GENEVA - As if facing Brazil isn't enough stimulation, Italy have been thrown into shock with the team plane struck by lightning. No damage was caused but players and staff were jolted by the scare yesterday following the charter flight from Florence to Geneva, the site of today's friendly. Flight personnel moved quickly to spread calm, saying it was lightning but there was never any danger.
BEIJING - Twelve-year-old Chinese golf prodigy Ye Wocheng ensured he will smash the record for youngest player at a European Tour event when he came through a qualifying tournament yesterday. The Dongguan schoolboy was able to card a triple-bogey eight and still finish third with a two-day score of two-under-par 142 at Chengdu's Wolong Valley Country Club, punching his ticket to the Volvo China Open in May. Ye follows Masters-bound Guan Tianlang and Florida-based Andy Zhang, both 14, as part of a group of young stars emerging from China.
LONDON - The Bahrain-based owners of fallen English football giants Leeds United have said they want to sell their stake in the second-tier club just three months after taking over at Elland Road. GFH Capital completed a lengthy sale purchase when they bought Leeds from former owner Ken Bates, previously best known as Chelsea's chairman before selling out to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, in December. However, GFH are now intent on selling their stake in LUFC Holdings, Leeds' parent company, for STG7 million ($F18.933 million).
BRUSSELSP - Former women's world tennis number one Justine Henin has given birth to a baby girl called Lalie, she has announced on her social network pages. The 30-year-old Belgian - who retired for good in January 2011 - said that she and her boyfriend Benoit Bertuzzo were overjoyed. "We were anticipating this so much, and now it has happened, this afternoon a little fairy arrived to illuminate our lives ... She is called Lalie, she is in top form and we are really delighted! Justine and Benoit," Hennin said yesterday.
ABIDJAN - Didier Drogba has been dropped for Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifier against Gambia because he "needs to work hard to get back to his best", coach Sabri Lamouchi says. Drogba, who turned 35 this month, will not play in the Ivorians' first game since a disappointing quarter-final exit for the favourites at the recent African Cup of Nations, which was seen as the striker's last chance at a major trophy with his country. Lamouchi told AP he didn't pick Drogba for tomorrow's game because of concerns over the Galatasaray his fitness and form.
WELLINGTON - Zac Guildford is poised to make his playing return to the Crusaders after being named on their reserve bench for tomorrow's Super Rugby match against the Southern Kings. All Blacks winger Guildford is included in a squad which features four changes to that which beat the Bulls 41-19 in Christchurch last weekend. The 24-year-old withdrew from the Crusaders in January after an alcohol-related incident and returned to the squad late last week.