Chelsea are punishing midfielder John Mikel Obi for representing Nigeria at the Rio Olympics, says the country’s coach Gernot Rohr. Mikel, 29, captained his country to bronze in Brazil this summer but has not played for the Blues this season. He will play in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Algeria. Rohr said: “There is a reason why Mikel is not playing for Chelsea right now and that reason is because he played for Nigeria at the Olympics.” When asked about Mikel last week, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “Mikel is working very well now. In the past he’s sometimes had some injuries. But now he’s working very hard, and I’m pleased with his work-rate.”
Maria Sharapova will be reinstated as a UN goodwill ambassador when her suspension for using a prohibited drug expires next April, a UN statement says. It says that the UN is looking forward to working with her to discuss her role “at an appropriate date”. The player admitted in March that she had taken the substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January. She was subsequently banned for two years by an investigating tribunal, but last month her suspension was reduced to 15 months after she filed an appeal.
Neymar and Philippe Coutinho each scored as Brazil beat Argentina 3-0 in their 2018 World Cup qualifier. Coutinho drove in a shot for the opener before Neymar, who might have conceded a penalty for handball earlier, slotted in to extend the hosts’ lead. The visitors and star player Lionel Messi struggled to make an impact and Paulinho added Brazil’s third. Argentina are now sixth in the 10-team South American qualifying group, with the top four automatically qualifying. The fifth-placed country in the group will go into a play-off with the Oceania group winners. Argentina have 16 points from 11 games, one point adrift of fourth-placed Ecuador but eight behind leaders Brazil, who have 24 points. “When they hit us hard, we struggled to recover,” said Messi, who plays alongside Neymar at Barcelona. “We are more than aware that we have to change a lot. Of all the bad points, the good one is that we depend on ourselves but we can’t be giving away any more points.” All teams have seven games remaining, with the next round of matches on Tuesday when Brazil visit Peru while Argentina host Colombia.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been training in Abuja ahead of their crucial World Cup Qualifier with Algeria. The Vice President visited them at some point to lend the support of the government. The match will be played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo tomorrow (Saturday 12th November, 2016). The kick off time is 5pm Nigerian time. Nigeria lead the group after beating Zambia 2 – 1 in match day 1 away in Zambia. Cameroon if the other nation in the group.
A popular Gambian wrestler has drowned while crossing the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, his coach says. Ali Mbengu, known to his fans as “Mille Franc”, was on a boat travelling from Libya to Italy when it capsized last Friday, Pateh Nying said. A Gambia Wrestling Federation spokesman told the AFP news agency the 22-year-old was one of the most disciplined wrestlers in the country. The sport is hugely popular in The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal. Last month, the goalkeeper of the Gambian women’s football team died in similar circumstances. Many of the undocumented migrants who arrive in Italy are Gambians. Mille Franc, meaning “a thousand francs”, made his debut in early 2012, working under Mr Nying at the Club Serrekunda Gome Saboppa in the outskirts of the capital, Banjul, AFP reports.
Brazilian Rafael Everton Lira has left FC IfeanyiUbah after rejecting a lesser role with the club he led to the 2016 Nigerian FA Cup. Everton’s exit comes four days after he led Anambra Warriors to their first trophy with a win over Nasarawa United. FC IfeanyiUbah appointed Japanese-American and former Accra Hearts of Oak manager Kenichi Yatsuhashi as its new head coach on Wednesday. Everton rejected an assistant coach and head coach of youth development role. Everton, the youngest manager to win the Nigerian FA Cup at 27, said on Facebook: “As of today I am no longer the coach of FC IfeanyiUbah and I would like to thank the club for the opportunity to manage here,” “The club chairman offered me a position of assistant to the new coach, but I’m going home for vacation to sit down with my agent and family to be able to make the best decision for my career. “I am grateful for the incredible results as coach of IfeanyiUbah to get the fourth position in the first division and manage to be the Nigerian Cup Champion. “I would like to thank everyone and thank you for everything.” Brazilian Alberico Barbosa da Silva – one of the stars of the season who helped them to a place in next seasons Confederation Cup – will also be leaving the club.