Rio 2016: Siasia Picks Ighalo, Mikel, Akpeyi as Overage Players

first_imgGodfrey Oboabona, who was also one of Siasia ‘s prime targets for the overage picks, ultimately did not make the final cut because his Turkish club, Çaykur Rizespor insisted he would not be released for the Olympic football event.In addition, THISDAY also learnt that Siasia’s failure to land Oboabona, has prompted the coach to approach Kenneth Omeruo, who also plays in Turkey for Kasımpaşa, as one of the players to battle for the final team list.The central defender is expected to provide some steel for the Nigerian rear guard at Rio where they will confront Colombia, Japan and Sweden in the group stage.Omeruo, whose appearances for the senior team have bogged by injuries, is eligible to make the team as he still within the Under-23 age limit.The Dream Team VI will camp in USA from where they will travel to Mexico City for a friendly match with the Mexico Under-23 team on July 2. They will later play two additional warm up matches, first against the US team in Atlanta on July 16, and later against Honduras on July 27.Though Siasia plans to travel with 21 foreign-based and six home-based players on the tour, it was gathered he is yet to get firm guarantee from the two out-field over age players that they will be part of the US training camp.Doubts surround the availability of Ighalo, who plays for Watford as the camping period will clash with the resumption of the English Premier League pre-season ahead of the start of the campaign in August after a long end of the season holiday.The Mikel situation is also dicey as he may consider skipping the US camp altogether in order to convince new Chelsea coach Antonio Conte that he is still a key player that the Italian can count on at Stamford Bridge.NFF sources revealed last night that though Mikel has been cleared by Chelsea’s Technical Director Mike Emenalo to join the Nigerian Olympic team, he is still waiting for the final word from Conte before departing to America.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Olawale Ajimotokan in AbujaNigeria’s Dream Team VI Coach, Samson Siasia, has finally penned down Odion Ighalo, John Mikel Obi and goal keeper Daniel Akpeyi as the three overage players for the football event at the Olympic Games that hold in Rio, in August.THISDAY checks at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) revealed last night that Siasia settled for the players because of established history of long ties among other pressing exigencies.last_img read more

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Defense lacking in Badgers’ win

first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoMINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A week’s worth of preparation and reflection didn’t help the Wisconsin Badgers’ defense Saturday with the win against the Golden Gophers. Just seven days removed from a contest that saw the UW defense give up a record number of total yards, the defense almost set another record: most rushing yards allowed in school history.For the second consecutive week, and third time this year, the Wisconsin defense allowed their opponent to post more than 30 points in a game. But unlike UW’s previous two opponents that posted upwards of 30, Northwestern and Bowling Green, Minnesota is not a team anyone would classify as a high-octane offense.In fact, Minnesota’s crawl ball is the antithesis of the offenses run by the Wildcats and Falcons. But that didn’t stop the Gophers from putting up huge numbers, and for the second consecutive week, it was an opposing team’s tailback that created most of the damage.Minnesota’s star tailback, Laurence Maroney looked nearly unstoppable in the game, running, juking and plowing his way to an impressive 258 yards on the ground. The Gophers’ running game was so dominant that Maroney passed the century mark before halftime, and his backup, Gary Russell, finished the game with 139 yards on 19 carries.”Maroney’s one of the best backs in the country,” defensive tackle Mike Newkirk said. “We knew that coming in and we had to prepare for him. But we were going after him whether he was the best or the worst, it doesn’t really matter. We knew we had to try and contain him.”All told, the Badgers gave up 411 yards on the ground on the day, just 41 yards shy of the most yards allowed by a Wisconsin defense. UW’s run-stuffing ability was a far cry from the defense that was allowing less than a 100 yards per game on the ground prior to their loss to Northwestern.”As a defensive line we preach that everything is on us,” Newkirk said. “There might be issues in the secondary, there might be issues at linebacker but that doesn’t matter to us. As far as the yardage that the other guy is getting we take that all on ourselves.”So what has changed in the last two weeks that have transformed this team from a veritable wall against the run, to the porous product fans saw Saturday? To a man, the Badger defense will tell you the biggest culprit is one thing — tackling.”Our tackling wasn’t good today, that’s definitely our biggest problem right now,” free safety Roderick Rogers admitted.The Badgers missed tackles throughout the day, allowing the Gophers to get second chances on their running plays and rack up the yards after catch in the passing game. Perhaps one of the most telling statistics is the number of yards Gopher rushers lost Saturday.Despite running the ball 63 times in the contest, Wisconsin’s defense was unable to stop the Gophers at the point of attack and Minnesota’s backs only lost a grand total of four yards on the game.Injuries were also a factor for the Badgers, who spent much of the second half with a makeshift defensive line. A unit that could ill-afford to lose more bodies got even thinner throughout the game as defensive end Joe Monty and defensive tackle Jason Chapman both left the game due to injuries forcing defensive coordinator Bret Bielema to rely heavily on Matt Schaunessy, Kurt Ware, who was also nicked up during the game, and Nick Hayden while rotating in various players throughout the game.”We were thin coming in and we lost a couple more, so there were some guys out there that I didn’t know were out there,” Bielema said.The wear and tear of the season, which doesn’t give UW a bye week until the end of the conference season, was also evident in the secondary. While UW did open the game with their usual starters, Allen Langford and Brett Bell, on the field, the two cornerback spots saw unusually high number substitutions against Minnesota.”There are a lot of plays out there and I took special attention to that after last week,” Bielema said. “We had 89 snaps for some of our guys and then there’s special teams players in there as well, we just got to make sure we’re not putting too much on our guys physically.”Redshirt freshman Jack Ikegwuonu saw the most action of his career Saturday, while Levonne Rowan also saw a noticeable increase in his playing time. That playing time came mostly at the cost of Bell, who saw his time diminish increasingly as the game went on.”You’ve got to help as much as you can,” Bell said. “I’m not on the field, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to win the game.”With the injuries mounting and the length of the season taking its toll, UW must spend the week again trying to figure out an approach to stop opponents running attacks.”We’ve just got to go in, watch film and see why we’re giving up so many rushing yards. I really don’t know why it’s happening,” linebacker Mark Zalewski said.last_img read more

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Countdown to Cheltenham: Santini could deliver Henderson Gold Cup win says Coral

first_img ITV secures three-year British racing broadcast deal August 5, 2020 SportCaller teams up with Coral for Racing Super Series launch August 12, 2020 GVC absorbs retail shocks as business recalibrates for critical H2 trading August 13, 2020 Submit Share Related Articles StumbleUpon Share With 11 days to go until the racing industry descends on Cheltenham Racecourse, SBC has been getting the run-down from major betting operators on what to look out for at The Festival. We’ve been asking whether we could be seeing a ‘wednesday wipeout’ and what the chances are of Willie Mullins retaining the Gold Cup title.Speaking to Harry Aitkenhead, PR Executive at Coral, we gained insights into the operator’s new Fail to Finish promotion, and learnt that the strength of this year’s runners could be the reason behind an increase in ante-post betting.SBC: Three of the shortest-priced favourites of the week have been lined up to race on the Wednesday of Cheltenham Festival – is this a worry for Coral? and how does Coral plan to mitigate the risk of a ‘wednesday wipeout’?Harry Aitkenhead: It is always a worry when a few favourites line-up, and Envoi Allen, Appreciate It and Tiger Roll who all run on Wednesday are three of our worst results at the moment across the whole week. However it’s important to remember that there are also some incredibly competitive races on the day too which punters are torn over.The Champion Chase this year looks a fantastic race on paper with Altior, Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi all jostling for favouritism, and this is a race where in the last three years the favourite has gone off at 4/11, evens and 2/9. The Coral Cup had 148 entries when the lists were revealed last week and the favourite is currently a 9/1 chance so that provides a stern test for punters too.It might be unfortunate that three of the most backed horses are running on the same day but we’ve seen plenty of favourites lose before at Cheltenham and the racing at the festival is always incredibly competitive so it should prove to be an exciting week and we aren’t running scared just yet.SBC: Data has suggested that this year’s Cheltenham Festival has attracted – on average – 40% more ante-post punting in comparison to last year. Why do you think this is?Harry Aitkenhead: It’s hard to pinpoint a reason for the increased ante post betting but it’s most likely down to the strength of a couple of the popular horses who are running. Paisley Park has been a constant attraction for punters and he is possibly the most popular horse in training at the moment with the story behind his owner and also his great partnership with Aiden Coleman. Also the likes of Envoi Allen and Appreciate It, who are mentioned above, have proved incredibly popular. No matter how far away it might be some punters always have eyes on Cheltenham and any impressive performances through the season will always prompt surges on these horses at to win at the festival.SBC: The Gold Cup hasn’t been defended since 2004, what are the chances of current joint favourite Al Boum Photo doing it for Willie Mullins this year?Harry Aitkenhead: Al Boum Photo has as good a chance as most of retaining his crown, that’s for sure. He’s had the same preparation as last year, running and winning at Tramore, and now aged 8 he looks to be at his absolute peak. 8 year olds have won this race four times out of the last seven editions and everything seems to be boding well for him.Native River’s injury was a shame as he would have had a genuine chance at regaining his title but in terms of the dangers to Al Boum Photo’s chances, it is Santini that we think should be most feared. He is our slight favourite and has an excellent chance of delivering Nicky Henderson’s first win in the race since 2013.SBC: What role will request a bets and promotional offers play in engaging punters with this year’s festival?Harry Aitkenhead: It’s always great to be able to offer our punters some special treats around the biggest week of the year for racing fans, and this year our big offer is our Fail to Finish promotion. Our customers will get their money back as a free bet, up to £10, should their horse fail to finish the race. We could see plenty of free bets being handed out if the rain continues and the ground is soft, or heavy!We will also be providing our #YourCall service through the festival meaning that punters can request any bets they like and this is a great tool for us to ensure that we keep our customers happy throughout the week and making sure that we’ve got whatever they might want to bet on available online. All of these promotions and tools are great in our aim to provide our loyal punters with the best possible service for the best week of racing on the calendar.SBC: And finally, are there any runners that SBC readers should be keeping an eye on?Harry Aitkenhead: Aside from the obvious favourites, a couple of horses that punters have been very keen to back with us recently have been Samcro, and Solo and Goshen who are both entered in the Triumph Hurdle on Friday.Samcro is now a 7-1 chance for the Marsh Novices Chase and would be one of our worst results of the week if he were to win. It’s probably a combination of his impressive win on chase debut, although he has disappointed since, and also just his popularity. He had such a good few years running over hurdles and has a real following behind him.In that race Annie Mc is entered for the Coral Champions Club, a free club for members to enter that we set up to provide people with the thrill of owning a racehorse without the expensive costs. She’s been absolutely fantastic for us, winning brilliantly over hurdles at Newbury live on ITV last season and remaining unbeaten over fences since switching. Everybody is really excited for her to run at Cheltenham and it should be a memorable day for the Coral Champions Club.Goshen goes for the Triumph Hurdle on Friday and is unbeaten over hurdles so far which has prompted punters to stick their faith in him. He won his most recent race by 11 lengths and the horse than finished second that day has since won by 16 lengths, so it’s impossible to ignore his credentials. However last weekend then saw Paul Nicholls’s French horse Solo romp home at Kempton on his first appearance in the UK and now we are seeing punters back him off the boards to win the first race on the final day of the festival. It could be a fantastic battle between the two and one to certainly keep an eye on.last_img read more

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