The midfielder played for the Blues from 2006 to 2017 and went on to win the Champions League, Europa League, English Premier League, and FA Cup, among other titles. However, he left for China despite offers from other teams to stay in the UK. “[Mikel] was a solid defensive midfielder, though I don’t think his career ended up so well especially after leaving Chelsea,” Okwemba told Goal on Friday. “The mistakes he made in his career was going to China, at that stage; he still had a lot to offer. Things took a negative twist after the move, and he never recovered. “He became a different player from the one we were used to seeing.Advertisement AFC Leopards legend, Charles Okwemba feels former Nigeria international John Obi Mikel made a big mistake by ditching Chelsea for Chinese outfit Tianjin TEDA in 2017. “I feel like he denied Africans of some potential in him we would still be seeing today, but that’s life, it happens at times because of different reasons.” Despite enjoying success while at Chelsea and spending a decade with the London side, Okwemba is not convinced Mikel ranks among the best midfielders from the African continent. “At some point, he lost consistency and struggled to have an impact. Playing as a holding defensive midfielder at club level then taking up an advanced role in the national team was a misguided advise,” Okwemba added. read also:Etebo: Super Eagles will miss Mikel,Ighalo “I rate him as an average player in Africa, he had the potential to be among the best but he failed to utilize it.” The 33-year-old is currently a free agent after terminating his contract with Turkish side Trabzonspor, after falling out with the club management over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… Promoted ContentWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Best & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The UniverseThe Funniest Prankster Grandma And Her GrandsonWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?6 Incredibly Strange Facts About Hurricanes10 Phones That Can Easily Fit In The Smallest PocketBest Car Manufacturers In The World7 Things That Actually Ruin Your PhoneThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read More
Maria Sharapova is “starting to believe” that the International Tennis Federation tried to make an example of her by handing her a two-year ban for testing positive for meldonium. The suspension was eventually cut to 15 months after Sharapova appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Sharapova’s two-year doping ban has been reduced to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The five-time Grand Slam winner, 29, was initially banned by the International Tennis Federation for two years after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.The Russian will be able to return to the tennis court on 26 April, 2017.“I am counting the days until I can return,” she said.“In so many ways, I feel like something I love was taken away from me and it will feel really good to have it back. Tennis is my passion and I have missed it.”Meldonium, a heart disease drug also known as mildronate, became a banned substance on 1 January 2016.Sharapova said she had been taking the drug since 2006 for health problems and had “not tried to use a performance-enhancing substance”.She said she was unaware the drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) banned list and could not “accept” the “unfairly harsh” ban.The Cas panel said it found Sharapova’s case “was not about an athlete who cheated”, adding she was not an “intentional doper”.However, it said Sharapova was at fault for not giving her agent “adequate instructions” about Wada’s prohibited list.The tribunal ruling said Sharapova tested positive for meldonium after her Australian Open quarter-final defeat by Serena Williams on 26 January and in an out-of-competition test on 2 February.Cas treated both results as a single anti-doping violation.Sharapova won the Wimbledon singles title as a 17-year-old in 2004, going on to win the Australian, French and US Opens to complete a career Grand Slam.However, she has not played professional tennis since losing to 22-time Grand Slam champion Williams.“I’ve gone from one of the toughest days of my career last March when I learned about my suspension to now, one of my happiest days,” she said.“I have taken responsibility from the very beginning for not knowing that the over-the-counter supplement I had been taking for the last 10 years was no longer allowed.“But I also learned how much better other federations were at notifying their athletes of the rule change, especially in Eastern Europe where mildronate is commonly taken by millions of people.“Now that this process is over, I hope the ITF and other relevant tennis anti-doping authorities will study what these other federations did, so that no other tennis player will have to go through what I went through.”Why was the ban reduced?Sharapova appealed against the original two-year ban on the grounds there was “no significant fault or negligence” on her part.The Cas panel accepted her claim of no significant fault, saying she had a reduced perception of the risk she was incurring by taking mildronate.That was because:• She had used mildronate for 10 years without any anti-doping issue• She did not seek treatment from her doctor, Anatoly Skalny, to obtain a performance-enhancing product, but used it only for medical reasons• No specific warning had been issued by Wada, the ITF or the WTA about a change in the status of meldonium• She took a public position acknowledging that she took meldonium and accepted responsibilityCas said the sanction should be reduced to 15 months “based on its analysis of Sharapova’s degree of fault”.It said Sharapova “fell short” because:• She failed to monitor or supervise how her agent “met the anti-doping obligations imposed on an athlete”• She failed to discuss with her agent, Max Eisenbud, what needed to be done to check the continued availability of mildronate• She failed to put Eisenbud in contact with Dr Skalny to check if the product had not been added to Wada’s prohibited listThe panel added an athlete cannot “simply delegate her obligations to a third party and then not otherwise provide appropriate instructions, monitoring or supervision without bearing responsibility”.Sharapova can return to action before the French Open in May 2017 because her ban is backdated to the date of her first positive test on 26 January, 2016.But with her world ranking dropping to 95 since her last appearance – and going to fall further – she will need to be awarded a wildcard to play at Roland GarrosSponsor reactionRacquet manufacturer Head, which extended its contract with Sharapova despite her positive test, congratulated her after the ban was reduced.The company’s chief executive, Johan Eliasch, said “justice had been served” and called the original ITF decision “wholly unfair”.Nike suspended its relationship with Sharapova in March, before saying it would stand by her following the tribunal’s findings in June.Car manufacturer Porsche said it would wait to see the outcome of her appeal, while Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer cut ties with her in March.Sharapova was the highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years according to Forbes, until Williams moved above her this year.The latest Forbes figures have Sharapova’s winnings and endorsements at £17.1m, compared with £22.6m for Williams. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Brazil got 9.25 out of 10 from FIFA President Sepp Blatter for organizing a World Cup that was “very special” because of high quality football.Giving his tournament report on Monday, Blatter also criticized the organization he heads for not better tackling incidents of fan discrimination in stadiums.Blatter said he spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin at Sunday’s final about making the issue a priority at the 2018 World Cup there.That tournament will be the third straight involving a huge building project of stadiums and public works in one of the BRICS group of emerging nations.”We have improved, you have improved, Brazil has improved since South Africa,” said Blatter, who awarded a 9 mark four years ago to another World Cup which defied doubts and tight deadlines during troubled preparation.The players and matches have been widely acclaimed in Brazil after so many disappointed in South Africa. Blatter said he knew when the Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in the tournament’s third match that this time would be different.”Especially in the second half,” Blatter said, meaning the Dutch team’s four-goal rout of the defending champion. “Something was on in this World Cup, something very special.”Still, many Brazilian people remain unhappy at their government and the estimated $13 billion spent for the 32-day tournament.Blatter dismissed jeers targeted at him and Brazil state President Dilma Rousseff when they presented the trophy at Maracana Stadium on Sunday to Germany captain Philipp Lahm.”This is normal,” said Blatter, who was booed also at the 2010 final in Johannesburg. “If you are in this business you have to live with that.” Russia’s Putin-backed World Cup has a $20 billion budget, including building or renovating 12 stadiums, plus additional rail projects.Blatter suggested that could be reduced to 10 venues in talks scheduled in September with organizers.”We are in discussions now what is the ideal number,” said Blatter, suggesting a “feasible, reasonable, controllable” project to avoid white elephant stadiums.Russian organizing committee head Alexei Sorokin said after Blatter’s briefing that there had been no talks yet and there were no plans to cut stadiums, though FIFA had the final decision.On football matters, Blatter said he was “a little bit surprised” to present the trophy for best player to Lionel Messi, whose Argentina team lost the final after he failed to score since the group stage. The FIFA leader would not be drawn on the merit of a nine-match, four-month ban imposed on Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for biting an Italy opponent.”I feel that such a punishment it hurts, it hurts,” Blatter said. “I do hope he will be back.”Suarez has completed a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona, and will ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland to freeze the ban during his appeal process.”He is now in the one of the greatest clubs in the world and I do hope he will have a place there,” Blatter said.Blatter declined comment on an investigation by Rio de Janeiro police into alleged ticket scalping involving a longtime FIFA commercial services provider, MATCH. FIFA fought against illegal ticket sales “at 1,000 percent,” secretary general Jerome Valcke said.”I am sure that there will be other stories but what you cannot say is that FIFA is not fighting permanently against this business,” Valcke said.