New Zealand rugby union great Jonah Lomu has died aged 40. Lomu, who scored 37 tries in 63 matches for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002, had been diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition by 1996. It forced him to quit the game and he had a kidney transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011. “Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. “We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.” Family spokesman John Mayhew told New Zealand television that Lomu’s death was “totally unexpected” and that he had only arrived back from the UK on Tuesday, after spending time there for the Rugby World Cup. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: “The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.” Speaking to the BBC, New Zealand Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman said Lomu “was the first global rugby superstar”. He was a “huge inspiration to Polynesian men and actually in later years with his battles against kidney disease, very inspirational to people suffering from chronic diseases as well”, he said. Lomu is survived by his wife Nadene and two sons.
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has had surgery to fix a groin problem in Munich. The club said in a statement:”The injury has been ongoing for weeks and conservative treatment has not had the desired effect.” Balotelli is expected to be sidelined until the new year.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini have had their appeals against 90-day bans rejected by world football governing body’s appeal committee. They were suspended in October while FIFA’s ethics committee investigates corruption claims against them. Blatter, 79, is accused of signing a contract “unfavourable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to Platini. Both deny wrongdoing and could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was also suspended in October but there was no mention of him in Wednesday’s FIFA statement. The adjudicatory panel of FIFA’s ethics committee is due to hold hearings into the misconduct charges before Christmas.
Claude LeRoy resigned as coach of Congo Brazzaville just hours after securing a place for the country in the final of qualifying for the World Cup. The 67-year-old Frenchman told officials directly after the Red Devils beat Ethiopia 2-1 in Brazzaville on Tuesday for a 6-4 overall victory. ” After two formidable years , I’ve decided to embark on another adventure,” he told local reporters. There is now speculation he could take over as Cameroon boss again. Volker Finke was sacked as coach of the Indomitable Lions before the recent World Cup qualifiers, when they beat Niger 3-0 on aggregate. Alexandre Belinga is currently the interim coach of Cameroon while the football association recruit a replacement. LeRoy has coached at a record eight African Nations Cup finals, including winning the tournament with Cameroon in 1988. He only once failed to reach the quarter-finals of the Nations Cup and took Congo to the last eight place at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea in January.
The Nigeria Football Federation has appealed passionately to kidnappers of the 72 –year old mother of U-23 National Team Head Coach, Samson Siasia, to release the old woman. On learning of the unfortunate incident on Tuesday morning, NFF President Amaju Pinnick was downcast. “This is quite disturbing. We are just preparing for a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match, and the U-23 boys are already in The Gambia for a pre-Cup of Nations training camp. Why this? “All we can do is to appeal to the kidnappers to free Samson Siasia’s aged mother. Samson is on a critical national assignment presently and the last he needs is this kind of distraction.” The 72 –year old Mrs Ogere Siasia, according to Samson, was abducted in the village of Odoni, Bayelsa State by three men on motorbike. A distressed Siasia said his mother happened to be the only one at home in his village taking care of his father who is visually impaired.
Swaziland’s hopes of reaching their first ever Fifa World Cup got dashed as they crashed 2-0 to Nigeria at the Adokiye Amesiamaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Tuesday evening. A trade mark free-kick from Moses Simon and Efe Ambrose’s strike breezed aside Harris Bulunga’s side who had boasted about their chances of upstaging the Super Eagles before their home fans. The Super Eagles made their intent of winning known as early as the second minute when pressure on the visitor’s backline and got a corner kick unexploited by Simon. Nigeria pushed forward on their second attack of the game, patiently passing the ball around midway inside the Swaziland half of the pitch. They were unable to find a way through the sea of players camped in front of them, however, and Odion Ighalo ended up losing the ball on the right wing.