Holders Cameroon to face Nigeria as Ghana pinch top spot

Holders Cameroon to face Nigeria as Ghana pinch top spot
Cameroon's defender Banana Yaya (L) fights for the ball with Benin's forward Jodel Dossou during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group F football match between Benin and Cameroon. (AFP)
Updated 02 July 2019

Holders Cameroon to face Nigeria as Ghana pinch top spot

Holders Cameroon to face Nigeria as Ghana pinch top spot

ISMAILIA, Egypt: Defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Cameroon will meet Nigeria in a clash of continental giants in the last 16 after Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Benin allowed Ghana to finish top of Group F.
Cameroon stuttered to a second goalless stalemate in succession as Ghana, who drew their opening two games, beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to finish ahead of the holders on goals scored.
The Black Stars will take on the runners-up from Group E, where all four teams remain in contention, for a place in the quarter-finals while Benin scraped through as one of the best third-place sides.
Saturnin Allagbe replaced Fabien Farnolle in goal for Benin and produced fine saves to deny Ambroise Oyongo and Cameroon captain Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting but the Indomitable Lions again looked worryingly blunt in attack.
Clarence Seedorf's side have scored just twice in Egypt, in the opening 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, and their path to retaining the title grew increasingly more difficult with a wounded Nigeria now awaiting them in the next round and hosts Egypt likely facing the winner of that tie.
Jordan Ayew struck for the second time in three matches in the group's other game in Suez as Ghana sent Guinea-Bissau home without a point or a goal.
Richard Ofori made a sharp stop to prevent former Liverpool youth team forward Toni Silva giving Guinea-Bissau a shock lead but Ayew, who endured a miserable season at Crystal Palace, has rediscovered his form for his country.
Ayew collected a ball down the left-hand side right at the start of the second half and ran towards goal as the defence backed off before picking out the corner of the net.
Mamadu Cande rattled the woodwork for Guinea-Bissau while Ayew twice hit the post for Ghana before Thomas Partey slid in to convert Baba Rahman's cross 20 minutes from time to send the four-time champions through as group winners.


Bill Gates shows support for son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of Olympic event

Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
Updated 33 min 18 sec ago

Bill Gates shows support for son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of Olympic event

Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition. (Reuters/File Photos)
  • The 30-year-old Egyptian will take part in equestrian jumping competition on Aug. 3

CAIRO: Bill Gates has sent a message of support to son-in-law Nayel Nassar ahead of the Egyptian’s participation at Tokyo 2020’s equestrian competition.

The 30-year-old Nassar will take part in the jumping individual qualifier at Tokyo’s Equestrian Park on Aug. 3.

“I support many athletes in the Tokyo Olympics at the moment, but there is no athlete I support more than my son-in-law Nayel Nassar. Good luck Nayel,” Gates, the founder of Microsoft, said in a post on his official Instagram account.

Nassar proposed to Jennifer Katharine Gates in January 2020 after a relationship that spanned almost four years.

The 23-year-old daughter of the billionaire had also announced the news of her engagement to the then 28-year-old Nassar through Instagram.

At the time, Gates expressed his joy at his daughter’s announcement, saying: “I feel very happy. Congratulations.”

The two Stanford University graduates share a love of many hobbies, in particular equestrianism.

Nassar will kick off Egypt’s involvement in the individual Equestrian competition on Tuesday, which will quickly be followed by the team competition on Friday.

Egyptian supporters and delegation officials have high hopes that Nassar could be a medal winner at Tokyo 2020, one month after he finished first at the St Gallen Grand Prix Championship held in Switzerland.

Hisham Hatab, president of the Egyptian Olympic Committee and the Equestrian Federation, had congratulated Nassar on this significant result, among other achievements, which have raised expectations of success in Japan.

Nassar hails from an Egyptian Muslim family and was born in Chicago in 1991. His parents, Iman Harby and Fouad Nassar, later moved to Kuwait, where they owned and ran an architectural firm. In 2009 he relocated to California were he obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford. He is fluent in French, English and Arabic.

At the age of five, Nassar already showed great passion for horse riding, and was practicing jumping barriers by the age of 10. In 2013, at the age of 22, he took part in his first ever showjumping event.

As well as taking part in equestrian competitions that have helped him amass a worth of $75 million according to some reports, he also owns Nassar Stables, based in the city of Encinitas in California. Established in 2014, the stables breed and home prestigious horses.


Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 August 2021

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia

Audi to use electrically powered vehicle at Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia
  • Audi RS Q e-tron, a futuristic prototype that allows a high-voltage battery to be charged while driving, is already under testing

DUBAI: Audi Sport has started testing the new Audi RS Q e-tron, with which it will take on one of the greatest challenges there is in international racing, the Dakar Rally 2022 in Saudi Arabia next January.

Audi is set to be the first car manufacturer to use an electrified drivetrain in combination with an efficient energy converter in its rally SUVs to compete against traditional, diesel-powered vehicles in the world’s toughest rally.

“The quattro was a game-changer for the World Rally championship. Audi was the first brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hours with an electrified drivetrain. Now, we want to usher in a new era at the Dakar Rally, while testing and further developing our e-tron technology under extreme conditions,” said Julius Seebach, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. “Our RS Q e-tron was created on a blank sheet of paper in record time and stands for Vorsprung durch Technik.”

Less than a year after the initial concept idea, the new laboratory set up for the Dakar Rally has begun testing on the RS Q e-tron, and all eyes will be on its progress ahead of the event at the start of 2022.

“The Dakar Rally has become one of the most renowned motoring events globally for its rich history and prestige among international racing communities and we are very proud that it is hosted in the Middle East,” said Carsten Barden, Audi Middle East managing director. “We’re looking forward to being part of this flagship event where the Audi RS Q e-tron can showcase its unmatched innovation in the unique climate presented by the region.”

The conditions and terrain of the Dakar Rally present the engineers with special challenges. The marathon event lasts two weeks and the daily stages are up to 800 km in length. “That’s a very long distance,” said Andreas Roos, head of the Dakar project at Audi Sport. “What we are trying to do has never been done before. This is the ultimate challenge for an electric drivetrain.”

Because there are no charging opportunities in the desert, Audi has chosen an innovative concept: On board of the Audi RS Q e-tron there is a highly efficient engine that is part of an energy converter that charges the high-voltage battery while driving.

Visually, the Audi RS Q e-tron also differs significantly from conventionally powered Dakar prototypes. “The vehicle looks futuristic and has many design elements that are typical of Audi,” said Juan Manuel Diaz, team leader of motorsport design at Audi. “Our aim was to symbolize Vorsprung durch Technik and the future of our brand.”

The Dakar Rally entry is being run in conjunction with Q Motorsport.

“Audi has always chosen new and bold paths in racing, but I think this is one of the most complex cars that I have ever seen,” said team principal Sven Quandt. “The electric drivetrain means that a lot of different systems have to communicate with each other. Besides reliability, which is paramount in the Dakar Rally, that’s our biggest challenge in the coming months.”

Quandt compares Audi’s Dakar project to the first moon landing: “Back then, the engineers didn’t really know what was coming. It’s similar with us. If we finish the first Dakar event, that’s already a success.”

The prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron had its first roll-out in Neuburg at the beginning of July. An intensive test program and the first test entries at cross-country rallies are on the agenda from now until the end of the year.


5 things we learned from Egypt football team’s participation at Tokyo 2020 after loss to Brazil

5 things we learned from Egypt football team’s participation at Tokyo 2020 after loss to Brazil
Updated 01 August 2021

5 things we learned from Egypt football team’s participation at Tokyo 2020 after loss to Brazil

5 things we learned from Egypt football team’s participation at Tokyo 2020 after loss to Brazil
  • Pharaohs did exceptionally well to qualify to quarterfinals from Group of Death, but lack of firepower caught up with them in the end

Arab interest in the men’s Olympic football tournament ended on Saturday as Egypt lost 1-0 to Brazil in Saitama. The South Americans progress to the last four while the North Africans head home, but there was plenty to think about on the plane back to Cairo.

Here are five things we learned from the Egypt under-23 football team’s participation at Tokyo 2020.

1. Egypt survived the Group of Death

It wasn’t the most exciting of rides, but it should not be forgotten that Egypt got out of the Group of Death. There was a hard-fought draw with Spain, a valiant 1-0 defeat against Argentina and then the all-important win over Australia. To finish second behind Spain and above the South Americans in Group C is a significant achievement, and it should give the players a huge confidence boost going forward.

Like the rest of Africa, the senior team is in qualification action for the 2022 World Cup in September and should have few problems getting past Angola, Libya and Gabon into the next round. The confidence and experience from Japan should stand those players who went to the Olympics and are also part of the senior team in good stead to ensure that they make it to Qatar next year.

2. Defense was an understandable strategy, but Egypt could have done more

In four games played, Egypt conceded just two goals but scored only two as well. That tells the story of this tournament. Coach Shawky Gharib set up the team not to concede. It may not have been pretty, but it was understandable given the absences and the quality of the opposition.

Ideally, Egypt would have done what it did in the group stage — similar to England at the Euros — and then move up a gear in the knockout rounds. It is difficult when you are facing a talented Brazil team, but had the Pharaohs attacked a little more in the three group games, then they would surely have been a little more fluid going forward in the quarterfinal, which could have made all the difference. The coach could have used attacking midfielder Nasser Maher more than he did.

3. Egypt missed Mohamed Salah

It’s an obvious point, but Egypt lacked a cutting edge in attack. Defensively, the team was solid and played to those strengths. There was criticism of these tactics from some journalists and former players who felt that the team should have attacked more, and while that is easier said than done against Spain, Argentina and Brazil, they did have a point in the Australia game.

But had Mohamed Salah been present, then not only would the team have been more dangerous in attack, but the opposition would have been warier too. The Liverpool star is perhaps the Egyptian striker who can put half-chances away on a constant basis.

Brazil may have been a little more conservative had Salah been loitering with intent, and it would have relieved some of the pressure on the backline. The whole atmosphere around the game would have been different. Richarlison caused lots of problems for Egypt, but the Everton man can’t match Salah in the English Premier League. He may not have managed it in Japan either.

4. Hegazi and El-Shenawy shine

While there is little doubt Brazil deserved to beat Egypt, there is no disgrace to lose 1-0 to the South Americans. The fact that the scoreline was so tight was, in no small part, due to the heroics of goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy.

The Al-Ahly No. 1 made many saves to keep out Richarlison and company. The main duty of overage players is to bring something to the team that the younger folk can’t do, and the 32-year-old did that and more.

Ahmed Hegazi was just as much of an influence. The Al-Ittihad defender rivals the goalkeeper for the most impressive performance in the four games. It is not just about his intelligent positioning and hard work but the leadership that helps inspire the whole team. Egypt conceded just two goals in four games against some quality opposition and attackers, and these two overage stars deserve plenty of credit for that.

5. Africa falls short on the big stage once more

The Olympics is a more democratic football tournament than the World Cup. In the quarterfinals, there were two African teams and two from Asia, with South America, Oceania, Europe and Concacaf having one each. That was a good showing from Africa, but both Egypt and the Ivory Coast failed to make the last four. All the other confederations will have one representative each in the semifinals, but not Africa.

If you take Nigeria out of the equation, then the continent’s performance in recent Olympic tournaments has not been great, with talented teams going so far but failing to stay until the end. It is the same with World Cups. The best of Africa need to start turning good tournament performances into great ones.


Egypt beats Bahrain 30-20 in handball men’s competition to qualify for quarterfinals

Egypt beats Bahrain 30-20 in handball men’s competition to qualify for quarterfinals
Updated 01 August 2021

Egypt beats Bahrain 30-20 in handball men’s competition to qualify for quarterfinals

Egypt beats Bahrain 30-20 in handball men’s competition to qualify for quarterfinals
  • The Pharaohs finished second in Group B and will now face Germany on Tuesday

Egypt defeated Bahrain 30-20 in their handball men’s preliminary round match at Yoyogi National Stadium on Sunday to finish second in Group B and progress to Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

With four wins and one loss, Egypt finished behind group winners Denmark — who beat Portugal 34-28 yesterday — and will now face Germany in their next match.

Egypt has never won a medal in the handball Olympic competition but will now have their eyes on a podium finish at Tokyo 2020.

The Pharaohs opened their Olympic campaign with a 37-31 win over Portugal on July 24, but two days later lost their second fixture 32-27 to Denmark. However, since then the Egyptian team has been faultless, beating hosts Japan 33-29 and Sweden 27-22 before this morning’s win over fellow Arab competitors Bahrain.

Egypt progressively improved throughout the first half to take a commanding lead of 15-7 by the break. Despite a spirited performance by Bahrain that saw them score 13 points in the second half, Egypt managed to double their tally for an ultimately comfortable win.

The  37-year-old veteran Ahmed El-Ahmar was once again the team’s standout performer, scoring five goals to take his overall tally to a Egyptian Olympic record of 83. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Mohamed El-Tayar had another fine game against Bahrain, saving 15 of the 35 shots that he faced.


Saudi runner Mazen Al-Yassin wins Men’s 400m heat to reach Tokyo 2020 semifinal

Saudi runner Mazen Al-Yassin wins Men’s 400m heat to reach Tokyo 2020 semifinal
Updated 01 August 2021

Saudi runner Mazen Al-Yassin wins Men’s 400m heat to reach Tokyo 2020 semifinal

Saudi runner Mazen Al-Yassin wins Men’s 400m heat to reach Tokyo 2020 semifinal
  • The 25-year-old’s result represents one of the Kingdom’s best performances at the Olympics

Runner Mazen Al-Yassin has produced one of the Saudi Arabian delegation’s best performances at Tokyo 2020 by winning his race in the Men’s 400m competition at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday morning.

A personal best time of 45.16 seconds saw him finish ahead of Kevin Borlee of Belgium and Ricky Petrucciani of Switzerland.

The 25-year-old will now be aiming for Thursday’s final when he takes part in Monday morning’s semifinals, starting from 2:05 a.m. Saudi Arabia time.

Al-Yassin received the call up to the Olympics on July 2 and headed to Tokyo after eight years of consistent participation in the 400m behind him.

He represented Saudi Arabia at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Ukraine and that same year won gold at the 4x400m relay at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia and silver at in the individual 400m at the Asian Junior Games in Taiwan.

In 2015, another silver followed in the 4x400m relay at the Asian Games in China.

In 2017, Al-Yassin’s personal best would rapidly improve, with the runner winning silver in the individual 400m race at the Arab Championships in Tunisia and bronze in the relay. The same year, he grabbed another silver at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.