The German midfielder, despite being severely punished by injuries in recent years, is 27 years old, is international and has a great lineup in the market. In collected statements, by the newspaper Evening Standard, explained the reasons why he will leave his current club: “I would like to announce that after considering it intensively, I have decided to make a change of scenery in my sports career.“ After wishing all the readers to be well and not suffer losses due to the pandemic, Gotze explained the steps to follow: “I have taken my time to take this step. It is an important decision for my sports future and I am looking forward to working with Reza Fazeli and his agency International Soccer Management (ISM). His professional competence has completely convinced me. What the future will bring will only be known when there is a bit of normality in the world“ Gotze has sounded for several clubs on the international scene, although, for the moment, none of them has accelerated in the negotiation. In England there is talk of Everton, West Ham or Liverpool and there is also the alleged interest of various Italian ‘coconuts’. Be that as it may, whoever invests in their hiring takes a talented player, capable of playing in various attacking positions, with a lot of football still in his boots and with a dangerous handicap: constant injurys. The coronavirus crisis will completely change the transfer market next summer. The vast majority of clubs have had to make an ERTE or a salary reduction for their footballers and it seems complicated that in the summer period they can make exorbitant offers. Under this precept, the free players become the great bargains on the market. One of them is Mario Gotze, who confirmed today that he will not renew his contract with Borussia Dortmund.
In the early days before the 2015 Ashes got under way, England were playing so badly and Australia so well that Australia were installed as favourites to win the coveted urn. By the time Australia had dominated the World Cup, however, by the time they ran rough-shod over the West Indies, especially with England suffering badly during that time, losing to Bangladesh and not coming out of the first round of the World Cup, and when they were later bowled out of for 123 in the second innings and lost to the West Indies at Kensington Oval, the Aussies were riding high, very high. The Australians, with Steven Smith, Michael Clarke, David Warner, Chris Rogers, and Shane Watson as batsmen, and with a pace attack to come from pacers Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, and spinner Nathan Lyon, were overwhelming favourites not only to win the Ashes, but also to demolish England. Smith and Warner, especially, were expected to smash Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and company to all parts of England, from Cardiff to the Oval and back again, and Johnson, Starc, and company were expected to destroy Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, and Joe Root. For Australia, it would be, or it was supposed to be, almost like taking candy from a new-born babe. The critics of England, however, including myself, who expected the scoreline to be 3-0 or 4-0 in Australia’s favour, had forgotten a few things: we had forgotten that the ‘fat lady’ had not even warmed up as yet, we had forgotten that the series was not being played in Australia, and we had forgotten that it was being played in England where the conditions usually favour the home team. We had also forgotten the glorious uncertainty of cricket, the many thrilling and exciting surprises it sometimes has in store for its fans. We also forgot that playing cricket in England is like playing in no other place, not even, probably, in New Zealand, and we also forgot the importance of winning the toss and what to do when you have won it. England, after warming up with a drawn 1-1 series against a plucky New Zealand, completely and shockingly overturned the form book in winning the Ashes, 3-2, in no uncertain manner, a result which led to the retirement of the humbled Australian captain. MOTHER OF ALL BEATINGS MAGNIFICENT CATCHING After surprisingly winning the first Test in Cardiff by 169 runs, and after losing their way in a 405-run thrashing at Lord’s, a loss which suggested that the Australians were back and that England’s victory at Cardiff was just a mirage, England came out firing and won the third and fourth Test matches, one at Edgbaston by eight wickets, one at Trent Bridge by an innings and 78 runs, before losing the fifth Test at The Oval by an innings and 46 runs. It was, all things considered, probably the mother of all beatings. It is true Australia made 566 for eight declared with Smith stroking 215 at Lord’s and 481 at The Oval with Smith getting 143, but they made nothing else to write home about. The mighty Australia, the never-say-die Australia, the team which hardly ever bowed to anyone, were dismissed, apart from the Lord’s and Oval Test matches, almost without a fight and for scores of 308 and 242, 136 and 265, and for 60 and 253. In fact, the entire series was peculiar, with three Test matches ending in four days and two in three, and with the losing team, Australia, also winning two Test matches easily and convincingly. It is true that the pitches at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge were tailor-made for England’s seamers, but the English bowlers used them wonderfully. Unlike the Australian bowlers, who are accustomed to hard, fast, bouncy pitches, the English bowlers pitched the ball up and got it to swing and to seam. At Edgbaston, the conditions were just what England ordered. They bowled first, and Anderson, with six for 47 in the first innings, and Steven Finn, with six for 79 in the second innings, buried Australia. At Trent Bridge, and with Anderson out, the pitch was again just what England ordered and the conditions were in their favour. They again bowled after losing the toss, and Stuart Broad nailed them unceremoniously. In one of the great spells of bowling, Broad ambushed Australia and cut them down for a paltry 60 runs with figures of 9.3 overs, five maidens, 15 runs, and eight wickets. Some, including the Australian batsmen, may blame the pitch, but although the conditions changed a bit after Australia had batted, especially at Trent Bridge, when it is remembered that England were 274 for four at close on the opening day, it must have been fast bowling, pure and simple, at its best: two wickets in the first over of the match, five wickets in 19 balls, 29 for six in the first 35 minutes, and Australia dismissed in 18.3 overs in 93 minutes, 27 minutes before lunch. The England catching was brilliant, or rather magnificent, especially one taken by Ben Stokes at fifth slip to dismiss Adam Voges off Broad. With Broad pitching the ball up and getting it to swing, every one of his wickets, all eight, were caught in the slips. Like Finn at Edgbaston, who backed up Anderson with six second-innings wickets, Stokes also bowled well at Trent Bridge and took six second-innings wickets. The toss is usually blamed for such embarrassment but this time that could not have been the case. England won the toss at Cardiff and batted first, and Australia won the toss at Lord’s and batted first. Australia, however, again won the toss at Edgbaston, batted first, made 136, and lost the match, and at Trent Bridge, England won the toss, sent Australia to bat, bundled them out for 60, and won the match. At that stage, it was 3-1 for England, with the Ashes decided in the third and fourth Test matches when Australia, for whatever reason, won the toss in the third Test and batted, and England, with good reason, won the toss in the fourth and bowled first. Sixty all out was embarrassing, especially in an Ashes series, and as it turned out, it was dust to dust, ashes to ashes for Australia. It was a case of, in a series of relatively poor batting, and if Anderson and Broad didn’t get you, then Finn or Stokes must. The usually proud and arrogant Aussies will remember this contest for a long, long time; one that England will also always remember, probably forever.
The World Championships in Beijing, China are over. Nine (9) days of intense athletic competition that revealed not only physical athletic prowess, but seemingly now very important, mental toughness and experience of the many athletes from all over the world. The sight of athletically gifted individuals performing sub-par robbed viewers of some potentially mouth-watering clashes, as expert analysts pontificated on nerves, pressure and inexperience. What else can explain Justin Gatlin’s imitation of an Olympic swimmer as Usain Bolt refused to fade away in the last 30 metres of the 100-metre final as so many rivals have done in the past year? What else (other than nerves/pressure) can explain Mike Rogers refusal to wait for the baton that Tyson Gay was valiantly trying to give to him, when Rogers saw Bolt passing him with the baton in his hand? I have sympathy for these men as I do believe that lesser men would just break down in tears when they came to the realisation that the hype and promises from coaches, mentors and analysts were nothing but fluff, hot air and had no basis in the reality of modern sprinting when the greatest track and field athlete that ever lived is on the track in an Olympics or World Championships. These Championships, tainted by allegations of doping cover-ups by the authorities and positive drug tests from athletes in the Games Village, were successfully rescued by ‘clean’ (so far) athletes who defeated those with previous proven positives time after time to the obvious relief of the newly installed President of the governing body, the IAAF. There will be the usual ‘what-went-wrong’ review by those countries that have spent millions of ‘real’ dollars in preparing their stars for the competition and who never delivered. The vexed (to Jamaica) issue of relay camps will certainly be reviewed by the USA and Great Britain, as once again athletes from these countries failed to deliver the baton or to stay in the transfer zone, when the pressure is on. It would seem to me that the fact that ALL of Jamaica’s attempts at having mandatory camps to practice relays have been sub-par must be factored in any future review of mandatory camps. Further, the statement from head coach Maurice Wilson regarding the implementation of an idea for the women’s 4x400m relay team – given to the coaches panel by Paul Francis, brother of certified genius coach Stephen Francis – must be duly recognised and plans made to include suggestions from successful coaches when teams are selected to major Championships, instead of the usual practice of giving a mediocre coach a trip with the real potential of disrupting the psyche of our athletic stars. It is my hope that the celebrations that will accompany the return of the team from Beijing will not mean that a real review of our performances will take place. There will be the temptation for those associated with the team to Beijing to indulge in high-fives and back slapping, thus effectively muting any criticism of glaring deficiencies that appeared over the nine days in China. I am suggesting a review of the baton changing exploits of the Chinese 4×100 relay (men) to see what we can learn. I am suggesting that there be a review of the tactics of Novlene Williams-Mills as she chased the woman with the fastest 400-metre time this year, Francena McCorory, in the 4×400 relay final. Williams-Mills, our most experienced runner in the quartet that ran in the finals (and the slowest), waited and waited, seemingly not perturbed when the American increased the lead on her as she left the 200-metre mark, but unleashed a finish in the straight where the maximum effort matters most. I submit that if our final leg runner in the men’s 4x400m race adopted similar tactics, 13 medals would have been garnered. Also, would a word from someone/anyone to an athlete who hit nine hurdles in a semi-final prevent the same athlete hitting seven hurdles in the final? I look forward to a real review of our very successful performance in Beijing. Congrats team!
Track and field megastars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are the favourites to emerge the top athletes at tonight’s JAAA/Scotiabank Golden Cleats Awards at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Old Hope Road.Bolt won the men’s sprint double at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing in addition to leading the men to sprint relay gold.Fraser-Pryce won the women’s 100m in Beijing, and was also a member of the women’s sprint relay team which took gold in a championship record 41.07 seconds.The awards ceremony is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.
LATTER WIN This latter win came in spite of an unofficial 400-metre split time of 44.5 from Class One 400-metre champion, Akeem Bloomfield of Kingston College. Taylor ran an unofficial split (hand-timed) of 45.3 seconds, as he bided his time for his devastating final kick in the last 100 metres. Taylor has run faster times than the world’s greatest sprinter, Usain Bolt, at a similar stage of his career. Let us handle him with care. Finally, congratulations to Asafa Powell on his silver medal in the World Indoor 60-metre final on Saturday. Unfortunately, once again, the rounds took their toll. So far, changing coaches has not made much of a difference. An Olympic gold medal would silence those who remember the words of the great Stephen Francis: “No athlete who leaves my camp improves his/her times.” We (Jamaicans) are blessed with athletic talent. Champs 2017 cannot come too soon. The greatest show on earth (for children) is over. The Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships (Champs) lived up to its billing and pre-Championships hype. I estimate that more than the reported maximum capacity of 30,000 people were in the National Stadium for the final day on Saturday, April 19, 2016. The talent on show over the previous five days proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jamaica is indeed the ‘Sprint Capital of the World’. However, the female standout of the Championships, Junelle Bromfield of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), cannot be described as a “sprinter”. The remarkable Jamaican child ran in the preliminaries and finals for the girls 400 metres, 800 metres and 1500 metres, before anchoring her team to victory in the 4×400-metre relay final on Saturday night. For those who came in late, Miss Bromfield ran (and won) the 1500-metre race on Friday, then the 400-metre final on Saturday afternoon, completing the distance in 51.74 seconds, the fastest time for a Junior in the world this year. She returned to the track two hours later to win the 800-metre finals, capping the day with anchoring her team to victory in the 4×400-metre relay finals! This 18-year-old from STETHS is not only an athletic phenom, but impressively, she is also a medical marvel. Having exhausted the source of energy (carbohydrate stores) day after day, she obviously replenished those stores enough to complete the demolition of all her rivals in winning race after race and earning four gold medals. The only problem now is what next? What will happen to this young Jamaican star when she transitions to racing against adults? Unfortunately, previous middle-distance stars from Champs have not gone on to victory (and glory) at the world (adult) level. Burnout kills performance The reasons for this lack of success in the adult middle distance world varies from genetics to burnout. Genetics because of the preponderance of fast-twitch fibres in muscle biopsies of Jamaican athletes and burnout because of poor handling of these teenage stars on transition to adult competition. Maybe, just maybe, a ‘Junelle Bromfield National Project’ can correct this glaring anomaly. That project would entail the burying of egos as the nation unites spiritually and financially in managing and preparing this rare talent for world supremacy. I suggest that the start would be allowing her to concentrate on the 800 metres alone, as that is where her best chance for international glory lies. Then what about the Class Two phenom, Christopher Taylor? This remarkable young man ran a jaw dropping 20.8 seconds in the 200-metre preliminaries (a record), 46.33 seconds in the 400-metre preliminaries, another record, going on to win gold in both finals. He then ran a leg in Calabar High’s victorious Class Two 4×100-metre relay, before capping off the night with a relay leg for the ages, anchoring his team to victory in the Open 4×400-metre relay finals.
Jamaica has twice won the 4×100-metre relay for boys at the World Junior Championships. According to veteran coach, Raymond Graham, a third win is possible this year.Graham, hurdles and relays coach at Kingston College (KC), said Jamaica’s likely 2016 sprint relay team has the potential to break 39 seconds.After a high-school season where Nigel Ellis, Raheem Chambers and Jhevaughn Matherson have all run 100 metres faster than 10.30 seconds, and with Akeem Bloomfield zooming on sprint-relay duty at Boys and Girls’ Championships and at the Penn Relays, Graham is optimistic Jamaica can win gold at the event, which has been renamed the World Under-20 Championships.BEST CHANCE”This is Jamaica’s best chance of winning the 4×100 again,” he said.Gold has already come to Jamaica from the boys’ 4×100 in 1998 and 2006.”I hope I could work with a team like this, it’s a super team,” he gleamed.”To be honest with you,” he predicted. “I see a 38.9 team here.”His reference was no accident, as the national junior record is 38.97 seconds, set by the 2012 World Junior runner-up team of Tyquendo Tracey, Odean Skeen, Jevaughn Minzie and Jazheel Murphy.Graham hopes the team will get a chance to prepare optimally.”I think once they get in camp,” he projected, “and I hope the JAAA will get them out early, get the baton change, because that is very important.”This is a super-super team and I hope Jamaica will do its best to ensure that this team goes all the way,” he said.The world junior 4×100 record of 38.66 seconds was set by a USA team including champion 400-metre runner LaShawn Merritt at the 2004 World Junior Championships.
“He definitely could one day be in goal at the national youth and senior levels, certainly if he progresses as we suspect he will,” said Davis. “What we saw of him in Cayman – his athleticism, skill and composure in goal – was phenomenal! He was a calming influence for Academy SC. And remember, he was really headhunted to replace their injured goalie,” added Davis. Indications are that he is in line to be issued another invite for a youth tournament scheduled for next month in the Cayman Islands. This Under-14 invitational tournament will include English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and local clubs Cavalier SC and Harbour View FC. Western Bureau: If Amal Bell continues along the path he is currently on, he could one day become Jamaica’s top goalkeeper, at least that is the view of scouts at the recently held Cayman Island Youth Football Tournament. The 14-year-old St James High School youth player turned out for the Academy SC Club of Cayman, standing in between the posts for their injured regular goaltender and by all accounts looked a quality prospect. “His performances must be viewed in context because while he did let in a soft goal in his first match, it is instrumental to know that he had little time to prepare for the game as he was a late call-up for the tournament,” said youth coach Tony Davis. Bell was watched by scouts from several English clubs, including from the acclaimed Manchester City Youth Academy and Swindon Town FC, two of the participating clubs. The Cuban Under-15 team and Jamaica’s Cavalier FC also took part. Bell was the starting goalkeeper in all of his team’s three matches and by all accounts acquitted himself well. According to Davis, Bell could one day be in line to represent Jamaica, joining the country’s long list of brilliant goalkeepers such as Warren Barrett, Clive ‘Spider’ Wedderburn, Aaron Lawrence, Andre Blake, and Donovan Ricketts. CALMING INFLUENCE
LONDON (AP):Southampton forward Charlie Austin exacted sweet revenge on a club which once questioned his fitness as West Ham lost their fourth straight English Premier League game yesterday.Austin’s goal and assist at the Olympic Stadium gave Southampton a 3-0 victory over a team whose top official had said he wouldn’t sign the player due to the state of his knee.In August 2015, West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan told an unofficial club podcast: “They say he (Austin) has no ligaments in his knee, who knows?”But Austin proved his worth for Southampton, scoring his fifth goal in four games in all competitions to dispel any doubts about his physical condition or ability.Having seen his side score more than one goal for the first time in the Premier League this season, Southampton manager Claude Puel praised Austin’s clinical play.”He can score very nice goals and I think he scored with his first chance,” said Puel. “This shows a striker’s confidence.”The win means mid-table Southampton have eight points from six matches, while West Ham are struggling in the relegation zone with three points from six games.West Ham conceded three or more goals for the fourth consecutive league game. Coach Slaven Bilic said the players were low on confidence but hinted that he wanted players to be harder on each other.”Heavy defeats against Watford and West Brom started the situation with the confidence,” said the former Croatia manager. “The players are good with each other – they are maybe too good with each other.”There were pre-match fears over crowd trouble following violence during the league match against Watford. Off the pitch at least, the game passed more peacefully for the hosts this time. While a significant minority of West Ham fans again chose to ignore pre-match warnings over persistent standing at the club’s new stadium, the stewards appeared to take a more lenient approach.
Having said that, the boiling over of enthusiasm spilled into giving the Test centurion’s qualifications and future role. “Robert just concluded the WICB/ECB level three coaching course in Barbados and he will be playing a role in further assessing the other candidates for submission to the WICB. Robert is perfectly positioned to transform our cricketers locally to internationally. He will influence the transition of a player from our local competition to the franchise, and from the franchise to the WICB. He is fully aware of his role and takes his job seriously.” If CEO Francis is to be taken seriously, the current ascent with Jamaica’s cricketers is no fluke. It is the result of well-thought-out plans and structures, and appears destined to bear the fruit that has been absent for some time. Good luck to them as they pursue a progressive path with the requisite diligence, determination and desire. – Email: email@example.com NEW APPROACH FUTURE ROLE In this regard, Foster’s Fairplay contacted the chief executive officer of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Courtney Francis. The former St Jago High School and St Catherine batsman explained, “The franchise (Jamaica Scorpions) is taking a new approach to preparing our cricketers for winning tournaments and to make the transition to the WI A team and the WI Senior team … . Note that during the period of Jamaica dominating the regional tournament – winning five straight four-day titles – not many of our players make that transition to the West Indies team. The new thrust is to form a combination of that transition and winning the PCL (four-day competition) many times over, again.” Francis continued, “Now that the PCL is on a break, all our contracted players, plus additional invitees, will be engaged in the 50-over preparation that will include the regular training sessions per day.” From what the top administrator was suggesting, these drills are expected to be quite hectic and intensive, leading into the resumption in March. They will include “fitness maintenance, specific skill enhancement, fielding drills, analytical assessment, video reviewing, trial matches – both four-day and 50 overs games – participation in the JCA All-Island Limited Overs Competition and a strategic plan.” Foster’s Fairplay had taken specific note of the top-order batsmen who, having reached scores of over 50, did not go on to the three-figure mark. Even if it means bringing in outside assistance, are there any designated plans to address this by proven expertise? Francis acknowledged the problem and responded. “I do not know of any proven expertise available to assist our players in their ability to convert 50s into 100s. What I am aware of, though, is that our franchise players are fitter with the gym facilities at Sabina Park; that have aided that area of their game significantly. You will note that the batting improves as the season progresses, signalling an improvement with concentration. Noticeable, too, is the little-to-no report of any major injury.” The locally based Scorpions team is coached by former Test player and Jamaica captain Robert Samuels, and this columnist was interested in knowing how much was that a factor in the development of the batsmen. Francis, in response, was both excited and enthusiastic. It was as though he was anxiously awaiting to expound on that subject. “I do believe that Robert Samuels influences the team positively. He has brought his own style of play in sync with the Franchise’s desire to transition each player.” There is a remarkable renaissance in Jamaica’s cricket, causing this columnist to focus extra attention to the sport. Given the norm in recent times, devoting two consecutive columns in this area was unthinkable. The real stimulant to this renewed interest; is not only Jamaica’s performances in the WICB Digicel four-day competition, where the team is at the halfway stage, topping the competition with three wins, a loss and a draw. The trigger is that there are emerging batsmen in John Campbell and Brandon King, who are threatening a breakthrough at the international level. However, there is a major concern. The next encounter in the current series is against close runners-up the Guyana Jaguars in March of next year. Is there an opportunity for the players to be in a cricketing atmosphere and be physically and mentally ready for the second stanza of first-class cricket?
Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer But assistant team captain Aby Maraño wanted to add just one more: Develop chemistry.“I’d like to leave all the issues behind us in the Philippines, start anew in Japan,” she said. “Let’s not waste the opportunity to learn and train.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’“We want to go out there with fresh minds and fresh legs,” added national team member Denden Lazaro. IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping’s name mistranslation MOST READ PH Women’s National Volleyball team. Photo by Bong LozadaOfficials of the star-studded national women’s volleyball team have a checklist of things to improve on when the squad troops to Japan for a two-week camp from July 17 to Aug. 2.That includes speed, floor defense, blocking, killer instinct and mental toughness.ADVERTISEMENT Malacañang open to creating Taal Commission LATEST STORIES Barguil triumphs for France on Bastille Day at Tour End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LIVE: Sinulog 2020 Grand Parade View comments