Pakistan finish second in Asian judo event

Pakistan finish second in Asian judo event

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26506082

LAHORE: Pakistan claimed second place in the 8th South Asian Senior Judo Championships in Kathmandu by bagging two gold, three silver and as many bronze medals in the individual events, according to the information released by the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF).

On day one, Pakistan secured two gold and as many silver medals. Olympian Shah Hussain Shah and emerging judoka Qaiser Khan secured one gold medal each, whereas Maryam and Humaira Ashiq won a silver medal each.

Shah defended his title in weight category of +100kg by defeating an Indian rival in the preliminary round, then beating a Nepalese opponent in the semi-final before winning the final against a Sri Lankan judoka.

Qaiser, a talented 17-year-old from Fata, clinched gold in -90kgs category. His opponents were an Indian in preliminary round, a Sri Lankan in the semi-final and a Nepalese in the final.

In women’s event, Maryam clinched silver medal in -52kg by defeating Bangladeshi opponent in the first round, a Nepalese in the semi-final, while she lost to an Indian in the final.

Humaira upstaged a Sri Lankan in the first round, a Bangladeshi in round two a Nepalese in the semi-final but she lost to an Indian in the final.

On the second day, Babar Hussain bagged a silver medal in the -66kg category, while Nadeem Akram (-73kg), Mohammad Abbas (81kgs), and Beenish Khan in (-78kg) earned bronze medals.

In the men’s team event, Pakistan first defeated Bangladesh and Nepal in the semi-final but lost the final against India. While Nadeem Akram and Shah Hussain Shah won their bouts but Qaiser lost it in the final.

In the women’s team event, Pakistan lost to India in the semi-final to earn bronze medal.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018
Napoli stun Juve with last-gasp Koulibaly header to reignite title race

Napoli stun Juve with last-gasp Koulibaly header to reignite title race

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26506658

TURIN: Second-placed Napoli threw the Serie A title race wide open in dramatic style on Sunday when Kalidou Koulibaly scored with a towering header in the last minute to give them a famous 1-0 win at leaders Juventus.

Napoli cut the gap between themselves and the Turin side to one point with four matches to play, setting up a dramatic finale to the Serie A season especially as Juve, chasing a seventh successive title, have to visit Inter Milan and AS Roma.

Napoli dominated the match but seemed to have run out of ideas and energy until the final minute when Jose Callejon’s outswinging corner was met by Senegal international Koulibaly with a monstrous header which left Gianlugi Buffon helpless.

Juve, themselves famed for pulling off wins from similar situations, were left shattered after seeing their 20-match unbeaten league run ended while Napoli’s players celebrated a famous win.

“We have always believed in the title and now we believe in it more than ever,” Koulibaly said. “We played really well this evening. It was one of the most important goals of my career. Juventus are a really strong team but we showed we are up to the challenge. We believe in our football.”

Juve have 85 points from 34 games with Napoli, bidding for a third Scudetto after 1987 and 1990, on 84. It was Juve’s first league defeat at home since a 2-1 loss to Lazio in October. Their last Serie A defeat in Turin before that was in August 2015.

“Winning here was practically mission impossible, we can be happy because we have played against a great team which hasn’t lost at home for so long,” Koulibaly said.

“The city fired us up over the last few days and when we see all those fans accompanying us to the airport, it makes us very happy. We want to thank them and the best way of doing that was to win the game.”

NAPOLI’S Elseid Hysaj (L) fights for the ball with Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic.—AFP
NAPOLI’S Elseid Hysaj (L) fights for the ball with Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic.—AFP

Around 2,000 fans had escorted the team bus to the airport in Naples on Saturday.

“Tonight is a feeling that only those who have been with us since yesterday can fully understand,” Sarri said. “It’s an enormous satisfaction. We are the only team which represents an entire population, because we are the only one which comes from a big city that only has one team.

“We gave our fans a huge joy today that goes above and beyond the standings. It was not the perfect match but it was a great match: we did not concede anything to Juventus and the victory was a logical consequence of this attitude. Juventus are still ahead, we just have to think about the next game.”

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri described it as “a poor match by both sides with only a few shots on goal”.

“It was a terrible game from both teams with zero shots on goal,” said Allegri. “We had some difficulties, but we could have closed it with a draw, unfortunately on the corner we did not mark and they got the goal.

“Napoli did what they had to, they held the ball, and they deserve credit for their victory. It was a head-to-head that was decided by a single incident. We weren’t as sharp as usual.

“We’re still top of the table, we still have the advantage. There are four games to go, two at home and two away, so we’ll see what happens. It’s true that Napoli are favourites because of the fixture list but matches have to be won. I have seen a lot in football ... anything can happen.”

Juve had to reshuffle their defence after Giorgio Chiellini limped off injured in the 11th minute although they nearly went ahead with a Miralem Pjanic free kick which was deflected on to the post.

The Allianz Stadium was briefly silenced shortly before halftime when Lorenzo Insigne had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside.

The game appeared to be petering out into a draw that would have suited Juve until Insigne’s shot was turned around the post by Buffon for the decisive corner.

After all their sophisticated passing, it was an old-fashioned central defender’s header which finally broke Juve’s resistance.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018
Liverpool’s Salah takes centre stage against former club Roma

Liverpool’s Salah takes centre stage against former club Roma

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26506656

LIVERPOOL: When AS Roma agreed to sell Mohamed Salah to Liverpool last June they could well have anticipated that the Egyptian would go on to be a big success with the Premier League club.

What they surely didn’t expect would be that Salah and Liverpool would stand between them and a place in the Champions League final.

But in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, first leg at Anfield Roma’s primary task will be to stop the prolific Salah from adding to his impressive 41 goals in all competitions.

The Italian side are a surprise arrival in the last four of Europe’s premier club competition after a stunning comeback against Spanish giants Barcelona in the last round.

Liverpool pulled off their own surprise as Salah, voted Player of the Year by England’s Professional Footballers Association (PFA) on Sunday, scored in both legs of his team’s 5-1 aggregate quarter-final win over Premier League champions Manchester City.

Juergen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, expects Roma’s defenders to give Salah an early reminder, if any were needed, that friendships end once the players are on the field.

“I am pretty sure the Italian defenders are famous for not having friendly games, so I think Mo will feel early in the game that they are not his team-mates anymore and then he can strike back in a football way,” the German said.

Salah left Roma for Liverpool for an initial 42 million euros (37 million pounds, $52 million). In an offseason when the Premier League spent record sums and Neymar would soon go on to change the sport’s financial landscape by joining Paris St Germain for 222 million euros, Salah’s transfer wasn’t unnoticed but was hardly agenda-setting.

It has proved a significant piece of business.

For Roma, it helped balance the club’s books, erasing a big chunk of its deficit at a time when the Italian side was facing potential financial fair play penalties from UEFA.

“Anyone who understands a bit of this business knows that that’s like having a sword pointed at your neck,” said Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez, Roma’s director of sport and essentially their mastermind in the transfer market.

Selling Salah was a wrench. He combined for 26 goals (scored 15, set up 11) in Serie A in the final season of his 18 months in the Italian capital, second only to Jose Callejon of Napoli. He had quickly become a fans’ favourite. The then-Roma coach, Luciano Spalletti, had helped develop Salah’s all-around game so he was more than just a speedy winger, but an efficient and creative one, too.

As it turned out, $50 million was a bargain as Salah has blossomed into a goalscoring machine very few saw coming at the start of the season.

LIVERPOOL’S Virgil van Dijk (L) and Mohamed Salah attend a training session at the team’s Melwood training complex on Monday.—AFP
LIVERPOOL’S Virgil van Dijk (L) and Mohamed Salah attend a training session at the team’s Melwood training complex on Monday.—AFP

“It wasn’t like a lot of other teams than Liverpool were banging down the door,” Roma’s American co-owner James Pallotta told the BBC’s World Football programme. “I think today a lot of teams are kicking themselves in the head that they didn’t take a closer look at him.”

In a nomadic career since moving to Europe as a 19-year-old, Salah was known for his pace and dribbling ability in spells at Basel and Fiorentina either side of a short time at Chelsea before moving to Roma.

However, the capability he has shown time and again this season to keep a cool head in front of goal used to so often fail him.

Liverpool manager Klopp has run out of superlatives to describe Salah but deserves credit for finding a way to get the best out of him.

Pallotta says that Klopp’s system of a fluid front three also including Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is what has brought the best out of Salah, who had to feed off the target man figure of Edin Dzeko at Roma.

“He’s obviously had an incredible year. I think the coach there has clearly figured out how best to utilise him, using him in a different position I would say to Roma because you’ve got Dzeko in the middle.”

The Italian side, now under coach Eusebio Di Francesco, have somehow managed to prosper without Salah, getting to the last four of Europe’s top competition for the first time since reaching the final in 1984. The opponent that year: Liverpool.

Di Francesco has tried several players in Salah’s role as an attacking winger on the right, with varying degrees of success: Gregoire Defrel, Stephan el Shaarawy, Gerson, Patrik Schick, Diego Perotti, Alessandro Florenzi and even Radja Nainggolan.

However, it is 20-year-old Cengiz Under who is proving a revelation in that role in the second half of his first season at the club.

Under struggled initially after his move from Istanbul-based side Basaksehir for 13 million euros ($16 million), and was not involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma. Yet he scored six goals in February and March, and returned from injury by coming off the bench in the second leg of the quarter-finals against Barca and delivering the corner that set up Kostas Manolas’ goal to seal a 3-0 win and historic comeback from 4-1 down in the first leg.

“Imagine where Roma would be if they still had Salah,” Klopp recently said. Maybe in financial chaos and with UEFA-imposed limits on its wage bill, transfer spending and squad size in the Champions League.

Salah now is potentially worth four times more than Liverpool bought him for.

“I feel he is in a great place, with a great set of lads,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “He is going in the right direction with us.” That direction is potentially the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26. Unless his old club can hatch a plan to stop him.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018
London Marathon runner dies in hospital

London Marathon runner dies in hospital

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26505926

LONDON: A 29-year-old chef who collapsed on Sunday while running in the hottest London Marathon on record has died in hospital, event organisers said on Monday.

Matt Campbell went down 22.5 miles into the race and was treated immediately by doctors before being rushed to hospital.

Campbell, who completed the Manchester Marathon on April 8 in under three hours, was running in memory of his father Martin who died two years ago.

“Everyone involved in the organisation of the London Marathon would like to express our sincere condolences to Matt’s family and friends,” organisers said in a statement “The exact cause of death will be established by later medical examination.”

Campbell last year reached the semi-finals of the BBC television show “Masterchef: The Professionals”.

Campbell, from the Lake District in northwest England, was raising money for a youth charity and told his Instagram followers on the morning of the race he was running in honour of his late father.

Sunday’s 38th London Marathon was the hottest ever recorded at 24.1 degrees Celsius (75.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018
South Africa to host Pakistan in three Tests next season

South Africa to host Pakistan in three Tests next season

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26505925

JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) have announced their home schedule for the 2018-19 season that will see tours by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, with the focus on One-day Internationals ahead of the World Cup next year.

South Africa will also host a total of five Tests, 13 One-day Internationals and nine Twenty20 Internationals against these three nations.

Pakistan will feature in the marquee Boxing Day and New Year Tests as they tour South Africa for the first time since 2013.

The first Test will be played in Centurion from Dec 26-30, before matches in Cape Town (Jan 3-7) and Johannesburg (Jan 11-15). The sides will also clash in five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals that will follow the Test series.

There will be a just a week’s break before the end of Pakistan’s tour and the arrival of Sri Lanka for Tests in Durban (Feb 13-17) and Port Elizabeth (Feb 21-25).

The sides will also be involved in a series of five One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures that will finish on March 24.

After the busiest home season in South African history in 2017-18, which included 10 Tests — one of which was the first day-night, four-day long format fixture — South Africa will have much less of a workload next summer. They will only play half the number of Tests but more than double in ODIs and T20s, as preparation for the 2019 World Cup.

That means the five major Test venues receive one match each, with a significant change in the hosting of the Boxing Day Test. Centurion’s SuperSport Park has been selected as the venue for the fixture, which will move inland after several years of being played on the coast.

Previously, the match has alternated between Durban and Port Elizabeth, with the rationale that holiday-makers from up-country would fill the stadiums but poor crowds over recent years have forced a change.

Though many Highveld residents flock to the sea over the festive season, a large number remain at home over that period and CSA have long spoken about trialling the Boxing Day match there.

South Africa’s summer will get underway with a limited overs tour by Zimbabwe that will include three One-day Internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures between Sept 30 and Oct 14 at some of South Africa’s smaller cricket venues.

CSA’s acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said that the scheduled 13 One-day Internationals during the season would enable the national team to fine tune their preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

“Following the outstanding Test match cricket played by the Proteas during the past season we can also look forward to plenty more world-class entertainment by our acknowledged stars during the five Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” Moroe said.

South Africa are ranked second in the world in Tests and ODIs, but only sixth in Twenty20 Internationals. Their next assignment is a tour of Sri Lanka that has matches in all three formats and starts in mid-July.


Zimbabwe in South Africa:

Sept 30: First One-day International (Kimberley).

Oct 3: Second One-day International (Bloemfontein).

Oct 6: Third One-day International (Paarl)

Oct 9: First Twenty20 International (East London).

Oct 12: Second Twenty20 International (Potchefstroom).

Oct 14: Third Twenty20 International (Benoni).

Pakistan in South Africa:

Dec 19-21: SA Invitation XI (Benoni).

Dec 26-30: First Test (Centurion).

Jan 3-7: Second Test (Cape Town).

Jan 11-15: Third Test (Johannesburg)

Jan 19: First One-day International (Port Elizabeth).

Jan 22: Second One-day International (Durban).

Jan 25: Third One-day International (Centurion).

Jan 27: Fourth One-day International (Johannesburg).

Jan 30: Fifth One-day International (Cape Town).

Feb 1: First Twenty20 International (Cape Town).

Feb 3: Second Twenty20 International


Feb 6: Third Twenty20 International (Centurion).

Sri Lanka in South Africa:

Feb 13-17: First Test (Durban).

Feb 21-25: Second Test (Port Elizabeth).

Feb 28: SA Invitation XI (Benoni).

March 3: First One-day International (Johannesburg).

March 6: Second One-day international


March 10: Third One-day International (Durban).

March 13: Fourth One-day International (Port Elizabeth).

March 16: Fifth One-day International (Cape Town).

March 19: First Twenty20 International (Cape Town).

March 22: Second Twenty20 International (Centurion).

March 24: Third Twenty20 International (Johannesburg).

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018
Park to regain world number one ranking

Park to regain world number one ranking

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26504470
LOS ANGELES, California: South Korea’s Park In-bee will return to the top of the women’s world golf rankings for the first time in 2 1/2 years after finishing tied for second at the LPGA’s HUGEL-JTBC LA Open on Sunday.The seven-times major champion will jump from third place to overtake China’s Shanshan Feng as number one.Feng’s reign lasted 23 weeks.“It’s good to be back, obviously, in No 1 spot,” said Park, who has had to overcome hand and back injuries over the last couple of seasons.“That really wasn’t my goal playing this year; just came as (a) present. So it’s great.“All the rankings are so close together. It can change every week. It’s hard to keep track.”Olympic champion Park needed to finish sixth or better to have a shot at recapturing top spot.She shot a three-under-par 68 in the final round at Wilshire Country Club to finish tied with compatriot Ko Jin-young in second, two shots behind winner Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand.Park, who entered the final round seeking her second win of the season, uncharacteristically missed a few fairways and a number of birdie putts on Sunday.
Improved Man City difficult to catch, admits Mourinho

Improved Man City difficult to catch, admits Mourinho

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26504474
LONDON: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted his side have little chance of catching Premier League champions Manchester City next season unless the standards set by Pep Guardiola’s side slip.Second-placed United trail City by 16 points with four games of the league season to go. Mourinho believes United let crucial points slip away in defeats to West Brom, Huddersfield and Newcastle.However, the Portuguese coach reckons even if those errors are eradicated next season, it will be difficult to challenge for the title if free-spending City bolster their squad once more over the summer.“I think we should have eight, nine or 10 points more than we had,” said Mourinho after reaching the FA Cup final by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday.“It was not acceptable the last defeat (to West Brom), not acceptable the performance at Huddersfield, not acceptable the performance at Newcastle, so we lost a few matches where we should do better.“Can we improve next season? Let’s try. Can Manchester City keep this level or improve this level? Only they can say.“If they have the team they have, and they are going to invest on the top of the team they have, of course it’s going to be difficult.”United have spent hundreds of millions themselves since Mourinho took charge just under two years ago, splashing a then world record £89 million fee for Paul Pogba in 2016 and beating City to the signature of Alexis Sanchez in January by reportedly making the Chilean the highest-paid player in Premier League history.However, Mourinho hinted at only minor alterations to his squad this summer to replace the retiring Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini, whose contract expires in June.“We are going to improve the basics to improve our squad.”
Pakistan hit by Amir visa delay

Pakistan hit by Amir visa delay

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26504456
LAHORE: Pakistan’s team took off for their tour of Ireland and England on Monday morning without one essential member of the squad, Mohammad Amir. The pace spearhead’s departure has been held back because of a delay in his visa, but the PCB are confident that he should be granted a visa this week.Amir is the most experienced member of an inexperienced pace attack, ahead of what will be his third bilateral tour of England. He is expected to fly for London on Wednesday subject to visa. There had been confusion as to the reasons of the delay, with some reports suggesting it was because he has also separately applied for a longer-term spouse visa which eventually places him on the path to a British passport.But the PCB has said that is not the case. “He [Amir] didn’t travel with the team as we are still awaiting for his visa,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo.“His visa status is still pending but we are optimistic that he is mostly likely to get the visa by Wednesday before he starts his journey same day.”The delay is not unusual for him, stemming potentially from concerns about the impact of his brief jail stint in the UK on spot-fixing charges. On Pakistan’s last tour of England in 2016, Amir had faced a similar delay in acquiring his visa, with the PCB ultimately engaging the ECB to support in the visa process. In 2014, Amir applied for a UK visa in his personal capacity but that was rejected.In 2016, Amir married a British citizen of Pakistani origin and has since visited the UK regularly. Last year he played county cricket for Essex and was also in London for the birth of his first child (as well as for the Champions Trophy). Amir is in the process of applying for an indefinite leave to remain visa which, potentially, allows him to acquire a British passport in the next five years.
Volleyball captain Naseer announces retirement

Volleyball captain Naseer announces retirement

24/04/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 26504457
KARACHI: Pakistan’s volleyball captain Naseer Ahmad has announced retirement after serving the country for 15 long years.“Yes, I have resigned. I have decided this after a deep thought. I want the youngsters to get chances,” Naseer told ‘The News’ in an interview on Monday.When asked whether he was happily ending his international career, the country’s top spiker said: “It’s not easy to quit when you can still play. But one day you have to quit and I have done this to give chance to the young lot who are growing well under the foreign coach,” he added.The 34-year-old Naseer belongs to Shakargarh, a city in the north east of district Narowal. He had been Pakistan’s captain since 2009.In this era, Pakistan’s volleyball saw many ups and downs. Naseer said that Iranian coach Hamid Movahedi had been handling the national team quite well. “He is doing a great job. The boys are learning and I see a good future of Pakistan’s volleyball,” the spiker said.Naseer led Pakistan in the 2010 China and 2014 Incheon Asian Games, 2017 Baku Islamic Games and 2016 South Asian Games in India besides several other international events.He was part of Pakistan’s team in the 2005 Islamic Games in Saudi Arabia.He returned six days ago from Lebanon after his engagement in their professional league. He has been appearing in professional leagues for the last ten years. Naseer has also played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Jordon and Maldives.He said he would continue to play professional leagues and would represent WAPDA in domestic circuit.“Yes, I will keep playing professional leagues and will also be part of WAPDA in the domestic events,” Naseer said.He stressed the need for a professional league in the country. “A professional league is very important for promoting volleyball. We need it in every sport; without a professional league you cannot promote any game,” the seasoned player said.“I have already suggested to Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) to initiate a league. It does not matter if it is a small one initially. Unless players earn money they will not be able to play wholeheartedly. There is a need to provide the boys earning chances and you cannot do that without a league,” he said.Naseer recalled that in 2011 Pakistan had got a very good combination but the PVF issue damaged everything. “Some players of armed forces were not allowed to play. That created a big mess. Some players who were on the top of their game could not play for many years; their careers were destroyed,” Naseer recalled.To a query, he said that there was no specific system of volleyball at the grassroots level. “The boys come to the top from clubs; it is not easy to change their style and techniques. We need to create a base through a system which could polish the young talent at the grassroots so that when they come to the national team they are well-prepared and do not need to be taught the basics,” he added.Naseer, who made his international debut in 2003 Asian Men’s Volleyball Championships in Tianjin, China, is also interested in coaching. He plans to do a coaching course in near future.“Yes, definitely I am interested in coaching. I will do a coaching course in future,” he said.