By michelle-lee : Basketball: The newly formed National Basketball League of Canada will launch in November with seven teams and a 36-game schedule according to League officials.
Teams: Oshawa and London, Ontario, Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John, and Moncton, New Brunswick, Quebec City, and Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
Buoyed after a 2-game sweep at the 2011 Jack Donahue International Classic, Canada’s National Senior Men’s Basketball team has high hope for a berth at the 2012 Olympics. The team beat Belgium 79-74 and 74-68 to complete the sweep and are now preparing for the all-important FIBA Americas tournament to be held in Argentina August 30-September 11). Slated in group A with Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela, the team admits they will have to bring their “A” game to every game. Although they played well according to coach Leo Rautins, Canada lost to Argentina 79-64 in a warm-up game prior to the tournament on Aug. 13th.
Soccer (International): Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel, who plays for Chelsea, was listed in the June issue of Forbes magazine as the 7th highest paid African player in Europe (salary $5.8 mil). On August 12th he learned that his father, Michael Obi, was kidnapped by “unknown men” from the Jos, the capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria. Reports have circulated that a “sizeable amount” has been demanded for the release of Michael Obi . Reportedly the kidnappers contacted the family, advised them they have Mr. Obi and advised them where they could find his car which has now been retrieved by the family. Obi Mikel has played for Chelsea since 2006 and the 24-year old, on learning of the kidnapping just prior to Chelsea’s game vs. Stoke (August 14th), decided to play so he wouldn’t “let down his team and family.
UPDATE: Michael Obi was freed August 22nd when police raided an area in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. Several of the kidnappers were arrested.