DREAMING SUPPORTERS “It is true our supporters can dream,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said. Second-place Tottenham lead Arsenal on goal difference, while City’s second straight home loss kept the team six points behind Leicester, with their squad beginning to look stretched as they go for trophies on four fronts. In the other match, last-place Aston Villa slipped to their heaviest home defeat in 81 years, losing 6-0 to Liverpool. The visitors had six different scorers, including Daniel Sturridge in the injury-prone striker’s first league start for more than four months. Relegation candidates all of last season, Leicester are dealing with a different kind of pressure this time round, but failure to handle rising expectations wasn’t the reason behind the defeat at Emirates Stadium. The biggest factor was probably the sending-off of right back Danny Simpson after two yellow cards in the opening nine minutes of the second half. Leicester were then leading 1-0, thanks to Jamie Vardy’s penalty on the stroke of half-time – his league-high 19th goal of the season. Substitutes came good for Arsenal. Theo Walcott equalised with 20 minutes to go, with Arsenal’s first shot on target and fellow sub Welbeck, who came on in the 83rd minute, headed in Mesut Ozil’s free kick. “Everybody is extremely happy for him because he has been out for 10 months. That is an eternity for a player,” Wenger said. Spurs capped a successful day for the north London clubs by completing a league double over City, another sign that they are ready to finally challenge for the championship under Pochettino after years of underachievement. Harry Kane put Tottenham in front in the 53rd from a penalty that was controversially awarded for a handball against Raheem Sterling, who turned his back to a cross from Danny Rose. The ball appeared to strike a combination of his elbow and back, with his arm not outstretched. Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho equalised in the 74th, only for Eriksen to race onto Erik Lamela’s through-ball and slip a low finish past goalkeeper Joe Hart. With 12 games left, City are now dependent on three teams above them dropping points. “The first problem is our team,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “We need to improve in a lot of things.” It is the first time since 1985 that Tottenham has been second at this stage of the season. After Sturridge and James Milner secured a 2-0 lead at half-time, Liverpool scored four goals in 13 second-half minutes – through Emre Can, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne and Kolo Toure – to seal their biggest win under Juergen Klopp. Liverpool climbed to eighth place, three points behind fifth-place Manchester United, while Villa are eight points from safety. MANCHESTER, England (AP): Arsenal and Tottenham grabbed late winning goals against title rivals yesterday to move two points off the lead as the race to win the English Premier League tightened up. Leicester started the weekend with an unlikely five-point lead, but conceded in the fifth minute of stoppage time to lose 2-1 at Arsenal, with Danny Welbeck scoring the winner in his first match back after 10 months out because of injury. “This strengthens our belief that we are in the fight,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “It would have been massive for us to lose.” It was only Leicester’s third loss of the season – and two of them have been inflicted by Arsenal. Christian Eriksen didn’t leave it quite so late for Spurs against Manchester City, slotting home in the 83rd minute to also seal a 2-1 win at Etihad Stadium. It will be regarded as a landmark win for a young Tottenham team that is going for the club’s first league title since 1961.
All season, track and field fans have had a dilemma. With the JAAA schedule packed on every Saturday from the start of the year, hard choices have been made. If you saw the slip-surge 10.44-second run by Calabar High School’s Christopher Taylor at the Camperdown Classic, it meant you missed the determined 52.4 4x400m anchor leg by Junelle Bromfield for STETHS at the Western Relays. Choosing either one meant almost certainly missing the 51.91-metre record discus heave by Excelsior throws princess Shanice Love at the King of the Rings at the Antrim-Mountain View Avenue-based institution. That dilemma disappears on Saturday with the Gibson/McCook Relays. As is customary, there are no other meets on the JAAA schedule on the day when the Gibson/McCook Relays presents a feast for sprint fans. First staged as the Gibson Relays in 1973, the meet is a festival of speed. The 4×100-metre relay is at the foundation of the meet, with preparatory, primary, secondary and tertiary student-athletes all attempting to move their batons around the National Stadium track at high speed. Bordered by the meet-opening and meet-closing 4x400m relays, Gibson/McCook also has competitions in the 4x200m, 4x800m, the sprint medley and selected individual events. Jamaica has always loved the sprints, so while other meets have come and gone, the Relays has retained its appeal. Many view it as a prelude to the ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships and use it as an indicator for the results of that high-energy high-school meet. Hence, the core of the support of the Gibson/McCook has long come from past students of the champion teams in the land. With no scheduling dilemma to split the attentions of the fan base, this Saturday should be no different. In recent years, interest has been boosted by the presence of superstars who have foregone the traditional move to the United States of America to study and train. This has given fans an early-season glance at Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Brigitte Foster-Hylton and the like. Very few have the opportunity to see them at the Olympics or the World Championships, so it’s a day aficionados cherish. Bolt has been a brilliant source of speed and excitement. His Racers team holds the men’s 4x100m record at a phenomenal 38.08 seconds. That was at the 2010 renewal, when the tall man also zipped through a 4x400m anchor leg in 44.2 seconds in vain. Last year, he made the news worldwide for a race his Racers team lost by inches, the men’s 4x100m to the University of Technology. Relays are the team event of athletics. It takes co-operation to pilot the baton, from start to finish, safely and quickly enough to win. The speed, the fine margins for error, and the excitement, has kept fans on the edge of their seats and on their feet during each of the previous 39 stagings of the event. Don’t be surprised if it happens again on Saturday. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Highly motivated KOLKATA, India (CMC): Captain Darren Sammy has lashed out at cricket broadcaster Mark Nicholas for describing West Indies as “short of brains” in a pre-tournament preview, and says the comment helped served as a catalyst for the side’s success in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup. Writing before the tournament, Nicholas said West Indies were “short of brains, but have Indian Premier League history in their ranks”, a comment Sammy and the Caribbean side took great exception to. “How could you describe people with ‘no brains’? Animals got brains. We’re not an object,” an emotional Sammy told a media conference on the eve of the Twenty20 World Cup final here yesterday. “To me, that particular comment really set it off for us. You could see me talking about it. It’s kind of emotional, as for somebody who I respect and had good rapport with that particular gentleman. “To describe our team, who were defending champions four years ago, as we guys with no brains is really out of order.” West Indies lost just once in the preliminaries – to Afghanistan in their final game – to top Group 1 ahead of the semi-finals. They then produced a spectacular performance against tournament favourites India, chasing down 193 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday in Mumbai to book their spot in the final. Sammy said that because of the criticism, West Indies had become closer as a unit and were now highly motivated ahead of today’s final. “Everybody is entitled to his opinion. You guys (media) ask most difficult questions to get a good story. We understand that. The key for us is the belief in our own circle. Whatever they say, it does not really matter,” Sammy pointed out. “God doesn’t love the ugly, and we’re very wonderful and very beautiful men. That’s why we play exciting cricket. For us, all these things have happened before the tournament. That’s the passion, determination that we take on the field. It’s one more step. We believe that we could do it.”
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP): Sri Lanka’s Test opener Kaushal Silva was taken to hospital yesterday after being hit on the head by a cricket ball while fielding in a domestic match. Sri Lanka Cricket said that Silva was struck during a match in Pallekele. His scans were clear, but he was flown to a hospital in the capital Colombo for further tests and observation, the cricket body added. Silva has played 24 Test matches for Sri Lanka and scored 1,404 runs at an average of 31. “Kaushal was fielding at short leg when he got hit,” espncricinfo.com quoted national team manager Charith Senanayake as saying. According to Senanayake, Sri Lanka vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal “swept right on to the back of Kaushal’s head. He did take evasive action, but still the ball hit him”. The website said Silva was wearing a helmet with additional padding, a design introduced for player safety after the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes after being struck by a ball on the head in November 2014. Yesterday’s match was part of Sri Lanka’s preparations for its tour of England next month, with the first of three Tests starting at Headingley on May 19.
JAMAICA’S junior athletes who will start competition at the XVIII Junior Pan Am Championships tomorrow have reportedly settled well at their base at the Lister Centre on the campus of the University of Alberta.The Jamaican team, which comprised 36 athletes (20 males and 16 females) had attended three training sessions since their arrival late Monday night.Head coach Michael Carr was very upbeat while speaking to The Gleaner yesterday and was looking forward to the start of competition.”So far, so good, (there are) no injury concerns and the team is in good spirit,” said Carr.Close to venueThe coach added that they are staying some ten minutes away from the athletic venue.”Where we are staying is in close proximity to the site of the meet. The training venue will be the same venue where the meet will be held. This is a big plus for us as it takes us around ten minutes to reach there … we are taking advantage of this,” continued Carr. “The team is in high spirits and we are hoping that when it matters most, they will deliver.”Carr, who was at the helm when Jamaica topped the world two years ago at the World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, is very pleased with the support given so far by the organisers.”The organisers have been very supportive so far; when we ask for help in any area, they are willing to help us,” said Carr.The country will be hoping to better its medal haul of two years ago when two silver medals were garnered in Medellin, Columbia. Christoffe Bryan finished second in the Boys’ High Jump, while it was also second for the Boys’ 4x100m relay quartet of Odail Todd, Antonio Henry, Jevaughn Minzie and Jahzeel Murphy.It was at the same meet where two of today’s top young international talents had early success as Zharnel Hughes captured the Boy’s 100 metres, defeating Canada’s Andre De Grasse, who finished second for silver. De Grasse also picked up bronze in the 200 metres after finishing third.
Sunderland appoints AllardyceSUNDERLAND, England (AP) – Sunderland hired Sam Allardyce yesterday as their new manager on a two-year contract.Allardyce replaces Dick Advocaat after the Dutchman quit last weekend following a 2-2 draw at home to West Ham. Sunderland surrendered a two-goal lead in the game and have only three points from eight matches so far in the Premier League, leaving them second from bottom in the standings.The 60-year-old Allardyce, who has also managed West Ham, Blackburn, Newcastle and Bolton in England’s top flight, will face West Brom in his first game as manager on October 17.Elias Hernandez, Guemez added to Mexico rosterMIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Mexico has replaced injured midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez and forward Giovani Dos Santos on its roster for today’s play-off game against the United States for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.The football federation of North and Central America and the Caribbean said yesterday that Leon forward Elias Hernandez and Club American midfielder Javier Guemez have been added to the roster.The US play Mexico at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, for the right to represent CONCACAF at the FIFA event in Russia, a warm-up for the 2018 World Cup.Brazil, Argentina loseRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazil showed Thursday they can’t win against the best without Barcelona star Neymar, losing 2-0 at Chile as qualifying in South America opened for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.It was the same story for Argentina without their Barcelona marquee player Lionel Messi, falling 2-0 at home against Ecuador.Chile won behind second-half goals by Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez.Argentina went down to Ecuador in Buenos Aires on second-half goals by Frickson Erazo and Felipe Caicedo.Messi is out with a left-knee injury and is expected to return in late November.In other qualifiers on Thursday, Uruguay overcame the altitude in La Paz to defeat Bolivia 2-0 with goals from Martin Caceres and Diego Godin.Teofilo Gutierrez and Edwin Cardona scored in Colombia’s 2-0 victory over Peru in the Colombian city of Barranquilla and Paraguay defeated Venezuela 1-0.Aguero injureshamstring, faces spell outMANCHESTER, England (AP) – Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was carried off on a stretcher, in tears, with a hamstring injury during Argentina’s 2-0 loss to Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier and faces a spell on the sidelines.Aguero lasted 24 minutes of Thursday’s game before he pulled up sharply, holding his left hamstring, while chasing a long ball.Argentina coach Gerardo Martino said on City’s website that Aguero had arrived on international duty carrying a knock.Aguero scored five goals in 20 minutes in his last game for City in a 6-1 win over Newcastle that returned his team to the top of the Premier League.
Jamaica College’s captain Allando Brown says their 4-0 mauling at the hands of St George’s College in the FLOW/ISSA Super Cup final two weeks ago is now in the past.The Old Hope Road school’s ace defender said St George’s are the favourites to win today, but they are eager to avenge that defeat and retain the Manning Cup.”The last game against St George’s is history. We are looking towards this Manning Cup final against St George’s to come out and give our best. We are the underdogs and we want to create an upset,” he told The Gleaner.He insisted that St George’s were only better on the day, and he has full confidence in his team to deliver a better performance against their North Street rivals.”On the day, they were better. We lost the (Super Cup) game, but this (Manning Cup) is really our focus. We tried to play St George’s game (in Super Cup final) and that didn’t work, so we are coming with our normal game. Look for a better performance from us, and hard work and guts as always,” he added.
MADRID (AP):Antoine Griezmann scored a goal in each half to give AtlÈtico Madrid an emphatic 2-0 win over defending champion Barcelona and a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League yesterday.Griezmann opened the scoring in the 36th minute and then sealed the victory with a late penalty kick to allow Atletico to reverse the 2-1 first-leg loss at Camp Nou with a 3-2 victory on aggregate.The result sent Diego Simeone’s team, which had played most of the first-leg match with 10 men, to the semi-finals for the second time in the last three seasons. And it shattered the hopes of favourites Barcelona, who have reached the semi-finals seven times in the last eight seasons.AtlÈtico Madrid left Camp Nou infuriated with the refereeing last week after their striker, Fernando Torres, was sent off in the 35th minute. Yesterday, it was Barcelona who had reason to complain after a hand ball by Gabi Fern·ndez that appeared to be inside the area but was judged by the referee outside the box in second-half injury time.Lionel Messi’s ensuing free kick sailed over the crossbar in his team’s last chance.In yesterday’s other game, Bayern Munich advanced 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw at Benfica. The draw in the return leg of their quarter-final meant Bayern went through 3-2 on aggregate after their 1-0 win at home. Unfancied Benfica made the German club fight till the end, though, as substitute Talisca’s curling free kick beat Manuel Neuer in the 76th to make it level on the night.Ra?l JimÈnez’s 27th-minute goal, when he met a lobbed pass from Eliseu and beat two defenders to head past Neuer, put Benfica level over the two legs and fired up the Portuguese team.Arturo Vidal replied for Bayern in the 38th with his second goal over the two legs. Benfica goalkeeper Ederson pushed out Philipp Lahm’s cross as far as the Chile midfielder, who was alone on the edge of the area and fired a shot into the empty goal.Thomas Mueller, who hadn’t scored in his past three games, made it 2-1 for the Bundesliga club on the night with a header in the 52nd.Real Madrid and Manchester City had reached the last four on Tuesday.
I have long opined that one of, if not the most fundamental cause, for the continued implosion of West Indies cricket has been the ‘mind set’ of the current crop of players. More so than any systemic or procedural shortcomings of the West Indies cricket board. Blaming the board is simplistic, cliched and indeed lacks real credibility on the basis that when West Indies were the undisputed kingpins of world cricket, the structure and operations of the WICB were hardly any different and certainly not superior to what they are now. That period of dominant success was not based on any novel ideas or strategic planning on the part of the then administrators, the difference between then and now is obviously the talent level but more importantly, the attitude, the commitment, the collective and personal professionalism of that era of winners and champions, and what are now being foisted onto the people of the region as modern stars. I concede that back then key players in that West Indies unit played county cricket in England, which no doubt helped to make them more complete and professional players, but instructively those greats were sought after by the county clubs because of the of the inherent qualities they possessed compared to the mediocre quality of the players of today. Compounding and perhaps expediting this wider decline especially in Test cricket is, of course, the rapid emergence of the Twenty20 game, which has brought about a paradigm shift in the focus of the players away from Test cricket and towards the easier and more lucrative shortest format. For one reason or another, the modern players have overtime left West Indies cricket ‘out to dry’ and there is precious little the board could have done and can do about it. The recent saga involving Darren Bravo is a clear index of this let-down. After six years of Test cricket, Bravo has played 49 test matches, scored a mere eight Test centuries with an averages of 40.00. Bravo plays in a team that is ranked eight out of 10 Test playing nations – only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Yet in his mind, he is a big enough star to have earned the RIGHT to an ‘A’ contract and the Board president, who dared not to grant him that ‘A’ contract; Bravo feels he has earned the status to publicly refer to that Board president as a ‘BIG IDIOT”. Darren Bravo is the typical modern West Indies player, bereft of standards and shame, and with an exaggerated sense of their relevance and importance in the wider scheme of things. Instead of having the professionalism and the personal pride to drive himself to put in the necessary work to make himself a better and more complete player in pursuance of true greatness as batsman. With eight test centuries and averaging 40, Darren Bravo thinks he is the King of West Indies cricket and has behaved accordingly. This again typifies the thinking of the modern player, and that’s why when this lot get hammered, humiliated and humbled in a Test series, it matters very little to them. When they are part of the worst ever West Indies team that continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel in world cricket, they never lose a single night’s sleep. They are happy being the ‘big fish” in the small pond. This highlights the sharp and decisive contrast between this current crop of players and the likes of Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and that entire era of great warriors, who were never ever satisfied with being that proverbial “big fish’ in that small pond. Those greats wanted to own the ENTIRE OCEAN, and they did. While the shameless brats and mercenaries of today typified by the actions of Darren Bravo, continue to wallow in their own mediocrity, and ultimately drowning themselves and West Indies cricket in the shallow waters of the “small pond”. RECENT SAGA
The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has moved to assure that its decision not to vote on constitutional changes at the recent IAAF Special Congress in Monaco does not suggest any discord in it’s solidarity with the fight against doping in the sport. In a release issued late Friday night, the JAAA pointed to what it described as an unprecedented requisite for member federations to vote en masse on 15 proposals, which were to be implemented across two constitutions and executed at the beginning of the years 2017 and 2019. The release, which was signed by General Secretary Garth Gayle, outlines that there was no opportunity to examine individual points and that the JAAA would have preferred further discussions on five particular proposals included in the 15–point plan put forward by the IAAF at the Congress. Among the Jamaican authority’s grouses is the decision to alter the composition of the Council to reflect gender balance. The JAAA contends that this decision was taken by a small group of individuals and needed further discussion at the Congress level. The JAAA also argues that the current age limit of 70 years old, which was agreed in the 2015 constitution, was removed without any discussion at Congress, and also noted their discontent that committees would no longer be elected by Congress but would instead be appointed under the new plan. Other issues raised by the JAAA include term limits. “Term limits were already agreed to and included in the 2015 constitution. In this new document, the three-term maximum period is still included, but would no longer apply to the existing council members who could serve until 2027 if re-elected. Some of these members have already served four terms,” read the JAAA’s response. The organisation also argues that the Council’s Executive Board would be drastically changed without full discussion among member federations. It is against these issues and the fact that they could not vote on individual points that the JAAA says it decided to not cast a vote at all. “First and foremost, the member countries were not asked to vote on any one issue. There was a list of 15 different proposals contained in two constitutions which Congress was asked to ‘Rubber Stamp’ (vote for without amendment). This in itself was unprecedented. We know of no other time in the 104-year history of the IAAF that federations had to vote for a series of proposals as a unit. We would have preferred for items to be separated, discussed and voted on individually,” read the JAAA statement. “The JAAA is also keen to point out that at no point were we against any changes that would see tighter restrictions against drug cheats. Our president Dr Warren Blake’s introduction to the JAAA executive was as a drug tester and the Federation has always opposed doping in sports and have consistently fought to eliminate doping in sport,” the release added. The IAAF was forced into change on the back of the uncovering of a massive doping and corruption scandal that rocked the international body. New IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who replaced Lamine Diack, who is at the centre of the scandal, has led a charge to clean up the sport and return its credibility. At the base of that effort is a 15-point plan that included anti-doping, regulation and administrative changes that is hoped will lift the sport. Coe’s proposals were overwhelmingly welcomed with 95 per cent of the member federations voting in favour of a constitutional reform at the Congress, which took place on December 3.