Basile to coach Argentina
Alfio Basile has been appointed coach of Argentina for the second time, he told reporters on Monday. "Obviously, I'm very proud to coach the Argentina national team again, like any Argentine would be," he said at a media conference held by his club Boca Juniors. "I'm looking forward to it greatly, especially seeing the quantity of great players we have," he said. Basile will replace Jose Pekerman, who resigned after taking Argentina to the World Cup quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to hosts Germany. The 62-year-old former defender, regarded as an exponent of attacking soccer, was also at the helm from 1991 to 1994. He won the Copa America twice -- in 1991 and 1993 -- and led Argentina to the second round of the 1994 World Cup. Basile will take up his post on Sept. 15 after an agreement between Boca and the Argentina Football Association. He declined to discuss his plans for the job.
McGrath names `bunnies'
Australian paceman Glenn McGrath tempted fate yesterday when he named England's stand-in captain Andrew Strauss and batsman Alastair Cook as his batting "bunnies" for the upcoming Ashes series. McGrath's bold claim comes after he predicted a 5-0 whitewash to Australia in the last Ashes series, only for England to win 2-1 and claim the trophy for the first time in 18 years. He also nominated the then England captain Michael Vaughan as his bunny ahead of the last Ashes series -- only for McGrath to miss most of the campaign through injury and Vaughan to play a major role in his side's success. Undeterred, McGrath again backed his abilities as a fortune teller yesterday when asked which batsman he would dominate this time around. "There's the young fellow Cook who's done well so far, he's one of many," McGrath told commercial radio in Sydney. "There's no use naming one, these days you name two or three. They've captained Strauss at the moment, you always name the captain," he said.
Carrick joins Red Devils
England midfielder Michael Carrick joined Manchester United on Monday in an £18.6 million (US$34.7 million) transfer from Tottenham. The 25-year-old Carrick completed the move after passing his medical at Old Trafford. He was United's first new signing of the summer break. United was able to meet Tottenham's asking price after it sold striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid for a reported £10 million. The Red Devils are also close to signing Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna for a fee of about 10 million euros (US$12.75 million) after the Brazilian-born Spaniard agreed to personal terms with the club. Carrick was the fifth most expensive signing in United history, behind Van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand, Juan Sebastien Veron and Wayne Rooney.
Ricksen out of rehab
Defender Fernando Ricksen will return to training with Rangers after being released from a clinic dealing with addiction on Monday. The former Dutch international checked himself into the Sporting Chance Clinic in London after he was sent home from Rangers' preseason tour of South Africa after drinking on a team flight and arguing with an airline attendant. "I'm glad to be back and I don't want to say too much," Ricksen said about remaining with Rangers.
Wrestlers to visit Taiwan
A team of 45 Japanese sumo wrestlers will arrive in the country for a two-day performance on Aug. 19 to Aug. 20 under the invitation of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Lo Koon-tsan (羅坤燦), executive director of the foreign ministry's Committee on Japanese Affairs, yesterday said that the idea to invite the sumo wrestlers was brought up a year ago by the president, who has had exchanges with the sportsmen during his term as Taipei mayor. It would be the first time for a Japanese sumo team to visit Taiwan since the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. The two-day sumo competition will be held in the Taipei Arena, and will feature top-notch wrestlers such as Asashoryu and Hakuho.