Clarke, Cabrera to tee off in T20-style Indian league

Updated 04 January 2013
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Clarke, Cabrera to tee off in T20-style Indian league

NEW DELHI: Darren Clarke and Angel Cabrera will be among four major winners teeing off in a city-based golf league in India next month in a format modeled on the country’s Twenty20 cricket league.
Masterminded by Indian golfer Shiv Kapur, the league would also feature former US Open champion Michael Campbell, 2002 PGA Championships winner Rich Beem, multiple European Tour winner David Howell and Asian Tour stalwart Thaworn Wiratchant, organizers said on Friday.
“When I saw the Indian Premier League (Twenty20 tournament), I thought it made cricket look cool. I wanted to do the same in golf, without taking away the seriousness of course,” Kapur, whose lone Asian Tour win came in 2005, told a news conference.
“It would be a great opportunity for the local players to team up with some of the big names. It would be an experience they would cherish for the rest of their life,” the 30-year-old golfer said.
Scheduled on Feb 8-10 at a course near Mumbai, the inaugural league will feature two day-night rounds of strokeplay, followed by the third and final round of best-ball format.
Each round will be played over 14 holes, instead of the regular 18, by the teams comprising four golfers, both local and international.
“We decided three-hour round would be ideal from TV viewership point of view,” explained Kapur.
Sri Lanka cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene is promoter of the $400,000 league’s Colombo-based franchise.
“We are starting with one team from Sri Lanka and the idea is to add more international franchises going forward,” Kapur said.
The organizers were yet to finalize the remaining three franchises and said a golfers’ auction would take place in the next couple of weeks, he added.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 56 min 11 sec ago
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.