Major League Soccer players are on the verge of strike action, two days before the beginning of the season, BBC reports. Discussions over a new collective contract, which expired on 31 January, have stalled between the league and the players’ union. The agreement is a contract to promote the mutual interests of MLS, the players and their union. There was a similar dispute in 2010, although that was resolved with five days to go. The first game of the 2015 season is scheduled to kick off on Friday evening between Robbie Keane’s champions Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire. Chicago have flown out to LA despite the doubts. Despite not knowing whether the season will kick off, Orlando coach Adrian Heath – whose side face fellow new franchise New York City – confirmed that clubs were getting ready for their games. “We’re preparing as if we’re kicking off on Sunday evening,” he said.
Nigeria’s Under-20s have been challenged by the country’s football federation to win the upcoming African Under-20 Championship in Senegal. The bulk of the squad won the Under-17s World Cup two years ago. Nigeria Football Federation deputy secretary general Emmanuel Ikpeme said: The target is for the team to win the AYC and confirm that winning the U17 World Cup was not a fluke.” The Flying Eagles begin their campaign against the hosts on Sunday 8 March. Ikpeme told the team: “Do not expect it to be an easy match but we believe you are up to the task going by what you showed in your recent test matches in Ghana. “We should not take any match or opponent for granted and so you should resolve as a team to make Nigeria happy and proud in Senegal.” Coach Manu Garba assured the NFF the team are fired up for glory in Senegal. “We as a team always want to win every game we play and that is the attitude we will take to the AYC,” Manu said. “We will not underrate any team in Senegal, but we are confident we will do the nation proud.” Eight teams will take part in the tournament, to be played between, 8 and 22 March, with the semi-finalists qualifying for the 2015 U-20 World Cup.
Stefano Colantuono has been sacked as Atalanta coach after the club slumped to their fourth successive league loss at the weekend. He is the fifth Serie A coach to lose his job this season, following Eugenio Corini (Chievo), Walter Mazzarri (Inter Milan), Pierpaolo Bisoli (Cesena) and Zdenek Zeman (Cagliari).
Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi will be out of action until April after undergoing minor knee surgery. The Nigeria international has been absent for Chelsea’s past four matches, including Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the League Cup final. Manager Jose Mourinho has subsequently confirmed that Mikel has had an operation to correct the issue and expects him to be absent until April. “Mikel had a little surgery on his meniscus,” he told the press. “We are expecting him to be out for about a month – one week is already gone. There is not too much optimism or pessimism. “I would say he will return first week of April.” Mikel is now likely to miss the Premier League matches against West Ham, Southampton and Hull City as well as the home leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
The 2015 African U-20 Championship (also called African Youth Championship) will be the 20th edition of the football tournament for Under 20 players. The competition will take place in Senegal and is starting on Sunday the 8th of March 2015 . The Flying Eagles of Nigeria, coached by Manu Garba, will be participating (infact they will depart Nigeria today for Senegal). The semifinalists will participate in 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup slated for New Zealand in May.