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LEICESTER CITY VS SPORTING BRAGA

The foxes have impressed in the last few games and there was no letting up on Thursday night. What a pass from Tielemans in the build up the third goal from fellow Belgian Praet. Iheanacho, deputizing for the rested Vardy struck a brace to stake a claim for a starting berth but it will take some doing to depose Vardy in the form he is in. Braga on the other hand barely threatened Schmeichel’s goal. With competition for the top 4 places in the Premiership promising to be at an all time high, this competition may provide a route for Leicester into the Champions League. They need to sort out their consistency issues particularly after Christmas. Their over reliance on goals from Vardy may come back to bite them and may possibly need to dip into January market to find a player who can supplement him. No offence to Iheanacho and Slimani of course.

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PARIS MASTERS HIGHLIGHTS

Standout result on Thursday was Stan Wawrinka beating the in form Russian Andrey Rublev in 3 sets. Stan the man recovered impressively from losing the first set for just 1 game showing his younger upstart he has a lot in his 35 year old self.The key to his victory was winning his efficient conversion of break points(3/5) to Rublev’s (3/6). There was not much in it but it proved to be telling. Rafa Nadal celebrated a milestone 1000th win on the tour with a straight sets win over Australian Thompson. Thompson impressed me with my shot of the day when he was 3-2 up in the second at 0-15. Nadal is now ONLY behind Jimmy Connors(USA), Roger Federer(SUI) AND Ivan Lendl(CZE). He looked much settled after a shaky last match with Lopez.

DIEGO MARADONA’S DOCTOR UP FOR HIS HOMICIDE

In a curveball out of the blue, an Argentinian judge has ordered eight medical personnel at a hospice in Buenos Aires to stand trial for homicide in connection with soccer legend Diego Maradona’s death .Maradona died a year ago from cardiac arrest. Diego wasn’t short of controversy in his playing career and controversy has followed him to his grave. Now, the eight, who include doctors and nurses, are said to have “failed to take action that would have prevented” Maradona’s death. Today I want discuss the question that everyone is asking, was this homicide(culpable) and was it even the correct charge to put against the caregivers. The type of homicide that they have been charged with is negligent homicide, the prosecutors are alleging that the caregivers were in knowledge and connivance that their actions may lead to Diego’s death. Now it differs PREMEDITATED homicide which is planning well in advance to kill someone usually with a benefit or motive to the attacker such as revenge or monetary gain. Let me tell you this, when we go to hospital seeking treatment we put our lives and that of our loved ones in the hands of those doctors and nurses. If things go south , like in this case, in our grief it is natural to want to blame someone for it. For me this looks like a very emotional judgement at face value. Why I say so? Look at Diego’s history. He wasn’t exactly leading a healthy lifestyle. That topped by the fact that he had underwent cardiovascular surgery. The survival rates for the type of surgery that was done on Diego, to correct blood clot in brain, is a mere 15% after 3 months according to medical studies. So the caregivers have a strong defense here, like it or not.

The suit was brought about by Maradona’s two children who are saying they abandoned Diego to his death in the course of their duties. I would like to think one of them saw something when they visited the late legend in the hospital. The medical field is one of the most high pressure , high stress professions imaginable. It is my opinion they are the most underpaid and underappreciated workers comparative to what they go through. So some may lash out at patients but that is unprofessional and doesn’t excuse such behavior. In my opinion , if you don’t pay your doctors and nurses enough you risk them either not doing their job properly or administering faulty care on a patient. Take for example the death of Michael Jackson. MJ’s doctor Conrad Murray was convicted of manslaughter after causing his death from a lethal dose of anesthetic propofol without proper medical equipment. The fact that Jackson was a multi millionaire who was capable of giving him a healthy payday could have contributed to him taking such a monumental risk on his patient’s life. The Hippocratic Oath is often used as a battering ram against errant medical personnel, truth is some medical schools don’t even administer it anymore as the profession has changed so much in the past century in terms ethical conduct. It could be plausible that a patient really wants to die to alleviate his or her suffering, something called Euthanasia. In most places it is illegal(some doctors do the underground in such) although some countries have practice for example in central Europe and Colombia. So those are some of the angles and twists Diego’s death may have taken so plenty for the Argentinian courts to ponder over.

ENGLAND’S SOCCER CAPITULATION YEARS IN THE MAKING

For the French it was 1994 World Cup qualifier versus Bulgaria, for the Germans it was the humiliating Euro 2004 exit. The England national team’s four goal mulling at the hands of the Hungarians in Molineaux has been a long time coming even though the Three Lions reached the European Championships final last year. In fact that defeat masked a lot of weaknesses in the team as well as the way the English FA approach international soccer as a whole. Today I will discuss how the England team has come to this new low and how it is not actually the player’s fault at all but how the administrators have conspired against their own team. I will start with the English Premier League. Die hard English fans are tempted to blame the Premier League for the team’s poor showing in this year’s Nations League, in my opinion that is not the case. The influx of foreigners which came with the resumption of the League has actually helped English soccer, the infusion of the difference styles from flair of South American soccer to the gritty North European style. That has helped players with Brazilian style like Sancho and Rooney in recent years to combative players like Paul Ince and Declan Rice. So that scapegoat for me won’t fly one bit. English soccer has an enormous amount of games for a 9 month season. THAT IS A VALID REASON. Look I know the sponsors will be happy to see Liverpool play a 60 game season for economic reasons but to expect the same players to put on a performance in the summer for the national side is now scraping the burrow. There has been murmurs from the soccer fraternity to scrape the League Cup and they have a point. The League Cup duplicates the FA Cup and adds more unnecessary fixtures to an already congested fixture list.

Secondly, let’s face the hard truth here. England has only 4 or 5 good sides that can compete on a Europe or world scale. I don’t say that so as to diss or degrade the other teams but results show this. Since the inception of the Champions League only Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have won it. So these 4 or 5 sides inevitably acquire the best 5 to six players that the English have. That is one heck of a small pot for Gareth Southgate to choose from. So to appease the media and the “why don’t you choose others from smaller teams” brigade , he selects players who are average at best the other 15 or so premier league teams and the inevitable below average results happen. Not to mention the fact that the top sides would rather buy players from other countries so as to compete shows how little regard the Peps, Klopps and Tuchel have for English talent. So will a quota on foreign players do the trick? Yes it will work in terms of the English national team and in terms of club soccer , no. So the FA has to choose between the rock and the hard place here and unfortunately you can’t have it both ways. The Premier League thirdly should look seriously into reducing the number of teams in the league to 18 or 16. Again the sponsors will not want to hear this. Look at the German Bundesliga. They play a total of 34 games a season which is 4 less than their English counterparts, that is 4 weeks of rest (mind you they don’t have a League cup there) which is equivalent to the 4 weeks that say a world cup runs or a European championships. Lastly, this may be a more radical view of things but mandating clubs to employ strictly English players in their reserve sides will go a long way to help the English side. Look, this is not a xenophobic point of view but a pure strategic one. Statistics show this. In the just ended 2021/2022 season of the so called big 6 only six home grown players made their debut. That is a pathetic number which makes one see what miracles Gareth Southgate has done with this team. Time to reset and think hard Mark Bullingham, Qatar may be too late for adjustments but winning world cup 2026 isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

BRITTNEY GRINER AND US FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS

Game Two of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and The Golden State Warriors started off with a warm up in which the Celtics players wore T-Shirts in support of WNBA star Brittney Griner. As the story goes, some time in February this year, Griner, who turns out for the Phoenix Mercury, had traveled to Russia to take part in a pre season Tour. Whilst trying to catch a flight out of Moscow, Griner was detained by customs at an airport after SOME VAPE CATRIDGES were discovered in her luggage which contained cannabis. Now, we all know all about the “War on drugs” drive don’t we, particularly with regards to a minimum risk substance such as marijuana. From athletes, to celebrities, this war has been used as a weapon against minority groups in the name of getting rid of drugs from society since the 1920s. You name it, Billie Holiday, Sha’carri Richardson the list is endless. I will tell you what made me absolutely flat out laugh when I first heard about Griner’s predicament. No, I wasn’t laughing at Brittney, but how the wheel of Karma turns. The US are at the forefront of abusing the fact that cannabis is illegal against their own citizens. How then can the US government turn and say to the Russian authorities what you doing is wrong?

Anyway Brittney is being charged with large scale transportation of drugs which in Russia carries up to 10 years in the slammer. I don’t know about large scale here. The drugs seem minute to say the least to warrant such an excessive reaction from the Russians. So it must be something else. No, wait aren’t Russia at war with Ukraine right now? Aren’t Ukraine a NATO ally in which makes them US’s best friend right now? So isn’t it too far fetched that they can do a North Korea style detention on a big celeb or sports star just to get back at the US government? For me it isn’t far fetched, even news going around that Griner is being used as a bargaining chip to free a political prisoner on the other end seems to be on the money. Celebs or US citizens who want to travel to Russia do it at their own risk. Russia and US are at war here and should go straight to their heads. The only way home for Griner is a diplomatic and legal solution, nothing else. I got to be level with you, the level of seriousness shown by the US government right now will not bring her home. Why I say that. They have assigned a low level diplomat who was an ambassador to the UN to help in getting her back instead of sending the big guns. Take for example in the late 2000s, Bill Clinton had to travel to North Korea to help free journalist Laura Ling who was detained to a labor camp on the flimsiest of charges. Sometimes guys like the Russians and the North Koreans want recognition and be seen to be on the high table for them to loosen the strings. Lastly, in as much as it seems unjust in the eyes of the world, she is still under detained Russian law and we should respect it. So calls for unconditional releases should be put on the back burner for now. Why? Showing distain for other countries’ laws is a sure fire way of her being detained longer than she needs to, judges tend to want to push back if a legal system is dissed especially through the media. So if diplomatic methods fail, rather let the Russian legal process run its course.

JAVIER HERNANDEZ:DEPRESSION AND CUSTODY BATTLES

Javier Hernandez , former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, has bared his soul in a recent interview about his life battles. He recently told Mexican media about his struggles with depression and fatherhood. He said that his ex wife, blogger Sarah Kohan, hasn’t let him see his two children for more than a year. Today I want to talk about parenthood and parent rights. Is it possible to have one parent better than another despite all the challenges a marriage may face? I can tell you this, as a parent you want the best for your children no matter the station in life. The only exceptions allowed by law is neglect and abuse by one party in the marriage. Now, Sarah is alleging that Chicharito doesn’t include the kids in his life so in effect he has excluded themselves from their lives. I know that social media is now a thing among parents these days, showcasing home life online. There is nothing wrong with that as long as both parents are comfortable. So it is hard to see if the accusations on Javier have merit. Let’s be frank here, living with a person suffering from depression is hell. Mood swings , constant arguing make a divorce very likely especially in this case. It will eventually come down to if Javier is a danger to the children of which I really doubt.

The fact that Sarah went to her native Australia with Javier’s blessing for Christmas hurts him more than he knows because he is tacitly saying that he believes she can take care of the children better. Have you ever wondered why women are always favored in custody battles? The law throughout the ages assumed maternal instincts trump for paternal ones because they are the “fairer” sex after all. But that is changing dads are actually being seen as good care givers too. So it is not just one aspect that is considered when granting custody. One who is able to provide ALL needs is most likely to be granted custody that includes both emotional and financial. Javier seems to have the upper hand on the financial side the emotional is up in the air. Lastly, coming from a severe Covid pandemic the past two years, the cases of depression inevitably rose. I believe the death of his soccer legend grandfather along with that had a part to play in Javier’s depression. Men who show their feelings can be deemed weak by some, so it is hard on the male species. So Javier deserves credit for showing he is human especially in a male dominated sport such as soccer. Did Sarah Kohan exercise patience or seek counselling when he was at his most vulnerable? I don’t know only they do. For now what is best is for the children and a messy battle isn’t what’s best.

FRENCH OPEN:JABEUR VS LINETTE

In as much as Ons Jabeur has come up in leaps and bounds over the past year, she still has a lot to prove in the Grand Slam picture. Winning in Madrid has bolstered her profile but also with it comes a huge target on ones back. Madga Linette, Ons’s opponent in Round one of this year’s French Open is ranked 59th in the world and one thing you know about being ranked in the top 100 is that such a player is capable of an upset or two just not in a consistent manner. Ons started off well enough in the match. First service wise both were almost even. Watch the open play of the clip at 1-1(15-15). Whilst the drop shot is Ons’s specialty, she has the arsenal to grind it out from the baseline too. Linette was too fast off the baseline that even if Ons had tried the drop shot she wouldn’t have made it. Returns should at least clear the service boxes. The first set looked straight forward as to the direction the match was headed. That was until the second set tie break. The thing that surprised me most was that Ons hit 10 Aces in the match. Ons, more or less because of her height isn’t known for hitting a lot of them. She is more of a placement server.

Now watch third set 4-2 Linette advantage to the Pole. The third set became a set of who makes the most unforced errors at the crucial time. Magda’s switch up from cross court to down the line isn’t smooth. Instead of moving diagonally and into the ball, Magda is stationary allowing the ball to come at her with speed leading to the error. With the pressure to hold serve to stay in match at 5-4, Ons served really well on second serve. At 15-0 down, she hit the sweet spot shots, close to the baseline pinning Linette again. Watch how she cuts the court in half at the end of the point to finish off with the smash. All the good work came undone at the eleventh hour , right when the breaker was on the cards. The pressure got to Ons on this occassion. Trying to clear the upper most part of the net when you facing match point at 6-5 advantage Linette wasn’t the wisest of choices. Whilst Polish world number one Iga Swiatek will take all the headlines in this year’s tournament, Magda another Pole showed that her two careers titles are no fluke with this massive win.