New Indian boss mulls bid for 2032 Olympics

Olympic rings (AFP)
Updated 15 December 2017
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New Indian boss mulls bid for 2032 Olympics

NEW DELHI: India’s new Olympics chief Narinder Batra has vowed to make bids to stage the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asian Games or 2026 Commonwealth Games, saying the country must “think big.”
Batra, who is also the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, said after winning the Indian Olympic Association vote late Thursday that an approach would be made to the Indian government for financial backing.
“Once I settle down, the IOA will take a proposal to the government to host the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asiad and 2026 CWG. We should think big but hosting these Games depends on the government as they will sanction the funds,” he said.
“I have always dreamed big and this is my personal view that India should host these big events.”
When New Delhi staged the 2010 Commonwealth Games, they were marked by construction delays, failing infrastructure and accusations of financial mismanagement.
But India is now one of the world’s fastest growing major economies, and international sporting chiefs say it must be a contender to hold major events.
India’s sporting relations with arch-rival neighbor Pakistan could prove a sticking point, however.
Batra said he opposed any bilateral contests against Pakistan. The two dispute Kashmir territory, while India accuses Pakistan of supporting “terrorism.”
“As far as multilateral events organized by the international federations are concerned, we have to play Pakistan. But I think it is not possible to play them in bilateral events unless relations between the two countries are improved.
“Moreover their behavior at the border will have to improve. Everybody in India is an Indian first.”
As India’s hockey chief, Batra suspended matches against Pakistan after a 2014 Champions Trophy semifinal which Pakistan won. India accused the Pakistani players of making obscene gestures to the Indian crowd.
Batra overwhelmingly won the contest for the IOA presidency, but a Delhi court is still to review the vote.


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
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‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”