Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Wuhan Open, as well as the China Open, with a shoulder injury. Williams, 34, has been troubled by the problem with her right shoulder since winning Wimbledon, her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, in July. She says her focus is now on being fit enough to play in the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore from 23 October. Her recent defeat by Karolina Pliskova at the US Open ended Williams’ 186-week run as world number one.
Former Netherlands striker Marco van Basten has been appointed as FIFA chief officer for technical development. In his new capacity, van Basten, 51, will be heading up all technical areas ranging from football technology innovation to refereeing and will officially start his new role next week. “It’s a great honour for me to be appointed for this assignment,” said the 1992 FIFA World Player of the Year who won the European Championship and two European Cups during his career. “I hope to be able to give my contribution to ensure that football remains the number one sport in the world. “Football is spectacular and it has to stay spectacular in every sense. We all love this sport. That’s why I will work hard to develop football technically in the way that our sport will give the fans and players emotions and joy.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is asked today for his response to a book in which Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying he would break the Frenchman’s face. “I haven’t read the book and I certainly will not read that so I can’t comment on that,” says Wenger. “I talk about football, that is all I do. I’m not in a destructive mode and I can’t comment on that as I’m focused on tomorrow’s game (against Mourinho’s former side Chelsea). “I have no personal problem with anyone and I respect everyone in the game. Sometimes I say what I think and that is how I am. This has nothing to do with our game tomorrow, I’m just focused on doing my job. Mourinho regularly clashed with Wenger while managing Chelsea, once describing him as a “specialist in failure” and also a “voyeur”.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has confirmed that full-back Arthur Masuaku is out for at least six weeks with an ankle injury. The 22-year-old joined from Olympiakos in the summer and has made five Premier League appearances for the club. Bilic said: “He has damaged his ligaments and we will know better in one week when he will be back. But it will be at least six weeks. “It is not good news and both our left backs have damaged their ligaments. But we still have a good team.”
A lively news conference went on today involving Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho ahead of their game against Leicester tomorrow and the special one is not happy with the media criticising him and his team. Mourinho says: “I am such a lucky guy. I can’t be upset with anything. The only thing that upsets me a little bit is the kind of criticism for my players. “I would love to protect my players, but from you (the media) I can’t. It is completely out of my control. That gives me a feeling that it is hard. That is frustrating. “The Einsteins (journalists / pundits) need money to live.
Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany is receiving treatment for a groin injury sustained in Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Swansea. The Belgian centre-back was making his first start since May 4, but left the Liberty Stadium pitch moments before full time with the problem. No date has yet been set for his return. The positive for Kompany and City is that the injury is not a recurrence of the calf problems that disrupted his progress last season. The 30-year-old looked in fine form against the Swans in midweek, defending with purpose and passing through the lines with precision. Along with inform duo John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, plus Aleks Kolarov’s impressive outings at centre-back this season, a returning Kompany would give boss Pep Guardiola a tough selection headache.
Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has honoured three Imo State indigenes who won gold medals for Team Nigeria at the just concluded Rio 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The sports loving governor rewarded each of the victorious Paralympians with a brand new car and the sum of one million naira each. He also extended his magnanimity to the coaches of these athletes who are to equally receive N1m cash gifts and a car each. The 3 gold medallists from the state are Roland Ezurike, Ndidi Nwosu and Josephine Orji. Ezurike won the first gold medal for Nigeria at the Rio Paralympics. He won gold medals at men’s power-lifting in the 54kg and 200kg categories. Nwosu won Nigeria’s 5th gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, beating the defending champion to win the women’s -73kg Powerlifting event. On her part, Orji shattered the world record of the women’s -+86kg power-lifting event at the Paralympics Games with a lift of 154kg to win the gold medal. The Honourable Commissioner for Public Safety, Youth and Sports, Rodney Ajaelu had on arrival at the Government House presented the 3 gold medallists to the governor for recognition. The elated Paralyampians sang a Happy Birthday song for the Governor and promised to continue to set the pace. The Governor while addressing the athletes said that the best things that can happen to Nigeria will always come from Imo state saying they did not only make the state proud but the entire nation.
Former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit believes the Blues’ current boss Antonio Conte is still “searching for a system he can rely on”. Chelsea opened the Premier League season with three successive wins but have taken just one point from their last two games. The Stamford Bridge side visit London rivals Arsenal on Saturday. Gullit added: “He has only just arrived in this country and has just started his job – he should be given six months to settle in. Sadly, that does not seem to happen anymore. “I was the first Chelsea manager that Arsene Wenger came up against as Arsenal boss 20 years ago – Conte will be the 12th. Things are very different now to when Arsene first came to England.”
Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor has rejected claims he smoked cigarettes and asked for a shot of whisky in his coffee during a meeting with Lyon over a potential move to the French club. Adebayor, who was released by Crystal Palace in the summer after his contract expired, met Lyon’s manager, Bruno Génésio, last week to discuss a move to the Ligue 1 side. The 32-year-old Togo international said the transfer fell through after Lyon were reluctant to release him for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, although reports in France stated that Génésio decided against signing the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham striker because of a series of bizarre requests during their meeting, including providing a private helicopter to take him to training, hiring celebrated chef Joël Robuchon as his personal cook and a villa with a swimming pool that “has a view of Corsica”.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, plans to buy London-based Arsenal soccer team within four years. Dangote, a Nigerian worth $10.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, announced his intention to buy the club last year. He said he needs to wait for his business prospects to improve and his investments in gas pipelines and an oil refinery to play out before making the acquisition. “There’s no doubt” he’ll buy Arsenal and “it’s not a problem” of money, Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York on Wednesday. “Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has invited 23 players to camp for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Match with Zambia’s Chipolopolo in Ndola. A statement by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday in Abuja said the coach retained belief in his first squad by inviting the bulk of those players. The match will hold on Sunday October 9, 2016 and the venue is Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia. FIFA has appointed Ghead Grisha of Egypt as the centre referee for the match. The 40-year-old, who has been a FIFA referee since 2008, will be assisted by compatriots Tahssen Abo El Sadat Bedyer as assistant referee 1, Ahmed Hossameldin Taha as assistant referee 2 and Ibrahim Noureldin as fourth official. Former FIFA referee Zeli Sinko of Cote d’Ivoire will serve as referee assessor, while former Ghana FA president Mahamadu Nuru Deen Jawula will be match commissioner.