Liberia appear to have resolved their travel issues ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations match with Nigeria on Saturday, but will only arrive in Calabar on Friday evening.There had been fears earlier that the match may have to be delayed as the flight carrying the Liberian delegation was refused permission to land in Nigeria.Liberia’s squad were due to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday but their aircraft remained stranded in Ghana, where they have been based.A spokesman for the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Henry Flomo, said: “We hope to leave our base at 1530 GMT to join up with the technical delegation, who are flying in from Monrovia.“We will then travel together on a charter flight to Calabar.“We expect to arrive in Calabar very late tonight and hope to have a chance to train on the pitch very early tomorrow morning.” This is hardly ideal preparation for Liberia, with the tie level at 2-2.Flomo’s comments will only further cloud this confusing tale after the president of the LFA, Musa Bility, told the BBC on Thursday: “Unfortunately, as of four o’clock, the aircraft still had not received landing confirmation from the Nigeria airport authority.“We do not know why there has been a delay. Our aircraft people said they could not fly after four o’clock because the airport at Calabar closes early.”Had the flight been granted clearance on Thursday, it is unlikely that the Liberia delegation would have arrived together, as Nigeria were expecting. The squad has been based in Ghana, whilst the technical delegation remained back in Monrovia.The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), through their head of international competition, Bola Oyeyode, issued the following statement at lunch-time on Friday: “As of Friday morning, the NFF was still expecting the 125-member Liberian delegation, as against information from the Liberia Football Association that the team would land in Calabar by 7.30pm on Thursday.“We’re still expecting them to advise us on their new arrival time. They got in touch with us on Thursday night to say that they had a problem with the aircraft they wanted to charter and that they would find their way into Nigeria on Friday.“We are still expecting them for the game on Saturday.”
At 13-24 overall, the Pistons are tied for 10th in the East, a full four games behind the Nets (16-19) for the conference’s last playoff spot. They are ready to be sellers at the trade deadline with reports earlier this month indicating multiple teams are interested in Andre Drummond. The Pistons could be without their All-Star forward for the rest of the 2019-20 season.Blake Griffin will be sidelined for an “extended rehabilitation period” after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, the team announced Tuesday. There is no timetable for Griffin’s return, but given Detroit’s current placement in the Eastern Conference standings, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Pistons shut him down. As for Pistons center Andre Drummond … one source briefed on Detroit’s attempts to trade Drummond expressed confidence this week a deal to move Drummond will materialize before the Feb. 6 trade deadline— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 7, 2020NBA TRADE DEADLINE: Latest news, rumors, targetsGriffin was terrific for the Pistons in 2018-19, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists and earning his first All-Star nod since 2015 when he was a member of the Clippers. He has only played in 18 games this season, though, and he hardly looked like himself when he was available.The 30-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract beyond 2020, including a nearly $39 million player option for 2021-22.