Serena Williams Says  Health Issues Killed Her

Serena Williams says she lives in fear of blood clots, a condition that  started during a harrowing postnatal ordeal in September when she almost lost her life in the process of giving birth to her daughter.

In an op-ed piece she wrote for CNN on Tuesday, the tennis legend opened up on on her near-death experience while giving birth to daughter, Olympia, after getting blood clots in her lungs.

“I almost died after giving birth to my daughter,” Williams said.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams said she had to have an emergency Cesarean section surgery after her heart rate plummeted dramatically during contractions. The surgery was successful and before she knew it she was holding the newborn.

“But what followed just 24 hours after giving birth were six days of uncertainty,” she said.

In a Vogue magazine interview in January, Williams said that during her postnatal ordeal she suffered a pulmonary embolism — when blood clots block one or more arteries in the lungs.

But this was not the first time the 36-year-old Williams has had a scrape with death from blood clots. In 2011, she spent nearly 12 months incapacitated after a cut on her foot from a piece of broken glass at a Munich restaurant led to a pulmonary embolism.

“Because of my medical history with this problem I live in fear of this situation,” the American said Tuesday.

Williams said that while recovering in the hospital, one day after the emergency Cesarean, she felt short of breath and after some convincing on Williams’ part, the hospital staff finally sent for a CT scan and then put her on a life-saving drip.

Wound popped open

But her ordeal wasn’t over. She started coughing so much from the blood clots that her Cesarean wound popped open.

“I returned to surgery where the doctors found a large hematoma in my abdomen. Then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from travelling to my lungs.

“When I finally made it home to my family I had to spend six weeks of motherhood in bed.”

Williams praised the hospital Tuesday staff saying “if it weren’t for their professional care, I wouldn’t be here today”. She did not reveal the name of the hospital in the CNN piece.

Her kind words though were in contrast to some sharp statements she made in the earlier Vogue article where she says she had to coax the hospital staff to send her for a CT scan and hook her up to an IV.

“I was like a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip (blood thinner),” Williams told the magazine.

Williams said it was a complicated experience and despite the agonizing ups and downs she “considers herself fortunate”.

Partly for surviving the ordeal and also because she can still live out her dream on the tennis court once she returns to competitive form.

The former world number one staged her long-awaited tennis comeback earlier this month by playing alongside her older sister, Venus, in a Federation Cup doubles match but it didn’t go well.

Serena — looking rusty and slow-footed — lost 6-2, 6-3 to the unheralded Dutch pairing of Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.

Enyimba To Play Benin’s Energie FC In CAF Confed Cup

Enyimba will face Benin Republic’s Energie FC in the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup after the humble side got a surprised 2-1 aggregate win against Haifa of Guinea in the preliminary round.

Energie FC  had a 1-0 first leg win and scored a late equaliser in the reverse fixture in Conakry on Tuesday to earn 1-1 draw against their host.

The Beninoise will play the two- time African champions Eyimba and are hoping to create another shocker.

They will host the Peoples Elephant on March 6, while the return fixture is billed for the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar a fortnight later.

Enyimba did not play in the preliminary round as they were drawn into the first round by the Confederation of African Football.

Nigeria’s other representatives in the competition, Akwa United, will face Hawks of Gambia in their preliminary round second leg fixture today in Banjul.

The Promise Keepers lost the first leg 2-1 to the their hosts at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

No Nigerian club has won the CAF Confederation Cup in the past.

Ranieri Ready To Abandon Nantes For Italian Job

Claudio Ranieri, who led Leicester City to a shocking English Premier League title, disclosed  he is prepared to quit French Ligue 1 club Nantes if he is offered the Italian Coaching Job.

The 66-year-old has been one of those speculated to replace Gian Piero Ventura  who was forced to resign after Italy’s shocking failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

“Any Italian coach would love to be in charge of the national side,” Ranieri, who guided Leicester to their first ever Premier League title in 2016, told Sky Sport Italia.

“I have a contract with Nantes for two years and I have not received any messages, so I can’t say anything.

“But if I were to be contacted for the Italy job, I’d go to the Nantes president and ask to be released,” said the widely-travelled Ranieri, whose former clubs include Juventus, Napoli and Roma in Italy, Premier League giants Chelsea and Valencia and Atletico Madrid in Spain.

He also had a brief stint in charge of the Greek national side.

Ranieri joined Nantes this season and the club are in the fifth position in Ligue 1, 10 points behind Lyon, who are in the fourth and final European qualifying spot.

Italy’s 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden last year meant the Azzurri failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini are also among those linked to the coaching job.

Italy Under-21 boss Luigi Di Biagio has been appointed an interim coach to oversee friendlies against Argentina and England next month.

Umotong Shocked By Super Falcons Invitation, Explains Nigeria Choice

England-based striker Ini Umotong has expressed her  amazement after she received invitation to the Alanya Women’s Tournament in Turkey.

African champions the Super Falcons will compete in the invitational tournament along with seven other countries.

Umotong, 23, plays for Brighton & Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League 2, the second division of women’s football in England.

Brighton are currently third in the league with 16 points from eight matches, seven points adrift of leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles who have played one game more.

“It was a feeling of shock, excitement and anxiousness. I was so excited, as I’ve been waiting for a call-up for a long time and it was really emotional,” Umotong told Brighton’s official website.

“The new coach Thomas Dennerby emailed me, and my heart stopped a bit when I found out that it had all been confirmed.

“My family were very happy and proud once they found out, and I’m so pleased with how it’s all turned out.”

The 23-year-old has one senior cap to date and explained how playing internationally is different to club football.

“I’ve been called up twice before. I have one official cap and I was called up to the Nigeria squad for the World Cup in 2015, but didn’t make any appearances,” she added.

“It was definitely the best experience of my career so far and I just turned 21 at the time. I played against Mali in Mali for my debut in February 2015.

“The playing style is completely different, but I loved it as it was really fast-paced and physical. It was a playing style I adapted to and took back to my playing club. I learned so much being around that standard.”

Umotong holds dual nationality and is also eligible to play for England, but opted for Nigeria.

“I was born in Nigeria and I came over to the UK as a one-year old, so I have dual nationality and two passports,” she explained.

“The thought was always there [to play for England]. I was called up to a couple of youth camps at under-15 level, so I always had the possibility to play for England.

“But Nigeria suited my playing style more, as they’re very direct and physical, so it just felt right to play for Nigeria.”

UCL: Conte Believes Chelsea  Can Upset Barca With ‘Incredible’ Showing At Camp Nou

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, says the Blues will do the unbelievable by knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League after the Catalan giant forced a draw in clash at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Willian goal was the spirit lifter before  Lionel Messi cancelled the lead  15 minutes from full-time capitalizing on Andreas Christensen’s erro, and Conte was quick to shower accolades on the young Danish defender as one of his best players on the night despite the setback.

“We were close to playing the perfect performance,” Conte said during his post match interview.

“We made one mistake, it is a pity and we are disappointed with the final result.”

‘it was an incredible performance,” said the Italian.

“We are talking about a very young player. It is great that he is able to play this game with maturity and personality. He was one of the best players tonight.

“It is very difficult to mention one player but I think Christensen played a top game and I was very pleased with his performance.

“We made one mistake, but we know against these opponents and players like Messi, Iniesta and (Luis) Suarez, if you make a mistake you pay.”

Conte also revealed that the second leg in Spain billed for the 14th of March won’t be easy despite trailing by away goals.

“It won’t be easy. We must be realistic because we are talking about Barcelona and they showed they are a really strong and fantastic team.

“But we also showed we are ready to work really hard in defence and have the right feeling when we get the ball to create the chances to score.

“We have to respect the opponent and when you play against Barcelona, you know very well that if you go box-to-box that is crazy. The game could not only be 1-0 but 2-0, or 4-0, 5-0, 6-0.

“We can try to do something incredible in the Nou Camp and we must play an intelligent game – we are not stupid.”

Super Falcons To participate In Turkey Tournament With Mexico, Others

Nigeria’s Super Falcons will take part in an eight-nation competition tagged Alanya Women’s Tournament in Turkey in April,

Mexico, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia are the other countries to have validate  their participation in the competition.

France have also confirmed their participation but will be represented by their team B, as their first team will be in the United States of America defending their She Believes Cup title.

It will also be Nigeria’s first series of matches outside Africa since the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

The competition will be Super Falcons’ second in 2018 following the ongoing inaugural WAFU Women’s Cup in Cote d’lvoire.

The Super Falcons are also expected to face France in an international friendly game in April.

 

Seun, Akuoma Make History At The Winter Olympics Games 

Nigeria’s  Akuoma Omeoga and  Seun Adigun  Tuesday  featured as the only Africans in bobsleigh  at the Winter Games, hence making history for the continent and their home country.

The duo finished in 52.21 seconds  and 52.55 seconds to place  20th  the rock bottom  in  women’s  heats 1 and 2  at the 2018   Pyeongchang  Winter Games in South Korea.

But the  American-born  athletes  have reason to celebrate due to the improvement in their timing   from  the training heats on Sunday which was 52.96 and 53.60.

In heat 1, United States’ Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs finished in 50.52  seconds to win Tuesday’s race, followed by Germany’s  Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz, who ran 50.54 seconds. United States’ Jamie Poser and Aja Evans  placed third with  50.59 seconds.

Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz  won heat 2  with a time of 50.72 seconds  while Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs took  second with a time of 50.81 seconds. Canada’s Kallie Humphries and Phylicia George  came third with a time of 50.88 seconds.

Heats 3 and 4  come  up on Wednesday, and Akuoma and  Seun are expected to put up a strong challenge to reach the podium.

“The Olympic experience is really unique, it’s an experience you can’t really articulate,”  Akuoma was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“Nigerians are incredibly proud and I think one of our goal was to present Nigeria in a positive light. It gives people a reason to celebrate something.”

The brakeman  said she was honoured by the frequent comparisons to the film Cool Runnings, which portrayed a fictional account of the Jamaican bobsleigh team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

“That’s the legacy that we hope to have in 30 years to come,” she said.

Pilot Seun said,  “I don’t think it’s hit us how impactful this whole process will be in the long run.”

“You don’t have to quantify things by just the result of first place, second place or any time. You can actually quantify it by your ability to be selfless, your ability to drive and your ability to be innovative. This was just meant to be.”

Canada-born US-based Simidele Adeagbo on Friday made history as the first African woman to compete in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics.

Toriola Seeks Independence For Federations

Former African table tennis champion, Segun Toriola, has called out for autonomy for national sports federations.

In a statement  by  the Nigeria Tennis Federation, the 43-year-old France-based player said sports in Nigeria would grow very fast if federations are run independently,

He said,  “I must say that the idea of ministry of sports holding on to funds for sports has adversely affected the fortunes of Nigerian sports, because most federations have  competitions to attend but they run every time to Abuja to beg for funds. This is why will continue to go down in sports’’.

“I’m aware that every federation gives its  annual budget proposal to the ministry who will In turn present it to the government. But at the end of the day, no federation knows how much it is getting.   This is too bad for our sports because every federation should know what it is  getting so that it  can plan with the money for its  programmes.”

Toriola, who has represented the country at seven Olympic Games, lamented the government had yet to  realise the importance of sports to the development the youths.

Paul Pogba Trains Ahead  Of Sevilla Clash

The physical French midfielder was substituted  in the defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle and was also not in action on the win  over Huddersfield on Saturday but he seemed in good spirit in training at Carrington on Tuesday.

United boss Jose Mourinho has a lot of big names on the injury list since the F.A cup  win at Huddersfield and trained with the other fit players before travelling to Spain.

Pogba and Mourinho in recent weeks  have not  had a good relationship after the pair had a heated conversation on the touchline at Wembley before Pogba was replaced against Spurs.

It then emerged that the player spoke for an hour in Mourinho’s office at Carrington on Tuesday and Pogba is said to have left that meeting looking less than impressed.

Pulled from the cup tie due to illness it did little to help the suggestions that the player and manager’s relationship has become strained over where he is being played in the side.

But with the Champions League approaching on Wednesday, both got down to business as United plot to win the biggest club honour in European football.

Goalkeeper David Gea is set to return to the side after being rested on Saturday but Pogba has been described by Mourinho as doubtful for the game in Spain as the Portuguese remains coy on his team selection.

January signing Alexis Sanchez is the biggest boost for Mourinho with the Chile ace eligible for the competition as he did not feature in Europe for previous club Arsenal.

Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini are the confirmed absentees and are not expected to play any part in Spain.

Striker Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia meanwhile do have a chance of recovering from injury to play in Spain, with all three taking part in Tuesday’s training session.

The injuries to defenders Rojo and Jones mean the return of Eric Bailly, who came on as a late substitute at Huddersfield, is timely ahead of the knockout rounds.

United are the last British side to play their first leg in the last-16 and they will have seen Liverpool and Manchester City record thumping away wins to all but guarantee a place in the quarter-finals.

jurgen Klopp’s side hit Porto for five while City put Basle to the sword and left Switzerland comfortable 4-0 winners.

And with United last winning the Champions League trophy in 2008 – and Mourinho with Inter Milan in 2010 – the Red Devils will be eyeing a strong run to the latter stages of this year’s tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falcons To Play Ghana in WAFU Cup Semis

Nigeria on Monday defeated Togo 3-1 in their final group match of the 2018 WAFU Women’s Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The Super Falcons  finished top of  Group B with nine points after winning all the three games. They will  play Ghana, who finished second in Group A, in the semi-finals of the competition on Thursday.

The other semifinal features Ivory Coast, who topped Group A, and Mali, who were second in the same group with the Super Falcons.

Goals from Anam Imo, Chinaza Uchendu and Chima Wogu gave the three points to the Falcons.

Togo’s consolation was scored by Afi Woedikou in the 81st minute from the penalty spot.

The Falcons had earlier defeated Mali 1-0 and Senegal 3-0 to dominate Group B.

UEL Round of 32: Musa Certain CSKA Moscow Will Beat Serbia’s Zvezda

Ahmed Musa is sure  CSKA Moscow will triumph over Serbian club, FK Crvena Zvezda, in Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League second leg Round of 32 clash in Moscow.

The first leg ended on a draw with Ahmed Musa featuring all through the game.

Musa and his teammates need to desperately win the game  to secure qualification to the Round of 16.

The 25 year old who is on loan from Leicester City, is poised to make his second start for CSKA Moscow in the Europa League this season. He is banking on his club’s home support to see off FK Crvena Zvezda.

“The first leg was very close, but we had our chances and we hope to complete the job at home by beating FK Crvena Zvezda,” Musa told sports.ru.

“We are confident of victory, but we need to take our chances.”

The Nigerian winger is expected to make Gernot Rohr’s squad for next month’s pre-World Cup friendlies against Poland and Serbia  barring injury.