More prize money at stake in World Match Play Championship

Updated 04 December 2012
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More prize money at stake in World Match Play Championship

SOFIA: Prize money for the 2013 World Match Play Championship will rise to 3 million euros ($3.90 million), Per Ericsson, president of event management for sponsors Volvo said yesterday.
The figure marks a nine percent increase over the 2012 total of 2.75 million euros.
Bulgaria will host a European tour event for the first time when the 2013 World Match Play Championship is staged at the Black Sea resort of Thracian Cliffs from May 16-19.
“Now, we are the first to bring a full European Tour event to Bulgaria,” Ericsson told a news conference in Sofia.
“Not only does Thracian Cliffs provide us with a wonderful stage for this great tournament but, vitally, it works for us on a business level as Eastern Europe is a very important business area for us..”
The elite World Match Play Championship, celebrating its 50th year in 2013, will gather 24 of the world’s best players to compete for the title.
“The 3.0 million euros prize fund adds to the millions Volvo has invested into golf over the last 25 years and reflects the status of this championship,” sports management company IMG’s global co-managing director Guy Kinnings said.
Defending champion Nicolas Colsaerts, 2012 Portugal Mastsers’ winner Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Hanson — the leading four players on the final 2012 Race to Dubai Rankings, have already qualified for the event.
The winner will collect 800,000 euros ($1.04 million) from the prize fund.
“I am very excited to be defending my title at this new venue,” said Colsaerts.
“As historic as the Match Play Championship is, I think it is pretty neat that it is still making history as the first full European tournament to be held in Bulgaria and I look forward to experiencing all Bulgaria has to offer in May.”
Gary Player, one of the biggest names in the sport, designed Thracian Cliffs and the course in the Balkan country has been described as the “Pebble Beach of Europe,” a reference to the spectacular championship links in California.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.