Press Association Nigeria international Odemwingie only joined Cardiff in September, moving from West Brom for a fee believed to be in excess of £2million. The 32-year-old signed a two-year contract and netted twice in his first four games for the Bluebirds – however, he has failed to add to that tally in 13 appearances since. Jones, a Trinidad and Tobago international once of Southampton and Sunderland, has fared better. The 29-year-old has netted five goals in 10 games. However, none of them have come in the Barclays Premier League, with four in the Capital One Cup and the other in the FA Cup defeat of Leicester earlier this month. Jones sent a text message to Hughes the night before Stoke’s 5-3 home league defeat to Liverpool on January 12 to say he was not available to play in the fixture. That resulted in the player being fined two weeks’ wages and not being considered for selection by Hughes for the next match, a 1-0 league loss at Crystal Palace. The manager had said on Friday that Jones was in his thinking again for Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Chelsea, but it would now appear likely he will not play another match for the Potters. The Potters have announced that the deal is subject to both strikers passing medicals and agreeing personal terms. However, Stoke hope to conclude their move for Odemwingie over the weekend. Stoke have reached an agreement with Cardiff over a move for Peter Odemwingie, which will see Kenwyne Jones head to south Wales in a player-exchange transfer.
For Steve Johnson, the 2017 French Open was as much an emotional battle as a physical one. The 27-year-old USC alumnus, ranked No. 25 in the world, showed up to Roland Garros this year with a heavy heart following the passing of his father. Johnson’s father, a respected tennis coach in Orange County, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 58 less than a month before the start of the tournament.“I know it’s going to be emotional for quite some time,” Johnson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times ahead of the French Open. “Who knows how long it’ll take? I just know he’s with me. He raised me to be a competitor and a fighter to the last point, and that’s what I try to do with my tennis.”In his first match at Roland Garros, Johnson took on Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in what proved to be a tough first-round matchup. Ranked No. 78 in the world, Sugita trailed 2-1 when the match was delayed due to weather. After it was all said and done, Johnson prevailed in a five-set, 3.5 hour-long match by a score of 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-7(3), 6-3. Johnson broke Sugita’s serve twice in the fifth set to send him to a matchup with Croatia’s Borna Coric in the next round. Johnson’s second match was another grueling test of the American’s will. In a four hour-long emotional roller coaster, Johnson topped Coric 6-2, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-6 (6). But Johnson’s triumph didn’t come until after four lost match points and a controversial ball abuse call. Coric was one point away from forcing a fifth set twice until Johnson hit a forehand winner. Overcome with emotion, Johnson dropped to his knees in triumph, while Coric smashed his racquet on Roland Garros’ famous clay court. In an emotional post-match interview, Johnson, with tears in his eyes, admitted, “Physically, I’m OK. Emotionally, I’m a mess.”“[My father] always wanted me to be a fighter and a competitor so that’s what I’m going to do, day in and day out,” Johnson said. “That’s the only thing I can do.”Johnson said it was impossible to hold in his emotions any longer against Coric.“The other days, I was able to kind of get to the locker room and kind of compose myself a little bit,” he said. “Today was just such an emotional match — a long match, up and down. Just to get through it was something that I know I’ll be very proud of.”Physically and emotionally drained from his matches against Sugita and Coric, Johnson then lost tosixth-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Johnson put up an honorable fight after a slow start, but he was unable to upset the talented Thiem. Johnson, now ranked No. 26 in the world, won the admiration of not only fans, but also his competition. After the match, Thiem complimented his opponent.“It’s really [a] tragedy what happened. You wish it on nobody, especially him,” Thiem said. “It was, of course, very emotional for him. It also shows that there are way more important things than tennis. I think it was unbelievably tough for him to even play here.”Johnson is making waves in professional tennis after an outstanding Trojan career. He departed USC with a 72-match win streak to close out his collegiate record, and he won the NCAA Singles Championship in 2011 and 2012 in addition to winning national team championships during all four seasons. He was also a seven-time All-American and won a host of ITA and conference awards. Since his graduation, Johnson has made more than a dozen Grand Slam appearances and secured his first trip to the Summer Olympics for Team USA in 2016.
Former Coach of the Black Stars, Emmanuel Afranie says a return of AC Milan duo; Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng to the senior national team, would boost Ghana’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.The duo, alongside Marseille duo; Andre and Jordan Ayew and on loan Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien, were among key players who missed the just ended Nations Cup in South Africa that saw the black stars place an undesirable fourth, behind Mali, Burkina Faso and eventual Champions Nigeria.There has been Nationwide clamoring for the return of such key players ahead of the World Cup qualifiers which begin next month and the experienced Coach who has had stints with a number of clubs in the country, has added his voice. He was speaking on the JOY Sports Link on Saturday.“One player can make a difference! And I think that player is Sulley Muntari, because he is the only player who can give hot shots, at the moment most of our players want to score in the 18 yard box…but the modern system of defense hardly gives you that time and space. So I think we would brighten our chances of qualifying to the World Cup in Brazil if we can get Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng,” he said.Meanwhile, the Black Stars would play Sudan in the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers on March 20 at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi but would be keeping an eye on the outcome of Sudan’s request to the Court for Arbitration for Sports (CAS), to reverse an earlier decision by FIFA that saw them stripped off, a victory against Zambia in Khartoum for fielding an ineligible player.