Kuwait: Football team banned due to government meddling

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Kuwait’s national football team has been suspended until further notice by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) due to alleged government interference in the country’s football federation elections, reported Iran’s state news agency IRNA. FIFA claims the gulf nation ignored requirements to set up an interim board to organise elections and create new rules to prevent government meddling in the game.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has also decided to withdraw the nomination of all Kuwaiti match officials from the Saudi Arabia versus Qatar match in the final round of the AFC tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.Kuwait is also unlikely to participate in the forthcoming Pan-Arab Games to be held in Egypt on November 13th after FIFA’s decision. The ban could shatter Kuwait’s dreams of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa. They are due to begin playing qualification matches next month.

I hated Waqar, reveals Akram

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It was a revelation of sort from the Sultan of swing. Wasim Akram, the legendary left-arm pacer and former skipper of the Pakistan team revealed that he ‘hated’ his bowling partner Waqar Younis during their playing days.”We hated each other so much that we were not even on talking terms both on and off the field; but the fact is that Pakistan benefited from our rivalry,” remarked Akram, who was here to attend the HSBC Cricket Challenge.

Their rivalry was so intense that “every time Waqar took wickets, I too would too get charged up to do the same,” Akram revealed, while adding that it were the opponents who actually suffered from their rivalry….Yes, age has sobered both of them now and Akram admitted that they were good friends now.

bout the oncoming Pakistan tour to India, Akram said: “Indians are favourites in India as it is very difficult to get them out on those wickets. Shoaib Akhtar’s return to the Pakistan side may have an impact if he can get his rhythm and swing. In the one-day series, both the teams will be evenly balanced; but in the Test series the Indians could be far ahead of Pakistan.” Akram felt that the absence of Inzamam-ul Haq will be another factor in this series.

German Soccer Chief Says Players Need to Take History Lessons

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Germany’s soccer federation (DFB) has proposed history lessons for young German players after the controversial withdrawal of an Iran-born under-21 player from a match against Israel.

…The comments come after Iran-born Dejagah’s withdrawal from a European Championship qualifier against Israel for “personal reasons” prompted calls from Jewish groups and some politicians for the player to be excluded from the national soccer under-21 team…Last week Zwanziger said Dejagah had requested not to play against Israel out of concern for family members still in Iran and that he would retain his place on the national team.

Qatar kicks off its Olympics bid with glittering ceremony

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Qatar launched its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games in a dazzling ceremony on the Doha Corniche yesterday. Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Crown Prince of Qatar, unveiled the Games’ logo and website during a ceremony during the two-hour event that also featured an aerial stunt team show, fireworks and the release of 2,000 coloured balloons which covered the sky of the capital.

Doha is among the seven cities whose bids for the 2016 Olympics were officially accepted on September 14 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).The other six cities are Baku (Azerbaijan), Chicago (USA), Madrid (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Tokyo (Japan).If awarded the Games, Qatar would become the first Arab country to host the Olympics…The final election of the host city will take place in Copenhagen on October 2, 2009.

Iran: Team to contest Asian cup final

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One of Iran’s top football teams, Sepahan, will face Japan’s Urawa Reds in November in its bid to win this year’s Asian Football Confederation final.Sepahan made it through to the final of the AFC Champions League after beating UAE rivals Al-Wahda, in a goalless draw on Wednesday.Al-Wahda and Sepahan had previously played on 3 October resulting in a 3-1 victory for the Iranian club, which eventually gave them a 3-1 victory in aggregate.

Sepahan, based in the central Iranian city of Esfahan, will seek to become the first Asian champion from the Islamic Republic since Paas Tehran won the title in 1993.The Iranian club will host the first match of the finals on 7 November with the second and final match to be played in Saitama, Japan a week later.

Brazilian team eyes Gulf Cup Hero Ismail Mattar

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Brazilian football giants Vasco da Gama have shown interest in securing the services of UAE Gulf Cup hero Ismail Mattar, even if it be for just “half a season”, according to the club’s representative.The UAE striker, winner of the Golden Ball at the 2003 World Youth Championship, caught the eye of Vasco da Gama chairman Eurico Miranda, who watched him on TV and compared him to Brazilian star Romario.

…”He is a guy with a lot of skill and pace and his football suits the style that is Brazilian. If not at Vasco, I think a lot of other clubs in Brazil could be interested in a player like him.”

Iran, South Korea In For Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Cycling Challenge

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Iran and South Korea are the latest entries for the Sultan Azlan Shah Track Asia Cup Cycling Championship to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Velodrome in Cheras from Nov 23-25.With their inclusion, the total number of participating countries now stands at eight.The others are defending champions Japan, China, India, Taiwan, Hong Hong and hosts Malaysia.

Sultan Azlan Shah Track Asia Cup organising chairman Tan Sri Darshan Singh Gill said he was happy to see two more cycling powerhouses joining in the fray. He said more countries could confirm their particpation next week. “I believe at least 10 of the 12 Asian nations will compete this year.Thailand, as hosts of the SEA Games in Korat in December, are still communicating with us and I reckon they would send in their entries at the last minute. “In fact, we have extended our closing date from today (yesterday) to another week to allow room for more teams to come,” said Darshan Singh.