVITED TO EXPLAIN HOW THEY SPENT 3BN – GAIYA
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Honorable Godfrey Gaiya, has defended the invitation of the new Director General of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye, by the Reps, adding that it was to give proper details of how the spent the money allocated to them.
Elegbeleye was last week summoned by the House Committee on Public Account, to come and explain how N3bn was spent by the Sports ministry in the last three years.
Gaiya said the House of Representatives has over 80 committees and one of such is the one on public account and that if money given are not properly retired, the committee has the right to invite whosoever to give further details and explanations as regards the subject matter.
He emphasized that the activities of the Committee are not purely on current issues as the new DG came in barely one or two months ago.
Elegbeleye was appointed as the new DG of the NSC, after Dr Patrick Ekeji retired in April.
DOLPHINS FC SIGNS 6 NEW PLAYERS
Dolphins have confirmed the addition of six new players to their fold following activity during the recently closed mid-season transfer window.
Stanley Eguma, head coach of the side says the massive recruitment of players was very necessary because of the apparent loss of a few players that represented Nigeria at the World Youth Championships in Turkey.
He said they had four of their players in Turkey with the Flying Eagles and they stayed away so long.
He revealed that he was not even sure of how many of the players will return to the club because they all did well at the championship and thus, so going to the market was number one priority for the management.
Austin Ekpoma, a midfielder and Nassem Abubakar also a midfielder joined from Gombe United while Ambrose Onyeama, a left full back was hooked up from Rangers Inernational.
Moses Eneji, a winger signed up from Unicem Rovers while Eze Chidiebere, a goalkeeper, crossed over from Gabros.
The club also signed up Omo Johnson, a striker from Warri Wolves.
Omo Johnson has already made his debut for the club as a second half substitute against Akwa United on Monday.
FEMALE BASKETBALL: AFROBASKETBALL WOMEN 2013 CAMP ENDS , NBBF
The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has revealed that the camping exercise for the women’s national team to select home-based players for the Afrobasket 2013 team has ended successfully.
He said the exercise was to select players to join the foreign-based players in a closed camp in Abuja. Fifteen players from the Zenith League had been invited to the one-week camping exercise at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos under the tutelage of head coach, Scott Nnaji and assisted by coaches Lateef Erinfolami, Aderemi Adewunmi and Emmanue Odah.
The players are Nkechi Akashili, Magdalene Ukato, Amaka Nwakamma, Atosu Upe, Grace Okonkwo, Evelyn Akhator, Nkem Akarawe, Nkoyo George, Theresa Samuel, Lillian Okwadi, Nana Sule, Regina Lornumbe, Lina Ubol Dong, Funmi Ojelabi and Chioma Udeaja.
The shortlisted players are from seven league teams namely: First Deepwater, Dolphins, First Bank, Sunshine Angels, FCT Angels, Plateau Rocks and Nigeria Customs.
Nnaji said the names of successful players will be revealed in the coming days before closed camping scheduled for August.
TEAM NIGERIA TO TAKE PART IN SIX SPORTS , NOC CHAIRMAN , NDANUSA
Team Nigeria will take part in six sports at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 3.
In a press statement released, after a meeting of the Executive and Board members of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, at the Boardroom of the NOC, President Sani M. Ndanusa named the sports as Athletics, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Table Tennis, Boxing (male and female) and Para Sports.
The Para Sports are in Athletics, Table Tennis and Power-lifting. There are 17 Sports on the programme for the Commonwealth Games. They include – Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby Sevens, Shooting, Squash Rackets, Swimming, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
Ndanusa said that as part of preparations for the Games, a Nigerian delegation comprising of NOC and NSC officials visited Glasgow (June 18 to June 20) to meet with the Organising Committee of the Games on vital issues relating to the Games.
He said that everything relating to Team Nigeria’s successful outing in the Commonwealth Games were on track.
Also, Technical Commission Chairman of NOC, Dr Daniel Igali dismissed fears that Team Nigeria was yet to start preparations for the Games. Igali, who is also the President of Wrestling Federation of Nigeria, said all the Sports concerned are doing well and that the Wrestlers are preparing and will soon hit camp. He added that serious preparation is on-going.
Seven out of Eight Executive members of the NOC attended the meeting while 18 Federation Presidents of their representatives out of the 24 Olympic Sports attended.
COMMUNIQUE OF MEETING OF CLUB OWNERS AND MANAGERS
Communique issued at the end of a meeting of premier league Club Chairmen and Managers
(Club Owners) held on Thursday 11th July 2013 at the Lamonde Hotel Wuse 2 Abuja with all the 20 Clubs in attendance.
1- Club Owners met and once again reviewed the state of the league so far and called for a joint effort of all the relevant stakeholders to move the League forward.
2- Club owners enjoined the LMC to spell out stiffer sanctions on clubs that cause prevention of Live or Video coverages of matches as well as those involved in assault of match officials.
3- On the lingering crisis over Title and TV right sponsorship, Club owners urged the LMC and all
the parties involved to respect all existing contractual agreements and MOU inorder to avoid
4- The club owners have set up a 5-man Transition committee headed by
Barrister S.B Aluko of kwara united to advise the association and guide us on how best to approach the forth-coming election into the League board, in line with FIFA Standard Electoral code. Other members of the committee are zanna Mala (Elkanemi), Dumbor Awanen (Dolphin), Alabi Demola( 3SC), Oscar Keke(Heartland) Secretary.
5- Club owners also derecognize, dissassociate self from any purported interview conducted to recruit any new staff for the League. However the Clubs advised the LMC to ensure that salaries of existing staff are paid promptly as well as to ensure training and retraining of existing staff for efficiency.
Communique Drafting Committee: Alh. Abba Yola (kano pillars), Chairman, Mallam Farouk Yarma (Gombe utd) Member, Odogu Akpofini (Bayelsa utd) Member, Alloy Chukwuemeka( ABS FC) member.
KESHI INVITES 24 FOR ABIDJAN CRACKER
Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, on Thursday called to camp 24 players who will fight for shirts in the 2014 African Nations Championship final qualifying leg against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, in Abidjan on July 27.
All the players are expected to report in Abuja on Monday, 15th July. Only 20 players will make the trip to Cote d’Ivoire’s industrial and
African U-12: ITF invites Osewa, Quadri
The International Tennis Federation, has selected two Nigerian tennis players, Michael Osewa and Barkat Quadri, to attend the African U-12 and Under Talent Identification Project in Casablanca, Morocco.
According to the Acting Secretary of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Dano Garba, the two young players were selected to attend the programme scheduled for between August 30 and September 6 based on their performance at the West and Central Africa Qualifiers in Lome, Togo last January.
ITF’s Tennis Development Officer, Michelle Munn-Mace, had in the invite letter sent to the NTF reiterated the performance of the two players.
Munn-Mace hinted that while in Casablanca, the players will take part in practice matches as well as feature in fitness and psychological tests before kick-off of competition proper on Sunday, September 1. They will represent West African Team in the 12 and Under African Inter-zonal Championships 2013.
4TH EDITION VACATION TENNIS CLINIC FOR BEGINNERS’ CALENDAR OUT, OLARINOYE. (WEB COPY)
The National Sports Commission, Southwest zone one has perfected plans to host the 4th edition Vacation Tennis Clinic for beginners (ages 5-12 years) between 1st – 10th August, 2013.
The clinic which will be the fourth edition is being organized to motivate youth in developing interest in the game, thereby raising a new breed of tennis players who would represent their states/country in the nearest future.
According to the Zonal Coordinator Dr. Steve Olarinoye, the vacation tennis clinic which will hold between 9am and 12 noon each day, has recorded huge success at the previous editions, adding that this edition is aiming at consolidating on the successes recorded at the previous editions.
He added that Kayrom Lee Nigeria Limited will also partner the zone at this year’s edition.
Dr Steve Olarinoye however advised interested parents/schools to obtain the registration form(s) at Sports Development office of Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.
The Zonal coordinator reiterated that professional coaches will be on ground to train the children and enjoined participants to come with their rackets and training kits.
He further added that trophies and gift items will be distributed to outstanding players at the clinic while certificate of participation will be awarded to all registered participants.
Dr. Steve Olarinoye assured parents of maximum security of their children during the period.
To witness the occasion are Manager/Directors of Sports in the zone, Sports philanthropist, Parents, Proprietors and Proprietress of schools from far and near.
economic capital on July 24.
Keshi has invited four new players, including one defender, onemidfielder and two strikers, in line with a pledge to inject a few new faces following last Saturday’s opening leg win at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
Kwara United’s former junior international defender Ganiyu Ogungbe, Kano Pillars’ midfielder Rabiu Mohammed, junior international striker Abdullahi Gero of Enugu Rangers and Osadinye Joseph of Warri Wolves are the new birds at hand.
Ace playmaker Sunday Mba, who scored two goals and made two others in the commanding 4-1 win, tops the list that also includes goalkeeper and skipper Chigozie Agbim, defenders Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwuekwe and Chibuzor Okonkwo, as well as midfielders Olufemi Oladapo and Ayo Saka, and forwards Muhammad Gambo, Ifeanyi Edeh and Dele Olorundare.
Having never previously qualified for the African Nations Championship– the flagship tournament for players plying their trade in their country’s domestic League in the continent – Nigeria has a firm leg in next year’s finals in South Africa, and Coach Keshi has promised there would be no room for the Ivorians to attempt a spectacular come-back
in the return leg at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny.
THE FULL LIST
GOALKEEPERS: Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland FC)
DEFENDERS: Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves FC); Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars FC); Ganiyu Ogungbe (Kwara United FC); Kwambe Solomon (Sunshine Stars FC); Chibuzor Okonkwo (Enugu Rangers FC); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars FC); Benjamin Francis (Heartland FC); Ezekiel Bassey (Lobi Stars FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Sunday Mba (Enugu Rangers FC); Rabiu Mohammed (Kano Pillars FC); Olufemi Oladapo (Shooting Stars FC); Ayo Saka (Enyimba FC); Mohammed Jiya (Bayelsa United FC)
STRIKERS: Muhammad Gambo (Kano Pillars); Gomo Onduku (Bayelsa United FC); Ifeanyi Edeh (Enyimba FC); Ezekiel Mbah (Akwa United FC); Abdullahi Gero (Enugu Rangers FC); Osadinye Joseph (Warri Wolves FC); Haruna Babalo (El-Kanemi Warriors FC); Etebo Oghene (Warri Wolves FC); Dele Olorundare (Sunshine Stars FC)
D’TIGERS LOSSES; WE ARE NOT BOTHERED, NBBF PRESIDENT, UMAR
President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tijani Umar has defended the poor outing of the Men’s Basketball team, D’Tigers at an invitational tourney in China, adding that it is a learning process for the team.
At the Stankovic cup in China, Nigeria could only manage one win in the tournament, in the game played against China, and losing their last game against Australia.
But Umar did not believe much should be attributed to the streak of defeats, adding that they will learn from the outing.
He said it depends on the players and what the coaches are looking but belives that the team will be a good big team and the sky will be the limit for them ahead of the Afro basket championship.
D’Tigers will now tour USA and Europe in preparation for the Afro Basket Championship taking place in Abidjan.
RESULTS OF GAMES IN THE DSTV PREMIER BASKETBALL LEAGUE ROUND 23 SEASON
DODAN WARRIORS 70-58 OLUYOLE WARRIORS
LAGOS ISLANDERS 52-59 EBUN COMETS
UNION BANK 58-70 POLICE BATON
Coach of Dodan Warriors, Peter Favour Ahmedu team accused officials of poor officiating to favor Oluyole Warriors, while Coach of Oluyole Warriors, Yomi Abiodun was also blaming the referee for poor decision taken during the game. both coaches were however optimistic that the Nigeria Basketball Federation will do something about the officiating in subsequent games as they approach the end of the regular season proir to the final 8 games coming up in Lagos.
MARION BARTOLI OVERWHELMS SABINE LISICKI TO WIN WIMBLEDON TITLE
There are some players for whom winning comes easy, who breeze through life and mop up the sport’s biggest trophies without really knowing how it all happened. For others, such as France’s Marion Bartoli, the journey is so filled with obstacles that it must seem as if their dreams will go unfulfilled. No more. The 28-year-old has added her name to the list of Wimbledon champions with a 6-1, 6-4 win over a distraught, overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
This was Bartoli’s 47th grand slam appearance – the highest number made by any woman before winning a slam title, surpassing Jana Novotna’s 45 before her 1998 victory at Wimbledon. Bartoli is also the first Wimbledon champion to use two hands on both sides and the first French player to win a grand slam since Amélie Mauresmo won here in 2006. And she did it all without dropping a set.
Mauresmo, now her coach, was in Bartoli’s box for the final as the 15th seed wrapped up victory in 81 minutes, a late rally from the No23 seed proving far too little, too late. The German had beaten the world No1 and defending champion Serena Williams and grand slam winners Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur to reach her first final, but froze on the biggest stage of all, unable to show off her undoubted talent.
It was ironic that Bartoli should clinch victory with an ace – just her second of the match – because she leads the women’s tour in double faults. Her serve, with all its idiosyncrasies, could never be called a thing of beauty but when it was really needed, it came good. “Finishing with an ace, in my wildest dreams I’d never believe it,” she smiled. “I have practised my serve for so long, at least I kept it for the best moment.
“Just to finish on an ace to win Wimbledon and see the chalk come out of the line, I could see it in slow motion. I could see the ball landing, the chalk come out, it’s an ace, and I just win Wimbledon. You can’t describe that kind of feeling. You cannot put any words to what I feel in this moment. I can’t believe I won Wimbledon this year. We’ll have to see the pictures, to see the match again on DVD to kind of start to realise it.”
Bartoli had the edge in experience, having reached the final here in 2007, yet Lisicki had been expected to unleash the kind of power that had been too much for Williams. But tennis can be a cruel sport; the biggest stages owned by those with confidence but a vast, lonely cavern for those who struggle to handle the occasion. For Lisicki, it was little short of a nightmare.
Nicknamed Boom Boom by the German media thanks to her huge serve, the 23-year-old Lisicki was nervous and horribly unable to play her usual, powerful game. Though Bartoli double-faulted twice to drop serve in the opening game, Lisicki handed it straight back and as she pushed her forehands and serves instead of hitting them with her usual conviction, she fell apart.
Bartoli won five straight games to take the opening set. The German had four break points to take a 2-0 lead in the second set but made four tame errors and when Bartoli forged ahead 4-1, Lisicki could not hold back the tears.
At 5-1, Lisicki found her game, hitting with power and intent to save three match points and when she recovered to 5-4, anything seemed possible. But Bartoli held strong and secured victory with her second ace. The pair embraced warmly at the net, then, as Lisicki sat, head in hands, Bartoli ran to the stands to be greeted by her father Walter, and her family and friends, including Pat Cash and Goran Ivanisevic.
In the buildup to the final, Bartoli had spoken about how personal problems, off the court, had left her at rock bottom. Her relationship with her father, who has been her coach for most of her life, has never been ultra-smooth and at times it seems his ideas for his daughter’s tennis, which at one stage involved asking her to put on a bit of extra weight to increase her power, appear to verge on the crazy. He had been conspicuous by his absence for the previous six matches but was there to see Bartoli win her first grand slam title. “Going through those hard moments makes this one even better,” she said.
Bartoli is not exactly your average tennis player. Her ticks and quirks on court would be enough to drive most players to distraction, but she also has an innate ability to take the ball early, to hammer it at pace and to deny her opponents the time they crave. And her mental strength got her through on the biggest stage of all. “I’m a very tough person,” she said. “I played the whole second set with probably a 25-cent size blister under my big toe. When I took my sock off it was red of blood. I didn’t show anything. I can focus and be really as strong as wood. You cannot see what I’m going through.”
She is also far from boring and is unusually intelligent, with a reported IQ of 175. “It’s always been a part of my personality to be different,” she said. “I think being just like the other one is kind of boring. I really embrace the fact of being a bit different and doing something that not everyone is absolutely doing.”
Lisicki simply admitted she could not handle the occasion. “I was overwhelmed by the whole situation,” she said. “Credit to Marion, she handled it perfectly. She had been here before. She deserves it and I hope I get the chance to come back and try again.”
Wherever she goes, whatever she does from here, Bartoli will always be a Wimbledon champion. Can she win more? “I have absolutely no idea, but one is pretty good for me,” she said.
“Wimbledon champ, even if I don’t get another one, I will still be very proud of it. Of course I’m going to try my hardest to get some more. Now that I get one, I definitely believe I can get more of them.”
ANDY MURRAY WINS WIMBLEDONWITH EMPHATIC VICTORY OVER NOVAK DJOKOVIC
Andy Murray shook free 77 years of unwanted history as we suspected he might, unaware of exactly how it happened and grateful for the affection of a nation that helped him beat Novak Djokovic in three pulsating, ragged sets to win Wimbledon on the sunniest of Sundays.
It was one of those moments that will forever be bathed in a glow of palpable warmth, from the crowd and the skies above the opened roof of Centre Court.
That the tennis that preceded the most nerve-shredding of final moments varied hugely in quality did not matter. Murray, stretching emotions to the limit, needed four match points to break the resistance of the toughest fighter in tennis and said afterwards: “I have no idea what happened. I don’t know how long it was. Sorry.”
But he has nothing to be sorry for. All that counted in the end were the numbers and they should be etched in the national psyche alongside those that football left us: 4-2 and 1966. After just three hours and nine minutes – way quicker than nearly anyone expected – Murray beat Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Now we can say for a little while yet that the last British player to win the men’s singles championship at Wimbledon was Andy Murray, the first one, too, in shorts. Thank you, Fred Perry, we will leave you in peace.
Murray laid that ghost with all his idiosyncrasies intact, the nerves and the grimaces, the amazing gets and the odd inexplicable blunder. There was a healthy level of good serving, with nine aces and only two double faults, lots of running in the stifling heat and a determination to beat the world No1 into the green grass.
Djokovic was as gracious as we knew he would be. “The bottom line [is] he was the better player in decisive moments,” the Serb said. “He was getting some incredible points on the stretch, running down the drop shots all over the court. He played fantastic tennis, no question. I believed I could come back but it wasn’t my day.”
So, their “professional friendship”, as Murray said earlier, is undisturbed. As for absent friends, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be emphatically reminded that their hegemony is over. They will come again, no doubt, but not with the certainty that marked their long reign at the top.
The world No1 and No2 players were the rightful finalists here. They may be again in New York in September and Australia after that. This is a journey worth following. Yet the match was not at all what we had expected. In their three previous grand slam deciders they had gone to the very limits in a total of 12 sets. Here there were three. But Murray says they were every bit as draining, every bit as tough.
He had seven break points inside 20 minutes before cracking the Djokovic serve in the third game with a beautifully disguised backhand down the line. There were to be several more of those.
Dropping serve immediately after a break is a bad habit Murray looked to have kicked but he faltered to let Djokovic off the hook at 2-2 and it would set the pattern for both of them for most of the match. Murray had 17 chances to break and took seven of them. Djokovic broke Murray four times from 13 opportunities. That created the difference in the end.
The elements also played a role. Murray, who does not like wearing a cap, repeatedly caught the sun in his eyes on his ball toss to double-fault twice, aced and fought through three deuce points to hold in the eighth game.
Djokovic, who was gesturing to his box about his breathing, held serve to stay in the set as word filtered through from the umpire’s office that the court temperature was 49C with little or no breeze save that from the distant wafting of fans among the baked gathering. This was a day when the ritual brow-wiping between points was more than a muscle-memory tic.
After an hour’s absorbing tennis, Murray pocketed the first set to love, serving too big and too accurately for Djokovic. There was a curious but fair symmetry to one set of numbers: Djokovic hit 17 unforced errors in the set and six winners, Murray hit six unforced errors and 17 winners.
Djokovic looked a little weary and impatient with his lapses but his frustration bloomed into grit and he was soon striking the ball fiercely again, just as Murray’s consistency dipped. He dropped serve in the fourth game of the second set with the sloppiest of netted forehands. When Djokovic held without fuss to lead 4-1 after an hour and a half, he bristled with energy again. Murray clung to his towel like a security blanket between points, imploring his box to do, well, who knows what?
The net became peskier, the sun more irritating – he had finally reached for his cap – and he was relying on mistakes at the other end to help him rediscover his zest. It returned almost as quickly as it had disappeared, as Djokovic double-faulted at the end of the seventh game.
There was no clear dominance on either side of the net. What had started as an even and engaging struggle of high quality had become a lottery of missed opportunities. Then, with no challenges left, at 5-5 and 15-all on his serve, Djokovic went ballistic, a rare sight.
Murray undercut a return that floated near the baseline at the Serb’s feet and was called good. It enraged this normally imperturbable competitor that the chair umpire refused to overrule the call and his anger got the better of him when he belted a forehand into the tape to give Murray the serve for a two-set lead. He did it with an ace. Djokovic’s error count mounted steadily in the final set, hitting 40 in the end, nearly twice as many as his tormentor. Murray was calmer but not by much.
Djokovic lost eight points in a row and Boris Becker observed of Murray: “He can smell the roses but he’s still a long way from them.” As he moved more confidently over his favourite lawn, he seemed to know exactly where he was going: the shortest route to history. It was so close. He dropped serve for the fourth time to give Djokovic a look. But the roses reappeared on the edge of the garden when, riddled again with doubt, Djokovic drilled the net from behind the baseline.
So, at 5.11pm, Andy Murray went up to the mark and did his duty. His brain must have been hurting as much as his every muscle. He took three championship points as if plucking them from a tree, then we watched in horror as Djokovic fought his way back, in a see-sawing end to a see-sawing match.
And then, when he could fight no longer, Djokovic drove his final shot into the net and Wimbledon went utterly bonkers for the slightly bonkers but wholly wonderful young man from Dunblane.
EAGLES UNDER PROBE FOR BONUS SAGA
The Nigerian government is to probe a bonus row involving the Super Eagles after last month’s 2014 World Cup qualifier in Namibia.
The Super Eagles rejected the reduced bonus approved for them by a cash-strapped Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) after two World Cup qualifiers in Kenya and Namibia.
The players initially refused to board the plane for Brazil for the FIFA Confederations Cup before they were eventually persuaded by officials.
The NFF offered to pay $5,000 for a win and $2,500 for a draw, but the players insisted on getting $10,000 for a win and $5,000 for a draw.
According to a statement signed by the special adviser on media to the country’s sports minister, Julius Ogunro, the probe panel will be chaired by Segun Adeniyi, a former presidential aide who was also on a Presidential Task Force for the 2010 World Cup.
Other members of the panel include Shehu Dikko, who is part of the country’s league management company as well as journalists Onoiche Anibeze and Aisha Falode.
The panel is to determine the causes of the crisis over the match bonus, develop a code of conduct for players on national assignments among other terms of references. The panel was inaugurated on Thursday and has two weeks to submit its report.
REFEREE BEHEADED IN BRAZIL AFTER KILLING FOOTBALLER
A referee was lynched and decapitated by a mob in northeastern Brazil after he fatally stabbed a player who refused to leave the pitch during an amateur soccer game, according to local press reports.
The gruesome killings occurred in the town of Pio XII in Maranhao state on June 30 but details of the case only emerged last week.
Local police said the referee, 20-year-old Otavio Jordao da Silva, got into a fist fight with 31-year-old player Josenir dos Santos Abreu, who had refused to comply with an order to leave the pitch.
During the fight, the referee stabbed the player, who subsequently died on the way to hospital, the reports said.
In retaliation, three people stoned the referee to death before dismembering his body.
Local police said a 27-year-old man confessed taking part in the assault although he denied delivering the fatal blows.
Two other suspects are still being sought.
GOLDEN EAGLETS SCREENING
Man United discovers another Isaac Success! Barely a week into the screening of fresh players for the 2013 World Cup-bound Golden Eaglets at the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja, coach Manu Garba has enthused that the objective of the exercise has been partly met with discovering of some budding talents.
The exercise which took off on Monday with 30 invited players amongst others coming to try their luck out has availed the Eaglets’ coaching crew the opportunity to see new talents to boost competition for positions within the team.
Several players have caught the eyes notably Billy Michael Auta who is built in the mould of Isaac Success and proficient in front of the goal post as well as the Golden Eaglets’ striker who was the top Scorer with seven goals at the last 2013 CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco in April.
“I think we are on the right course with the screening of new players for the Golden Eaglets because I believe competition for positions in a team breeds excellent performance from players,” stated Garba who was on the crew that won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2007. “My expectation at the 2013 World Cup in the UAE is nothing but victory and we are going to ensure we pick the best players for the country.”
He further defended the rationale behind the screening of new players, revealing that Auta from Kaduna-based El-Cruizero Academy could be another real deal for the Golden Eaglets.
“We have really identified some good players and I’m particularly impressed with Billy Auta because he is as gifted as Isaac Success,” noted Garba. “Some may query why we are screening new players but we know what we are looking for.
“I’m giving opportunity to new players because it was through the same process that we discovered Success who is now the toast of many big clubs in Europe today,”he added.
Meanwhile, Auta has described his experience at the Golden Eaglets’ screening as a real eye opener, saying he would be delighted if eventually shortlisted.
“The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the coaches have really taking good care of us,” assured the lad who picked Super Eagles’ striker, Obafemi Martins and David Villa of Barcelona as his favourite players.“ On the pitch, we have learnt new tricks that would further help us and I would be very happy if I’m picked.”
“I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is a game, that we are only
as good as our opponents and whether you win or lose, to always give
100 percent.”-Sue Wicks
SUNDAY OLISEHS REPLY TO SUPER EAGLES HEAD COACH , STEPHEN KESHI ON HIS TWITTER PAGE
Stephen Keshi is a good coach. In fact he is the most successful coach Nigeria has had in the past decade and by winning the nations cup 2013 he boarded the ship of achieving coaches!
But one quality that successful and long lasting coaches have, is that they have always had a nose to differentiate constructive criticisms from destructive ones and act on them even if they do not agree in public.
Ever since our nation triumphed at the 2013 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) our super eagles have been struggling,relatively, and has failed to consolidate on this landmark success due to the fact that we do not have continuity and there has been this obsession to experiment and overpopulate the team with more Home grown players. Analysts all had problems naming incoming players at the Confederations cup for example.
Ever since I expressed my personal disagreement at the huge number of Local based players that represented Nigeria at the just concluded Confederations cup, on Supersport, thousands have clearly stated their understanding and agreement of the point of view just as some, our super Eagles Nations cup winning coach, Stephen Keshi included, have disagreed and made some regrettable comments. this I feel is quite unfortunate and personal.
The basis behind my comments (which were shared by every other consultant at the Supersport panel) were to help and bring attention to the fact that we needed to urgently improve our local league to maintain our new status and gradually add new home based in the mix in other not to burn the ends.
As we speak, I have discussed with Mr Nduka Irabor (Chairman of the N. Pro League) on how I can help them through my position and know how to improve our league standard so it can be productive again. Who knows we might just get it back on track after all.
What Is So Special About Foreign Based Players?
If you are a Foreign based pro. it is not because these foreign clubs want to do you a favour, it is because you are one of the best from your country, simple. By gradually trying to wage a war against these players who ply their trade week in week out at the highest level leagues in the world we are turning our back to our best and waging a war against ourselves, they are Nigerians too I must remind !
They should not be cast away just because our technical crew lack the skills to manage them at the detriment of Nigeria.
Ever asked why The out flux of Nigerian home based to Europe has reduced drastically in recent years? It is because the Europeans for example after several scouting visits to our local league games find the tempo and standard quite low, not credible and with the crisis in the world have little time to wait for years work to upgrade these players, otherwise Sunday Mba, who I find quite solid & talented should have been bought immediately after the AFCON!
The unbalanced flooding of home based is a strategy that can work at the AFCON level etc but at the world stage, we will play well but lose, like we used to do in the 80′s & 90′s prior to 1994 and now did at the Confederations cup!
Unless this trend is done for other personal reasons outside that of the direct interest of the nation which we are not aware of!
My belief is not that we should not use home based players, far from it, if Sunday Mba was not at the Nations cup in 2013 for Nigeria I do not think we might have won it, at least like we did. He however was well surrounded by Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emeneke etc and made his contributions productive and easier. We saw how this poor boy struggled at the Confed. cup just 4 months after doing us proud in South Africa! Oboabona is one of my favourites and with some more polishing would go places internationally!
The Speed Of World Level Soccer,Today
The Confederations cup was of a higher level than the AFCON: high level tactics, Advanced Coaching, speed of execution and result orientation was on display and the world cup next year will be even at a faster pace. That am sorry is why I feel a gradual introduction of home based players, shouldered and protected by experience should have been the case, cause the scenarios for them to play at this level are absent at the moment!
I believe you noticed how at ease Obi Mikel was Vs Spain or Uruguay, the man is used to these kind of players and their level, simple !
Players are not Made at The National teams but by the clubs and leagues so improving our league standard should be the priority!
Why National Coaches are called Managers, Technical Advisers & not a full coach .
National team coaches are called Managers because they are not supposed to form players due to the short time they have to work with them, but they are supposed to be good at selecting like or complementary players, mix them up to produce results.
When mighty France of 1998 won the World cup and the Euros 2000 they had few players from the then solid French league but mainly from the then better Italian league that was at its best.
Our priority should be improving our league and the use of the CAF Home based Nations cup to get experience for the home based will be wise!
Stephen Keshi’s Job Is The Last Thing I Want!
I can understand that Keshi feels threatened by the possibility of a sack and back stabbing, but my comments should not be seen as coming from a possible successor unless one is desperate, which I thank God I am not!
His job is the last thing that I or my family need. I know the custom lately amongst some of the coaching crew in our dear country has been attacking the incumbent to take his place, but I believe I have proven over and over again that my consultancy company and my life that I have spent 23 years to build in Europe which I cherish dearly is more precious to me than the day to day stress that comes with Being the Super Eagles coach!
I wonder how I will continue to run my 6 year old consultancy business that has now gone global, coach my youth team, fulfil my new but cherished introduction into FIFA with the Super Eagles Coaching job 6000 kilometres away from my family!
I have said this uncountable times, although I love my country it is not in my wildest dreams to manage the super eagles otherwise I would have accepted the NFF Technical director job and eventually the super Eagles.
If he can accept our support and praise, he should accept our constructive critics in the interest of the country and making enemies left and right is not the way to go, obviously some of us do not learn from the past! The interest of Nigeria comes first than that of Sunday Oliseh or Stephen Keshi !
How should it have been?
As we saw with Brazil at the Confed. Cup, continuity makes a team grow. Ever since we won the Nations cup in February our team line-up has been unpredictable and full of constant changes. In a year leading to the world cup that should not be the case.
True we had injuries to key players but they had people on the bench for them at the Afcon who should have taken over the baton and continue with the spirit of the AFCON and new players invited to understudy.
Nigeria is bigger than anyone and for the records sake in answer to Keshi’s erroneous declaration, I was 3 years as a pro in Belgium and a regular player in liege by 1993 when I got my first call up to the super Eagles and in those days our national league was ‘fire’, well organised, competitive, balanced and one of the best in Africa. That’s how Clemence Westerhoff and Bonfrere Jo succeeded!
It is unfortunate that Keshi sees enemies everywhere and maybe it is understandable but the interest of Nigeria’s progress is what we all should be seeking now and I believe making attacks like he is doing is not the right way to go about it, we are way too matured for that, at least I know I am!
Long Live Nigeria!
I hope you enjoyed the news updates. See you next week
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