QUEENSLAND REPRESENTED AT 2022 IWFF WALKING FOOTBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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QUEENSLAND REPRESENTED AT 2022 IWFF WALKING FOOTBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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QUEENSLAND REPRESENTED AT 2022 IWFF WALKING FOOTBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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A number of the state’s best walking footballers are currently representing Australia at the 2022 International Walking Football Federation (IWFF) World Championships in Florence alongside Football Queensland’s Officer – Walking Football Alan Templeton.

 

Two Australian teams (Over 50s and Over 60s) have travelled to participate in the second edition of the international event, with the four-day tournament running from Thursday, 14 July to Sunday, 17 July and featuring 20 teams from across the globe. 

Templeton, who is also captain of the Over 60s Men side, said the World Championships would be a fantastic opportunity for local players to test their skills against some of the best walking footballers in the world. 

“Walking football has been going here in Australia for three or four years, while other countries particularly in Europe have been going for 12 or 13 years so I think we’ll be fully tested, particularly in that first game against England and quickly followed the next day against Italy,” Templeton said earlier in the week before matches kicked off. 

“They’re two of the top nations in walking football around at the moment and it’s going to be a real test for us, but I’m very confident that we can match them for skill and tenacity and also technically as well, I think we’ll do well.” 

The players representing Australia hail from across the country, predominantly from South Australia, New South Wales and here in Queensland. 

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Local representatives include walking footballers from a range of club programs including those based at Coolum, Perry Park, Club Oxley and Bayside. 

“It’s been very hard for us to play together [prior to this tournament] as a squad,” Templeton said. 

“We’ve also got two or three expats coming from the UK, so it’s important that we get a few games up our sleeve before the first game so that we can work out a bit of team structure and how we’re going to play and approach each game.” 

Alongside his role as FQ’s Officer – Walking Football, Templeton is also an Australia representative for IWFF and hopes to build the profile of the game by welcoming walking football sides to the country in the future. 

“It’s going to be a big learning curve for us and we believe that by going to a tournament like this, it’s showing that Australia is alive and well when it comes to walking football and that we are able to take at least two teams to travel 10,000 kilometres to play in a tournament that’s a long way from home,” he said. 

“This also allows us as Australia to consider doing similar things down here to give the walking football format even greater exposure; we’re more than adequate and well organised to return that favour further down the track.” 

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Whilst only Men’s sides are representing Australia at the tournament this year due to the availability of players (in addition to one female walking footballer, Noelene, competing as part of the Under 50s team), Templeton acknowledged the opportunity to grow female participation within the modified version of the game, especially with the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 on the horizon. 

“We’re disappointed this time that we were unable to take a Ladies team, but that’s my aim for 12 months down the track,” Templeton said. 

“We hope to hold something along the same lines as the World Championships here in Australia, but it will maybe be world club teams only and not national as such, that way we can attract more players. 

“We hope that in doing that, we can also improve the women’s participation side of it and it gives greater options for club teams to come here and play maybe against the Australian team or maybe against our club teams here.” 

Find a Walking Football program near you. 

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Former Olympians condole death of Pakistan hockey great Manzoor Junior

Madison Franz

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Former Olympians condole death of Pakistan hockey great Manzoor Junior
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LAHORE: Former hockey Olympians and international players of Kenya and India have condoled death of former Pakistan Olympian Manzoor Hussain Junior who died due to cardiac arrest on August 29 in Lahore. The 63-year-old’s death news came as a shock to the sport’s community.

Manzoor – born in Sialkot in 1958 – bagged 86 goals in 175 outings for Pakistan in his international career that spanned from 1975-84. Expressing their condolence on the death of Manzoor, foreign players paid rich tributes to the departed soul. In their messages they also prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul.

“Late Manzoor Junior toured Kenya and Tanzania with a young Pakistan team in 1974,” said former Kenya hockey captain Surjit Singh Rihal. “I had the privilege of playing against Manzoor a number of times between 1974 and 1982. He was a brilliant forward and had very good stick work.

His movements with the ball were always very threatening for the opponents and his passes to the very speedy Pakistan wingers were constant pressure on the defenders. My sincere condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”

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Former Kenya hockey international Brajinder Daved said he first played against Manzoor Junior in 1970 along with Khalid Mahmood and Kaleem Ullah at the City Park Hockey Stadium. “Pakistan had come to Kenya to play six matches against Kenya. Later in June 1980 we played again at City Park Hockey Stadium, Nairobi when Akhtar Rasool, Rashid-ul-Hassan, Syed Safdar Abbas, Riaz Shah, Manzoor Jr and Kaleem Ullah Khan were also part of the team.

Condolences from me and may Manzoor’s soul rest in peace,” added Brajinder Daved. Another Kenya international hockey player Davinder Degan said: “Sad to hear of Manzoor’s passing away. May his soul rest in peace. Kenya international hockey player Jagmel Singh Rooprai said:

“Very sad to hear the news. I had the privilege to play against him a couple of times though he was quite junior to me. RIP

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India’s 1975 World Cup winning captain Ajitpal Singh stated:

“God bless the departed soul to rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to the family.” Former Indian international Syed Ali said: “We were the youngest members of the Indian and Pakistan teams at the Montreal Olympic Games.

Manzoor Jr was a feared and dashing all time great inside right with superb ball control and goal scoring ability. Allah unko Jannat Naseeb kare.” India’s Mervyn Fernandes, a triple Olympian (1980, 84, 88) and gold medalist 1980, in his message said:

What a brilliant and talented player he was. Manzoor Junior was made of a rare mold. RIP Manzoor Hussain” Former Kenya hockey player Raphael Fernandes also condoled the death of Manzoor Junior.

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Hockey stadium to have big screens for Asia Cup final

Madison Franz

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Hockey stadium to have big screens for Asia Cup final
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LAHORE: The Sports Board Punjab will install the biggest TV screens at the National Hockey Stadium for the cricket fans to see live coverage of the final of the T20 Asia Cup-2022 to be played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Last month, the stadium made the headlines due to a political party’s public meeting for which AstroTurf was removed.

Former Olympians condole death of Pakistan hockey great Manzoor Junior

LAHORE: Former hockey Olympians and international players of Kenya and India have condoled death of former Pakistan Olympian Manzoor Hussain Junior who died due to cardiac arrest on August 29 in Lahore. The 63-year-old’s death news came as a shock to the sport’s community. Manzoor – born in Sialkot in 1958 – bagged 86 goals in 175 outings for Pakistan in his international career that spanned from 1975-84. Expressing their condolence on the death of Manzoor, foreign players paid rich tributes to the departed soul. In their messages they also prayed for eternal peace for the departed soul.

“Late Manzoor Junior toured Kenya and Tanzania with a young Pakistan team in 1974,” said former Kenya hockey captain Surjit Singh Rihal. “I had the privilege of playing against Manzoor a number of times between 1974 and 1982. He was a brilliant forward and had very good stick work. His movements with the ball were always very threatening for the opponents and his passes to the very speedy Pakistan wingers were constant pressure on the defenders. My sincere condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”

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Former Kenya hockey international Brajinder Daved said he first played against Manzoor Junior in 1970 along with Khalid Mahmood and Kaleem Ullah at the City Park Hockey Stadium. “Pakistan had come to Kenya to play six matches against Kenya. Later in June 1980 we played again at City Park Hockey Stadium, Nairobi when Akhtar Rasool, Rashid-ul-Hassan, Syed Safdar Abbas, Riaz Shah, Manzoor Jr and Kaleem Ullah Khan were also part of the team. Condolences from me and may Manzoor’s soul rest in peace,” added Brajinder Daved. Another Kenya international hockey player Davinder Degan said: “Sad to hear of Manzoor’s passing away. May his soul rest in peace. Kenya international hockey player Jagmel Singh Rooprai said: “Very sad to hear the news. I had the privilege to play against him a couple of times though he was quite junior to me. RIP.”

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India’s 1975 World Cup winning captain Ajitpal Singh stated: “God bless the departed soul to rest in peace. Heartfelt condolences to the family.” Former Indian international Syed Ali said: “We were the youngest members of the Indian and Pakistan teams at the Montreal Olympic Games.

Manzoor Jr was a feared and dashing all time great inside right with superb ball control and goal scoring ability. Allah unko Jannat Naseeb kare.” India’s Mervyn Fernandes, a triple Olympian (1980, 84, 88) and gold medalist 1980, in his message said: “What a brilliant and talented player he was. Manzoor Junior was made of a rare mold. RIP Manzoor Hussain” Former Kenya hockey player Raphael Fernandes also condoled the death of Manzoor Junior.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka had qualified for the final after they defeated India and Afghanistan in the Super Four Stage.

 

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Pakistan look to end decade-long Asia Cup drought but Sri Lanka have psychological edge

Madison Franz

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Pakistan look to end decade-long Asia Cup drought but Sri Lanka have psychological edge
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Will Pakistan win their third Asia Cup? Or will Sri Lanka be crowned for the sixth time?

It is a tournament Pakistan love but a tournament that hasn’t always loved them back. Pakistan’s lack of success over this competition’s four-decade history has been baffling, given, if history is a guide, there are only three possible destinations for this trophy. For the first half of the tournament’s existence, India and Sri Lanka played musical chairs, with Pakistan kept out in the cold, making only one of the first six finals.
They won the Sharjah Cup, the Nehru Cup and even the World Cup during this time, but the Asia Cup remained elusive. It wasn’t until 2000 that a Moin Khan-led side finally touched the one piece of silverware that Pakistan had been denied. But it took them another 12 years for their next title. It has been a further decade since, and while India and Sri Lanka have split a dozen of these between them, Pakistan cherish the memories of those two.
The tournament has evolved, this particular edition is in the T20 format, and fans been gifted a vintage Pakistan side: wild, excitable, unpredictable, and against all odds, still here. The manner of India’s routing of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka’s subsequent dismantling of Pakistan means those two Naseem Shah sixes really were the difference between qualification and elimination. Now, Babar Azam has the chance to achieve what only Moin and Misbah-ul-Haq have accomplished for Pakistan – the official continental supremacy.
Pakistan have not necessarily looked destined for glory this fortnight, beginning with a final-over defeat to arch-rivals India. They inflicted a loss on that same opponent a week later to invigorate a flagging campaign, but stumbles against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka suggest a lot of work still needs to be done – not just with bat in hand, but, for this young side, also when it comes to keeping emotions in control; there was evidence in that game against Afghanistan that nerves, and perhaps tempers, threatened to get the better of them at crucial moments.
Tempers are less likely to flare in the final, though. Each Asia Cup side has had a complicated relationship with the others, but Pakistan vs Sri Lanka is perhaps the friendliest fixture of all. Throughout most of their history, these two nations have enjoyed cordial relations, and been there for each other in their toughest times. That warmth has been evident on the field as well, and there is no reason that should change.
A Sri Lankan redemption arc, though, is perhaps a neater, easier graph to chart, though nonetheless dramatic for it. Not many would have expected Sri Lanka to be here after they were blown away by eight wickets and almost ten overs to spare in the opening game by Afghanistan. Against Bangladesh, too, they looked done for in a steep chase until Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, and Bangladesh’s own mistakes saw them sneak through to the Super 4s.
But since then, their campaign has turned around. The batters, right through to the lower order, played modern, aggressive, entertaining cricket that has lit up this tournament, gaining them fans outside that little paradise of an island itself. Afghanistan were swiftly avenged, before a thrilling win against India effectively saw them through to the final. The way their batters held their nerve at the death against India made that win especially impressive as they trumped an opposition that had beaten them in 14 of the last 17 T20Is.
The win against Pakistan in the last game of the Super 4 round perhaps means they go into the final as favourites, but not mentioning the value of the toss would be irresponsible. Only three times has a team defended successfully in the tournament – Hong Kong’s two opponents and India against Afghanistan – and while there have been plenty of close games to suggest it needn’t have been that way, the value of winning the toss cannot be overstated.

Form guide

Pakistan LWWWL (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WWWWL

In the spotlight

Whether you’re Team Total Attack or Team Platform Building, Pakistan’s T20 fortunes are tethered firmly to the kind of day Mohammad Rizwan is having. He might take his time and hold up one end, which gives the rest of the side something of a comfort blanket – that only becomes really apparent in how exposed the side feels when he falls early. Even better for Pakistan, if he could find his timing from relatively early on and get them off to a rapid, if not flying, start. A struggling Rizwan often means a struggling Pakistan, not just because his runs might be missed, but because Rizwan in the right mood lifts the spirit of the entire side. He has become this T20I side’s heartbeat, as well as the bellwether of its performances.
Wanindu Hasaranga doesn’t mind playing against Pakistan. The 3 for 21 he picked up in the dry run for the final wasn’t a one-off. Quite literally, in the sense that he had registered those precise numbers in a T20I in Lahore as well to help Sri Lanka clean sweep Pakistan 3-0. It was really that tour of Pakistan that kickstarted his career, and he hasn’t looked back since. Pakistan remain, statistically, one of his most favoured opponents, against whom he has bagged 11 wickets in four matches. These include a Player-of-the-Series award as well as two Player-of-the-Match performances. Add to that his ability to contribute runs down the order, and it becomes clear why his battle against Pakistan might be key to the destination of the Asia Cup.

Pitch and conditions

It will be hot and dry again, as it has been all fortnight.

Team news

After resting a few players in the last game, Pakistan should revert to the side that won three games in a row prior to Friday’s defeat.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Iftikhar Ahmed, 5 Khushdil Shah, 6 Shadab Khan, 7 Asif Ali, 8 Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Naseem Shah, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Mohammad Hasnain
Sri Lanka may consider bringing Asitha Fernando back, but after that commanding bowling performance on Friday, an unchanged XI is more likely.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Kusal Mendis (wk), 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Dhananjaya de Silva, 4 Danushka Gunathilaka, 5 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 6 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Maheesh Theekshana, 10 Pramod Madushan, 11 Dilshan Madushanka

Stats and trivia

  • Haris Rauf is three strikes shy of 50 T20I wickets.
  • This is the fourth time Sri Lanka and Pakistan are playing an Asia Cup final, with Sri Lanka winning two of the previous three.
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Quotes

“When building a team, it is great for us that different players have stood up when it counts and helped the team win matches. As a captain, this is important for me, and it helps pave the path for future success for the team as well.”
Babar Azam relishes the contributions from multiple players this competition
“As a tournament, looking back, this has been one of the best Asia Cups we have had, and we are looking forward to the final.”
Dasun Shanaka has his eyes firmly on the prize
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