Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel star in Quetta’s 16-run win over Peshawar in PSL

Quetta Gladiators' Saud Shakeel, right, plays a shot for six as Peshawar Zalmi' Mohammad Haris watches during the Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match. (AP)
Quetta Gladiators' Saud Shakeel, right, plays a shot for six as Peshawar Zalmi' Mohammad Haris watches during the Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match. (AP)
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Updated 18 February 2024
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Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel star in Quetta’s 16-run win over Peshawar in PSL

Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel star in Quetta’s 16-run win over Peshawar in PSL
  • Gladiators made a triumphant start in the Pakistan Super League

LAHORE: Opening batters Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel shared a beefy 157-run stand as a reshuffled Quetta Gladiators made a triumphant start in the Pakistan Super League with a 16-run win over Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday.
Roy scored a breezy 75 off 48 balls and lefthander Shakeel, who waited for 33 games to get his first opportunity in the PSL, made an equally fine 74 off 47 deliveries that lifted Quetta to 206-5.
Babar Azam (68) and Saim Ayub (42) provided Peshawar with a brisk start of 90 off 51 balls before Peshawar’s chase got wobbled in the latter part of the innings and was eventually held to 190-6.
Quetta’s new captain Rilee Rossouw of South Africa was one of the major changes Quetta had made this season. It relieved its long-time skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed after failing to qualify for the playoffs for four successive seasons.
Quetta has also brought in the Australian duo of Shane Watson as its head coach and Shaun Tait as bowling coach while also picking Mohammad Amir in the draft for the first time after the left-arm pace bowler played the last eight seasons for Karachi Kings.
Amir (1-29) bowled brilliantly upfront and was duly rewarded with the late wicket of Rovman Powell in his last over.
Roy and Shakeel capitalized on Peshawar’s wayward pace bowling with fast bowler Aamer Jamal spraying the white-ball all over and Pakistan under-19 player, Mohammad Zeeshan, failing to hit the right lengths during the powerplay.
Jamal was taken off after going for 29 runs off his two overs, but Peshawar missed a specialist spinner in the middle overs to contain Quetta’s free-scoring openers.
Captain Babar’s decision to try out the offspin of Ayub also didn’t work out well as Shakeel smashed him for three straight sixes in one over and raised a strong opening stand with Roy off 92 balls.
Peshawar hit back briefly at the death through Salman Irshad (3-38) after Englishman Luke Wood broke the tall opening stand when Shakeel holed out to Babar. Roy was splendidly caught low at midwicket when he couldn’t clear Irshad’s low full toss as Quetta lost four wickets for 34 runs.
The needless run-out of Ayub in the ninth over got Peshawar off the hook and legspinner Abrar Ahmed (2-29) picked up the key wickets of Babar and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (18) in one over to seal the game for Quetta.


Liverpool confirm Slot will replace Klopp as manager

Liverpool confirm Slot will replace Klopp as manager
Updated 8 sec ago
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Liverpool confirm Slot will replace Klopp as manager

Liverpool confirm Slot will replace Klopp as manager
Liverpool said in a statement that the Dutchman, 45, would take up the position of head coach on June 1, subject to a work permit
Slot’s arrival has been an open secret, with Liverpool reportedly agreeing a compensation deal worth up to $12 million

LONDON: Feyenoord coach Arne Slot was Monday confirmed as Jurgen Klopp’s successor at Liverpool by the Premier League club.
Liverpool said in a statement that the Dutchman, 45, would take up the position of head coach on June 1, subject to a work permit.
The club did not specify the length of his contract in their statement but Sky Sports said it understood Slot had signed a three-year deal.
Slot’s arrival has been an open secret, with Liverpool reportedly agreeing a compensation deal worth up to £9.4 million ($12 million).
He confirmed Anfield was his next destination at his final pre-match press conference at the Eredivisie club on Friday.
Klopp announced his departure in January and took charge of his final game on Sunday, a 2-0 win against Wolves.
In his final speech to the Anfield crowd, the German urged fans to throw their full support behind Slot.
“You welcome the new manager like you welcomed me,” he said. “You go all-in from the first day. And you keep believing and you push the team.”
Slot moved to Feyenoord in 2021 after impressing in his first managerial role at AZ Alkmaar.
He led the Dutch giants to the inaugural Europa Conference League final at the end of his first season. They narrowly lost 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
Slot then delivered just a second league title in 24 years to De Kuip last season before penning a new three-year deal.
“You can see people are genuinely sorry you are leaving,” he said on Friday.
“You can say that with words, but when you see it in people’s faces, it affects me quite a lot.”
Feyenoord have enjoyed a strong season, winning the Dutch Cup and coming second to an all-conquering PSV Eindhoven side.
Liverpool captain and fellow Dutchman Virgil van Dijk has hailed Slot’s attacking mindset, saying it would suit the philosophy at Anfield.
Initially, Bayer Leverkusen boss and former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso was the favorite to succeed Klopp at Anfield.
However, Alonso has committed to staying at Leverkusen after leading them to a first-ever Bundesliga title.
Liverpool won the League Cup in Klopp’s final season in charge and finished third in the Premier League, qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

England relish ‘fear factor’ of returning paceman Archer

England relish ‘fear factor’ of returning paceman Archer
Updated 20 May 2024
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England relish ‘fear factor’ of returning paceman Archer

England relish ‘fear factor’ of returning paceman Archer
  • Injuries have blighted Archer’s international career and he has not played top-level cricket for 14 months
  • But he is in England squad for four-match T20 series against Pakistan, starting this week, and the World Cup

LONDON: England are eager to unleash Jofra Archer’s “fear factor” against Pakistan as the paceman prepares to return from a long injury lay-off ahead of next month’s T20 World Cup, says team-mate Sam Curran.

Injuries have blighted Archer’s international career and he has not played top-level cricket for 14 months due to back and elbow issues.

He has managed just 15 Twenty20 appearances for England since making his international debut five years ago but is in the squad for their four-match T20 series against Pakistan, starting this week, and the World Cup.

The 29-year-old has been building up his fitness by playing club cricket in Barbados and last week took a wicket for Sussex’s second XI.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have a player of his quality,” all-rounder Curran said on Monday. “I’m sure England fans and players are extremely buzzed to have him back.

“He’s obviously got that extra pace and fear factor we can bring to opposition. We all hope his injuries are behind him now.

“Jof’s had a really tough couple of years — we all hope he can come back and do what he does for England and bring the A game that we know he’s got.”

England, who are reigning T20 world champions, are desperate to find form ahead of the tournament in the West Indies and the United States after a dismal 50-over World Cup defense in India last year.

Curran is one of eight squad members who returned early from the Indian Premier League ahead of the Pakistan series.

The players had little time together before the defense of their 50-over title.

“The messaging from (captain) Jos (Buttler) and the coaching staff was they wanted to get the group back together and we probably didn’t have that last time,” said Curran.

“We’ve been apart for a while so these games are going to be really crucial. We want to be playing as a team and get used to our roles.

“There’s a lot of buzz around the group, it seems like we’re back to our energy and it seems like the boys are really fizzed about this trophy hopefully coming back.”

The first game of the four-match T20 series against Pakistan takes place at Headingley on Wednesday.


Saudi Arabian Football Federation hosts women’s coaching workshop

Saudi Arabian Football Federation hosts women’s coaching workshop
Updated 20 May 2024
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Saudi Arabian Football Federation hosts women’s coaching workshop

Saudi Arabian Football Federation hosts women’s coaching workshop
  • Topics included data analytics, injury prevention and team-building
  • Event attended by 32 coaches from Kingdom, Africa

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation held a five-day educational workshop on women’s football aimed at empowering coaches from the Kingdom and Africa.

The event in Riyadh, held in partnership with the Confederation of African Football, ran from May 14-18 and was attended by 32 coaches — 16 from CAF member associations and 16 from local sports clubs, regional training centers as well as the Saudi Arabian women’s national teams.

Lluis Cortes, head coach of the Saudi Arabia women’s national team, led the workshop, which also featured Aalia Al-Rasheed, head of the Women’s Football Department at SAFF, as well as elite international women’s football experts and prominent CAF officials.

“The success of this event demonstrates our commitment to fostering the growth and development of women’s football both in Saudi Arabia and across Africa,” Lamia Bahaian, vice president of the SAFF, said in a statement.

“Through these collaborative efforts, we aim to create a strong network of coaches who can share their experiences, support one another, and contribute to the global advancement of women’s football. The enthusiasm and dedication shown by the participants has been truly inspiring, and we are confident that their influence will be felt on and off the field.”

Aimed at improving coaching capabilities and expertise, the SAFF-CAF workshop included a variety of panel discussions, practical lessons and theoretical sessions.

Key football-related topics covered in the workshop included data analytics, female health and injury prevention, leadership and communication, and team-building.

The CAF member associations represented in Riyadh included Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.


Maradona’s 1986 World Cup Golden Ball up for auction, a reminder of Argentine’s genius

Maradona’s 1986 World Cup Golden Ball up for auction, a reminder of Argentine’s genius
Updated 20 May 2024
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Maradona’s 1986 World Cup Golden Ball up for auction, a reminder of Argentine’s genius

Maradona’s 1986 World Cup Golden Ball up for auction, a reminder of Argentine’s genius
  • FIFA award for devastating displays in Mexico will be up for auction on June 6 at the world famous Aguttes International Auction House in Paris

Diego Maradona played once in Saudi Arabia, incredibly wearing the shirt of Jeddah powerhouse Al-Ahli in 1987, for a friendly game against Brondby of Denmark.

Yet it was the year before when he really made football history.

Many think Maradona is the best to have ever played the game, but all would surely agree that he was the star of the 1986 World Cup, and dragged Argentina to the title in heroic fashion. FIFA certainly thought so, and awarded the legend the Adidas Golden Ball trophy after it all finished, the prize given to the tournament’s best player.

Now, a piece of World Cup history is up for grabs, as the award is set to go up for auction on June 6 at the world famous Aguttes International Auction House in Paris. Serious interest is expected.

“At that 1986 World Cup, Diego shone like never before or since in his career; it was his monument,” Jorge Burruchaga, Argentina teammate of Maradona and scorer of the winning goal in the 1986 World Cup final as the South Americans defeated West Germany 3-2, said. “We knew we had the best player in the world, there was no doubt about it, we knew it for a fact.”

As dramatic as that final was, it is the 2-1 quarterfinal win against England in Mexico City that everyone remembers. Maradona’s first goal was the “Hand of God” goal, when he punched the ball into the net. It remains one of the most famous goals ever scored, matched only, perhaps, by the second he scored that day. Maradona picked the ball up from inside his own half, ran past half the England team, and the rest is history.

“My favorite recollection of this World Cup is the second goal he scored against England, which remains the most beautiful in history for me, because you must consider the state of the pitch, the altitude, the context between the two countries, and what he managed to do,” said Burruchaga.

“He breezed past six players ... It was divine. On that day, he created a lasting legacy for all Argentinian sportsmen and women, not just footballers, showing just how much you have to fight to be worthy of wearing the Argentine jersey.”

That shirt was handed by the man himself to England midfielder Steve Hodge at the final whistle. In 2022, it was sold at auction by Hodge for a figure reported to be around $7 million.

The golden ball, which was fittingly awarded to Maradona in Paris 38 years ago, is another piece of football history according to Francois Thierry, sports expert for Aguttes Auction House.

“Used far too often wrongly, the word ‘legend’ fits Diego Maradona perfectly,” Thierry said. “He is to football what Muhammad Ali is to boxing or Michael Jordan to basketball — an icon who goes far beyond the boundaries of his sport. He is certainly one of the most human athletes we have ever known, with his strengths and weaknesses. The golden kid, ‘El Pibe de Oro,’ is a special case … The history of football with a capital H is closely linked to that of Maradona.”


Hamdy gives Zamalek second CAF Confederation Cup title

Hamdy gives Zamalek second CAF Confederation Cup title
Updated 20 May 2024
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Hamdy gives Zamalek second CAF Confederation Cup title

Hamdy gives Zamalek second CAF Confederation Cup title
  • The two-leg final finished 2-2 on aggregate with the Cairo club winning the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League on away goals
  • It was a historic triumph for Zamalek boss Jose Gomes, who became the first Portuguese coach to win the Confederation Cup

CAIRO: Ahmed Hamdy scored midway through the first half to give Zamalek of Egypt a 1-0 victory over Renaissance Berkane of Morocco on Sunday and a second CAF Confederation Cup title.

The two-leg final finished 2-2 on aggregate with the Cairo club winning the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League on away goals.

The previous Zamalek triumph in the second-tier competition also came against Berkane with the Egyptians winning on penalties in 2019 after another aggregate draw.

It was a historic triumph for Zamalek boss Jose Gomes, who became the first Portuguese coach to win the Confederation Cup.

Zamalek made one change to the team that started the first leg in Morocco last Sunday with Senegalese Ibrahima Ndiaye replacing Nigeria-born fellow winger Samson Akinyoola.

Berkane were unchanged with Burkina Faso center-back Issoufou Dayo captaining the team and Senegalese Paul Bassene leading the attack.

A sell-out crowd in the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium cheered, chanted and waved large flags as Zamalek attacked relentlessly in the early stages.

It seemed a matter of time before Berkane conceded, and Zamalek took the lead on 23 minutes through Hamdy, a midfielder who joined the White Knights four months ago.

An attempted clearance by Berkane was blocked and Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed pushed the ball to unmarked Hamdy, who rifled a low shot wide of goalkeeper Hamza Hamiani into the corner of the net.

Level on aggregate but behind on away goals, Berkane came out of their defensive shell and Dayo almost levelled soon after with a far-post header after a free kick.

Paul Bassene had his first sight of goal on 32 minutes, but blazed over, then Yassine Labhiri was much closer to equalising with a shot from just outside the area.

Zamalek finished the opening half strongly and Berkane had to defend desperately with defenders blocking several goal attempts after Hamiani failed to grasp a cross.

The Berkane goalkeeper nearly gifted Zamalek a second goal just past the hour mark as he initially hesitated to clear the ball and came close to being dispossessed by Seifeddine Jaziri.

Berkane threatened with 14 minutes remaining when awarded a free kick close to the area, but a poor attempt by Ayoub Khairi sailed over.

The Moroccans were reduced to 10 men two minutes into added time when Hamza El Moussaoui was red-carded for stamping on Zizo after fouling the winger.