Sports Briefs

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo fined by UEFA for obscene gesture

NYON, Switzerland (AP): Cristiano Ronaldo has been fined 20,000 euros (US$22,750) by UEFA for making a provocative gesture after Juventus beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

UEFA says its disciplinary panel found the Juventus star guilty of improper conduct.

Ronaldo was fined the same sum imposed on Atletico coach Diego Simeone for the same gesture during the round of 16 first-leg game in Spain.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win in the return leg in Turin to send Juventus to the quarterfinals.

He celebrated at the final whistle by mimicking Simeone’s gesture.


Kazakhstan surprise Scotland 3-0

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP): Scotland’s hopes of returning to major-tournament football after a 22-year absence suffered a heavy blow Thursday with a 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan in the first qualifier for next year’s European Championship.

The Kazakhs scored twice in the opening 10 minutes and added another goal in the 51st minute.

Scotland – one of the 12 co-hosts for next year’s tournament – had been eyeing further success after earning promotion in the Nations League last year and had lost just one of their last 10 competitive games.

It was only Kazakhstan’s fifth win in 35 European qualifying games since the country joined UEFA in 2002.FIFA gives life ban to Ecuador official for bribery


FIFA gives life ban to Ecuador official for bribery

ZURICH (AP) — The FIFA ethics committee has given a life ban to a South American soccer official who took bribes linked to the Copa America and Copa Libertadores.


FIFA says Luis Chiriboga, a former Ecuador football federation president, has also been fined one million Swiss francs (US$1 million). It is unclear how FIFA can enforce payment.


Though the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Chiriboga in 2015, he was later convicted in his native Ecuador of money laundering. He was sentenced to 10 years of house arrest.



News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Harden scores 57 but Grizzlies top Rockets 126-125 in OT

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between teammate Clint Capela (15) and Memphis Grizzlies centre Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday night in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies won 126-125 in overtime.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, (AP) :

James Harden did everything he could to bring the Houston Rockets back from a big deficit in the fourth quarter. He got them to overtime, but his 57 points weren’t enough.

All because of a last-second free throw.

Mike Conley scored 35 points and Jonas Valanciunas had a career-best 33, including the game-winning free throw with less than a second left, as the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday night.

“We put ourselves in a hole and tried to pick it up, but it was too late,” Harden said. “We were down (17), so I had to do something.”

Harden led a 17-2 Houston rally in the fourth – scoring 15 points during that stretch – to pull the Rockets to 106-104. He hit three free throws with four seconds remaining to send the game to overtime tied at 115.

Harden scored all 10 points for Houston in overtime, and the teams were still tied at 125 when Clint Capela fouled Valanciunas with 0.1 seconds left. Valanciunas, who also had 15 rebounds, made the first of two free throws. The clock ran out after he missed the second foul shot. Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists for Houston, which had won three straight. Capela added 14 points and 10 rebounds. The loss was only Houston’s second in the last 14 games.

“It was one of those games. Every once in a while it crops up,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said ,“You’ve got to go on. It’s too bad, but we just kind of threw that away.”

Other results: Cleveland Cavaliers 107 Milwaukee Bucks 102; Orlando Magic 119 New Olrleans Pecicans 96; Philadelphia 76ers 118 Boston Celtics 115; New York Knicks 116 Utah Jazz 137; Chicago Bulls 126 Washington Wizards 120 (after overtime); Memphis Grizzles 126 Houston Rockets 125 (AOT); San Antonio Spurs 105 Miami Heat 110; Oklahoma Thunder 114 Toronto Raptors 123 (AOT); Portland Trailblazers 126 Dallas Mavericks 118.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

T&T football icon Latapy lands top Barbados job

Rudolph Brown
Russell Latapy

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC):

Barbados have hired legendary Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) midfielder, Russell Latapy as head coach of the senior men’s national team on a two-year contract.

The 50-year-old Latapy, a previous T&T head coach who has also had spells as assistant coach at Boavista in Portugal and Inverness Caledonian in Scotland, will oversee his first match in charge when Barbados host Nicaragua in a crucial CONCACAF Nations League qualifier here Sunday.

“Mr Latapy and I have been talking for the past two years about the possibility of him working in Barbados,” Barbados Football Association president, Randy Harris, told a media conference.

“It is not just a situation of Russell looking for a job; he has been very interested in our team and its development. He is happy with the talent that we have in Barbados, and he believes that he can take it to the next level.

“I think that he has convinced me that he would play a significant role in the successes of Barbados’ team now and in the future.”

Latapy was a member of the famous Strike Squad that narrowly missed out on qualification for the 1990 World Cup but was part of the historic side that qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Following his retirement, he was appointed T&T head coach in 2009, succeeding Colombian Francisco Maturana.

Latapy also boasts a glittering club career, winning league titles with top Portuguese side FC Porto before also turning out for Boavista.

In Scotland, he played for top sides Rangers and Hibernian, along with Dundee and Falkirk, before winding down his club career.

Latapy said he was looking forward to imparting his extensive knowledge to the Barbadian players.

“I have spoken to the technical director watching the game they played a few weeks ago, and I am happy to say that we have a bunch of players who are talented and not only talented, but they are prepared to work very hard,” Latapy said.

“And I think for any coach, if you have a team that is willing to work hard, then that is half of the battle done.”

He continued: “I would do my best to improve the level of the team and whatever I can do to assist in the improvement of Barbados’ football, and that would improve football in the region in general.

“That is one of our main goals, to help improve football in this region, which gives the young players the opportunity not only to play professionally but to improve their standard of life, because this is what football has done for me and I would like to pass on some of this experience and give some of the younger players the opportunity to do the same.”

Latapy replaces Ahmed Mohammed, who will now oversee the association’s youth programmes.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

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JCA to invite applications for head coach

Paul Clarke
Dr Donovan Bennett

Dr Donovan Bennett, first vice-president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), says the local cricket body will soon be inviting applications for the post of head coach of the senior men’s team.

Robert Haynes was appointed interim coach last December until the end of the season after the JCA decided not to renew the contract of Robert Samuels.

Scorpions had a very poor season in the regional four-day competition, which finished last week as they finished fifth on the six-team table with three wins and seven defeats. Defending champions Guyana Jaguars retained the title.

Dr Bennett told The Gleaner that the association has a good working relationship with Haynes but the post must be advertised in order to ensure that the process is transparent.

“If you have somebody who is an interim coach, then even if it is your intention to appoint that coach then you have to advertise the post,” said Dr Bennett.

“It has to be a very open procedure where you advertise the post and people who have an interest can apply, and from that group, you choose who the coach will be,” he said.

“The post is not being advertised because we have a problem with the current coach, but due process demands that the post be advertised and that the whole process be fair and transparent,” Dr Bennett said.

Bennett noted that while they are disappointed with the Scorpions’ results in this year’s tournament, Haynes cannot be blamed for the team’s downfall.

“It is disappointing because nobody can be happy with finishing last, but I am not going to blame the coach for it,” he said.

“The coach came in at a very late stage when the season had actually started and so he didn’t have time to settle or even know the players, and so I don’t think we can cast judgement on him at this time,” Bennett said.

“I hope he will apply and if he applies and he is best person that comes forward, then so be it, because I certainly will not have a problem with the current coach because he has not been given sufficient time to turn things around,” the JCA vice-president concluded.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

A dream for ‘slept on’ athletes – Recruitment coach Forbes says scholarships are not only for ‘star’ athletes

Rudolph Brown
College recruitment coach Krista Forbes.

While many local student athletes dream of going on to achieve success at the professional level for themselves and country, there are others who view their participation in sports as an avenue to get into a university and gain qualification for various careers outside of sports.

Krista Forbes, founder of College Pro Academy, specialises in helping to find scholarships for these often overlooked athletes, whom she describes as ‘slept on.’

In her time as a sprint hurdler and long jumper for Campion College, and also Immaculate Conception High School, Forbes said she was not very prolific on the track and it was difficult for her, at first, to gain attention from college coaches. This understanding of the difficulties lesser regarded athletes have in finding scholarship is what led to her starting her own business.

However, she said that in going after scholarships, many athletes are not aware of how to properly attract attention from colleges and universities. She uses a three-tiered pyramid structure to categorise schools.

“At the top, there are the schools like the Clemsons, the Tennessees, the Arkansas, and these go after the kids who are probably winning at Champs (ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships) and breaking records,” Forbes told The Gleaner.

“The middle tier schools are the ones that will look for the ‘slept on’ athletes who didn’t make it to the finals at Champs, but still did great times. So they’re going to find kids with potential or they’re going to go after the same ones that won the races, because they do compete with the top tier schools too.

“The schools at the bottom of the pyramid are equally competitive but have a different focus. They look for kids who will do really well in their conference.”

Within these tiers, Forbes said that head coaches will prepare various offers for students, but warns athletes about doing due diligence whenever they are contacted. She chose quirky names for these types of offers, that her athletes will not quickly forget.

Array of choices

The first of these is the ‘scary stepmom,’ which offers unclear terms for recruitment.

“Kids get that and think ‘Oh my God, this is the only one I can get; I better take it and work hard. Huge mistake,” she said. “You don’t know what more or better means. It’s really vague and there’s no contract.”

The second is the prince charming. Forbes said an offer like this comes unexpectedly and presents very enticing terms as long as an immediate acceptance is agreed. However, it does not usually offer a tour of the school to see its facilities.

“They try to lock you into an offer with a letter of intent,” Forbes said. “Once you’ve signed that, you can’t talk to any other coaches. The process is over and you’re going to that school because the contract is between you and the school.”

She calls the third a golden egg offer.

“It’s exactly what you’re looking for,” she said. “The coach puts time and effort into getting to know you, to make you the right offer based on your situation. It doesn’t have to be about scholarship money. It’s about the classes they offer, the facilities and the coaching. ”

Forbes said another mistake student athletes make is sitting and waiting for offers.

“You need to go and find them yourselves,” she said. “I made that same mistake. I sat and waited because I thought I had to. I thought ‘How dare you go and call a college coach before he calls you?’” But how are they going to find you, especially as an international student. You’re competing with other countries apart from the US that produces great talent. You are fighting for these very limited scholarships. How is this coach going to find you, especially if you’re not a Michael O’Hara or a Christopher Taylor?”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Dunbeholden welcome RSPL lessons

Lionel Rookwood
Dunbeholden’s Demario Phillips (right) shields the ball from Portmore United’s Damian Williams during their Red Stripe Premier League encounter at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, yesterday. Portmore United won 2-0.

Dunbeholden’s head coach, Riegel Smith, said that they have learned a lot from playing in the Red Stripe Premier League for the first time, warning that they will be much stronger come next season.

Dunbeholden, who were promoted to the RSPL last Summer, finished 10th in the 12-team table with 35 points despite their 2-0 defeat to preliminary round table toppers Pormore United in their final game of the season at the Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday.

Lamar Walker (36th) and substitute Earon Elliot (90th) were the scorers for Portmore United, who were yesterday presented with the $1 million cash prize for topping the points table at the end of the preliminary round of the competition.

MoBay United demoted

Reno (24) and Montego Bay United (30) were both demoted from the RSPL.

Smith said he is delighted that they have managed to survive the rigours of the nation’s top flight and are looking forward to giving a much better account of themselves next season.

“It is an elated feeling to be back in the Premier League next season because this season has taught us a lot, and we learned a lot throughout this season,” said Smith.

“There are certainly a lot of things that are different from playing in the Super League compared to the Premier League, and I am happy that my players were able to experience this season,” he added. “We are one of those teams that got promoted to the league and you never hear we complained about any financial problems, not saying that we are rich, but we have a good structure that we worked with and the managers did a pretty good job with our resources.”

“We had some sponsors that are there with us, and they are still with us, and we give thanks for that because that was one of the driving forces behind us this season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shavar Thomas coach of Portmore United, said he is happy with his team’s achievements this season. Portmore ended atop the standings with 66 points.

“This is part of our objectives that we have set this season, which is to win the league, and this is one step towards the big picture of us winning the next phase of the competition,” said Thomas.

The top six teams will now turn their attention to the knockout phase of the competition.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

No artificial fields at 2023 Women’s W Cup – FIFA

Gianni Infantino

FIFA will only allow natural grass fields at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The stipulation is contained in requirements sent to bidding nations and follows controversy over the use of artificial turf at the 2015 tournament in Canada.

Some players launched a gender discrimination case – which was later withdrawn – over FIFA’s use of turf four years ago because men’s World Cup games have always been on grass. They claimed the artificial surface is less forgiving than grass and impacts the game because of concerns over injury. They also claimed that balls travel and bounce differently on artificial turf. FIFA said that it wanted the same surface in every stadium.

No turf

This year’s 24-team tournament in France will not have any artificial pitches at the nine venues. FIFA has made it clear that such surfaces won’t be acceptable in 2023, either. What is permitted is the hybrid system used at many leading stadiums where millions of synthetic grass fibres are woven in between and beneath the natural grass.

“The pitch shall feature a natural grass playing surface,” FIFA’s bidding requirements state. “Hybrid-grass systems are considered natural grass according to FIFA’s requirements and hybrid reinforcement should be considered for stadium pitches.”

FIFA also is asking bidders to ensure that each training ground has at least one grass field.

There is record interest in hosting the 2023 tournament, with nine countries having expressed their intent to bid. The most intriguing bid is by South Korea, which wants to combine with North Korea. But FIFA now includes an evaluation on human rights and worker conditions when assessing Women’s World Cup bidders, just like the new requirements for prospective hosts of the men’s tournament. That could prove problematic for North Korea, which would also have to provide visas in a “non-discriminatory manner” while currently being one of the most closed countries in the world.

From Asia, there also is interest in hosting from Australia and Japan. There are four potential bidders from South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia.

New Zealand and South Africa are also pursuing becoming candidates ahead of the April 16 deadline to register a bid. FIFA set an October 4 deadline to submit bid books.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Rhoden looking to lead KC to Champs title

Shorn Hector
Tarees Rhoden of Kingston College (right) holds on to finish just ahead of Jamaica College athlete J’Voughnn Blake in the Boys Class One 1500m at the Youngster Goldsmith meet held at the National Stadium on February 2, 2018.

FORMER champions Kingston College are making a big push to unseat defending champions Calabar at next week’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, and one of the reasons behind their great season so far is the inspiration of their captain, Tarees Rhoden.

Rhoden is desperate to end his Championships career on a winning note by the the North Street-based school to their first hold on the Mortimer Geddes trophy since 2009.

Rhoden’s leadership has been key to the school’s push this season, with the youngster seen at various meets motivating and encouraging his teammates.

The skipper clearly understands his role and his hoping that his own improvements and successes this season can serve as a platform on which a Champs title run is built.

“I was selected as a captain for the team at the start of the season and since then, I have been motivating them both physically and mentally, telling them that it is not only a mind game, but also a physical one because all of who they are competing against are humans like themselves, so I just keep on motivating them each and every day,” said Rhoden.

‘Better than last year’

“I have been having a great performance so far, a very steady one, and it has been better than last year at this point,” said the 800m man.

After watching Enid Bennett High’s Tyrese Taylor clock a fast 1:48.85 to win at G.C. Foster Classic last Saturday, Rhoden said that he was not bothered by the competition in what is easily one of the most anticipated events at Champs, promising that fans will see his best when it really matters.

“After seeing my main competitors running fast so far, I know I am also in great shape. I am the only one who is yet to compete in a quality 800 metres race, but at ‘Champs’ you will see,” Rhoden continued.

Rhoden, who was third in the 2000m Steeplechase last year and a disappointing eighth in the two-lap event, is certain of his 800m commitments but is yet to decide with his coaches on his second event.

“I definitely will be competing in the 800 metres, but at this moment, I am not sure if it will be the Steeplechase or the 1500m as well although I am positive I can improve my third- place finish in the steeplechase.”

Kingston College is seen in some quarters to be the favourites heading into Champs, but the youngster is not getting carried away and knows the work must be done over the five days of the championships to lift the trophy next Saturday at the National Stadium.

“In previous years, we have been favourites and it is what happen on the days of Champs (that matters), and this time we are taking it day by day. It is going to be a cracker this year, and we are confident that we can win the title,” said Rhoden.

“Winning the Manning Cup title has really helped to motivate us, also the Schools’ Challenge Quiz team’s performances so far and we are hoping to take all three titles,” Rhoden concluded.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Icardi’s standoff with Inter appears set to end

Antonio Calanni
In this Sunday, October 21, 2018, file photo, Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi (right) tries to score over AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma during the Serie A match between Inter Milan and AC Milan at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy.


Mauro Icardi’s standoff with Inter Milan appears set to end amid reports that he will return to training with the club today.

The Argentine forward has not been on the field in more than a month since being stripped off his captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations. The 26-year-old Icardi has said that he has a knee injury although the club has said that tests did not reveal any particular problem.


A meeting between Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta and Paolo Nicoletti, Icardi’s lawyer, yesterday apparently resolved the differences. After the meeting, Icardi made three Instagram posts featuring black-and-white photos of him wearing Inter’s shirt and the captain’s armband.

With 29 goals, Icardi was the joint top scorer in Serie A last season, sharing the honour with Ciro Immobile of Lazio.

He has nine goals in 20 Serie A appearances this season.

Icardi’s next chance to play will come against Lazio on March 31 at the San Siro.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Calabar shine at Gibson McCook awards ceremony

Shorn Hector

Calabar High’s 4×800 metres relay team, which produced a new championships record of 7:31.71, walked away with the Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook Trophy and Digicel prize of $150,000, for being the team with the best overall performance at yesterday’s Gibson McCook Relays awards ceremony.

The ceremony, which was held at the National Stadium’s Hospitality Room, was used to reward outstanding teams from last month’s relay carnival. The Red Hills Road-based team also walked away with an addition $75,000 as one of four teams that broke records.

Defending ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships female champions Edwin Allen and Kingston College each walked away with cash prize of $100,000 for having the best performances among high-school teams.

Edwin Allen won three events, while Kingston College won six to finish as the team with the most wins at the meet.

Edwin Allen also received an addition $75,000 after their victory in the Girls ‘Under-17 4×100 metre relay in a new record time of 44.59 seconds. Other teams receiving $75,000 for being record breakers were The Queen’s School after their 4:00.83 seconds run in the High School Girls 1600m Open Sprint Medley, along with the Tyrese Taylor-led Enid Bennett High, for the record run in the boys’ equivalent. Among the clubs and institutions, the prize of $75,000 went to Sprintec.

At yesterday’s function, chairman of the Gibson McCook Relays committee, Professor Rainford Wilks, thanked the sponsors and other members of the Organising Committee, while lauding the athletes for their performances.

“You have all done well and must be commended for your fine performances as you all make us happy.

You are all champions and have made us proud, and I like the competition but it must always be a healthy one.

We are proud that we are able to help with the development of track and field, and looking forward for this to happen and I know that come next week, you will all step up a gear at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships. I am hoping that each of you will remain healthy going into that meet,” said Wilks.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here