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Nkwocha reflects on making European coaching history

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Helen Nkwocha may have made history as the first female coach of a top-flight men’s team in Europe, but she does not regard herself as a trailblazer.

Nkwocha is in caretaker charge at Faroe Islands club Tvoroyrar Boltfelag, who – with just three points to their name – are already consigned to relegation.

The Faroese club, one of the oldest in the country, handed the reins to Nkwocha, who believes her background in youth coaching has prepared her for the additional scrutiny of leading a senior men’s side.

“I don’t see myself as a trailblazer, but I do know that there is a different level of scrutiny,” Nkwocha told Sky Sports News.

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Nkwocha says she is expecting a ‘different level of scrutiny’ after taking on the role

“It is a wonderful opportunity that you have to get paid to do your hobby. As a coach that is great.

“I just see it as me trying to do what I really enjoy doing and trying to be really good at it – and being ready for the scrutiny which you will get.

“I know that people will probably look harder at my sessions, they will look harder at how I communicate.

“I am aware that there is a profile, an expectation when people are aware there’s a female coach, a Black coach.”

Her high-level coaching certificate, which she says is on par with first-team coaches, saw her rewarded with the opportunity to lead the club through the remainder of their season.

Helen Nkwocha coaching
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Nkwocha, whose background is in youth coaching, has also spent time coaching in the United States and China

Nkwocha, who has previously coached in the United States and China, is hopeful her experiences can inspire more female coaches.

However, she credits her career path as being down to her work ethic and ability, not anything else, and praised the mindset of her employers Tvoroyrar Boltfelag.

“I think it is an absolutely fantastic testament to the mindset of the people that have employed me,” Nkwocha added.

“They employed me to work with their young players and if they didn’t have that mindset they would be looking for similar [coaches] to what they had before.

“It made sense, it was just a case of people recognising how open-minded the club is.

“That’s what the discussion has been, ‘oh it’s a woman’. To the club, I don’t have think they have that perception. They just see a coach.”

Besviken Selmani skickar passning till sin tränare: “Får väl se hur det blir i nästa match”

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Hammarbys tränare Miloš Milojević bjöd på en skräll när lagupställningarna släpptes inför söndagens derby. Astrit Selmani var petad och började på bänken.

Anfallaren hoppade in efter 56 minuter när det stod 0-0. Två minuter senare la han upp för det avgörande 1-0-målet. Och förutom det var inhoppet starkt.

Efter matchen var Selmani besviken.

– Det är hans beslut. Det får han ta. Det jag kan göra är att komma in och göra skillnad. Det är mitt jobb. Hans jobb är att ta ut ett lag som ska vinna. Vi får väl se hur det blir i nästa match, säger han.

– Vem som helst förstår att man inte vill sitta på bänken utan att man vill spela varje match. Men man får försöka vara professionell och köpa läget och sedan gå in och visa att man borde få spela.

Vad sa Miloš när du fick veta att du var bänkad?
– Vi hade samling, då sa han att det här laget han tog ut, han trodde att det skulle vinna matchen. Då är det bara att köpa det. För vad ska jag göra? Det är klart att jag var besviken.

Miloš sa att du skulle hata honom i två dagar – hur ser du på det?
– Det förstår väl vem som helst att man vill spela ett derby. Jag tror inte att någon är glad över att sitta på bänken i ett derby.

Selmani tycker att han gjorde ett bra inhopp.

– Jag visade när jag kom in att jag var ett ständigt hot hela tiden. Jag skapade jäkligt många lägen och hotade deras backlinje konstant i 40 minuter, säger han.

– När jag kommer in så blir det ett helt annat tryck mot deras backlinje. Det var ett bra byte. I mina ögon gjorde jag 40 bra minuter. Deras backlinje var konstant oroliga. Det är vad jag kan göra.

Var det svar på tal?
– Nej. Mer att jag måste fortfarande visa att jag ville spela. Det var ett bra inhopp. Han tyckte att det här var bäst för laget. Då är det bara att köpa det. Han tyckte att det här laget som startade skulle göra det bättre. Han sa inget annat.

Cross denies MVG to end title drought at European Championship

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Rob Cross pockets the £120,000 winner’s prize after European Championship victory over Michael van Gerwen, which sees him move back up to 11th on the PDC Order of Merit, having faced the possibility of dropping out of the world’s top 16 prior to the event

Last Updated: 18/10/21 7:17am

Rob Cross ended his two-year wait for a PDC title in Salzburg with victory over Michael van Gerwen

Rob Cross ended his two-year wait for a PDC title in Salzburg with victory over Michael van Gerwen

Rob Cross ended his two-year wait for a PDC title in Salzburg with victory over Michael van Gerwen

Rob Cross ended his two-year wait for a PDC title, defeating Michael van Gerwen to win the European Championship for a second time.

Cross claimed his fifth televised crown with an 11-8 victory over Van Gerwen in the final at the Salzburgarena, almost two years on from his last TV title win – which came in the same event.

Four-time European Champion Van Gerwen was on the charge for a fifth success in the event after picking up stunning victories over Gerwyn Price and Nathan Aspinall earlier in the day, but was let down by 27 missed double attempts in an edgy final.

“It’s nice to win again after the last 18 months, which has probably been the hardest time of my life,” revealed Cross, who also defeated Jose de Sousa and Joe Cullen en route to the final.

“I have to dedicate this to my family, friends, management and sponsors who have stood by me and been incredibly supportive.

“I love playing in Austria, I’ve got a great record here. I love the people, I’d play here every week if I could.

“Granted, I didn’t play my best tonight, and I’m thankful that Michael wasn’t himself in the final. You have to take chances when they are presented to you.”

The win also secures Cross’ place in November’s Grand Slam of Darts, with the 31-year-old looking forward to a busy end to 2021.

Cross added: “I think this is going to be a turning point for me, with the confidence it’s going to give me I know I’m going to get better over the next few months. I would love to win another World Championship.”

Van Gerwen was seeking a first ranking title since November 2020 and a first European Championship success since 2017.

Despite coming up short in the final, the Dutchman showed signs of a return to his best with averages of 107.74 against Price in the quarter-finals and 103.41 against Aspinall in the semi-finals.

“When you play like I did in the final then you deserve to lose,” Van Gerwen declared in an honest assessment.

“You can find a million excuses but I have to say I didn’t show up in the final, it wasn’t good enough and I can only blame myself.

“I am starting to perform a little bit better – except for the final – but I don’t like picking up runner-up trophies. It doesn’t count for anything, I’m a winner.”

2021 European Championship

Sunday October 17
Afternoon Session
Quarter-Finals
Nathan Aspinall 10-9 Danny Noppert
Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross 10-5 Jose de Sousa
Joe Cullen 10-7 Mensur Suljovic

Evening Session
Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 11-10 Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross 11-3 Joe Cullen

Final
Rob Cross 11-8 Michael van Gerwen

Join us for live coverage of the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton next month. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts

England set for Wembley stadium ban over Euro 2020 final trouble

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England are expected to be ordered to play at least one home game behind closed doors when UEFA’s disciplinary body meets on Monday to look into crowd trouble inside and outside Wembley Stadium at this summer’s Euro 2020 final.

There were serious disturbances when England played Italy on Sunday, July 11 as ticketless fans fought with stewards and police officers and forced their way into the stadium.

UEFA’s disciplinary investigators have been looking at the behaviour of England fans amid what appeared to be an ineffective security operation around Wembley for England’s first appearance in a major final since 1966.

As well as the disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters inside and around the stadium, the FA is facing another four charges relating to the behaviour of fans. The charges are disturbances during the national anthems, invasion of the pitch, throwing of objects and the lighting of a firework.

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Sky Sports News Chief Reporter Bryan Swanson says UEFA are ‘deeply unhappy’ at the actions of fans in and around Wembley at the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy

The FA has requested a personal hearing on Monday but the governing body’s representatives will not have to travel to UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland because the proceedings are being held remotely by video conference.

UEFA has been investigating the behaviour of fans inside and outside Wembley and not the FA’s staging of the showpiece final. Under UEFA’s rules, the FA is ultimately responsible for the behaviour of England supporters.

A decision is expected in the case on Monday evening or by Tuesday.

UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has 16 members and is chaired by Austrian judge Thomas Partl. Other members include PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes and SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. As a rule, the Disciplinary Body reaches decisions in the presence of all its members, but it can also hold tribunals as long as there are at least three members present.

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The FA strongly condemned the ticketless fans who stormed into Wembley as ‘an embarrassment to the England team’, as Bryan Swanson reports

The ugly scenes at July’s final have raised serious questions about the FA’s ability to host the World Cup in 2030 which it is considering bidding for with Ireland.

Although the final was supposed to be a day of national celebration for England, problems around Wembley became apparent at least five hours before kick-off.

There is usually a ring of steel around major UEFA and FIFA finals which means only fans with tickets can get near the ground. Wembley is now surrounded by so many residential buildings, restaurants, bars and shops that barriers were set up only a few metres away from the turnstiles. All approaches to the stadium were packed with fans, many fuelled by alcohol, hours before the 8pm kick-off.

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Julian Knight MP says that England’s joint World Cup bid with Ireland is ‘dead in the water’, after security breaches at Wembley

Wembley’s capacity for the final had been reduced from 90,000 to 60,000 because of Covid restrictions and many ticketless fans were aware there would be 30,000 empty seats in the ground.

Olympic Way was packed by 3pm and two hours later fans were finding it difficult to reach the stadium because of the sheer volume of people and the sea of rubbish, cans and broken glass. Fans reported seeing people taking drugs and urinating openly as they tried to make their way to the stadium.

By 5.45pm, the security and Covid test check cordons around the stadium had been breached as stewards and police officers were outnumbered by ticketless fans who were intent on getting into the game.

Wembley was locked down just after 6pm and police horses were brought in to try and restore order. Many fans who had tickets felt scared and intimidated when they made it into the ground only to find their seats had been taken by people without tickets who were refusing to move.

Fans leave Wembley at the end of the Euro 2020 final in which Italy beat England on penalties
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Fans leave Wembley at the end of the Euro 2020 final in which Italy beat England on penalties

Minutes after the game had kicked off and Luke Shaw had given England an early lead a Wembley stadium statement denied that any fans without tickets had got into the game. The statement said the authorities were dealing with an incident at the outer security perimeter of the stadium.

At half-time, Wembley released a new updated statement: “There was a breach of security and a small group of people got into the stadium. Anyone inside the stadium without a ticket will be instantly ejected.”

There were many more people than seats inside the ground and with gangways blocked many fans felt uncomfortable and there was a clear risk of people being crushed, especially behind the goal England were attacking in the second half.

The security operation after the game finished at 2am with the Metropolitan Police reporting they had made 49 arrests: “Frustratingly 19 of our officers were injured while they confronted volatile crowds. This is wholly unacceptable.”

The next morning the FA announced it had commissioned an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock into “the disgraceful scenes”.

El Madrid planea un megaintercambio por Salah

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Raiola ‘utiliza’ a Chelsea, Barça y City contra la Juve

Matthijs de Ligt es una de las piezas de presente y más futuro de la Juventus, pero Mino Raiola parece no estar contento con la situación del central y, tal y como informa ‘Calciomercato’, amenaza a la Vecchia Signora con sacarlo de Turín al final de la presente temporada. El neerlandés es titular habitual, pero en determinados partidos ha visto cómo los elegidos por Allegri eran Bonucci y Chiellini, dejándole en un segundo plano que no gusta al agente italiano.

Así, añade ‘Calciomercato’, Raiola ha contactado a Chelsea, City y Barcelona para tratar el posible traspaso de su representado. En Turín no tienen intención de aceptar ofertas por debajo de los 150 millones de euros que tiene Matthijs como cláusula.

”Jag blev chockad – fanns inga tecken”

I augusti tidigare i år hittades den tidigare NHL-forwarden Jimmy Hayes död i sitt hem. Han lämnade sin hustru Kristen och två unga söner efter sig.

Polis meddelade direkt att det inte fanns någon misstanke om brott och en obduktion utfördes två dagar efter dödsfallet. Det var dock först i fredags som familjen, som vid tillfället var på väg till New Jersey för NHL-matchen mellan Devils och Blackhawks där Hayes skulle hyllas, fick besked om vad som hänt.

Anledningen till det plötsliga dödsfallet var en blandning av kokain och fentanyl.

– Jag var helt säker på att det inte hade med droger att göra. Jag trodde verkligen att han fått en hjärtattack eller något… det gick bara inte ihop. Han visade aldrig några tecken på det här när han var hemma, säger Kristen Hayes till Boston Globe. 

”Hoppas att han kan rädda någon annan”

Jimmy Hayes pappa, Kevin, var dock inte lika förvånad.

– Jag är själv en missbrukare. Jag är ren sedan en lång, lång tid tillbaka, men jag vet hur starka de här grejerna är. För 16 eller 17 månades sedan började jag märka en förändring i Jimmys beteende. Jag sa till honom att ”jag tror att du har ett problem med de här pillrena”. Han hade en skada som han tagit smärtstillande för och de är så starka. Jag sa att när han behövde hjälp så fanns jag här. Han ringde tre veckor senare.

För bara några veckor sedan gick den svenske NHL-stjärnan Robin Lehner ut och kritiserade ligan för deras vana att dela ut beroendeframkallande mediciner till spelare.

Jimmy Hayes familj hoppas nu att hans berättelse kan leda till en förändring.

– Jag vill inte att folk ska se på min son som någon jävla knarkare. För det var han inte. Jimmy hjälpte andra. Jag hoppas att han kan rädda någon annans liv genom att vi berättar om vad som hände honom. Han gjorde ett misstag och det kostade honom livet, säger Kevin Hayes.

Leeds sign Tonga winger Fusitu'a

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Fusitu’a scored 61 tries for New Zealand Warriors but has appeared sparingly over last three season; His hat-trick helped Tonga beat New Zealand at 2017 World Cup; Leeds coach Richard Agar: “I think he will be a great addition.”

Last Updated: 18/10/21 7:07am

Leeds have announced the signing of Tonga winger David Fusitu’a on a two-year contract from New Zealand Warriors.

The 27-year-old Fusitu’a, who was the Warriors’ longest-serving player, had two years left on his contract with the Auckland club and it is thought the Warriors will pay a proportion of his Leeds salary.

Fusitu’a, whose hat-trick famously helped Tonga beat New Zealand in the group stages of the 2017 World Cup, scored 61 tries in 108 appearances for the Warriors.

But he has played just 28 times in the last three seasons due to injury and returning home from Australia early in 2021, due to the border restrictions enforced by the global pandemic.

Leeds coach Richard Agar says David Fusitu'a is a 'world-class talent' Leeds coach Richard Agar says David Fusitu'a is a 'world-class talent'

Leeds coach Richard Agar says David Fusitu’a is a ‘world-class talent’

Leeds coach Richard Agar said: “We are really excited to have signed David and I think he will be a great addition to our team.

“Undoubtedly, he is a world-class talent, you only need to look at his highlights reel and see the spectacular tries he can score to know he will soon become a crowd favourite at the Rhinos.

“In the modern era, it is rare that a player of his ability becomes available for a Super League club and it is a great boost for us to have beaten off competition from a number of clubs to have secured his signature.

“He is still only 27 and, whilst we understand the reasons why he has not played as much football as he would have liked last season, having spoken to him, he is keen to return to his best in a Rhinos shirt.

“He is a player who loves to play with a smile on his face and I know he and his young family are looking forward to being part of the Rhinos family.”

Leeds say Fusitu’a will join up with them in pre-season once the visa paperwork has been completed.

“It is going to be something new and fresh,” Fusitu’a said. “Me and my family are excited to come over to England.

“Leeds have been a proud and successful club for a long time and I am looking forward to getting over, meeting the boys and starting the hard work with the team.”

Maori All Black Sean Wainui dies in car crash aged 25

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New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson: “We know Sean’s passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs team-mates, and we share their sorrow and their shock.”

Last Updated: 18/10/21 6:56am

Sean Wainui played 10 times for the Maori All Blacks

Sean Wainui played 10 times for the Maori All Blacks

Sean Wainui played 10 times for the Maori All Blacks

Maori All Blacks back Sean Wainui died in a car accident on Monday. He was 25 and the father of two children.

Police said they were notified at 7.50am that a vehicle had crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island.

Wainui was the only occupant.

“We know Sean’s passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs team-mates and we share their sorrow and their shock,” New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

He asked the media to give the Wainui family “space to grieve as we all reflect on a young life that has ended far too early”.

Wainui joined the Chiefs in 2018 where he was a hugely popular figure with the fans.

He broke the record for number of tries in a Super Rugby game with five against the Waratahs earlier this year before joining provincial side Bay of Plenty.

Wainui made 44 Super Rugby appearances for the Chiefs, having previously spent two years with the Crusaders. He also played 10 games for the Maori All Blacks.

“He was an influential member in the teams he has been a part of and his presence will be missed,” Maori All Blacks, Chiefs and former Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan said.

“He epitomised everything you could possibly ask for in a player. He will be remembered for being a passionate, hard-working, proud Maori who was an exceptional player but more importantly father and husband.”

When was the last time Sunil Chhetri wasn't the Indian top scorer in an international tournament?

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When was the last time India played in a tournament and Sunil Chhetri was not India’s top scorer? | Goal.com

AIFF Media

Sunil Chhetri reached yet another milestone in the final of SAFF Championship 2021 as he equalled Lionel Messi’s tally of 80 international goals and became the joint second-highest active international goalscorer in the world behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

After scoring a brace against Maldives which helped the Blue Tigers secure a final berth, Chhetri once again was on target for India as they clinched their record eighth SAFF Championship title, beating Nepal 3-0 in the final. He bagged the Golden Boot award as well, scoring five goals in five matches in the tournament and was also given the Most Valuable Player award. 

This was the 11th time in the last 12 international competitions that Chhetri was the highest-scoring Indian player. The only tournament he did not score was at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup where India were ousted from the group stage without scoring a single goal.

At the 2013 SAFF Championship, Chhetri, Syed Rahim Nabi and Arnab Mondal scored a goal each. He has won the Golden Boot award in six international competitions, out of which two were joint awards (2012 Nehru Cup and 2019 Intercontinental Cup).

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In the last 11 years, Chhetri has missed playing only two international tournaments. In 2017, the skipper could not feature in the Tri-Nation Series as he had his club commitments to fulfil and in the 2018 SAFF Championship, the U23 India team was sent.

Here, we take a look at every single tournament India took part in and who were their highest scorers.

When was the last time Sunil Chhetri wasn’t the Indian top scorer in an international tournament?

Year Tournament India’s result Top Indian scorer
2011 AFC Asian Cup Group stage exit Sunil Chhetri (2)
2011 SAFF Championship Champion Sunil Chhetri (7)
2012 AFC Challenge Cup Group stage exit
2012 Nehru Cup Champion Sunil Chhetri (4)
2013 SAFF Championship  Runners-up Sunil Chhetri (1), Syed Rahim Nabi (1), Arnab Mondal (1)
2015 SAFF Championship Champion Sunil Chhetri (3), Jeje Lalpekhlua (3)
2017 Tri-Nation Series Champion Balwant Singh (1), Jackichand Singh (1), Robin Singh (1)
2018 Intercontinental Cup Champion Sunil Chhetri (8)
2018 SAFF Championship Champion Manvir Singh (3)
2019 AFC Asian Cup Group stage exit Sunil Chhetri (2)
2019 King’s Cup Third Sunil Chhetri (1), Anirudh Thapa (1)
2019 Intercontinental Cup Fifth Sunil Chhetri (3)
2021 SAFF Championship Champion Sunil Chhetri (5)