Palestine and UAE to play at Asian Games after mix up

Will the UAE's Omar Abdulrahman take part in this year's Asian Games?
Updated 25 July 2018
0

Palestine and UAE to play at Asian Games after mix up

  • Both countries were accidentally omitted from the original draw.
  • The sporting event in world after the Olympics set to take place in Indonesia next month.

The United Arab Emirates and Palestine were officially added to the football tournament at the Asian Games after they were accidentally omitted from the original draw.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted a limited re-draw at their headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to include the two sides alongside 24 others taking part in football at the Games, which begin next month.
AFC secretary-general Windsor John said Games organizers failed to pass the names of UAE and Palestine to his body for the initial draw, even though both teams had attempted to register.
John said he was not sure what caused the problem, adding “it could be some computer glitch, it could be some communication breakdown.”
He stressed the AFC was not running the competition, and was conducting the draw on behalf of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Indonesian organizing committee.
Eris Herryanto, secretary-general of the Indonesian committee, told AFP the two sides had not properly followed the registration procedures.
“They did something wrong. For example, if they registered one person more than they should have had, that won’t go into the system,” he said.
Palestine was placed in Group A with Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos and Taiwan. The UAE was placed in Group E with South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Bahrain.
It was the latest problem to hit the run-up to the Games, which are being held in Palembang and the capital Jakarta from August 18-September 2.
At the weekend irate Indonesian football fans ripped plastic seats from the stands and hurled them onto a pitch at a stadium in Palembang scheduled to host matches at the Games.
Indonesia has been scrambling to prepare venues, finish building work, widen roads and ease traffic congestion.
About 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries will take part in the world’s biggest multi-sports event after the Olympics.


Mahrez and Mane duel in rematch for Africa Cup of Nations glory

Updated 18 July 2019
0

Mahrez and Mane duel in rematch for Africa Cup of Nations glory

  • Algerian star Mahrez was part of the Manchester City team that edged out Mane’s Liverpool for the English title last season
CAIRO: Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane will renew their Premier League rivalry for a second time in Egypt, with Africa Cup of Nations immortality awaiting the victor of Friday’s final between Algeria and Senegal.
Algerian star Mahrez was part of the Manchester City team that edged out Mane’s Liverpool for the English title last season, grabbing a pivotal goal on the final day of the campaign.
Liverpool standout Mane, however, is attempting to fulfill his “wildest dream” as one of just a handful of Africans to win both the UEFA Champions League and Cup of Nations.
For the marquee name in a Senegalese side ranked top of the continent, and a surprising 46 places above Algeria, the ride to the final for Mane and the Teranga Lions has encountered its share of roadbumps.
Two missed Mane spot-kicks, a group stage loss to Algeria, and the loss of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to a broken finger have tested Senegal’s resolve in their quest for the Holy Grail of African football.
Coach Aliou Cisse is on a mission for personal redemption. He was the skipper of the side beaten on penalties in the 2002 final, with his missed kick handing the title to Cameroon.
“Having lost that final, I still have it on my mind,” said former Paris Saint-Germain and Birmingham City midfielder Cisse.
“What motivated me to become a coach was to be able to take Senegal to the final. My players told me they would do better than my generation.”
A maiden Cup of Nations for his country is a prize for which Mane readily admitted he would trade in last month’s Champions League title.
“I’m ready to even swap a Champions League for a Cup of Nations. Going to Dakar with the trophy would be extraordinary. It would be my wildest dream,” Mane told France Football ahead of the competition.
Standing in the way, however, is an Algerian outfit that has undergone a remarkable transformation since the arrival of Djamel Belmadi as coach a year ago.
The Desert Foxes failed miserably in World Cup qualifying, but the steely Belmadi has healed divisions in the squad to lead them to the brink of a first Cup of Nations triumph since 1990.
“To the Algerian people, I want to say I’m not a politician, not a miracle worker or a wizard, but that we will fight like we have fought to this point,” Belmadi said after the semifinal win over Nigeria.
Algeria are the leading scorers in Egypt with 12 goals, including Mahrez’s spectacular last-gasp free-kick against Nigeria, and haven’t trailed at all in the tournament.
“Algeria are so well organized, so compact, so ‘Guardiolaesque’ in the way they recover the ball,” opined experienced international coach Claude Le Roy. “Perhaps it is the influence of Mahrez.”
The Algeria captain has been in fine form for his country here, brimming with confidence after helping City to the domestic treble.
“We are very happy to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations because it is something very special,” said Mahrez.
“It was our goal to do it for the people and for our families. We know they are behind us all the way. It’s my dream to win the Cup of Nations.”
“It’s going to be another battle against Senegal,” he added. “We’ve been very good in this competition. The (Nigeria) match has given us more confidence for the final and we’re capable of winning it.”
Their hopes will boosted by the absence of Senegal’s defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly, whose yellow card in the semifinal victory over Tunisia cruelly ruled the Napoli star out of the final.
“It hurts to not be able to play. But I will be beside my brothers to write history,” tweeted Koulibaly, the cornerstone of a defense breached just once so far.