Caption France’s Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert in action at Dongguan Basketball Center, Dongguan, China. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon) BEIJING, China (Reuters) – France caused the biggest shock of the basketball World Cup in China after beating holders the United States 89-79 to reach the semi-finals of the 32-nation tournament yesterday.France will meet Argentina tomorrow for a berth in Sunday’s final while 2006 champions Spain take on Australia, who overpowered Czech Republic 82-70 in the day’s other quarter-final.The United States, favourites to win their third successive and sixth overall world title, dropped into the 5-8th place playoffs after they failed to reach the medal rounds for the first time since the 2002 tournament in Indianapolis.The Americans were beaten in a last-eight clash by the former Yugoslavia in that tournament and they next face Serbia, who were billed as their most likely rival in a gold-medal clash in this year’s event. With 17 of their top NBA players pulling out of the roster in the build-up to the tournament in China, the U.S. lacked depth but their coach Gregg Popovich, the winner of five NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, refused to make excuses.“It is a disrespectful notion to even bring something like that up,” Popovich told a news conference. “To say ‘hey you guys didn’t have this guy or that guy,’ that’s disrespectful to France or whoever else is in the tournament. France beat us.“It doesn’t matter who is on the team. I couldn’t be more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer having never played together before. “They put themselves in the arena and competed. They deserve credit for that, just like France deserve credit for winning. It’s not about ‘the United States didn’t have their other guys. There is no such thing as ‘other guys’.”Having ground out a barely deserved 93-92 overtime win over Turkey in the preliminary group stage, there was to be no escape for the U.S. this time against an athletic French side who dominated them in every department.AGGRESSIVE DEFENCEAn aggressive French defence forced a flurry of first-half turnovers and having engineered a 45-39 halftime lead, they surged 51-41 ahead early in the third quarter thanks to inspired performances from Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert.As the duo began to tire, Team USA hit back thanks to a one-man show from Donovan Mitchell, who netted 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter to give the 2014 champions a 66-63 lead ahead of the final 10 minutes.But Mitchell stayed scoreless in the fourth quarter while his Utah Jazz team mate Gobert and Orlando Magic guard Fournier hit top gear. Trailing 72-65, France went on a 17-4 run and cool free-throw shooting in the last 90 seconds of the clash gave them a memorable win as Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds while Fournier netted 22 points.The towering Gobert also produced two crucial blocks in the final minute as the Americans lost their momentum and threw away several key possessions. The only positive they will take from the tournament is that they have qualified for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo alongside Australia, Argentina, Spain, France, Iran and Nigeria.Japan gained an automatic berth as hosts and four other nations will complete the 12-team field after next year’s qualifying tournaments. The impressive Australians, who have never won a major medal, lived up to the billing of dark horses after a mature performance gave them a sixth successive win in the tournament.The Czechs fought hard throughout to stay in touch but were undone by another fine display from Australia’s Spurs guard Patty Mills, who racked up 24 points.
(CMC) – WEST Indies required just over an hour to thrash Afghanistan by nine wickets here early Friday and post an emphatic victory in the one-off Test at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Stadium.The Caribbean side nabbed the last three Afghan wickets for 11 runs with fast-bowling captain Jason Holder accounting for all, as the home side’s second innings folded for 120.Set 31 for victory, West Indies lost out-of-form opener Kraigg Brathwaite cheaply for eight before overhauling their target off 38 deliveries.Left-handed opener John Campbell finished on a 16-ball unbeaten 19 which included four fours, the last of which was a belligerent punch over mid-off off left-arm spinner Amir Hamza to end the contest.“We played a really good cricket game, and we were clinical. I asked the guys to make sure we don’t leave any stones unturned,” Holder said afterwards.“Probably (we) would have liked a little bit more in our first innings in terms of our batting, but we had a lead of 90. I think leads win games. Once you have a hefty lead, it puts pressure on the opposition.”Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who on Thursday became the first West Indies spinner to claim a 10-wicket match-haul on the subcontinent, was voted Man-of-the-Match.Playing in only his second Test, he snatched seven wickets in the first innings to rout Afghanistan for 187 and then picked up another three wickets in the second innings to wipe out the hosts’ top order.Kraigg Brathwaite works one on the leg side. (AFP)“Great credit to Rahkeem, he was outstanding throughout the match and did everything we asked of him,” Holder noted.“He’s new to Test cricket, this is just his second match and first away from home, and bowled an exceptional spell in the first innings and then backed it up really well in the second innings, supported by the other bowlers.”Resuming on 109 for seven – a lead of 19 runs – Afghanistan lost captain Rashid Khan in the second over of the day when he edged a defensive stroke at Holder’s first ball of the morning, and was caught at the wicket.Wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai (7) and tail-ender Yamin Ahmadzai (1) resisted briefly before Holder (3-20) knocked them over in successive overs. First, he removed Ahmadzai’s off stump and then found Zazai’s outside edge for wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich to complete formalities.Brathwaite’s slump in international form then continued when he gloved Hamza through to Zazai in the fifth over. The right-hander has scored only 67 runs from his last eight Test innings at an average of eight.Campbell endured no such horrors and finished the game quickly for the Windies.
..vows to transform sports for the benefit of all By Rawle Toney MINISTER of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr called the approach to sports in Guyana “ad hoc”, while noting that for the sector to see any growth, things will have to change so there can also be sustainable for the development of the country’s athlete. Ramson is also hoping to use his far-reaching network to help transform the sports sector. Ransom took his Oath of Office from President Dr Irfaan Ali, and will serve as the Minister of Culture Youth and Sport in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration.Speaking to the media at the Author Chung Conference Centre after being sworn-in, the 36-year-old said operating sport in an ad hoc manner will do the sector more harm than good. “Right now sport is very disorganised,” Ramson reasoned, while firmly stating that “we cannot have sport function in a way where it is operating in an ad hoc manner; at one time somebody thinks this is a good idea or one group thinks this is a good idea.”“In order to create a sustainable sport development programme that is a sport economy as well, because sport is a business too, we need a system that is sustainable and that can only be done through organized stakeholders and people that are connected to the overall development trajectory of the country,” the Sport Minister said. Ramson was adamant in stating that “sport is more than just hobbies and staying fit; it is far bigger than that. It is one of the largest sectors in the world and it could very well be transformational for the country as well, by being able to draw on our human capital and our talents as young people.”Having graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in Oil and Gas Engineering from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Ramson, who is an Attorney-At-Law, was asked about being in a sector that is the total opposite of his area of expertise.In response, the avid cricket and basketball fan explained “the President recognises that over 60% of the population of Guyana is below the age of 35. For the last five years, this country has had a lack of strong youth leadership and an absence of sport leadership.”“The President, as well as the party, also believes that all three areas require strong leadership. It requires us to get organized so that we could help to transform the country and also to unify the country, and it is a critical component of who we are as a people and part of the healing process,” Ramson reasoned.According to Ramson, “Most of you know that I have a very strong sports background even though I was doing Oil and Gas and was speaking regularly on Oil and Gas subjects, I have always been doing sports-related issues and sports-related programmes. ”The Minister said as far as providing the young leadership in Guyana for which there is a strong voice, both the President and the party felt that he would better serve in the area of Culture, Youth and Sport. Meanwhile, Ramson said he has already hit the ground running and will meet with key personnel in the sector and other stakeholders.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are in total disarray ahead of next year’s AFCON in Gabon after as many as seven players on their 35-man provisional squad including Premier League stars Joel Matip and Allan Nyom opted out.Cameroon coach Hugo Bros raised alarm over the availability of the country’s top stars for Gabon 2017.Liverpool defender Matip, Nyom from West Bromwich Albion, Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Andre Onana, Guy Roland Ndy Assembe of Nancy and Andre Zambo Anguissa from Olympique Marseille have withdrawn from the four-time African champions squad to Gabon 2017. Others who have opted out are Maxime Poundje of Bordeaux and Ibrahim Amadou from Lille.Matip has insisted on continuing his self-imposed exile from international football after his bad experience with the previous Indomitable Lions coaches, while Onana, Assembe, Nyom have put club before country so as to maintain first-team places at their various clubs.Poundje has opted to try his luck with France instead of Cameroon.However, Cameroon could still get these top stars to feature at the AFCON should they report them to world football governing body FIFA.For the 2017 AFCON, Cameroon are drawn in Group A alongside hosts Gabon, Burkina Faso and debutants Guinea Bissau.They are also pitched against Nigeria, Zambia and Algeria in the qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.The Indomitable Lions are second in the group with two points from as many matches, four points behind leaders Nigeria and both teams clash in a double-header from August 2017.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
All the ten fixtures of Match-day 26 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) have been rearranged by the League Management Company (LMC).The games were supposed to hold on Sunday, June 25 but have now been moved to Wednesday, June 28.However, Rivers Unitedâ€™s fixture against Shooting Stars on the affected match day has been brought forward.The game between the â€˜Pride of Riversâ€™ and the â€˜Oluyole Warriorsâ€™ will now hold on Saturday, June 24 at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt. Unitedâ€™s fixture was brought forward due to the clubâ€™s participation in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.The Port Harcourt club will face Tunisian outfit, Club Africain in Port Harcourt on July 2.Chief Operating Officer of the LMC, Salihu Abubakar, revealed in a release made available to supersport.com that the change in date of the fixtures was occasioned by the Eid-el-Fitr Sallah holidays which will hold from June 25-27.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in AbujaThe ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has kick-started a football tournament with the aim of forging unity and patriotism among Nigerian youths. About eight teams are currently participating in the week-long maiden edition of the APC soccer competition tagged “National Unity Cup Football Championship” in Abuja.The teams taking part in the competition are from Jigawa, Taraba, Niger, Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).Speaking at the kick-off ceremony of the tournament, National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the APC government was committed to using sports to create jobs and to solve youth restiveness.Oyegun who was represented by the Deputy National Chairman, South, Segun Oni noted that; “Sports is a unifying factor that binds people together irrespective of their ethnic and religious inclination. As a party, we are committed to the development of sports and our government will continue to use it to create jobs, engage the youths and as well as for the purpose of national unity especially in this era of agitations.”The party chairman expressed delight at the level of interest shown by the states in participating in the competition.He said that APC and its governors are committed to ensuring sports development as a veritable tool for curbing unemployment, secessionist threats and youth restiveness.Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Sani Al-Makura both pledged support for the competition, saying the APC governors are individually working towards the development of sports in their various states.Bello said Nigeria can not afford to relegate sports, describing it as a potential revenue spinner for the country and an anti-dote to several health challenges.On his part, the National Youth Leader of the party, Hon. Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo whose office organised the tournament said the party hopes to use the avenue to spot budding talents with a view to assisting them grow in their football career.“This is the first time a political party is organising a football competition. We decided to do this because we know that there is nothing that unites Nigerians more than sports. Another reason is to spot budding talents and help them make the needed progress in this direction”, he said.Jalo said that the party hopes to replicate the tournament in the zones and in the states.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
There are six other bouts on the card of GOtv Boxing Night 15, with the biggest being the ABU lightweight title bout between Ghanaian challenger, Nathaniel Nukpe, and incumbent champion, Oto â€œJoe Boyâ€ Joseph.Other bouts include a national light heavyweight duel between Daniel â€œBig Sharkâ€ Emeka and Sulaimon â€œOlagsâ€ Adeosun, and a national lightweight contest between Prince â€œLionâ€ Nwoye and Ridwan â€œScorpionâ€ Oyekola.The event, sponsored by GOtv and Bet King, will be beamed live on SuperSport in 47 African countries. The best boxer at the event will go home with a cash prize of N1 million alongside the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Experienced light welterweight boxer, Kazeem â€œIberuâ€ Ariyo, has warned Olaide â€œFijabornâ€ Fijabi, the African Boxing Union (ABU) welterweight champion, to expect defeat when they clash in a national challenge bout at GOtv Boxing Night 15 on July 29.The event will take place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo (formerly Liberty) Stadium in Ibadan.The encounter will be the second time the two boxers are meeting, with Fijabi walking away with victory the first time. Iberu, however, warned that his opponent, who has remained undefeated since turning professional, will be vanquished when they clash.â€œFijabi has remained undefeated for long. But that will come to an end in Ibadan. I read in the newspapers that he boasted he would win by a knockout. That exactly is what I will do to him. I am fully prepared. It will be different from the first time,â€ said Iberu.
A Spanish top-flight game will be played in the US, the first time a La Liga match has taken place overseas.The plan is part of a 15-year partnership between La Liga and media company Relevent, which organises the International Champions Cup, to promote football in North America.La Liga President, Javier Tebas, called it a “ground-breaking agreement”. The Premier League has previously discussed plans to play a ’39th game’ outside England and Wales.The idea drew criticism from fans and the media, and executive chairman Richard Scudamore, who proposed the idea in 2008, said it could not happen “until the conditions are right”.Asked when the US-based match would take place and whether it would be a regular fixture, La Liga told BBC Sport it “can not confirm the teams, match, date or season”.Tebas has previously said El Clasico, between Real Madrid and Barcelona, would “never be played outside of Spain”.But a friendly between the two clubs was played in Miami in July 2017, as part of the International Champions Cup – the first time the fixture had been played outside Spain since 1991.On Sunday, the Spanish Super Cup was played in Morocco, the first time it has been played outside Spain.“This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America,” said Chairman and owner of Relevent, Stephen Ross.“This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
With the international break over, attention turns back to the Premier League, with this weekend headline fixture seing Liverpool host Tottenham Hotspurs. The Lilywhites may have lost three of their last four league matches but remain a tough task for Liverpool as the Reds look to strengthen their position in the title race at Anfield on Sunday Liverpool face their toughest remaining test in the Premier League title race when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.The Reds lead the way at the top of the division by two points, but they have played a game more than champions Manchester City – away to Fulham last Saturday and will likely find themselves in second place ahead of kickoff.Jurgen Klopp was keen to dismiss suggestions that Liverpool showed title jitters in their most recent outing, a 2-1 win at Fulham, as they required a late James Milner penalty to overcome the division’s second-worst side. If not for Milner’s nerves of steel from 12 yards, the Reds would have headed into the international break sitting second in the table and with little chance of toppling Man City.As it is, though, they have occupied top spot for the past fortnight to ensure that City are unable to take their foot off the gas. After this tricky test against an admittedly out-of-form Tottenham side, Liverpool have just one more top-six team – away-day strugglers Chelsea on April 14 – to face in their remaining seven matches.Klopp also has the Champions League to factor in, with Porto – the best team they could have hoped for – to face over two legs for a place in the semi-finals of the competition.This is very much shaping up to be a season to remember for Liverpool fans, then, though they more than any other set of supporters – in recent years, at least – know just how quickly joy can turn to pain.The narrow win over Fulham was, no matter how Klopp puts it, a nervy affair and it was only the Reds’ fourth win in eight league matches. Those dropped points to Leicester City, West Ham United, Manchester United and Everton have allowed Man City to pounce, setting up what should be a thrilling conclusion to one of the best title races in years.Liverpool also tend to fare well against fellow top-six opposition, having claimed 13 points from games against the sides in and around them this term. Only Man City (19) have collected more, while Man United are the only side to have have won fewer points from such fixtures than Tottenham (seven).The Reds’ impressive title charge has also been built on an impressive home record and a solid defensive return, though they have conceded six goals in their five Premier League home games in 2019, as many as they had in their previous 17 at Anfield.Three more points this weekend will make it 37 home league games without defeat and at the same time ensure that Liverpool are very much in the title race to stay. Defeat, though, and it will not take long for the same old ‘bottlers’ tag to be bandied about.It was only seven weeks ago that Tottenham were themselves being talked up as title contenders – rightly so after holding off Leicester to move to within five points of the top two.That win at Wembley on February 10 made it four in a row in the top flight, but they have not picked up all three points in their four matches since.The wheels started to fall off with a shock 2-1 loss at Burnley, which they followed up with a 2-0 reverse to Chelsea, a fortunate 1-1 draw against North London rivals Arsenal and a 2-1 defeat at Southampton last time out.Victories in both legs of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund has softened the blow a little, setting up a quarter-final with Man City and ensuring that their campaign is not over just yet.Any outside hopes Mauricio Pochettino had of lifting the Premier League title this term are now over, however, and all of a sudden Tottenham are looking over their shoulder rather than ahead at the top two.The defeat to Southampton three weeks ago, which Pochettino found particularly hard to accept following the concession of two late goals, leaves the Lilywhites’ top-four hopes looking a lot more precarious than they did a month ago.In fact, with Arsenal taking on Newcastle United, Chelsea heading to Cardiff City and Man United playing host to Watford, defeat for Tottenham on Sunday could be pretty disastrous.They hold a one-point advantage on fifth-placed Arsenal and are three points better off than Man United, while Chelsea are four points behind. This weekend, if all goes to form, could see the race for a top-four finish well and truly heat up.Match Facts Liverpool have lost just one of their last 24 home Premier League games against Spurs (W15 D8 L1), a 0-2 defeat in May 2011 under Kenny Dalglish. Only Man City (19) have won more points than Liverpool (13) in Premier League meetings between the ‘big six’ this season, while only Man Utd (6) have won fewer points than Tottenham in such matches (7). Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 36 home Premier League matches. If they avoid defeat here, it will be the joint-second longest unbeaten home run in the competition’s history (Chelsea 86 2004-2008, Man City 37 2010-2012). The Reds have conceded six goals in their five Premier League home games in 2019, as many as they had in their previous 17 at Anfield. No player has scored more Premier League goals in 2019 than Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (9, level with Sergio Aguero), with the Senegalese star’s nine goals coming in his last nine games. Spurs have won just one of their last 12 Premier League games against Liverpool (W1 D4 L7), winning 4-1 at Wembley in October 2017. Spurs are winless in their last four Premier League games (D1 L3). They last went five without a win in the same campaign back in February-March 2012 under Harry Redknapp. Mauricio Pochettino has never won against Jurgen Klopp at Anfield in four meetings in all competitions (W0 D2 L2). His only victory away against Liverpool was as Southampton manager in September 2013 when the Reds were managed by Brendan Rodgers. Harry Kane has been involved in four goals in four Premier League appearances against Liverpool at Anfield (3 goals, 1 assist). After a run that saw him score 11 goals in 12 games in all competitions between December and February, Son Heung-min has failed to score in his last five appearances for Spurs. Indeed, each of Spurs’ last four goals in all competitions have been netted by Harry Kane. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi This was Enekwechi’s fourth consecutive attempt to hit the 21m mark after heaving a massive 21.77m on April 28 at the Grande Prêmio Brasil Caixa de Atletismo, Bragança Paulista in Brazil.His first attempt to make it back-to-back 21m throw and make history as the first Nigerian to hit the 21m mark twice in an outdoor season was at the Golden Gala – Pietro Mennea IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on June 6 but he failed to hit beyond 20.54m.He dropped to 20.50m at the Memorial Jos Verstockt in Lier,Belgium two days later but moved closest at the Irena Szewińska Memorial in Bydgoszcz, Poland where he was just two centimetres short (20.98m).The Commonwealth Games silver medallist had become the second Nigerian man after Stephen Mozia to hit 21m mark and above indoors and out after his 21.09m personal best indoor throw at the Notre Dame in Indianapolis, USA last February.Mozia made Nigerian history in 2016 when he became the first Nigerian to throw 21m and above indoors and out. He began with a 20.11m heave in January before setting a then Nigeria record of 21.76m in July at the Ústí nad Labem meeting in Czech Republic.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Reigning Nigeria Shot Put record holder, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi threw 20.44m to place fifth at the 58th Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Thursday.The Nigerian fouled his first three attempts before registering 20.21m in his fourth throw. The mark catapaulted him from eighth to fifth position but his attempt to jump to third position and overhaul the duo of home-boy, Stanek Tomáš (3rd) and Poland’s Bukowiecki Konrad (4th) failed to hit the imagined mark as he could only throw 19.73m on his fifth attempt.The 26-year old improved his mark to 20.44m in his final throw but it was not enough to lift him beyond fifth.