By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent MATAWAN John Giraldo could not wait until the start of high school basketball practices with him serving as the new head coach at Matawan Regional High School.“It’s fantastic; things are going well. I can’t be any happier than I am now,” Giraldo said.The coach is never at a loss for adrenalin going back to his playing days at Marist High School in Bayonne and Monmouth University, where he scored 1,749 career points and finished first in steals and second in assists at the NCAA Division I school. He played on the 1995-96 team that earned the program’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament.“We have kids who can shoot the ball and run up and down the court and who are quick,” Giraldo said. “We’re not going to out-physical or be bigger than most teams.”Giraldo succeeds longtime Matawan coach Tom Stead, who stepped down to become director of athletics at Lakewood High School. Stead coached the Huskies to their finest season two years ago with a program-best 24-5 record and their first NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II title since 1957 behind Jason Dunne, who went on to a college career at the University of Hartford.Only one starter, Mergim Gyjrigi, returns from last year’s team that went 15- 12 and lost, 50-47, to Manasquan High School in the Central Jersey, Group II semifinals. Sharp-shooting guard Joe Piscopo is the top player who graduated.“We’re finding our niche, getting guys who can shoot the ball good looks,” said Giraldo, whose season opener is 6:45 p.m. Dec. 18 hosting Neptune High School.The Huskies had a tri-scrimmage with Lakewood and Notre Dame High School Dec. 7. They had home scrimmages against Barnegat High School Dec. 10 and Governor Livingston High School Dec. 12, followed by a road scrimmage against Freehold Township High School Dec. 15.“I want to make sure they’re competing all the time,” Giraldo said. “It’s a high-energy team where every play is fast paced.”Gyjrigi, a 6-foot-3 senior, scored nine points per game last year, but Giraldo said he likes that he has stepped forward to a leadership role after playing in the shadows of Piscopo and Dunne, who starred on the section championship team. Giraldo said he is happy how the players developed while in a fall league in Linden that included teams from the Patrick School in Elizabeth, Snyder High School in Jersey City and Roselle Catholic High School, where Giraldo was an assistant coach the past eight seasons. Roselle Catholic reached the Tournament of Champions the last three years, winning the overall title this past season and two years before that. Giraldo also played on Marist’s team that advanced to the 1992 Tournament of Champions finals, losing, 46-42, to Shawnee High School. Marist was ranked No. 3 in the nation in USA Today at the time. Giraldo’s teams that reached the Tournament of Champions as player and coach beat nationally acclaimed St. Anthony High School to win the Non-Public B title all four times to get to the state showcase.He also played internationally in five different countries: Colombia (Piratas of Bogota and Paisas of Medellin), where he was a three-time MVP; Venezuela (Trotamundos of Valencia); Portugal (Ginasio of Figuera de Foz); Germany (Poco Izerlohn); and Argentina (Obras Sanitaria). It gave him the experience he used toward his coaching career and the importance of being committed to hard work.Now he is trying to guide Matawan’s players to understand the commitment needed to compete at that level.It starts with Gyjrigi, a power forward who can hit the jump shot, rebound and handle the ball.“[He is] an extremely good shooter with good basketball IQ who can fill in for a lot of spots,” the coach said.Randy Myers, a 6-foot-3 senior forward with high energy and good rebounding ability, is expected to contribute. Junior Pat Hennessey is a good shooter who will be asked to play an expanded role along with 6-foot-2 sophomore Reggie Towiah and 6- foot-2 sophomore guard Michael Dunne, Jason’s brother.Giraldo said Michael Dunne can shoot but has to learn to play on the varsity level.Sophomore Zaire Jackson is extremely quick at the point guard spot, Giraldo said. Joe Bueckers, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, is the tallest player.“We’ll look to be extremely aggressive on defense because we have extremely good guards who can put on the pressure,” Giraldo said.Mike Pelkey remains as varsity assistant and junior varsity coach and John Saffiano is freshman coach.
By Nemanja BjedovCyprus remain at the rock bottom of World Cup qualifying Group E with four points from seven matches, with not even a mathematical chance to directly progress, after a 2-0 defeat against Norway in Oslo on Friday night.Chances were few and far between early on, although it was Cyprus who started brightly with Efstathios Aloneftis forcing Norway keeper Rune Jarstein into action.The home side steadily started to find their feet and Tom Hogli had the game’s best chance midway through the half, when his strike was superbly tipped away by Antonis Giorgallides, with Brede Hangeland heading wide from the subsequent corner.“Congratulations to Norway as they deservedly won,” assessed Cyprus national team coach Nikos Nioplias. “We were simply not good enough in the first half since we could not keep the ball in our possession in the middle.“We gave our opponents many chances to win free kicks and corners and, as we all know, set pieces are their strong point.”Norway took the lead just two minutes before the half time interval when Tarik El Younoussi headed home from Stefan Johansen’s corner.“In the second half we improved and became more assertive than in the first half, but unfortunately we failed to score,” Nioplias went on.“We should have shown less fear in our game and tried to enjoy it a bit more. We did that up to a point in the second half, but it was never going to be enough to prevent this defeat.”Jason Demetriou nearly levelled out of nowhere just after the hour mark, with his point-blank strike forced away by Jarstein. It proved a crucial save as Norway doubled their advantage soon after, as Joshua King drilled past Giorgallides from Magnus Wolff Eikrem’s left-wing cross.“The score leaves me completely satisfied, but as a team we can play much better football,” said Norway’s coach Egil Olsen whose team is currently second in the standings with 11 points.“It was very important that we took advantage of the opportunities that we created and that we were able to achieve our goal, which was to win.”Switzerland are still on top of the group with 15 points, despite an entertaining 4-4 draw against Iceland, who are in fourth place with 10 points – same as Albania in third, but the Albanians are ahead on better goal difference.Slovenia are fifth overall with nine points ahead of their clash with Cyprus on Tuesday at Nicosia’s GSP Stadium.
By Toby DavisLiverpool’s Luis Suarez showed his devastating ability to act as a one-man wrecking ball with four goals in a 5-1 demolition of Norwich City as Arsenal’s forgotten man Nicklas Bendtner jogged a few memories in the Premier League on Wednesday.Suarez delivered a dazzling collection of goal-of-the-season contenders at Anfield and Bendtner scored two minutes into his first start in more than two years to help the Premier League leaders beat Hull City 2-0.Second-placed Chelsea and Manchester City in third came through tight tussles to beat Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion, but champions Manchester United lost 1-0 at home to Everton to slip 12 points behind the leaders.While the pressure on United manager David Moyes increased, Tottenham Hotspur eased the stress on boss Andre Villas-Boas by coming from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 in their manager Rene Meulensteen’s first game in charge.Arsenal, with 34 points, stayed four points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, with Manchester City two adrift in third and Liverpool a point further back in fourth, ahead of Everton on goal difference.Tottenham moved up to sixth on 24 and Manchester United dropped to ninth.Suarez must wish he could play Norwich every week, a team against whom he has now scored 11 goals in his last four Premier League games.He grabbed a first-half hat-trick including two genuine contenders for goal of the season.The first, a stunning volley into the top corner from almost 40 metres, was followed by a more modest poacher’s effort, before he wowed the home fans further by juggling the ball and cracking in an unstoppable shot from distance.He completed his personal show-reel with another moment of quality, bending a 25-metre free kick into the top corner, before Norwich pulled a goal back through Bradley Johnson and Raheem Sterling rounded off the scoring for the hosts.Arsenal’s Bendtner has been little more than a casual observer in their superb start to the season, yet with the transfer window looming, he delivered a timely reminder to Arsene Wenger that he could yet be an able deputy to Olivier Giroud.Having not started a game since March 2011, Bendtner took just two minutes to etch his name on the scoresheet, rising to meet a Carl Jenkinson cross and slamming a powerful header into the net from four metres out.Mesut Ozil calmed the nerves by finishing from close range two minutes after the restart following some creative gold dust from Aaron Ramsey.The creative firepower that Arsenal have at their disposal seems to be a missing ingredient at Old Trafford where United failed to break down Everton and were picked off by Bryan Oviedo’s 86th-minute sucker punch.Moyes was given a hostile reception from Everton’s travelling fans, but the mood turned to jubilation for those clad in blue as left back Oviedo converted Romelu Lukaku’s cross from the right.After Moyes had failed to ever get a positive result at Old Trafford, new boss Roberto Martinez picked up three points at the first time of asking, the Toffees’ first win at the ground since 1992.“I’m very disappointed. We needed a bit of good fortune and we didn’t get it. Everton kept at it and showed us what a good team they are,” Moyes said.“It wasn’t about me tonight, I was fortunate to manage Everton and I’m fortunate to be managing Manchester United. It’s a big catch up for us now.”There was also disappointment for Sunderland manager Gus Poyet as the former Chelsea midfielder came unstuck against his old club.Eden Hazard starred for Chelsea by scoring twice as they edged a seven-goal encounter 4-3 with Frank Lampard and a Phil Bardsley own goal the other names on the scoresheet for the visitors.Manchester City also came out on top by a single goal, beating West Brom 3-2 as they welcomed back captain Vincent Kompany after a two-month injury layoff.Sergio Aguero opened the scoring on nine minutes and two goals from Yaya Toure, the second a penalty, helped them to a 3-0 lead.An 85th-minute own goal from City keeper Costel Pantilimon and a second West Brom goal from Victor Anichebe five minutes into stoppage-time gave the scoreline a touch of respectability.Aston Villa ended Southampton’s unbeaten home record with a 3-2 win, Swansea City beat Newcastle United 3-0 and Stoke City and Cardiff played out a goalless stalemate.
By Constantinos PsillidesHundreds of APOEL fans marched to the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) on Tuesday, protesting the decision to repeat a title decider between their team and AEL, which had been abandoned after a fire cracker injured a player.APOEL fans and officials believe the game should have been awarded to them, thus crowning them champions.“The (CFA’s) judicial committee legalised violence,” read a banner held by the protesters who marched peacefully to the CFA’s offices in Makedonitissa.Club chairman Prodromos Petrides assured fans that the administration would do its best, on and off the pitch, to vindicate the club.The fans dispersed after 20 minutes.The May 17 game was abandoned after 51 minutes when a fire cracker, thought to have been thrown by AEL fans, injured APOEL’s Brazilian defender Kaka.The CFA’s judicial committee decided that the game should be replayed behind closed doors at a neutral ground.APOEL spokesman Nektarios Petevinos told the Cyprus Mail that the team’s goal, which had officially sanctioned Tuesday’s march, was to protest the “legalisation of violence”.“Our message is simple: the CFA have equated the innocent party with the guilty one. The referee of the match was clear in his remarks; APOEL was not to blame for the interruption of the match,” Petevinos said. “AEL fans were the ones who caused it. So, by CFA law, APOEL should be declared the winner. Instead of making the right decision, they opted to reward the guilty party.”APOEL’s spokesman pointed out that the CFA tried to “sugar-coat the pill” by deciding that the match should recommence from the beginning and not be played for the remaining 39 minutes.APOEL filed an appeal and the final verdict is expected to be issued on Thursday.Besides a repeat of the game, the CFA also decided that AEL is to play without fans for two games and pay a €58,100 fine. APOEL was fined €19,200.CFA official Marios Vryonides said on Monday that the association was “very lenient in handing down punishment” and announced that he will be filing an appeal, asking for a stricter punishment.
By Constantinos PsillidesTurkish Cypriot football club Degirmenlik has announced the signing of a second Greek Cypriot player, despite heated reaction sparked by the signing of Dimitris Vassiliou last month.Vassiliou was heavily criticised for his decision to be the first Greek Cypriot to play for a Turkish Cypriot team since 1955 and even received death threats. The reaction even prompted the 35-year-old’s father to step forward and publicly defend his son’s decision to sign for Degirmenlik. Since signing up for the team Vassiliou, a father of two, lost his job coaching his local side, Omonoia Aradippou’s Under-15s and said he has also been threatened with the possibility of a transfer to a warehouse position by his superiors at the semi-state owned Electricity Authority.Argiris Christofi, the second Greek Cypriot player to be signed by a Turkish Cypriot football team, was not deterred by the backlash.“This is my life and I do what I want with it,” said Christofi, according to a report run by Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen, adding that he didn’t think that playing for a Turkish Cypriot team would cause him any problem.“I believe that football has the power to bring peace to the world,” added Christofi.Christofi joined the team’s training on Thursday, along with Vassiliou, who is expected to make his debut on Saturday.The Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CFTA) and the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) signed an agreement in 2013, paving the way for the reunification of football on the island. Almost a year on, both sides appear to be waiting for each other to ratify the agreement.Under the arrangement the CTFA will become a member of the CFA as an association in accordance with CFA statutes and regulations. The CFA will continue being a member of FIFA and UEFA. It will also remain the governing body responsible for organising, servicing and administering football in Cyprus as well as any international football activities in the country.Under the terms of the agreement, the CTFA will apply to be a member of the CFA, essentially inducting all the Turkish Cypriot clubs.The CFA will then recognise the CTFA as one of its associate members, giving it the duty of handling matters regarding Turkish Cypriot clubs and the right to organise a championship with its members.Once the CTFA is inducted into the CFA, it will be able to have representatives present at board meetings. A steering committee will be formed to work towards implementing the agreement, made up of four Greek Cypriots and four Turkish Cypriots.The agreement will also oblige Turkish Cypriot teams to adhere to FIFA regulations regarding transfers. They will be able take part in CFA competitions and the UEFA Regions Cup. Turkish Cypriot coaches will also be able to obtain UEFA coaching licences through the CFA.Turkish Cypriot teams withdrew from the CFA in 1955, following the beginning of the armed EOKA struggle for union with Greece.The last match to take place was between Larnaca side Pezoporikos and Cetinkaya in the semi-final of the Cyprus Cup.
By Mike CollettSon Heung-min scored the only goal on his home Premier League debut as Tottenham Hotspur beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday and moved into the top half of the table after a well-deserved victory in an end-to-end London derby.Son, who scored twice when Spurs beat FK Qarabag 3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, scored again after Spurs broke up a Palace attack in the 68th minute.Erik Lamela released substitute Christian Eriksen, and the Dane, who had only been on for three minutes after a month out injured, played the ball into space for the South Korean international who honed in on goal before powering a shot that went through goalkeeper Alex McCarthy’s legs and into the net.Spurs dominated possession for most of an entertaining first half without breaking down the Palace defence or seriously troubling McCarthy.But Palace, despite being continually penned back twice came close to scoring before the break.Hugo Lloris’s acrobatic dive kept out a thunderous Bakary Sako free kick after 38 minutes and Yohan Cabaye smashed an angled shot against the far post just before halftime.The result lifted Spurs up to ninth with nine points from six matches, with Palace eighth on the same total.The day’s later matches see Southampton play Manchester United and Liverpool play Norwich City.
By John O’BrienSacked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will not be taking a sabbatical and remains proud of his two spells in charge at the west London club, a statement released by his sports management representatives said on Saturday.The 52-year-old Portuguese was fired by Chelsea just seven months after winning the Premier League title on Thursday following a dismal start to the campaign and a statement released by CAA Sports Management suggests he will be back in the dugout soon.“He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn’t tired, he doesn’t need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward,” the statement said.“Because of his love of football, you will see Jose at football grounds working and supporting friends. He will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future.”Despite his dismissal, Mourinho was said to be happy about his decision to return to a club where he has won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge.“Jose Mourinho is pleased that he returned to Chelsea Football Club because he was able to give the fans another Premier League title, which they had not won for many years,” the statement continued.“He is immensely proud of his eight trophies at Chelsea (he also won one FA Cup, three League Cups and one Community Shield), and thanks the fans for all their support throughout his two spells at the club.“During his career, Jose has sometimes chosen to leave a club, but only at Chelsea has the club decided that he should leave.”The statement concluded that Mourinho would continue to live in London but had no plans to comment on his “current situation for the foreseeable future”.
Young Frenchman Lucas Pouille scored a stunning, five-set upset over 14-times grand slam singles champion Rafa Nadal, winning a climactic tiebreak 8-6 to reach the U.S. Open quarter-finals on Sunday.Displaying poise beyond his years, the 22-year-old Pouille took charge early and led two sets to one, then rebounded after sagging in the fourth set to win 6-1 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6(6) in a four-hour struggle against the fourth seed.Playing his third consecutive five-set match, 24th seed Pouille, still looking for his first ATP Tour title, showed that his quarter-final advance earlier this season at Wimbledon was no fluke.“It’s my first match on the center court, against Rafa,” Pouille said in an on-court interview after dropping flat on his back in celebration after his forehand winner ended the marathon on his fourth match point.“I couldn’t dream better than this.”The see-saw battle carried all the way into the fifth-set tiebreak, reached after Pouille answered Nadal’s opening game service break with one of his own in the eighth game.In the tension-packed decider, the Frenchman rushed out to a 4-1 lead. Double U.S. Open winner Nadal drew within 4-3 but a forehand winner by Pouille made it 6-3 for triple match point.Nadal, who has made an extraordinary comeback from a wrist injury that forced him to retire before his third-round match at Roland Garros and withdraw from Wimbledon, fought them all off to make it 6-6.The Spaniard looked poised to reach match point himself when he came in on a short ball and looked set to unleash a winner, but his forehand found the net and Pouille made no such mistake on his big swing that finished the match.“I learned that it’s never over until the last point,” said Pouille. “I was a break down in the fifth, I came back and led 6-3 in the tiebreak and he came back. Yeah, it’s never done until the last point is over.”Said Nadal: “I fight until the end, until the last ball. Was a very close match. I congratulate my opponent, he played with better decisions than me the last couple of points.Nadal said Pouille has a very bright future.“He’s a player that has all the shots. He’s a potential top 10 and good fight for the big things the next couple of years, if he’s able to keep playing well, keep improving.”Pouille will play 10th-seeded compatriot Gael Monfils in the last eight.Monfils advanced with a 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory winner against unseeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, and has yet to lose a set in the tournament.
Boxer Thadius Katua and Judoka Raymond Ovinou were accompanied by coaches and officials on their return.The young boxer Katua, when interviewed said he wished to thanked Papua New Guineans and the Olympic committee for their support.Katua also confidentially told the media that he had won the fight against the Russian but was not given the honour or favour to win. “Unfortunately I went down against the Russian but I admit I won the match,” he said.With the cheering of the crowd at my back, I felt emotionally confident as I moved forward to lend some good punches at my opponent.Thanks to the Rio crowd who are at my back, though the level of the competition was high I feel that as a young boxer I can make PNG proud next time.Thadius will go home to Bougainville for a week to visit his family before he returns for training for the upcoming matches in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games.
Chairman of the MKRLA, Pipi Dai Boe said having a proper strategic and operational plan will ensure that those who hold positions in the MKRL must have a set of action plans, a set of rules and guidelines, and achievement pathways in place to help them run the affairs of the MKRLA.“This is so they can operate in a professional manner with accountability and transparency to achieve the required desired outcomes and objectives of the MKRLA. We cannot operate on ad hoc basis anymore,” said Boe.He added that MKRLA’s registration with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) is in the process.“The IPA registration and PNG Rugby Football League affiliation together with the specified strategic and operational plans will make our organisation a genuine one.“Our dealings will be authentic so that the general public, our stakeholders and sponsors can recognise us accordingly.“The general meeting and election of new office bearers is in the pipeline and is part of the plans the current MKRLA executives have made as we believe in democratic rights of other potential Motu Koita aspiring leaders.“The onus is on those interested to take up voluntary positions to be willing to sacrifice and each club to organise themselves starting now and be prepared to fulfil the requirements that the MKRLA will set and impose on all participating clubs,” said Boe.
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