Connect with us

Sports

Brazilian footballer stranded by China’s coronavirus lock-out

Published

on

Loading...
AFP

By AFP
More by this Author

Oscar and Hulk jetted in just in time but fellow Brazilian Paulinho reportedly heads a long list of foreign stars locked out of China as the country attempts to stop imported coronavirus cases.

There are no suggestions that former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho has the deadly disease, but China closed its borders at the weekend to returning foreigners, even those with work and residence permits.

Former West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic is also among the more than 30 overseas players and coaches still abroad, reports say, dealing another blow to hopes that the Chinese Super League (CSL) season could begin any time soon.

Arnautovic’s Shanghai SIPG had more luck with Oscar, Hulk and new signing Ricardo Lopes, hastily chartering a small aircraft to fly them back from Brazil.

They landed in Shanghai on Friday night along with their families, according to local media, having departed Sao Paulo and making a brief stop in Malta to refuel.

Advertisement

The trio will now spend 14 days in isolation as required by the Chinese government for all arriving foreigners, which should also prevent any potential spread of coronavirus to the rest of the SIPG squad.

Loading...

But Brazilian international Paulinho, 31, and compatriot Anderson Talisca failed to make it back to CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande, the Guangzhou Daily said.

Shanghai Shenhua’s Colombian international Gio Moreno is another stranded at home after many international air routes were suspended because of the virus outbreak.

Marouane Fellaini, Shandong Luneng’s former Manchester United midfielder, is the only known coronavirus case in the CSL, having recently returned to China.

It is unclear when China will lift its restrictions on the entry of foreigners, having announced the “temporary” measure on Thursday. It also slashed the number of international flights serving the country.

Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian World Cup-winning captain and Evergrande coach, is in China and posted pictures of himself riding his bike at the weekend having completed a period of quarantine.

The CSL season was supposed to begin on February 22 but was indefinitely postponed after the coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

It has since developed into a pandemic, killing or infecting hundreds of thousands of people across the world, although the number of locally transmitted cases in China has supposedly dwindled.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

Published

on

Loading...

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

Loading...

England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

Published

on

Loading...
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

Continue Reading

Sports

Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

Published

on

Loading...

By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

Loading...

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

Advertisement

More to follow

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending