Alaa Abdel-Ghani

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Latest by Alaa Abdel-Ghani


Sports Talk: Heart of the matter

CAIRO: Mohamed Abdel Wahab may have died but his story has not.Though it’s been more than two weeks since the 23-year-old left fullback for Ahli and Egypt collapsed in training and died within minutes, the Egyptian sports community – and indeed those who don’t follow sports and even those who never heard of him – …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Titles to defend

Footballers of Burundi would need to think as positively as George Bush does about Iraq if they hope to beat Egypt when the two countries face off in Cairo today in the first qualifying game of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (ACN). They would also have to be as completely out of it, as …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Uneven playing fields

This really is the summer of the cheat. Laboratory tests have caught three of the most compelling champions of their sport using banned substances to enhance their performances. World and Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin has been handed an eight-year ban from athletics after a doping violation. Gatlin will forfeit the world record he tied …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

The bigger the better

Belated but certainly in need, will be Egypt’s upcoming financial assistance to Lebanon. Egypt and Lebanon will play a friendly football match on Sept. 5 in Cairo, the proceeds of which will go to the reconstruction of Lebanon which has been blitzed by Israel for 32 days. More officially, Egypt is to play Burundi, a …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Israeli teams have to go on the road

Situation in Israel deemed unsafe for football matches Israel’s woes with Hezbollah’s men of resistance and their Katyushas have extended to football. Four Israeli football clubs have to look outside the cozy confines of their home grounds if they want to continue participating in European club championships. Two Union of European Football Associations Cup (UEFA) …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

For squash's sake

Egyptian squash players fare well internationally, but where are the rewards? CAIRO: Egyptian squash has never seen a year quite like this one. In April, Amr Shabana became the world’s number one player, the first Egyptian to reach the pinnacle of the sport. Last month, Shabana’s countrymen also attained heady heights. Ramy Ashour became the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk: Looks count

Lost in the World Cup was the news that Anna Kournikova might be back. When last we saw the Russian bombshell, she was 22 and a constant sufferer of back pain, which forced her to walk away from professional tennis in 2003. Apparently, though, the pain is not as bad as it was and it …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

So that's what he said

From Bogotá to Berlin, from Sunday to Wednesday, people had been lip reading, guessing, presuming and supposing, trying to figure out what on earth did Italian devil defender Marco Materazzi say that was so bad, so insulting, so upsetting that Zinedine Zidane lost his head just by using it. Now we know, without the exact …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Hunch time

It’s come down to Europe vs. Europe, former vs. former champion, blue vs. blue. France s Les Bleus vs. the Italian Azzurri. The stage is set for a classic. Tomorrow witnesses the biggest football match in four years. Any questions? History says Italy will win. The French will be making just their second ever appearance …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

It's not just us

Four days and eight games into the 2006 World Cup, all was quiet on the middle front. Not a single refereeing gaffe of note had been recorded. But, then the first big boo-boo of the games – one made in Egypt. Referee Essam Abdel-Fatah had been minding his own business when suddenly Australian goalkeeper Mark …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Things being waved around

It would seem rather odd to write about anything except the World Cup these days but stranger things have happened. Like what happened on Friday last week. It was the final of the Egyptian Cup. Ahli had been cruising to a 3-0 win over its forever rivals Zamalek when in the second half pandemonium occurred, …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Football for a price

Like all World Cups, this one is being judged by comparing with its predecessor. So here comes the inevitable. Long-range shooting while the ball is in motion is back in vogue. Dynamite boots from Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Brazil unleashed thunderbolts from 25 to 30 yards out in abundance not seen in 2002. …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

A month of magic

A zillion stories have been written about the 2006 World Cup. What’s one more? The conditions are right for an exciting World Cup and what’s more exciting than Brazil, whose attacking resources stand comparison with anything it has produced in its glorious history? With the unparalleled individual ability of their stars, led by the magical, …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Like it or not

When San Francisco s Barry Bonds hit his 715th career home run last week to move past the legendary Babe Ruth into second place on the all-time list, more than a few people must have been wondering how many of those out of the park monster blasts were helped along by drugs. Bonds is now …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Capitals of cash

The petrodollar really does make a difference. Look no further than the international sports calendar to see what a lot of money does and what little of it cannot do. In Qatar, December brings in the Doha Golf Masters. The end of February is reserved for the Qatar Women’s Tennis Open in Doha, followed by …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

How low can you go?

If the Juventus football match-fixing allegations have got you wondering whether indeed soccer games are rigged, the short answer is: of course they are, silly, at least some of them. Where there is money and influence, and football is loaded with both, and then hanky-panky is afoot, so to speak. The furor began when Italian …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports talk

Two recent decisions, by men, have come down hard on women who want to be involved in sports. In Iran, the supreme leader of the country has vetoed a ruling by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that would have allowed women to attend major sporting events. Things are not that much rosier in the more women-friendly United …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

The best is yet to come

Lance Armstrong s recent announcement that he is planning to compete in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5 has got people talking again about whether he is the greatest athlete of all time. There is no doubt that before his retirement, the 34-year-old Armstrong booked an indelible place in the record books by …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Look who's watching?

An explosion has already been heard in Iran. Not the nuclear kind the world is dreading. This one is softer, curvier (some makes come with an unusually short fuse) and just as loud. The bang belongs to Iranian women who will now be allowed to attend major sporting events, soccer included, ending a ban that …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Names and games

We talked about Amr Shabana before but we need to talk about him a little more. He is the number one squash player in the world. Shabana is now the best squash player on earth after he replaced Montreal s Jonathon Power in the number one spot in the latest world rankings released by the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Life in the hot seat

Coaches of the Egyptian national football team have some things in common. They all make a lot of money, they don’t last too long on the job and they and their mothers are called all sorts of names when they string together a few losses. What brought up the subject was this week’s appointment of …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

The whistle blowers

It’s open season on Egyptian football referees. Hardly a game goes by without hyper-tense players surrounding a referee to argue whether the ball went in, a penalty should be awarded or if a player deserves to be red carded. Coaches, supporters and the press are becoming as aggressive as the players as they bash the …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Mido gets away with it

A recent issue of the sports section of The Sunday Times devoted an entire page to Ahmed “Mido Hossam, Egypt’s most famous football export. As you can guess from the headline, “Jewel of the Nile, sports critic Joe Lovejoy does not dwell too long on Mido’s famous touchline bust-up with Egypt’s coach Hassan Shehata in …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Courting danger

You can tell a sporting parent a mile away. There are the pacers, the nail-biters, the encouragers, the pushers and sometimes, the whackos, like the Frenchman who last week was given an eight-year jail term after he admitted drugging a number of his children’s tennis rivals. Christophe Fauviau, 46, a retired army officer, was convicted …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Sports Talk

Munich did not win the Oscar for best film. Not a movie critic by any stretch, I m not in a position to say whether Munich deserved the award. However, from the perspective of this column, I think the film should be looked into because the 1972 Munich Olympics, upon which the film is based, …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Today we are not united

CAIRO: Good news for people in a hurry. This evening, sometime between 6-9 p.m, you ll get where you want to go in no time because of the unusual emptiness of the city s perpetually bustling streets. Ahli and Zamalek will be at it again and only those coming from Mars will not be watching …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

We're better than Germany

CAIRO: Did you know that Egypt is now the 17th best country in the world in football? Out of 205 officially registered teams, this is not a bad situation to be in. New FIFA standings show that Egypt jumped 15 places thanks to its winning of the African Cup of Nations. So we are now …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Squashing the enemy

In the World Open in Hong Kong, the 26-year-old from Cairo was in devastating form this week in the final against David Palmer, brushing the Australian aside 11-6, 11-7, 11-8. Shabana had might as well been using a fly swatter instead of a squash racquet, so imperious was he in dispatching Palmer, the 2002 champion, …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

Girls will be boys

The offside law is one of the game s hardest to comprehend, especially after it was changed. The law says that offside occurs when there are fewer than two defenders between an attacker and the goal line. Once, players were judged offside the moment the ball was passed forward by their team. Now they must …

Alaa Abdel-Ghani

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