Asian Cup organizers review UAE complaint on Qatar players

Qatar’s forward Hasan Al Haydos (C) is marked by United Arab Emirates’ forward Ismaeil Al Junaibi (L) and United Arab Emirates’ midfielder Ali Salmeen during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup semifinal football match between Qatar and UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 29, 2019. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)
Updated 31 January 2019

Asian Cup organizers review UAE complaint on Qatar players

  • The UAE lost 4-0 in Tuesday's semifinal against Qatar
  • Qatar will face Japan in the Asian Cup Final on Friday

ABU DHABI: Asian Cup hosts the UAE have protested the eligibility of two Qatari players on the eve of Qatar's appearance in Friday's final against Japan.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed to AFP on Thursday that it was investigating the case brought by the Emirati football association against the 2022 World Cup hosts.
The UAE's decision to appeal to organizers comes after Qatar thrashed the hosts 4-0 in a stormy semifinal.
According to media reports, the players in question are striker Almoez Ali, who has scored a record-equalling eight goals at the tournament, and defender Bassam Al-Rawi.
Ali, 22, is of Sudanese descent, while 21-year-old Al-Rawi was born in Iraq.
"The Asian Football Confederation has received a protest from the UAE FA regarding the eligibility of two Qatar players," an AFC spokesman told AFP.
"This protest will now be reviewed in line with the AFC regulations."
Qatar could potentially have to forfeit the match and be ordered to pay a fine, under the AFC's Disciplinary and Ethics Code.
The AFC also has the power to exclude teams from a future competition if the ineligibility is discovered after a tournament, the document says.
Their Spanish coach Feliz Sanchez insisted there was no issue.
"I'm not concerned at all," shrugged the Spaniard, after AFC moderators had tried in vain to block press conference questions on the issue.
"All the players are working with us, so no worries.
"We're very isolated (at the hotel) and we're not looking for any outside discussion," he added. "This team doesn't need any extra motivation — to play an Asian Cup final is enough motivation."
Iran made a similar protest against an Iraqi player they claimed was ineligible at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, which was rejected by the AFC.


Australia can win basketball World Cup, says USA coach

Updated 22 August 2019

Australia can win basketball World Cup, says USA coach

MELBOURNE: United States coach Gregg Popovich has tipped Australia as a key contender at the upcoming basketball World Cup in China, saying they have the ability to win the tournament.
The veteran San Antonio Spurs mastermind offered the praise ahead of two warm-up games between the nations in Melbourne this week.
“They are one of the teams that can win the whole thing, without a doubt,” Popovich said. “I’m not saying that because I’m here (in Melbourne). It’s just a fact.”
The world number one Americans will try to win a third consecutive World Cup next month with a line-up that lacks many of their NBA superstars, with the likes of James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard among notable absentees.
But they boast top young talent and will use the games in Australia to refine their identity.
They arrived in Melbourne on the back of a 90-81 victory over second-ranked Spain in Anaheim, California, and will play the Boomers later Thursday, then again Saturday before a final warm-up against Canada in Sydney on August 26.
In contrast to the five-time World Cup winners, Australia have never won a medal. But Popovich thinks this could be their year.
“They’ve been close for several years, and they are hungry. They are talented. Coach (Andrej) Lemanis does a good job, and they are a team,” he said on the USA basketball website.
“They are together. They know what they are doing. They execute really well, so that’s what it takes. They have the toughness and physicality to go with it.
“I think they are one of the top contenders without a doubt.”
While Australia boosts a handful of NBA stars, including Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingle and Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs, they suffered a setback on Monday when Jonah Bolden joined his teammate Ben Simmons in pulling out of the World Cup.
Other Australian NBA standouts not playing include Thon Maker (NBA commitments), Ryan Broekhoff (birth of his child) and Dante Exum (injury).