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KOBE Bryant declared his season over after scoring 34 points before leaving the game with a likely torn Achilles tendon, as the Los Angeles Lakers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 118-116 win over Golden State Warriors.
Bryant said he felt a "pop" as he tried to beat Harrison Barnes to the outside with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter of

Friday night's tight National Basketball Association contest.
"I felt like I got kicked. It is a move I make a million times and pop," Bryant said. "Just a freak situation I guess."
Lakers spokesman John Black said after the game that Bryant had a "probable torn Achilles."
"Bryant will undergo an MRI examination to confirm the diagnosis," Black said.

The all-star guard and future Hall of Famer went one further insisting he already knows the extent of the injury and his season is over.
"I can't walk. I tried to put pressure on my heel to see if I can do it that way and there is nothing there," Bryant said. "I had no Achilles, that is the sensation. MRI, surgery and then recovery."

The injury comes during Los Angeles' critical playoff run in which the team currently remains one game ahead of Utah for the eighth and final post-season spot in the Western Conference.

Bryant says the Lakers can still make the playoffs and he feels he can now help the team by taking on a mentor role.
"I can't be with them out on the floor but I can use my intellect to break down film and help as much as I can from sideline," Bryant said.
“I never had to deal with something like this. It is a new experience for me."
Bryant insists he is going to return from this stronger than ever.
"It is fuelling me. I can feel it already," he said. "Players at this stage of their careers pop an Achilles and the pundits say they never come back the same. I can hear it now."

NIGERIA U20 team, the Flying Eagles, will resume training in Nnewi on Monday with players who made the final squad to the 2013 AYC in Algeria.

Team secretary, Aliyu Ibrahim Lawal, disclosed that 21 players from Algeria have been asked to report to the Beverly Hills Hotel in Nnewi from Monday.

Chief executive of capital Oil Ifeanyi Ubah has agreed to bankroll the Flying Eagles month-long training stint in Anambra State.
Coaches have used the days since the team’s return from Algeria to scout for more players in the league to fortify the squad ahead of the World Cup.

The Flying Eagles, who are drawn against Cuba, South Korea and Portugal in the first round of the 2013 World Cup, are due to a training stint in Europe before the global challenge.
They are also expected to feature at the Toulon tournament in France as part of their preparation for the U20 World Cup.

The squad for Nnewi:
Goalkeepers: Jonah Usman, Emmanuel Daniel, Samuel Okani
Defenders: onah Usman, Emmanuel Daniel, Samuel Okani
Midfielders: Moses Orkuma, Ovboka Agboyi, Uche Agbo, Abduljaleel Ajagun
Forwards: Alhaji Gero, Umar Aminu, Kayode Olanrewaju, Christian Pyagbara, Bright Ejike, Edafe Egbedi, Chidi Osuchukwu

FORMER Barcelona boss Radomir Antic believes Bayern Munich was the worst possible Champions League semi-final opponent for his old side. The Bavarians have blazed into the final four, dispatching Italian champions Juventus with impressive ease to set up a mouth-watering clash with a side bidding for their third European Cup in five seasons.

Barca are running away with La Liga but former Barca, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid manager Antic feels Tito Vilanova's men will struggle against the newly crowned Bundesliga champions.
"Bayern Munich were the toughest team in the draw," the Serb told SPORT. "They are the form team. They are the worst possible opponents Barca could have been asked to play.”
The cause of Antic's concern is the Catalans' porous defence.
The 64-year-old feels it is imperative that Barca get skipper Carles Puyol fully fit for the semis if they are to have any hope of making it to the Wembley final.
"Puyol is not only the captain," Antic said. "He is a player that conveys so many things to his team-mates on the field.”
Barcelona will travel to Munich for the first leg on April 23 before welcoming Bayern to Camp Nou the following week.

NIGERIA Cup holders, Heartland have been disqualified from this year's CAF Confederation Cup following the failure of their protest against being walked over by Gabon's US Bitam.
CAF's Inter-clubs Committee struck out the case of Heartland to seek a force majeure in order to have the botched first round, second leg game replayed in Gabon.

The African football ruling body stated that the absence of Heartland "was mainly the responsibility of the club, rather than a case of force majeure."

A statement issued via CAF's official website on Saturday read: "In relation to the match initially scheduled on Saturday April 6th which did not take place between US Bitam (Gabon) and Heartland (Nigeria) in the frame of the 10th edition of the Orange Confederation Cup 2013, the referees and officials registered the absence of Heartland team at the time of kick off.
"The 1st leg match played in Nigeria ended with a score of 2-1 in favour of Heartland and the return leg was scheduled on April 6th at 16h00 in Libreville – Gabon."

The CAF committee's decision was taken in line with the Article 16 of the CAF Confederation Cup regulations.
Article 16 of the competition states: "If for any reason whatsoever, a team withdraws from the competition or does not report for a match - except in case of force majeure accepted by the Organising Committee - or if it refuses to play or leaves the ground before the regular end of the match without the permission of the referee, it shall be considered loser and shall be eliminated from the competition. The same shall apply to the teams which were declared disqualified by decision of Caf."

However, Heartland will face no punishment from Caf but stand eliminated from the championship, according to the body's inter-clubs committee. US Bitam will now progress to the second round of the Caf Confederation Cup to face USM Algiers

THE Super Eagles ended their 19-year wait for Africa's biggest title in South Africa in February, seeing off Burkina Faso in the AFCON final, while they most recently played out a 1-1 draw against Kenya in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
However, that stalemate has seen Nigeria drop from 30th to 31st in the FIFA tables, while they are now fourth in the African list, behind Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mali.
Mba, though, cannot understand how the national side have dropped a place, but admits he will not try to decipher the thinking of the men in suits.
"I am not happy with the rankings but FIFA knows best. We must respect their decision but I don't think we played too badly against Kenya," he told SuperSport.
"We dominated the game against the Harambee Stars but just couldn't score more than one goal."
He added: "I always give my best when I play for my country. We at the national team will give our best in the upcoming matches and try to win so we can help Nigeria rise in the rankings."

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