Algeria to host Palestinian football team’s matches

People take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, in downtown Algiers, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP)
People take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, in downtown Algiers, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP)
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Updated 15 October 2023
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Algeria to host Palestinian football team’s matches

Algeria to host Palestinian football team’s matches
  • The move came after a request to the Algerian authorities by Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian football federation

ALGIERS: Algeria on Sunday stepped in to host matches involving the Palestinian football team due to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Algeria has agreed to stage “all official and non-official matches involving the Palestinian team’s preparation for qualification to the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup and to assume all associated costs,” an Algerian football federation statement announced.
The move came after a request to the Algerian authorities by Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian football federation.
The first of these games comes next month when Palestine will ‘host’ Australia in Algeria on November 21 in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.
Palestine are in World Cup Asian preliminary qualifying Group I with the Australians and Lebanon.
The 2023 Asian Cup starts in January with Palestine set to face the UAE, Iran and Hong Kong in Qatar.
At least 2,670 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip in a blistering air assault launched by Israel last week after Hamas carried out a bloody attack on Israel that left more than 1,400 people dead.


Kenya bids solemn farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum

Kenya bids solemn farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum
Updated 4 sec ago
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Kenya bids solemn farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum

Kenya bids solemn farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum
  • World marathon record-holder was killed in a late-night car crash on February 11
  • Kelvin Kiptum’s Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana also died in the crash
CHEPKORIO, Kenya: Top athletes and dignitaries led hundreds of mourners at the funeral Friday of Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum in the nation’s athletics heartland where he was born, trained and died.
Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, was killed in a late-night car crash on February 11, just months after shattering the marathon record in Chicago.
President William Ruto and World Athletics head Sebastian Coe were among those attending the funeral in the Rift Valley town of Chepkorio.
“Kelvin’s achievements were extraordinary. That he should have scaled such heights at such a young age in itself is almost unique,” Coe said Thursday after his arrival in Kenya.
Kiptum ran the Chicago race in October in two hours and 35 seconds, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, the marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.
While Kiptum only competed in three marathons, he won all of the races, posting three of the seven fastest times in history for the event.
His sudden death has left Kenya, and the wider athletics community, reeling.
“Fare thee well champ,” was the front-page headline on Kenya’s leading Daily Nation newspaper.
Mourners, including 1,500m record-holder Faith Kipyegon, started arriving at the funeral venue at dawn, some wearing black T-shirts with a picture of Kiptum emblazoned across the front.
They viewed the body, laid out in a half-open casket on a red carpet, as a choir sang religious songs.
Four giant screens were mounted to stream the event for the many villagers gathered outside the venue.
Hundreds of people had turned out Thursday as Kiptum’s coffin was taken from the Rift Valley town of Eldoret to his home village of Chepkorio.
And in the nation’s capital Nairobi hundreds of people joined a solemn candlelight vigil, paying an emotional tribute to the rising star who had been the overwhelming favorite for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
After the funeral ceremony, Kiptum will be laid to rest in Naiberi, near Eldoret, where the government has built a new home for the family of the national hero.
Police said Kiptum was driving near Eldoret at around 11:00 p.m. on February 11 when his car careered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree.
Kenya’s chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, said on Wednesday the results of an autopsy showed Kiptum had suffered severe head injuries.
Toxicology tests were still under way, he added.
Kiptum’s Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, 36, also died in the crash.
Hakizimana, who had trained Kiptum since 2019, was laid to rest in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Wednesday.
Known for maintaining a gruelling training schedule that sometimes topped 300 kilometers a week, Kiptum had recently announced he was hoping to smash the mythic two-hour mark at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

Despite Islamabad fightback, skipper Rossouw inspires Quetta to victory

Despite Islamabad fightback, skipper Rossouw inspires Quetta to victory
Updated 23 February 2024
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Despite Islamabad fightback, skipper Rossouw inspires Quetta to victory

Despite Islamabad fightback, skipper Rossouw inspires Quetta to victory
  • In low-scoring match, Rilee Rossouw holds his nerve with 34-run inning to guide Quetta to victory
  • Gladiators’ Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim take three wickets each to keep Islamabad at bay

ISLAMABAD: Despite a valiant fightback by Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators continued their impressive run of the tournament by beating the former by three wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Thursday.

“Continuing our winning streak,” the Gladiators wrote on social media platform X after the match ended.

Batting first, United scored a lackluster 138/9 at the end of their 20 overs courtesy of a stellar bowling performance from the Gladiators. Spinner Abrar Ahmed returned figures of 3/18 while Mohammad Wasim finished with 3/20. Akeil Hosein finished with 2/32 while pacer Mohammad Hasnain returned figures of 1/35.

United’s only resistance in the batting department came from Agha Salman, who top-scored with a decent 33-run knock from 23 balls while opener Alex Hales scored 21 from nine deliveries.

What should have been an easy chase for the Gladiators turned into a difficult one when United took quick wickets to put the pressure back on Rossouw’s squad. United skipper Shadab Khan returned figures of 2/24 while pacer Naseem Shah finished with 2/34.

Rumman Raees and Hunain Shah took a single wicket each before Rossouw guided United to victory with a composed 34-run innings that came off 38 balls and featured only three boundaries.

Opener Jason Roy provided the Gladiators an impressive start to the game by smashing 37 runs off 18 balls while Sherfane Rutherford held his nerves to score 29 runs from 23 balls before Naseem rattled his stumps.

The Gladiators and table-toppers Multan Sultans both have three wins from the tournament so far. Islamabad, with a single win and two losses, is at number three on the PSL points table.


Celtics, Mavs stretch win streaks, triple-double milestone for Jokic

Celtics, Mavs stretch win streaks, triple-double milestone for Jokic
Updated 23 February 2024
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Celtics, Mavs stretch win streaks, triple-double milestone for Jokic

Celtics, Mavs stretch win streaks, triple-double milestone for Jokic
  • Jokic was a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor on the way to 21 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists
  • Golden State star Stephen Curry drilled six three-pointers on the way to 32 points to lead the Warriors to a 128-110 victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team that was missing LeBron James

LOS ANGELES: The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks picked up where they left off when the NBA resumed following the All-Star break on Thursday as both notched their seventh straight NBA victories.

Luka Doncic scored 41 points with nine rebounds and 11 assists and Kyrie Irving added 29 points for the Mavs in a 123-113 home victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Derrick White scored 28 points and Jayson Tatum scored 25 to lead the Celtics, who used a big third quarter to take control on the way to a 129-112 victory over the Bulls in Chicago.

It had looked like business as usual for league-leading Boston when they took a 16-point lead in the first quarter. But the Bulls outscored them 39-28 in the second period and led by three at halftime before the Celtics righted the ship.

White and Tatum made five three-pointers each as the Celtics connected on 23 from beyond the arc.

Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 22 points and 14 rebounds but the Bulls had no answer when Boston clamped down defensively in the second half.

In Dallas, the Mavericks also found themselves down by three at halftime. But they opened the third quarter on a 16-0 run to seize a double-digit lead and didn’t trail again.

“It’s always tough to come back from All-Star, the first game’s always tough,” Doncic told broadcaster TNT. “We played against an amazing team, but we showed out.”

Devin Booker scored 35 points to pace Phoenix and Kevin Durant added 23.

But the Suns couldn’t reel the Mavs back in late, Irving pushing Dallas’s lead back to double digits early in the fourth quarter with a thrilling coast-to-coast that saw him dribble behind his back before spinning to the rim.

With the win the Mavs matched Phoenix’s 33-23 record and earned the tiebreaker over the Suns.

“I think it was a very big game,” Doncic said after the Mavs climbed into playoff position at sixth in the West, but added: “We’ve got to get ready for the next game and just keep going like that.”

In Denver, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic grabbed another piece of NBA history when he became just the third player to record at least one triple-double against every team he has faced in the league in a 130-110 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Jokic was a perfect 10-for-10 from the floor on the way to 21 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists.

“When I finish career it’s going to be like a legacy,” he said after joining LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as players with a triple-double against every team they have faced.

Even more importantly, the reigning champion Nuggets snapped the three-game losing streak they took into the All-Star break.

“We needed this win,” added Jokic, whose 16th triple-double of the season puts him second on this season’s list behind Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, who posted his 19th with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 127-122 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Golden State star Stephen Curry drilled six three-pointers on the way to 32 points to lead the Warriors to a 128-110 victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team that was missing LeBron James — who sat out with an ankle injury.

Curry set the tone early, making six of eight shots, including four three-pointers, on the way to 16 first-quarter points. Curry added eight assists and became the first Warrior with 6,000 in the regular season.

Anthony Davis had 27 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Lakers, whose three-game winning streak ended.

In Oklahoma City, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points to led the Thunder to a 129-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in a clash of Western Conference contenders.

Lu Dort added 19 points as all five starters scored in double figures for the Thunder, who moved within one game of West leaders Minnesota.

Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and Norman Powell added 19 off the bench for the third-placed Clippers.

Brooklyn’s coaching change brought no quick change of fortune as the Nets fell 121-93 to the Raptors in Toronto in their first game since Kevin Ollie took over as interim coach after Jacque Vaughn was fired.


Palestine beat Syria to reach semifinals of 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship

Palestine beat Syria to reach semifinals of 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship
Updated 23 February 2024
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Palestine beat Syria to reach semifinals of 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship

Palestine beat Syria to reach semifinals of 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship
  • A 1-0 win secured maximum 6 points from 2 matches in Group B and spot in the last 4

JEDDAH: Palestine on Thursday night advanced to the semifinals of the West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship after defeating Syria 1-0 at the reserve pitch of King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah.

Miral Qassis scored the winner in the 85th minute with a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, leaving Palestine with a maximum of six points from two matches, and second in Group B only on goal difference to Nepal.

Palestine had won their opener 3-0 against Iraq and will now face the group leaders on Saturday. With no points, Syria and Iraq sit in third and fourth respectively, and meet each other in a dead rubber on the same day.


Fahey and Ferguson getting into the Spirit ahead of Saudi Cup

Fahey and Ferguson getting into the Spirit ahead of Saudi Cup
Updated 23 February 2024
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Fahey and Ferguson getting into the Spirit ahead of Saudi Cup

Fahey and Ferguson getting into the Spirit ahead of Saudi Cup
  • Big-race winner in Bahrain represents some famous connections, including former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

RIYADH: Trainer Richard Fahey has admitted he was “humbled” when first getting the opportunity to train horses for legendary ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and suggested that saddling Spirit Dancer (GB) in Saturday’s Howden Neom Turf Cup is the “stuff of dreams.”

The co-owner’s homebred capped off a memorable year when winning the Bahrain International Trophy in November, and following a prep run in Dubai last month, appears a leading contender in the $2 million (SR7.4 million) Howden Neom Turf Cup.

“I felt he would need the run the last day and it looked that way as well,” Fahey said. “He has had four or five weeks to acclimatize now. It’s all stuff of dreams, which is becoming a reality when we get to run on Saturday.”

Fahey’s association with one of the most successful British sportsmen has been fruitful for both parties, and the trainer has been able to swap sporting experiences with Ferguson.

“To be fair when I first started training for him I was a little bit humbled,” Fahey said. “I have some fantastic conversations with him and he has been to the yard three or four times now. He is just a wonderful man and you can see why he has been a success.

“It’s a humbling experience, but it’s amazing because even this morning we were discussing footballers and horses, and Sir Alex was asking why we didn’t canter on the grass.

“I explained we race on the (grass) surfaces because if we were to train on them all the time, we wouldn’t have many horses left, so we tend to use the artificial surfaces, and he compared it to a very good football team whose training pitch was quite quick and a lot of the players were getting hurt — so there are comparisons with football and racing.”

Fahey has been impressed with the surroundings in Riyadh and confirmed that the seven-year-old Spirit Dancer has settled in well.

“It’s fantastic here; we are well looked after and the horse is happy. When you come on these trips, the most important thing is how the horse is and the horse is in good order,” the North Yorkshire-based trainer said.

“I’m very pleased with him and at the moment I wouldn’t swap my fella.”

There is no hiding the sheer enjoyment that all connections got from Spirit Dancer’s Bahrain victory and Fahey is hoping for more of the same this weekend.

“It has given them a huge amount of pleasure and I think as a trainer we don’t really respect the pleasure horses give to people. For Sir Alex to be animated and excited and for all the team, it was a great win,” Fahey said.