SPORTS

Olisadebe unimpressive in latest English Premiership bid

Poland striker Emmanuel Olisadebe will not join English Premiership strugglers Portsmouth after a prospective deal to sign the player from Athens club Panathinaikos fell through. British media reported over the weekend that Portsmouth had not signed the Nigerian-born Polish international. A club official noted that Olisadebe, who has just turned 27, had other offers in Europe to consider, without specifying whether the English club had lost interest or not. It is believed, however, that Olisadebe failed to live up to the English club’s expectations. Olisadebe has spent five years at Panathinaikos, following a move from Polonia Warsaw. He has delighted Panathinaikos fans with numerous late, crucial goals, but much of his tenure here has been marred by injury woes. Portsmouth, currently struggling in the relegation zone, have been left a striker short after Vincent Pericard recently suffered a thigh injury. Last week, it was announced that Olisadebe would have a trial with the club. Greek media were quick off the mark, but prematurely, with reports claiming that a deal between Panathinaikos and Portsmouth had already been completed. Olisadebe almost joined Portsmouth’s Premiership rivals Birmingham in 2002 before failing a medical. Portsmouth and Panathinaikos were also linked less than a year ago. Croat Velimir Zajec, the Greek club’s former director, was appointed to the English club’s board by compatriot and chairman Milan Mandaric. At the time, Portsmouth coach Harry Redknapp had expressed concern over the move’s impact on his job. He ended up leaving, and Zajec stepped in as caretaker coach for a poor tenure that led to his eventual departure from the English club. Redknapp, a former West Ham United manager, returned to Portsmouth about a month ago. Meanwhile, in Scotland, another player formerly linked to Panathinaikos, defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos of Rangers, was sent off for a second yellow card that resulted in a penalty and last-minute equalizer for basement club Dunfermline Athletic in yesterday’s Scottish Premier League. Champions Rangers, playing at home, had to settle for a 3-3 draw after Darren Young slotted the penalty kick home in the final minute of play. Leaders Celtic did not allow a power cut, which delayed their kickoff by 45 minutes, to distract them and secured a 2-1 win over Livingston. Celtic have 48 points, four more than Hearts, who romped to a 5-0 win over 10-man Falkirk. Rangers are in fifth place on 31.