Duro IkhazuagbeFour more top players from Europe including William Gallas, Louis Saha, Tim Howard and Steven Pienaar have been booked on the flight to Port Harcourt for the Joseph Yobo Centenary Game, the befitting testimonial match planed to mark the retirement of the former Super Eagles captain from football on May 27.Yobo’s associate and former Super Eagles player, Waidi Akanni, confirmed yesterday that plans for a befitting testimonial was on course with the quality of players who have confirmed their presence in Port Harcourt.“It is becoming very exciting the number of top players who have confirmed their readiness to be in Nigeria for the Yobo testimonial. I can assure you that before that date in May, more top players are going to be unveiled,” stressed Akanni. Gallas is a former Chelsea and France defender, who helped the Blues win back-to-back the English Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006. He is also a former Arsenal, Tottenham and Perth Glory (Australia) player who called time on a glittering career after 84 caps for France. He retired from the game two years ago.Saha, Yobo’s former teammate at Everton is also a French former professional footballer. Saha was capped 20 times for the French national team. He moved over to Goodison Park after four and half years at Old Trafford.Also, Everton and United States of America goalkeeper, Tim Howard is also listed for the Garden City football fiesta.Howard is an iconic figure in U.S. soccer, especially after his epic performance in the 2014 World Cup, when he delivered a 15-save effort in the round-of-16 defeat against Belgium.He has also been a mainstay for the Toffees, logging more than 400 appearances in all competitions.The 36-year-old signed a four-year contract in 2014 with the intention of staying at Everton until the 2018 World Cup but has endured some shaky performances this season and recently lost his spot in the starting lineup to Joel Robles.The fourth player to also confirm his presence in Nigeria to honour Yobo is another Everton and South African star, Steven Pienaar. He was captain of the Bafana Bafana, until October 2012.Earlier, Yobo’s former Everton teammate Wayne Rooney and African greats Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, plus a host of other international football personalities have all shown interests in honouring the Ogoni-born star who amassed 100 international caps, scoring seven goals in a career that spanned 13 years.He featured at three FIFA World Cups and six AFCON tournaments, leading Nigeria to victory in his last outing in South Africa.Some of the corporate bodies who have indicated their support for the Joseph Yobo Centenary Game include, Sifax Group, NICON Insurance and Beko Electronics Ltd.The testimonial game which is being put together by the Joseph Yobo Foundation in partnership with the Rivers State Government will be an occasion to celebrate a worthy son of the state who had a distinguished career.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
HONOLULU >> The lineup combinations remain fluid. It likely will stay that way until the training camp concludes at the end of October.Yet, Lakers coach Byron Scott said he “wouldn’t mind” if his starting lineup featured D’Angelo Russell (point guard), Jordan Clarkson (shooting guard), Kobe Bryant (small forward), Julius Randle (power forward) and Roy Hibbert (center). Scott plans to feature that lineup for the second consecutive game when the Lakers play the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at Stan Sheriff Center.“That group is a very good group,” Scott said following practice on Monday. “It’s very young. You have two veterans out there in Kobe and Roy. But I would love for this group to take it to the next level. The only way they can do that is by playing together a little bit more in game situations and in practice.”Bryant sounded intrigued about the lineup’s potential, too. After the Lakers’ 90-71 preseason loss to Utah on Sunday, Bryant argued “the pieces complement each other extremely well.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “It’s not horrible,” Brown said. “I want to take precaution. So I sat out. But it’s not horrible.”Brown’s instincts turned out correct. An MRI revealed a right shoulder strain, though the results came out negative. The Lakers have listed Brown to play Tuesday against Utah. Brown’s injury sparked confusion on how it happened. Scott believed Brown ran into a legal screen that reserve center Robert Sacre set, something he denied. Russell recalled it was Hibbert, who cited faulty memory.Brown did not offer any specifics. But he focused more of his anxiety on his training camp. He posted three points on 1-of-3 shooting and five fouls in 12 minutes against Utah. Brown also has defended Bryant, Metta World Peace, Nick Young and Lou Williams in practice.“Metta is a tank. He’s more brute strength and plays bully ball,” said Brown, whom the Lakers selected 34th overall. “Kobe has more skill. But they’re both extremely hard to guard.”How so?“They both know how to get fouled,” Brown said. “They can shoot in your face. The biggest thing is it doesn’t matter how close you are. They shoot the same shot. It doesn’t matter how much you contest. If Kobe misses it, it’s because he missed it. It’s not because you played good defense.” The Lakers drafted Russell with the No. 2 pick because of his playmaking. Clarkson morphed from last year’s 46th pick to a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie team because of his scoring. Bryant’s resume speaks for itself, though concerns linger on whether he can stay healthy following three season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons. The Lakers remain intrigued with Randle’s versatility as a bruiser and playmaker missing nearly his entire rookie season because of a fractured right tibia. The Lakers acquired Hibbert from Indiana in hopes he can revamp the Lakers’ defense. Does Scott feel hesitant to rely on so many young players?“Not really,” Scott said. “If they’re good, it doesn’t really matter.”Nursing the pain The ice bag stayed firmly wrapped on Anthony Brown’s right shoulder. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti stood nearby finalizing plans for Brown to receive an MRI at a nearby hospital after the Lakers’ rookie small forward bumped his shoulder through a hard screen.