RelatedPosts Super Eagles soar on FIFA ranking FIFA ranking: Nigeria moves up by two spots, now world 29th Omeruo welcomes second child Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo has admitted that the decision to play for Nigeria rather than England at international level was a “no brainer” after growing up watching Super Eagles icons such as Jay-Jay Okocha and Kanu.The Ibrox star has made a huge impression already after scoring just three minutes into his debut and forcing manager Gernot Rohr into a stunning selection u-turn.Aribo’s parents are Nigerian and, despite the player being born in London, he opted to play for the Super Eagles ahead of the Three Lions – before quickly being compared with Okocha after his debut against Ukraine earlier this month.“I could have played for England but my parents are from Nigeria and I always watched players like Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu as a kid so it was a no brainer to play for them,” Aribo said, as quoted by the Evening Times.“I read the headline where a journalist compared me to Okocha after the Ukraine game – that’s putting a lot of pressure on me!”Aribo will now face Brazil in a friendly in Singapore before the upcoming AFCON qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho.After his quick rise in international football, hopefully, Aribo can continue to impress and put in a stellar performance against the Brazilians.The comparisons with stars such as Okocha will put some lofty expectations on Aribo’s shoulders for his country but it could really help him grow as a player and help him get used to the pressure he’s under constantly at Rangers.Tags: jj okochaJoe AriboSuper Eagles
Dave Stevens joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.The Coral spokesman looks ahead to the League Cup semi-final first leg clash between Stoke and Liverpool on Tuesday night, which you can listen to live on talkSPORT.The Potters have beaten Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United at the Britannia this season but are 2/1 outsiders to beat the Reds on home soil, with Jurgen Klopp’s men 6/4 for the win.Stevens also reveals some transfer specials, with Leicester sensation Jamie Vardy 6/1 to move to Chelsea and QPR hitman Charlie Austin 9/4 to join Crystal Palace.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast
• Photo Gallery: 11/01: Bridge on Fire MONTEBELLO — Crews from Pico Rivera partially demolished the fire-damaged end of the Beverly Boulevard bridge Wednesday to extinguish an unyielding blaze that engulfed the structure a day earlier and resulted in its indefinite closure. With Whittier Boulevard already restricted to two lanes through downtown Montebello due to construction, the closing of Beverly Boulevard presents potential traffic nightmares, officials said at a special meeting Wednesday called to discuss the matter. Angry local business owners who say the Whittier Boulevard construction has drained away customers confronted city staff Tuesday night at an unrelated meeting, expressing concern that the bridge closing will cut into their profits even more. The bridge marks the border between Montebello and Pico Rivera, with both cities sharing ownership and responsibility for its maintenance. It also is one of only three major east-west thoroughfares through the two cities from the San Gabriel (605) Freeway. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It’s like we’re having a heart attack and some of the arteries are blocked,” said Montebello Councilman Bob Bagwell at Wednesday’s meeting. “We must feed all that traffic onto fewer streets.” Council members threw out suggestions and questions to city staff as they attempted to brainstorm ideas for solving the traffic crisis and potential economic fallout from the closing. Councilwoman Norma Lopez-Reid requested patching up the street where construction began last month on Whittier Boulevard. Bagwell suggested making the same corridor one-way during rush hour. City Administrator Richard Torres said the city would rent electronic message boards to keep drivers informed. All members stressed the importance of signs to inform motorists of alternate routes. “Our staff is aware that we can’t have enough signage (to direct motorists),” Torres said, who welcomed all suggestions. “I think as people find out about the bridge being out, it will be human nature for them to find the shortest distance between two points. Last time the bridge was closed, traffic flow changed from the first, second and third weeks.” Richard Lynsky, Montebello Fire Department battalion chief, said crews were forced to destroy the burning Pico Rivera end of the bridge in order to put out the fire. “They demolished it up to the cement center section,” Lynsky said. “But we couldn’t get underneath it. There was a lot of fuel under the bridge with all the wood, so we had to go from the top to put it out. That was Plan C, though.” With the most recent blaze, the 50-year-old bridge has sustained four fires over the years, the last one in 1999, when officials from Pico Rivera, Montebello and Los Angeles County began talks about replacing the bridge, said Mike Moore, acting director of public works for Pico Rivera. The bridge is divided into thirds, with Montebello owning one third and Pico Rivera owning two thirds. On Tuesday, hours after the blaze was first reported, county officials received approval for federal funds to build a new bridge. “The estimated cost to build a new bridge is about $10.7 million, which is what the county received federal approval for,” said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the county Department of Public Works. “The federal funding, hopefully, will be about 80 percent of it, with the two cities responsible for 20 percent, or about $1,039,000 each. All of this has been worked out. The fire probably will just speed up the process.” After finding a burned mattress under the bridge’s wreckage, arson investigators from the Los Angeles County Fire Department suspect a transient camping underneath the bridge may have started the fire, said Bob Spencer, public information officer for the city of Pico Rivera. He said traffic Wednesday was relatively calm, and no major problems had been reported by the Sheriffs’ Department. Inspectors from county public works are still trying to determine whether a temporary bridge can be built or whether complete demolition is necessary. — Pam Wight can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, whose lone opposition held up a gigantic health care merger last year, on Monday approved the proposed $9.2 billion union of UnitedHealth Group Inc. and PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. UnitedHealth’s takeover of PacifiCare would be the second-biggest merger ever in the hospital managed care industry. The stock-and-cash deal would create one of the nation’s largest private health plan providers, with about 26 million subscribers. The companies agreed that the costs of the merger will not be borne by California consumers and they agreed to commit $250 million in investments and charitable contributions to medically underserved communities, the commissioner said. “I expect this merger to go forward,” Garamendi told a news conference. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “They will follow through on this,” he added. “The agreement is enforceable by court order.” “We look forward for this opportunity … to apply our skills and ability to work for the advantage of Californians in providing increased affordable access to high quality health care,” said Mark Lindsay, a UnitedHealth spokesman. PacifiCare appreciates the “thorough approach” taken by the state “to insure that this merger is in the best interest of all Californians,” spokesman Tyler Mason said in a statement. The merger still must receive approval from the California Department of Managed Care, federal Department of Justice and other states in which UnitedHealth operates. Lindsay said the merger was already approved by regulators in Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Oregon, leaving Colorado, Texas and Washington state. Washington state was scheduled to discuss the issue Monday. None of the other states that approved the merger demanded the contributions and restrictions included in the California agreement, Lindsay said. The California insurance commissioner’s stamp was considered vital because for months he single-handedly held up the largest health care industry merger – the $16.4 billion purchase of Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc. by Anthem Inc. of Indianapolis. Garamendi had argued that the deal would have pulled that much money out of California in the form of dividends and that the buyout it offered WellPoint’s chief executive was excessive. Garamendi only approved that deal last year after Anthem agreed to contribute some $400 million to the state public health system by, for instance, helping fund new hospitals. Garamendi said the WellPoint agreement was his template for negotiations with UnitedHealth. “It was a major hurdle for the company to surpass,” said K. Newton Juhng, an analyst with Piper Jaffray in New York, who covers UnitedHealth. “California was the big step that needed to be done. It should push things along quite a bit.” Juhng said the millions of dollars in charitable investments is not really a major concession because the company already makes similar investments as part of its portfolio. “The key here from the company’s point of view is the demands that the state made were relatively reasonable,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!