John Obi Mikel has confirmed he is available to return to Nigeria’s Super Eagles for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, according to a team official.
The former Chelsea star last played for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and was not involved in the qualifying for this year’s Nations Cup.
“Mikel has met with coach (Gernot) Rohr in England and he has confirmed he will feature at the Nations Cup in Egypt,” said a top team official.
The 32-year-old Obi, now with English Championship side Middlesborough, has won 85 caps and scored six goals since his full international debut in 2005 against Libya.
Experts said his experience and leadership would be invaluable to a squad that includes many players making their debut in this competition after Nigeria missed out on the last two editions.
The tournament in Egypt is widely seen as the last hurrah for the player in international football.
Algeria international Youcef Atal faces lengthy spell out with knee injury
The 23-year-old Nice defender was substituted in the 29th minute during his club’s 4-1 home win over Metz on Saturday in the French Ligue 1 and is expected to undergo surgery to repair a meniscal injury in his knee.
“Bad news for Youcef Atal and the Eagles. The diagnosis revealed a meniscal lesion in the right knee,” Nice said in a statement. “He will be operated on soon and will, unfortunately, be out of action for a long time.”
Atal who joined Nice from Belgian club Kortrijk in the summer of 2018 has scored one goal while providing two assists in 13 games this season for the French Club.
He began his youth career with Algerian outfits JS Kabylie, USM Alger and Paradou AC before moving to Europe. And has been reported earlier this season to be on the radar for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea and the Jose Mourinho led Tottenham as a potential transfer target for the January window.
The injury to Atal also leaves a major blow at the back for the team lead by Patrick Viera who is currently 13th on the Ligue 1 table. Atal made his international debut for the Desert Foxes of Alegria in June 2017 in a match against Guinea and was part of the 2019 African Cup of Nations winning squad in Egypt.
Pascal Siakam nets 24 points for NBA champions Toronto Raptors
Siakam’s Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet added 20 points in what was their 21st game of the regular season
Cameroonian NBA star, Pascal Siakam netted 24 points for NBA Champions Toronto Raptors in their 119-109 home defeat to the Houston Rockets.
The 25-year-old who has, so far, started every game this season for the Raptors finished as lead scorer for his team on the night despite the defeat, and he also made 9 rebounds and 2 assists for the Canada based basketball outfit who lie fourth on the Eastern conference table.
Siakam’s Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet added 20 points and point guard Kyle Lowry made 19 in what was their 21st game of the regular season.
The defeat for the Raptors meant they have now recorded their sixth loss this season, their second in a row, and at their home court for the first time at the Scotiabank Arena since losing to Oklahoma City and Charlotte in March this year.
Rockets point guard Russel Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
And the win for the Houston Rockets ended a three-game losing streak away from home, with star player James Harden netting 23 points, as they led from the first quarter which they took 34-28.
But it was the Rockets shooting guard Ben McLemore who scored 28 points to finish as the game’s top scorer.
Other games on Thursday night saw another Cameroonian, Joel Embiid grabbing 26 points and 21 rebounds for his team the Philadelphia 76ers, but they lost 113-119 on the road to the Washington Wizards who have now ended a three-game losing streak.
The Phoenix Suns recorded a 139-132 away victory in overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans. And the Denver Nuggets also grabbed a win on the road in New York against the Nicks which finished 129-92.
Liz Young establishes lead at Kenya Ladies Open tournament
tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.
The first round of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open is underway at Vipingo Ridge in Vipingo, Kenya, 30km north of Mombasa on the Mombasa-Malindi Highway. The Pro-Am commenced on December 4th, with the official tournament taking place between December 5th and 8th.
England’s Liz Young, who started in the first pairing from the 10th hole at 7.30 am on Friday, made a brilliant start and took the clubhouse lead on four-under-par 68.
Esther Henseleit needs a win to have a chance of winning the order of merit this week, then came in with a three-under 69, while Cheyenne Woods is the next best-placed player in the clubhouse on two-under-par.
The tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.
“I was on the range warming up this morning and my hands were getting very sweaty, which is unusual for me and I had to change my glove, which is something I never have to do. I knew the ball was going to fly a bit and the last hour on the golf course the cloud cover came in and cooled it down a bit. First thing, it was quite hot out there.”
The tournament features a total of 108 women players from 28 countries, who are set to compete for the top prize of Kes 5million.
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