Koeman bemoans double injury blow
AMSTERDAM • Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is crossing his fingers that the remainder of his football squad stay healthy in the run-up to Euro 2020 after forwards Memphis Depay and Donyell Malen both suffered serious knee injuries on Sunday.
The former, who is one of the first names on the Oranje team sheet, tore his anterior cruciate ligament playing for Lyon in Ligue 1 and will be sidelined for at least six months, meaning he is likely to miss the June 12-July 12 tournament.
PSV Eindhoven's Malen, who would have been a possible replacement for Depay, is also set to be out of action for four months and Koeman yesterday told Dutch broadcaster NOS their injuries were "a great blow".
Mafi to pay $45k for beating up teammate
WELLINGTON • Japan loose forward Amanaki Mafi has been discharged without conviction, but ordered to pay NZ$50,000 (S$44,500) after he pleaded guilty to assaulting former teammate Lopeti Timani in New Zealand last year, local media reported yesterday.
The 29-year-old Tonga-born No. 8 was not in court in Dunedin but through his lawyer entered a guilty plea to the charge of assault with intent to injure.
Mafi and Timani, who were teammates at Super Rugby outfit Melbourne Rebels, got into an altercation after a drinking session in July last year, leaving the latter with concussion symptoms for about six months.
Freeman tribunal on hold till next year
LONDON • The occasionally dramatic, if sprawling medical tribunal of the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, which was due to be done and dusted last March, may not finish now until next October after being adjourned yet again.
Freeman, who faces being struck off after accepting 18 of 22 charges against him, including ordering 30 sachets of testosterone and lying about it to UK Anti-Doping, had been due to testify this week, but had to pull out on Monday night on grounds of ill health.
Bendtner released, says end may be near
COPENHAGEN • Former Arsenal striker and Danish international Nicklas Bendtner said yesterday he was considering hanging up his boots for good after FC Copenhagen ruled out extending his four-month contract.
Bendtner, who was convicted of assaulting a taxi driver last year, has scored only one goal in 17 matches. The 31-year-old, whose colourful personal life was covered in full by the tabloids, played for English Premier League club Arsenal from 2005 to 2014 and represented Denmark 81 times.