Korean international Kim’s transfer to Al-Nasr confirmed

Korean international Kim’s transfer to Al-Nasr confirmed
South Korean international Kim Jin-su can’t wait to start playing for Al-Nasr after his transfer from Jeonbuk Motors was confirmed on Sunday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 30 August 2020

Korean international Kim’s transfer to Al-Nasr confirmed

Korean international Kim’s transfer to Al-Nasr confirmed
  • “It is still a little surreal,” Kim told domestic media after saying goodbye to his Jeonbuk team-mates
  • Arab News understands that Kim was offered a significant rise by Al-Nasr to around $3 million

LONDON: South Korean international Kim Jin-su can’t wait to start playing for Al-Nasr after his transfer from Jeonbuk Motors was confirmed on Sunday, a move that was pushed through by the player.
Al-Nasr have been chasing the highly rated left-back for weeks and finally got their man after telling Jeonbuk, two-time Asian champions, that they had until the end of August to accept an undisclosed fee for the 28-year-old who has made 46 appearances for the Taeguk Warriors.
“It is still a little surreal,” Kim, who spent two seasons in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim from 2014-16, told domestic media after saying goodbye to his Jeonbuk team-mates. “It feels like it is not real but I am looking forward to this new stage of my career. I am sad to leave Jeonbuk but if I can be as happy and successful at Al-Nasr as I was here then it will be great.”
Kim leaves the champions of South Korea, who currently sit in second place in the K-League, to join the champions of Saudi Arabia who sit in second place in the Saudi Pro League. Al-Nasr are six points behind Al-Hilal with just two games to play while Jeonbuk are just four points behind Ulsan Horang-i with nine remaining.
“I am sorry to leave at such a time when the team is fighting for the title and I have told them to go and win it without me,” Kim, who has also played for Albirex Niigata in Japan, said. “From now, however, all my energy is focused on helping Al-Nasr achieve success. I know I am joining a big team and am ready for the challenge.”
Jeonbuk did all they could to keep hold of Kim, one of the K-League’s biggest stars and also one of its highest paid at around $1.2 million a year, but were fighting a losing battle from the start.
While the fee and salary are undisclosed, Arab News understands that Kim was offered a significant rise by Al-Nasr to around $3 million. The move made financial sense for Jeonbuk, too, as with the international’s contract ending in December, he would have been able to leave for nothing.
With Al-Nasr telling Jeonbuk to make a decision by the end of August, Jeonbuk waited as long as possible to keep the player before agreeing.
“We wanted Kim to stay,” a Jeonbuk official told Arab News. “He is an important player for us but Al-Nasr made it clear how much they wanted him, and in the end he wanted to go and we thought that we should not stand in the way of a player’s wishes. We wish him well in Saudi Arabia.”
Jeonbuk’s desire to keep Kim is understandable as the club is facing a crucial couple of months with the resumption of the AFC Champions League in October, a competition that the club is keen to win for a third time, and also the rest of the K-League season. 
Not only that, the domestic transfer window is closed, meaning that Jeonbuk are unable to sign a replacement until the end of the season. The club offered Kim a contract extension but with coronavirus hitting the revenues of the club’s owners Hyundai Motors, it included a salary reduction. 
The new Al-Nasr player will be turning to another South Korean left-back who went to Saudi Arabia for advice. Lee Young-pyo, who also played for Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund, won the 2010 and 2011 league titles with Al-Hilal. Kim’s former international team-mate Jang Hyun-soo is currently with Al-Hilal.
Kim, who represented Korea at the 2018 World Cup, is due to arrive in Riyadh at the end of the week. “I hope I can make a difference as soon as possible and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said.


Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa claims Olympic karate bronze for Jordan after semifinal loss to Turkey’s Eray Samdan

Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa claims Olympic karate bronze for Jordan after semifinal loss to Turkey’s Eray Samdan
Updated 8 min 26 sec ago

Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa claims Olympic karate bronze for Jordan after semifinal loss to Turkey’s Eray Samdan

Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa claims Olympic karate bronze for Jordan after semifinal loss to Turkey’s Eray Samdan
  • After four straight wins, the 25-year-old from Amman lost 2-0, but still won a place on the podium
  • Al-Masatfa and Assadilov were guaranteed their third place prizes without the bronze medal match that other Olympic disciplines require

Jordan’s Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa has claimed an Olympic bronze medal after losing the semifinal of the karate kumite 67-kg competition against Eray Samdan of Turkey at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo.

The 2-0 win meant Samdan progressed to the final against Frenchman Steven da Costa, who had beaten Darkhan Assadilov 5-3 in the earlier semifinal.

Da Costa went on to win gold by beating Samdan 5-0 in the final.

Al-Masafta did not hit the heights he had reached on Thursday morning when he won four matches in a row, including against da Costa. With 20 seconds left, the Jordanian found himself 2-0 down against Samdan, and needing a three-point ippon if he was to produce a late turnaround.

He will now contend himself with claiming a bronze for Jordan.

While the winners of the semifinals met in the gold medal match, the two losers — Al-Masatfa and Assadilov — were guaranteed their third place prizes without the bronze medal match that other Olympic disciplines require.

The 25-year-old Al-Masatfa had started Thursday’s participation in Pool B with an 8-3 win over Kalvis Kalnins of Latvia, before defeating da Costa 7-4.

After his bout against Angelo Crescenzo was cancelled due to the Italian pulling out of the competition, Al-Masatfa continued his winning run by beating Hamoon Derafshipour of the Refugee Olympic Team 3-0.

The Jordanian rounded up his Pool B matches with a 4-1 win over Andres Eduardo Madera Delgado of Venezuela to secure his semi-final spot.


UAE record goalscorer Ali Mabkhout extends contract at champions Al Jazira until 2026

UAE record goalscorer Ali Mabkhout extends contract at champions Al Jazira until 2026
Updated 05 August 2021

UAE record goalscorer Ali Mabkhout extends contract at champions Al Jazira until 2026

UAE record goalscorer Ali Mabkhout extends contract at champions Al Jazira until 2026
  • Mabkhout has appeared in 289 domestic matches, scoring 199 goals along the way, and won three league championships with the Abu Dhabi club

ABU DHABI: Ali Mabkhout, the Al Jazira FC and UAE national team all-time top scorer, has signed a new contract with the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) champions until at least 2026.

The 30-year-old has been a constant presence in the club’s recent history, and is a graduate of its youth academy. During his 17 years at the “Pride of Abu Dhabi,” Mabkhout has appeared in 289 domestic matches, scoring an astonishing 199 goals along the way.

“Al Jazira has always been my second home and my big football family,” said Mabkhout. “It is the club that gave me everything I could have wished for as a professional footballer. I want to thank everyone at the club for their continuous trust and support in me over the past years. Thanks to our esteemed leadership, the club has a clear vision and a great squad for great success in the upcoming years.

“I am very grateful to the ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’s’ loyal fans for showing me unconditional support every single day,” he added. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to play for them for many years to come. They are one of the biggest reasons I train my hardest every day to live up to their high expectations on the pitch. My focus now lies on working with the rest of team to build on the great achievements of last year and fight for all titles next season.”

Having scored 171 goals in 234 AGL matches, the striker now sits just four goals away from becoming the all-time top scorer of the UAE’s top-flight league.

Lat season, Al Jazira’s vice-captain led the club to its third AGL title by playing every single minute of the campaign. Mabkhout’s exceptional turnout was topped by being crowned the league’s top scorer, with 25 goals in 26 matches, as well as leading the assists standings with 10, alongside fellow midfielder Khalfan Al-Mubarak.

“Mabkhout is one of the symbols of Al Jazira and Emirati football,” Mohammed Saif Al-Suwaidi, chair of Al-Jazira’s sporting committee, said. “We cannot measure the sheer importance of his technical ability to our team. He is also one of the best players to embody Al Jazira’s values and principles in the best way possible both on and off the pitch. Therefore, it was our top priority to renew his contract during this transfer window and to keep him at his second home for years to come.

“Many young players consider Ali an inspiration because of his efforts, commitment, spirit and high professionalism which he has showcased since the start of his footballing career,” he added. “All these qualities made him compete against some of the best and most famous international players in our league and enabled him to top them both on an individual and team basis. We are all happy and proud of everything he does and will continue to do for Al Jazira and the national team. We have high hopes in his ability to achieve even greater individual and team success in the future.”

During his tenure at the club, Mabkhout cemented himself as one of Asia’s most prolific strikers, winning the AGL on three occasions (2010-11, 2016-17, 2020-21), UAE President’s Cup three times (2010-11, 2011-12, 2015-16) and the Arabian Gulf Cup once. On the world stage, he has represented Al Jazira 12 times in the AFC Asian Champions League, scoring 13 goals along the way. He also featured in the 2017 Club World Cup, which saw Al Jazira secure fourth place.

“Ali is an influential member of the Al Jazira family, he has been proudly with us every step of the way of his distinguished career and has written his name in the history books of our club,” Al Jazira CEO Ali Youssef Al Hammadi said. “There was only one decision we always had in mind when it came to his future, and that was to pen down a long-term deal. Ali is respected and loved across the country and the wider global football community, and we take great pride that he actively gives back to our local community.”

The player’s collection of individual accolades with the Abu Dhabi club includes winning the AGL golden boot twice (2016-17, 2020-21) and being crowned player of the season in the title-winning 2016-17 season.

Mabkhout’s renewal follows a string of contract extensions by the club over the past few months to secure the services of its stars for the upcoming seasons, which include Ali Khaseif, Miloš Kosanović, Thulani Serrero, Khalifa Al Hammadi, in addition to Dutch head coach Marcel Keizer.


Egypt’s gold medal quest in men’s handball at Tokyo 2020 ended by France in semifinal

Egypt’s gold medal quest in men’s handball at Tokyo 2020 ended by France in semifinal
Updated 05 August 2021

Egypt’s gold medal quest in men’s handball at Tokyo 2020 ended by France in semifinal

Egypt’s gold medal quest in men’s handball at Tokyo 2020 ended by France in semifinal
  • Egyptians will face loser of 2nd semifinal between Norway, Russian Olympic Committee in Saturday’s bronze medal match

RIYADH: Egypt’s excellent run in the men’s handball contest at Tokyo 2020 on Thursday came to an end in the semifinals with a 27-23 loss to France at Yoyogi National Stadium.

The North African team once again put on a performance full of desire, but some careless finishing proved costly against a strong French outfit that now advances to Saturday’s final — its fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal match — against the winner of the other semifinal between Norway and the Russian Olympic Committee.

Egypt will face the loser of that match in the bronze medal game on the same day.

The teams could not be separated at the break, the first half finishing 13-13, with the Egyptians well placed to advance if they could have maintained the form they had shown throughout the tournament.

The second half, however, was disappointing for Egypt with only 10 goals scored, and the lack of scoring power dogged them through a period in which France took a lead they would not relinquish.

With five minutes left to play, the Egyptians were 24-21 down and fast running out of time to save the match.

French keeper Vincent Gerard pulled off a number of priceless saves which could have cut the deficit, while the visibly tiring Egyptian attackers missed several presentable chances as the clock ticked down.

Despite obvious disappointment at the final whistle, Egypt’s players will now turn their attentions toward salvaging a bronze medal from what has been an outstanding competition for them.


Jordan’s Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa confirms semifinal place, and Olympic medal, in Tokyo 2020 Karate competition

Jordan’s Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa confirms semifinal place, and Olympic medal, in Tokyo 2020 Karate competition
Updated 05 August 2021

Jordan’s Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa confirms semifinal place, and Olympic medal, in Tokyo 2020 Karate competition

Jordan’s Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa confirms semifinal place, and Olympic medal, in Tokyo 2020 Karate competition
  • The 25-year-old will face Eray Samdan of Turkey on Thursday afternoon knowing at least a bronze medal is now guaranteed

A four-match winning streak has seen Abdel Rahman Al-Masatfa of Jordan confirm a semifinal place, and a Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal, in the Karate Kumite -67kg competition on Thursday morning at the Nippon Budokan arena in the Japanese capital.

He will now fight Eray Samdan of Turkey in their last four match (from 3pm KSA). While the winners of the semifinals meet in the gold medal match, the losers will each receive a bronze medal.

The 25-year-old Al-Masatfa kicked of his participation in Pool B with an 8-3 win over  Kalvis Kalnins  of Latvia, and followed that up with 7-4 win over the Frenchman Steven da Costa.

After his bout against Angelo Crescenzo was cancelled due to the Italian pulling out of the competition, Al-Masatfa continued his winning run by beating Hamoon Derafshipour of the Refugee Olympic Team 3-0.

The Jordanian rounded up his Pool B matches with 4-1 win over Andres Eduardo Madera Delgado of Venezuela to secure his semi-final spot.

Meanwhile, Ali Elsawy of Egypt, fighting in the Kumite -67 Pool A, lost his opening bout 4-3 to Japan’s Naoto Sago, before losing his second match 4-1 to eventual semifinalist Samdan.

The 26-year-old Egyptian got back to winning way when he narrowly overcame Firdovsi Farzaliyev of Azerbaijan 1-0.

However, Elsawy lost his last Pool A match 3-1 to Darkhan Assadilov of Kazakhstan to exit the competition.


Disappointing morning sees three Arab wrestlers exit Tokyo 2020

Disappointing morning sees three Arab wrestlers exit Tokyo 2020
Updated 05 August 2021

Disappointing morning sees three Arab wrestlers exit Tokyo 2020

Disappointing morning sees three Arab wrestlers exit Tokyo 2020
  • Amr Reda Ramadan Hussen of Egypt reached the quarterfinal of the men’s freestyle 74kg competition before being knocked out

Thursday morning proved a hugely disappointing one for Arab wrestlers, as two Egyptian athletes and one from Algeria exited Tokyo 2020 at Makuhari Messe Hall in the Japanese capital.

Amr Reda Ramadan Hussen of Egypt started well, winning his men’s freestyle 74 kg round of 16 match 6-1 against Kamil Rybicki of Poland. Unfortunately, that would prove to be the day’s only success for the North African wrestlers.

Hussen went on to lose his quarterfinal 8-5 to Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Kaisanov to miss out on a chance of securing a shot at a medal.

Meanwhile, in the men’s freestyle 125 kg competition, Diaaeldin Kamal Gouda Abdelmottaleb of Egypt and Djahid Berrahal of Algeria were both comprehensively defeated in their round of 16 bouts.

Abdelmottaleb went down 11-0 to Geno Petriashvili of Georgia, while Berrahal lost 6-0 to Egzon Shala of Kosovo.

The results came a day after Egyptian wrestler Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed won a bronze medal in the men’s Greco-Roman 67 kg event after beating Artrem Surkov of the Russian Olympic Committee at Makuhari Messe Hall.

Elsayed’s compatriot Mohamed Metwally had fallen just short of success, losing his own 87 kg bronze medal match 8-1 to the German Denis Kudla.