Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2013 Contents A47
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ABUJA---Plateau United Feeders and
Police Machine figured they needed a big win
in the final round at an amateur tournament
to outdo the other and earn promotion to
Nigeria's professional football leagues.
Their wins were definitely big: 79-0 and
67-0. The results have sparked outrage, an
indefinite suspension of the four clubs
involved in the games, and an investigation
into match-fixing by the Nigeria Football
Federation. The NFF yesterday called the
results from the tournament on Monday in
the northeastern city of Bauchi "a mind-
boggling show of shame." The scorelines
were "scandalous," the NFF added.
Chasing a place in Nationwide League
Division 3, Nigeria's lowest professional
league, Plateau United Feeders reportedly
scored 72 of their mountain of goals
against Akurba FC in the second half. A
rate of more than a goal a minute. In fact, a
goal about every 40 seconds. Non-stop for
At the same time, Police Machine
reportedly swept 61 goals past Babayaro
FC in the second half after leading by a
relatively modest 6-0 at halftime.
In theory, Plateau United Feeders won
promotion to the big leagues having scored
81 goals---in three games. Police Machine
ultimately could manage only 69. (AP)
The length of the build-up to an Ashes
series is unparalleled in cricket. It
begins the day after the last Ashes
series is completed and it grows into
an obsession for several months
before the off, a period in which for-
mer England or Australia cricketers
are invited to offer up a prediction on
a daily basis and past series are lovingly dwelt upon
for the umpteenth time.
This time, it is different; this time England and Aus-
tralia have not five, but ten Tests to contest as they are
faced by back-to-back Ashes series which will end in
Sydney in early January.
By the time it is all over, heroes will have emerged,
careers been forever tarnished and the pantomime
baiting between England and Australia fans---
not forgetting the media---will have been
For the most casual cricket followers in
England and Australia, the Ashes
remains their only connection with the
Cricket becomes a topic of conversa-
tion in the unlikeliest of places. But by
the eve of the first Test, real cricket
lovers are beside themselves with
impatience for the talking to stop and
the series to get underway.
Finally, in the bright-white gentil-
ity of Trent Bridge, it will, amid
of hot, sunny
days. It is true
and Australia are only ranked three and four in the
world, but it will be captivating nonetheless.
Are England now so well analysed and programmed
that it could affect their ability to think on their feet if
things go wrong?
Can Darren Lehmann s arrival as Australia coach be
anything more than a temporary uplift that will dissi-
pate once the quality of the sides is tested? We are
about to discover the answer.
"I ve read it will make or break my reputation as a
captain. Personally, I don t feel like that," said Aus-
tralia s captain Michael Clarke ahead of the start of the
Graeme Swann is an ebullient sort of fellow and he
could be forgiven ahead of the Trent Bridge Test if he
burst into song, one of his favourites perhaps
when he fronts the Nottingham-based
band Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revela-
Swann, fully recovered from a sec-
ond elbow operation, has never had
more favourable conditions
on his home ground.
The forecast is
tralia are packed with
a left-armer to create
footmark---so he will
never have a better
chance of attending to a paltry
three wickets at 65 runs apiece.
For Australia, James Pattinson is a source of consid-
erable excitement. He is a combative, talented quick
bowler, eager to avenge England s treatment of his older
brother, Darren, a Nottinghamshire stalwart whose sole
England Test cap against South Africa in 2008 was
widely condemned in the media. Trent Bridge is the
perfect ground on which to uphold the family honour.
"I think psychologically we re in a much better place,
the only danger is that we ll be too laid-back. The
Aussies will fight, there s no doubt about that...but if
we score the runs we re capable of then we ll win com-
fortably," said David Saker, England s Australian-born
bowling coach, shows no sign of split loyalties.
After the cut-throat decision to drop Nick Compton,
the one space still to be decided is that of the third
quick behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Steven
Finn is the man in possession, but with reverse swing
likely to be a key weapon Tim Bresnan, who has 15
wickets in two Tests on the ground, is firmly in the
picture. Graham Onions is the outsider but bowls very
well to left handers.
Michael Clarke was coy about his final
XI, but continued to suggest that Aus-
tralia would be comfortable selecting
David Warner despite his lack of
recent cricket. His place will have to
come in the middle order with
Shane Watson and Chris Rogers,
whose previous Test came in 2008,
confirmed as the opening pair. The
fast-bowling attack could comprise
various trios, but Ryan Harris and
Jackson Bird appear likely to
MAKE OR BREAK
1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Joe Root, 3
Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5
Ian Bell, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior
(wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad,
10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson.
1 Shane Watson, 2 Chris Rogers, 3 Ed
Cowan, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Phillip
Hughes, 6 David Warner, 7 Brad Haddin
(wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Peter Siddle,
10 James Pattinson, 11 Nathan Lyon.
Alastair Cook, left, and Michael Clarke with the Ashes in Nottingham, yesterday.
The Ashes starts today (6 am T&T time). PHOTO COURTESY ESPNCRICINFO
Teams involved in crazy 79-0, 67-0 wins suspended
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