PLANS have been concluded for Nigerian and Tunisian national Under-23 teams to play two friendly matches on January 24 and 28. The Tunisian Football Federation which announced the friendly matches said its Olympic team would play the scheduled matches against Nigeria’s Under-23 national team after its matches against Algeria.
Nizar Khanfir, Tunisian Under-23 head coach, said he had already selected the players who would be camped on Tuesday ahead of the matches against Nigeria.
Incidentally, the Nigerian team had already been scheduled to take part in a six-team tournament in Abuja, from January 24 to February 1. It was still unclear which of the tournament Samson Siasia, coach of the Nigerian under-23s, would prefer to his wards.
Moses Returns for Stoke
AFTER about two months on the sideline, Victor Moses, Nigerian footballer, is set to return to play for Stoke City Football Club of England, where he is serving a loan spell in England. Although Mark Hughes, manager of Stoke City, has described the return of Moses to the Britannia Stadium as a “major boost” for the club, saying the Nigerian is not taking anything for granted.
Moses, who spent the past six weeks back with Chelsea, his parent football club, after sustaining a thigh injury during the 2-1 reverse against Burnley back in November, has made full recovery. He returned to Stoke before the match against Arsenal about two weeks ago, but he was not allowed to play.
“I am delighted to be back here, and it all feels new and fresh for me again. It is really exciting,” he said to Stoke City Player, adding: “I came back here last week and was on the bench during the game, but I think the manager called it correctly by not putting me on the field. I hadn’t really spent much time with the lads before that game, I think it was two or three days, but now I have been back here for a week or so now and I’m ready to get going again.
“The team have been doing really well. I know they lost against Arsenal but before that they had a really good run and picked up a good amount of points.”
The 24-year old says he is determined to rediscover the same form that made him an instant fan-favourite at the Britannia Stadium following his summer arrival from West London.
Tiger Woods Looses Tooth
TIGER Woods lost a front tooth after being hit in the face by a video camera while watching Lindsey Vonn, his girlfriend, win a record 63rd World Cup Alpine ski win, on Monday, January 19.
The former world number one golfer had gone to surprise Vonn, when he turned up unannounced in the resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
“During a crush of photographers at the awards’ podium, a media member with a shoulder-mounted video camera pushed and surged towards the stage, turned and hit Tiger Woods in the mouth,” Mark Steinberg, his agent, told the press, adding: “Woods’s tooth was knocked out by the incident.”
Woods, who was limited to nine tournaments last year because of back issues, said earlier this month that he would make his season debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open slated for January 29 to February 1.
Three British Players Crash Out of Australian Open
THREE British tennis players had a disappointing exit on day two of this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne, capital of Australia. James Ward, British number two in men’s category, lost to Fernando Verdasco, a Spaniard, in a game he almost won but still lost at 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.
Perhaps, Heather Watson, British women’s number one, would have done better, but she played through an ill-health and lost in a 6-4, 6-0 to Tsvetana Pironkova, a Bulgarian.
Another Briton who failed to make it out of round one of the tournament was Kyle Edmond, 20, who lost Steve Johnson, 25, of the United States in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 duel.
Andy Murray, number one British player, is now the sole British representative left in round two of the singles draws after beating Yuki Bhambri of India in straight sets on Monday, January 19.
Ward, 27, had his chances on court seven when he led by a break in the third set and then had a set point in the tie-break. After two similarly one-sided opening sets it was the closing stages of the third that proved decisive as Verdasco, ranked 31st in the world and a former semi-finalist in Melbourne, recovered the break and served his way out of danger in the tie-break.
From then on, Ward dropped serve at the start of the fourth and although he fought hard to recover, but it was too late in the day as he could not convert the one break-back point that came his way.
“It was tough but I thought I played well. Of course if I’d held two more times in the third I’ve won the set but it was tough conditions out there, very windy. We both played well. Even in the tie-break I gave myself a chance,” Ward said after the game.
On the other hand, Watson defeat could be blamed on ill-luck. The 22-year-old, who has now dropped to 162 in the world rankings, said she woke up that morning with sweats all-over her. “It’s really frustrating…I don’t always feel good every day but not this bad. It usually lasts literally one or two days,” she said. However, Watson is staying in Melbourne to play doubles.
Edmund had no chance against the American who dispatched once he broke his serve in each of the first two sets and then two more breaks. Looking back on his duel with Johnson, Edmund said: “There wasn’t a lot of rhythm due to the fact that he was serving really well. It’s just something I have to take away, work on and use as a stepping stone to get better. To qualify, win three matches and play my first round is a good experience. Looking back on it, it’s still been a good week.”
Compiled by Olu Ojewale
— Jan. 26, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT