Struggling strikers face-off

first_img LACKLUSTRE LIVERPOOL Advocaat isn’t the only manager seemingly fighting for his job. In his fourth season in charge at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers’ future seems equally bleak. Liverpool only scraped past fourth-tier Carlisle via a penalty shootout to advance in the League Cup on Wednesday. Liverpool have scored only four goals this season in the league and collected eight points out of a possible 18, looking a shadow of the side that came close to winning the 2013-14 title. ELSEWHERE… Behind the Manchester rivals at the summit are surprisingly West Ham and Leicester. West Ham host Norwich tomorrow  when Leicester entertain Arsenal. Stoke host Bournemouth still searching for their first win and Southampton face Bournemouth tomorrow. Sunday’s only game sees Crystal Palace travel north of London to Watford, while West Bromwich Albion play Everton the following night. LONDON (AP): The scoring feats of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane were unrivalled in the Premier League last season. Every touch seemed to turn to goals. And yet a month into the new campaign scoring is the one thing these strikers are struggling to do. Top scorer last season with 26 goals last season, Aguero has netted only once in the league for Manchester City so far. How Kane would be glad to be off the mark for Tottenham. Last season’s scoring revelation went from zero to 21 goals in six months to finish second in the scoring chart in his first season as a regular starter. And yet as Tottenham prepare to host Manchester City tomorrow there seems little prospect of these misfiring forwards losing their places in the starting XI. Aguero at least scored in the League Cup on Tuesday as City eliminated Sunderland. Kane did put the ball in the net on Wednesday against Arsenal only for it to be ruled out for offside in a north London derby when he spurned several scoring chances and seemed short of confidence again. Kane’s drought is biting more because of the lack of goals from his Tottenham teammates: Only five in six matches as the north London club has collected nine points. City, though, have coped without Aguero finding the net in the league since the 3-0 victory over Chelsea in the second game, with 11 other goals scored. And City are the early leaders, while Tottenham are six points adrift. NORTH-EAST NIGHTMARE It’s been a bleak start for the north-east teams. Newcastle and Sunderland have each played six times and failed to win once in the league. Both were also eliminated from the League Cup this week, with Newcastle experiencing the more humiliating outcome: Losing at home to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday. Steve McClaren is still awaiting his first win as Newcastle manager going into tomorrow’s game against Chelsea. “Do we fear it? Do we say we don’t want to play in that? We have got to,” McClaren said. “We have got to get people ready for Saturday, ready to fight, and one result turns it around. “You have got to say and you have got to believe — which I do — that could be Saturday.” Newcastle have beaten Chelsea on their last three visits to St. James’ Park. Sunderland, though, have to travel to a resurgent Manchester United, with Dick Advocaat the favourite to be the first manager fired this season.last_img read more

WICB ‘dysfunctional’, untrustworthy’ – Holding

first_imgKINGSTON (CMC): Cricket legend Michael Holding has blasted the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as “dysfunctional” and “untrustworthy” and cautioned that the game is in danger of further deterioration if changes are not made. Holding’s public rebuke of the Dave Cameron-led WICB comes amid reports of defiance at the board’s quarterly meeting in St Lucia on Saturday. The WICB said it has retained the services of Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan to provide advice on the recommendations of the CARICOM report calling for the dissolution of the board. A WICB release quotes Astaphan as saying that the way forward is for the board and CARICOM to work together to improve the game in the region. “As for the state of West Indies cricket, that will only get worse as long as this current crop of board members remain there and the structure and culture remains the same,” Holding told Fairfax Media. “You cannot have a healthy productive employee workforce while the employer is dysfunctional, untrustworthy and not liked by the employees.” West Indies cricket has been marred by a turbulent relationship between the board and the players and last year the team abandoned a tour of India, leading to a US$42 million lawsuit from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The latest humiliation for the former world beaters came on the weekend when they crashed to an embarrassing innings and 212-run loss to Australia inside three day in the opening Test. – CMClast_img read more

Hot-serving Raonic advances in Paris

first_imgPARIS, France (AP): Fourth-seeded Milos Raonic hit 17 aces and as he beat Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (5), 6-4 yesterday to reach the third round of the Paris Masters. The big-serving Canadian has been hampered by a recent right ankle injury that forced him to withdraw ahead of his China Open semi-final three weeks ago. Since then, he lost in the third round of the Shanghai Masters and in the first round of the Swiss Indoors last week. But he was moving freely as he beat Carreno Busta for the third time in as many career meetings – all of them this year. “The ankle is improving. I still have it wrapped up for safety,” Raonic said. “But it’s not really causing any nuisance.” Neither player faced a break point in the first set. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Carreno Busta patted a return into the net and Raonic sealed the set with an ace. He secured the only break in the second set when his opponent scooped a low shot into the net from the baseline. Raonic, a runner-up here to top-ranked Novak Djokovic two years ago, sealed victory with consecutive aces. “It’s always important for me to serve well,” Raonic said. “I haven’t served that well this summer, this hard court swing.” Earlier, Tomas Berdych avoided another early exit by beating Joao Sousa 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the third round. At 4-4 in the deciding set, Berdych trailed 15-40 and saved two break points. Although Berdych won the Shenzhen Open in China last month, the Czech player’s form dropped sharply with first-round exits at the Japan Open and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. In- between, there was a second-round loss at the Shanghai Masters. Losing so many ranking points forced Berdych out of the top 10 for the first time since reaching the 2010 Wimbledon final. It also leaves him needing to reach the semi-finals in Paris to have a chance of qualifying for the season-ending ATP finals in London – a difficult task considering he could face Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. Berdych, the 2005 Paris Masters champion, next face either 10th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut or Gilles Simon. Seven players are vying for the two remaining spots in London. Sealed victorylast_img read more

Magnum KSAFA Super League kicks off today

first_imgTwo of the early-season favourites, Barbican and Browns Town, will square off in a repeat of last season’s Magnum/KSAFA Super League semi-final on today’s opening day of the 2016-17 competition at the Constant Spring Complex.In the curtain-raiser, Shortwood entertain last season’s Major League winners Central Kingston at 1 p.m. before the two top contenders, Barbican and Brown’s Town, clash in the feature match at 3 p.m.All other matches will be played tomorrow.Barbican and Brown’s Town were two of the stronger teams in last year’s Super League competition. Barbican finished runners-up in Group A behind group winners and eventual champions Maverley/Hughenden, who they also played in the final.Barbican scored 19 goals in 16 games and only conceded five during the group phase.Brown’s Town netted 21 goals while conceding 17 in topping Group B, last season. However, when they faced Barbican in the last four they surrendered 3-0, courtesy of a double strike from Gregg Taylor. But both teams will be eager to get their season off on a good note and will be eyeing a winning start.Meanwhile, in games tomorrow, demoted Premier League team Cavalier will kick off their campaign against rivals Santos at Alpha Boys’ School, JDF take on Bull Bay at Up Park Camp, Maxfield play Rae Town at Maxfield Park, and Real Mona tackle Rockfort at Rockfort. All games start at 3 p.m.- L.S.last_img read more

Todd trying to get things right

first_imgTHE 2011 World Youth 100m champion Odail Todd is rebuilding his athletic career and continuing his studies at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education. This follows three injury-ridden years at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Now 22 years of age, Todd takes responsibility for his troubles and is working to stay healthy.”I’ve been struggling over the years with a lot of niggles and, for the past three years, I’ve been struggling, and it just wasn’t working at UWI for me, so I made the switch to G.C. Foster to see if I can actually regain the focus to propel myself forward,” said the former Green Island High School sprint star during a break from a library session at the institution recently. “So, right now, I am at a place where I hope I can get everything right.”He got almost everything right during his years at Green Island, taking Class 1 200m runner-up spots to Delano Williams at Boys and Girls’ Championships in 2011 and 2013, Carifta under-17 and 20 bronze medals in the 200m, and very nearly secured the sprint double at the World Youth Championships. He won the 100m but lost narrowly at twice the distance to Stephen Newbold of The Bahamas.In every season since he left Green Island, injury has crushed his hopes. A quadriceps tear rubbed out his first year at UWI.”The second year, I damaged my knee, which was caused by some idling,” he ruefully recalled. “… And then, this year, I was having a really spectacular season coming up to Intercol. I got myself injured, I think, the Monday before Intercol.”It was just a slight cramp but it was actually in my glutes and, you know, those areas kind of take long to heal,” he said of the left-leg niggle that knocked him out of the Jamaican Intercollegiate Championship and ended his 2016 Olympic season.His old high school rival Williams has since won a 4x400m World Championship medal with Great Britain. Todd still thinks that he can reach similar heights.NO DOUBT”I know I have the talent and I know I am blessed, so there’s no doubt about it that if I get all the dots connected and I put together a good season, I am sure I can be a world beater just like anybody else.”Asked about his three-year-old personal bests of 10.37 and 20.78 seconds for the 100m and 200m, respectively, he projected, “I know if I have a good season, like staying injury free, I know I’ll be running faster than 9.9, so I’m just trying to keep my head in the game, work hard and stay focused.”I haven’t been managing myself right, so I have no one to blame but myself, and now I am trying to stay away from all those little stupid stuff that I usually did,” Todd admitted.”I used to play like football, basketball and all those stuff. I cut out all of that to ensure that I have nobody to blame,” he promised.The broad shouldered world champion is a realist.”You have younger athletes running fast and, for me being 22 now, I need to step up and to do something. So, if I don’t get myself in the position to start competing at a higher level than the high school kids, probably then, I’ll have to seek some kind of other …” he added without completing the sentence, which, nonetheless, sent a clear message.last_img read more

JAAA awards to return in 2017

first_imgFew probably noticed but the annual Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)-Scotiabank Golden Cleats awards fell away from its usual December slot on the sports calendar.According to JAAA president Dr Warren Blake, the event disappeared due to the lack of sponsorship. He says the JAAA is grateful to Scotiabank for supporting the event in the past and promises it will return this year.Speaking recently, the JAAA president explained: “We lost our main sponsor because they said a number of the top athletes we had each year kept on not appearing and the sponsors felt that they weren’t getting value for money so they pulled away, but they still are going to be a sponsor of track and field in Jamaica, but just not at an awards function.”UNABLE TO ATTENDWhen the Golden Cleats were staged in 2015, top awardees Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were both unable to attend. They both made their presence felt through video recordings, which conveyed their thanks for their respective awards.Blake promises that the event will be staged in 2017.”We’re going to have it in 2017. It’s just that when we got the news it was really late in the day, and not being able to put it on that year,” he outlined. “It became a matter of timing.””Normally, we want to have it before the RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Award, and for us to start planning then, it would have made it later than the RJR thing, so we decided to scrap it … but we are going to have it this year.”Despite the difficulty, he underscored his association’s gratitude to Scotiabank for supporting the awards event and track and field in Jamaica.Scotiabank is a consistent supporter of sports in Jamaica, with significant sponsorships of athletics, cricket and netball.The JAAA president also that indicated a name change may be coming for the awards.last_img read more

Coley disappointed with Reggae Boyz axe

first_imgFormer national senior men’s team football coach Miguel Coley says he was disappointed after being removed from the Reggae Boyz coaching set-up. Coley spent three years as the deputy to former head coach Winfried Schaefer, but was replaced by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) following the failed World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign. “I felt disappointed. I believe I have proven myself. It is a job and those in charge decided that I am no longer needed,” said the 34-year-old Coley during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday. Coley, a multiple title-winning coach with Jamaica College, also underlined that young, local talent needs proper nurturing in order to create better players, which, he notes, will help move the Reggae Boyz programme forward. Nurture young talent Speaking in relation to Jamaica’s recent 1-0 loss to the United States in a friendly international last Friday, Coley lauded the handing of debuts to 20 year-old Shamar Nicholson and Cornwall College schoolboy Jourdain Fletcher. “We have to create a system of play. We have to nurture our better young talent, then get the synergy between local talent and overseas-based professionals,” said Coley. “The local coaches need to be qualified in order to understand how to create better players. We have to take a business approach to football from the club level locally,” he added. With regards to the local youngsters in the senior programme, Coley underlined that they need time to develop, and implored those in charge to believe in the talent. “We can’t have a programme that is World Cup based. We need a structure for better players. It has to be player driven,” Coley concluded.last_img read more

Arnett in control in race for sixth place

first_imgWestern Bureau: Arnett Gardens moved six points clear of Reno FC in the race for top-six spots in the Red Stripe Premier League, after second half substitute Kamal Malcolm netted an injury time winner in their 1-0 victory over their host at the STETHS Sports Complex yesterday. Malcolm, who came on in the 69th minute, was in the right place to fire home from close range, when Lennox Russell wasted a straightforward chance. “This was a game for six points and it was a good game of football. We played a disciplined game right to the end and of course we are happy with the result,” said Arnett’s head coach Jerome Waite. It was a result that gave them back-to-back wins and one that should fire their drive up the standings, according to Waite while bringing Reno down to earth after their strong showing against the league champions last week. Arnett began the game with more purpose and had three shots on target to dominate the first 30 minutes of the contest. After settling, Reno began looking smooth in attacks although more often than not had their thrust rebuffed by the Arnett Gardens defence. The game really sparked to life in the 50th minute, when Oniel ‘Bigga’ Thompson was made to clear Afiba Chambers’ spectacular effort, when the Reno forward fired a volley, which beat goalkeeper Omarley Francis. Reno coach Godfrey Drummond handed a start to returning striker Jason McLean, but the former MBU attacker, who was locked out of playing minutes at the champions, was only too happy to parade his skills once again for Reno. However, he was found to be wanting too much, holding on to the ball far longer than necessary. That aside, he did have two clean strikes at goal that had Francis scrambling to save. With the match looking like a safe draw and the teams looking a sure bet to earn a point each, Russell found space inside the area to shoot, but his shot crashed against the upright and rebounded into the path of Malcolm, who made no mistake.last_img read more

Goodbye Germaine Mason

first_imgThe date is July 22, 2002. The location is a Knutsford Boulevard bank, a short drive from the National Stadium where the 8th staging of the World Junior Championships had ended the day before. Among the customers is Germaine Mason, who had won a historic bronze medal for Jamaica in the Championships. Mason had broken new ground by winning the nation’s first World Junior high jump medal two years earlier. His bronze in Kingston made him the first to win medals in back-to-back Championships. Yet, though, he jumped 2.21 metres for third inside a packed Stadium and though the meet was broadcast on national television, no one in the bank seemed to know him. An impromptu poll was conducted in the waiting line to test the conclusion. One by one, the customers around Mason admitted to never having seen him before. This was in stark contrast to the attention Mason and his World Junior teammates had enjoyed in the previous week. He chuckled good-naturedly at his status as an invisible man and the fleeting nature of fame in sport. His death on Thursday morning vaulted him back to the front pages as much as his high jumping ever did. In the years after the World Juniors, he became Jamaica’s best high jumper ever. In 2003, he won the Pan-American Games gold medal and reached the final at the World Championships in Paris. Then, with the Athens Olympics just months away, he won the bronze at the 2004 World Indoor Championships. Sadly, he broke his ankle along the way. That mishap derailed his bid for Olympic glory until 2008. Jumping for Great Britain, he leapt to the runner-up spot. SPOTLIGHT MOMENT Injuries hastened his retirement, but at the 2008 Olympics in the Chinese city of Beijing, he had a well-deserved moment in the spotlight. As news broke of his tragic death in a motorcycle accident, the most common question was probably, ‘Germaine who? As it was in the bank in 2002, Mason wasn’t well known here outside the sport. That is perhaps understandable. Nevertheless, he leaves a considerable legacy behind. At Wolmer’s Boys School, he set a Class Two high jump record of 2.09 metres at the first combined Boys and Girls’ Championships in 1999. It stood until 2012 when Kristoff Bryan, who also attended Wolmer’s Boys School, broke it. Like the others at the MVP Track Club at the start of this century, he was a symbol of the then new effort to produce world class at home. In addition, he was proof that Jamaicans could do more than sprint. Regrettably, his death robs two countries of a man who genuinely was a sporting pioneer. – Hubert Lawrencelast_img read more