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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.
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www.dohastadiumplusqatar.com | WEDNESDAY, JANuArY 21, 2015
OPINION
» The writer can be contacted at:
Editor-in-Chief
Managing Editor
Dr Ahmed Al Mohannadi
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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
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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
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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.