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Mikel: Japan’s Surgeon Cheque Yet to Clear

first_imgMikel, who confirmed that the sum of $190,000 was paid into his account, told reporters that the cheque was yet to clear. The other installment of $200,000 was also transferred via the Dream Team VI Chief Coach, Samson Siasia.The Chelsea midfielder, who spoke on the eve of Eagles’ departure to Ndola for a World Cup qualifying match against Zambia, said that there have been some glitches in cashing the cheque, even as he assured that the money had not caused any issues among the players.He also joined issues with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which questioned the propriety of the team to receive the money. He insisted it was a gift to the team and nothing unusual about it.“I don’t see anything wrong in accepting the gift. We had a good tournament and we received a gift from someone. It was signed in my name and the coach’s name. The money is there, it is a cheque, no player saw cash, but it has not cleared yet”, Mikel said.NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, had strongly objected the players receiving the money on the ground that it could make them prone to the influence of the notorious Asian betting syndicate.The Senate Sports Committee led by Senator Obinna Ogba similarly objected to the players accepting the gift from Takasu.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Olawale Ajimotokan in AbujaSuper Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi, has shed more light on the monetary gift made to Nigeria by Japanese plastic surgeon, Katsuya Takasu after the national Under-23 team won the bronze medal at Rio 2016.Mikel admitted that the money had not been cashed two months after the Olympic Games.Takasu travelled from Japan all to Belo Horizonte to present the monetary reward of $390,000 in total to the cash strapped team after they defeated Honduras 3-2 to cap their crisis riddled campaign with a bronze medal.last_img read more

LA Clippers trying to close gap with Golden State Warriors

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “But right now, Golden State’s the best team in the NBA. I don’t think it’s even close and so we have to try to catch them.”The Spurs (45-9) are No. 2 in the West, Oklahoma City (40-14) is No. 3, the Clippers No. 4. The same question was put to center DeAndre Jordan.“Nah,” he said. “Jeff’s a great player, we are really lucky to have him. But we’ve still got a long way to go. They (the Warriors) are proven, we’ve still got things to improve on and we’ve just gotta continue to get better.”Assistant coach Mike Woodson chimed in.“We’d like to think so, but only time will tell,” he said Friday at practice. “We’ll see them tomorrow night. And I think we’ve played those guys pretty well. We just haven’t closed the games out.”The Clippers lost to Golden State twice in November — by four and seven points — and led both times entering the fourth quarter.Rivers coached Green for parts of two seasons in Boston. To Rivers, the 6-foot-9 Green meets the Clippers’ needs.“I really wanted more length,” Rivers said. “When you look at the teams we have to beat, we need to get longer, more athletic and we need to increase our shooting, and I think with Jeff we did all three of those things.”Green can be that instant-offense guy. He scored a season-high 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting against Orlando on Jan. 25. Five nights later, he had 29 points, shooting 11 of 16 against Sacramento.But Green this season is shooting just 30.9 percent (42 of 136) from beyond the arc; his career percentage is 34.0. Moreover, the scouting report on Green is he can be a defensive liability at times. If he doesn’t grasp that on a team whose defense has improved, that could be an issue.Green is looking forward to the challenge.“I’m a versatile guy who can play multiple positions and do multiple things on the floor,” he said before practicing for the first time with the Clippers. “So I’m pretty sure Doc is going to put me in positions where I can succeed and where I can helps this team out.”Being familiar with Rivers and his system is a plus, Green said.“Having played the two years with Doc and knowing what he wants, what he expects out of his players, is big,” said Green, who missed the 2011-12 season to have heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm.Sixth-man Jamal Crawford echoed that sentiment.“He’ll probably hit the ground running faster than most guys would traded in mid-season,” he said.There is no word yet on if and when Green will get into the starting lineup. But he has started more than not during his career — he started 31 of 53 games with Memphis — so it won’t be surprising to see that happen.The Clippers have gone 19-5 since Blake Griffin went out with a partially torn quad tendon. Griffin’s fractured right hand — busted on the face of team equipment staffer Matias Testi — will keep him out until sometime in March.Once Griffin returns, that might be the real test, especially if the Clippers continue to win like they have without him.Can Rivers make it all mesh together?As Woodson said, time will tell. Clippers coach Doc Rivers is realistic.He knows what’s been happening with the Golden State Warriors, who have been torrid this season while posting a record of 48-4 ahead of their games Friday night at Portland and Saturday night against the Clippers at 5:30 at Staples Center (on ABC).The Warriors won the NBA title a season ago. Now they’re on pace to get the most victories in a single season. That stands at 72, done by the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96.This is not good news for the Clippers, who could play the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. If the Clippers finish fourth in the Western Conference and Golden State takes first, that would be the scenario assuming both teams win in the first round.center_img Since the Clippers have never gotten past the second round in franchise history, the odds of them getting over that hump this season shrink dramatically in that case.The Clippers made a trade at Thursday’s deadline that could aid them. They shipped guard/forward Lance Stephenson and a future draft pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Jeff Green, who played for Clippers coach Doc Rivers at Boston.Green was averaging 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds for Memphis, and the 29-year-old has averaged 14.1 points and 5.0 rebounds over his eight-year career.Does this close the gap between the Clippers (36-18) and Warriors?“Well, I don’t think anyone has closed the gap on Golden State, or San Antonio, even though we just won,” Rivers said late Thursday after his team defeated the San Antonio Spurs 105-86 at Staples Center. “We have a lot of work to do. But we want to just stay in the argument. And when we get to one of those teams, we’ll find that out.last_img read more