ABU DHABi: Flyweight prospect Muhammad Mokaev has been officially added to the UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev card in Abu Dhabi, where he will take on Canada’s Malcolm Gordon on Oct. 22.
The 22-year-old Mokaev has been making headlines in the mixed martial arts world and boasts a perfect 8-0 record, including two wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship since making his debut with the organisation in March.
The Muslim fighter was born in Dagestan, but arrived in the UK aged 12 as a refugee unable to speak any English. In the years since, he has become one of Britain’s top MMA prospects and received phenomenal home-crowd support fighting twice in London earlier this year.
Mokaev was also unbeaten as an amateur with a 22-0 record, and will be looking to cement his billing as one-to-watch in the 125 lbs division.
His opponent, Malcolm Gordon (14-5) will be stepping into the octagon for the fifth time, and brings with him a two-fight win streak. He made his UFC debut in Abu Dhabi in 2020.
UFC 280 will be the latest event held in the UAE capital as part of the partnership between the UFC, and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi which began in 2019.
Oct. 17-23 will also see the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, anchored by UFC 280 and consisting of other sports and entertainment ancillary events, powered by Flash Entertainment.
Portuguese coach suspended after harassment accusations
Famalicão said they were suspending coach Miguel Afonso “until the truth of the facts is ascertained”
Público said that it had contacted Afonso but he declined to comment on the accusations
Updated 30 September 2022
LISBON, Portugal: Portuguese soccer club Famalicão suspended the coach of its women’s team on Friday after a leading newspaper in Portugal published accusations of verbal sexual harassment by him of his players at a previous club.
Famalicão said that “in view” of the report published by Público newspaper that they were suspending coach Miguel Afonso “until the truth of the facts is ascertained.”
The club said they were putting themself at the “total disposition of all parties involved and the competent authorities to assist in obtaining the truth.”
The alleged verbal harassment of players, some of which were 19 years old at the time, reportedly took place while Afonso coached fellow Portuguese club Rio Ave during the 2020-21 season.
Público said that it had contacted Afonso but he declined to comment on the accusations.
In a statement, Rio Ave acknowledged that they had been “aware of some circumstantial comments reported by athletes regarding alleged inappropriate approaches by the coach.”
But, Rio Ave said they took no action because “the coach denied such situations and, at the request of the athletes, the matter was not followed up.”
Famalicão, in a separate statement preceding the suspension of Afonso, said that when they hired Afonso they were not aware of the accusations.
Newcastle sign teenage Australia striker Garang Kuol
Born in Egypt, Garang Kuol moved to Australia with his family as a refugee and joined the Mariners’ youth system in January 2021
Updated 30 September 2022
LONDON: Newcastle have reached an agreement to sign teenage striker Garang Kuol from Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners in January, the Premier League club announced on Friday.
Kuol, 18, made his international debut for Australia against New Zealand last week, becoming the youngest Socceroo since Harry Kewell in 1996.
Born in Egypt, Kuol moved to Australia with his family as a refugee and joined the Mariners’ youth system in January 2021.
He only made his A-League debut for the Mariners in April but made an immediate impression, scoring four goals in his first seven appearances as a substitute.
Kuol told Newcastle’s official website: “It’s unreal. As a young boy in Australia, the Premier League is the main thing that everyone watches but nobody actually thinks they’ll reach those heights.
“To be one of those people, to be in the position I am, it’s amazing.
“Now that I’ve signed for Newcastle, I want to train hard, play hard, hopefully go to the World Cup and come back here.”
Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth said: “Garang is a very promising young talent and we are excited that he’ll be continuing his development as a Newcastle United player.
“Our philosophy is to invest in our academy and in exciting young players for the future, as well as in players required to make an immediate impact in the first team.”
Saudi driver will be joined by German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz in third round of World Rally Raid Championship
Updated 30 September 2022
AGADIR: Saudi world champion Yazeed Al-Rajhi has completed last-minute preparations ahead of the 22nd edition of the Rallye du Maroc, the third round of the World Rally Raid Championship.
Al-Rajhi, will be accompanied by German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz, the replacement for Michael Orr, who was injured in an accident at Baja Poland three weeks ago.
Crossing the desert from Agadir, in the southwest of Morocco, to Tan Tan and Al-Ayoun on the Atlantic coast will represent a new challenge for Al-Rajhi.
Day one of the rally will be a qualifying stage, while the race will last six days in five stages from Oct. 1-6. Competitors will cover a total of 2,319 km, including 1,583 km of special stages on the sand, gravel tracks and golden dunes.
The Yazeed Racing team faces a busy period until the end of the year, with Al-Rajhi competing in three championships, including the Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship.
The international events are the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Baja and the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, in which Al-Rajhi currently ranked third.
Al-Rajhi and von Zitzewitz tested the new Toyota Hilux over two days around the Moroccan city of Erfoud, which is known for its high sand dunes and varying terrain.
The Belgian team Overdrive prepared a new car similar to the vehicle that crashed in Baja Poland. The car is equipped with a V6 engine and twin turbocharger, unlike the one used in Aseer Rally few days ago.
“I’m looking forward to the Morocco rally a lot,” Al-Rajhi said.
“I thank my team for doing an amazing job as usual. We are looking forward to winning this rally and there is nothing stopping us from doing so. We need to focus and develop appropriate strategies to advance and collect points.
“Our challenge in the Morocco rally requires endurance and effort from man and machine. We have a long race ahead of us in the Moroccan deserts, and we hope that God will guide us on our way.”
Von Zitzewitz is looking forward to the challenge.
“Yazeed and I, along with the Overdrive team, believe we have what it takes to win the rally,” he said. “We have all the factors to win, and I pray that God will be on our side. The world of motorsport is unpredictable.”
Coca-Cola giving football fans in Saudi Arabia chance to win 2022 World Cup tickets
The giveaway will take place on the official FIFA partner’s Twitter account
Updated 30 September 2022
RIYADH: Coca-Cola is giving fans in Saudi Arabia a chance to see their favorite teams on football’s biggest stage with the opportunity to win thousands of 2022 FIFA World Cup match tickets.
With Saudi Arabia’s participation at Qatar 2022 less than two months away, Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the tournament since 1978, will provide the opportunity to claim the tickets on its official Twitter account in the coming weeks.
In addition, Coca-Cola will bring the original FIFA World Cup trophy to the Kingdom in November where thousands of fans will have the opportunity to see football’s most prized possession.
The FIFA sponsors also revealed they have plans to invest in development programs for local Saudi talent and will soon be making an announcement on this.
New chapter for women’s football in Saudi Arabia as national team conclude first ever matches at home
Two fixtures against Bhutan saw a total of 12 goals and showcased the hosts development in only their third and fourth international matches
Players to return to clubs ahead of Premier League kick-off next month, as 50,000 girls register for inaugural nation-wide schools league
Updated 30 September 2022
RIYADH: Following their launch last year, Saudi Arabia’s Women’s National Team has completed a historic week after taking on Asian counterparts Bhutan in their debut matches on home soil.
Taking place across four days at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Stadium in Abha, both friendly fixtures witnessed six-goal thrillers.
The first match on Saturday saw the hosts bounce back from a 3-1 deficit at half-time to claim an 3-3 draw thanks to Al-Bandari Mubarak and Nora Ibrahim’s strikes in the closing 15 minutes. Both teams met again on Wednesday night with the visitors claiming an action-packed 4-2 victory.
Reflecting on the past week, SAFF Women’s Football Department Supervisor and board member, Lamia Bahaian, said: “We have been working very hard toward the moment we finally see our women’s national team compete at home.”
“We are extremely proud of how they’ve already inspired a nation and are helping pave the way for a career in the sport with over 50,000 young girls signing up for the first-ever schools league,” she said. “Since the launch of the team just last year, we’ve been grateful for the unconditional support shown to us by the Kingdom’s leadership. The players will now continue their development and progress in the Premier League’s inaugural season, in what is a hugely exciting moment in their careers.”
The matches represented the latest chapter in women’s football rapid journey in Saudi Arabia over the past few years. Since the establishment of a dedicated women’s football department at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation in 2019, it currently hosts 450 registered players, 49 qualified referees and more than 900 D, C and B licensed coaches.
This progress is a result of a long-term strategy launched last year by the federation to grow interest and participation at all levels of the women’s game, with unprecedented investments in areas such as grassroots, player development, coaching, facilities, competitions and governance.
The national team’s players’ attention now turns toward their respective clubs ahead of the launch of the SAFF Women’s Premier League and return of the First Division League. Featuring eight clubs from across Saudi Arabia, most notably Saudi Pro League sides Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad for the first time, the newly formed Premier League takes place on a home-and-away basis with a total of 56 matches.
The First Division League, formerly known as the SAFF Regional Football League, will see a further 17 teams compete across three cities.
The national team’s German head coach, Monika Staab, said that she could not be prouder of the team’s performances and progress over the 180 minutes, in what were only the national team’s third and fourth matches following the encounters against the Seychelles and Maldives in February.
She believes playing the first meetings at home marks another historic milestone in the national team’s journey and the women’s game as a whole.
“This week will undoubtedly go down in the history of Saudi Arabian football. Playing our first matches at home was a massive source of pride for everyone involved in the women’s game across the country,” she said.
“I am extremely pleased with the experience gained by our girls and their performances against a tough opponent. They showcased their true fighting spirit and strong willingness to fight till the final whistle. We look forward to getting more international minutes under our belt, both at home and away, as we continue toward journey to achieve the ambitious goals set for women’s football.”