P 4 | FOOTBALL QATAR EXIT WITHOuT WIN P 18 | HANDBALL QATAR LIVING A DREAM Gulf champions Qatar end their Asian Cup campaign without a single victory as they lose to Bahrain in their last group match. Hosts Qatar book a berth in the pre-quarterfinal of the World Championship with a cent per cent record after the first three matches. WEDNESDAY, JANuARY 21, 2015 | Vol IX | No.51 | QR2.00 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com Follow us on DSP/Mohan Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah displays abundant mental and physical toughness en route to regaining the gruelling Dakar Rally title with ease. PAGES 24-25 UK ...................................... £1 Europe ............................. €2 Oman ...............200 Baisas Bahrain..................200 Fils Egypt .............................LE 2 Lebanon..........3,000 Livre Kuwait....................250 Fils Morocco ......................Dh 6 UAE ...............................Dh 5 Yemen..................75 Riyals Sudan ...................1 Pound KSA.......................... 2 Riyals Jordan ....................500 Fils Iraq .................................... $1 Palestine ......................... $1 Syria.............................LS 20 P 10 | FOOTBALL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Villas-Boas at peace in Russia P 20 | POSTER HANDBALL WORLDS OPENING CEREMONY ALL SPORTS, ONE STADIUM Catch every pulse of action... Stay tuned www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com Publishers: ASPIRE Printing, Publishing and Distribution P O Box: 24598, Doha, Qatar. Tel: +974 44999600 Marketing & advertising: Tel: +974 44999647 e-mail: [email protected] Distribution: Tel: +974 44999618, Fax: +974 44999619 e-mail: [email protected] www.twitter.com/dohastadiumplus www.facebook.com/dohastadiumplusqatar www.flickr.com/photos/dohastadiumplusqatar 3 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 OPINION » The writer can be contacted at: Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Dr Ahmed Al Mohannadi [email protected] Kumar Ravi Senior Editor/Writer Aswin Abraham Senior Sports Writer N Ganesh Sports Writers Sajith B Warrier Aju George Chris Mohammad Amin-ul Islam Sarath Pookkat Photographers Mohan Vinod Divakaran Fadi Al Assaad Mohammed Dabboos A K BijuRaj Graphic Designers Abhilash Chacko Gopakumar K Joice Michael Technical support Shaheen Mohammed Abdul Naser M Forget the Asian Cup debacle, start planning for future O NE step forward, two backwards. That pretty sums up Qatar football’s predicament. After breaking their 10-year Gulf Cup title drought, much was expected from Al Annabi when they reached Down under for the Asian Cup. They were even rated as dark horses in some circles. However, in one of the worst performances in recent times, our team crashed out in the group stage, losing all three matches. Success and failure are part of sports. But it’s the manner in which we lost that worries me. Better teams have had worse results, but have bounced back quickly. Whether we’ve it in us to forget the debacle in Australia and rise like a phoenix is the question that comes to my mind. We don’t have much time to ponder as the 2018 World Cup qualifiers are coming up. There’s still no guarantee that coach Djamel Belmadi will keep his job, especially considering the way his predecessors were treated. In Australia, defeat after defeat made Belmadi say he had an inexperienced squad at his disposal and that they were still on a learning curve. The ‘process is more important than the results’ theory makes for good rhetoric, but in the end, a team is analysed by the score sheet and not just by what it gained in terms P.O. Box: 24598, Doha, Qatar Tel: +974 44999620, Fax: +974 44999613 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com Editorial: Tel: +974 44999612, Fax: +974 44999613 e-mail: [email protected] Marketing & advertising: Tel: +974 44999647 e-mail: [email protected] Distribution: Tel: +974 44999618, Fax: +974 44999619 e-mail: [email protected] www.twitter.com/dohastadiumplus www.facebook.com/dohastadiumplusqatar www.flickr.com/photos/dohastadiumplusqatar Publishers: ASPIrE Printing, Publishing and Distribution Printed at ASPIrE Printing Press of experience. The year that went by saw us enjoying an unbeaten streak and also winning the Gulf Cup. Things haven’t started exactly the way we wanted this year. But the Asian Cup disaster isn’t the end of road for Qatar football. Instead, we should take it as a wake-up call and start rebuilding the side from here on. Frequent chopping and changing of coaches or players isn’t going to help. We must identify the nucleus of the squad, which’ll represent Qatar at the ’18 and ’22 World Cups, and work on that core group. If need be, don’t hesitate to get foreign expertise in various aspects of player development. Short-term measures aren’t going to help. I would rather suggest we plan for the long road ahead. Failures are meant to be stepping stones to success. We’ve to learn from our mistakes and move forward rather than going two steps backward. Dr Ahmed Al Mohannadi Editor-in-Chief © Stories and photographs appearing in this publication may not be reproduced without the permission of ASPIrE Printing, Publishing and Distribution. INSIDE P 12 | FOOTBALL P 22 | HANDBALL P 30 | CRICKET Cool Bavarian finds space for himself Taking Spain rightly forward Blistering century Bayern Munich and Germany striker Thomas Mueller does not miss a chance to have fun even while remaining a consistent scorer. Spain coach Manolo Cadenas speaks about his team, the international federation’s naturalisation policy and game in general. P 26 | GOLF P 28 | VOLLEYBALL Fairway to glory at Qatar Masters El Jaish script thrilling win Sergio Garcia, who is targeting back-to-back titles, and Martin Kaymer lead the star parade at the 18th edition of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Christian Pampel’s excellent serves enable El Jaish to defeat champions Al Arabi in a thriller as the Qatar League’s first phase concludes. A B De Villiers smashes the fastest One-Day International century off just 31 balls as South Africa defeat the West Indies by 148 runs in the second of their five-match series. 4 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL PAINFUL RETREA GULF CHAMPIONS QATAR MUST PUT BEHIND THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF A GROUP-STAGE EXIT AND NEED TO PLAN FOR FUTURE, WRITES SAJITH B WARRIER FROM SYDNEY. T HrEE defeats from as many outings, injury cloud over a star player and a misfiring frontline. Things could not have been any worse for Qatar whose Asian Cup campaign ended in the group stage. The team, which was expected to impress, cut a sorry figure Down under. There has not been such a dismal performance from Al Annabi since their failure to qualify for the continental showpiece in 1996. The Gulf Cup heroes have fallen with a mighty thud in less than two months. As the players walked out of the Stadium Australia in Sydney following their 1-2 defeat to Bahrain, they have much to think about and THE GULF CUP HEROES HAVE FALLEN WITH A MIGHTY THUD IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS. that too in little time as the 2018 World Cup qualifiers are not far away. Qatar’s challenge had ended with their 0-1 loss to Iran. Playing for pride, they missed too many chances against Bahrain, with striker Mohammed Muntari being the main culprit. The El Jaish striker, who was picked by coach Djamel Belmadi for the tournament over veteran Sebastian Soria, missed at least three scoring chances. “When you miss such chances it’s about many things like luck and concentration. We created chances, but didn’t score and this is what happens,” rued Belmadi. Hassan Al Haidous scored Qatar’s only goal from a free-kick and his form is definitely inspiring. In hindsight, the big loss to the uAE in the opener at Canberra proved too costly for Qatar, who started the tournament without regular skipper Bilal Mohammed who twisted his ankle during training. That star player Khalfan Ibrahim had not recovered completely from a knee injury did not help Qatar’s case either. They missed the experience of Bilal in defence while Khalfan, who scored the country’s opening goal against the uAE and was substituted after half-time, looked far from convincing. No wonder, he came on as a second-half substitute in the next tie against Iran and was left out of the Bahrain game. Most of those in the 23-member squad were playing their first Asian Cup and seem to have got overawed by the occasion. Al Mehdi Ali, who had scored in Qatar’s Gulf Cup final victory over Saudi Arabia in riyadh, was looking for the positives. “We hope we can learn from this competition because most of us are young and still have a long future. We must continue to work because we’ve more competitions ahead of us,” said the Al Sadd centre-back. His sentiments were echoed by right-back Mohammed Mousa. “We’re a young team looking to gain experience. We always aim to do our best and portray a positive image of Qatar football,” said Mousa. When Belmadi chose a youthful squad for the campaign, overlooking seniors like Soria and Wesam rizik, there were a lot of expectations. The Algerian, who guided an experimental Qatar squad to the West Asian Football Federation Championship title last January, continued with more or less the same combination for the Gulf Cup in October. Though the move paid off in riyadh, it fell flat in Australia and now it is back to the drawing board for Qatar. Strengthening the team before the 2018 World Cup qualification should be the immediate concern. And that should be a blend of youth and experience. There is no substitute for experience in international football, which Belmadi & Co must have realised by now. ššBahrain’s Jaycee John escapes the challenge of Qatar’s Al Mehdi Ali. Belmadi blames it on h ‘Russia is next big target’ Qatar may have ended their Asian Cup campaign without a win, but Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said the country was looking towards future with hope. “Our next big target is to reach the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in russia and ’16 Olympic Games in rio de Janeiro,” said the Qatar Football Association chief. Sheikh Hamad said winning two titles — West Asian and Asian u-19 — in the year that went by showed the game in the country was progressing in the right direction. He said it augured well for the nation, which will host the World Cup in ’22. M ANAGING teams in the Middle East can at times be one of the toughest jobs in the world since hiring and firing is the norm here. Djamel Belmadi is the sixth coach of Qatar in the last four years and the Sword of Damocles now hangs over his head after the country’s early exit from the Asian Cup in Australia. “I’m the coach, at least for the moment. You never know for the future,” was all Belmadi said when asked about his future after Qatar suffered their third straight defeat, against Bahrain. under the former Algerian midfielder, Qatar have won two titles, the West Asian Football Federation Championship at home a year ago and Gulf Cup in Saudi Arabia last November, but the Asian Cup flop show has put his job on the line. Though he did not entertain too many questions about his job, Belmadi spoke about the need to build a strong team for future as Qatar is set to host the World Cup in seven years. “We’ve young players in this team who may be able to play in the 2022 World Cup. Only recently I’M THE COACH, AT LEAST FOR THE MOMENT. YOU NEVER KNOW FOR THE FUTURE. our under-19 team won the Asian Championship. We’ve good players in our Olympic team too. “So we can choose from all these players and try to be competitive in the ’22 World Cup. When you’ve the World Cup at home, it’s very important for us to have a competitive team and I try to 5 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Record winning run AT COLLATED RESULTS GROUP A Australia bt Kuwait South Korea bt Oman Australia bt Oman South Korea bt Kuwait Oman bt Kuwait South Korea bt Australia GROUP B uzbekistan bt North Korea China bt Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia bt North Korea China bt uzbekistan uzbekistan bt Saudi Arabia China bt North Korea GROUP C uAE bt Qatar Iran bt Bahrain uAE bt Bahrain Iran bt Qatar Bahrain bt Qatar Iran bt uAE GROUP D Japan bt Palestine Iraq bt Jordan Jordan bt Palestine Japan bt Iraq Japan bt Jordan Iraq bt Palestine 4-1 1-0 4-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 3 3 3 3 China uzbekistan Saudi Arabia North Korea 3 3 3 3 Iran uAE Bahrain Qatar 3 3 3 3 Japan Iraq Jordan Palestine 3 3 3 3 GROUP A 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 GROUP B 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 GROUP C 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 GROUP D 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 4-1 2-0 2-0 1-0 2-1 1-0 4-0 1-0 5-1 1-0 2-0 2-0 0 1 2 3 3 8 1 1 0 2 5 6 9 6 3 0 0 1 2 3 5 5 5 2 2 3 5 7 9 6 3 0 0 1 2 3 4 6 3 2 0 3 5 7 9 6 3 0 0 1 2 3 7 3 5 1 0 1 4 11 9 6 3 0 hectic schedule prepare our players as much as I can,” he said. The 38-year-old blamed cramped scheduling as one of the reasons for the team’s failure at the Asian Cup. “We came here with a lot of expectations and didn’t win a game. We’re all, of course, really disappointed. In one year, we had three competitions, which is a lot for a national team. We won two, the West Asian Championship at home and Gulf Cup away in Saudi Arabia. We know how difficult it’s to win there. “Maybe, this third competition was too much for us, especially when you’ve a short time between the tournaments. May be, it’s all about our level. It isn’t an excuse, but a fact,” Belmadi added. » The writer can be contacted at: [email protected] ŠŠKuwait’s defeat at the hands of Australia in the lung opener came as a bad omen for Gulf teams. HOW THEY FARED All Gulf Cup teams, except Yemen, made it to the Asian Cup. A glance at their performances. UAE By far the best among the Gulf nations. Stunned Qatar 4-1 in the opening match, followed it up with a 2-1 victory over Bahrain. The only loss they suffered was against Iran (0-1). 1-0 1-0 4-1 2-1 3-1 2-1 STANDINGS South Korea Australia Oman Kuwait The 16th edition of Asian Cup entered the record books with the number of winning games extending to 24 as not a single group match ended in draw. The previous record for the number of consecutive games without a draw at a major tournament was 18, which happened at the inaugural FIFA World Cup in uruguay in 1930. No major tournaments, including World Cup, European Championship, Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations, could break the record for the number of games without a draw set at the inaugural World Cup in uruguay, until Asian Cup surpassed the eight-decade long milestone. IRAQ Introspection time for Gulf teams! I T IS ALrEADY proving to be a disappointing tournament for teams from the Gulf region, with just two — Iraq and the uAE — reaching the knockout phase. All others failed to deliver when it mattered the most. Gulf Cup runners-up Saudi Arabia failed to reach the quarterfinal for the second successive time. They started their Group B campaign with a 0-1 loss to SAUDI ARABIA FAILED TO REACH THE QUARTERFINAL FOR THE SECOND SUCCESSIVE TIME. China. Though they bounced back to beat North Korea 4-1, in a do-or-die tie against uzbekistan they lost 1-3 and bowed out of the tournament. “It’s disappointing for me, for everyone. We tried our best and we tried to work hard to improve in all aspects of the game. This is a big disappointment for me because I wanted to do something for them to pay back their love, but I couldn’t,” rued Saudi coach Cosmin Olaroiu. The romanian did hardly get any time to prepare his team for the continental challenge. Head coach of uAE club Al Ahli, Olaroiu took charge of the Saudi team on short notice in December and his contract was only till the end of the tournament. Shortsightedness on the part of administrators in the region does not need a better example. Oman was another team to disappoint. Though they were drawn into a tough group featuring tournament favourites Australia and South Korea, much was expected of them. But defeats to South Korea and Australia put paid to their hopes. “We knew we had a very tough group after being drawn along with Australia and South Korea. We did the best we could,” said Oman skipper Ali Al Habsi. Kuwait fared no better. Just like Olaroiu, Nabil Maaloul, who was coaching Qatar’s El Jaish club, was roped in for the Kuwait job with hardly a month to go for the tournament. After Hussain Fadhel stunned Socceroos with an eighth-minute goal in the lung opener, Kuwait barely had anything to remember as they allowed the hosts to come back into the game. They did not score anymore goals in the tournament and ended up conceding six in total. Beat Jordan 1-0 in the opening encounter before suffering a 0-1 reversal at the hands of holders Japan. Veteran Younis Mahmoud led with a bullet header in the 2-0 win over Palestine, which ensured their passage to the quarterfinals. OMAN Scored just one goal and conceded five including four in one game against the Socceroos. All they managed was victory against Kuwait in the last group tie which was of academic interest. KUWAIT Started the tournament with a bang by scoring the opening goal, but after that they were barely in the contest. Finished last in the group conceding six goals. SAUDI ARABIA Inconsistency has been their bane. Outstanding one day, pretty ordinary the next day. The 1-3 defeat to uzbekistan in a crucial match ended their campaign on a bitter note. BAHRAIN Barring the consolation win against Qatar in a match which had no significance, Bahrain had nothing much to show for in the tournament. Played catch-up for most of the time in the other two matches. Iran take on Iraq in quarterfinal V Djamel Belmadi ETErAN Younis Mahmoud turned the clock back with a powerful header to power Iraq to a 2-0 win over Palestine and earn them a quarterfinal tie against arch-rivals Iran. Younis, who had stints with many Qatari clubs including Al Sadd, Al Wakrah and Al Gharafa, put his team ahead in the 48th minute in the last Group D tie at Canberra on Tuesday. Ahmed Yaseen netted the second goal for the 2007 champions. The uAE, the only other side from the region to have made it to the round of eight, will face QUARTERFINAL FIXTURES Kick-off in Doha time. South Korea vs uzbekistan, Melbourne rectangular Thursday, Stadium, 10.30am. January 22 China vs Australia, Brisbane Stadium, 1.30pm. Iran vs Iraq, Canberra Stadium, 9.30am. Friday, January 23 Japan vs uAE, Stadium Australia, Sydney, 12.30pm. holders Japan at the Stadium Australia in Sydney on Friday. Japan maintained their impressive form and clean sheet in the tournament, brushing aside debutants Palestine 2-0 at the Melbourne rectangular Stadium, thanks to goals from Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa. Hosts Australia will face China while South Korea square off with uzbekistan in the other quarterfinal ties, which will be played on Thursday. 6 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL ššIran’s Sardar Azmoun celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Qatar. Iranians are having a ball! Sajith B Warrier I F GuLF teams, except uAE, disappointed big time in the ongoing AFC Asian Cup, West Asian powerhouse Iran have been a study in contrast. Going by their current form, one would not be surprised if Team Melli go all the distance to end their title jinx, which dates back to 1976. Iran’s performance so far has been impressive. So talented is the Carlos Queiroz-coached side that they could even afford to leave out top striker reza Ghoochannejhad from the starting line-up in the group match against Qatar at Stadium Australia in Sydney. As the travelling fans and immigrants in the country virtually turned Stadium Australia in Sydney into an Iranian fortress, the team raised the level of performance on the pitch and by doing so, their fans’ expectations as well. The likes of Andranik Teymourian, Ashkan Dejagah, Javad Nekounam and Masoud Shojaei have been in impressive form Down under. Iran had shown glimpses of their potential at the Brazil World Cup just six months ago, when they gave eventual runners-up Argentina a mighty scare in the group game before being felled by Lionel Messi’s brilliance. Their form in Australia can be seen as an extension of that. The huge fan following has also helped the team, the only side in the Asian Cup history to complete a hat-trick of triumphs, from 1968 to ’76. I WOULD LIKE TO DEDICATE THIS SUCCESS TO THE FANTASTIC IRANIAN FANS. ššIranian fans have been supporting their team all the way. The fact that they have not been able to replicate the success of the yore remains a mystery. In Iran, women are barred from watching the men’s game, but at the Stadium Australia last week, plenty of them came with their faces painted green and white to root for the team. The celebrations poured out from the venue as football’s power to bridge the cultural divide came to the fore yet again. “I would like to dedicate this success to the fantastic Iranian fans who came here to support our team. We owe our performance and results to them,” said Queiroz. Though the country is hampered by a number of geopolitical issues, Iran have been making huge strides on the field. Their current FIFA ranking of 51 bears testimony to their credentials and being the highest-rated side among the teams in the ongoing tournament puts things into proper perspective. “Team Melli means everything to me. It’s my first love and it’s my identity,” said reza Tayebi, who was among the thousands of fans who created an Azadi Stadium kind of atmosphere in Sydney. In a tournament where the buzzword is ‘united for the Asian Cup’, the Iranians, be it the team or their passionate fans, are doing just that. Cutting across all barriers, the Iranians are the cynosure of all eyes in Australia. If they can end their 39-year title jinx on January 31, then that would just be a real achievement for Team Melli. » The writer can be contacted at: [email protected] www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Queiroz, the brain behind Team Melli C ONTINuITY has been the key to Iran’s success. unlike some of the other coaches in the tournament like Saudi Arabia’s Cosmin Olaroiu and Iraq’s radhi Shenaishil, who were appointed on short notice, Carlos Queiroz has been in the Iran job for four years. And that is one of the main reasons behind the team’s impressive form Down under. The ex-real Madrid boss knows how to bring the best out of his boys and is always a busy man in the dugout, keeping his players on their toes all the time. “I don’t feel frustrated, I just call for attention and put pressure on the team because you must finish the game. With a simple pass into the box, anything can happen, a simple mistake can turn the game. It’s important to keep your cool and hold the ball and finish the game,” said Queiroz. The 61-year-old dwelled further on his coaching philosophy. “It’s just my mentality. If we can win 1-0, I’ll take the chance. Two is good, three is better and four is outstanding. We try to put in practice on the pitch a simple and accurate plan. “We’ve a good team. We need to express more with discipline and organisation and do our best in 90 minutes to try and win the game. This is the plan. This is what I used to say to my players. They must express themselves because they’ve a team behind them and they must play for the team,” said WE NEED TO EXPRESS MORE WITH DISCIPLINE AND ORGANISATION. Queiroz, who does not give too much of importance to opponents’ strength. “Coaching isn’t just about plotting your opponent’s downfall. It’s about us and how we’re going to express our game and play, have fun and put that on the pitch. “I prefer to be focused on my team and not so much concerned about the opposition. Bad results don’t show that a team is bad, just like a good result doesn’t show a team is good. All these years, I’ve had only one thing in mind, the Iran national team and how we’re playing,” he concluded. 7 An orchestrator par excellence! I rAN midfielder Andranik Teymourian is riding a wave of success. The former Al Kharaitiyat player was instrumental in his team’s victories over Bahrain and Qatar, and had a hand in all three goals (two against Bahrain and one against Qatar) that Iran scored in their first two group matches. “We aren’t a team of one or two stars. It’s a team of 11 stars. We try our best to get good results game after game and things have worked out well so far,” said Teymourian, who spent the 2012-13 season at Kharaitiyat on loan from Esteglal. He is currently plying his trade with Tabriz-based Tractor Sazi. In the second group match against Qatar at the Stadium Australia in Sydney, the 31-year-old showed his class with a brilliant tackle to win the ball back for Iran which resulted in Sardar Azmoun’s winning goal. “We don’t make tall promises. But one thing I can assure you. Iran will always fight till the end. This is what we can promise our fans,” said the former Bolton Wanderers player. The large number of fans in Australia has certainly given Iran an extra edge. And Teymourian was quick to acknowledge it. “We’re very thankful to all the fans who’ve been our twelfth player throughout the tournament. I would like to thank all the Iranians in Australia who’ve been supporting the team and those who made it here all the way from back home,” he said. Matches featuring Socceroos have drawn a sellout crowd in Australia while Iran also attract a big number of fans, a point which Teymourian emphasised further. “We’ve the second highest fan base at this tournament after the Socceroos. It’s an absolute privilege for the team and the players to play in front of such a large crowd,” Teymourian said. S DELINES! Misleading clock Fans who came to watch Iraq’s Group D opener against Jordan in Brisbane were in for a rude shock. The kick-off time was 8pm just like at other venues in Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne. But those who went by the Asian Football Confederation’s official website, which said the match would start at 9pm local time, got it totally wrong as the game was well into the second half by then. DSP/Fadi Al Assaad Carlos Queiroz He ain’t a footballer! Right hair, right now! Strange are the ways in which television journalists go about their jobs these days. And some of them often lack the basics of the job. A visiting Asian Cup broadcast crew was about to interview Australian cricketer Mitchell Marsh under the assumption that he was a Socceroos player. And it took the timely intervention of a Cricket Australia representative to avoid the gaffe. Pride dented, the TV scribe desperately tried a damage-control exercise by doing an interview with a Channel Nine broadcaster! Though debutants Palestine have not exactly had any top performance on the field so far, when it comes to hairstyle they have outwitted everyone. The Palestinians are keen on spotting a stylish hairstyle. Grapevine is that a Sydney-based Palestinian barber and his team are on duty at their hotel to get them dressed up for the occasion. The sharpness in the Palestinians’ hairdo owes a lot to the Sydney barber and, according to insiders, the players even stay awake till 1am to get ready for the next match. 8 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Out to build a new brand Sajith B Warrier T HE Asian Cup title drought dating back to 1960 is something which has been worrying football-mad South Korea. And to end that, they have turned to German coach uli Stielike, who always wants to walk the talk. Stielike replaced Hong Myong-Bo following the East Asian nation’s exit in the group stage of the World Cup in Brazil. The former World Cupper wants the Koreans to come out of the defensive rut if they want to end their Asian Cup jinx. After lacklustre wins over Oman and Kuwait by an identical 1-0 margin, Stielike virtually gave his team a dressing down despite knowing that injuries have affected the squad. The 60-year-old, who has coached Switzerland and Ivory Coast, said, “I see too much focus on defence in the K-League. It has been the bane of Korean football. “In football, you just can’t focus on defence. You need to play an aggressive brand not only to entertain the crowd, but also to win matches and trophies. results count more than anything. There’re no half-measures. unless you’ve an attacking mentality, the present state of affairs will continue.” He has statistics to back his claims. A glance at the K-League last year shows that there has been a steady decline in the number of goals scored, with just 2.22 netted per game. In an all-Korean AFC Champions IF WE GIVE 100 PER CENT OF OUR ABILITY ON THE FIELD, WE CAN ACHIEVE POSITIVE RESULTS. League double-leg quarterfinal last August, FC Seoul, one of the top teams in the K- League, played goalless with Pohang Steelers and, finally, a shoot-out decided the winners. “We need to present a good brand of football. Quality is essential and the results will take care of themselves. I see a lot of talented defenders in the K-League, but there’s a lack of scorers. With teams focusing too much on defence, I think the şşSouth Korean players during a training session. league’s popularity will suffer in the long run. Lack of attacking options will force coaches to be on the defensive right from the start and it doesn’t augur well for the game in general in the country,” said Stielike. He believes the ongoing Asian Cup is a good chance to get their act together. “We want to bring this team into the heart of our fans and, for that, we need to play good attacking football. I think everyone knows what we’ve to do in this competition, especially after the dismal performance at the World Cup. We’ve to put the disappointment of Brazil behind and move forward. We want to bring confidence back in our ranks and show that we’re able to become the champions in Asia,” he said. However, the former Al Arabi and Al Sailiya coach was quick to add that the team’s current form was not at all inspiring. “At the moment, we can’t say we’re the best team in Asia. We’ve never won the Asian Cup since ’60. That’s 55 years. It’s such a long gap. If we give 100 per cent of our ability on the field, we can achieve positive results. But it’s very difficult for a team which comes out with a mentality to defend from the first minute to change its mind. So we need to change our mindset first. Only then will things improve,” he added. Stielike, who played 42 matches for erstwhile West Germany and was a part of the team which lost to Italy in the 1982 World Cup final where he missed a crucial penalty, had coaching stints in Europe, Africa and Middle East. Hardly three months into his four-year contract with South Korea, he is already linked with the China job. However, he dismissed all those talks. “Once I’m done with my four-year contract in South Korea, I’ll be 64. Then I may just spend my time teeing off in the greens!” he concluded. Uli Stielike www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 9 Head and shoulders above the rest A MONG the four Qatar Stars League (QSL)-based South Korean players at the Asian Cup, Nam Tae-Hee has by far been the most impressive. The Lekhwiya midfielder, who made his Asian Cup debut in the second group match against Kuwait in Canberra, netted the all-important goal for the Taeguk Warriors last week. Starting in place of injured Lee Chung-Yong, Nam showed his brilliance when he outjumped two defenders to meet a fine cross from seasoned campaigner Cha Du-ri and headed it home. Nam’s goal was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise insipid performance by the Koreans. “I’m happy to have scored. More importantly, the team won. I had many problems while controlling the ball, passing and shooting. I need to work on these areas as the tournament reaches its business end,” said the 23-year-old. At Lekhwiya, where he replaced former Asian Player of the Year runner-up Nashat Akram three seasons ago, Nam is a key player in Michael Laudrup’s scheme of things. In the current QSL season, he was presented with the No.10 shirt and had scored the opening goal in the team’s 5-0 rout of Qatar SC. Nam’s goal, which came against the run of play, set the tone for the champions, The conspicuous Qatar connection Not just the coach, but South Korea’s squad too has a strong connection with Qatar. The Taeguk Warriors master uli Stielike coached in the Gulf nation, twice with Al Arabi and once with Al Sailiya, while four players are plying their trade with Qatar Stars League (QSL) clubs. They are Lekhwiya midfielder Nam Tae-Hee, El Jaish forward Lee Keun-Ho, and Qatar Sports Club midfielder Han KookYoung and forward Cho Young-Cheol. “I’ve a good presence of QSL players in my team. They’re quite good. The QSL is a tough competition. Its quality keeps improving all the time,” he said. Stielike said the main challenge while coaching in South Korea compared to Qatar lay not on the field, but outside. “The post-match Press conferences in South Korea are always lengthy affairs. I find too many journalists in Korea compared to Qatar!” he said in a lighter vein. who are currently on top of the QSL standings. Nam was overlooked by South Korea’s previous coach Hong Myong-Bo. However, with uli Stielike, the attacking midfielder found his way back into the team. Having coached Qatari clubs Al Arabi and Al Sailiya, Stielike was in a better position to assess Nam’s strengths. “He (Stielike) has it in him to bring the best out of us. I would like to repay the faith the coach has shown in me,” said Nam. NAM WAS OVERLOOKED BY SOUTH KOREA’S PREVIOUS COACH HONG MYONG-BO. While hoping to end South Korea’s jinx, Nam wants to keep improving all the time. “Critics keep saying that we don’t score goals. We need to convert all the chances coming our way. That’s the only way to silence them,” he added. In Australia, there is a fair share of Korean presence in the stands and Nam believes it augurs well for the team. “They’re very passionate and support us to the hilt. In places like Canberra and Brisbane, there were a number of them cheering us all the time. It kind of spurs us on. We felt like playing at home,” he said. » The writer can be contacted at: [email protected] Curbing the menace of match fixing W ITH match fixing being rampant in the sport worldwide, extensive measures have been implemented to combat the threat at the Asian Cup. A collaboration, between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and key stakeholders including the Australian Government, Football Federation Australia, Local Organising Committee and betting monitoring service provider Sportradar, has been pivotal in carrying out its Integrity Action Plan. “Like any global event, the Asian Cup attracts a vast global betting turnover and therefore the need to have measures in place to successfully prevent, detect and respond to the threat of match fixing is the main objective of the Integrity Action Plan,” said AFC SOOSAY ALSO EXPRESSED HIS SATISFACTION AT THE ASIAN CUP’S OVERALL CONDUCT. General Secretary Alex Soosay. The plan is made up of several core elements and Soosay thinks it is the right step forward to curb the fixing menace. “The effective implementation of this plan has been evident thus far as all the monitored pre-tournament friendlies have identified no evidence of match fixing, which’s an encouraging sign. The Asian Cup itself has started positively and we’re quite confident that it’ll remain so throughout,” he added. As the tournament completed its group stage on Tuesday, Soosay has also expressed his satisfaction at its overall conduct. “The tournament is progressing in an impressive fashion. First and foremost, the football on display has been riveting. regarding organisational matters, no major problems have been encountered, and attendances have been higher than expected, with a festive atmosphere prevalent at all matches,” said Soosay. The AFC official expects momentum to build up as the knockout phase begins on Thursday. “As momentum builds, the number of spectators will continue to increase. The Local Organising Committee and volunteers are doing a great job. All involved in the tournament’s operations must remain vigilant and focused to ensure that we continue with the good start that we’ve made,” he added. Alex Soosay 10 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL | QATAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW In Russia, at peace! RUSSIAN PREMIER LEAGUE LEADERS ZENIT SAINT PETERSBURG COACH ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS TELLS N GANESH ABOUT THEIR EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN, HIS ATTACKING STYLE AND PLANS ABOUT FUTURE. şşZenit Saint Petersburg players train at the Aspire ground. DSP/Mohan XYXYXYXYXYYXYXYX XXYXYXYXYXXY XYXYXYXYXYX XYXYXYXYXYYY W HEN the world’s two leading young football brains, Pep Guardiola and Andre Villas-Boas, were engaged in a conversation at the Aspire ground last week, you cannot be blamed for being tempted to at least overhear it. Considering that the two possess ample tactical acumen, it would have been quite enlightening and worth reproducing here. But that was not to be, after all. They both achieved coaching success at a young age, but more significantly, their football philosophy is somewhat the same, which means they have a lot to discuss whenever they meet. ‘New player unlikely’ “My philosophy is based on possession and initiative. That’s the way I’ve always wanted my teams to play, with attacking style and having the ball. Always having a ball to have a go at the opponent. My teams always play open. They favour offensive first than defensive,” Villas-Boas told Doha Stadium Plus. It synchronises with that of Guardiola. But unlike the Spaniard, who is busy reproducing his Barcelona success at Bayern Munich after taking a break in between, Villas-Boas’s move to the English Premier League straight after a triumphant spell at Porto, first with Chelsea and then Tottenham Hotspur, did not exactly prosper. He later opted to switch to a relatively less-intense russian Premier League with Zenit Saint Petersburg. It turned out to be the right move for both parties, as Zenit currently sit seven points above champions CSKA Moscow on the league table and look set to wrest the title from them. Former Arsenal player Andrey Arshavin, in No.10 shirt, is easily the face of the team which, however, is built on a host of talented foreign players like Javi Garcia, Ezequel Garay, Salomon rondon and, of course, Hulk, Villas-Boas’s longknown protege. Zenit Saint Petersburg coach Andre Villas-Boas said he was quite unlikely to make any move in the present transfer window. “I haven’t spoken really about the transfer window. We don’t have much to do. Our current team is the one that we prepare strongly to become champions. I think it’s quite unlikely, though not impossible, that a new player comes to join us,” said Villas-Boas. Andre Villas-Boas www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 11 Villas-Boas aspires to coach Ronaldo in the future A NDrE Villas-Boas had voted for Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or award and he would welcome the chance of coaching his Portuguese counterpart, whom he described as one of the greatest footballers ever. “I don’t know if I’ve that possibility,” said Villas-Boas. “Coaches always have the aspiration to work with the best, but again I don’t know if that’ll be possible. To me, Cristiano is one of the greatest in the history of football and I believe he Hulk, who knows the Portuguese coach from their Porto days, looked in good nick during their rout of the Jaish reserve team last week. Barring an embarrassing rabona pass attempt, the Brazilian forward got almost everything right. Still preparations need to be more intense as the long winter break in russia means the Europa League last-16 game against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, to be played on February 19, is their next competitive outing. “The problem with our Europa League game against PSV is that it’s our first official outing coming from preparation. So we’ve to intensify our training. We’re planning to play a big team before we play PSV. And hopefully, that can put us in a good position,” said 37-year-old Villas-Boas. can get even bigger.” The Zenit Saint Petersburg coach had said recently that ronaldo’s ambition was often construed as arrogance. “I think sometimes drive and ambition of individuals shouldn’t be confused as arrogance, and sometimes Cristiano gets that tag on him,” he said. “He’s a bit ‘chased’ publicly in some way and I don’t understand why, but I think this kind of phenomenon happens to him. “Cristiano doesn’t get that margin of respect that sometimes (Lionel) Messi gets,” he said. After his forgettable stints at trigger-happy English teams Chelsea and Tottenham, for which Villas-Boas recently put the blame I’M VERY FOCUSED. I LIKE A LOT TO BE HERE AT ZENIT AND IT’S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY. squarely on the indifference of their chairmen roman Abramovich and Daniel Levy respectively, there were several takers for him from top five European leagues. But he opted to move to russia. Now, when any English Premier League team fires a coach, Villas-Boas’s name pops up as the replacement. Lately, he has been linked with Newcastle united, who parted ways with Alan Pardew. The call of the most popular league in the world could be tempting for anyone, but not for Villas-Boas, who says he is quite happy at Zenit. “I’m very focused. I like a lot to be here at Zenit and it’s a great opportunity to work for the club. We’ve great determination and want to be champions this time. So, I hope we can do that at the end of the season. I’ve spoken publicly that I don’t have intentions of going back to England. I’m very happy at the moment and I hope to continue here in the future,” he said. » The writer can be contacted at: [email protected] ššAndre Villas-Boas, left, and Pep Guardiola are having a chat at the Aspire ground. ‘Qatar will deliver a fantastic World Cup’ Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas said the World Cup in Qatar would be a big success. “I’ve been very supportive of Qatar’s World Cup. I hope it’ll be a huge success,” said Villas-Boas. “I’m sure the organisation of it will be fantastic. The facilities at Aspire are fantastic. It’s an example of what this country can do. “I know the project of the stadiums for the World Cup and that they can give them to countries in Africa and elsewhere. The tournament is still far away, but I’m sure it’ll be a World Cup we would be looking back to in the future,” he said. QFA initiative Koora Time bags another CSR award K OOrA Time, a joint initiative of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and Qatar Shell, bagged the Dar Al Sharq Corporate Social responsibility Award for the Best Sports Initiative. Koora Time is a five-year sustainable initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Qatar’s youth through football. The programme provides each child with 96 hours of physical activity over 24 weeks. The award capped a great year for Koora Time initiative, following recognition at the Sport Industry Awards for ‘Best Youth Development Initiative’ and the AFC Dream of Asia Award in the area of social responsibility. Judges were impressed by findings published by an independent sports education research agency showing that THE AWARD CAPPED A GREAT YEAR FOR KOORA TIME INITIATIVE. the programme had significantly improved the Body Mass Index rate of 89 per cent of participants in the first and second seasons. The awards ceremony, which featured 30 companies from different sectors competing to demonstrate how their CSr initiatives best bridged the gap between society and the business sector, was held under the patronage of Qatar Central Bank Governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani and in the presence of Minister of Youth and Sports HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali. Qatar Shell CSr Manager Mohammed AbuJbara, after receiving the award from Al Ali, said, “At Qatar Shell, we’re committed to supporting Qatar’s National Vision 2030 by working with Qatari partners to create and deliver long-term contributions to society that generate measurable social impact.” ššHE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, left, presents the award to Mohammed AbuJbara. 12 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL | QATAR Cool Bavarian finds space for himself N Ganesh D EFENDEr Dante would love to forget that fateful July night when his Brazil team was marauded by Germany in the semifinal at the last World Cup, but Thomas Mueller has always ensured it remained vivid in his Bayern Munich team-mate’s memory by making fun of him at every opportunity. Dante has jokingly warned of hitting him, but would not do so at the Doha camp. Still, it is unlikely that Mueller will stop, for he is one who does not want to miss any chance of having fun. Mueller loves of being jovial. At the Aspire ground, he was the one who always kept laughing and babbling even during the toughest training sessions. Press meetings with him were no different either, as he sat with his legs crossed, cracking jokes and smiling throughout. Since Diego Maradona, during his days as Argentina coach, mistook him for a ball boy at a media conference five years ago, Mueller has emerged as a prolific scorer both in Germany and Bayern Munich colours, but his happy-golucky demeanour has not left him. rather, he always firmly held on to it, even under his former mentor Louis ‘Iron Tulip’ van Gaal. Since making it to Bayern’s first team seven years ago, Mueller has won everything in club football and lifted the World Cup in Brazil. His countrymen believe all that have not gone into his head and instead made him more good natured. Hailing from the tiny city of Pahl, 30 miles south-west of Munich, he is often referred to as the embodiment of the Bavarian concept of being cool, which is in contrast to the general perception of Germans as tough nuts. unorthodox is his playing style, something Mueller is quite aware of. Far from elegant, he is more of a clever footballer, who does not want to test his physical strength against the robust defenders, but would prefer to sneak behind them into even the tiniest space and mercilessly stab the ball into the net from any angle. “I understand that many find it hard to get me as a player. They say: ‘Impossible, how did he do that?’ But, at some point, they may start thinking: ‘Oh, he’s quite good after all,’” said Mueller, who is nicknamed ramdeuter, which means space interpreter. unconventional are his ways too. He does not buy the sleep-and-eatfootball theory, but would openly admit his reluctance to watch the game while at home. With his wife Lisa, who was a semi-professional MUELLER IS REFERRED TO AS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE BAVARIAN CONCEPT OF BEING COOL. equestrian rider, he often moves into the world of horses. Back on the field, it gets so intense again. Bayern have set a standard for themselves and Mueller, who has scored seven goals halfway through the Bundesliga this time, says the training sessions are sometimes tougher than the league. “We’ve a very high level in training. It’s often more difficult to win against our training team than maybe against a team in the Bundesliga. This is precisely because the tactical level is identical. Of course, everyone has the same understanding. Pep Guardiola gives your head so much to do and I’m not talking about heading practice,” said the 25-year-old, who figures prominently in the Spanish coach’s scheme of things. Yet, he has been linked with a move to Manchester united since Van Gaal took charge of them this season, but Mueller said he would stay at Bayern. “As of now, I don’t have any intention of playing abroad. I’ve a contract with Bayern until 2019 and I don’t want to leave the club before that. But then, it’s football and you don’t know what the future holds for you,” said Mueller, whose relationship with united coach has been well known. He would not mind a second term under Van Gaal, for he knows he can be sure of being himself under the Dutchman. As a cool Bavarian! ‘Chelsea are favourites for Champions League title’ B DSP/Mohan Thomas Mueller AYErN Munich coach Pep Guardiola spoke about a variety of topics at the end of the eight-day training camp, in Doha, during which they also played a friendly against a Qatar Stars XI. David Alaba fully recovered from his knee trouble and started training while centre-back Mehdi Benatia was unfortunate to suffer a groin injury. Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Javi Martinez continued his recuperation. Guardiola spoke about them and much more during his final Press briefing. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 13 Croc attack? Come on, it was a prank! FIFA right in naming Qatar as cup hosts B G AYErN Munich star Arjen Robben played a prank on reporters, saying he was bitten by a crocodile during the team’s 10-day winter camp in Qatar. robben played the friendly against Al Hilal in riyadh last week with a bandage on his left hand after he suffered a knock during training. But when he was quizzed about it, the Dutch international jokingly said, “When I got the ball out of the pocket during a game of billiards, a crocodile bit me.” Crocodiles are not a native species in Qatar and one biting robben was highly unlikely. Still a section of the media, including in England, got carried away and sensationalised the news, with one English daily even carrying a picture of a crocodile, in case anyone needed an image to know how it looked like! Qatar lose to Kuwait ErMANY and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said FIFA made the right decision in allotting the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Speaking to reporters in Doha last week, Neuer, who finished third behind winner Cristiano ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards, said, “FIFA has always chosen places where great World Cups took place.” He added that questions were raised also about the last two host nations South Africa and Brazil. Neuer’s Bayern team-mate Arjen robben, who too played at the last World Cup in Brazil, said conditions in Qatar were ideal. “The conditions right now are ideal. But it’s too warm here in the summer to play football,” he said. Qatar lost 0-3 to Kuwait in their Group A game of the GCC under-23 Championship in Manama last week. Yaqoob Altararwa (22nd), Ahmed Al Shammari (56th) and Mahmoud Dashti (60th) scored for the winners. In another game in the group, uAE beat Kuwait 2-0. In Group B, Saudi Arabia got the better of Bahrain 3-2, but were beaten by Oman by an identical margin. ššQatar’s Serigne Abdou controls the ball in front of a Kuwaiti player. Pep Guardiola SCHWEINSTEIGER’S form My nose is telling me he’ll play really well in the second half of the season. Doha TRAINING CAMP BENATIA’S injury The RESTART I was very happy with the conditions, our sessions and the players’ performances. But we can still improve. We’ve plenty of opportunity to do so. We’ve nearly more than a week of work ahead of us in Munich prior to our first match. It’s a real shame. He could manage just one team training session due to his back problem, but it’s already improving. The first two or three games are very, very important. If we win them, we’ll have taken a big step towards retaining the title. Protecting BADSTUBER There’re few defenders in the world with Holger Badstuber’s quality on the ball, but he has been injured for a long time. We need to take very good care of him and prevent him getting injured again. ALABA’S comeback If it was the Champions League final tomorrow, he would play! We’re asking him about his knee every day and it’s all great! We’re a better team if we’ve him. He can play anywhere. On a scale from one to 10, he’s always eight or nine, sometimes 10. He’s one of Bayern’s most important players. MARTINEZ’S recovery He isn’t yet ready to work with the ball. But the doctors have told me he’s coming along very, very well. They’re optimistic. I hope he’ll be back soon. Favourites for the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE The Spanish teams are very strong, but Chelsea are up there as well. They’re my top favourites and they’ll really fight to win the Champions League. But we want to be in there as well. The toughest DOMESTIC RIVALS Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen are there or thereabouts. Schalke are getting better with every game under their new coach (roberto Di Matteo). Monchengladbach are good too and Borussia Dortmund will be back sooner or later. His FAVOURED LINE-UP I’ve no fixed starting line-up in mind. I normally decide just before matches. I’ve a huge respect for my players, including those who don’t play very often. My biggest problem is that I can only field 11 players. Every player at Bayern has great quality. That’s why they’re here. 14 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL | INTERNATIONAL Steel for style! TACTICAL CHANGES REAP RICH REWARDS AS NEW-LOOK ARSENAL SHOCK HOLDERS MANCHESTER CITY IN THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE, WRITES TOM HAYWARD. swift counter-attacking. “It’s important to get that (away win) out of the way, to show we can win away in the Premier League, and that’ll make us stronger,” Wenger told the BBC. “I think we carried that a while, everybody questioning our defensive solidity, and to get that today is very important,” he said. Except for a 15-minute period at the start of the second half when Arsenal reverted to a bolder attacking style, Wenger’s men looked secure and untroubled. Wenger deployed Francis Coquelin CHELSEA, WHO EARLIER THRASHED SWANSEA CITY 5-0, WERE FIVE POINTS CLEAR AT THE TOP. and Aaron ramsey as a defensive shield in front of their back four and it took City 36 minutes to eke out their first shot. Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curbed their attacking instincts to defend with energy and protect the full backs as Santi Cazorla, scorer of the first goal and maker of the second for Olivier Giroud, proved the game’s pivotal figure. City sorely missed Yaya Toure, who is out on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, and injured Samir Nasri. Both will be unavailable for their trip to Stamford Bridge on January 31 as well, with the Frenchman ruled out for four weeks. Wenger made it sound like a turning point. “We looked in control away from home and finally got a big win in a big game away,” he said. “What’s pleasing is that reinforces the belief of the team. To feel that you can do well is very important.” Arsenal’s stunning win meant Chelsea, who earlier thrashed Swansea City 5-0, were five points clear at the top. The end of second-placed City’s 12-match unbeaten run left them on 47 points. Arsenal are fifth on 39, one behind Manchester united, who defeated Queens Park rangers 2-0, in fourth. Third-placed Southampton continued their impressive run with a 2-1 victory at Newcastle united while European hopefuls West Ham united revived their push for a top-four finish with a 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened Hull City at upton Park. EPL TOP SCORERS 17 14 13 12 9 8 7 6 Diego Costa Sergio Aguero Charlie Austin Alexis Sanchez Wilfried Bony Papiss Cisse Saido Berahino Eden Hazard Wayne rooney robin van Persie Graziano Pelle Christian Eriksen Harry Kane Diafra Sakho Danny Ings Leonardo ulloa Yaya Toure Nacer Chadli Olivier Giroud Oscar romelu Lukaku Nikica Jelavic David Silva Chelsea Man City QPr Arsenal Man City Newcastle West Brom Chelsea Man united Southampton Tottenham West Ham Burnley Leicester City Man City Tottenham Arsenal Chelsea Everton Hull City Man City ŠŠArsenal’s Santi Cazorla, left, celebrates his goal against Manchester City with team-mate Olivier Giroud. I’m very pleased because our defence has been questioned a lot. The target was to put it right, and to win a big game away in the league which we’ve not done this season. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager. REUTERS/Darren Staples A CHANGE of tactics reaped rewards as a new, solid Arsenal arrived at Manchester City last Sunday, saw less of the ball than usual yet still masterfully outplayed the champions. Arsenal registered just 35 per cent possession — their lowest total since these statistics were first compiled 11 years ago — yet produced perhaps their finest performance in recent seasons to end their away-day woes against the English Premier League elite with a 2-0 win. At the same Etihad venue last season, Arsenal commanded 48 per cent of the ball but, in attempting to go toe-to-toe with City, were thumped 6-3. They were similarly humbled 6-0 and 5-1 at Chelsea and Liverpool respectively, with continued criticism of manager Arsene Wenger suggesting he was stubbornly refusing to learn lessons or demonstrate tactical progression. Arsenal had taken only seven points out of the last possible 48 against Manchester City, Manchester united and Chelsea, but last Sunday it seemed the penny had finally dropped. Wenger’s master class was reminiscent of his old foe Jose Mourinho’s recent raids with Chelsea on fortress Etihad where resolute, disciplined defence is routinely combined with ruthless, www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Presidency bid not my plan: Prince Ali We’ve regained our identity: Rodgers Toby Davis I T WAS a world away from the full-throttle entertainment of last season’s title charge, but Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa was a step towards regaining the club’s identity, according to manager Brendan rodgers. Last week’s solid if unspectacular performance against the bluntest strike force came courtesy of a goal in each half from forwards Fabio Borini, recently brought in from the cold, and rickie Lambert. It was a third successive away league victory, an eighth game unbeaten in all competitions and took the Merseysiders’ points tally to 35 with an impressive 13 from the last five games, edging them closer to the prized top four. It was the sort of performance they seemed incapable of producing earlier in the season — solid at the back, sufficiently clinical in attack — and a pleasing turnaround for rodgers. “We’ve regained our identity in how the team has played for two years,” rodgers, whose side is eighth in the table, said. There was a lot in the victory over Villa that reflected the improving mood at Anfield. There were further strong performances from Emre Can and Lazar Markovic, two summer signings who had been written off as part of a flawed transfer strategy. Mamadou Sakho looked more like the towering centre-half he does for France and Lucas Leiva, whose return has coincided with Liverpool’s upturn in fortunes, was again an effective shield in front of the defence. If rodgers needed convincing of the Brazilian’s abilities, then the stats are clear cut — Liverpool have lost only two of the 20 games in which he has featured this season, compared to eight defeats in the 12 games in which he has been absent. The win was another boon to rodgers, whose job was under scrutiny when, at the start of December, they exited the Champions League in the group stage and lost heavily to Manchester united at Old Trafford. Brendan Rodgers FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin Al Hussein had no intention of running for the top job, but felt compelled to stand by fellow officials keen for change at the world governing body. The 39-year-old Jordanian royal announced his candidacy earlier this month and told Australia’s SBS that it was his love of the sport that will 15 lead to him standing against incumbent Sepp Blatter, seeking a fifth term in office, and Frenchman Jerome Champagne in the May election. “It’s not ideally something that I wanted to do, but I got a lot of encouragement from many people around the world who really care about the sport, not just from officials but also from players,” Ali said last week. SPECIAL COLUMN Ginola’s candidacy for FIFA’s top post baffles most of us Andrew Warshaw G rOWING up as a passionate Tottenham Hotspur fan, which I still am, I worshipped David Ginola. The electric pace down the wing, those clever cutbacks, shirt outside shorts, hair flapping in the breeze, those pinpoint crosses into the box. The Frenchman was the epitome of everything my club stood for: skill, style and flair. Even back then, everyone felt that when Ginola retired, he wouldn’t just disappear like so many players of his generation. He had intelligence, was single-minded and very much his own man. You sort of knew that whatever he turned his hand to, Ginola, with his handsome looks and suave image, would be a success. And so it proved when he got into in modelling and acting and then became a respected international TV pundit. No one in their right mind, however, could possibly have predicted that, out of the blue, this Gallic heartthrob would take the risk of putting his name forward for FIFA presidency. Without a shred of experience in football politics, which is a prerequisite for the job, the very idea seemed so ludicrous it couldn’t be taken seriously. Yet, with just over a week to go before the January 29 deadline for nominations, suddenly we’ve a candidate so unqualified for the top job in world football, it beggars belief. Cringingly embarrassing is the only way Ginola’s launch announcement last week can be described. For a start, it was cobbled together so late only a handful of cherry-picked journalists were invited. It quickly became clear that he was being paid no less than £250,000 by a well-known bookmaker notorious for its publicity stunts in an audacious attempt to unseat Sepp Blatter on May 29. Not only that. According to a promotional video, he was asking the general public to donate £2.3m to fund his campaign by way of a crowd-funding scheme. It smacked of an April Fool’s joke. Only this was mid-January. One wonders what Blatter, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein and Jerome Champagne, the other three candidates, thought of it all. Because on the surface, it seemed little more than a grandiose publicity stunt, one that could only backfire. “I want to show and set an example to all the former players around me to say that we’ve a say in GINOLA IS AN ADVERTISER’S DREAM. BUT THIS WASN’T ABOUT SELLING SHAMPOO. football, and don’t let other people decide what’s good and what’s bad for the game,” said Ginola, who spoke of love and emotion. But for all his good intentions, when it came to providing an insight into the workings of FIFA, he was like a lost soul. Ginola, who won 17 caps for France, but for whom England has become a second home, was part of his adopted country’s ill-fated bid to stage the 2018 World Cup. But that’s as close to the corridors of power he has ever been. To become an official FIFA presidential candidate, Ginola would’ve to secure the backing of at least five national federations and to have “actively” worked in football for two of the last five years. But he conceded that not a single nation had yet come forward to support him. He couldn’t even name a single FIFA Ex-Com member and appeared not to know what the International Football Association Board, the game’s rule-making body, was. In a way, one had to feel sorry for him. Hugely popular both as an English Premier League legend and a personality, Ginola is an advertiser’s dream. But this wasn’t about selling shampoo or clothes. under the campaign slogan ‘rebooting Football’, this was an unexpected foray into football politics at arguably the most sensitive time in FIFA’s recent history. Even presuming Ginola somehow makes it to May’s election in Zurich, he would stand almost no chance of unseating Blatter, who’s on course to secure a fifth term in office. No one can doubt his genuine passion or desire for change. Nor should we decry the notion of retired players moving into football administration. After all, look where Michel Platini, one of the greatest, is now. But Platini worked his way up the ladder and even he’s understood to have serious reservations about the credibility of his fellow Frenchman’s campaign. One wishes Ginola luck though he’s likely to need a good deal more than that. To launch his campaign in front of the skeptical English media may not have been the ideal platform. David Ginola 16 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com FOOTBALL | INTERNATIONAL INTERVIEW ‘I can play for five to six years more’ ЂЂEven though this is your third win, you still appeared emotional on stage. Is it still as big a thrill as ever? ЃЂI know how much hard work and effort goes into winning this award, and that’s why I still get emotional, no matter how many times I come here to receive it. I hope I’ll be doing so for many years to come. That’s why I’ve to thank my team-mates, my club real Madrid and everyone in Portugal. ЂЂYour agent once said if you handling that pressure? wanted to, you could easily play until you were 40… ЃЂWell, yes, it’s conceivable but, as I said, it’s a case of seeing how I feel year after year, how motivated I’m and if I’m still useful to my team. As for going on until 40, if I want to play until then, I’ll, though I might be dragging myself around by then. ЃЂHe’s an extraordinary man, not ЂЂYou’ve always been a versatile player, but the way in which you’ve incorporated new elements into your game is what stands out for many people. What’s the secret? ЃЂAs such, there’s no secret. It’s a matter of always being willing to YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON THE PRESENT, BUT YOU ALSO NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE. learn. For me, each season is a new challenge and I face it. Each new campaign is different and you’ve to leave behind what’s already happened. You need to focus on the present, but you also need to think about the future. I think my strong point is always wanting to improve. Maybe that explains why I’ve been at a very high level for so long. just as a coach but as a human being. The fact he was also a player is very significant and he understands everything so well. He’s a winning coach and tries to instil that in us. His appointment as real Madrid coach was a very good and important move, as with him we’ve won the biggest trophies around. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings A T 29 AND after a season in which he top-scored in both the Champions League and La Liga, helping real Madrid win the European title for a record 10th time, Cristiano ronaldo’s career could hardly be going better. Further confirmation came in the form of FIFA Ballon d’Or, which he won the second consecutive year and third time overall. Driven by burning ambition, which he himself admits is his defining characteristic, he is determined to improve and achieve even more. The Portuguese spoke to www.fifa.com, among other things, about his ambitious trait, his highlights from 2014 and his joy at seeing his son ‘Cristianinho’ develop an interest in football. ŠЂGabon’s Charles Kabore, left, vies with Burkina Faso’s Bakary Kone. ЂЂLast year, you took to the stage at the FIFA Ballon d’Or with your son. How big a motivation is it to have such a special fan as him? ЃЂThe birth of Cristianinho brought more joy and tranquillity to my life. It’s not that I had none before, but it’s been an important factor. The fact that he can share these moments I’m having fills me with pride, because he’ll grow up and know. African game’s strength on show at Nations Cup T ЂЂIs he already letting you know if you do something good or bad on the pitch? ЃЂNo, not yet. He plays football, which has been a nice surprise last year. He really likes it. At first, he was into cars, but now it’s football. ЂЂDid you ever imagine you’d become such a frequent participant when you came to this award ceremony for the first time? ЃЂTo be honest, no. It all happened so fast. The hardest thing is maintaining that level. I’m proud to have been in the World XI for eight consecutive years and always vying to be among the best three, as it’s something very few people manage to do. ЂЂEven if you stopped playing today, your name would forever be remembered in the history of football… ЃЂIn truth, I don’t think about that. I know I’ll have a place in the history because of what I’m doing and winning, whether at an individual or team level. I know I’ll have a nice page devoted to me between some of the all-time greats and that makes me happy. I’m 29 now, but I feel like I’m still 25. I think I can play on for another five, six or seven years at a high level. ЂЂWhat was your most memorable moment in last year’s Champions League triumph? ЃЂWinning and lifting the trophy. It’s the culmination of everything. The tide of emotions during the final itself, all the suffering, then scoring in the last minute. Also, the game was in Portugal and it all made it a beautiful and historic moment. ЂЂHow much credit goes to Carlo Ancelotti for Cristiano Ronaldo HE wide dispersion of African footballers around the world is dramatically shown by the broad range of leagues and clubs represented at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals. The 368 players from the 16 teams competing in Equatorial Guinea come from 243 different clubs in 57 countries across four continents. More than half of those at this year’s tournament are from European clubs, which has been a dominant feature of the Nations Cup for more than two decades, but the range of domiciles in which they are based is ever expanding. France, with its deep colonial roots, is again the country that supplies the most players to the Nations Cup, with 73. There are 27 from Spain, 23 from England and 21 from Belgian clubs. Spain’s representation is usually much lower, but dramatically boosted this time by hosts Equatorial Guinea’s search for players with African roots among the lower league clubs in their former colonial power. For the first time, there are players from footballing backwaters like Armenia, Andorra, Gibraltar and Estonia. In total, there are 248 Nations Cup players from 32 different European leagues. Fifty eight clubs in 17 African countries are represented for a total of 107 home-based footballers. But two of the finalists, the Cape Verde Islands and Senegal, have no representative at all, with both squads drawn exclusively from clubs outside of their countries. Players based in Hong Kong, India, Iran and Mexico add to the vast array of destinations where African footballers ply their trade. Economic conditions in Africa mean most youngsters set their sights on earning a professional contract abroad which carries not only financial rewards, but also a sense of prestige. 17 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Sociedad’s Moyes banned for two matches real Sociedad coach David Moyes has been banned from the touchline for two games by the Spanish federation following his sending-off in last week’s King’s Cup game against Villarreal. Moyes made light of his first dismissal since taking over in San Sebastian in November by leaping over a fence into the stands to watch the rest of the match before accepting an offer of crisps from a girl sitting behind him. He was cautioned for protesting a decision in the last-16, second-leg match and was booked again and sent off for complaining about an offside with around 10 minutes remaining. Villarreal held Sociedad to a 2-2 draw and advanced to the quarterfinal 3-2 on aggregate. SPFL RESULTS EPL ŢŢBarcelona’s Lionel Messi, left, is challenged by Deportivo la Coruna’s Luisinho Correia. Man City lost to Arsenal West Ham bt Hull City Aston Villa lost to Liverpool Burnley lost to Crystal Palace Leicester City lost to Stoke City Newcastle lost to Southampton QPr lost to Man united Swansea City lost to Chelsea Tottenham bt Sunderland SPFL 0-2 3-0 0-2 2-3 0-1 1-2 0-2 0-5 2-1 Aberdeen drew Dundee 3-3 Dundee united vs Caledonian (Postponed) Hamilton lost to Celtic 0-2 Motherwell vs Kilmarnock (Postponed) ross County lost to St Mirren 1-2 St Johnstone bt Partick Thistle 2-0 LA LIGA Atletico Madrid bt Granada Deportivo Coruna lost to Barcelona Elche bt Levante Getafe lost to real Madrid Sevilla bt Malaga Espanyol bt Celta Vigo real Sociedad lost to rayo Vallecano Valencia bt Almeria Villarreal bt Athletic Club Cordoba drew Eibar 2-0 0-4 1-0 0-3 2-0 1-0 0-1 3-2 2-0 1-1 AC Milan lost to Atalanta Bergamo Cesena lost to Torino Chievo Verona lost to Fiorentina Genoa drew Sassuolo Juventus bt Verona Lazio lost to Napoli Parma lost to Sampdoria udinese drew Cagliari Empoli drew Inter Milan Palermo drew AS roma 0-1 2-3 1-2 3-3 4-0 0-1 0-2 2-2 0-0 1-1 REUTERS/Miguel Vidal SERIE A LIGUE 1 WEEKLY ROUND-UP Real, Barca keep winning R EAL Madrid ensured top spot in La Liga at the midway point of the season when Cristiano ronaldo struck twice in a 3-0 win at Getafe last Sunday before Lionel Messi’s hat-trick helped Barcelona to a 4-0 victory at Deportivo la Coruna. The world’s two best players were again in scintillating form, but champions Atletico Madrid ensured they stayed in the hunt with a 2-0 success at home to bottom club Granada that lifted them back into third place. real, who have a game in hand, have 45 points from 18 of 38 matches with Barca on 44 and Atletico on 41 in third. Sevilla climbed back into fourth above Valencia thanks to a 2-0 win against Malaga in the Andalusian derby. ronaldo broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute, clipping the ball in from close range after good work from Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale made it 2-0 four minutes later when he finished cleverly after a swift break and ronaldo grabbed his second 11 minutes from time with a powerful header, the Portugal forward’s 28th goal of the campaign in his 17th appearance. Meanwhile, Messi’s treble at the riazor took his tally to 19 in the season. The Argentina forward’s opening goal in the 11th was a rare header and he made it 2-0 in the 33rd when he dinked the ball over Deportivo keeper Fabricio from close range. RONALDO BROKE THE DEADLOCK IN THE 63RD MINUTE, CLIPPING THE BALL IN FROM CLOSE. He completed his 33rd career hat-trick and his 22nd in La Liga, which is one less than recordholder ronaldo, when he drifted in from the right wing in the 62nd and whipped a shot into the far corner. Deportivo fell 4-0 behind when the ball ricocheted into the net off defender Sidnei in the 83rd minute. Tevez shines in Juve’s win In Italy, Carlos Tevez scored twice for Juventus as they crushed Verona 4-0 to move to 46 points from 19 games and increase their lead to five points over roma. Napoli beat Lazio 1-0 to go third thanks to an 18th-minute goal from Argentine international Gonzalo Higuain. Napoli have 33 points from 19 games, the same as Sampdoria, and are on course for a Champions League slot. Lyon stay on top In France, Olympique Lyon retained the lead with a 2-0 win at rC Lens, thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s 20th goal of the season. Lyon have 45 points from 21 games and lead Olympique Marseille by one point after Marcelo Bielsa’s side left it late to beat En Avant Guingamp 2-1, with goals from Mario Lemina and Andre-Pierre Gignac. Paris Saint-Germain claimed their first win from their last four league games when they beat visiting Evian Thonon Gaillard 4-2 to move up to third. Laurent Blanc’s side trail Lyon by four points while St Etienne are five points down in fourth after being held to a goalless draw at Stade rennais. Oly Marseille bt Guingamp PSG bt Gaillard Stade rennes drew St Etienne Monaco bt Nantes Caen bt Stade de reims FC Lorient bt Lille Metz lost to Montpellier racing Lens lost to Oly Lyon Toulouse drew Bastia G Bordeaux lost to Nice 2-1 4-2 0-0 1-0 4-1 1-0 2-3 0-2 1-1 1-2 STANDINGS As of Sunday EPL Chelsea Man City Southampton Man united Arsenal Tottenham West Ham Liverpool Swansea City Stoke City Newcastle Crystal Palace Everton Aston Villa West Brom Sunderland Burnley Hull City QPr Leicester City 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 22 21 22 21 22 22 22 22 22 16 14 13 11 11 11 10 10 8 8 7 5 5 5 5 3 4 4 5 4 4 2 51 5 3 45 3 6 37 7 4 36 6 5 39 4 7 32 6 6 35 5 7 31 6 8 26 5 9 23 6 9 26 8 9 25 7 9 30 7 10 11 6 10 20 11 8 19 8 10 21 7 11 20 4 13 23 5 13 20 19 22 16 21 25 30 25 27 30 27 35 33 34 25 29 33 36 30 39 34 52 47 42 40 39 37 36 35 30 29 27 23 22 22 21 20 20 19 19 17 Aberdeen Celtic Dundee united Inverness Hamilton St Johnstone Kilmarnock Dundee Partick Thistle Motherwell St Mirren ross County 22 20 21 21 22 21 21 22 20 21 22 21 15 14 13 13 12 10 8 6 5 5 4 2 2 3 2 2 3 2 3 8 6 2 2 5 5 36 3 38 6 42 6 30 7 38 9 19 10 21 8 33 9 25 14 14 16 17 14 20 20 12 28 21 24 21 27 36 25 38 38 43 47 45 41 41 39 32 27 26 21 17 14 11 18 19 19 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 7 6 7 5 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 3 2 0 2 2 3 5 5 4 6 5 2 6 7 4 9 5 5 5 4 7 8 3 62 3 48 4 37 3 30 3 35 4 32 6 22 6 24 8 22 10 20 8 18 8 19 10 15 7 15 10 14 10 18 10 14 11 17 9 13 9 11 15 9 18 17 17 17 20 25 29 33 21 24 25 28 27 35 31 30 34 31 45 44 41 39 38 35 31 27 23 23 21 19 19 18 17 17 17 16 16 14 LA LIGA real Madrid Barcelona Atletico Madrid Sevilla Valencia Villarreal Malaga Eibar Espanyol rayo Vallecano Celta Vigo real Sociedad Athletic Club Cordoba Getafe Elche Deportivo Coruna Almeria Levante Granada SERIE A Juventus 19 14 4 1 42 9 46 AS roma 19 12 5 2 32 14 41 Napoli 19 9 6 4 34 24 33 Sampdoria 19 8 9 2 25 17 33 Lazio 19 9 4 6 33 22 31 Fiorentina 19 8 6 5 27 18 30 Genoa 19 7 7 5 27 23 28 AC Milan 19 6 8 5 27 22 26 Inter Milan 19 6 8 5 29 25 26 Palermo 19 6 8 5 31 31 26 Sassuolo 19 5 10 4 23 26 25 udinese 19 6 6 7 23 26 24 Torino 19 5 7 7 16 21 22 Verona 19 5 6 8 21 32 21 Atalanta Bergamo 19 4 8 7 15 24 20 Empoli 19 3 10 6 17 23 19 Chievo Verona 19 4 6 9 14 22 18 Cagliari 19 3 7 9 25 37 16 Cesena 19 1 6 12 17 39 9 Parma * 19 3 1 15 18 41 9 (Parma were docked one point for missing payment on taxes and wages). LIGUE 1 Oly Lyon Oly Marseille PSG St Etienne Monaco Montpellier G Bordeaux Nantes Stade rennes Nice Stade de reims Lille Guingamp Lorient Bastia Toulouse Metz Gaillard racing Lens Caen 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 14 14 11 11 10 9 9 8 8 8 8 7 8 7 5 6 5 6 5 4 3 2 8 7 6 5 5 7 6 4 4 6 1 2 7 4 5 2 4 6 4 45 5 41 2 38 3 24 5 24 7 26 7 27 6 19 7 22 9 26 9 27 8 17 12 23 12 23 9 21 11 23 11 19 13 23 12 20 11 26 17 20 19 13 18 22 29 18 25 28 36 18 33 29 26 33 30 38 28 34 45 44 41 40 36 32 32 31 30 28 28 27 25 23 22 22 20 20 19 18 Simeone Jr wants to make a mark Son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, Giovanni wants to be known for his skills and not as the son of after impressing in a twogoal performance for Argentina’s under-20 side. Argentina crushed Ecuador 5-2 in their opening match of the South American u-20 Championship in uruguay with striker Simeone helping himself to a brace of goals. “I had a hard time trying to make my team-mates understand I’m not a different sort of person. I haven’t come here because I’m the son of someone famous,” said the Madrid-born 19-year-old player. 18 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com HANDBALL JANUARY FEBRUARY 15 1 TO Living a dream! QATAR PUT UP A STUNNING DISPLAY TO SCRAPE PAST SLOVENIA AND ASSURE A PRE-QUARTERFINAL BERTH WITH A CENT PER CENT RECORD AFTER THE FIRST THREE MATCHES, WRITES AJU GEORGE CHRIS. Q ATAr qualified for prequarterfinal of the 2015 IHF World Championship in sensational fashion, notching up three wins in as many games at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall last week. Qatar overcame opening jitters to beat IHF Photo ŠŠQatar’s rafael Capote celebrates after scoring against Slovenia. Pan-American runners-up Brazil 28-23 before getting the better of Chile 2720. They were in sizzling form in the third game against 2013 World Championship semifinalists Slovenia, beating them 31-29. The team’s performances give fans plenty of reasons to cheer about. Qatar’s Spanish coach Valero rivera, who was recruited in April, ’13, after helping Spain win the World Championship at home, has instilled immense confidence in his players. “I believe good defence wins you matches. Although we faced some trouble with our attacks in the first two matches, our defence stood strong every time. We fared much better against Chile than we did against Brazil. By the time we faced Slovenia, we had set in well and that gave us the win,” said an elated rivera, after the team’s qualification for the knockout stage. By making it to the second round, the hosts are assured of equalling their bestever show at the IHF Worlds (16th in Portugal in ’03). rafael Capote was in full flow against the Slovenians and scored 12 goals. Kamaleldin Mallash, who got injured during their opening match against Brazil, returned to the team, giving them a huge boost. He WE’LL NOW TAKE ON SPAIN AND BELARUS WITH MUCH MORE CONFIDENCE. pumped in seven goals to become their second highest scorer against Slovenia. Zarko Markovic, used sparingly by rivero against the East Europeans, has helped boost the team’s overall confidence. Qatar goalkeepers — Danijel Saric and Goran Stojanovic — have put up impressive displays. Mabrouk Hassan has been solid in defence with Youssef Benali giving him ample support. Hadi Hamdoun, who was also injured during the game against Brazil, is yet to play while line player Father Q against son! ATAr’S Spanish coach Valero Rivera has mixed feelings about his team’s IHF World Championship Group A match against Spain on Wednesday. One reason is that he was the team’s coach in 2013 when they clinched the world title at home. Another reason, one which is much more personal, is the presence of a Spanish left wing player, Valero rivera Folch, who also happens to be Borja Vidal was ruled out of the match after suffering a knee injury. Their absence could prove detrimental to the team’s bigger ambitions. Qatar team manager Youssef Al Abdullah said he was pleased with the boys’ performances. “I’m speechless. We knew we could win against Brazil and Chile, but beating Slovenia in such convincing fashion was a dream come true. We’ve proved we’re here on serious business. We’ll take on Spain and Belarus with much more confidence,” Al Abdullah told Doha Stadium Plus. Qatar’s left-back Bertrand roine was overjoyed. “Even before the tournament started, I knew we would put up a strong show because we’d trained really hard. Almost the same set of players won the Asian Championship and Asian Games titles together. I would’ve been surprised had we not made it to the next round. On our day, we can beat any side. Who knows, we may even enter the quarterfinal,” said roine. If Qatar continue with their giant-killing act, then a place in the last eight is not an impossible dream. » The writer can be contacted at: [email protected] his son. rivera Senior said it was not a game he was looking forward to. “It’s going to be one of the most difficult games in my long career. To date, I’ve never guided a team against my son, at the club or national level. I don’t know what my feelings would be when both teams take to the court to sing the national anthem. It’s going to be an emotional moment, www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 19 Keeper Saric is Qatar’s hero Qatar to host Olympic qualifiers Qatar will host the Asian zone qualification tournament for the rio Olympics, in November, 2015. The decision was taken during the Asian Handball Federation’s meeting held on the sidelines of the IHF World Championship. “Hosting the event is a recognition for the work we’ve done in recent years. The tournament will be held from November 9 to 20, but the venue will be announced later. I’m hopeful we can win the title and qualify for the ’16 rio Olympics,” said Qatar Handball Association chief Ahmed Mohammed Abdulrab Al Shaabi. Only the winners will qualify for the Olympics. Danijel Saric one which I’m not looking forward to,” said the 61-year-old, after Qatar’s win against Brazil. And the son too is not feeling any different. “For me, it’s a very strange feeling. I’ve played under my dad for so many years, but never against him. He knows my style well and I’ve learnt firsthand many of his tactics. It’ll be an emotional match. I’m not focusing on it now. I’ll just play my natural game when the time comes,” said the 29-year-old, adding that he was quite close to his father. “We’re very close and I talk to Q ATArI players were a bundle of nerves during their first game against Brazil, which was also the lung opener. But they overcame their jitters and eked out a 28-23 win over the South Americans. Qatar’s 37-year-old goalkeeper Danijel Saric played a major role in the win. The experienced FC Barcelona Intersport custodian blocked 20 of the 43 shots on goal and was the game’s star. Qatar’s Spanish coach Valero rivera did not hide his admiration for the goalkeeper during the post-match Press conference. “We had been preparing for this moment for three years. When it finally arrived, the players were all understandably tense. But thankfully, Saric was in the form of his life and proved to be the difference between the two sides. He gave his team-mates a lot of confidence,” said the legendary Spaniard. Saric admitted the pressure had got to them. “We were under tremendous pressure against Brazil, especially as the game was the tournament opener. But we came together nicely and were able to withstand it. Although some of our key players got injured, I was positive about our chances in the tournament,” he said. Saric, who was born in Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, joined the Qatar team only recently. He has continued to go from strength to strength. He was quite clear about the role he was expected to play. “I’m very motivated to do well in Qatar. I haven’t competed on the international arena for quite some time. So I want to prove I’m still capable of doing well at the highest level. Despite my age, the aim is to compete among the best. Top players and goalkeepers are always heroes at events like this. I feel I can make this my tournament,” said the softspoken player. He said the Qatar team would take it one match at a time. Our focus now is to do well in the rest of our group games. At this moment, I’m not thinking about how far we’ll progress in the tournament,” he said. him over telephone almost every day. I met him a few times at the team hotel in Doha, but never got a chance to catch up properly. I’ll probably stay back for a few days after the tournament is over. It’s good to see him again,” he said. He was all praise for the Qatar team. “They’re a solid group and have come together rather well under my father’s guidance. I know how special it is to compete in front of home fans. I’m sure the side will do well in Doha,” he signed off. ššCroatia’s Ivan Sliskovic is poised to score against Iran. Macedonia, Croatia, Spain also advance R EIGNING world champions Spain, Croatia, Macedonia and hosts Qatar qualified for the pre-quarterfinal of the 2015 IHF World Championship in Doha after playing three matches each. Spain are on top of Group A with wins over Belarus (38-33), Brazil (29-27) and Chile (37-16). Though Qatar have the same number of points as the Spanish, they are behind on goal difference. SPAIN ARE ON TOP OF GROUP A WITH WINS OVER BELARUS, BRAZIL AND CHILE. Croatia defeated Austria (32-30), Tunisia (28-25) and Iran (41-22) to already book their berth from Group B. Macedonia have also made it to the knockout round after wins over Tunisia (33-25), Iran (33-31) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (25-22). Croatia’s line player Igor Vori was happy with their performance so far. “We had tough games against Austria and Tunisia, from which we took four points. So that made things a little bit easier for us against the Iranians. We played a relaxed game and won. Now we’ll focus on maintaining a perfect record in the group phase,” he said. Macedonian star Kiril Lazarov was a happy man. “Our first aim was to do well in the group phase and we’re doing just that. But our aim will be to keep the momentum going,” he said. Sweden and France are doing well in Group C while Germany are the most impressive team in Group D. RESULTS As of Monday. Qatar bt Brazil Bosnia & Herzegovina bt Iran russia bt Saudi Arabia Macedonia bt Tunisia Slovenia bt Chile Spain bt Belarus Egypt bt Algeria Croatia bt Austria Germany bt Poland Denmark drew Argentina France bt Czech republic Sweden bt Iceland Slovenia bt Belarus Spain bt Brazil Qatar bt Chile Macedonia bt Iran Croatia bt Tunisia Austria bt Bosnia & Herzegovina Poland bt Argentina Germany bt russia Iceland bt Algeria Sweden bt Czech republic France bt Egypt Denmark bt Saudi Arabia Brazil bt Belarus Spain bt Chile Macedonia bt Bosnia & Herzegovina Croatia bt Iran Qatar bt Slovenia 28-23 30-25 27-17 33-25 36-23 38-33 34-20 32-30 29-26 24-24 30-27 24-16 34-29 29-27 27-20 33-31 28-25 23-21 24-23 27-26 32-24 36-22 28-24 38-18 34-29 37-16 25-22 41-22 31-29 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com A mystical journey through Qatar’s past and present Aju George Chris T HE 24th edition of the Handball World Championship got off to a rousing start at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall last week. The Opening Ceremony, involving hundreds of young children and adults, took spectators on a mystical journey through Qatar’s past and present. It started with a thrilling video of Fahed, the tournament’s seven-year-old boy mascot, skydiving from a helicopter with a team of stunt parachutists. The blaring music too set the perfect mood for the evening. The Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived at the stadium accompanied by the Deputy Emir HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani, HH Sheikh Jassem bin Hamad Al Thani, Personal Representative of HH the Emir, and HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, Special Advisor to HH the Emir. Sheikh Tamim formally inaugurated the newly-built hall before moving into the competition arena, cheered on by the spectators. Young boys, bearing flags and name boards of each participating nation, marched in and took the centre stage. Once they retreated, a special segment, The Spirit of the Game of Fast, transformed the entire court into a digital projection board. Thousands of fans cheered as the story of Qatar’s rise as a major sports hub in the world unfolded on the screen. The 24 artists, one from each participating nation, performed the competition’s theme song live on the stage, adding to the mood. Qatar 2015 Organising Committee Chairman HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani expressed his gratitude for the support being extended by HH the Emir towards sports. “I extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation to HH the Emir for his endless support for the development of sports, which is aligned with the key pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Inspired by this vision, countless efforts have been made to establish impressive sports landmarks with international standards,” he said. HH the Emir then declared the competition open. Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and Minister of Youth and Sports HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali also graced the occasion with their presence. Photos/Mohan, Vinod Divakaran, IHF 22 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com HANDBALL JANUARY FEBRUARY 15 1 TO Manologue! EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WORLD CHAMPIONS SPAIN’S COACH MANOLO CADENAS TELLS AJU GEORGE CHRIS ABOUT HIS TEAM, THE IHF’S PLAYER NATURALISATION POLICY AND GAME IN GENERAL. B EING the coach of the world champions, in any sport, is not easy as the weight of expectations is immense. And if you are replacing a trainer considered a national hero, it only adds to the pressure. But 59-year-old Manolo Cadenas, who took over the reins of his country Spain from compatriot Valero rivera in April, 2013, has slipped into the role with consummate ease. Cadenas’s men were off to a flying start at the International Handball Federation’s (IHF) Men’s World Championship in Doha with wins against Belarus (3833), Brazil (29-27) and Chile (3716), and they are expected to top the group. Doha Stadium Plus caught up with the well-respected coach, who is also in charge of Polish club side Wisla Plock, and he spoke about his team’s campaign in Doha, the issue of Australia’s ouster from the tournament, need to reform IHF’s player naturalisation policy and Spanish clubs’ weakening financial clout. read on. DSP/Vinod Divakaran ЂЂAs the world champions, Spain should be under tremendous pressure in Doha... ЃЂOur aim is to defend the world title. But I know it isn’t going to be easy, especially as there’re several teams who’re level with us in terms of quality. For example, France, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Germany, Poland and Slovenia are all strong opponents. I would be lying if I said we aren’t under pressure. We were nervous during our first two games. It’s natural because Manolo Cadenas everyone expects world champions to do well. Every team will be keen to beat us. I hope our winning run in Doha continues. In general, the team needs to improve in all aspects, be it defence, fast breaks, attacks or positioning. We’ve to play with more speed and aggression. ЂЂRivera coached Spain from 2008 to ’13. How difficult was it to implement your ideas after taking charge? ЃЂrivera is one of the best coaches the game has ever seen. He succeeded in making Spain world champions after eight years. I didn’t make any major changes after taking OUR AIM IS TO DEFEND THE WORLD TITLE. BUT I KNOW IT ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY. champions France in a tight semifinal. The players gave their maximum on the court. I couldn’t have asked for more. ЂЂSpanish clubs, once the best in the world, are facing financial troubles. Some, like Atletico Madrid, have shut down. Has this affected the national team? ЃЂEver since the financial slowdown, many of Spain’s best players started plying their trade outside the country. It’s good for the national team because most of them are at top clubs that feature regularly in the European Champions League matches. However, it may prove to be a problem for local clubs in the future as the Spanish League becomes less attractive. The teams are definitely getting weaker. But I don’t see immediate repercussions. ЂЂWhat do you think of the IHF’s charge. rivera, and coaches before him, worked keeping the Spanish philosophy in mind. My main aim was to continue it. ЂЂArpad Sterbik, who played a huge role in Spain’s ’13 World Championship win, is missing in action in Doha. Has it affected the team? ЃЂSterbik is among the world’s best goalkeepers, one who can determine the outcome of matches. unfortunately, he’s out with injury. However, the boys showed they can perform in his absence as we won bronze at the ’14 European Championship in Denmark without him. Our goalkeepers Luiz ricardo Nascimento and Cesar Augusto Almeida are doing well in Doha. I’ve confidence in them. I was pleased with our show in Denmark as we had played our hearts out. We won all group matches and lost to eventual three-year rule for naturalisation of players? ЃЂThe three-year rule should definitely be changed. In basketball, for example, only one naturalised player is allowed in FIBA-approved games. In football, a player has to reside in a country for at least five years before he can get the nod. But in handball, a player who hasn’t represented a country for three years is free to play for another. It’s high time the IHF made this rule more stringent as it negatively affects the game’s credibility. At the moment, different sports disciplines have different rules regarding change of nationality. I feel there should be a uniform rule for all sports. Why should naturalisation rules be different for different disciplines? ЂЂAustralia were supposed to play in Doha, but the IHF refused to recognise the Oceania www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 23 WORLD WATCH! 2 World Championship titles have been won by Spain so far Opening-day chaos for journalists Special appearances While there is no doubt that the shiny Lusail Multipurpose Hall is a state-of-the-art facility, the experiences there once again proved that the human element ultimately makes or breaks competitions. Confusion reigned regarding media seating and arrangements. While seats were reserved for international mediapersons, local journalists had to fight for their seats. Though the situation improved from the second day onwards, the opening-day chaos left a bad taste in the mouth. Each time a game went into a break, be it the minute-long timeouts or the half-time breathers, the audience were treated to some stunning acrobatic and ball-control skills. There were freestyle handball players, who juggled the ball, and there were co-ordinated drummers who raised the excitement to fever pitch. There were dancers and other performers as well. Their presence has undoubtedly made the competition a richer affair. Sound and hue They came in all shapes, colours and ethnicity. While thousands of fans turned up during Qatar’s opening game, hundreds of travelling enthusiasts filled the seats during games featuring France, Croatia and Egypt. They painted their faces, put on national colours, jumped next to their seats, beat drums, blew horns and generally had an exciting time. They spurred their players on to better performances. In the confined space of the indoor arena, it provided perfect settings for the region’s first World Championship. Historic occasion The lung opener at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall, between hosts Qatar and Brazil, was a historic occasion. The home side’s Youssef Benali scored the tournament’s first goal, 1min and 20sec into the game. Qatar goalkeeper Danijel Saric made the first save just 20sec later. But fans had to wait until the 24:40 to see the first 7M penalty throw conversion, by Brazil’s Fabio Chiuffa. Qatar’s Hadi Hamdoun became the first player to go out of the game with an injury (1:25) while the first two-minute violation was accorded to Brazil’s Felipe ribeiro (2:50). The tournament’s first yellow and red card also went to Brazilians, Diogo Hubner (2:40) and ribeiro (17:32) respectively. confederation and denied them a place in the tournament. What’re your comments on it? ЃЃThe current situation, where Australia were disqualified and Germany roped in to replace them, isn’t good for the game. The world body should be aiding the growth of handball everywhere. The decision will only kill the sport in the Oceania region. ЂЃNo non-European team has ever won the world title. Do you see it ever changing? ЃЃAt this moment, it’s difficult, but some changes are visible. For example, South American side Brazil are the reigning women’s world champions. Asian side South Korea won the title in ’95. So it’s happening sporadically. But it’ll be tougher in the men’s game because European leagues are far more advanced than in the rest of the world. Ooredoo signed as Prestige Partner The Qatar 2015 Organising Committee signed Ooredoo as a ‘Prestige Partner’ of the Men’s World Championship last week. Qatar ’15 Director General Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari signed the deal with Ooredoo Qatar Chief Operating Officer Waleed Al Sayed. “We’ve worked hard to achieve our aims for the championship’s success by facilitating local organisations’ participation in global sports events. We’re proud to be working with Ooredoo as a Prestige Partner for the event,” said Al Kuwari. As per the deal, Ooredoo will offer its support via advertising in Ooredoo retail shops, shop-in-shop outlets and third-party partners in the country. Ooredoo will also support ticket sales for the championship, making them available through its nationwide network of self service machines. Bright orange colour and never-ending smiles Thousands of volunteers have been drawn from all walks of life. Two common threads bound them together — the bright orange official uniform of the IHF World Championships and their never-ending ability to smile. Always ready to address grievances, many worked well into the night to ensure the event progressed smoothly. Ever polite, they breathed life into the competition. Delplanque all praise for Qatar after home-like experience I NTErNATIONAL Handball Federation General Secretary and French Handball Federation chief Joel Delplanque had tears in his eyes when Qatar was chosen over his nation as host of the 2015 IHF Men’s World Championship, back in January, ’11. But the consolation for the European and Olympic champions came when they were chosen as the ’17 IHF Worlds hosts. Delplanque too seems to have moved on. Delplanque, who watched France defeat the Czech republic 30-27 at the Qatar Handball Association Complex last week, said he was pleased with the overall experience and Qatar’s organisation. “The ’15 Men’s World Championship Organising MORE THAN 1,000 TRAVELLING FRENCH FANS REACHED HERE TO CHEER OUR PLAYERS ON. Committee built three brand new stadiums in a short time. It shows their level of professionalism. French organisers, who’re in charge of the ’17 event, are in Doha to learn from Qatar,” said Delplanque. “They’re closely co-ordinating with Qatari officials in every aspect of organisation. The experience will prove invaluable when we host our own event in two years’ time,” he said. He said France would copy some of Qatar’s ideas in ’17. “The competition in Qatar saw many firsts. One of them is the IHF Medical Congress, to be held alongside the tournament, on Friday and Saturday. Many French doctors will take part in it. They’ll take the experience back with them and organise something similar in France in ’17,” he said. Delplanque was all praise for Qatar’s initiatives to attract travelling fans. “The country had started its work very early. As a result, more than 1,000 travelling French fans have reached here to cheer our players on. I felt I was in France during our team’s matches. ,” he said. French organisers, who’re in charge of the ’17 event, are in Doha to learn from Qatar. They’re closely co-ordinating with Qatari officials in every aspect of organisation. Joel Delplanque, General Secretary, International Handball Federation. 24 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com MOTORSPORT On top! MINI celebrate fourth consecutive overall triumph The MINI brand achieved further success at the Dakar rally, winning the world’s toughest rally for the fourth time in a row. “I want to thank and congratulate all mechanics and the team for the great job they had done during the rally. The MINI ALL4 racing is an incredible car and nice to drive,” said Nasser Al Attiyah. “Nasser’s victory is a success story of MINI,” said MINI Senior Vice-President Jochen Goller. “With four Dakar victories in a row, the MINI ALL4 racing proved to be the car to beat confirming its reliability, strength and agility in a convincing manner,” said Goller. “Our goal this year was to achieve another great overall team result and, with five MINI ALL4racing finishing the Dakar rally in the top 10, nine MINI ALL4 racing reaching the finish line, eleven stage victories with four different drivers and Nasser winning the world’s toughest marathon rally, we’ve achieved all our targets,” he explained. NASSER SALEH AL ATTIYAH DISPLAYS ABUNDANT MENTAL AND PHYSICAL TOUGHNESS EN ROUTE TO REGAINING THE GRUELLING DAKAR RALLY TITLE WITH EASE, WRITES SAJITH B WARRIER. R ESTING on past laurels is something which Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah never does. The ace Qatari rally driver has been known as someone who is always in pursuit of new challenges. Winning the Dakar rally was a dream which he first realised in 2011. Four years later, after winning his second crown in Argentinian capital Buenos Aires last week, the champion nonpareil has grown in stature. Whether he is one of the greatest rally drivers remains a subject open to debate, but with his second crown in four years, Nasser joins an elite list of multiple Dakar winners, including rene Metge, Ari Vatanen, Pierre Lartigue, Jean-Louis Schlesser, Hiroshi Masuoka and Stephane Peterhansel. So dominant were Nasser and his French navigator Mathieu Baumel that they led thoughout barring the opening-day fiasco when they were penalised for exceeding the speed limit. Be it sand, gravel, rocks, mountains or desert, it was yet another virtuoso performance by him and thereby he underlined his credentials as one of the best. As curtains came down on the 35th edition of one of the most gruelling rallies of all time, which covered a distance of 9,112km in all, the X raid Mini driver stood tall. “It had been 100 per cent perfect for me, the car, the navigation, the team and the tyres have all been perfect. It couldn’t have gone any better. Since last year I’ve been working very hard to prepare for this rally, and I would like to thank all my sponsors, especially red Bull and Ooredoo, for making this possible,” said Nasser. “This victory means a lot to me. From the start, we were completely in control, but of SINCE LAST YEAR I HAD BEEN WORKING VERY HARD TO PREPARE FOR THIS RALLY. course I couldn’t relax as we’ve seen in the past anything can happen,” he explained. Last year, he was crowned the WrC2 champion and annexed his 10th Middle East rally Championship title. This year he started with a bang. With Nasser also having to dabble with skeet shooting also, where he is eyeing a gold medal at next year’s rio Olympics, will he try another shot at Dakar next year? Others may say no, but certainly not Nasser. “In all of these disciplines, you’ve to believe in yourself and keep your nerve. One thing is for sure, you can’t always go flatout here. So the secret is to know when to push and when not to. This year, with the help of Baumel, I got it right. But of course, I’m already looking forward to coming back next year to defend my title. I expect the competition to be even tougher after seeing the progress of Peugeot,” he added. Mini Toyota Mini Mini Mini 40:32:25 41:07:59 42:04:26 43:34:17 43:45:06 BIKES 1. Marc Koma KTM 2. Paulo Gonsalves Honda 3. Toby Price KTM 4. Pablo Quintanilla KTM 5. Stefan Svitko KTM Last 10 champions. 2015 Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT) 2014 Nani roma (ESP) 2013 Stephane Peterhansel (FrA) 2012 Stephane Peterhansel (FrA) 2011 Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (QAT) 2010 FINAL STANDINGS CARS 1. Nasser Al Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel 2. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz 3. Krzysztof Hołowczyc/Xavier Panseri 4. Erik van Loon/Wouter rosegaar 5. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov ROLL OF HONOUR Carlos Sainz (ESP) 46:03:49 46:20:42 46:27:03 46:42:27 46:48:06 2009 Giniel de Villiers (rSA) 2008 Not held 2007 Stephane Peterhansel (FrA) 2006 Luc Alphand (FrA) “I congratulate Nasser (Saleh Al Attiyah) on winning the Dakar rally title for the second time. It’ll definitely boost the profile of Qatar sports. These achievements wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the wholehearted support of the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sports. Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 25 Nasser is a superman, says QMMF president Q ATAr Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) President Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah lauded the efforts of Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah after the latter won his second Dakar rally title in four years. Calling Nasser the ‘superman’ of Qatar motors sports, Al Attiyah urged the youngsters in the country to consider him as a role model. “Winning the Dakar, which I consider the most toughest of all rallies, is a big achievement. And to win it twice in a space of four years makes it even better. I want to dedicate this victory to the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Minister of Youth and Sports HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali for their wholehearted efforts. Without their support, it wouldn’t have been possible,” said Al Attiyah. The QMMF chief, who is also one of the FIA and FIM Vice-Presidents, said Nasser’s achievements spoke for themselves. “Nasser is a proven performer worldwide. Just look how consistent he was last year. He won the World rally Championship’s support category and Middle East rally Championship title in addition to finishing runner-up in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country rallies. “The Dakar win is a crowning glory. He was first on almost all days and to do it consistently on all stages in a competitive field is really amazing. It’s all because of his hard work and determination. As I keep saying all the time, Nasser is a model worth emulating for scores of youngsters, who want to take up motor sports as a career option in Qatar,” added Al Attiyah. Mohamed Issa vows comeback Q ATArI quad bike rider Mohamed Issa Abu Issa did not have things going his way at the Dakar rally, but he is trying to draw positives from it. Mohamed Issa, who finished fourth on his Dakar debut in 2014, was hoping to repeat his heroics. Things went smoothly for the 24-year-old in the beginning, but he had to pull out in the fifth stage due to a mechanical problem on his quad. “It’s back to the drawing board for me, but certainly, I’m looking forward to 2016,” said Mohamed Issa, who was leading the stage for 360km before disaster struck. ISSA WAS LEADING THE FIFTH STAGE FOR 360KM BEFORE DISASTER STRUCK. It was not entirely a forgettable outing for Mohamed Issa. In the second stage, which was considered the longest, the Qatari ran through some problems with flat tyres and damaged fuel tanks but still managed to stay in fifth overall. “I was optimistic about winning that stage, but things went out of my control. We can’t control mechanical issues. They aren’t in my hands,” he added. Mohamed Issa was happy to see Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah winning the cars’ category and was all praise for his mentor. “Congratulations to Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah for winning his second Dakar crown. He’s a true champion,” said Mohamed Issa. Coma retains motorbike title S PAIN’S Marc Coma won his fifth Dakar rally motorbike title after the 13th and final stage concluded in Buenos Aires last week. The 38-year-old from Catalonia equalled the number of titles held by French duo Cyril Neveu and Cyril Despres, who now competes in the car category for Peugeot, and one behind another Frenchman, Stephane Peterhansel. Coma is joined on the final podium by Paulo Goncalves, riding a Honda and almost 17 minutes adrift with Australia’s Toby Price, on another KTM, finishing third in the overall standings. It was KTM’s 14th Dakar success. The closing 393km stage between rosario and Baradero was won by Ivan Jakes of Slovakia. He was followed across the line by his compatriot Stefan Svitko, with Price taking third for a KTM 1-2-3. Organisers were forced to shorten the stage as heavy rain had rendered sections of the road too dangerous. Coma inherited the lead in the overall standings from Honda’s Joan Barreda after the eighth stage. He opened his Dakar account in Africa in 2006. He then won again in ’09, the first time it was held in South America, adding the ’11, ’14 to this year. Finishing in ninth-place overall was Laia Sanz, the 29-year-old Spaniard who bettered one place the highest-ever finish for a woman rider. 26 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com GOLF Fairway to g SERGIO GARCIA, WHO IS TARGETING BACK-TO-BACK TITLES, AND MARTIN KAYMER LEAD THE STAR PARADE AT THE 18TH COMMERCIAL BANK QATAR MASTERS, WRITES A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. S ErGIO Garcia, aiming to become the first player to win back-to-back titles, world No.2 Henrik Stenson, No.5 Justin rose, Martin Kaymer, who threw away a six-stroke lead in Abu Dhabi last week, and Gary Stal, who emerged an unlikely hero in the uAE capital, lead a galaxy of stars at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which will tee off at the Doha Golf Club on Wednesday. The presence of former champions Paul Lawrie (1999 and 2012), Darren Fichardt (’03), Ernie Els (’05), Thomas Bjorn (’11) and Chris Wood (’13), among others, makes it a very strong field. Add to this the chilly weather and strong winds, and it will be a highly challenging four rounds that await the European Tour’s cream of golfers for the next four days. Garcia, currently world No.5, who triumphed after a dramatic play-off against Mikko Ilonen last year, said Qatar Masters was one of his favourite tournaments and that he would try to retain the title. “This is my first Chance for Kaymer to make amends German Martin Kaymer, who was left shell-shocked after surrendering a 10-stroke lead in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last Sunday, gets an early opportunity to make amends for his inexplicable melt-down when he tees off at the Doha Golf Club on Wednesday. Going into the final round, Kaymer began six strokes ahead of his nearest rival and seemed set for a fourth Abu Dhabi title. But some lackadaisical approach ROLL OF HONOUR 2014 Sergio Garcia (ESP) tournament of the year. I’m excited about starting my season in Doha and I hope it can lead to another good year for me,” said Garcia. “I would love to win here again as it’s one of my favourite events.” “I always look to finish as high as I I’M NOT UNDER ANY EXTRA PRESSURE JUST BECAUSE I WON THE TITLE LAST YEAR. can and after winning in Qatar last year, I’d like to lift the trophy once more. I like the course in Doha as it suits my game and I also came close to winning in 2013, so I’m confident of doing well again,” he said. Garcia said he felt no extra pressure going into the tournament as the defending champion. “I’m not under any extra pressure just because I won the title last year. Once you start a tournament, every day is a new day,” he said. To a pointed reference to the gusty winds and cold weather that Doha has been witnessing during this period for the past few years, Garcia said it was quite challenging, but added the players were now used to it. “Yeah, it has been windy and cold in Doha during the Masters for the past few years. Obviously, the wind would make controlling the shots pretty difficult. But being professional players we’re all used to it,” he said. The South African challenge play — a trait that was apparent in earlier rounds, but which went unpunished — proved his undoing. A bogey, a double-bogey and a triple-bogey in the space of eight holes after being forced to take two penalty drops cost him dear. Kaymer, one of the heroes of Team Europe’s incredible come-from-behind victory at the 2012 ryder Cup, is expected to atone for his Abu Dhabi errors and is one of the strong contenders for the Qatar Masters crown. Sergio Garcia Last 10 winners. 2013 Chris Wood (ENG) 2012 Paul Lawrie (SCO) 2011 Thomas Bjorn (DEN) 2010 robert Karlsson (SWE) 2009 Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 2008 Adam Scott (AuS) 2007 retief Goosen (rSA) 2006 Henrik Stenson (SWE) 2005 Ernie Els (rSA) www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Garcia & Co win Challenge Match World No.6 Sergio Garcia won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Challenge Match for the second straight year as his four-man team beat sides led by world No.2 Henrik Stenson and world No.5 Justin rose. Team Garcia recorded a score of 25.4 in a Texas Scramble format, beating Team rose (27.4) and Team Stenson (29.2). Each Challenge Match team featured one pro and three Qatari juniors. Garcia, 35, was reunited with Sami Qush, who was part of the Spaniard’s winning team last year, while the winning side also featured Abdullah Khamis, 16, and Ahmed Al Mutawa, 13. glory! opportunity before,” said Al Nuaimi. Sitting beside Garcia at the pretournament Press conference, he wished the Spaniard all success. No player has won back-to-back titles at the Qatar Masters though Scot Paul Lawrie ( 1999 and 2012) and Aussie Adam Scott (’02 and ’08) have won the title twice each. WHAT THEY SAID “It’s always fun playing on courses where you’ve won and played well. I feel like I’m due a good result at the Qatar Masters and the Doha Golf Club is a great venue, a top golf course and attracts nice crowds. Pablo Larrazabal. €353,257 €235,502 €132,685 €105,978 €2.16m Total European Tour and Doha Golf Club to help establish the Qatar Masters into one of the greatest sports events in our country and our continued support is part of our commitment to the Qatar National Vision 2030. Based on Commercial Bank’s simple, but powerful promise that ‘everything is possible’, we look forward to the tournament’s future with ambition and confidence.” QGA President Hassan Al Nuaimi said, “We’re delighted that our valued partner Commercial Bank has extended its sponsorship of the Qatar Masters through to 2018. The tournament has grown immeasurably since Commercial Bank signed as the title sponsors in 2006. The continued title sponsorship will ensure the tournament goes from strength to strength and enhances Qatar’s position on the global sporting map.” “I’m a big fan of the Qatar Masters. I played really well in 2011 when I won it and it’s always an event I enjoy, with great weather, a fantastic course, excellent fans and just good all-round hospitality. “As a Spaniard, I was happy to see Sergio win in Doha last year, he deserved it after playing so well there for many years. But I would like to improve my record this time. I’ve been playing pretty well in recent months, for the past year in fact, so I hope I can make something happen this time. PRIZE MONEY Q ATAr Masters title sponsor Commercial Bank announced a three-year extension to its association with the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), which hosts the European Tour’s marquee event with a total prize money of $2.5m. Commercial Bank, celebrating its 40th year in business, has been the title sponsor of the Qatar Masters since 2006. The new agreement will extend the sponsorship until 2018. Commercial Bank CEO Abdulla Saleh Al raisi said, “This year, Commercial Bank is celebrating its 40th year as Qatar’s largest private bank and 10th year as title sponsor of the Qatar Masters. We’re proud to announce a three-year extension to our sponsorship of this tournament, one of the European Tour’s most prestigious and established events.” “We’ve worked for a decade with our partners including the QGA, Qatar Olympic Committee, Ernie Els. Thomas Bjorn. Winner runner-up Third place Fourth place Commercial Bank extends deal with Qatar Masters “I finished the season playing really well and I want to build on that in Doha. It’s a strong field. I know Sergio played well last year to win and he played great when I last competed in 2013, so he’ll be a favourite. Henrik (Stenson) beat us all in Dubai, so he’ll be another strong contender. It’ll be tough, but I’m confident I’ll be in with a shot this time. Justin Rose. DSP/Vinod Divakaran will be spearheaded by four-time Major winner Ernie Els, who won the Mother of Pearl Trophy on his Doha debut in 2005. ‘The Big Easy’ is yet to add to his tally though he did return to Doha five more times. “It’s nice to start the year in the Middle East and I always get a good reception in Qatar. I know there’s a very strong field this year with many of Europe’s ryder Cup players,” Els said. Qatar Golf Association President Hassan Al Nuaimi believes the presence of some of the world’s top players at this year’s tournament has enhanced the image of the event and felt it was a rare opportunity for spectators to see so many stars together at an event. “To have so many champion players is truly a special opportunity for everyone involved in the event, especially for the spectators, who may never have had such an 27 ššFrom left, European Tour Chief Operating Officer Keith Waters, Abdulla Saleh Al raisi and Hassan Al Nuaimi at the Press conference. Then rookie, Gary now a Stalwart! G ArY Stal was little known until he won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last Sunday. After a rapid ascent from the Challenge Tour in 2012, he ensured a rookie season on the European Tour in 2013, but failed to cement that place in a season where he had to devote some time to the Challenge Tour as well. However, he won back his place soon and made his mark, in ’14 by retaining his European Tour card thanks to a remarkably consistent season, missing just four cuts in 25 appearances to finish 89th in The race to Dubai. Stal won his first European Tour title in his 41st event in Abu Dhabi and is poised to move to just inside the top 100 of the world ranking, from 357th. Aged 22 years and 343 days, Stal became the youngest winner of the Abu Dhabi title, beating the previous record of Martin Kaymer, aged 23 years and 24 days in 2008. Stal will be one of the star attractions in Doha when he tees off at the Qatar Masters on Wednesday. 28 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com MIXED ZONE | QATAR ֫ VOLLEYBALL Thrilling win for El Jaish and kept attacking,” Jaish coach Ivan Joksimovic told Doha Stadium Plus. “I must congratulate my boys, particularly Christian Pampel whose serves helped us earn some crucial points in the last round,” he added. Mohammad Amin-ul Islam E L JAISH defeated Al Arabi 3-2 in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash in the Qatar League at the Al Arabi Indoor Hall last week. The 25-20, 21-25, 25-27, 26-24 victory helped them draw level with Arabi on 27 points even though the reds lead the table on better points ratio as the 11-team league reached exactly the halfway stage. The defeat was Arabi’s first in the competition. Tied 2-2, the visitors were deducted four points when they were leading 4-3 because they fielded an extra player and had to start from scratch. “It was difficult to come back into the match, but we didn’t lose hope TIED 2-2, THE VISITORS WERE DEDUCTED FOUR POINTS WHEN THEY WERE LEADING 4-3. At 12-9, Pampel’s excellent serves came in handy for Jaish, as they earned three consecutive points to level the score. And the Armymen then never looked back after that. “We played strongly right from the beginning and once we won those important points we knew we had our chances,” said Pampel. The 35-year-old German’s serves were complemented by team-mate Ilija Ivovic. The 24-year-old Serbian spiker was deadly with his smashes and helped Jaish win crucial points. For Arabi, the famed trio of Ibrahim Saeed, Juma Faraj and renan ribeiro gelled well while Kenyan recruit Philip Maiyo provided the necessary impetus upfront with his lethal smashes, but they failed to raise the game in the final set. In another match, Al rayyan scored a convincing 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 win against Police to be placed third with 25 points. RESULTS Al rayyan bt Police SC Al Arabi bt Al rayyan Al Ahli bt Al Shamal Al Sadd bt Qatar SC El Jaish bt Al Arabi Al rayyan bt Police SC 3-1 3-2 3-1 3-1 3-2 3-0 1 1 2 3 4 6 6 7 7 8 10 29 29 26 22 21 17 16 14 12 10 8 DSP/Vinod Divakaran STANDINGS Played, won, lost and points. Al Arabi 10 9 El Jaish 10 9 Al rayyan 10 8 Police SC 10 7 Al Ahli 10 6 Al Shamal 10 4 Al Khor 10 4 Al Sadd 10 3 Al Wakrah 10 3 Qatar SC 10 2 Al Gharafa 10 0 ֫ TENNIS Champion Halep for Qatar Open S ŢŢEl Jaish’s Christian Pampel smashes against Al Arabi. OME of the world’s top players, including reigning champion Simona Halep of romania, will vie for honours at the Qatar Total Open, to be played at the Khalifa Tennis Complex from February 23 to 28. The $731,000 prize-money tournament will also see seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams (uSA), Agnieszka radwanska (Poland), Angelique Kerber (Germany), Ekaterina Makarova and Svetlana Kuznetsova (both russia), Samantha Stosur (Australia) and Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) in action. Qatar Total Open Tournament Director Saad Al Mohannadi expressed happiness with the field. “The Qatar Tennis Federation is very pleased with the players who’ve entered for the tournament. It’s a quality field and we’re very happy to have defending champion Simona Halep returning,” said Al Mohannadi. “Venus Williams is another big name coming to the tournament. The presence of so many top players from different countries shows how important the tournament is on the WTA calendar,” he added. The qualifiers for the tournament will be played on February 21 and 22. The tickets will go on sale on January 22 at City Center, Landmark, Lagoona and Villaggio malls as well as the Khalifa International Tennis Complex. To purchase tickets online, log on to www.qatartennis.org. ֫ ATHLETICS ‘Sadd aim record participation at Qatar Mega Marathon’ Q ATAr’S Al Sadd Sports Club will attempt to set a new world record when it hosts the ‘Qatar Mega Marathon’ on February 6, along the National Day Ceremonial road in Al refaa. The 21.1km race, being held under the slogan ‘run With Qatar’, will target runners belonging to all age groups. The prize distribution ceremony will be held on February 10, the country’s National Sports Day. Sadd Sports Club General Secretary Jassim Al rumaihi was optimistic they could break the record for the number of participants at a half marathon. “Qatar Mega Marathon embodies the true spirit of sport, which holds respect of winning and losing, durability, patience and challenge. Therefore, the goal doesn’t stop at breaking the world record. Even if we couldn’t break it, the honour of the attempt will be enough motivation. We’ll accept the result with sporting spirit and keep organising the race every year,” he said. Meanwhile, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has tied up with the Qatar Mega Marathon. Building on its previous involvement with various mass participation competitions, including the famous Boston Marathon, the ICSS will add its global sport safety and security expertise to the event. ICSS Vice-President Mohammed Hajaj Al Hajri was all praise for the Qatar Mega Marathon. “We’re proud to co-operate and contribute to the success of this event. This collaboration reinforces our strong commitment at the ICSS to enhance best practice in sport safety and security, particularly at high-profile events being held in Qatar,” he said. The ICSS Save the Dream initiative will also collaborate with the event to promote the core values of sport among young people. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 Al Shaqab Racing gets Toast Of New York ֫ MOTORSPORT A uAE emerged as the overall winner in the Qatar National Baja. Ali Al Shawi, also of the uAE, clocked 1:12:36.2 to win the last round while Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Al Qashmi finished second in 1:12:41.4. QMMF General Secretary Mohammed Saad Al Morrakhi and Board member Sultan Zaher Al Morraikhi awarded the winners. ššAbdullah Al Kuwari, third right, celebrates on the podium with other QMMF officials. ֫ MARINESPORT Qataris rule the roost Q ATArI riders made a clean sweep of super stock, stock and stock beginners categories in the second round of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation’s International Jetski Championship at the Doha Corniche last week. Thamer Ahmed Al Darwish won the super stock race in 21min 16.47sec while Abdullah Fadel Al Fadel was second (21:37.74). rashed Ibrahim Al Mannai (21:51.87) came third. Al Mannai (17:11.07) made up for his disappointment by winning the stock racing while Al Fadel (17:14.97) came second. Ace sailor and aquabike rider Waleed Al Sharshani (17:18.42) finished third. Abdulrahman Abdullah Al Ishaq (18:45.95) was victorious in the stock beginners race. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Abdullah (21:13.65) and Abdullah Mohammed Al Ali (18:54.42) finished second and third respectively. uAE-based French rider Ludovic Caument won the F1 ski division race in 14:30.45, ahead of Kuwait’s Youssef Omar Al Qanai (14:54.68) and Al Sharshani (14:58.12). A total of 39 riders took part in the competition. QMSF General Secretary Sami Abu Shaikha, Head of Formula racing Khalid bin Arhama Al Kuwari and Board member Hassan Ahmed Bilal awarded the winners. Qatar-based Al Shaqab racing has added Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Toast Of New York to its star-studded roster. The four-year-old will remain in training with Jamie Osborne, but will in future be ridden by Al Shaqab’s jockey Frankie Dettori. Formerly owned by Michael Buckley, his first big-race target under the Al Shaqab racing banner will be in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 28. ֫ HORSERACING Al Kuwari supreme at National Rally BDuLLAH Al Kuwari won the Qatar National rally, organised by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) at Losail, last week. Driving a Ford Fiesta r5, the Qatari driver finished in 1:09:38.8sec. rashid Al Naimi, also from Qatar, finished second in 1:10:53.7 in a Mitsubishi Evo 10. Meanwhile, Ali Al Kitbi of the 29 Taraf unstoppable Turflight H West too good for rivals The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation’s Australian rider Anthony West won both races in the fourth round of the Qatar Superbike Championship at the Losail International Circuit last week. Alexander Cudlin came second in both while Mishal Al Naimi finished third. “Both races were good. I felt better in the first race while it was a bit dark out there in the second. I went with a dark visor, so it was quite hard to see when the sun was behind the clouds. Hence, it was difficult to match the same times I did in the first race,” West said. The next round of the championship will be held on March 6 and 7. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian rider Abdulaziz bin Ladin, on a Kawasaki, won both races in the Supersport category while Fahad Al Suwaidi, on a Honda, came third. In the Losail Asian road racing Series, Hungarian woman rider Victoria Kis won the first race while uSA’s Shelina Moreda was victorious in the second. In the third round of the Qatar Challenge, Mark Holroyd, Luc Mathern and Shady El Mohandes finished first, second and third in that order. H SHEIKH Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani-owned Taraf (Burning Sand-Gethaabah) came back to her brilliant best while winning the HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani Trophy, a Local-Bred Pure Arabian race at the Qatar racing and Equestrian Club last week. Julian Smart-trained Taraf, which AL SHAHANIA STUD’S AL ANGA KEPT THE SPIRITED CHALLENGE FROM TM THUNDER STRUCK. had failed in her previous two outings, came up with devastating strides in the final furlong to beat a credible field en route to a comfortable victory in the Qr1m event. Tadgh O’Shea rode a welljudged race on the winner. Taraf looks to be a strong contender to excel in the forthcoming Qatar Gold Sword and HH The Emir’s Sword. Al Shahania Stud’s Al Anga kept the spirited challenge from TM Thunder Struck at bay to clinch the HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani Cup, a Pure-Arabian race for four-year-olds. Jockey Willam Lee was astride the winner. Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwariowned Bahia Du Barthas (DahessDerkouch) put in a powerful finishing effort to clinch a four-way battle at the post in the HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani Silver Cup, a race for Pure Arabians. Earlier, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani-owned Arraab (Bentley up) put in a dazzling display to claim the Group 3 Pure Arabian Sprinters Championship. Trainer Jassim Al Ghazali, who saddled the winner, hogged the limelight with six winners while jockey Bentley also dazzled with four winners. Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari-owned Botanica had to be hard-ridden by jockey richard Mullen to win the Al Khariab Cup, a Thoroughbred Conditions race for Fillies and Mares. Makruma and City Zen posted a serious challenge, but the finishing effort of Mullen enabled the Al Ghazali-trained Botanica to edge her rivals in a nail-biting finish. RESULTS WEDNESDAY Khafouqi (Stephane Ladjadj) 1, Sirat Al Naif 2,Dheram Al Naif 3, Ghazwat Race 1 Race 1 Dukhan 4. Won by: 3, 4, 2 ½. Time: 1:20.91. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari. Awattan (Harry Bentley) 1, Inis Airc 2, Golden Zephyr 3, Song Beam 4. Won Race 2 by: 1 ¼, 1 ½, Nk. Time: 1:14.18. Trained Race 2 by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Abdullah Mohammed Al Kuwari Sons. Lieutenant Kafee (Harry Bentley) 1, Mindblowing 2, Nile Knight 3, Zakon Race 3 4. Won by: 3, Shd, ½. Time: 2:02.85. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari. Race 3 Charlie’s Wish (Marco Monteriso) 1, Dark Leopard 2, Man Amongst Men 3, Race 4 Tarrafal 4. Won by: 1 ½, Nk, 1 ½. Time: 1:34.35. Trained by: S Ibido. Owned by: Abdulla Mana Al Hajri. Race 4 Bayalina (Harry Bentley) 1, Al Koufa 2, Nahla 3, Zakkarya 4. Won by: 2, ¾, Race 5 1. Time: 1:46.79. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari. Race 5 The Scuttler (Cedric Segeon) 1, Sunley Pride 2, river Goddess 3, Tachophobia Race 6 4. Won by: Nk, Hd, 1 ½. Time: 1:12.56. Trained by: Mohammed Salama. Owned by: Zakhir Stud. Race 6 Botanica (richard Mullen) 1, Makruma 2, City Zen 3, Carina Palace 4. Won by: Race 7 Shd, Shd, ½. Time: 1:36.63. Trained by: Race 7 Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Khalifa bin Sheail Al Kuwari. Arraab (Harry Bentley) 1, Mutazz 2, Tuyoorna 3, Harran 4. Won by: ½. ½, Race 8 Hd. Time: 1:12.57. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani. Race 8 THURSDAY Ain Jalout (J P Guillambert) 1, Naamah 2, Wafa 3, rafaal 4. Won by: 1 ¼, 3, 1 ¾. Time: 1:30.69. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari. Crafted (Gerald Avranche) 1, Lightning Launch 2, Fine Prince 3, Three Cliffs 4. Won by: 1 ¼, ½, 1. Time: 1:34.38. Owned and trained by: Ibrahim Saeed Al Malki. Pay Freeze (Oliver Peslier) 1, Hearts Of Stone 2, Collect Art 3, Bazaruto 4. Won by: Shd, Hd, ½. Time: 1:09.84. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Khalil Mansoor Khalil Al Shahwani. uleavemebreathless (Stephane Ladjadj) 1, Free Spin 2, Ajmany 3, Polperro 4. Won by: ½, 1 ½, 2. Time: 2:13.54. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Injaaz Stud. Al Hareth (Harry Bentley) 1, Footprintinthesand 2, Mutawassal 3, Sraab 4. Won by: 1, Shd, ½. Time: 1:36.98. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Mishalbin Ali Al Attiyah. Bahia Du Barthas (JP Guillambert) 1, Samjida 2, Kimfalah 3, Al Fakhamah 4. Won by: Shd, Hd, Shd. Time: 1:30.56. Trained by: Jassim Al Ghazali. Owned by: Sheail bin Khalifa Al Kuwari. Al Anga (William Lee) 1, TM Thunder Struck 2, Mayasa 3, Al Bashtoon 4. Won by: Shd, 8, Nk. Time: 1:40.36. Trained by: Julian Smart. Owned by: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Faleh Al Thani. Taraf (Tadgh O’Shea) 1, Kassam 2, Masnoon 3, Seif Ennar 4. Won by: 1 ¼, ½, Nk. Time: 1:43.10. Trained by: Julian Smart. Owned by: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani. 30 WEDNESDAY, JANuARY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com MIXED ZONE | INTERNATIONAL ton! ֫ CRICKET Blistering A brings up 50 off 16 balls 4 | | 6 6 0 2 2 Lb 1 6 | | 4 6 | 6 | 4 6 1 4 1 | | | | | | | | | 2 | | A B de Villiers | home side appeared to be coasting to victory. However, Finch fell when a century beckoned, caught behind by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Aggression was the main thing for me. I just wanted to go right from the start. I was on 92 when I realised it was going to be close. I wasn’t going to take singles in the nineties. Took 19 minutes to score 50 and 40 minutes to reach his century. | Recorded a strike rate of 339 during his knock — the first time a batsman has made a 100-plus score at a 300plus strike rate. | | Helped South Africa reach their highest ODI total of 439. 100 off 31 balls | BRAD HADDIN AND JAMES FAULKNER GOT THE AUSTRALIANS HOME. brings up | | Fastest 100 in ODIs in 31 balls (breaking New Zealander Corey Anderson’s record by five balls). 31 balls against West Indies, Johannesburg, 2015. 36 balls against West Indies, Queenstown, 2014. 37 balls against Sri Lanka, Nairobi, 1996. 44 balls against Zimbabwe, Potchefstroom, 2006. 45 balls against Bangladesh in Dhaka, 1999. 45 balls against India, Kanpur, 2005. 46 balls against West Indies, Queenstown, 2014. 48 balls against Pakistan, Singapore, 1996. 50 balls against England, Bangalore, 2011. 52 balls against Australia, Jaipur, 2013. Dhoni from the bowling of umesh Yadav, as the tourists made an unlikely late bid to snatch victory. In an unexpectedly tense finish, Brad Haddin and James Faulkner got the Australians home with an unbroken 21-run stand. India’s innings was dogged by a poor start and a disappointing finish. They found themselves in early trouble at 59 for three. As was the case in Australia’s three-wicket win over England in the series opener, left-arm paceman Starc claimed a wicket in the first over of the match — Shikhar Dhawan caught by Aaron Finch at second slip for just two. | | | 6 2 2 0 OuT 4 6 6 P Finch made 96 as Australia rattled up 269 for six, winning with six balls to spare. He received great support from the in-form Steve Smith (47). The pair put on 101 for the third wicket as the | Equalled Rohit Sharma’s record for most sixes (16) in an ODI innings. Aussies teach India a Starc lesson! ACEMAN Mitchell Starc took six wickets for 43 runs to help Australia to a fourwicket win over India, their second in succession in the one-day international tri-series, despite a brilliant Rohit Sharma century. Sharma’s 138 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground enabled India to post a competitive total of 267 for eight after winning the toss and electing to bat. However, on a placid pitch, it always appeared slightly less than required and Australian opener Aaron Finch countered Sharma’s century with a match-winning knock of his own. | South Africa’s A B de Villiers set a number of records as he smashed the fastest-ever ODI century against West Indies last week. Here is a look at them. FASTEST ONE-DAY CENTURIES A B de Villiers (RSA) Corey Anderson (NZL) Shahid Afridi (PAK) Mark Boucher (RSA) Brian Lara (WI) Shahid Afridi (PAK) Jesse Ryder (NZL) Sanath Jayasuriya (SRI) Kevin O’Brien (IRL) Virat Kohli (IND) | | | | Fastest 50 in ODIs in 16 balls (breaking Sanath Jayasuriya’s previous mark by one ball). | | 6 Deliveries Runs | | 0 4 4 0 6 4 6 6 | 1 1 6L | | 4 b DE VILLIERS’S 1 6 RECORDS 6 | | | 1 He was eventually out in the final over of the innings, one run away from shattering the record for fastest 150, currently held by Australian Shane Watson who reached the mark in 83 balls against Bangladesh. “He said he was going to have a look for one over, but hit his first six balls for 24. He’s an amazing player,” Amla said about De Villiers, who ripped apart the West Indian attack after coming to the crease in the 39th over. Rossouw struck his maiden ODI century with a relatively sedate 128 from 115 deliveries while Amla registered his highest ODI score from 142 balls. South Africa beat their previous highest 50-over score of 438 at the same ground against Australia in ’06. | B DE VILLIERS took 31 balls to smash the fastest century in one-day internationals last Sunday as South Africa posted 439 for two wickets, their highest team total in this format, in the second ODI against West Indies at the Wanderers. Described by retired Australian stumper Adam Gilchrist as the “most valuable cricketer on the planet” earlier this week, De Villiers blasted 16 sixes and nine fours in his blistering 44-ball knock of 149, bettering New Zealander Corey Anderson’s 36-ball century against West Indies last year. The 30-year-old right-hander went down on his knees and slog-swept Jason Holder over deep mid-wicket for his 10th six to bring up his century before raising his bat and taking off his helmet with a broad smile on his face. Coming out to bat after a 247-run opening stand between Hashim Amla (153 not out) and Rilee Rossouw (128), De Villiers set a new record for the fastest halfcentury as well. He reached the milestone in 16 balls, improving the previous best mark of Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996 by a delivery. Known for his improvisation, the South African ODI captain manufactured big shots and cleared the boundary at will, equalling the world record for 16 sixes in an ODI innings. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 31 ֫ TENNIS ֫ GOLF Top women seeds fall at Australian Open Walk in the park for Jimmy at Sony Open! F IFTH-rANKED Ana Ivanovic led a parade of women’s seeds knocked out of the Australian Open first round after the Serb was upset by doubles specialist Lucie Hradecka 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Former French Open champion Ivanovic joined double Grand Slam winner Sveltana Kuznetsova (world No.27), Swiss teen Belinda Bencic (32) and Sabine Lisicki (28) as seeded casualties in early first-round action. Ivanovic, a former Australian Open finalist, had roared through the first set in 21 minutes on rod Laver Arena and looked set to follow third seed Simona Halep into the second round after the romanian’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Italy’s Karen Knapp in the first game on the show court. However, Hradecka, who played only three WTA level events in 2014, raced through the next two sets in just over an hour to send the Serb packing. “I played okay in the beginning. But I really dropped my level in the second and third set,” said Ivanovic, whose only other first-round exit at Melbourne Park was to Ekaterina Makarova in ’11. Czech Hradecka, who plays with an unorthodox double-handed grip from both sides of the court, is ranked 142 in the world and has had most of her success as a doubles player with compatriot Andrea Hlavackova. Bencic was hammered 6-2, 6-1 by Julia Goerges in just over an hour while Kuznetsova, the ’04 uS Open and ’09 French Open champion, lost 4-6, 2-6 to France’s Caroline Garcia. German Lisicki was beaten 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 by France’s Kristina Mladenovic. Ana Ivanovic A MErICAN Jimmy Walker became the first back-to-back winner of the Sony Open since 2004, successfully defending his title in dominant fashion as he blitzed the PGA Tour field at the Waialae Golf Course in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week. The 36-year-old posted the biggest winning margin in the 50-year history of the event. He fired a seven-under 63 to finish at 23-under 257, nine shots in front of runner-up Scott Piercy. He also won just a week after blowing a three-shot lead with five holes to play at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui. In this event last year, Walker emerged from a five-way tie to shoot a closing round of 63 and beat Chris Kirk by one shot. South Africa’s Ernie Els was the last back-to-back winner of the Sony Open. Walker shot four straight rounds in the 60s this week to finish the week at 23-under-par 257. The victory is his fourth on the PGA Tour and his first since winning the AT&T National Pro-Am last season. “Just more confidence, more comfortable,” Walker said. “I’ve got good people. I’ve got a great trainer, Mark, a good coach in Butch and a great wife and kids. Things are good,” he added. Piercy posted his second straight 66 to finish in sole possession of second place at 14-under 266. Harris English and Gary Woodland both fired threeunder 67s while Matt Kuchar fired a one-over 71 and the trio finished tied for third at 13-under 267. Troicki wins second title after five years Viktor Troicki won the battle of the qualifiers to claim his second career title with a straight-set win over Mikhail Kukushkin in the final of the Sydney International last week. Troicki crushed Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3 in a victory that will send the Serb moving up the world rankings. The one-time world No.12 won his first title in Moscow five years ago. Troicki, 28, was forced to serve a 12-month ban for failing to take a blood test at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2013, and is eager to make up for lost time. Troicki, who lost to Frenchman Gilles Simon in the Sydney final four years ago, started and finished the match with an ace, serving a dozen in total. In the women’s final, Petra Kvitova defeated fellow-Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6). It was a contest every bit as close as the scoreline would suggest, with both six-footers pounding the ball off the flexi-cushion surface at each other for 1hr and 51min. ֫ MOTORSPORT ֫ OLYMPIC F1 rules are tweaked in favour of Honda Creating real interest? M CLArEN have been given a boost after Formula One’s governing body tweaked the rules to allow Honda, the team’s new partner, to develop their engine this season in line with rival manufacturers. The Japanese company, who have replaced Mercedes at McLaren, are returning to Formula One as the sport’s fourth engine supplier. Mercedes, renault and Ferrari are allowed to introduce limited upgrades during the season but Honda, as a new entrant, had been told to present their engine for approval on February 28 with no further development permitted. Honda met International Automobile Federation officials to present their view that the situation was unfair. A document issued to teams by Formula One race director Charlie Whiting did not name Honda, but clarified the situation with an amendment in their favour. T GAMES HE International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched a newly-created invitation phase for potential bid cities for the 2024 Summer Games, confident the reformed process will trigger more interest in hosting the Olympics. So far, Germany with Hamburg or Berlin, rome and Boston have declared their intentions to bid for the showpiece, but Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said more would follow. “I think yes, that it’ll trigger a real interest,” said Dubi. This phase, to run until the September deadline for submission of a candidacy, is aimed at giving cities a clearer idea of the Games and giving them the chance to see how they may or may not fit into their urban development, social and economic plans. The IOC voted for an overhaul of the bid process in December after four of the six candidate cities for the ’22 Winter Olympics dropped out in mid-race due to costs or lack of public support. These changes were part of 40 recommendations approved last month to revamp the Games bid process and their organisation, size and cost. 32 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com PEOPLE Boxing great Muhammad Ali was released from hospital after treatment for a severe urinary tract infection. Ali, who has Parkinson’s disease, was released in time to celebrate his 73rd birthday last week, family spokesman Bob Gunnell said. He had been admitted to the hospital earlier this week as follow-up to a problem that surfaced last month. Katie Ledecky posted the second-fastest 800M freestyle in history, threatening her own world record in a victory at the Arena Pro Swim Series stop in Texas, uSA. The Olympic gold medallist won in 8min, 11.21sec to complete a sweep of the 100, 200, 400 and 800M freestyle events at the meet. Lazio forward Felipe Anderson, one of the most influential players in Serie A recently, has been ruled out for the next three weeks because of a knee sprain. The club said the 21-year-old Brazilian had suffered the injury during training, and would be sidelined for “three weeks barring complications”. German youth international Hany Mukhtar has joined Portugal’s Benfica, signing a five-year deal to 2020 after more than a decade at Hertha Berlin. The 19-year-old joined Hertha’s youth teams in ’02. Despite making his debut with the senior side as a 17-year-old, he has failed to feature in the league this season. Hamburg SV midfielder Lewis Holtby has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks after breaking his collarbone and requiring a surgery. The 24-year-old, who joined Hamburg from Tottenham this season, fell on his shoulder during a challenge in their friendly game against Eintracht Frankfurt in Dubai last week. STAR OF THE WEEK FERNANDO TORRES W HEN Fernando Torres left Atletico Madrid for Liverpool in 2007, he was a talented youngster ready to light up the big stage. And though the Spaniard was all guns blazing in Merseyside, he had to endure terribly unhappy stints at Chelsea and AC Milan, until his boyhood side came calling with a loan deal. Backed by his roaring fans, Torres rolled back the years with a King’s Cup double at real Madrid last week that was a reminder of the talented youngster, who made his name at the club. Torres showed he can still perform on the biggest stages with a goal in the first minute of each half of the last-16, second-leg match at the Bernabeu. His first was a superb left-footed volley from inside the penalty area and his second came after he turned inside Pepe and slipped a neat low shot past real goalkeeper Keylor Navas. The match ended 2-2, with real twice levelling through Sergio ramos and Cristiano ronaldo, and Atletico progressed to the quarterfinal 4-2 on aggregate, where they will meet record winners Barcelona. Now 30, Torres has returned to his boyhood club after seven-and-a-half years that included the highs of ’10 World Cup as well as Euro ’08 and ’12 triumphs with Spain and Champions League and Europa League successes with Chelsea. However, there have also been plenty of lows, with many writing off the player still known as ‘El Nino’ (the kid) as an expensive flop. “When he was promoted from the (Atletico) academy he was really too young for everything that happened to him, but he responded very well,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who played with Torres at the time, told a news conference. “He left, he matured and now he’s a man,” added the former Argentina captain. “I’m very pleased for him. The fans are happy and his arrival has been good for us even though some had their doubts.” Simeone included Torres in the starting line-up in place of Mario Mandzukic, who is unwell, and the Croatia striker is likely to remain first choice up front for the La Liga champions. However, if Torres can repeat last week’s feat on a regular basis, he will give Atletico a valuable extra weapon. Italy’s former world figure skating champion Carolina Kostner was banned for 16 months for helping her former boyfriend and Olympic race walker gold medallist Alex Schwazer evade a doping control in 2012, the Italian Olympic Committee confirmed last week. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 33 SPORT THIS WEEK QATAR Deontay Wilder claimed the World Boxing Council heavyweight title with a dominating 12-round decision over Bermane Stiverne, becoming the first American to hold a major heavyweight crown since 2006. Wilder won easily on all three judges’ scorecards in a fight that many were surprised went the distance. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21 FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 HANDBALL 2015 IHF World Championship, Brazil vs Chile, 5pm and Qatar vs Belarus, 7pm at Lusail Multipurpose Hall; Spain vs Slovenia, 5pm and Croatia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7pm at Qatar Handball Association Complex; Tunisia vs Iran, 5pm and Macedonia vs Austria, 7pm at Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall. MOTORSPORT Granada have sacked coach Joaquin Caparros after the La Liga strugglers were knocked out in the last 16 of the King’s Cup 6-1 on aggregate by Sevilla. Youth coach Joseba Aguado has been appointed as the caretaker. Abel resino is the favourite to replace Caparros, who was appointed last May on a one-year contract. GOLF Qatar Masters, 6.30am onwards at Doha Golf Club (till Saturday). I NDIA have signed Englishman Stephen Constantine as their new coach, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement last week. The 52-year-old coached the country from 2002 to ’05 and was most recently head coach of rwanda. In ’02, India had won a six-nation tournament in Vietnam under Constantine, who took the tiny African republic to their highest-ever world ranking of 68 last month and has also coached the national teams of Nepal and Sudan. Constantine would also be in charge of India’s under-23 team and is expected to officially start work from the first week of February. The coaching position became vacant towards the end of ’14 after Dutchman Wim Koevermans opted against renewing his contract following a string of poor results. India, a country of more than one billion people and regarded as football’s sleeping giants, are currently languishing at their lowest-ever FIFA ranking of 171. Sangakkara signs for Surrey F OrMEr Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara will join Surrey, the English county said last week. Sangakkara is currently ranked as the world’s No.1 Test batsman and is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the five-day game with 12,203 runs to his credit. The 37-year-old left-hander is set to rejoin former Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford, now in charge of Surrey. Sangakkara has signed a two-year contract and should be available for most of the 2015 English season after announcing his intention to retire from one-day internationals following the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which starts next month, although he could yet extend his Test career later this year. “We’re delighted that Kumar has agreed to join us,” said Surrey Director of Cricket Alec Stewart. MOTORSPORT Porsche Cup Challenge Middle East, 5.30pm at Losail International Circuit. SUNDAY, JANUARY 25 2015 IHF World Championship, Chile vs Belarus, 5pm and Qatar vs Spain, 7pm at Lusail Multipurpose Hall; Slovenia vs Brazil, 5pm and Macedonia vs Croatia, 7pm at Qatar Handball Association Complex; Iran vs Austria, 5pm and Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Tunisia, 7pm at Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall. HANDBALL HANDBALL Constantine is back as India’s football coach SATURDAY, JANUARY 24 HANDBALL THURSDAY, JANUARY 22 MOVERS&SHAKERS Porsche Cup Challenge Middle East, 4pm at Losail International Circuit. 2015 IHF World Championship, Germany vs Argentina, 7pm and russia vs Denmark, 9pm at Lusail Multipurpose Hall; Poland vs Saudi Arabia, 7pm and Algeria vs France, 9pm at Qatar Handball Association Complex; Sweden vs Egypt, 7pm and Iceland vs Czech republic, 9pm at Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall. 2015 IHF World Championship, prequarterfinals, at Lusail Multipurpose Indoor Hall and Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall. MONDAY, JANUARY 26 HANDBALL HANDBALL 2015 IHF World Championship, Germany vs Saudi Arabia, 7pm and Poland vs Denmark, 9pm at Lusail Multipurpose Hall; russia vs Argentina, 7pm and Algeria vs Czech republic, 9pm at Qatar Handball Association Complex; Iceland vs Egypt, 7pm and France vs Sweden, 9pm at Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall. INTERNATIONAL WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21 FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 CRICKET CRICKET South Africa vs West Indies, third ODI at East London. FOOTBALL New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, fifth ODI at Dunedin; Australia vs England, ODI at Hobart Asian Cup, Australia (till January 31); Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea (till February 8). SUNDAY, JANUARY 25 TENNIS New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, Sixth ODI at Dunedin; South Africa vs West Indies, fourth ODI at Port Elizabeth. ATP and WTA at Australian Open (till February 1). CRICKET 2015 IHF World Championship, prequarterfinals, at Lusail Multipurpose Indoor Hall and Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Indoor Hall; President’s Cup, at Qatar Handball Association Complex. TUESDAY, JANUARY 27 HANDBALL 2015 IHF World Championship, President’s Cup, at Qatar Handball Association Complex. 34 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com MOSAIC LIFESTYLE Wellness HEALTH New device to treat obesity or penalty? T HE uS Food and Drug Administration recently said it had approved a new device to treat obesity, the first since 2007. The news sent shares of its maker, EnteroMedics Inc, up as much as 74 per cent. Known as the Maestro rechargeable System, the device controls hunger and feelings of fullness by targeting the nerve pathway between the brain and stomach. It is implanted surgically into the abdomen and works by sending electrical pulses that interfere with the activity of the vagus nerve, which signals to the brain that the stomach is empty. The device can be recharged by the patient and healthcare professionals can adjust its settings using external controllers. A 12-month clinical study showed that patients implanted with the device lost 8.5 per cent more weight than the control group. That did not meet the main goal of the clinical trial, which was to show weight loss of 10 per cent or more. U S COMPANIES are increasingly penalising workers who decline to join ‘wellness’ programmes, embracing an element of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law that has raised questions about fairness at workplace. Beginning in 2014, the law known as Obamacare raised the financial incentives that employers are allowed to offer workers for participating in workplace wellness programmes and achieving results. The incentives, which big business lobbied for, can be either rewards or penalties — up to 30 per cent of health insurance premiums, deductibles and other costs, and even more if the programmes target smoking. Among the two-thirds of large companies using such incentives to encourage participation, almost a quarter are imposing financial penalties on those who opt out, according to a survey by the National Business Group on Health and benefits consultant Towers Watson. For some companies, however, just signing up for a wellness programme is not enough. They are linking financial incentives to specific goals such as losing weight, reducing cholesterol or keeping blood glucose under control. The number of businesses imposing such outcome-based wellness plans is expected to double this year to 46 per cent, the survey found. Incentives typically take the form of cash payments or reductions in employee deductibles. Penalties include higher premiums and lower company contributions for out-of-pocket health costs. Financial incentives, many companies say, are critical to encouraging workers to participate in wellness programmes which, executives believe, will save money in the long run. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 OFFBEAT CAMEO James’s jersey again the top seller Spain, Germany, France sign deals The Spanish, German and French national teams, competing in the ongoing 2015 Men’s World Handball Championship in Doha, have announced new sponsorship deals. The German Handball Federation recently agreed pacts with automotive supplier Bosch Car Service and luggage manufacturer Titan. The French Handball Association signed an agreement with Caisse D’Epargne, which became the Official Banking partner, while fitness equipment manufacturer GoFit agreed with the Spanish Handball Federation to support the team in Qatar. L EBrON James’s No.23 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey is once again the NBA’s top seller among uS fans. Without releasing sales figures, the NBA said the four-time Most Valuable Player’s wine and gold jersey was the biggest seller from adidas and NBAStore.com from October, 2014, through December, ’14 — the period including the holiday shopping rush. James had topped the list for the four prior reporting periods, but at that time, he was wearing No.6 for Miami Heat. James returned this season to his home state and his first NBA club, the Cavaliers, after winning two NBA titles with the Heat. His Cavaliers jersey had also topped the popularity list back in 2004, in his rookie season. Golden State Warriors sensation Stephen Curry’s jersey is the second-best seller, up from number seven on the previous list issued last June. Oklahoma City’s NBA MVP Kevin Durant, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and Chicago’s Derrick rose round out the top five. championships). Total will also become an Official Partner of the annual MetLife World Superseries. Vivo continues to back Brazil football Telecommunications company Vivo renewed its sponsorship deal with Brazilian football until 2018. It will continue as the exclusive telecommunications partner of the national team, developing unique content that will be available on the Eu Vivo Esporte (I Live Sport) portal. Making Hamburg a healthy club! German health insurance firm HEK recently announced a deal to become a sponsor of Bundesliga club Hamburg. Accordingly, the company will support the club’s ‘Hamburger Weg’ business and social responsibility sponsorship initiative as well as football schools project. There’s a shark out there! Cricket World Cup gets ANZ support Total backing for badminton body Energy major Total signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The deal will see Total become the title sponsor of premium BWF events such as the Sudirman Cup and biennial world mixed team championships, World Championships and Thomas as well as uber Cups (the biennial men’s and women’s world team 35 Australian financial services group ANZ recently signed a deal to become the Official Bank of the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. The tournament begins in Australia and New Zealand on February 14. The bank’s activation will be limited to New Zealand. Asian Cup football fans or players hoping to enjoy a dip in the sea at competition venue Newcastle in Australia will be flagged offside after beaches were closed due to a shark sighting. The beaches were closed last weekend after the first sighting of the 5M predator. The shark — said to be “of a size that has not been seen before around Newcastle”, according to local lifeguards — announced itself when its huge dorsal fin emerged from the water off the picturesque Merewether Baths. — Courtesy CSM Sport & Entertainment www.csm.com @FastTrack_ME TECHNOLOGY From China, to challenge iPhone! C HINA’S Xiaomi Inc staked its claim to Apple Inc’s crown last week by unveiling the flagship Mi Note. Chief Executive of the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker Lei Jun introduced the Mi Note, its challenger to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, in Beijing with a breakdown of the large-screen phone’s technical features, with multiple comparisons to Apple’s equivalent. At £244 for a model with 16 gigabytes of memory, the Mi Note will retail for almost two-thirds less than the iPhone 6 Plus. Just three years after Xiaomi sold its first smartphone, a $1.1bn round of fundraising announced in December valued the firm at $45bn. SOCIAL MEDIA Deflating the stress bubble! H EAVY users of the Internet and social media do not have higher levels of stress, and women who use Twitter, e-mail and photo sharing show less stress than women who do not use them, according to a recent survey. But the survey of 1,801 Americans by the Pew research Center showed that such social media as Facebook can add to users’ stress since they hear more about other people’s tough times, such as job losses and deaths. The data suggest that some analysts’ fears are overblown that social media, cell phones and the Internet would take over users’ lives and put them under more duress. “There’s no evidence in our data that social media users feel more stress than people who use digital technologies less or not at all,” Keith Hampton, a rutgers university professor, who led the survey, said. Women reported an average score of 10.5 on the 30-point Perceived Stress Scale, the most common measure for stress. Men’s average score was 9.8. 36 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com Photos/Mohan, Vinod Divakaran, IHF CLOSE-UP JANUARY FEBRUARY 15 1 TO www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 37 38 WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 | www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com 6 MIND SQUARE 6 5 4 2 9 1 9 2 3 4 5 7 8 4 2 5 5 6 4 9 5 3 6 1 7 2 8 5 2udoku is a number-placing puzzle based on a SUDOKU-456 S 9x9 grid with several given numbers. The object is to place the numbers 1 to 9 in the empty squares so that each row, each column and each 3x3 box contains the same number only once. Solution-455 5 2 1 9 4 7 8 3 6 7 3 8 6 5 1 2 4 9 4 6 9 2 8 3 5 7 1 3 8 5 4 1 6 7 9 2 9 1 4 8 7 2 6 5 3 6 7 2 5 3 9 4 1 8 1 9 6 7 2 5 3 8 4 8 5 3 1 6 4 9 2 7 2 4 7 3 9 8 1 6 5 6 6 5 2 9 1 4 9 3 4 5 6 5 3 6 8 2 P 4 | FOOTBALL RONALDO TOPS AGAIN P 20 | TENNIS FEROCIOUS FIGHTER! Real Madrid’s Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo wins the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the second year running and third time overall. Spain’s David Ferrer produces a dazzling display to defeat the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title clash. Live it, 5 7 2 www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com Follow us on Holders Spain and European winners France start as the favourites while hosts Qatar expect to continue their recent good run and put up a strong showing at the Handball World Championship. PAGES 22-33 8 4 2 5 9 2 4 1 7 5 win it! WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2015 | Vol IX | No.50 | QR2.00 SPECIAL PREVIEW UK ...................................... £1 Europe ............................. €2 Oman ...............200 Baisas Bahrain..................200 Fils Egypt .............................LE 2 Lebanon..........3,000 Livre Kuwait....................250 Fils Morocco ......................Dh 6 UAE ...............................Dh 5 Yemen..................75 Riyals Sudan ...................1 Pound KSA.......................... 2 Riyals Jordan ....................500 Fils Iraq .................................... $1 Palestine ......................... $1 Syria.............................LS 20 SPECIAL COLUMN P 17 | FOOTBALL P 24 | POSTER A credible alternative VENUES & FIXTURES HANDBALL WORLDS Qatar can do well at Handball Worlds The preview package of the Men’s Handball World Championship (Doha Stadium Plus, January 14) was informative and visually appealing. The tournament promises to be a gripping one with champions Spain and European winners France expected to continue their good show. As hosts, Qatar too have something to offer as they boast experienced players and, above all, the presence of Spaniard Valero rivera at the helm. It’ll give them an edge over their opponents. Saeed Abusharib, Doha. TOP TWEETS Ronaldo outshines Messi 5 2 1 9 4 7 3 8 6 5 4 6 9 2 8 3 8 5 4 1 9 1 4 8 7 6 7 2 5 3 1 9 6 7 2 8 5 3 1 6 As the world watched in awe, South African cricket captain A B de Villiers plundered 149 runs off just 44 balls during the second of their five-match one-day series against the West Indies, which they won by 148 runs. In the process, he broke the world record for the fastest century as it took him just 31 deliveries to reach the three-figure mark, taking five balls less than New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, who held the previous record. In Twitter, fans expressed their admiration and sheer disbelief, calling him superhuman and even demanding his DNA test while for the man himself, it was just another day in office followed by a nice home-cooked meal. Aakash Chopra @cricketaakash I demand a DNA test of AB DeVilliers...this game is only for humans. #superhuman #WhatAPlayer. Alt Cricket @AltCricket When we’re looking to clone people for the survival of the human race, AB de Villiers would be a good place to start. Mohandas Menon @mohanstatsman MSD in last game against Australia at MCG had made 19 in 31 balls. AB de Villiers had reached 104 in 31 balls on the same day! Roflindian 2.0 @roflindian What’s this AB deVilliers? Only 4s & 6s? No flying kisses, no attitude, no brash talk, no middle finger! Must learn a few things from Kohli! Harsha Bhogle @bhogleharsha This book cricket that ab de villiers is playing.......does every page end with 6 or 4? Gary Lineker @GaryLineker AB de Villiers has scored 149 runs from 44 balls. That is as preposterous as his name. remarkable performance! ESPNcricinfo @ESPNcricinfo Andre russell concedes only three in the final over. AB de Villiers scored more than that EACH BALL of his innings. 7 1 3 6 8 2 5 7 3 4 7 9 Rajdeep Sardesai [email protected] 9 1 2 AB De Villiers hits a 31 ball ICC @ICC 4-2-1-1-4-6-4-6-6-0-22-1lb-1-6-6-6-4-6-1-41-1-0-4-4-0-6-4-6-6 - @ ABdeVilliers17’ remarkable innings! 100! South Africans remain my favourites for the World Cup this time. Kevin Pietersen @KP24 Just watched the highlights of @ABdeVilliers17’s knock... WOW! Baie, Baie, Baie, Baie mooi, broer! Kumar Sangakkara @KumarSanga2 read about @ABdeVilliers17 amazing knock. Genius. What a talent and what 2 9 5 4 6Damien4Fleming3 9 @bowlologist knew1 AB DeVilliers 5Icome 8 would 2 good one day. Fastest 100 in ODI 104 off 31 balls 3#Smoken 8 #SAFvWI 4 7 a great guy. A record for all time. Gonna watch the replays. Jerm @mynameisjerm Some say he has also cured diseases; alleviated poverty; and designed rockets for NASA. All we know is that he is AB de Villiers. AB de Villiers @ABdeVilliers17 Got back to a home cooked meal after a long day. really happy with today’s win. It was fun to perform out there! Thanks for all the support. 2 4 7 3 9 8 1 6 5 It isn’t fair to compare Cristiano ronaldo and Lionel Messi as both have different styles. But ronaldo had a better last season than the Barcelona and Argentina star, and he deservedly beat him to the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the second year running (Doha Stadium Plus, January 14). The Portuguese captain is the livewire of real Madrid, who’re looking to annex their record-extending 11th Champions League title. If he maintains his form, coach Carlo Ancelotti can think of winning more titles with the Spanish side. Thomas Jefferson, Doha. Bold move by Prince Ali Prince Ali bin Al Hussein’s decision to contest against Sepp Blatter will surely add some glamour to the FIFA presidential election in May (Doha Stadium Plus, January 14). It was a surprise announcement, given the fact that he was a staunch supporter of Blatter. The Jordanian has little chance of beating the Swiss veteran and even the Asian Football Confederation isn’t backing him, but his determination to rid the world governing body of corruption is commendable. Mhesen Ibrahim, Doha. Ferrer simply superb David Ferrer was simply superb in winning the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (Doha Stadium Plus, January 14). The Spaniard not only beat a much younger, fitter and better-ranked Tomas Berdych, but he also left an indelible impression of his fighting qualities. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but just played his normal game. His triumph in Doha should give him plenty of confidence in the season’s first Grand Slam in Australia. Hamed Mubarak, Doha. www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015 39 YOUR PAGE It is your turn now. Tell us about sports events in your neighbourhood, send us photographs too and get them published in DSP. Our e-mail is [email protected] Josoor Institute trains handball officials The Josoor Institute organised a senior leadership workshop for senior representatives of national federations affiliated to the International Handball Federation (IHF) last week. More than 75 officials attended the two-day event, which covered a variety of topics including operational effectiveness for national sports federations, leading change and fostering innovation in sports More fun activities at Aspire Zone Fowler, Campbell bag top honours David Fowler and John Campbell emerged as winners in Flight A and Flight B respectively in the tournament organised by the Qatar Golf Lovers at the Doha Golf Club recently. As many as 40 competitors were seen in action in the event, played in strokeplay format. Albert Dalton won the second prize in Flight A while Dennis Oviatt was the runner-up in Flight B. P K Mathew won the ‘longest putt’, Gavin Daley ‘longest drive’, John Anthony ‘closest to pin’ and Pavan Singh ‘closest to rope’ awards. P K Mathew sent the details and photograph. The Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) organised the second edition of the GCC Charity Bike Show last week. As many as 1,000 bikers from six countries took part in one of the biggest motorbike shows in the region. As the AZF remains dedicated to hosting events that inspire people to get fit, spend time with their families and participate in activities that foster sharing, learning and fun, it also organised Aquathon, Kids Run in the Park and Learn2Ride bicycle. Art in The Park for kids are being held on Saturdays till March 21 from 11am to 1pm. Jelena Avramovic sent the details and photograph. Enjoy Colour Run Qatar! The Colour Run Qatar, being organised by Your Health First which is the wellness programme of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, will be held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) in Doha on Saturday with more crazy colour fun than ever before. The untimed 5km race, where the participants will be covered in colour at every kilometre, is open to the public. Participants can pick up their race packs at the QNCC on Wednesday and Thursday from 3pm to 8pm and Friday from 1pm to 8pm. Mohammed Hassan sent the details and photograph. Bolleros win PIBAQ third division title organisations, marketing and sponsorship. Josoor Institute’s Director of Education and course facilitator Ryan Bowd, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Qatar University Dr Nicholas D Theodorakis and Wasserman Media Group’s Asia Pacific Managing Director Nick Wilkinson led the workshop. Karim Jabsheh sent the details and photograph. Bolleros won the Pinoy Basketball of Qatar’s (PIBAQ) Third Division Tournament, for non-rated players, at the Al Gharafa Training Gym last week. In a pulsating final, Bolleros edged MCM 77-73. The winners trailed after the first quarter (8-11), but made strong comebacks in the next two quarters (34-24 and 57-51). Graphitees/Sarah Geronimo and Events And Beyond won the losing semifinalists’ awards. MCM’s Antonio Atoy was chosen as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Rookie of the Year recognition went to Albino Sanidad. Joseph Gabriola was chosen as the best coach. Nathaniel Cruz (Bolleros), Jayson Largo (Events And Beyond), Abelardo Banzil (Graphitees/Sarah Geronimo), Crisistomo Isaac and Antonio Atoy (both MCM) made up the mythical five. Ronnie Castro sent the details and photograph.
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