Stories about world cup

A little prayer for the Pakistan cricket team

After being trashed and slashed by local and international media any team would have been in low spirits. I don’t know about PCB and its support to our match winning bowlers like Mohammad Aamir. I cannot predict whether or not the ICC will lift the ban from our star players before the World Cup. But it seems now that after a short – unbearable – break, our players are gaining back their confidence. May team Pakistan win this ODI series versus a strong and full of confidence competitor, South Africa.  Only our support will motivate and encourage these players. I have ...

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Shahid Afridi was born to lead

There is no better man than Shahid Afridi to lead Pakistan at the World Cup next year in February. Afridi may not have the guts of Mohammad Yousuf or the honest command of Younis Khan, but he has something that neither of these men do. Afridi has the ability to unite a team, have people rally around him and lift spirits even at the worst of times. He may not do it by leading from the front with the bat or the ball, but the way he lifts the team on the field, no one can. Even when he was not ...

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Does Maradona deserve a second chance?

Diego Maradona would rather the world stop turning if he weren’t the center of the universe for Argentinian football. The buzz on the streets of Buenos Aires has come full circle since the start of the World Cup. Everyone seems to be talking about Diego Maradona yet again. A country obsessed with one man who won them a World Cup. Were I president of the AFA (Argentine Football Association) I wouldn’t be getting such great sleep these days with the impending choice of choosing a new manager for the national side. Remember that Diego Maradona was denied a ...

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Great footballers you never saw at the World Cup

There is a line of thinking in certain quarters of the football world that considers World Cup glory to be the pinnacle of achievement in the beautiful game. According to this hypothesis, you can only be a true great if you achieve great things in international football – particularly at the World Cup. But what of individuals who never played because their teams were too weak to qualify for these tournaments? Or did not have the national sanction of their countries to do so in spite of being the leading lights of a club football? I would like to explore ...

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The humble request of a loyal cricket fan

Dear Pakistan cricket team, I am not a big fan of cricket. I don’t religiously follow cricket matches and series, in fact, I rarely watch sports at all but I am a huge fan of the Pakistani cricket team. I watch cricket, only if one of the teams playing is Pakistan. My heart screams “howzat” when you bowl the opponent out. I jump as high as I can when the ball is hit outside the boundary. I feel I have won when our cricket team wins. When we won the World Twenty20 in 2009, I was crazy proud because I knew ...

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Adios, Murali!

One of the greatest stories of this generation might be coming to an epic end. It’s not just a story of a sportsman’s ability or the undisputed talent that a man can possess, but one which epitomises the triumph of strong human character. It is also a story of a man who knew he was past his peak, his body had gone through 18 years of wear and tear and he was honest enough to decide to walk away from the game, rather than be pushed or even nudged to do so. Muttiah Muralitharan’s illustrious career was one of undisputed talent, unconventional genius, and some wickets to ...

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Diego Maradonna: neither victim, nor hero

Thank God Diego Maradonna didn’t win the World Cup. A powerful notion that I have quite vocally mentioned in the past has been dispelled. It takes more than inspiration to win a World Cup. It takes organization and meticulous preparation. It is not a job that any layman can do. It is not a role that any unqualified ruffian can simply assume and achieve success because he believes in his team. It is more than that. Amen. Diego Maradonna is now living proof of that fact, yet the Argentinian Footballing Association (AFA) are looking to bring him back for a new ...

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Will the Kampala blasts herald a wave of terror in East Africa?

Somali militant group Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for twin blasts in Kampala, the Ugandan capital. 74 people were killed while watching the end of the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, and dozens were injured. An unexploded suicide vest laden with ball bearings was also found in a disco hall, suggesting that militants planned another attack. Four “foreign” suspects were arrested in connection with the find. No doubt, this is a significant event. It represents the first time that Al Shabaab, a rebel group attempting to gain control of Somalia, has struck outside the country’s borders. However, ...

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All eyes on the octopus

The Fifa world cup has ended with a bang. As always, there was plenty of drama, tears, joy and action… along with a fair share of conspiracy theories and side stories. The most famous of course involves Paul – the octopus who had a 100 per cent prediction record this time. (It had an 86 per cent record in the Euro2008). While many are calling it a ‘psychic’ creature and are still astonished over its ‘powers’, others have called it a conspiracy of the bookies. There has been much talk that the mussels fed to the octopus had a certain ...

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The good, bad and ugly of Fifa

The fact that football now is truly an international sport was dramatically illustrated by the hordes of fans who streamed into the open air arena in Paris for the finale of the World Cup. Snatches of English, Chinese, Bangla, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Dutch and French swirled around me. Gasps of ‘Ooh la la’ as well as ‘Ya Allah’ resounded through the crowd as play ebbed and flowed on the big screen. The match was a bad tempered one with fouls galore and it left many horrified at Hollands’ offensive avatar. It was fairly obvious from the start where the ...

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