Bangladesh add backup batsmen amid Tamim doubts

South African bowler Keshav Maharaj (R) celebrates after his dismissal of Bangladesh batsman Mominul Haque (L) during the third day of the first Test cricket match between South Africa and Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on Sept. 30, 2017. (AFP/Gianluigi Guercia)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Bangladesh add backup batsmen amid Tamim doubts

DHAKA: Bangladesh on Friday added batsman Mominul Haque to their squad for a three-match one-day international series in South Africa amid doubts about opener Tamim Iqbal.
Mominul is a Test regular but played the last of his 26 one-day games against Sri Lanka at the 2015 World Cup.
“We have concerns about the fitness of Tamim. So we thought we might need a back up,” said Bangladeshi selector Habibul Bashar.
“Mominul is already with the team. So his name popped up in our mind immediately,” he added.
A hamstring injury has forced Tamim out of the second Test beginning Friday at Bloemfontein but team physiotherapist Thihan Chandramohan was hopeful he would recover in time for the ODI series which starts October 15.
Tamim pulled a muscle during a three-day practice match at Benoni last month and did not appear fully fit during Bangladesh’s 333-run defeat in the first Test at Potchefstroom.
Pushed down-order to number five, he made 39 in the first innings. It was the first time in his Test career that he could not open the innings. He scored a duck in the second innings.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan also returned to the ODI squad after taking a break from Tests.
The ODI games will start in Kimberly and then go to Paarl and East London on October 18 and 22.
Bangladesh will also play two Twenty20 internationals during the month-long tour.
Bangladesh squad
Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mehedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin


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

Updated 22 June 2018
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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.