Will Louis van Gaal bring back Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy?

Now that the euphoria of Louis van Gaal’s appointment as Manchester United’s new manager has evaporated, it is worth assessing the scale of the task he has at hand. After seeing the club encounter their worst run of form in a generation, the ruling Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward decided to sack the hapless David Moyes. After weeks of speculation of his appointment, Van Gaal was finally confirmed as the new manager on May 19, 2014. However, he has plenty of work to do to bring the recently displaced English champions back to where they belong. Ryan Giggs (R) and David ...

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Tennis 101: French Open 2014

Under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the world’s best tennis players are battling it out for the second grand slam of the year. The 2014 tournament is the 113th edition which will be held at Stade, Roland Garros. Both men and women have been competing at the French open since 1897 with mixed double added in 1907. Last year, the ‘King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal defeated country man David Ferrer in straight sets to claim his eighth French Open title while Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova to claim the women’s title. This year’s French Open, however, ended up disappointing tennis fans when Serena ...

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Real Madrid’s La Decima: The dream is now a reality

I’ve been following Real Madrid for the past four years and I endured a number of heartbreaks at the most crucial stages of the season. For three consecutive years, the team withstood painful defeats throughout the semi-finals of the most important club tournament, the UEFA Champions League. Since the past 12 years, the dream to achieve La Decima always seemed to come to an abrupt halt. The last two editions of the tournament were miserable but this year, Real Madrid did what was always expected of them. They won it and they won it the Real Madrid style; ‘fight till the end’. Real Madrid ...

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RIP Pakistan hockey?

Hockey is Pakistan’s national game and its players have won many laurels for the nation in the past. Previously, these players were household names and were considered darlings of the nation, until everything went down under. Comparing those golden days of hockey with its dismal state today often brings tears to the eyes of many hockey followers.   The 2014 Hockey World Cup is less than a month away and, sadly, Pakistan has failed to even qualify for this global event. The reason of this depressing situation could possibly be attributed to the poor planning and management of the previous team that ran ...

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil

Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies. Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child ...

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Musical chairs: Who will lead the PCB?

In Pakistan, summers are always colourful. Especially during the months of May, June and July when schools are off and people are on their semester breaks, cities are filled with summer camp programmes, outings, picnics and gastronomic delicacies. Pakistan cricket also seems to be enjoying the summer fling in full throttle by engaging in many games, though none of them are outdoor ones. Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s famous game of musical chairs has made many headlines and caught the attention of different groups. This game started way back in May 2013 in the aftermath of Pakistan’s general elections, when the newly ...

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The end of a drought for an Arsenal fan

When I was 11-years-old, many kids my age in my country did not know much about football. Their knowledge of football consisted of a sport where you have to kick a ball, score goals and that the goalkeeper has the privilege of using his hands. At the same age, I bought my first football video game. Like any other sports game, the first task was choosing your team, and while I knew that Brazil was the best team and Ronaldo Lima was the best player in the world, FIFA 99 featured a list of teams I had never heard of before as ...

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IPL: Cheap Bollywood extravaganza, not a sport

Every year, from around April to the beginning of June, I go on a hiatus from cricket. This includes shunning every cricket website and sports channel with the zeal of a politician shunning honest work and disabling the Cricinfo app on my phone and tablet. At social gatherings and at work I religiously avoid conversations pertaining to cricket and if someone directs a cricket-related comment at me, I start to extol the virtues of the insect rather than the sport. This leaves the company rather befuddled considering that for the rest of the 46 weeks in the year, cricket is ...

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PCB selection committee: Out with the old, in with the ‘not-so-old’

Most people will agree that Pakistan cricket has produced countless greats over the past 60 years; from Hanif Muhammad to Shahid Afridi (or Younis Khan, for those who will argue on Afridi), our history is filled with top class players. Most people will also agree that cricket has changed a lot over the past 15 years, so much so that one fails to understand how something can change so rapidly. The sport has moved away from the dull and boring Test matches, which would end after five days (sometimes, without any definite win), and has become more exciting with the advent of One Day International ...

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The charming Manuel Pellegrini knows how to deliver gold!

The Barclays Premier League has finally concluded with Manchester City FC being crowned as the Champions of England. They faced West Ham in their final match of the season and required a draw or win to bag the trophy. And they bagged it! They did it with a mature and professional performance beating West Ham two goals to nil, thus finishing the season on top of the Premier League table. Over the next few weeks praise will be showered upon all the players and the management but, the one person who really was at the focal point of this successful ...

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