China head coach backs Malaysian for BWF top post

Updated 15 January 2013
0

China head coach backs Malaysian for BWF top post

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Nadzmi Mohd Salleh has been encouraged to run for the presidency of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) by the head coach of China.
Current BWF President Kang Young-joong of South Korea said last month he would step down from the role in May after eight years at the helm and Indonesian Justian Suhandinata has already made clear his intentions to run for the post.
China head coach Li Yongbo feels that Nadzmi, the head of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, has what it takes to popularize and spread the sport beyond its main Asian base and pockets of Europe.
“Nadzmi is a good choice. He has the clout and credentials to increase the popularity of the sport to a wider base,” Li was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Star newspaper yesterday.
“He has been in the badminton circle for many years and is supportive of the game.” Badminton came under fire during the London Olympics last July when four women’s doubles pairs from South Korea, China and Indonesia deliberately played to lose their matches in order to get a more favorable draw.
All four pairings were disqualified and banned after the farcical scenes putting in doubt the sports inclusion in future editions of the Games.
Despite the problems, London saw a record 51 countries participating in the sport with the BWF saying all sessions were sold out.
“Our sport has the potential to be popular beyond the Asian and European region and we need to aggressively promote it,” Li said.
It is compulsory for players ranked in the top 10 of the BWF rankings to compete in Super Series Premier events but Chinese players have become infamous for retiring midway through matches or pulling out from tournaments due to injuries.
According to Li, the newly elected BWF president will have to take a serious look and prune down the hectic badminton calendar to solve the problem.
“There are just too many tournaments. We need to cut it down. I would suggest that we limit the number of competitions and increase the prize money,” he added.
“Better income will surely widen the participation of the players and motivate them even more.”


Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

Updated 17 min 50 sec ago
0

Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

LIVERPOOL: With eight minutes of the 1981 European Cup final remaining, Liverpool left-back Alan Kennedy made one of his trademark bursts forward, broke into the Real Madrid penalty area and drove home a left-footed finish to settle a tense, tactical battle.
Unlikely, unforgettable, he had the historic distinction of being the matchwinner in two finals, having also netted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out victory over AS Roma three years later.
“So proud,” reflected Kennedy. “It was a wonderful time to be a Liverpool player.”
On Saturday, the Reds meet Real again in Kiev to contest European club football’s most prized trophy.And the memories of that Paris triumph will never fade for the 63-year-old, nor will being part of a lauded Liverpool team.
“That was their mentality and Liverpool were rightly the top team in Europe,” Kennedy, who also lifted five League titles for the Reds during his eight-year stay at Anfield, said. “It was a great era, great times, but the be-all and end-all for any footballer, should be about winning trophies.”
Liverpool’s strength and focus was emphasized in that Parc des Princes showpiece. Before kick-off they had to cover up sponsor’s logos on their shirts to appease UEFA and TV broadcasters. They had concerns about the fitness of influential striker Kenny Dalglish and Kennedy himself after a broken wrist had sidelined him six weeks earlier.
“I think when you put obstacles in the way of that Liverpool team, the better they played,” he told Arab News. “We had issues with TV rights, about the state of the pitch, issues about the fitness of players, me included, but we went out to play the game and win.”
Formidable foes, Bob Paisley’s side dominated Europe in much the same way Zinedine Zidane’s side are doing at the moment. On Saturday they will seek to become the first side to win three European Cups on the bounce since Bayern Munich in 1976.
“Real Madrid are the champions and fantastic in the competition with their history,” said Kennedy. “You have to respect what they have done.
“Everyone expected Liverpool to be in contention for all the trophies too and that’s what we wanted, to push ourselves to as many finals. We wanted to win everything. Maybe we were a bit greedy, but we felt we could do it.
“I don’t think we were arrogant, although our play suggested we were good at what we did. We played a system that was attack all the time no matter if we were under the cosh or defending.
“It was a great team, everyone knew their jobs, we didn’t change for anyone. We were single-minded about winning. We had set the standards and were under pressure to win every game.”
As favorites, Real will be under similar pressure as they seek a 13th title. And Kennedy believes that his former club can claim a sixth European Cup and their first since the famous 2005 triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul when they came back from 3-0 down.
“I know it will be a great game, difficult to call,” he said.
“But I would be saying to the Liverpool players that you can win it, you are good enough to win it. Go out and play the same way you
have all season. If they do, I think they will win it.
“They may concede, but they should not change their style.”
And nor should they, as attack has been the best form of defense for Liverpool this season. In Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, there is a frontline blessed with pace, panache and potency.
Salah, rightly, has received accolades — including the PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year awards — after a stunning debut season following his £36.9 million ($49 million) arrival from Roma.
A landmark 42 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League — and ability to create chances have seen the Egyptian ranked alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
But, for Kennedy, there can be no comparison to Dalglish, arguably the greatest Kop king.
“Kenny was special, a different type of player, always on the shoulder of the defender,” he added. “Salah comes in from the wing and scores spectacular goals. Liverpool play to his strengths as he is forever getting into the box and the right position.
“For me, Kenny, over 10 seasons, was Liverpool’s top player at that time, fantastic, and it’s difficult to put them side by side. Salah’s been wonderful, but never had a season like this before.”
Madrid’s talisman Ronaldo has. Another 43 goals for the five-time Ballon D’Or winner shows he remains a force at 33.
“I’ve always had utmost admiration for Ronaldo,” said Kennedy. “He has this ability to score in finals and show how good he is. One chance, he takes it.
“But that’s been the same with Salah too. The goals he has scored, he seems to see what comes ahead. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.”