Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

Deadline day is looming and there are a number of big stars who need a move in order to kick-start their careers

#1 Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)

Belgium international defender Toby Alderweireld wants out of Tottenham, and it seems that manager Mauricio Pochettino wants rid of the 29-year-old, who has been the subject of overtures from Manchester United. It is a move that may yet happen, but Spurs are insisting on finding a replacement before selling. Given that they have failed to sign a single player this summer, it is little wonder the Old Trafford club appear to be keeping their options open.

 

#2 Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea)

It was little over two years ago that Danny Drinkwater played a pivotal role in Leicester City’s stunning Premier League title success. His energetic all-action style led to questions as to just why Manchester United released him as a youngster. Those answers have perhaps been found at Chelsea, where he has managed only 521 minutes of Premier League football. If he can’t find a way out, he threatens to become a forgotten man.

 

#3 Danny Ings (Liverpool)

It’s fair to say that luck hasn’t exactly been on Danny Ings' side since he completed a £6.5m move from Burnley to Liverpool off the back of an 11-goal season at Turfmoor in the 2014-15 campaign. Three minutes were all it took for him to grab his first Premier League goal for the club, but only two have followed since. Two serious knee injuries have wrecked his career with the Reds and realistically his opportunities will be restricted due to the club’s talented roster of forwards.

 

#4 Vincent Janssen (Tottenham)

Signed amid great fanfare from AZ in the summer of 2016, Tottenham have failed to see any meaningful return from the £17 million they spent on the Netherlands international forward. He managed just a couple of Premier League goals in a miserable first season and was then predictably shunted out on loan to Fenerbahce last term. Although he scored four times in the Super Lig, there appear to be no suitors this summer for a player still just 24-years-old.

 

#5 Loris Karius (Liverpool)

Winning back any credibility promises to be a major challenge for goalkeeper Loris Karius, whose two errors in the Champions League final cost Liverpool so dearly. Worse, he followed those up with similar blunders in pre-season that prompted Jurgen Klopp to go out and invest a world-record amount in Brazil international Alisson. It’s hard to see the 25-year-old regaining a first-team spot at Anfield, and if he is to grow, a move may be the best idea.

 

#6 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains on the books of Chelsea after a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace last season. His performances at Selhurst Park were sufficient to earn him a place in England’s World Cup squad but retaining a place with the Three Lions will be tough at Stamford Bridge, where Maurizio Sarri’s squad is replete with quality in the heart of the field. With Mateo Kovacic potentially arriving from Real Madrid, his chances are set to be further depleted.

 

#7 Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Anthony Martial was on the periphery of things at Manchester United before a spat with manager Jose Mourinho this summer surely put an end to his career at Old Trafford. His inability to nail down a regular place under the Portuguese likely cost him his chance to be part of France’s World Cup squad, while a prolonged break to be with his new-born child against Mourinho’s orders during the club’s pre-season US tour seems to have severed relations entirely. A new start is required.

 

#8 Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

During the summer, we finally got a glimpse of why Manchester United signed Paul Pogba for £89.3 million. The 25-year-old midfielder was a dominant presence alongside N’Golo Kante at the heart of the France side that won the World Cup. Jose Mourinho appears unwilling or unable to get similar performances from the ex-Juventus player, who is being linked with a return to Turin or a transfer to Barcelona. A move may allow him to realise his potential on a more permanent basis in an environment in which he is not so stifled.

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

UEFA Champions League and Europa League playoff rounds have been made.

For Premier League side Burnley, they will face the winner of Olympiacos and Luzern if they get past Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

Sean Dyche‘s men are still four games away from securing their spot in the Europa League group stage for 2018/19 after they edged by Aberdeen in the second qualifying round.

Scottish champions Celtic will play the winner of Malmo or Vidi for a place in the UCL group stage if they get by Greek giants AEK Athens in the third qualifying round, with Brendan Rodgers‘ men aiming to make the group stage for a third-straight season.

Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers will face FC Ufa or Progres of Luxembourg in the playoff round of the Europa League if they get past Maribor.

Below is the Comprehensive draw for the UCL and Europa League playoff rounds in full.

________________________________________

Champions League playoff draw

Champions path

Crvena zvezda (SRB)/Spartak Trnava (SVK) v Salzburg (AUT)/Shkendija (MKD)

Qarabag (AZE)/BATE Borisov (BLR) v PSV Eindhoven (NED)

Young Boys (SUI) v Astana (KAZ)/Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Malmo (SWE)/Vidi (HUN) v Celtic (SCO)/AEK Athens (GRE)

League path

Benfica (POR)/Fenerbahce (TUR) v PAOK (GRE)/Spartak Moskva (RUS)

Standard Liege (BEL)/Ajax (NED) v Slavia Praha (CZE)/Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)

The playoffs set to take place on 21/22 and 28/29 August. The losing teams from the UCL playoff round transfer to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

________________________________________

Europa League playoff draw

Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN)/HJK Helsinki (FIN) v Crvena zvezda (SRB)/Spartak Trnava (SVK)

Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR)/ APOEL (CYP) v Astana (KAZ)/Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Cork City (IRL)/Rosenborg (NOR) v Salzburg (AUT)/Shkendija (MKD)

Legia Warszawa (POL)/ F91 Dudelange (LUX) v Alashkert (ARM)/CFR Cluj (ROU)

Spartaks Jurmala (LVA)/Sūduva (LTU) v Celtic (SCO)/AEK Athens (GRE)

Sheriff (MDA)/Valur Reykjavik (ISL) v Qarabag (AZE)/BATE Borisov (BLR)

Malmo (SWE)/Vidi (HUN) v The New Saints (WAL)/Midtjylland (DEN)

Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)/Kukës (ALB) v Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)/Zrinjski (BIH)

Sigma Olomouc (CZE)/Kairat Almaty (KAZ) v Sevilla (ESP)/Zalgiris Vilnius (LTU)

Sarpsborg (NOR)/HNK Rijeka (CRO) v Pyunik (ARM)/Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR)

Jagiellonia Bialystok (POL)/Gent (BEL) v Mariupol (UKR)/Bordeaux (FRA)

Nordsjaelland (DEN)/Partizan (SRB) v Besiktas (TUR)/LASK (AUT)

Slovan Bratislava (SVK)/Rapid Wien (AUT) v Hajduk Split (CRO)/FCSB (ROU)

Apollon Limassol (CYP)/Dinamo Brest (BLR) v Vitesse (NED)/Basel (SUI)

Rangers (SCO)/Maribor (SVN) v Hapoel Haifa (ISR)/Atalanta (ITA)

Nordsjaelland (DEN)/Partizan (SRB)  v CSKA Sofia (BUL)/Kobenhavn (DEN)

Dinamo Minsk (BLR)/Zenit (RUS)    v  Hibernian (SCO)/Molde (NOR)

Trencin (SVK)/Feyenoord (NED)      v  Sturm Graz (AUT)/AEK Larnaca (CYP)

Genk (BEL)/Lech Poznan (POL)        v   Spartak Subotica (SRB)/Brøndby (DEN)

Olympiacos (GRE)/Luzern (SUI)       v   Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR)/ Burnley (ENG)

Zorya Luhansk (UKR)/Braga (POR)    v  RB Leipzig (GER)/U Craiova (ROU)

The matches are set to take place on 23 and 30 August

 

 

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

 

Chelsea is on the verge of announcing the £71.8million arrival of Athletic goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after depositing his release clause on Wednesday morning.

 

The young Basque shot-stopper will become Chelsea’s record signing and the most expensive goalkeeper ever, eclipsing the previous world record of £65m paid by Liverpool for Alisson just a few weeks ago.

 

The west London club have made a late dash to sign a new keeper after Thibaut Courtois went AWOL from training, with the Belgian looking to force through a move to Real Madrid.

 

 

 

Having missed out on Alisson, Chelsea quickly identified Kepa as the ideal replacement for Courtois and have decided to pay his release clause in full.

 

 

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, lawyers representing Kepa’s agency, Bahia Internacional, turned up at the offices of La Liga in Madrid and officially paid his termination clause at 8.22am BST.

 

 

Having flown into Madrid on Tuesday evening, Kepa is now jetting in to London to undergo a medical and sign his new contract with Chelsea.

 

 

The Blues hope to have the deal wrapped up and announced later today, while Real – who have already agreed a fee and personal terms with Courtois – will then announce the Belgian’s return to Madrid.

 

 

Kepa, 23, is considered one of the brightest young goalkeeping talents in the world and was part of Spain’s squad at the World Cup in Russia.

 

Incredibly, Chelsea could have signed Kepa for just £18m back in January, which was his old release clause before he signed a new five-year contract.

 

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

German star Zverev, 21, defended his title at the Citi Open over the weekend, defeating Australian youngster Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-4 in the final.

 

Despite clinching his third title of the year and ninth of his career, Zverev is yet to make a substantial impact at a Grand Slam.

 

And the world number three admits he is still a long way off the likes of Federer and Nadal, who have continued to dominate the Majors into their 30s.

 

“Roger and Rafa are still the best out there and still competing for Grand Slam titles,” Zverev said after his Washington Open triumph.

 

“I haven’t won a Grand Slam title. Saying I’m on their level wouldn’t be fair to them.”

 

On defending his title, Zverev added: ‘What a fantastic week for me. Winning a tournament on its 50th anniversary is something amazing.

 

“This has been a very special week for me. It feels great and shows mental strength as well. It shows a little maturity, I think.”

 

Andy Murray also impressed at the Washington Open, reaching the quarter-finals before pulling out due to fatigue.

 

Despite expressing his disappointment at having to withdraw, Murray’s performances were not in vain as he climbed 457 places in the ATP rankings following the tournament.

 

Murray missed last month’s Wimbledon Championships to undergo surgery and will hope to continue his comeback trail with a run at the US Open at the end of August.

 

 

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

The Costa Rican continues to show his quality despite the club's long-term search for a replacement apparently nearing its conclusion.

 

In a match that served as a good microcosm of his time as Real Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper, Keylor Navas made the saves he needed to make and helped Los Blancos to another victory in the final match of another tournament.

 

The ICC finale win over Roma didn't carry anywhere near the importance of the three Champions League finals Navas won, but Tuesday's win carried significance in that it might symbolize in the end of Navas' time as Real Madrid's starter in goal.

 

Thibaut Courtois's looming move from Chelsea to Real Madrid feels more and more likely with each passing day. Chelsea have reportedly close to confirming the signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, a deal which would see Thibaut Courtois move to Real Madrid. Meaning that by the time the Spanish giants take the field next week in the UEFA Super Cup, Navas could find himself relegated to the bench, finally replaced after spending years as the Iker Casillas replacement nobody wanted, but that won title after title anyway.

 

 

It was, after all, the most famous fax machine malfunction in Real Madrid transfer history that paved the way for Navas to become Real Madrid's starter. David De Gea was long seen as the inevitable heir to Casillas' throne as Real Madrid starter. But a failed last-minute transfer bid, which died out purportedly at the hands of a faulty Manchester United fax machine, meant that Navas would have his chance as starter.

 

The Costa Rican star made the most of that opportunity, helping Madrid to the first of three Champions League titles the club would win in row with him manning the goal. He wasn't just along for the ride either. Navas established himself as a big-game player and fan favorite, and as his trophy count grew. The calls to replace him grew quiet, at least among fans.

 

Unfortunately for Navas, Real Madrid never stopped wanting to upgrade. De Gea's shadow continued to loom and just when it finally appeared as though the Spanish star would stay put at Manchester United, Real Madrid set its sights on another goalkeeper in Courtois.

 

Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui once again refused to acknowledge the Courtois rumors when asked on Tuesday night, and defended Navas when asked about where he stands within the team.

 

"Keylor is our goalkeeper," Lopetegui said after the match. "He’s here. There is no other goalkeeper we can talk about. Keylor, Kiko (Casilla), Luca (Zidane) and (Andriy) Lunin are the ones I can speak about."

 

He continued: "Keylor is phenomenal. He’s been phenomenal all preseason. He’s an extraordinary goalkeeper. He’s delighted to be with Real Madrid and we’re delighted to have him with us."

 

Lopetegui's praise sounded like that of a manager who won't necessarily hand over the starting job to Courtois if the Belgian does make the move. Navas has earned the right to foot for his job, but given the investment expected to be made, it will be tough to see Navas holding off Courtois for long.

 

Navas is still just 31 and even if he winds up spending the upcoming season as Courtois' back-up, he should be able to generate transfer interest in the summer of 2019. There will be no shame in Navas having to move on to continue as a starter, just as there was no shame in Casillas moving to FC Porto.

 

No matter what happens from here on out, Navas has a place in Real Madrid history, with the three Champions League titles he helped win and the many big performances he delivered. It is that track record that makes it feel a bit unjust that he is being pushed aside, and it is that history that made Tuesday's match feel like the end of an unlikely era in Real Madrid's goal.

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

Former world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett has died aged 28, following a car crash in Kenya.

 

The athlete died at the scene in Nandi County after the car he was driving veered off the road and landed in a ditch on Wednesday morning, local papers reported.

 

Bett made history at the 2015 Beijing World Championships when he became the first Kenyan to win a world championship gold medal at a distance shorter than 800m.

 

Nandi Police Commander Patrick Wambani confirmed his death.

 

He said the athlete hit a bump before losing control of his car near Lessos.

 

 

Published in Foreign Written by August 08 2018 0

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and a host of major champions began preparations Monday in open practice rounds for the spotlight of super group pairings at the 100th PGA Championship.

 

An elite field gathers at Bellerive Country Club for the year’s final major tournament with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth trying to complete a Career Grand Slam.

 

What Spieth will be specifically looking for when he tees it up in the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club this week, is the career Grand Slam. He won the Masters and the U.S. Open three years ago—both before turning 22—and last year’s Open Championship a week before he turned 24.

 

The victory at Birkdale was the 13th of his professional career—11 in PGA Tour events plus two Australian Opens. Had he won the PGA at Quail Hollow three weeks later he would have joined golf’s most elite club. Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods can claim to have won all four of the modern majors. (Bobby Jones’ Grand Slam in 1930 consisted of the U.S. and British Opens and the U.S. and British Amateurs).

 

While 14-time major champion Woods trying to end a 10-year major victory drought in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery.

 

Add on-form McIlroy, a four-time major winner who was a runner-up at the Open Championship, plus reigning major champion Patrick Reed from the Masters, two-time US Open winner Brooks Koepka and reigning Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari of Italy and it’s clear to see why expectations are high for a thrill-packed final major of 2018.

 

Published in local Written by August 06 2018 0

The CAASABA 2018 has come and gone it is left, to be seen what the Nigerian Athletics Federation have learnt from the various challenges, and hitches that came with it.

The Arrival period and opening day encountered too many difficulties, from miscommunication to alleged abandonment of some National Teams at the Airport even down to no proper arrangements for journalists, this has led to widespread criticism by both local and international bodies. 

Another amazing experience was the falling of the Tank which supplied water to the swimming pools, This challenges faced has also been escalated in many ways which has also dented the Nations Image even as they seek to bid for the Worlds athletics championships.

Solomon Ogba came out to refute some of the claims categorically calling the media agents who reported some of the news as “blind” and he also added that the Tank fell a 100m from the stadium in an area under construction. The question still remains has Nigeria not got what it takes to Host Africa in one city? How then will they want to host the world in 2023.

Published in local Written by August 06 2018 0

True to their pre-championship boasts, Kenya have won the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships, Asaba 2018, which ended yesterday.
 
The East Africans, who hosted and won the 19th edition in 2014, beat defending champions, South Africa and host, Nigeria, to the second and third positions respectively.

 

The Kenyans swept six gold medals yesterday to bring their total medals to 19, made up of 11 gold, six silver and two bronze medals.

South Africa, who hosted and won the last edition in Durban, won a total of 30 medals made up of nine gold, 13 silver and eight bronze medals. Team Nigeria got 19 medals made up of nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals.

Morocco, Ethiopia, Cote d’ivoire, Tunisia and Botswana followed in that order.

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