Man City defender Mendy sidelined after knee surgery

LONDON: Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is set for a spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee.

The 24-year-old, a World Cup winner with France last summer, confirmed the news in a post on Twitter Thursday.

“Other knee was jealous but the operation went well and it’s all good now,” said Mendy.

Mendy was due to join the France squad this week for games against Nations League opponents the Netherlands, and Uruguay in a friendly but withdrew and travelled to Barcelona for surgery.

He gave no indication of when he would return to action for either club or country.

Mendy was sidelined for seven months during City’s triumphant Premier League campaign last season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

City sit top of the Premier League with a two-point cushion on Liverpool following their 3-1 derby win over Manchester United last weekend. — AFP

Chong Wei has determination, discipline: Choong Hann

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly-appointed coaching director of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), Wong Choong Hann will give whatever support needed by Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

Choong Hann, 41, who starts his duty at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) today, said the three-time Olympics silver medallist had shown determination and discipline to continue his playing career, despite having been diagnosed with nose cancer.

“We (BAM) are always supportive of whatever Chong Wei’s decision because he has shown that he knows himself more than anybody else and has the determination and discipline to continue to play.

“We will give whatever support we can for him. Depends on the doctor’s advice and his own assessment of himself,” he told reporters when met at the ABM today.

The former world number one Chong Wei, who announced his decision to return to the badminton court and will be making his fifth appearance at the Olympic Games, is eyeing the elusive gold after ending up with silver medals three times, in 2008, 2012 and 2016 editions.

The 36-year-old was away from badminton for four months to undergo treatment for cancer in Taiwan and is expected to start training next month, before participating in competitive tournaments next year.

When asked if Chong Wei would be able to bounce back again, Choong Hann said: “We have seen him coming back from challenges; he has shown everybody he can defy everybody’s prediction.

“I do not think time is an issue for him to get into the 2020 Olympics because his ability is a vital weapon for him,” he added.

Choon Hann who reported himself at ABM at 9 am, had met with men’s singles chief coach, Datuk Misbun Sidek and women’s singles chief coach, Tey Seu Bock at the Arena Universiti Malaya tracks as early as 6 am.

Besides Misbun and Tey, he will also be monitoring the training under men’s doubles chief coach, Paulus Firman, Rosman Razak (women’s doubles) and Pang Cheh Chang (mixed doubles), as well as the coaches under them.

Choon Hann, a silver medallist at the World Badminton Championship, takes over the duties left by BAM technical director, Morten Frost who resigned in September last year.

BAM president, Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria when announcing Choong Hann’s appointment as coaching director after chairing the BAM Extraordinary General Meeting on Oct 20, said one of the latter’s main tasks was to prepare the Malaysian team to the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.

As a player, Choong Hann had won a silver medal at the World Badminton Championship 2003 in Birmingham, England, twice helping the national squad to qualify for the Thomas Cup finals (1998 and 2002), and was once the world’s number one in the Badminton World Federation ranking, August 2002. — Bernama

Submit training plans, NSC chief urges NSAs

KUALA LUMPUR: No training programmes, no allocation. That is the message from the National Sports Council (NSC) to all National Sports Associations (NSAs). NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the NSAs would have to send and table their training programmes to him by next January. “It’s already November and we should have received their […]

Over 2,000 key football delegates to gather in KL

PETALING JAYA: Over 2,000 football fraternities from more than 50 countries are expected to gather in Kuala Lumpur for the inaugural World Football Summit Asia (WFSA) from April 29-30 next year.

La Liga president Javier Tebas, Malaysia Football League chairman Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and International Federation of Football Association (Fifa) secretary-general Fatma Samoura will be among 60 notable figures delivering their speeches at the event.

Even 2002 World Cup Golden Boot winner Ronaldo Nazario of Brazil is also expected to make an appearance.

According to WFSA chief executive officer R. Mohan, the summit would serve as the platform for all stakeholders in the football industry to take Asian football to the next level, after three successful editions of the World Football Summit in Madrid, Spain.

“In order for football to keep developing and growing, we definitely need a programme like WFSA to highlight insights and generate foresight regarding world football, especially in terms of sponsorship, player transfers, media rights and sports science to name a few,” he said during the soft launch here, today.

Mohan said the summit was expected to attract representatives from more than 70 football clubs, 100 media personnels and 25 exhibitors.

Among the activities slated during the WFSA are a football match between selected La Liga legends against Malaysian legends, networking sessions, industry awards as well as eSports.

Further information on the summit and registration can be obtained from the WFS’sA official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/worldfootballsummit or its website: asia.worldfootballsummit.com. — Bernama

Hamilton hails Mercedes triumph as his best moment

SAO PAULO: Lewis Hamilton hailed his Mercedes team as legends on Monday and described his championship-clinching victory in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix as the best moment in five triumphant seasons.

His dramatic success confirmed Mercedes’ record-equalling fifth consecutive double of drivers’ and teams’ championships.

It was his 10th victory this season, signalling that he has won 60% of the team’s points, the 72nd of his career and his 50th in the 99 races held in the V6 turbo hybrid era since 2014.

“It was an emotional afternoon,” he said.

“And, I think, that might be the best moment I’ve had with this team … I’ve never seen the guys so happy.

“We’ve been together a long time and the guys are usually happy, but reserved about it. So I was hoping that when I got back the guys could feel what I was feeling. I saw it and I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life”.

The 33-year-old Briton, who plans to celebrate with the team back at their Brackley base on Tuesday, added: “It’s hard to contemplate what’s happened in these last six years. It’s been such an incredible journey and by no means has it been easy for anybody.

“It’s just the greatest team effort that I can remember. It’s really awesome”.

In a show of emotional gratitude in the garage after Sunday’s victory, he told the race team: “It’s an incredible honour to work with all of you … Seeing you guys after the race, seeing that energy that you guys all had, that happiness can fill a lifetime.

“I really want you to remember that moment and hold on to it because that’s what’s going to power us to many more championships. Never let that energy drop… I tell you, that propels me.

“These past six years have been epic and iconic. We are now legends. Just remember that. When you go home, when you look in the mirror, when you wake up, say ‘I’m a legend’. You’ve got to say that to yourself … ‘I’m a legend'”.

By common consent, Hamilton has also become a legend of F1 with an error-free season providing the foundations for the team’s double success.

Technical director James Allison pin-pointed him as the key factor in Mercedes’ victory in both championships after a fiercely-fought duel with rivals Ferrari.

“You’ve got to say that Lewis this year has just made the difference for us,” he said. “He keeps putting it on pole. And whenever its wet, he’s always at the front. In the races, we can make mistakes and he’ll recover it by doing something unlikely on the track that no-one sees coming.

“And he spends a whole year not making mistakes. He’s just the consummate racing driver”.

Amid the celebrations, team chief Toto Wolff reminded of their need to avoid complacency and next season bid for an outright record sixth title double, moving them clear of Ferrari.

“The job is going to get more difficult every year. We are setting the benchmark at the moment and our competition will get more energised and motivated by us.

“All points start at zero next year. We will have forgotten about the five and will fight hard to be in contention for the sixth. Whether we achieve it or not, we will see next year”. — AFP

Van Dijk urges Liverpool to forget about Man City in title quest

LONDON: Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has said the club cannot afford to worry about the form of champions Manchester City while they continue their own bid to win the Premier League title.

City head into the international break two points clear of second-placed Liverpool after a 3-1 derby win at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

Liverpool were briefly top themselves following a 2-0 victory over Fulham on Sunday.

But they will need other sides to take points off City if they are to be crowned champions of England for the first time in the Premier League era — a remarkable statistic given the Merseysiders, who were the dominant force in English football in the 1970s and 1980s, won the old First Division title 18 times.

As for City, Netherlands captain van Dijk said: “They are the champions and the best team in the league but we will try everything to be as good as we can.

“We shouldn’t look at others, we want to look at the games we have and the next challenge we have at Liverpool is Watford away, which is going to be tough”.

He added: “The season is very long. They (City) are not going to win every game 5-0 and are going to have tough games like everyone else.

“We need to look at what we have ahead of us and that is more important than looking at someone else. It is the only way forward”. — AFP

Liverpool’s Sturridge charged with breaching FA betting rules

LONDON: Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules, the English governing body announced Monday.

The FA said the allegations related to events that took place in Jan of this year.

Sturridge is alleged to have broken rules that prohibit the passing on of information about players, managers, team selection or disciplinary matters not publicly available at the time.

The 29-year-old has until 6:00pm local time (1800 GMT) on Nov 20 to respond to the charges.

It is alleged he specifically contravened FA Rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and Rule E8(1)(b).

The first says “a participant” must not bet either directly or indirectly, by instructing someone else to bet on any aspect of a football match or competition or “any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world”.

The second of these rules cautions against the passing on of ‘inside information’ for betting purposes.

A Liverpool spokesman, quoted by the BBC, said: “Daniel has given his full and unequivocal co-operation throughout this process and has assured the club he will continue to do so.

“Daniel has also stated categorically that he has never gambled on football”.

The spokesman added: “As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment”.

Sturridge, who joined Liverpool from Chelsea in 2013, spent the second half of last season at West Bromwich Albion after moving on loan on Jan 29.

He won the last of his 26 England caps against Lithuania in Oct 2017. — AFP