Pakistan upset at cricket players body for security warning

Updated 11 January 2017
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Pakistan upset at cricket players body for security warning

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board is angry that the international players’ body has advised foreign players against visiting Lahore in March for the Pakistan Super League final.
The Twenty20 league will be played mainly in the United Arab Emirates, but the PCB has scheduled the final for Lahore on March 5.
In case foreign players refuse to go to Lahore, the PCB said it plans to replace them with other willing foreigners.
But a report by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) warns all foreign players from going to Pakistan for security reasons.
“Indiscriminate and targeted attacks are likely to continue, and expert advice is consistent with all government agencies and diplomatic missions, who generally advise to reconsider the need to travel,” FICA said. “There have been attacks at sporting events, which have had significant security overlay in the past, and terrorist groups in Pakistan have demonstrated the intent and capability to launch attacks anywhere in the country. Locations including luxury hotels are also at high risk of being targeted by militant groups.”
The security risks for foreign players in Pakistan “remain heightened,” FICA executive chairman Tony Irish wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press. He added they were obliged to pass on security assessments.
Without naming any foreign players, the PCB said the league has received confirmation from top international players who will play in Lahore if their teams qualify.
But the PCB remained extremely disappointed by FICA, and described the report as a “careless and cavalier approach.”
“FICA has done great disservice to the cause of cricket in general and Pakistan cricket in particular by advising players not to play in the PSL final,” the PCB said in a statement. “FICA has cited unnamed expert security consultants for updated security advice that claims Pakistan is at an extremely elevated state of insecurity.
“FICA sits thousands of miles away from Pakistan and cannot name even one credible security expert, yet makes a sweeping negative statement about the security situation in Lahore.
“FICA’s claim that ‘westerners and luxury hotels have been attacked’ is contrary to the facts on the ground that prove that not a single foreigner or hotel has been attacked in Lahore in the last five years.”
The PCB said the government has guaranteed protection by more than 3,000 Army and police personnel in Lahore for the final, and the board will provide armored buses for travel by the teams along with VVIP security.
Pakistan has been trying to regain the confidence of major foreign teams to restart touring Pakistan since the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 in Lahore.
Among Test-playing nations, only Zimbabwe has toured Pakistan, for three ODIs in 2015. Affiliate members Afghanistan, Kenya, and Hong Kong plus a Malaysian team have also visited.


Saudi Arabia legend extends his remarkable football career by another season

Updated 19 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia legend extends his remarkable football career by another season

LONDON: The indefatigable Hussein Abdulghani is back in Saudi Arabia and set to continue his playing career with yet another season of top-level football.
The 41-year-old first started his professional career way back in 1995 with Al-Ahli and, fitness permitting, he could still be playing 24 years later after it was announced he has signed a short-term deal with Ohod.
Ohod finished bottom of the pile last season, but they managed to avoid relegation by beating Al-Ta’ee over two legs in a playoff. They have sought the experience of Abdulghani in a bid to avoid the struggles of last season.
“Allow me first to extend my sincere thanks to Ohod Club’s management for the confidence and trust they have shown in me,” said Abdulghani in a video interview on the club’s Twitter account. “I hope to be an addition to the club and together be able to entertain and wow the audience and gain their support. The club’s management exerted enormous effort in this regards by signing contracts with several players, and I hope that they support the club in the upcoming period.”
Abdulghani, who turns 42 in January, has spent the last season playing in Bulgaria, but he has decided to return to the Kingdom and play for a third Saudi Pro League club. He played nearly 300 times for Al-Ahli during a 13-year spell and then went on to make nearly 150 appearances for Al-Nassr. There was also, in between, a season-long spell at Swiss club Neuchâtel Xamax. In a quirk of the fixture list, Ohod's first two league games this season will be against Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli, two of Abdulghani's former clubs.
The full-back, who has played 134 times for his country, was on the verge of making a shock return to the national team set-up earlier this year for the first time in four years after coach Juan Antonio Pizzi recalled the defender to the squad and picked him in the starting XI for the game against Iraq at Basra International Stadium.
But his hopes were cruelly dashed after his Bulgarian club side Vereya refused to release him for the historic friendly match because it fell outside the FIFA International Match Calendar.