Posts Tagged olympics

Over the Weekend: To be King of New York, Cape Verde Stay Upsetting Odds and More

Now I’m pleasantly confused about who exactly we should address the king of New York, the California rapper Kendrick Lamar who crowned himself recently and stirred an uproar of responses or the tennis player who will win this year’s US Open? Modern era game of thrones.

Anyway. Rafael Nadal will come up against Novak Djokovic in the final of the last grand slam of the year, a fitting match-up between a player in arguably the best form of the season compared to others and unbeaten on the hard courts this year opposite the game’s top ranked player appearing in his fourth successive final at Flushing Meadows.

In the women’s section, Serena Williams already came through a tough two sets before easing past Belarusian Victoria Azarenka to claim her fifth US Open title and 17th career grand slam, one title short of equalling the haul of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert as she further cemented her place among the tennis greats.

Another who is on a firm course to achieving greatness in his sport is Sebastien Vettel, following the RedBull driver’s Italian Grand Prix win at Monza; his sixth Grand Prix win of this Formula 1 season and 32nd of all time – equal with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.

Alonso on his part finished second in the race and afterwards expressed his happiness (more like content) at finishing in the position and you can’t blame him really, seeing as Vettel now holds a cushy 53 point lead on him in the drivers’ championship table; a lead that basically gives Vettel a two-race lead on his nearest rival with seven races to go.

The race to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Africa meanwhile is down to two matches following the final group matches of the penultimate qualifying round played across the continent over the weekend, with a few ‘minnows’ making the the final qualifying round at the expense their more established rivals.

One was Ethiopia that came from behind to claim a 2-1 win at the Central Africa Republic and qualify ahead of South Africa. The Bafana Bafana were on course at half time of both matches but eventually fell short of qualification despite a 4-1 win over Botswana.

Ethiopia was joined in the final qualifying round by 2013 Nations Cup crowd favourites Cape Verde, who completed a massive turnaround of fortunes in their qualifying campaign, culminating in the 2-0 defeat of Tunisia right in Tunis.

Also through is Nations Cup runners-up Burkina Faso and Nations Cup holders Nigeria. Burkina Faso went through with a lone goal win over Gabon, a result that allowed the Burkinabes leapfrog Congo that could only draw 2-2 at Niger, while Nigeria defeated Malawi 2-0 in Calabar.

Nearby at Port-Harcourt, Akwa United was held to a 1-1 draw by home side Sharks in a Nigeria Professional Football League match on Sunday, a result that left both sides still in the botyom half of the league on 41 and 40 points respectively.

Elsewhere, goals in the closing 15 minutes got Enyimba a 3-0 win over Lobi Stars in Aba, allowing the Elephants with 49 points to take over second spot on goal difference from Bayelsa United that lost by a lone goal to Heartland in Owerri.

League leaders Kano Pillars remain two points clear despite losing 2-1 at Nasarawa United, Kwara United fell to sixth no thanks to a 2-0 loss at Kaduna United while Enugu Rangers returned to the top half of the league in ninth place with 42 points thanks to a lone goal win over Wikki Tourists.

The Stars’ match between Sunshine and Shooting; both in dim league positions however, was meanwhile called off with Sunshine leading 2-1. The League Management Company tweeted the reason for the match not being completed as security issues while from another medium, heavy rain was cited as reason.

Might as well call it a wrap with today’s round up, or start to at least. Happy that Tokyo was named as host city for the 2020 Olympics, the penultimate of a series of major sporting events that will be hosted in the middle or far east from 2014 to 2022.

Sochi in Russia will host next year’s Winter Olympic Games (and Paralympics by default) before passing the torch to Pyeongchang in South Korea for the 2018 edition(s), same year Russia get to host the FIFA World Cup. Then it’s Tokyo in 2020 with the Olympics (and the Paralympics by default as well) followed by Qatar with the much debated 2022 FIFA World Cup…

… and I’m on the winter World Cup side of the debate, even though hosting it in summer as usual could be to the African teams’ advantage but footballers’ health should come first. Footballers such as Oscar, Alex Song and Luka Modric who will be in their early or mid-thirties when the 2022 mundial kicks off.

The trio, along with American goalkeeper Brad Guzan, are born on this day, as is Heath Ledger’s acting widow Michelle Williams, Canadian singer Michael Bublé and Parma manager Roberto Donadoni. Happy birthday to them and everybody else celebrating today and tomorrow (good friend Mrs. C. C. Muonagor and writer Chimamanda Adichie). Best wishes!

Finally, on this day, in 1791 Washington, D.C. is named after President George Washington, the Dubai Metro, which is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula, is ceremonially inaugurated at exactly 9:09:09p.m. in 2009 and in the year 337, Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I succeed their father Constantine I as co-emperors hence, the Roman Empire is divided between the three Augusti.


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Lose the British Murray

If you’re in need of a publicist, employ the services of a Briton. One preferably working in the Press, and watch yourself be a hovering thought in the consciousness of millions. Whether in a good way or bad, don’t complain, the publicist has nonetheless put you in their consciousness.

The British Press’ use of adjectives, puns, personifications and whatever other literary devices is legendary with Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Linford Christie, the Premier League, their national teams, the female tennis player… a ton of them; deservedly or (mostly) otherwise.

For a long time, Andy Murray has been the subject of their hype machine much so that many would think he’s English when he actually is Scottish. Being labelled “British” makes you that after a while.

After Pete Sampras retired, along with the likes of Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Cédric Pioline, Marat Safin and Mark Philippoussis (sadly due to injuries), Jonas Björkman, Richard Krajicek, Lleyton Hewitt, Michael Chang, Goran Ivanišević, Greg Rusedski and of course Tim Henman as time went, Roger Federer became the monopoly.

And it was an annoying monopoly. No one can be that good and be winning the Slams, defending them and defending them again at will but the Swiss did just that.

Then Rafael Nadal started coming of age and steadily became Fedex’s nuisance. The sport became a two-man monopoly; annoying still but oh well, Federer had to work a bit then.

Then came Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Finally… some competition, and one happened to be a Scotsman. A few “upsets” and he became the new Tim Henman. Long live the Queen.

Murray however has always cracked when it comes to winning a Grand Slam and just when you thought he’d win one at the Australian Open last year when he came up against his friend Djokovic… the Serb swept the Brit aside.

By that time, the DjokerNole was no more the new, upcoming nuisance to Roger and Rafa that he was along with Murray… he was the man who would go an entire year with just a handful of defeats; winning 41 consecutive matches in 2011 before Federer reminded us of Djokovic being mortal and ending the year with a 70-6 record.

Djokovic had tailored his game such that he wasn’t playing differently from the times of being an underdog, but had made his temperament a weapon rather than a hindrance.

You see how Roger got into the fourth round when two points away from being massively upset out of SW19 by Benneteau? He was composed. He is always composed.

You see how Nadal wins the French Open as if it was Barcelona in la Liga without Real Madrid? With a rage funneled to the bat rather than the veins and muscles.

Djokovic found his release when he learnt to let go of the clown when on the court. It’s why he’s 8 out of 10 times capable of winning matches from two sets down, he’s become focused.

Murray’s problem, which he can turn to a strength, is the distraction of being British. Years ago I always felt if Tim Henman was anything but British, Sampras and Agassi would’ve had an even tougher time (I consider their time to be tennis’ most competitive) being the top players.

So Murray can either put aside the “first Brit in Wimbledon final in 74 years” distraction aside and try to be a Rafter or live up to being another Henman; who never won a Slam.

I hope Murray wins on Sunday. He’s been through quite a tournament with wins over proven players Nikolai Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic, Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer and the hard hitting hulk Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on his way to facing Federer who, in my opinion, is the one out of the top three he most likely can defeat.

And the stats back him, for Murray is the only player apart from Nadal to be leading the Maestro on head-to-head record with the score currently 8-7.

And if he does win… you will hate the British press for a fortnight at least! Then we’ll have the Oympics and Premier League to our rescue.

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