Opening Game: at Western Kentucky, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Three Southland teams are ranked nationally in preseason top 25 polls, led by Nicholls at No. 11 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 12 in the STATS FCS Top 25. Sam Houston State is ranked No. 22 and No. 23, respectively, and Central Arkansas comes in at No. 25 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Nicholls Colonels – Preseason Ranking: 1st – 2018 Record/Place: 9-4 (7-2 SLC), 1stComing off their first Southland title since 2005, the defending co-champions return the fewest starters among the league (12), but nine of those individuals were all-conference honorees in 2018. Nicholls led the way with 11 student-athletes on the preseason all-conference teams, including eight on the first team. The Colonels earned the Southland’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs in 2018, marking the first time in school history they have made back-to-back FCS playoff appearances. Nicholls defeated San Diego at home before falling to national runner-up Eastern Washington in the second round. Senior wideout Nathan Stewart, a Preseason Walter Payton Award Watch List honoree and First Team Preseason All-America nod, is 228 yards shy of the all-time Southland receiving record. Stewart is one of four wide receivers in FCS history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons and would become the third FCS wideout to do it all four years if he were to put up another four-figure performance in 2019. Opening Game: vs. No. 6/6 Jacksonville State, Thursday, 7 p.m. Incarnate Word Cardinals – Preseason Ranking: 3rd– 2018 Record/Place: 6-5 (6-2 SLC), t-1stFirst-year head coach Eric Morris led UIW to a historic turnaround in 2018 as a five-game swing vaulted the Cardinals to their first Southland Conference title and FCS playoff appearance. UIW returns 17 starters, including eight on offense, from a team that fell to Montana State in the opening round of the playoffs. Perhaps the most notable returner is defending Southland Conference Freshman of the Year Jon Copeland, who set a single-season program record with 2,984 yards through the air in 2018 and was one of five Cardinals on the preseason all-conference teams. Opening Game: at New Mexico, Saturday, 5 p.m. As a freshman, Sterns paced the Southland in receptions (68) from quarterback Bailey Zappe, who tied for the conference lead with 23 passing touchdowns. Walker begins his final season as the program’s all-time sacks leader (11.5), and Johnson ranked fifth in the conference with 9.3 tackles per game and tied for the league lead with four fumble recoveries in his sophomore campaign. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks – Preseason Ranking: 9th – 2018 Record/Place: 2-8 (2-7 SLC), 10thFirst-year head coach Colby Carthel brings a wealth of success to Nacogdoches after six seasons at the helm at Texas A&M-Commerce, where he won the 2017 NCAA Division II National Championship. His staff hit the ground running, signing the third-best recruiting class among all FCS institutions. The Lumberjacks welcome the return of 17 starters and look to snap a streak of four-straight losing seasons. Northwestern State Demons – Preseason Ranking: 10th – 2018 Record/Place: 4-5 (5-6 SLC), t-8thHaving improved their record in each of the past two seasons, the Demons look to continue that trend under second-year head coach Brad Laird. Northwestern State returns 17 starters with seven on each side of the ball and a trio on special teams. The Demons garnered four preseason all-conference selections, led by first-teamer and junior safety Hayden Bourgeois, who ranked third nationally in forced turnovers (7) in 2018 with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Southeastern Louisiana Lions – Preseason Ranking: 8th – 2018 Record/Place: 4-7 (4-5 SLC), t-8thSecond-year head coach Frank Scelfo aims to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2011-12 and hired four new coaches, including former McNeese head coach Lance Guidry as his defensive coordinator. The Lions’ 12 returning starters are tied with Nicholls for the fewest league-wide, but the group includes six preseason all-conference picks. Opening Game: at Kansas State, Saturday, 6 p.m. Abilene Christian Wildcats – Preseason Ranking: 7th – 2018 Record/Place: 6-5 (5-4 SLC), t-4thThe Wildcats snapped a streak of three-straight losing seasons in 2018 with a 6-5 mark last season. ACU’s four-game improvement warranted a multi-year extension for head coach Adam Dorrel that will keep him under contract through the 2023 season. Among ACU’s 18 returning starters are 10 on defense, led by Second Team Preseason All-America honoree Jeremiah Chambers, whose 113 tackles in 2018 tied for 10th-most in single-season program history. ACU returns three of its top offensive weapons from last season, including quarterback Luke Anthony, who ranked top-10 nationally in completions, attempts, passing yards, completions per game and total offense. He is joined in the backfield by 2018 Southland Football co-Newcomer of the Year Billy McCrary. Wide receiver Josh Fink, a second team preseason all-conference selection, is back for his final season. The offense features an all-conference duo of Carlos Blackman and Kierre Crossley, who combined for 1,386 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. They will be running behind a big-bodied offensive line that returns four of five starters from last season. The Bears suffered a crucial loss on defense with the dismissal of senior defensive lineman Chris Terrell, an all-American in 2018 and a Preseason Buck Buchanan Award Watch List member. Senior defensive lineman Daniel Crosley, a first-team preseason all-conference nod, is one of three returners on the defensive line and tallied 16 tackles for loss in his junior season. His nine sacks were the third-most in the conference in 2018. Running the offense will be senior quarterback Jordan Hoy, who earned Southland Football co-Newcomer of the Year honors last year. Opening Game: at UTEP, Saturday, 7 p.m. Lamar Cardinals – Preseason Ranking: 5th – 2018 Record/Place: 7-5 (6-3 SLC), 3rdComing off its first FCS playoffs appearance, Lamar returns 14 starters and aims to win its first Southland title since 1971. The Cardinals suffered a bitter 16-13 loss at Northern Iowa in the first round of the postseason to cap off a 7-5 campaign. The Cardinals bring back three of their top four rushers, led by junior Myles Wanza, a second team preseason all-conference selection. In all, Lamar placed three on the preseason all-league teams. Houston Baptist Huskies – Preseason Ranking: 11th – 2018 Record/Place: 1-10 (0-9 SLC), 11thBoasting the most returning starters (20) of any Southland squad, Houston Baptist vies to stop a 19-game league losing streak heading into 2019. The Huskies trio of wide receiver Jerreth Sterns, defensive lineman Andre Walker and linebacker Caleb Johnson represented the program on the preseason all-conference second team. The ‘Jacks landed three on the preseason all-conference teams, including wide receiver Tamrick Pace, who ranks 10th all-time in career receiving yards at SFA (2,104) and is tied for eighth in career touchdown receptions (20). Safety Alize Ward, an All-Southland pick in each of the last two seasons, was positioned for a breakout final season but will miss the year due to an ACL injury. McNeese Cowboys – Preseason Ranking: 6th – 2018 Record/Place: 6-5 (5-4 SLC), t-4thThe owners of the fourth-longest streak of winning seasons (14) at the FCS level, McNeese looks to stretch that to 15 in 2019. The Cowboys will see lots of new faces with just 14 returning starters and a new coach in former South Florida offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, who plans to introduce a spread offense to McNeese’s playbook. The Cowboys placed three on the preseason all-Southland squads. The conference is coming off a second-consecutive three-bid year in the FCS playoffs last season and aims for its ninth-straight season with multiple postseason berths. The league has not failed to secure an at-large bid since 2010. The “Purple Swarm” defense returns 70 of the team’s 82.5 sacks and its top six tacklers from 2018 with Bourgeois’ 83 stops leading the way. While the offense saw the departure of Southland Football Offensive Player of the Year Jazz Ferguson, fellow wide receiver Quan Shorts is back after hauling in 56 passes in 2018, a total that ranks fourth in single-season program history. Opening Game: at UTSA, Saturday, 5 p.m. Sam Houston State Bearkats – Preseason Ranking: 4th – 2018 Record/Place: 6-5 (5-4 SLC), t-4thThe Bearkats look to extend their streak of winning seasons to 10 and return to the playoffs behind a crop of 18 returning starters and six preseason all-conference picks. For just the second time in this decade and the first time under head coach K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston State failed to win nine or more games and missed the FCS playoffs after a 6-5 campaign in 2018. SHSU features nine returning starters on defense, including preseason all-America defensive back Zyon McCollum. UIW returns most of its offensive line, which helped set single-season school records in offensive yards (5,315), total points (357) and touchdowns (48). The Cardinals have the biggest holes to fill on defense, which recorded at least one turnover in every game last season and led the FCS with 29 turnovers gained at the end of their regular season. Opening Game: at Baylor, Saturday, 6 p.m. Week One Notes (PDF) Quarterback Chason Virgil, the defending Southland passing yards leader (3,034), will once again be targeting tight end Bransen Schwebel and wide receiver Juwan Petit-Frere, who was also first team preseason all-Southland as a kick returner. The Lions occupied the punt returner slots on both preseason all-conference squads with Devonte Williams and Austin Mitchell, who combined for 222 yards on 15 attempts (14.8 yards per return) in 2018. Opening Game: vs. Southern, Saturday, 6 p.m. Senior quarterback Chase Fourcade, the reigning Southland Football Player of the Year, was named to the Preseason Walter Payton Award Watch List and enters his final season with the 10th-most career total offense yards in league history (8,990). Senior defensive lineman Sully Laiche, a member of the Preseason Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, begins his senior campaign as the active FCS leader in career sacks (25.5). Central Arkansas Bears – Preseason Ranking: 2nd – 2018 Record/Place: 6-5 (5-4 SLC), t-4thUCA’s title-defense campaign didn’t go as planned in 2018, finishing in a four-way tie for fourth place in the final standings. The Bears return 17 starters from last year’s squad and welcome the return of redshirt sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith, who broke his ankle in week four against Sam Houston State. UCA earned the second-most preseason all-conference selections with seven, including three members of the secondary in senior Juan Jackson and juniors Jackie Harvell and Robert Rochell. Click here for a list of the TV selections for the first four weeks. Opening Game: at North Texas, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Opening Game: at UT Martin, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Chris Livings, a first-team preseason all-conference nod, is one of three returners on the defensive line along with Jonta Jones and Cody Roscoe. The trio combined for 13 sacks and 22 tackles for loss last season. On the offensive side of the ball, Gilbert brought in three FBS transfers in wide receiver Rhashid Bonnette (Louisiana Tech) and running backs Elijah Mack (South Florida) and D’Andre Hicks (Appalachian State). FRISCO, Texas – The 56th season of Southland Conference football kicks off Thursday with four evening matchups. Central Arkansas visits Western Kentucky and Northwestern State faces UT Martin on the road at 6:30 p.m. CT, and Lamar hosts Bethel (Tenn.) and Southeastern Louisiana takes on Jacksonville State at home at 7 p.m. Opening Game: vs. Bethel (Tenn.), Thursday, 7 p.m.
CLASSY BELLAFINA PREVAILS BY THREE QUARTERS OF A LENGTH IN GRADE II, $200,000 LAS VIRGENES AS PRAT & CALLAGHAN TEAM FOR ONE MILE WIN IN 1:35.99 OVER ‘GOOD’ MAIN TRACK CALLAGHAN INDICATES NEXT STOP FOR QUALITY ROAD FILLY IS GRADE I SANTA ANITA OAKS APRIL 6 ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2019)–On what developed into a spectacular day with the remnants of a morning storm leaving the San Gabriel Mountains stunning hues of green, heavily favored Bellafina put her considerable class on full display at Santa Anita, as she led gate to wire in taking the Grade II, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes by three quarters of a length under Flavien Prat. Owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Simon Callaghan, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Quality Road got a flat mile over a main track listed as “good” in 1:35.99.Breaking from post position three in a field of six sophomore fillies, Bellafina was unhurried early, but made a comfortable lead heading into the Club House turn with Bob Baffert’s Mother Mother, who was adding blinkers, tracking her about a half length behind to her outside as they turned up the backstretch.As both Prat and Drayden Van Dyke asked their respective mounts to pick it up heading into the far turn, Bellafina maintained a neck advantage as they hit the top of the lane with Enaya Alrabb and Mike Smith in hot pursuit about two lengths back.“She was good, as always,” said Prat, who has now ridden Bellafina to five wins from seven career starts. “I thought Mother Mother would show more speed with the blinkers, but it seemed like everybody was waiting and watching me. So, I tried to bide my time as long as I could…As soon as she saw that filly (runner-up Enaya Alrabb), she re-engaged.”A disappointing fourth as the 2-5 favorite two starts back in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 2, Bellafina, who is out of the Malibu Moon mare Akron Moon, was a smashing 8 ½ length winner of the seven furlong, Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes here on Jan. 6 and was thus the prohibitive 1-9 favorite today, paying $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10.“We’ll enjoy this and take a deep breath,” said Callaghan. “It’s never easy, but we got the win. I think we’ll definitely go on from here to the (Santa Anita) Oaks (Grade I, April 6 at 1 1/16 miles). She did what she had to do today. I think the track’s been favoring horses coming off the pace and it’s a little bit sticky. They went legit fractions. Mother Mother’s a good filly and she fell away to fourth, so I think it was a good performance.”Purchased by Shah for $800,000 at a March 2-year-old in training sale, Bellafina now has five wins from her seven starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, she has earnings of $828,000.Attentive to the pace while third for nearly the entire trip, Enaya Alrabb was gaining on the winner inch by inch late and finished 2 ¾ lengths in front of Calf Moon Bay. Off at 6-1, Enaya Alrabb paid $3.40 and $2.40.Last into and around the first turn, Calf Moon Bay tagged Mother Mother late to finish third by a half length. Off at 19-1 with Joel Rosario up, Calf Moon Bay paid $3.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 23.13, 46.33, 1:10.31 and 1:22.98.
EIGHT RINGS, COLLUSION ILLUSION & EXPRESS TRAIN HEAD FRIDAY’S GRADE I, $300,000 AMERICAN PHAROAH STAKES FOR 2-YEAR-OLDS AT 1 1/16 MILESRACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIERARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2019)–Bob Baffert’s Eight Rings, Mark Glatt’s Collusion Illusion, John Shirreffs’ Express Train and Steve Asmussen’s Shoplifted head a strong field of nine juveniles in Friday’s Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, to be run at a mile and one sixteenth over Santa Anita’s main track.A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the winner of the American Pharoah will earn a fees-paid berth into the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.EIGHT RINGSOwner: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing or Madaket Stables LLC, et alTrainer: Bob BaffertA runaway 6 ¼ length first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs Aug. 4 at Del Mar, this colt by Empire Maker was off as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite in the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 2, but ducked in at the break, unseating jockey Drayden Van Dyke. With Van Dyke’s status uncertain until recently, Baffert has opted to bring Hall of Famer John Velazquez in to ride on Friday.COLLUSION ILLUSIONOwner: Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider & John XitcoTrainer: Mark GlattA Florida-bred colt by Twirling Candy, he’s done little wrong in two starts. A first out half length maiden winner going five furlongs on July 21, Collusion Illusion made an impressive late run in taking the Grade II, six furlong Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar by 1 ¼ lengths on Aug. 10. Joe Talamo rides back as Collusion Illusion bids for his third straight win.EXPRESS TRAINOwner: C R K Stable LLCTrainer: John ShirreffsSecond, beaten 6 ¼ lengths by Eight Rings going 5 ½ furlongs Aug. 4, this Union Rags colt stretched out to mile in his second start, winning by 14 ¼ lengths as the 3-5 favorite. A $500,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling, he’ll be ridden back by Mike Smith.SHOPLIFTEDOwner: Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables LLC and LNJ FoxwoodsTrainer: Steve AsmussenAn $800,000 March 2-year-old in training sale purchase, this Into Mischief colt was an impressive 4 ½ length first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Saratoga July 27 and came back to run second over a sloppy track in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes going seven furlongs on Sept. 2. Top gun Joel Rosario will ship in from New York to ride.NUCKYOwner: Rockingham RanchTrainer: Peter MillerA 10 ½ length maiden $100,000 claiming winner at odds of 1-2 on Aug. 21, this Ghostzapper colt was dismissed as a 35-1 longshot in the Del Mar Futurity, which was his fifth career start. Breaking from post position seven, he avoided any trouble that may have been caused by favored Eight Rings, who broke from post position two. With Norberto Arroyo, Jr., up, Nucky pressed the pace and went on to post a 2 ¾ length win while earning a modest 68 Beyer Speed figure.THE GRADE I AMERICAN PHAROAH WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PTAmerican Theorem–Tiago Pereira–122Fore Left–Mario Gutierrez–122Eight Rings–John Velazquez–122Express Train–Mike Smith-122Storm the Court–Flavien Prat–122Defense Wins–Rafael Bejarano–122Shoplifted–Joel Rosario–122Nucky–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–122Collusion Illusion–Joe Talamo–122First post time for a nine-race program on opening day, Friday, is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
A LEAKED potential Tottenham fourth kit for next season has surfaced online… and it’s fair to say fans are not impressed.The rumoured strip begins grey at the top, before fading to black via four stripes across the torso.2 The rumoured shirt has has bemused fans onlineCredit: Footy HeadlinesThe shirt features yellow trim, with the club’s crest, Nike swoosh and AIA logo all changing from their traditional colours.Fans might be pleased with the badge and manufacturer logo are moved into the centre of the design, akin to the classic Spurs kits of the 1980s.The lines of both the stripes and the AIA logo appear uneven, however, making it feel unlikely that the designs are real.The design for the shirt is apparently based on the popular Nike Air Max 95 trainers, which feature a similar colour scheme.Fans online were generally incredibly unimpressed though, with one simply writing: “That’s nasty”.And another added: “Nike should really change their designers, that is totally dreadful.#COYS we can do better.””I’ve taken dumps that look better than that,” another even remarked.One even exclaimed: “Oh hell no!!!!! These things are hideous!!!”2 The much-maligned shirt is apparently based on the Nike Air Max 95LATEST TOTTENHAM NEWSHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrongThe much-panned shirt follows the heavily criticised leaked possible home shirt that reared its head yesterday.Whether or not Spurs would be wearing these potential kits in the Champions League, however, is very much up for debate.Jose Mourinho’s side now sit just one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, ahead of the showdown between the clubs on Saturday lunchtime. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho refuses to comment on Son Heung-min’s broken arm injury
Under the guidance of the Australian coaches, Tony and Alison Fairweather, Wisil is working towards meeting the Olympic qualifying time of 11.32 seconds for the 100 metre event (which would also be a PNG National Record).Technique and speed endurance has been the main focus for Wisil.This is already proving fruitful with Wisil setting a PNG National record for the 200m in a blistering 23.43 seconds at the ACT State Championships in Canberra in February. “Toea’s determination and commitment to continually improving herself and pushing herself is paying off.“She is working really hard in every training session and while there is frustration at times, this is often the case when you are trying to make changes to technique you have used for many years. “But she is having more and more sessions and races with very positive aspects and is heading in the right direction,” said Alison.Some of Wisil’s accomplishments so far have been winning five gold medals at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia, while just missing out on PNG’s first ever track and field medal by .04 of a second at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.In April 2013 Wisil became the first ever Papua New Guinean to hold an Australian national track title when she claimed the 100 metres in Sydney.At last year’s Pacific Games, Wisil won Gold in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x 400m and Silver in the 4x100m.
The board presented a K250,000 cheque to the PNG Sports Foundation for sponsoring and supporting the national soccer team.NGCB Chief Executive Officer, Imelda Agon credited the Government and the Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko for their effort in building the world class sporting infrastructure that resulted in many international sporting events hosted and yet to be hosted in the country.“NGCB is delighted to support the team and encourage that football in the country is growing rapidly to an international level to gain recognition to the world and we are proud in making sure football grows even further with the world class infrastructures that we already have in the country,” CEO Agon said.Moreover, when presenting the cheque the Board congratulates the Kapuls for making it to the second spot in the recent OFC tournament.PNG Sport Foundation CEO Peter Tsiamalili Jnr also added that it was exciting to see young Papua New Guineans persevere in their sporting careers, and build their capacity to an international standard.“We have got talks from other countries that there are some potential players in the team during the recent tournament and we are not surprised that football teams from outside have already made positive comments on some of our potential players,” he said.With the money given, Kapuls captains David Muta and PNG goal scoring machine and Vice-captain Raymond Gunemba received the K250,000 cheque and thanked PNG citizens for the great support during the tournament right to the end.
Frank Farina this week named his squad for the Olympic Football Tournament in Rio with Alvin Singh, Roy Krishna and Simione Tamanisau taking the three coveted senior positions in the squad.It’s a strong side with plenty of international experience to draw on and although Khem has only two preparation tours in Spain and Brazil to draw on, he’s excited about making his full international debut at the Olympic Games.“It was always my dream to play on the international stage and being selected in the 18-member squad is something great for me,” Khem said.He said playing in the Olympics would open a world of opportunities for him.“It will be different playing in Rio as we know we will be playing against some of the world’s best football players.“We have been preparing well and we are going there as underdogs and we will do our best for the country.The Korovuto Primary School teacher said his hard work has paid off.“I sacrificed a lot to be part of this team and I am happy that it paid off with my selection,“ he said.The Labasa native said he will do his best if given the chance to play in any match in the tournament.The Fiji U-23 team has already been faced with some controversy before leaving for Rio with two named members of the squad released due to disciplinary reasons.The squad is now just 17 with Joseph Turaqabeci earning a call up to step into the breach.National Team Director Tarunesh Reddy says morale remains high in camp despite the incident with the team focused on the task ahead.”Initially the boys’ were focused on making the team and that attitude changed immediately after the team naming, knowing they carry the hopes and dreams of this island nation to the 2016 Rio Olympics,” he said.”The boys know the huge task ahead of them and are doing well in camp.”They are looking forward to participating at the Olympic Games and we have noticed that the concentration level is stepping up day by day.”The Vodafone national U-23 side has been drawn in the same pool as defending Olympic champions Mexico, South Korea and Germany.The team will open its campaign against Korea on 4 August at Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador, Brazil.Fiji U-23 Squad:Shaneel Naidu, Praneel Naidu, Samuela Nabenia, Jale Dreloa, Anish Khem, Roy Krishna, Antonio Tuivuna, Nickel Chand, Filipe Baravilala, Setareki Hughes, Tevita Waranaivalu, Savenaca Nakalevu, Iosefo Verevou, Simione Tamanisau, Saula Waqa, Alvin Singh, Joseph Turaqabeci-Coach: Frank Farina -Assistant coach: Ravinesh Kumar -Manager: Yogendra Dutt
2019 was not the best year in the football career of Fran Sol (Madrid, 1992). After two and a half seasons in Willem II, with which he scored 47 goals in 88 games, the Spanish striker from Madrid set course for Dinamo Kiev, where an injury slowed his progression. Used to seeing the goal regularly, Fran Sol chains almost a year without scoring, but that has not diminished his claims. “I came through the big door and I want to go through the big door,” he confesses.It has been a year since he left Willem II. Did you live there the best moment of your career?Undoubtedly. The stage in Willem II is my best memory as a footballer. It is where I started to feel professional player. I felt a star, I noticed that I was highly valued by the fans and the cub. In Tilburg I felt unforgettably well. It is a stage that I will always remember.They don’t forget him there either. The fans chose him second best player of the time.Those little things make me very happy. I am proud that they remember me and that they have chosen me as the second best player of the decade even though I was only there for two and a half years. It is clear that the first was not going to be because that is Jordens Peters, who is the captain and has been many years. Worse being after him fills me with pride and gives me much encouragement to return to the state so I lived there.How complicated is wanting to leave a club you appreciate?It’s complicated because you have the love factor and attachment to the club. It costs you more the decision to leave. As soccer players we are very selfish and we don’t think about the fans or the club or anyone else. We think of ourselves and our short career. In what is best for us and our families. You may think that it is wrong and I am clear that if I were an amateur I would not share this idea. But being a footballer I have to think like that. Our career is short. But yes, it is clear that when you love a club, leaving is much more complicated.Now the same thing happens to Pol Llonch, which sounds for Girona.Pol Llonch is a professional like a pine tree’s crown. It’s a phenomenon, everything you have outside the field, solidarity, generosity, kindness … transmits it inside. He is huge with his teammates, with his friends, with his family … The work he does, the kilometers he runs each game, the sprint he makes, the steals, the duels he wins … He is one of the players with the best defensive statistics that I have found in my career. If Girona or even another club better hires it would be a success. They would not be wrong at all.Then a forward especially thanks his work.Totally. Pol really is an oxygen bottle for everyone. Being a forward I don’t have to do so much work when he is in the field. And that favors that when they give me the ball I am much cooler to score or attend. The effort that Pol saves you shows a lot.Personally, how are you after a year when things didn’t end?Good, good now. It is clear that 2019 has not been the best year of my life. You have to be honest. But thanks to these bad times you learn to value the good ones. It was my turn to be injured. I annoyed my shoulder and then relapsed from another injury that I had in the quadriceps. In general it has been a very bad year, all I can do now is work and try to return to my rightful place.The shoulder injury slowed him down a lot. He arrived at a very bad time.Totally. It is that if I had to choose a time when it was worse for me to be injured, it was that. I was making great progress. I was doing very well in football, scoring many goals for a long time, and those four months cut my progress a lot. But they are things that happen in football. You have to accept them and move on.What do you ask 2020? The idea is to return to the physical state I had before the injury. What I want is to start and play all the games, but we have just started the preseason, so far we have not played any games, and until the beginning of March it will not be seen if I have returned to my best version. For now it is soon, but it is true that everything is going well.It was easy to get used to the good.Of course, in the last four years I have done very well in football and have enjoyed this sport a lot. I’ve also had bumps, but they have been smaller. 2019 has been very hard for me. I have been very far from my family, very cold, to a country where I had to start from scratch … Then the injury came, an operation in Ukraine, where you don’t know the language … That’s why I ask 2020 to be able to better match the competition and the team and that allows me to enjoy football again, something that I couldn’t do last year.How has it been a year without celebrating goals?Well it’s hard. The normal thing for most soccer players is not to score goals, but when you get used to doing them, it is very difficult to lose that feeling of putting the ball inside the goal. I had been doing more than one goal every two games for years, the average is great, and not doing them is being very complicated for me. You get into a bump, you lose confidence … But hey, it’s a learning. I am learning to handle the situation and be able to reverse it in case it happens again.Is it being difficult to adapt to Ukraine?The change from Holland to Ukraine has been very great. At first it went well because I arrived in preseason and that helped me to make friends and get to know the teammates well without the pressure of having to compete. But being injured took me away from the locker room and when I returned I was not as conditioned as at the beginning. And that was noticed in my performance. It’s a shame, but what are we going to do …Have you ever regretted going to Ukraine?No, much less. I have always thought that I chose well. I came through the big door and what I want is to go through the big door. Or fulfilling my contract and leaving everyone satisfied or after a club pays for me because I have done very well in Dinamo. In those two cases we would be happy both the club and me. So far I have not done well, but I do not regret anything and I will fight for everything to be positive from now on.What are the goals of Dynamo Kiev this season?Our goal, like every year, is to get into the Champions League and win the championship. Then the Cup and, of course, the Super Cup. We aspire to everything. We are Dinamo Kiev, historically the best club in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the last few years have been difficult for us, but we plan to return and we are working for it. This season we are very far from Shakhtar and it is very difficult to aspire to the championship. That is why we have to go for the Cup and get into August in the group stage of the Champions League.Although he did not play, he was able to celebrate a title last season.Effectively. Although I did not play due to injury I was very happy to be able to celebrate a title as a professional footballer. There are many, thousands of players, who have never been able to celebrate one. And there are thousands who will never celebrate even if they are good professionals. I am very grateful to Dinamo for giving me that opportunity. I didn’t play because I relapsed from my thigh injury, but I enjoyed it as the most.Are you enjoying your child? Will Fran Jr. follow in his footsteps?Very much. It goes very well and is a crack. Do what you want, but I would be very proud if I were a great professional. Whatever sport it is. Because if you give everything, nobody can ask you anything else, and that is the motto that I am going to try to teach you. If he is a tennis player, for example, and reaches his limit but he has given everything to me that will be a triumph. At the moment it has a football player’s name. Sol Jr. is a good name.
Spanish tennis already tasted the triumphant climax of the resurrection of Garbiñe Muguruza. From expertise and nice titles, he was seen with another, the third on three totally different surfaces, in his fingers. Nearly nobody needed to have the shock issue of a rival who was stomping since final yr. The basic story of American overcoming embodied in the determine of Sofia Kenin, born in Moscow, with Russian genes and an innate capability for solidity from the backside of the monitor, protection to the restrict and counterattack. That is how Garbiñe’s desires fell aside and he traced a sport that had been put uphill to win 4-6, 6-2 and 6-2 in simply over hours. The youngest finalist and champion of the Australian Open with 21 years and 80 days from one in every of her idols, Sharapova (20 and 283), in 2008, had religion and moved mountains. The winner of Roland Garros 2016 and Wimbledon 2017 was betrayed by one in every of his finest virtues the serve. 9 double fouls, many at key moments, left him with no trophy. It additionally has a wall, a transcript of Simona Halep 2.0. A disgrace, however it’s best to worth what you have achieved so quickly with Conchita Martínez and her efficiency in Melbourne could make it a lot simpler, if it doesn’t disintegrate, the remainder of the season. It leaves 16th of the world when it had entered with out being head of collection, in place 32. From the starting it was observed how the tactical battle can be. Kenin needed to lengthen the exchanges and wait for the Muguruza ruling or put a drop to make him run and crouch the backbone from its 182 centimeters excessive. Caracas was extra fascinated by shortening the factors, however had to adapt when he couldn’t achieve this. He struggled in his first service, though he organized it with three good serves. In the second sport the relaxation took a step ahead and a weak drive from his rival granted him the first break of the sport. At this level, Garbiñe already endured the rallies effectively and Sofia renegade, fought with the towels and the racket. In the center of the set, Muguruza peeled her with two double fouls after she wasted 4 breaking balls and misplaced the lead. It was an accident that had no penalties, as a result of he instantly hunted one other break and consolidated it to get a sleeve of the title. Garbi performed deep, viciously of each drive and reverse and went to the web to the minimal, as Conchita likes.The second spherical began with three clean video games and Kenin was the first to rating away from dwelling. The Spanish missed a volley and chained some bugs that didn’t contact. He wanted to press towards it and it value him. The American, sooner due to her brief stature (1.70), defended herself effectively, typically with annoying balloons. With 5-2 the factor appeared dangerous for Muguruza. He had misplaced finesse and his opponent was more and more animated, a lot in order that with one other break he matched the sport.Garbiñe was touched (he turned to the physio to have his decrease back and proper thigh handled), erratic. His rival, exact and grown. He wanted greater than ever his serve. He discovered him out in the third set, though he noticed no fast fixes when subtracting. The opposite battle, the psychological one, was gained at instances by Sofia, who modified instructions with mastery. With 2-2 and 0-40 he performed 5 great factors, completed with as many winners. He didn’t give his arm to twist. Yankee tenacity combined with Russian coldness. In the meantime, Conchita handed them pointers in the field, as if she needed to hit the ball. And the lunge got here in the type of a double foul at the worst second. From a 40-15 to a deadly break. Kenin’s tennis was flying very excessive. I used to be in a trance. And Muguruza gave up. He merely couldn’t react and three different double faults sealed his unhappy farewell. Possibly subsequent time.Outcomes of the girls’s workforce of the Australian Open.
CardsNelson Semedo (5 ‘, Yellow) Messi (38 ‘, Yellow) Sunrise (39 ‘, Yellow) Yeray (43 ‘, Yellow) Vesga (52 ‘, Yellow) Frenkie De Jong (56 ‘, Yellow) Dani Garcia (62 ‘, Yellow) Pique (71 ‘, Yellow) Arthur Melo (81 ‘, Yellow To make the Barcelona attack more mordant, Setién entered Griezmann at the time of the game by withdrawing Ansu and Barça moved closer to Simon’s area, that in order not to leave Ter Stegen alone, he got into a seemingly easy play leaving a candid ball to Rakitic that Athletic’s defense took out of the line. They were the moments in which Barça, with De Jong very off the hook in attack, stepped on the area of the lions, but fang was still missing in the last fate. For sample, the occasion failed in the 70 of Griezmann only before Unai. The clearest opportunity of a game that was complicated to Barça with the Piqué injury, which was damaged in a race in which Williams dismantled him and had to give up his position to Umtiti while Aduriz, the last executioner of the Blaugrana, entered Athletic. A new scenario opened that He was on the way to an extension that Unai first avoided when Messi stood before him and that he finally settled in the 92nd minute with Williams’s goal that won the game to Busquets. There are two ways to be eternal. San Mamés is eternal for Athletic and Barça is eternal. ChangesGriezmann (57 ‘, Ansu Fati), Saint Joseph (65 ‘, Vesga), Arthur Melo (68 ‘, Rakitic), Aduriz (76 ‘, Muniain), Umtiti (79 ‘, Piqué), Ibai Gomez (88 ‘, Raúl García) San Mamés is eternal for Barça and is eternal for Athletic. The Blaugrana fell eliminated (1-0) in the time of discount with a Williams goal that derailed the Setién project in the Cup in a match in which the Blaugrana improved in the game, but paid their lack of success in the meters late. The Blaugrana team showed up at all times, but the lack of evidence, which makes hiring a striker more urgent than ever, and the lack of troops, Piqué’s injury weighed like a slab. On the other side, Athletic continues its idyll with this Cup in which he continues saving eliminatory in the purest agony.Griezmann’s absence of the eleven starter was Setién’s tactical surprise, which arranged Sergi Roberto as a false right winger to help conserve the ball and form an attack line with Messi and Ansu Fati.The idea of Barcelona was to have long possessions and recover the ball as close as possible to the Athletic area. During the first 15 minutes the plan went well for the Blaugrana squad, which had a pair of dangerous arrivals when Ansu and Messi met. In one of them, Unai avoided the goal of the young striker. But It soon became clear that Barça lacked depth and intimidating ability.It was the moment when Athletic took a step forward with the hint of bugle that supposed the Williams goal at the exit of a corner kick, the first that the Basques dumped, which was immediately canceled out of play.Those of Garitano advanced the pressure and began to lose respect for Barcelona, which in its insistence of wanting to always play out with Ter Stegen enabling the flyers got into more of a mess. The risk with which Barça played that allowed Athletic to recover balls that were clear chances was the fuze that lit San Mamés and allowed Athletic to feel dominating the game.Barça did not find a very motivated Messi, but extremely guarded that he failed to kill. The Argentine had a dangerous foul in the last minute of the first half, but his shot crashed into the barrier.It did not change the panorama in the resumption, which was still playing on a tile and especially in the hall of Ter Stegen, who continued to play with their midfielders before the pressure of the locals, who came like wolves to the front of the culé area.