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Sports Notes - Lakers, Sacramento Kings May Have Chemistry Problems - Thai Football Crash & Burn? August 2004


NBA photo

Sacramento Kings Peja Stajokovic (R) reportedly asked to be traded since Vlade Divac (L) signed with Lakers

 

James Loving - National Radio Text Service - Wednesday August 11, 2004

 

Thailand Football Fortunes Up In Flames? - ASIAN FOOTBALL TOP 5 - FIFA TOP TEN & NEWS - Thailand's Chang Beer Sponsors Thai Players For English Premiere League Trials - Lakers Must Be Confident Of Kobe Bryant Trail Outcome - Four Cambodia Athletes To Compete In Olympics

 

PEJA WANTS OUT - LAKERS, KINGS CHANGE CHEMISTRY

As the saying goes 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' can now be applied to the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You could say some of the changes had to be made due to extenuating circumstances.

The writing on the wall started when the Lakers did not resign the NBA's all-time NBA championship coach Phil Jackson. Jackson is tied at nine titles with former Celtics coach Red Auraubach. The apparent power struggle between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal was solved by the Lakers trading O'Neal to the Miami Heat. They then signed Vlade Divac from the Sacramento Kings. Guard Derek Fisher left the team and signed with the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers have now accelerated into their cleanup mode by trading aging 36-year-old guard Gary Payton to the Boston Celtics along with also aging 35-year-old forward Rick Fox. In return the Lakers received Chuck Atkins (29-years-old), Marcus Banks (22) and Chris Mihm (25) and a second-round pick from Boston. The Celtics also received a conditional first-round draft pick and cash. Forty year-old forward Karl Malone's return to the Lakers remains up in the air.

This past week things took an interesting twist when the Kings all-star forward Peja Stajokovic informed the club that he wanted to be traded. Reports also indicate that he is not pleased with the departure of his friend Divac. It was also noted that Stajokovic is unhappy with teammate Chris Webber criticizing the teams poor performance.

With Webber injured much of last season the team performed remarkably and held down the first place spot in the Pacific Division for most of the season. When he returned to the lineup the squad had difficulty adjusting to a new rhythm and chemistry with him in the rotation. The Kings started to lose and finished second behind the Lakers.

A departure of Stajokovic from the Kings minus Divac would severely impact the team's chemistry. The Lakers will definitely suffer the same fate with so many new faces and the departure of O'Neal, Payton, Fisher and Fox. The team will definitely be in Bryant' s hands but are the Lakers sure where his hands will be at the start of the season?

LAKERS CHANCE ON BRYANT?

It appears that the Lakers are extremely confident of the outcome of the Kobe Bryant court case. After trading last year all-star game MVP Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat within hours the Lakers signed Bryant to a seven-year US $136 million dollar contract. The club appears to have placed it's bet that he won't be convicted.

Former captain Kiatisuk 'Zico' Senamuang center and Thai squad celebrate victory over South Korea in 1998 Asian Games. Is the bloom now off the rose?

Carlos Roberto Carvalho quit as Thai national football coach after only nine months on the job

Thailand's Teerathep ''Leesaw'' Winothai gets his chance with Everton & national squad.

 

 

THAI FOOTBALL CRASH & BURN?

After a dismal showing in the Asian Cup Thailand is licking their wounds and could be wondering where did it all go wrong? The squad produced only one goal and gave up nine in losses to Iran 3-0, Japan 4-1 and Oman 2-0. Thailand's highlight of the competition was when striker Sutee Suksomkit scored a superb goal against Japan.

Four senior Thai national players have resigned from the squad. They include former captain Kiatisak ''Zico'' Senamuang, Thavatchai Dumrong-ongtrakul, Dusit Chalermsan and Tawan Sripan. They did not participate in the Asian Cup.

Thailand's fall from grace began when they sacked Englishman Peter Withe as their coach in September. Since that time the players have had two more coaches, two more systems and two more coaching attitudes in less than a year..

Withe's replacement Brazilian Carlos Roberto Carvalho quit in June after nine months on the job. Their current coach Chatchai Paholpat is Thai.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It seems in Thailand's case too many cooks spoiled the stew in their effort to improve the team, move forward and make it to the World Cup.

In 2001 they were ranked 5th in Asia when they played Manchester United in a 2-1 friendly loss while Withe was at the helm. They squad has since slid to 13th in the most recent FIFA ratings (see above). The coaching changes have so far proven to be a step backward and not forward.


THAI FOOTBALL GOOD NEWS - THAILAND'S TEERATHEP & BEER CHANG SCORE

Good things are happening for Thai striker Teerathep ''Leesaw'' Winothai has been called up to the national squad for the World Cup Qualifying competition. He will also be joining Everton later this year along with Thai players Sompong Sorlarb and Rattapol Piyawuthikul. They will train with English Premier League club for nine months.

It appears that Thailand's Beer Chang's relationship as the chief sponsor of Everton is paying off. The company will pay all of the expenses for the players.

Note: Winothai was a member of the Crystal Palace youth team for two years.


FOUR CAMBODIAN ATHLETES TO COMPETE IN OLYMPICS

According to the Cambodian Daily four Cambodia athletes will compete in the Olympics. They include swimmers Hem Kiry and Ket Siviann. Runners Phouk Sopheak and 16-year-old Sou Tit Linda will also participate. The IOC will pay their expenses.

Note: China is sending 407 athletes to the games.


CONTINENTAL WINDS OF CHANGE - Argentina Unseat Czechs

Recent continental competitions have engendered changes throughout this month's edition of the FIFA World Ranking. Argentina's penalty shoot-out second place in the Copa America has seen the South Americans not only return to the Top Ten, but also rocket to fourth place, to the chagrin of the Czech Republic (5th, down 1).

No changes at the top for the leaders: Brazil 1st, France 2nd, Spain 3rd, a trio whose composition has amazingly remained virtually unruffled since August 2002.

In the Asian Cup, surprise quarter-finalists Uzbekistan (51st, up 29) can celebrate twice over - despite narrowly missing out on a place in the Top 50, their Best Mover of the Month title also brings them a historic best-ever slot in the Ranking.

Other big wins are evident across South America and Asia - Uruguay (19th, up 13), Peru (61st, up 14), China PR (51st, up 13) and Oman (50th, up 8). Unfortunately for Korea Republic (22nd, down 2) and Iran (24th, down 3), their substantial points gains do not result in a move up the table, primarily due to other teams claiming even more points in the game fest during the last four weeks.

For the August edition of the Ranking, 73 new "A" matches were evaluated, bringing this year's total to 620 games so far. The regional composition of the Top 50 has been altered in Asia's favor this month: AFC: 8 teams (up 2); CAF: 9; CONCACAF: 3 (down 1); CONMEBOL; 6 (down 1); OFC: 0; UEFA: 24.

FIFA TOP TEN

Rank/Team/Points

1. Brazil 849

2. France 809

3. Spain 790

4. Argentina 774

5. Czech Republic 762

6. Netherlands 747

7. England 732

8. Mexico 731

9. Italy 728

10. Turkey 719

ASIA TOP 5 (+)

1. Japan 685

2. South Korea 684

3. Iran 680

4. Saudi Arabia 616

5. Jordan 616

9. China 566

13. Thailand 539

 

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