Multiple injuries after stage collapses at basketball game in Egypt

Multiple injuries after stage collapses at basketball game in Egypt
Photos and videos posted on social media showed some fans screaming in pain. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 December 2022
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Multiple injuries after stage collapses at basketball game in Egypt

Multiple injuries after stage collapses at basketball game in Egypt

CAIRO: At least 27 people were injured after a metal stand full of spectators collapsed during a basketball game held Saturday on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.
Al-Ahly and Ittihad of Alexandria were up against each other at in the Hassan Mostafa Halls Complex in Cairo last night when, during the game’s third quarter, Ittihad fans were seen falling off when the metal platform collapsed.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed some fans screaming in pain, according to Ahram Online. 
The Egyptian Health ministry dispatched 21 ambulances to venue, the website said. The ministry later said the injuries were not life-threatening and no deaths were reported. 
In an update Sunday morning the ministry said all those injured have been dismissed from hospital, except for two cases who remained to receive treatment.
A sports ministry spokesman quoted by local television said the collapse occurred due to a crowd rush.
“The stage collapsed because of a crowd rush,” Mohamed Fawzi, the ministry spokesman, told Sada El-Balad.

 

 

 


Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up

Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up
Updated 06 December 2023
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Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up

Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hits century in Australia warm-up
  • Masood steer Pakistan to 324-6 at stumps on the opening day of the four-day fixture
  • Pakistan will face Australia in three Tests, in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, from Dec. 14

SYDNEY: New Pakistan skipper Shan Masood hit an unbeaten 156 on Wednesday in a warm-up match in Canberra ahead of their three-Test series against Australia.
After winning the toss and opting to bat against a Prime Minister’s XI, he came to the crease when opener Imam-ul-Haq was dismissed for nine.
Masood batted for the rest of the day, smashing 13 fours and a six to steer Pakistan to 324-6 at stumps on the opening day of the four-day fixture.
Sarfaraz Ahmed made 41 and star batter Babar Azam, who stood down as captain in all formats of the game after their disastrous one-day World Cup, hit 40.
Australia’s bowlers labored on a flat pitch at Manuka Oval with speedster Jordan Buckingham the pick with 3-63.
All-rounder Cameron Green, who has been sidelined from the Test side by Mitchell Marsh, did not turn his arm.
It proved a long day in the field for aspiring Australian Test openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw, who are vying to replace David Warner when he retires from the longer format after the Pakistan series.
The visitors meet Australia in three Tests — in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney — from December 14.


Cosmin Contra: I guaranteed Al-Ittihad would win the league based on my work there

Cosmin Contra: I guaranteed Al-Ittihad would win the league based on my work there
Updated 06 December 2023
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Cosmin Contra: I guaranteed Al-Ittihad would win the league based on my work there

Cosmin Contra: I guaranteed Al-Ittihad would win the league based on my work there
  • The Romanian coach spoke about his stint with the reigning champions ahead of their SPL clash with new club Damac on Thursday

KHAMIS MUSHAYT: Cosmin Contra has opened up about his departure from Al-Ittihad after missing out on the Saudi Pro League title in 2022, and how he always believed the club would become champions thanks to his efforts.

The much-travelled Romanian coach took over at Damac in March and is now preparing to face his old club on Thursday night in Jeddah. 

Damac are currently eighth in the standings, while Al-Ittihad have risen to fourth in recent weeks under new coach Marcelo Gallardo. 

Talking to Arab News, Contra revealed what motivates him while coaching a club not in the hunt for trophies and explained how local players have been inspired by playing alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

How are you experiencing the Saudi football revolution in charge of Damac, a club outside the main focus of the SPL right now?

As a coach, you try to do your job as well as you can. I must make the team better, have better players and deliver decent results. This is why I’m working every day. There’s a football revolution taking place in the Saudi league right now, it’s harder and harder against each opponent. All of them are better all of a sudden. It is a big challenge. 

You joined Damac before the big investments started in the summer. Did you foresee this influx of foreign players?

No, I didn’t think they’d spend so much. Top players from around the world are coming to Saudi Arabia, I didn’t expect that to happen so fast. We (Damac) are working on a small budget, we are a small club. We want to keep growing year after year, to always aim higher than the year before. I hope we manage to achieve our goals.

You were in charge at Al-Ittihad two years ago. In March, you joined Damac. How much better is the league following all these big-money moves?

It’s a much stronger league than a few years ago. I’m not just talking about Hilal, Nassr, Ittihad and Ahli — almost every team is better. It’s hard to win against every opponent in Saudi Arabia, that has made the league so much better. 

How do you prepare for games against the big teams?

You can’t treat Ronaldo, Benzema and the other stars like normal opponents, because they aren’t. They are huge champions and players who can make a difference at any point during the match.

When you play the big teams, your job is easier from a certain point of view. Your players are already ultra-motivated, they want to do something remarkable and get a result. You don’t need to create ambition; they already have it. You have to move tactically, to try and surprise even those who seem hard to be surprised. Each team has a weakness, you need to find it and to try and exploit it in your favor. That’s the fun of it.

Are players ever overwhelmed by the quality of their opponents?

No. The players know what to expect. We must be ready each week, that’s our duty. We must leave everything we have on the pitch. If we do that, we stand a chance of winning. The league is better and my players need to embrace progress.

Is this revolution good or bad for local players?

Everything takes time, but it is clear local players have a lot to win. They are training and playing alongside champions who wrote the history of this game. The mentality of the big players is fantastic. All those around them have something to earn. But the development doesn’t need to end here. The infrastructure should be better, training facilities too. And more attention should be given to the youth. I know the people in Saudi Arabia and I’m sure they will focus on these aspects very soon.

There is a lot of pressure on the keepers as well — they are facing some of the best forwards in world football.

It depends on the team as well. There are 10 players in front of you if you’re a keeper. As far as I can tell, keepers are coping well. Mine are training hard. You need to talk to them, to permanently encourage them. There are a lot of great local keepers in Saudi Arabia, the quality is there, and they have talent. I’m happy with my goalkeepers.

Do you feel the local players’ approach towards the game has changed over the past six months?

Our role is to make them aware of what it means to be a player. It’s a job you are paid to do. We are trying to change some existing mentalities. Maybe some players didn’t have enough motivation before. Things have changed, yes. Players are more professional, and they are adapting to change. They want to be better. For me, when I see this in my team, the satisfaction is immense. It’s extraordinary to feel you’re contributing and improving local players.

Your previous experience in Saudi Arabia was at the helm of Al-Ittihad, one of the country’s giants. How was that different to now?

You can’t compare Al-Ittihad and Damac. Ittihad is one of the biggest clubs in Asia and the pressure is immense. We have pressure here too but of a different kind. I want us to stay in a safe place, to be in the middle of the pack, a bit higher if possible. That’s our goal at Damac, as well as improving the players we have.

We don’t want the stress of a relegation battle. Ittihad and Damac are two very different clubs, it’s hard to compare them. Basically, at Al-Ittihad, you must win every game. Here, in Damac, it’s the pressure we put ourselves under. Staff and players want to win as much as possible and never give up. Different perspectives, different types of work.

In 2022, you lost the SPL title to Al-Hilal on the last day of the season. Do you think your career would have been different had you won the title with Ittihad?

Probably. You never know these things. I had a deal to stay on as Ittihad’s coach no matter what happened, but the club changed their mind. I know the work I did there. I told the bosses: “Look, if we don’t win the title this season, I guarantee 100 percent the team is ready to do it next year.” That’s what happened, but under another manager.

Are you happy with your work there?

The work I did was good. The team continued on the same note and the title was finally celebrated. Had I stayed, I’m sure I’d have won the league with Ittihad, I have no doubt in my mind. I know the work I did and how I prepared the team. I don’t know what would have happened had I won the league at the first attempt. Strange things happen. I could have won and still be shown the door as my contract was expiring. 

Do you think smaller clubs in the SPL will benefit from big investment in the years to come?

I believe so, yes. Clubs will get enough money to make sure the league is competitive as a whole. I don’t know if investment will ever be at the same extent as in the top four, but budgets will go higher and we’ll be able to sign better players ourselves.

Are more players offering their services now?

There are a lot of players who want to come here. But at this point it’s really difficult to negotiate with them because agents hear about huge amounts of money and think all clubs in Saudi Arabia can pay the same. That’s not the case but some don’t understand only a few clubs can pay stratospheric amounts. 

Do you face any daily struggles as Damac coach?

I don’t have many problems. We have a respect-based relationship with everyone — club officials, players and fans. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, maybe a bit hard to motivate some of them at first, but now we are all pulling in the same direction. All the boys are professional, it’s much easier for me to do my job.

Do you feel you are part of one of football’s biggest revolutions?

Certainly, 100 percent. Imagine, they transformed a league not many outside the country cared about. That wasn’t easy. More and more money will be invested. We are on the sidelines and try to support in any way we can, so the product and the football here get better and better.


Ronaldo-less Al-Nassr draw as Al-Fayha win on perfect AFC Champions League night for Saudi Arabia

Ronaldo-less Al-Nassr draw as Al-Fayha win on perfect AFC Champions League night for Saudi Arabia
Updated 06 December 2023
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Ronaldo-less Al-Nassr draw as Al-Fayha win on perfect AFC Champions League night for Saudi Arabia

Ronaldo-less Al-Nassr draw as Al-Fayha win on perfect AFC Champions League night for Saudi Arabia
  • With Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad already qualified, the Kingdom will have 4 clubs in the round of 16

Al-Nassr rested their overseas stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, but still ended top of Group E in the AFC Champions League, and unbeaten, after a 1-1 draw at Istiklol of Tajikistan on Tuesday night.

The real story however was Al-Fayha which pulled off a stunning 4-1 win at Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan to progress to the round of 16, where Saudi Arabia will have four teams out of four, after Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad progressed on Monday.

Al-Nassr, coming off a 3-0 loss in the Riyadh derby against bitter rivals Al-Hilal on Friday, had already secured top spot before the clash against the already-eliminated team from Dushanbe. It meant that coach Luis Castro fielded an all-Saudi Arabian starting 11 with Sadio Mane, Anderson Talisca, Aymeric Laporte and Seko Fofana on the bench, and Ronaldo rested and back in Riyadh.

With the hosts already out and the visitors through, there was a lack of intensity and cohesion from Al-Nassr in the first half, unsurprising perhaps given the changes made. It was not a surprise when Alisher Dzhalilov opened the scoring just after the half hour to delight a large home crowd, some of whom could be seen wearing the Riyadh team’s yellow shirt.

Abdulrahman Ghareeb, who was to later make amends, gave the ball away in a dangerous position and Dzhalilov took possession, advanced toward the area and then fired a low shot that rolled past the diving Raghed Najjar who perhaps should have done a little better.

It was a poor first half from Al-Nassr but there was an immediate improvement after the break. Four minutes into the second half, the team from Riyadh were level thanks to Ghareeb.

Goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov palmed out a cross from the right into the crowded box and there was the forward, whose first shot came back off a defender and he then fired home the rebound. Soon after, Ghareeb, visibly growing in confidence, shot from the edge of the area to draw a fine save from Yatimov. Just after the hour, the goalkeeper was beaten but Sami Al-Najei’s shot from the left side of the area rolled just past the post.

Ghareeb and Talisca, who came off the bench, went close before the final whistle. All in all, it ended a fine group stage for Al-Nassr.

It was even better for Saudi Arabia as a whole as earlier Al-Fayha recorded the shock result of the day, coming from behind in Uzbekistan to defeat Pakhtakor 4-1.

The Central Asian powerhouse needed a win to progress to the second round and took a 16th minute lead through Khojimat Erkinov.

The goal fired Al-Fayha into action. Fashion Sakala has been in fine form this season since arriving from Scotland and equalized five minutes before the break. Immediately after, Sultan Mandash put the visitors in the lead and Henry Onyekuru sealed the win near the end. There was still time for Sakala to grab his second and Al-Fayha’s fourth.

The win put coach Vuk Rasovic and his men into second in Group A but they had to wait to find out if they were to advance as one of three of five best runners-up in the western zone.

They needed Persepolis of Iran to fail to defeat Qatar’s Al-Duhail.

It started badly as Persepolis took a seventh minute lead through Shahab Zahedi though the visitors soon levelled thanks to Mohammed Muntari.

With nine minutes remaining, the Tehran titans were awarded a penalty but Giorgi Gvelesiani missed and the Georgian and the home fans were left to rue that spurned opportunity just two minutes later as Michael Olunga gave the Qataris the lead.

Persepolis could not get the two goals needed, meaning that Al-Fahya, which lost three of the first four games of the group, will go through to make it four out of four for Saudi Arabia in the knockout stages.


James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks

James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks
Updated 06 December 2023
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James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks

James and Lakers down Suns while Bucks romp past Knicks
  • James produces trademark clutch fourth quarter performance with 15 points in a victory that sends the Lakers into a last-four showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James scored 31 points as the Los Angeles Lakers won a thrilling duel with the Phoenix Suns 106-103 on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the NBA’s in-season tournament.

James produced a trademark clutch fourth quarter performance with 15 points in a victory that sends the Lakers into a last-four showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas on Thursday.

In Tuesday’s other quarterfinal, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard combined for 63 points as the Milwaukee Bucks advanced to the semifinals with a 146-122 rout of the New York Knicks.

But the game of the night was unquestionably in Los Angeles, where James and the Lakers held off a ferocious second-half fightback from Kevin Durant and the Suns to prevail in a classic.

The Lakers dominated the first half to lead by 12 at the break, up 59-47.

But the Suns roared back in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 35-24 to make it a one-point game heading into the fourth.

The 38-year-old James though was in no mood to surrender victory and found his scoring touch to shepherd the Lakers over the line.

Austin Reaves nailed a superb three-pointer to give the Lakers a four-point advantage with 15 seconds on the clock.

Durant cut the gap to two points with a reverse layup but missed with a last-gasp attempted buzzer beater that would have forced overtime.

“I’ve been there a lot in my career and I understand the assignment,” James said of his ruthless fourth-quarter display.

“I was happy I was able to make a couple of plays, but the big shot came from AR (Austin Reaves) to take us up by four... that was big-time.”

James finished with 31 points from 12-of-25 shooting, with 11 assists and five rebounds. Anthony Davis added 27 points with 15 rebounds while Reaves added 20 points in a scintillating cameo from the bench.

Durant led the Phoenix scoring with 31 points while Grayson Allen and Devin Booker finished with 21 points apiece for the Suns.

Milwaukee advanced to a showdown against the Indiana Pacers in Thursday’s other semifinal after pulling clear of the Knicks with a huge third quarter.

Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee scorers with 35 points while Lillard weighed in with 28 points, including 5-of-7 from three-point distance.

Antetokounmpo finished with 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Malik Beasley (18 points), Khris Middleton (14), Bobby Portis (13) and Cameron Payne (12) all made double figures for Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo was heartened by a display which provided more evidence that the former NBA Most Valuable Player’s blockbuster partnership with summer signing Lillard is starting to gel.

“Game by game we are getting more comfortable,” Antetokounmpo said of his on-court chemistry with Lillard. “We have a lot of games ahead of us.

“As we play more minutes we’re going to be more comfortable together... at the end of the day I think me and him are setting the tone for the whole team.”

New York were led by a 41-point display from Julius Randle while Jalen Brunson finished with 24 points.

The Knicks however were always chasing the game after Milwaukee’s third-quarter scoring spree.

A see-saw first quarter saw 15 lead changes before Milwaukee edged into a two-point lead at 37-35, and a similarly hard-fought second quarter left the Bucks up by just three at the break at 75-72.

But the game tilted decisively in favor of Milwaukee in the third quarter as the Bucks began to score at will, with Antetokounmpo pouring in 13 points to help the top seeds build an unassailable lead.

A 15-foot jump shot from Portis gave Milwaukee an 18-point cushion with a minute remaining in the third quarter, and there was no way back for New York.

The Knicks rallied to close within nine after Donte DiVincenzo’s running layup early in the fourth quarter made it 112-103.

But the fightback was shortlived as back-to-back three-pointers from Beasley quickly re-established Milwaukee’s double-digit advantage.

A Payne three-pointer put Milwaukee 20 points ahead at 125-105 midway through the fourth quarter and the Bucks cruised home to seal their last-four berth.


Sports bodies ask IOC to allow Russians as neutrals for 2024 Olympics

Sports bodies ask IOC to allow Russians as neutrals for 2024 Olympics
Updated 06 December 2023
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Sports bodies ask IOC to allow Russians as neutrals for 2024 Olympics

Sports bodies ask IOC to allow Russians as neutrals for 2024 Olympics
  • The International Olympic Committee still has to make a final ruling on whether athletes from Russia and Belarus will be permitted to compete next summer
  • The IOC on Tuesday “confirmed that the participation of such AINs (individual neutral athletes) in the Olympic Games could happen only under the existing strict conditions”

LAUSANNE: Representatives of international sports federations and national Olympic committees on Tuesday called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be admitted under a neutral flag for the 2024 Games in Paris “as soon as possible.”

During the Olympic summit in Lausanne, athlete representatives also asked for “clarity” on the issue, according to a statement published after the meeting.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) still has to make a final ruling on whether athletes from Russia and Belarus, a key ally for Moscow in its offensive on Ukraine, will be permitted to compete next summer.

The IOC has repeated its stance that a decision will be taken “at the appropriate time.”

Athletes from the two countries have faced sanctions from a multitude of sports since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine in February of 2022.

However, over the past year a number of Olympic sports have eased restrictions, allowing them to return to competition under certain conditions.

In March, the IOC lifted an outright ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes, allowing them to compete as neutral athletes provided they did not support the Ukraine conflict and had no ties to the military.

The IOC on Tuesday “confirmed that the participation of such AINs (individual neutral athletes) in the Olympic Games could happen only under the existing strict conditions.”

“Neither the qualification system developed by the respective International Federations nor the number of allocated quota places to a sport will be changed for AINs with a Russian or Belarusian passport,” it added.

The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on October 12 for violating the territorial integrity of the membership of Ukraine by recognizing illegally annexed territories.

ROC has recognized regional organizations from four Ukrainian territories annexed since Russia’s invasion began in 2022.

Russia’s Olympic body last month launched an appeal against its suspension by the IOC at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In September, officials voted to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at next year’s Paralympics under a neutral flag after deciding against an outright ban.