Boxing: WBC Silver Welterweight champ Amir Khan has announced that he will set up a boxing academy in Pakistan. On a visit to the Data Darbar on December 28, where he laid a floral wreath on the grave of Sufi scholar Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery and offered prayers for the victims of the Peshawar school massacre.
Khan, who is of Pakistani origin, told reporters, “There is so much boxing talent in Pakistan. I have a desire to build a boxing academy here to discover this talent and impart training of international standards.” Three-times former heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali has been readmitted to hospital for treatment for a urinary-tract infection. Family spokesman Bob Gunnell said Ali, 72, was in a stable condition in an undisclosed hospital and was expected to be released on January 16.
Cricket: Pakistan out of favour all-rounder Abdul Razzaq lashed out at the national team’s head coach Waqar Younis for launching a campaign against established senior players. “Till Waqar is the coach I will never be considered for a comeback to the national team,” Razzaq complained. “For some reason since Waqar became head coach he had an agenda against us senior players including myself, Muhammad Yousuf and even Shahid Afridi,” he added.
Razzaq revealed that when Afridi was captain of one-day and T20 squads in 2011, it was Waqar who quarreled with him in West Indies and later submitted an adverse report about the skipper to the Pakistan Cricket Board that led to his ouster. He also blamed the board for having no consistent policy as far as appointing key persons in the national team was concerned.
Football: Morocco will not be suspended from the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, local media reported on January 20. Morocco awaits sanctions from the Confederation of African Football over the country’s refusal to host the Africa Cup of Nations, but this will not affect their participation in the 2018 event, according to sources close to the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.
Asian Cup, Australia 2015 (Jan 9 – Jan 31) – Group stage performance of Muslim nations:
Australia 4-1 Kuwait
Oman 0-4 Australia
Kuwait 0-1 Korea Republic
Oman 1-0 Kuwait
Group winner, Australia, runners-up Korea Republic
Uzbekistan 1-0 DPR Korea
Saudi Arabia 0-1 China
DPR Korea 1-4 Saudi Arabia
China 2-1 Uzbekistan
China 2-1 DPR Korea
Uzbekistan 3-1 Saudi Arabia
Group winner, China, runners-up Uzbekistan
UAE 4-1 Qatar
Iran 2-0 Bahrain
Qatar 0-1 Iran
Bahrain 1-2 UAE
Iran 1-0 UAE
Qatar 1-2 Bahrain
Group winner Iran, runner-up, UAE
Japan 4-0 Palestine
Jordan 0-1 Iraq
Palestine 1-5 Jordan
Iraq 0-1 Japan
Iraq 2-0 Palestine
Group winner, Japan, runner-up Iraq
For coverage of the latter stages of the tournament see the next issue of The Muslim News.
Transfer news: Speculation that Karim Benzema could be heading to the Premier League continue. Fresh reports in Spain suggest Liverpool are ready to offer £38.1m for the French striker. The Real Madrid forward has been persistently linked with a move away from the Bernabeu but with a strong goal return and a regular fixture in Carlo Ancelotti’s side, the European champions will not let him leave easily.
Handball: Qatar has won a bid to host Asian men’s handball qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, set to be held in the Qatari capital for the first time in November, it was announced on January 17.
The GCC State defeated South Korea by a unanimous decision during a meeting of the Asian Handball Federation’s executive committee, which also approved Japan’s bid to host the Asian women’s handball qualifiers, and Kazakhstan’s bid to host Asian women’s junior handball qualifiers.
Rugby: Sonny Bill Williams and several other high-profile All Blacks have just four months to signal their sevens interest and make themselves available for the Rio di Janeiro Olympic Games. New Zealand Rugby will name an initial Olympic sevens squad in May, meaning Williams and others must make a decision over the coming months. The chance at Olympic glory was said to be one of the key drivers behind Williams’ return to rugby while the Australian Rugby Union is likely to offer a similar carrot to Israel Folau in the hope he may yet re-sign beyond this season.
Iran’s -58kg Farzan Ashourzadeh was named World Taekwondoka of the Year 2014 by the international governing body. In the latest World Taekwondo Federation rankings, Ashourzadeh, who won gold at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in 2014, climbed 12 steps to outscore his rivals with 221.20 points. Portugal’s Rui Braganca took the second spot with 164.71 and the third place went to Taemoon Cha from South Korea with 145.96 points.