Orji Okwonkwo:I will be a better player under Thierry Henry

first_img Okwonkwo, 22, joins from Italian side Bologna, after his eight goals in the 2019 season earned him Impact’s Most Valuable Player award. Despite reported interest from European clubs, he returns for his second spell with the club, managed by France and Arsenal legend Henry. “I’m looking forward to making a bigger impact when I wear the shirt again,” Okwonkwo, who has the option to join on a permanent deal, told BBC Sport. “I feel lucky to get a chance to work under a legend like [Thierry] Henry. I can learn important tips on how to be a better player from someone who has won the World Cup and achieved so much at club level as well. “You don’t get an opportunity like this all the time, I really plan to make the most of it. “I know a lot of the players and I am really excited about our prospects this season after missing out on the play-offs last season.” The 2015 Under-17 World Cup winner extended his deal with Bologna until June 2024 before returning to North America. Montreal failed to make the 2019 play-offs and parted company with coach Wilmer Cabrera when his contract ran out at the end of the campaign. But Okwonkwo’s agent Femi Olaniran believes the forward can achieve more success on his return to the club and grow under a new manager. “Henry played a big role in his decision to return to Impact Montreal and this is a legend of the game,” Olaniran told BBC Sport. “As a winger he managed eight goals last season but he can achieve more under the tutelage of this great forward. “Orji is young, eager to learn and could have gone elsewhere, but he is aware that he can continue to grow under one of the best strikers in world football.” Okwonkwo previously played in Italy between 2016 and 2019, scoring three goals in 27 Serie A matches with Bologna, including four starts. He joined the Italian club in 2016 from FC Abuja Academy in his native Nigeria spent the second half of the 2017-18 season on loan at Serie B side Brescia. At international level, Okwonkwo started three games for Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations, scoring a goal against Zambia. Read Also:Man Utd outcast offered £5m-a-year deal by MLS club He starred as the West African nation clinched a fifth U-17 world title in Chile, appearing in five games throughout the tournament. He scored in a 4-2 win against Mexico in the semi-final game. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Nigeria youth international Orji Okwonkwo, has promised to be a better player while featuring in the Major League Soccer (MLS) side Montreal Impact under manager Thierry Henry.center_img Loading…last_img read more

What’s next for Nick Saban, Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama? Five questions for Crimson Tide after Citrus Bowl win

first_imgMORE: Breaking down Alabama’s Citrus Bowl victoryHere are the five biggest questions for Alabama this offseason:Will Tua Tagovailoa stay?That is the biggest domino for Alabama this offseason. Tagovailoa is recovering from hip surgery and will make his decision on Jan. 6.If Tagovailoa returns, then the potential rewards are obvious: He has piled up 7,442 passing yards, 87 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions while compiling a 22-2 record as a starter. Provided his rehab works out, he would be ready for one last ride with the Crimson Tide if he spurns the NFL draft.If Tagovailoa leaves, then Jones likely would be the starter; but former four-star recruits Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson, along with incoming freshman Bryce Young, would be in the conversation to take over. Saban knows how to manage quarterback controversies, but this would be the most wide-open battle since freshman Jalen Hurts took over the starting job in the 2016 opener vs. USC.Who else goes to NFL draft?The Crimson Tide received a lift when linebacker Dylan Moses, a Sporting News preseason All-American who missed this season with a knee injury, announced he would return to school for his senior season.Let’s say Tagovailoa stays. Would that be enough to persuade any combination of receivers Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith to return? What about running back Najee Harris? This is the class that rose to stardom on the spot in the 2018 College Football Playoff championship game against Georgia. Would they want to come back and attempt to finish on top? Offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and safety Xavier McKinney also have decisions to make.Alabama has been able to withstand that roster attrition better than anybody else under Saban. This draft class, however, has the potential to be large if everyone goes.MORE: Alabama tacks on final, unnecessary touchdown vs. MichiganWill Saban shuffle coaching staff?Can Saban keep this coaching staff together — and does he want to?The offense thrived under Steve Sarkisian and made the necessary adjustments after Tagovailoa’s injury. Alabama stayed on pace in scoring offense and total offense with the other Playoff contenders. Unless Sarkisian entertains a head-coaching job, which seems unlikely, he should be back. That should mean more of the same on offense.Defensive coordinator Pete Golding is a little more intriguing. Alabama allowed an average of 47 points in losses to LSU and Auburn, and ranked outside the top 10 in scoring defense and total defense. Those aren’t numbers according to standard, and it was clear throughout most of the season that the Crimson Tide did not have a Playoff-caliber defense.Still, Alabama fielded one of its youngest defenses ever of Saban’s tenure, due to injuries to several key contributors. And, given the drama around last year’s mass exodus on the coaching staff, some continuity wouldn’t hurt.Can Saban avoid three-year title drought?Saban will turn 69 on Halloween, and he faces the usual round of retirement speculation as he enters another that 14th season with the program. The Citrus Bowl win marked nine straight seasons with at least 11 wins under Saban, but there is a pressure point heading into 2020. Since Saban arrived in 2007, the Crimson Tide haven’t had three consecutive seasons without a national championship.That is an absurd standard, but it’s one Saban has been able to meet with “The Process.” Critics are going to point to cracks in the dynasty, given the high-profile losses to Clemson, LSU and Auburn the last two seasons. Next year’s team can use the motivation of watching either LSU or Clemson win the national championship, and there will be enough talent to win a national title no matter who comes back.Saban will have more than enough to work with, on and off the field. No. 9 Alabama beat No. 17 Michigan 35-16 on Wednesday to cap the 2019 season with an 11-2 record. The Crimson Tide responded well to missing the College Football Playoff for the first time, but there are even more questions heading into Nick Saban’s 14th season with the Crimson Tide.Those questions range from the Crimson Tide’s 2020 schedule, which players return for their senior season or leave for the NFL draft and what the coaching staff looks like heading into the next decade. How will Alabama handle tough schedule?Alabama should face less criticism for its schedule next season, given a neutral-site opener against USC and a September blockbuster with Georgia. Alabama will travel to LSU as well, making for a tough schedule in the Tide’s bid at a national championship.Here’s a look at Alabama’s full 2020 schedule:Alabama 2020 football scheduleDateOpponentSept. 5vs. USC (Arlington, Texas)Sept. 12vs. Georgia StateSept. 19vs. GeorgiaSept. 26vs. Kent StateOct. 3at Ole MissOct. 10at ArkansasOct. 17vs. Mississippi StateOct. 24at TennesseeOct. 31OffNov. 7at LSUNov. 14vs. UT-MartinNov. 21vs. Texas A&MNov. 28vs. AuburnThe good news is Georgia, Texas A&M and Auburn all come to Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the season likely hinges on that Nov. 7 showdown in Tiger Stadium. In that regard, nothing has changed. Saban will be on the sideline for that one. It’s just a matter of who is coming with him for 2020.last_img read more

Orrin become local hero with hard-fought Links triumph

first_img13 May 2013 Orrin become local hero with hard-fought Links triumph A closing best-of-the-day 71 saw Max Orrin become the ‘local hero’ by winning the South East of England Links Championship at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal, Kent. The England boy cap from just up the road at North Foreland trailed Dutch international Robbie Van West by five strokes going into the final round. But his 71 for 298, 12 over par, left him a shot clear of full England international Callum Shinkwin, who closed with 75, while Van West dropped back to joint ninth with 82. The victory provided an early present for Orrin just two days before his 19th birthday. Conditions were not exactly perfect for the 144-strong field on the opening day at Deal with high winds, sometimes gusting to 60 mph, and dipping temperatures on the Kent coast, which was reflected in the CSS of 77. Orrin opened with 76 to be three strokes behind leader Jack Merry from Birstall Golf Club, a remarkable effort on the day. In the second round, played in slightly better conditions at neighbouring Royal St George’s, Luke Johnson from Norfolk carded 69 to lead on 146 by one from Van West and Chart Hills’ Mark Collins, who posted a best-of-the-day 67. With the final two rounds back at Deal, Shinkwin’s third round 71 hoisted him up the leaderboard on 224 but two strokes behind Van West with 75 while Orrin was on 227, also after a 75. Starting his final round from the tenth tee, Orrin’s chances seemed remote as he reached the turn in 38, two over par. But a run of four birdies in five holes from the second saw him cruise through the field to post his 71, while Shinkwin bogeyed his final hole to come up a shot short. “These were some of the toughest conditions I’ve faced, particularly the first day,” said Orrin. “But I kept the right attitude and I was pleased with the resilience I showed. This win has to be up there because of the way I stuck to my game.” Leading final scores: 298 M Orrin (North Foreland) 76 76 75 71 299 C Shinkwin (Moor Park) 78 75 71 75 300 L Johnson (King’s Lynn) 77 69 79 75 302 B Wall (Hayling) 80 72 78 72, J Mullen (Royal North Devon) 80 74 73 75, M Collins (Chart Hills) 80 67 78 77last_img read more

Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day

first_imgJACKIE ROBINSON BOSTON (AP)—Everybody in uniform at the Tampa Bay Rays game Monday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park wore the number “42” as Major League Baseball celebrated its fifth annual Jackie Robinson Day.Fans will see more of that number on jerseys before the next couple of days are out. All the teams in action—there were eight night games on the schedule, in addition to the Rays-Red Sox day game—were asked to wear Robinson’s number on the 66th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Teams that didn’t play on Monday planned to pay tribute Tuesday.The anniversary is drawing special attention this year with the release of the film “42” about Robinson, which went into wide release over the weekend.“We had a screening down in spring training,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It was open to all of our personnel.”More than 100 players and other club employees watched the film at a theater in Port Charlotte, Fla., the Rays’ spring training site, “and I think a lot of guys walked away with a greater appreciation” of Robinson’s contribution,” Maddon said.Maddon said Robinson’s debut on April 15, 1947, helped lead to the broader civil rights movement.“I still don’t think people understand how much it plays into the Martin Luther King situation,” he said. “The revolution that occurred at that particular moment, it mattered. That had to happen first to set that whole thing up.“So when you’re talking about Jackie Robinson, I don’t think people realize the significance and really courage that went behind that, and in the movie it points that out—the courage to not fight back, to be able to win over that particular mind set to be able to make all of this work.”Red Sox manager John Farrell said baseball “reflects society in so many ways, whether it’s the color barriers being broken down. In our clubhouse you’ve got six or seven countries coming together. As a group of 25, you look to not only co-exist, but (recognize) the individuality of everyone in there.“Certainly, the Robinson family and, certainly, Jackie himself may be one of the most significant situations in our country’s history, breaking down segregation to the point of inclusion and I think that happens in the game today.”The movie “42” earned an estimated $27.3 million over the weekend, according to Warner Brothers, its distributor.The subject’s popularity extends to the sale of licensed sports merchandise. Fanatics.com, a large online retailer of those items, said sales of Jackie Robinson gear on its site since the season began increased by more than 1,000 percent over the same time period last year.last_img read more