Women without Work
Great Britain’s Women’s football team took a large hit as five of its players found themselves without a club following the collapse of the 2012 Women's Professional Soccer League in the United States of America. Leading striker Kelly Smith described herself as ‘devastated’ to be left without a club for the second time in her career. In 2003 the previous US professional league collapsed forcing her to move back to Britain. Economics have played a large role in the decision due to the five teams being unable to sustain themselves in previous years.
Six Nations stutters into life
A struggling English team only just managed to dispatch a resilient Italian team 19-15 thanks in large part to Charlie Hodgson’s charge down heroics for the second week in a row. The Azzurri looked a good bet for their 1st ever win against the English leading at the break 12-6. A 15-minute period of madness led to Scotland’s second defeat in as many weeks as they fell 27-13 to a ruthless Welsh team. A second half of fireworks saw Nick de Luca and Rory Lamont both yellow carded in shades of 2010. The third game of the weekend didn’t materialize as the pitch at the Stade de France was too frozen to allow the French and Irish to do battle.
Zambia stars' fated glory in Gabon
Zambia secured their maiden Africa Cup of Nations tournament win last Sunday by defeating the much-fancied Côte d’Ivoire 8-7 on penalties in the final. After extra time the match finished 0-0, with Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba clearing the crossbar with a penalty in normal time. The Chipolopolo’s victory has been dedicated to the eighteen Zambian players who lost their lives in a plane crash in Gabon nineteen years ago. Gabon co-hosted the tournament with Equatorial Guinea, but the only game in which Zambia could have visited Gabon to honour their countrymen was the final itself. “There was a special significance in that,” coach Herve Renard said. “My players were magnificent. They found the strength. I don’t know where.”
Big guns on form at UK trials
Highlights from last weekend’s UK Indoor Trials and Championships in Sheffield included Jeanette Kwakye beating 18-year-old defending champion Jodie Williams to the women’s 60m sprint crown and pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale easing to gold with a jump of 4.70m. Elsewhere, Jessica Ennis won the women’s 60m hurdles and Dwain Chambers took his fifth men’s 60m sprint title. Chambers will find out in March whether he is eligible for the Team GB Olympic squad when the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules on the controversial British Olympic Association by-law which currently excludes him.