Aubameyang, Mahrez, Three others Make Top Five List

first_img*No Nigerian player nominated in top two categoriesDuro IkhazuagbeFor the second year running no Nigerian player has been found good enough to make the top five shortlist of the 2016 African Player of the Year category of the Glo-CAF Awards announced yesterday by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo.The players were shortlisted from 30 players who earlier were nominated for the African Player of the Year category. Similarly, no Nigerian was listed among the five nominees for the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) category.Top on the list is the reigning African Footballer of the Year and Borussia Dortmund winger, Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.He is joined by Senegal and Liverpool midfielder, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah of As Roma of Italy and Egypt. The two other players shortlisted are Algeria’s duo of Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani who both play for Leicester City of England.In the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) category, the five shortlisted players include the quartet of Dennis Onyango, Hlompho Kekana, Keegan Dolly and Khama Billiat from the 2016 African Champions League winning side, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, while T.P Mazembe player, Rainford Kabala from Zambia completed the list.Top Nigerian players, Kelechi Iheanacho of Manchester City, Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa of Leicester City made the top 30 but narrowly missed out of the Top 5 list.Other categories of Awards to be released by CAF in the coming weeks include Most Promising Talent Award, National Team of the Year, Football Manager of the Year, Africa’s Finest Eleven, Goal of the Year and Save of the Year. Others are Referee of the Year, CAF Fair Play Award and African Legend Award.The winners will be decided by votes from the Head Coaches and Technical Directors of the national associations affiliated to CAF.They will be unveiled at the Glo- CAF Awards Gala nite which will take place on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was crowned African Player of the Year whilst Mbwana Aly Samatta of Tanzania was named African Player of the Year (Based in Africa) last year.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Trojans to take advantage of exhibitions

first_imgWith games in Las Vegas, Minnesota and Washington, the USC men’s basketball team has the opportunity to travel the country this season. The sightseeing highlight of the year, however, will take place in South America.Experience · Senior guard Jio Fontan, one of two returning starters, averaged 10.5 points per game in 2011, his first season with the Trojans. – Robin Laird | Daily TrojanEvery four years, the NCAA allows basketball teams to travel to a foreign country to compete against local teams, in addition to 10 extra days of practice.This year USC coach Kevin O’Neill and his squad will travel to Brazil for a series of preseason exhibition games over 10 days in Rio de Janeiro, as well as Sao Paolo.“I am really excited to get out there and see another part of the world,” USC senior guard Jio Fontan said.The Trojans return just two starters, Fontan and sophomore guard Maurice Jones, from last year’s team, which fell to Virginia Commonwealth in the First Four round of the NCAA tournament in March.As a result, for such an inexperienced group of players, it is advantageous to have 10 extra days of practice in August as opposed to waiting for the traditional opening of practice in mid-October.“We are getting to know each other, and the younger guys are getting the jitters out of the way,” Fontan said. “They are getting their first practices a little earlier in the year so they know what to expect when the season starts.”To best prepare his team for the regular season, O’Neill wanted to schedule games against the top teams available in Brazil.“We hope that the competition is pro-level teams,” O’Neill said. “That is what we asked for. We had the choice of playing first or second level teams, and we wanted to play the highest level teams.”With 10 days together in an unfamiliar environment, Fontan also looks forward to bonding with his teammates and developing some cohesiveness.“There are going to be a lot more face-to-face conversations, being social with each other,” Fontan said. “It is a great way to start the season, and to build team chemistry.”Some coaches initiate special rules on foreign trips — such as forbidding text messaging — to encourage players to interact with each other, but O’Neill allows his team greater freedom off the court.“I don’t have any rules like that,” O’Neill said. “They can talk to whoever they want as long as they play hard.”USC will count heavily on an influx of transfers — junior guard Greg Allen (Navarro College), junior center James Blasczyk (Texas A&M), sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon (Antelope Valley College) and junior forward Aaron Fuller (Iowa).The Trojans also add freshman guards Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley, in addition to sophomore forward Evan Smith, who returns after redshirting last season because of a shoulder injury.“We are all [O’Neill] recruits,” Fontan said. “It is a new era, and we are having a great time.”The last time the Trojans traveled abroad was to Mexico in 2007 with a squad led by guards Dwight Lewis and O.J. Mayo, as well as center Taj Gibson.The Trojans open the 2011-2012 season at home against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 11.“We are a hard playing group,” O’Neill said. “We are deeper and more athletic. We have a lot of guys with a lot to prove. I like our attitude, our team play, how we share the ball and that we play together on both ends.”last_img read more