With lockdown restrictions easing, it’s time to set yourself a challenge and maybe even raise some money for charity! We’ve rounded up 10 of the best UK sports challenges 2021 has to offer, plus expert advice on how to ace your training…
Hands up if you’re excited that real-life events might just happen this year! Online challenges have their place to help keep you motivated, but nothing beats the buzz and camaraderie that surrounds an event in the real world among the masses. These events bring the fun factor, as well as the commitment factor. It’s all too easy to swerve an online challenge last-minute, but you feel a lot more accountable when you’ve signed up with friends for a real-world team triathlon on the other side of the country.
UK sports challenges: the training begins!
We all know how hard it can be to keep motivated for something when it’s weeks away, so how should you choose your event and ensure you don’t slack off training? ‘Pick a tummy-twisting goal,’ suggests Josephine Perry, sports psychologist at Performance in Mind. ‘You need a goal that excites you enough to focus on it, that is enough of a stretch that you’ll be willing to invest time and effort in it, but is not too hard to reach that you feel it’s too much pressure, making you give up entirely.’
In fact, performance coaches swear by an acronym called ‘SMART’ when talking about goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, and you should check your challenge ticks all of these boxes before you commit. The good thing about organized events is that, by nature, they’re specific and time-bound. You just have to make sure the one you choose is realistic for you to achieve and that you measure your progress along the way.
For example, a 26-mile hike at Hadrian’s Wall on 14 August could work for you if you’ve been doing some regular walking during the lockdown, but you may need a structured plan to build up to walking that distance. The internet is full of programs to help you train for popular distances, so have a look for one that works for you.
Staying motivated for your upcoming UK sports challenge
Acknowledging and celebrating your efforts as you go will help keep you motivated. ‘Use the progress principle,’ says Perry. ‘Break your goal into much smaller goals so you get to tick off achievements along the way. This stimulates the reward system in your brain.’ So with your hiking training, break the 26 miles into quarters, for example. Roo Davies, TheMojo Coach, agrees with this strategy. ‘Reward yourself, ideally with something linked to your ultimate goal. New workout gear is always a winner!’ she says.
Need more support? Hire a personal trainer or look for training groups in your area. The tips, camaraderie and incentive to push yourself harder are invaluable. And don’t forget friends and family are there to support you, too, so share your program with them and get them to nudge you out for that run when it’s raining!
Dealing with training setbacks and bouncing back stronger
What if you get injured, ill or a busy week at work scuppers your training plans for your upcoming UK sports challenge? Or maybe you procrastinate about harder sessions. ‘Think about where and when you’re likely to struggle and create a “what if?” plan,’ says Perry. ‘On this, brain dump all the things that could go wrong or you tend to struggle with. Next to each point, write an “if, then” plan to help you cope with the situation. Struggle to get out of bed for morning sessions? Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you can’t hit snooze. Have an accountability buddy you have to admit your lie-in to!’
If you miss a week of training, it’s a good idea to repeat the last week of training that you did, rather than progressing to the next level. This will help you to avoid injury. If an injury stopped you training, get expert advice about when to resume. And be kind to yourself, says The Curation Coach, Kathryn McAuley: ‘Know that there are things in the world you can’t control and setbacks will always come your way. Don’t let your inner negative dialogue get in the way. Think about what you’ve already achieved and what you know you’re capable of.’ Good luck!
The best UK sports challenges 2021: sign up now!
If you’re ready to set yourself a challenge but you need a little inspiration, check out these events below! Be sure to reserve your space soon to avoid disappointment…
BHF Yorkshire Three Peaks Team Challenge
Get your team together this summer, for a safe and memorable 24-mile hike and climb over 5,000 feet across a fully supported route.
Where: Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Yorkshire
Aquasphere Snowman Swim, Duathlon, or Triathlon
Try not to get distracted by the amazing scenery as you do a 1K, 2Kor 2.4-mile swim. Or, try a Sprint or Standard-distance duathlon (run, bike, run). Or, ‘the toughest multi-terrain triathlon in the UK’ (choose from a Sprint to a Savage two-day discipline)!
Where: Betws-y-Coed, Wales
How to enter: visit alwaysaimhighevents.com. Entry costs start at £26.
Rob Roy Mighty Hike
Hike a marathon along the stunning Rob Roy Way, following in the footsteps of Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous figure from Scottish folklore.
Where: Callander to Killin, central Scotland
How to enter: visit mightyhikes.macmillan.org.uk. £25 registration fee plus minimum £250 pledge.
The Hever Castle Triathlon
There’s everything from a Starter Tri (200m swim/15K bike/2.5K run) to a Half Ironman, plus kids events, running events, a duathlon (run/bike/run), an aqua bike (swim/bike), and an aquarium (swim/run) at this scenic and historic venue!
Where: Hever Castle, near Edenbridge, Kent
How to enter: visit castletriathlonseries.co.uk. Entry fees start at £23.
Want something fun? Bounce, crawl, slide, and climb your way around 15 gigantic obstacles in the biggest inflatable 5K obstacle race ever! Events range from 2.5K to 15K in this family-friendly event.
Where: Bicester, Oxfordshire
How to enter: visit ukrunningevents.co.uk. Entry fees start at £20.
MacMillan Thames Path Ultra Challenge
Walk or run this 100k route with friends all in one go or stop somewhere overnight. Half and quarter-distance options are also available.
Where: Putney Bridge to Henley
How to enter: visit macmillan.org.uk. Entry fees start from £3.75, plus £245 for fundraising.
Dragon Ride 2021
Catering for a large range of cyclists, Dragon Ride offers a range of routes with varying distances and difficulties. From the Dragon Devil, an intense 304km cycle, to the Macmillan 100, a shorter 100km cycle around Brecon Beacons.
Where: Neath Port Talbot, Wales
How to enter: visit macmillan.org.uk. Entry fees start at £10, plus a £150 sponsorship pledge.
Dulux London Revolution
If cycling’s your thing, you could tackle this two-day, 155-mile bike ride, camping overnight in Ascot on this fully supported loop around London to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Where: Lee Valley, Greater London
How to enter: visit macmillan.org.uk/get-involved. Entries cost £64 plus a sponsorship pledge of £450.
Coniston Epic Lakes Swim
Part of the Epic Lakes Open Water Swim Series, this event will see you swim 500m, 1 mile, or 3.8k. Purist, experienced cold-water swimmers can swim without a wetsuit in the longer distances.
Where: Coniston, Cumbria
How to enter: visit epicevents.co.uk. Entry fees start at £20.
Ragnar White Cliffs
Run through the night as part of a team of 10 (or five!) in this 24-hour relay challenge. you’ll cover 170 miles on roads and trails, passing through Dover on the way. Standard team members run three legs of three to 11 miles.
Where: Sittingbourne to Brighton
How to enter: visit runragnar.com/uk. Entries cost £95 per person for a team of 10.
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.”
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
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:
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Hockey stadium to have big screens for Asia Cup final
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.”
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.”
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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Pakistan look to end decade-long Asia Cup drought but Sri Lanka have psychological edge
Sri Lanka WWWWL
In the spotlight
Pitch and conditions
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.
Babar Azam relishes the contributions from multiple players this competition
Dasun Shanaka has his eyes firmly on the prize
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Asia Cup final: Best of frenemies Pakistan and Sri Lanka set for another edition of old, but cordial rivalry
After the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Super Four game ended and the players waited for the presentation ceremony, Babar Azam and Wanindu Hasaranga were spotted engaged in a chat near the boundary rope. Both were chuckling and guffawing, even though Hasaranga had taken out Babar in the match. Beside them, Mohammad Rizwan, Dasun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis were rolling in laughter.
Not far from them Maheesh Theekshana was obediently listening to Saqlain Mushtaq, like an apprentice to a master. Some time ago, Wasim Akram was seen talking to Sri Lanka’s left-arm seamer Dilshan Madhushanka. As the players exited the stadium, a horde of Sri Lankan fans sought the autograph of Naseem Shah, just as a few Pakistan teenagers were queuing up beside Hasaranga for his signature.
Evident thus was an overwhelming camaraderie, an uncomplicated natural friendly vibe, not one for the camera, but one fostered by their frequent cricketing exchanges, their shared experience playing in leagues around the world and historically smooth cricketing ties.
So much so that it’s the most harmonious of cricketing rivalries in the subcontinent, unstained by geopolitical tensions or cultural antagonism.
Pakistan-India match-ups might be devoid of the old hostility, but it is still an intense rivalry with deep nationalistic undertones, so much so that another bilateral series between them is a distant possibility.
Pakistan-Afghanistan encounters could be crudely bitter affairs, as was witnessed in Headingley and Sharjah. Pakistan-Bangladesh match-ups too have an uneasy, expected layer of friction. Bangladesh-Sri Lanka face-offs, a pure cricketing rivalry though it is, have of late turned spicy, replete with heated barbs and cartoonish charades. So have India-Bangladesh duels turned out to be.
Among the mutually squabbling South Asian cricketing siblings exists the Pakistan-Sri Lanka rivalry as an island of peace. Not that they have no reasons to emerge as a feisty rivalry, from the mid-90s to mid-2010s, they competed for continental and global glory, had players capable of turning the scene ugly, and there was a terrorist attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore, yet they have maintained firm and cordial ties, cricketing-wise as well as diplomatically.
In troubled times, they have been by each other’s side, lugging onto the shoulder. Upon cricket’s resumption in Pakistan, no team has toured the country as frequently as Sri Lanka have.
In the last five years, they have travelled to Pakistan three times, twice for white-ball series and in 2019 for Test matches.
No team had visited the UAE for a full-fledged series against Pakistan as much as Sri Lanka (three times in seven years) had either. They were each other’s dial-a-friend lifeline.
There is a deeper cricketing affinity between them too. Unorthodoxy has flourished in both countries — who else would have produced outlier talents such as Shoaib Akhtar, Lasith Malinga or Muttiah Muralitharan? Which other countries would have provided the fertile grounds for the carrom ball and doosra to develop, or the Dillscoop and reverse-sweep? Where else would players who had played just tape-ball or beach-ball cricket on streets and beaches be plucked from obscurity and pitched into international cricket. Who else would have produced leaders like Imran and Arjuna Ranatunga, or stylists like Saeed Anwar and Aravinda de Silva? There are heart-warming life stories, cricketers from deep interiors, those fighting poverty and battling floods and tsunamis, those emerging from outside the cricketing systems.
In a sense, theirs is the ideal sporting rivalry. Fiercely competitive and gentlemanly on the field, and friendly off it. One can remember a raft of classics the two teams have dished out, yet not an instance where they were locked in a bust-up or pre-game rattle, or scandals or gossip. After the Super Four match on Friday, both skippers lavished praise on each other. Shanaka said: “Don’t be fooled by Pakistan’s performance [on Friday], they are a good team and could beat anyone on their day. We have seen that several times and we know the quality they possess.” His counterpart Azam reciprocated at the presentation ceremony: “Even after they lost to Afghanistan in the first match, we never wrote them off. Today, they showed you why and they have been the most consistent team in the Asia Cup.”
Both made a mockery of pre-tournament odds, where India were predicted to encounter Pakistan. A dream final of sorts. The possibility seemed even more realistic when Afghanistan thumped Sri Lanka in the opening fixture. But thereafter, they scripted a stunning turnaround, as only Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, can. They went on to win four games on the trot — three in the last over and one comprehensively. But with each game, they kept unearthing more heroes. Apart from the usual suspects like Hasaranga, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shanaka emerged new heroes like Pathum Nissanka, the feisty opener, Madushanka, the left-arm seamer and Theekshana, the mystery spinner. An old hero remerged too — Mendis. The words of former Bangladesh cricketer Khaled Mahmud, that they don’t have a world-class bowler, turned out to be a spur-on in hindsight. Shanaka dwelled on that again on Friday, rather indirectly: “Bowling combination, starting with left-arm fast bowler, off-spinner, leg-spinner, variation from the spinners, any kind of batting line-up will be challenged. The combination as well as the variation we have is amazing,” he said.
But the Lankan top order is vulnerable to pure pace. Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain made them look like novices at times in the Super Four game. So had Afghanistan left-arm seamer Fazalhaq Farooqi and Bangladesh’s Ebadot Hussain. With Naseem Shah returning for the final, and a bouncier and quicker surface expected for the game, a baptism by pace awaits them. That’s how Pakistan have historically won tournaments, with the magic and mystique of the pacers. Think of Wasim Akram in the 1992 World Cup; or Mohammad Amir in the 2017 Champions Trophy.
On the other hand, Pakistan kicked off the tournament as overwhelming favourites but had to scrape through nervous moments, both their Super Four victories being exceedingly tight. They were beset with unusual problems — like the indifferent touch of Azam, the flaky middle order and an erratic Rizwan, who would look sublime one day and banal the next. Apart from Rizwan with 256 runs, no other Pakistani batsman has scored more than 100 runs in the tournament (Babar 63, Fakhar Zaman 96, Asif Ali 41, Khushdil Shah 56 and Ifthikar Ahmed 73). But little doubt that they have the mettle and quality to reverse the tide and put on a larger-than-life show in the final. Saqlain defended each of the spaces that had been holding Pakistan from fully blooming.
On Babar, he said: “It is just that his luck is not going his way. The kind of boundaries he has hit against India. A batter with deeper eyes will say that his form is fine. It is his luck which is not going his way.” On Rizwan: “Rizwan is superhuman and he is very spiritual, the energy he brings to the team is amazing.” On the middle order: “They have done well against India and Afghanistan when we chased. You might think that it was a small total and Naseem Shah won it for us but all 11 players batted. We have a big-match temperament.” And the arsenal of bowlers—the fast bowling trio has wizardry and the spin pair of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz smarts and nous.
None, thus, would dispute that Pakistan could reverse the Super Four defeat. Then none would argue that Sri Lanka don’t possess the ammo to rattle Pakistan either. Both have imperfections, but both have the incandescence to beat any team in the world on their day as well. Thus, an ideal final between ideal rivals, unbound by geopolitical tensions and bound by warm diplomatic and cricketing ties.
Asia Cup: Pakistan edge out India in a thrilling chase
Rizwan, Nawaz help overhaul 181 with one ball to spare in Asia Cup.
A late, final twist it seemed. Mohammad Rizwan, he of unflinching spirit and cool-eyed ruthlessness, seemed to be taking Pakistan to victory. But what are India-Pakistan encounters in T20s, from their twin games in the inaugural ICC World T20, without late drama? Pounding hearts, sweaty fingers and jangling nerves. With Pakistan needing 35 runs off 20 balls, Hardik Pandya ejected Rizwan for a pugnacious 71 off 51 balls with a short ball. Hope rose among the Indian section of the audience, fear plunged among Pakistanis. The match could still drift either way.
The next few minutes were more dramatic. India sought a review for a caught behind off Asif Ali, off the bowling of Ravi Bishnoi. The players and the crowd, chewing nails, pulling hair, stroking chins, waited impatiently for the verdict on the screen. The three-minute wait seemed an eternity, and when the umpire withheld the on-field decision that there was no conclusive evidence to give him out, a section of the crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief; the other stood in speechless disbelief. This was not to be their night. For Pakistan, this was their night, their name written on the inky skies.
A more speechless moment arrived — one that convinced the Indian supporters the match was not theirs, there was no avenue for a comeback. Third ball of the 18th over, Arshdeep Singh spilled a sitter of Asif at short third man, much to the anger of skipper Rohit Sharma, who kicked the turf in anger in a rare outburst. Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar had just pulled them back into the game but they had contrived to squander the advantage. Though India had 26 runs to defend in the last two overs, Ali plundered 19 off the 19th over to literally seal the match. Though Arshdeep Singh knocked out Asif in the last over, the breakthrough came too late.
The sign of a team that is still a study in progress and not one that is hurtling to invincibility.
Less than two months for the World Cup, India are still prone to bouts of cluelessness. Passages of the game wherein they look utterly stunned, bereft of answers, ideas and imagination. Like when Rizwan shifted through the gears. As dangerous a batsman as he is, they fed him with too many loose balls, which ensured that he could score freely without embracing risks. Yuzvendra Chahal provided him with plenty of width to cut. Hardik gifted him with length balls on the leg-side, which he routinely demolished. Even the usually precise Bhuvneshwar let him off to a smooth start. Arshdeep was easy fodder for him as he hefted him for a fierce six over square-leg. Every stroke to the boundary seemed like a slash on India’s belief. Inch by inch, they surrendered, much before they had lost, on the penultimate ball of the game.
His confidence restored after the Hong Kong game, Rizwan controlled the chase with the finesse and mastery of a conductor at the London Opera. He knew which shots to play, and which not to; when to play them and when not to. He ensured that Pakistan did not panic after they lost Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman. After the Hong Kong game, he had said: “We would look to be brave and calm.” And so they were.
Perhaps, Rizwan would have been impossible to stop in this rampaging form. But worryingly, India were clueless in dealing with the promoted Mohammad Nawaz. As the left-hander strode in, they seemed shocked. And when he began to unleash his artillery of strokes, India were not just caught off-guard, but seemed frightened, as though they did not have a plan for him. Nawaz comes with a reputation of clean hitting — in interviews he proudly talks of his batting, and to back his claims, he has a T20 strike rate of 124 and five half-centuries — and he enhanced his reputation with a torrent of boundaries in his 20-ball-42, which was as central to Pakistan’s victory as Rizwan’s 71.
That’s that from another close game against Pakistan.
Pakistan win by 5 wickets.
“My batting is as important as bowling. I perhaps put more time on my batting than bowling,” he had once said.
There was a clarity in his hitting — it was not a blind, mad knock, but one where he leant on his percentage strokes. The swings were often down the line, and not across. The base was firm and the head usually still. “We needed 10 runs per over when I walked in to bat, so I knew I had to attack every chance I got. My mind was clear that I’d hit out at every ball in my zone. I didn’t try and overplay, which you sometimes can when you’re under pressure,” he said.
Perhaps, it was the possibility of facing two leg-spinners that encouraged his promotion. But he did not limit his destruction to the leg-spinners — he was especially brutal on Chahal, whom he carted for three fours — but extended the punishment to the seamers too. Hardik, the previous Sunday’s hero, was thundered over long-off, before he smashed him for two fours in three balls. The 63-run rummaging stand in 6.3 overs took the match inexorably beyond India’s grasp.
There was Nawaz to hurt India in every nook. He was Pakistan’s thriftiest bowler, conceding just 6.25 runs per over, pulling the plug on India’s pacy start, with a masterful control over his length. He prised out the precious wicket of Suryakumar Yadav before he swallowed Hardik at short third-man, lunging forward to grasp the ball that was dying in front of him. He then duly settled under Deepak Hooda’s skier too. Not surprisingly, he was adjudged Player of the Match.
ONE OF THE BEST DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS IN THE WORLD MOVES TO MANCHESTER UNITED
The most unexpected transfer of the summer: Manchester United and Real Madrid club have agreed on the transfer of Casemiro. The deal will amount to 60 million pounds, plus another 10 Real can receive in the form of bonuses. The player passed a medical examination and signed a contract with Manchester United until 2027.
It took the head coach of the «Red Devils» Eric ten Hag two matches in the Premier League to understand the inferiority of his middle line. In games with Brentford (0:4) and Brighton (1:2), the long-suffering Fred and Scott McTominay disappeared. Midfielders are not able to interfere with the opponent’s quick counterattacks and take the ball away.
It is indicative that Casemiro has nine tackles and two interceptions for the 2022 UEFA Super Cup match with Eintracht Frankfurt (2-0), the same number as Fred and McTominay did in two games for two.
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New challenge and juicy contract
Casemiro said goodbye to his Real Madrid teammates. Head coach Carlo Ancelotti did not interfere with his decision.
The desire to try himself in another championship is clearly not the only thing that prompted Casemiro to move to England. There are a number of other important factors here:
- salary: Manchester United, they are ready to pay a midfielder twice as much as in Real Madrid (about 20 million euros per year against 10). The Brazilian will become the third highest paid player in MU behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and David de Gea;
- term of the contract: Manchester United offered a contract under the «4 + 1» In Madrid, the player’s agreement expires in 2025 and there is no guarantee that it can be renewed;
- reserve player prospect: 22-year-old Aurélien Tchouameny moved to Real Madrid from Monaco for 80 million euros. And obviously not just like that. At any time, Casemiro can become a substitute and more often watch the matches of Madrid from the bench.
In Casemiro, Manchester United finds one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He is reliable, clearly reads the game and, if necessary, can drop into the top three to the central defenders.
Casemiro has the rigidity that is typical of the Premier League. Opponents prefer to avoid joints with him, but he is not afraid of them.
“I always go tough in the tackle. If I hurt someone, it makes me angry. Foul is part of the game, malice is never. These values were instilled in me by my mother. I’m never going to harm a player on the field,” Casemiro said in an interview.
The expediency of the transfer raises questions. The Mancunians will spend a minimum of £140m (60 for Real Madrid and 80 for wages) for a player who is already 30 years old. Is the quality of a player so invaluable to United’s bosses?
At the same time, Real Madrid is receiving a hefty payout for a midfielder bought from Porto in 2015 for a measly 7.5 million euros. Obvious profit.
Casemiro is a top buff for Manchester United, but there are a lot of problems in the team right now. One such purchase is unlikely to radically change the situation. Although it should definitely be enough to leave the 20th place in the championship of England.
Best 5 tacklers in European football at the moment
Football, just like other sports, involves skills. One skill that is not lacking in any football game is tackling.
Tackling is an art on its own. It is a skill requiring precision to stop the opponent from advancing with the ball. Though important, tackling can be dangerous, as even a slight error in timing and execution can result in the unwanted, both for the tackler and the receiving party.
Top bookmakers like 1xbet favor teams with the best tackers in football matches.
Some players are masters in tackling and have and have built up the capacity to execute the right tackle when needed. This article lists these players, specifically plying their trade in Europe.
The Brazilian may not be the most talked about in Carlo Ancelotti’s team, but he sure gives his all anytime he is called upon.
Deployed as a defensive midfielder for his Real Madrid side, Casemiro wastes no time lunging himself forward onto the ball in a sliding tackle to cut short the opponent’s journey and win the ball back for his side. In fact, his fierce challenges and tenacity earned him the nickname, “The Tank.”
In the La Liga 2021/2022 season, Casemiro recorded 2.5 tackles per game and a 60% successful duel rate. He replicated the same form in other competitions too, recording 2.7 tackles per game in the just concluded Champions League season, also helping his team lift the trophy.
2. Wilfred Ndidi
Wilfred Ndidi arrived at Leicester in 2017 as the purported replacement to Ngolo Kante, who had just left for Chelsea – certainly, he did fill the void! The Nigerian immediately fitted in, securing a spot in Leicester City’s starting lineup.
Since then, he has continued improving from season to season.
The defensive midfielder’s style of play is that of aggressive physicality, relishing every opportunity to go head to head with the opposing players. In the process, more often than not, a one-on-one challenge involving him always ends with him tackling the opponent to retrieve the ball.
All through his playing time in the Premier League, Ndidi’s tackle stats stand at 635 tackles in the league with a 62% success rate.
3. N’golo Kante
Off the pitch, the always smiling Frenchman looks like he can’t hurt a fly. On the contrary, his work rate in the field is top-notch.
Widely reputed as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, Kante is a rock in the heart of the midfield.
He is a box-to-box player with excellent defensive acumen and ball-recovery expertise. Despite his small size, Kante is not scared to take on opponents much bigger than himself.
Talk of his ball-winning mentality, N’golo Kante has mastered the art of interceptions with 503 interceptions since he arrived at the Premier league. In addition, his tackling capabilities are superb, notching up an impressive 675 tackles with a 62% success rate too.
Fabinho was not the player greeted with fanfare after his £40.5 million move from AS Monaco to Liverpool in 2018. However, four years down the line, it is evident to everyone that the Brazilian was the right deal.
The defensive midfielder has been very instrumental to Jurgen Klopp’s success as the Liverpool coach, helping his team win several trophies including the prestigious Champions League trophy.
As a defensive midfielder, Fabinho ensures that the ball does not get past him, exploring every approach to stop this from happening. He makes good use of his body, shadowing the opponent, and also uses his height to make those vital aerial interceptions.
Talk about his tackling skill, Fabinho, though not one to use a tackle as a first option, does not hesitate to employ it if it comes to that.
In the just concluded 2021/2022 season, he made a total of 47 tackles for Liverpool and has also been involved in 226 tackles since his arrival to the Premier League.
Marquinhos was still a young kid when he arrived at PSG in 2013 and no one expected him to turn out the way he has.
However, Marquinhos has proved the doubters wrong, steadily improving his game every season, and can now be touted as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
The 28-year-old has the positional awareness and speed to match up with opponents trying to get past him and will struggle till he recovers the ball.
His tackling ability is also top-notch, recording an impressive 37 tackles last season. In fact, he has successfully recorded more than 20 tackles each season for the last five seasons.
Winners And Losers Of Raphinha’s Transfer Saga
Raphinha completed a move to Camp Nou after Barcelona and Leeds United announced that they have reached an agreement for the transfer for the Brazilian international. This follows several weeks of saga after Leeds accepted a bid from Chelsea, forcing Barcelona to step up their chase. After the news was announced on the club’s official website, president Joan Laporta confirmed that Raphinha would be signing a five-year contract with the organization this week.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at one of this summer’s transfer saga as it finally reaches a conclusion. Meanwhile, sports betting enthusiasts can find tips on their favorite sports such as basketball here: http://liontips.com/tips/basketball
Raphinha is obviously the biggest winner in this transfer. Since moving to Yorkshire, the Brazilian has been a star for Leeds, and now he will finally have the chance to test himself at a top club. At Rennes, he demonstrated genuine signs of hope, and they persisted at Elland Road, but now comes the big test.
Without a doubt, playing in the Champions League will be a goal feat, and he’ll be a member of a group that can contend for titles on four separate fronts. Raphinha will gain greatly from the move up, but it will take some getting used to not being the main guy.
Raphinha’s departure will finally give Daniel James the opportunity to play regularly for Leeds as a winger. Raphinha and Jack Harrison’s performance and Patrick Bamford’s injury issues caused James to play a significant amount of minutes in the middle of the season.
That doesn’t fit his skill set, and now that Raphinha has moved on, he can easily fill the role the Brazilian performed in that arena. James will have the chance to flourish off the right because new acquisition Brendon Aaronson is anticipated to play behind a striker rather than as a direct replacement for Raphinha.
Xavi and Barcelona
Xavi is the guy in charge of managing a significant renovation at Barcelona in the hopes of bringing them back to their former glories. The team the Spaniard took over last season was, to put it mildly, lacking, but with the arrivals of Raphinha, Christensen, and Kessie, Camp Nou’s future seems promising. The addition of Robert Lewandowski will also provide Xavi a wide range of attacking alternatives for the upcoming season.
Without a doubt, Chelsea is the biggest loser in this transfer fiasco. Raphinha was intended to be the first signing of the post-Roman Abramovich era for the Blues, who were now under new American ownership.
With Hakim Ziyech likely to follow Romelu Lukaku out the exit door, Tuchel’s team needs attacking additions. Additionally, Raphinha would have made a great addition considering his experience of the Premier League.
While James will gain from his teammate’s departure, his manager most surely won’t. Last season, despite Raphinha’s brilliance, Leeds just avoided relegation on the final day of play. Without the Brazilian, keeping up will be even more difficult.
The pressure to keep them up will increase now that Kalvin Phillips has also left, but Jesse Marsch might not have the talent to do so. Raphinha won’t be able to provide the Elland Road side with a flash of brilliance next season, which could be very problematic for Marsch.
The rupee continued to gain for the ninth session in a row on Friday, jumping Rs3.39 in the interbank market.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the PKR closed at 215.49 rupees against the dollar, having appreciated by 1.57 percent.
Mettis global director Saad bin Naseer said he believed the rupee’s rise was because exporters, who previously kept their dollar profits abroad, now began bringing their earnings into the country amid appreciation. of the local currency.
On the other hand, demand for the dollar has been reduced due to government intervention to control imports, he said.
However, Naseer warned that any negative news on the political front could lead to the rupee falling again. “Political stability is a must for the positive trend to continue, otherwise the rupee will erase all its gains.”
The secretary general of the Association of Stock Companies of Pakistan (Ecap), Zafar Paracha, shared a similar opinion. He said exporters had previously stopped bringing their profits into Pakistan but were now offloading their dollars, while importers who were previously worried and buying dollars for futures had stopped.
Consequently, there were sellers in the market but no buyers, he said.
He also credited the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for the rupee’s appreciation, saying that he had largely controlled the banks’ speculation and the large gaps they maintained between dollar buying and selling rates.
In addition, the country’s import bill fell in July and will fall further in August as the country will not import oil, he said. The general secretary of Ecap pointed out that the prices of oil, coal, wheat and pulses had been reduced internationally, which would also lead to a lower import bill.
“Overall, things are moving positively and it looks like the pressure on the rupee will ease.”
Zafar said it was “not a satisfactory level yet” and the rupee was due to trade at Rs160 against the dollar in the long term. For this, he suggested, the government needed to link imports to exports, spending to income, and offer discounts to overseas Pakistanis and foreign exchange firms to discourage the hundi/hawala system.
The value of the national currency increased 9.3% in the last eight sessions, according to Arif Habib Ltd.
Despite the recent trend, the rupee has lost as much as 19.36% against the US currency since the beginning of 2022. Since July 1, which is the first day of the current fiscal year, the rupee has lost 6 .41% compared to its US counterpart.
Three Cubans defected during world athletics
Three members of Cuba’s athletics delegation at the World Championships in the United States, including former discus world champion Yaime Perez absconded, the country’s sports institute said on Wednesday.
Defections by Cuban sports people while on international duty are commonplace as the communist nation has long prevented its athletes from turning professional.
Perez, 31, was the defending champion in Eugene, where she finished seventh, and a bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Javelin thrower Yiselena Ballar, 19, and physiotherapist Carlos Gonzalez also disappeared.
The Jit online newspaper for Cuba’s INDER sports institute described the defections as “serious indiscipline”.
Both Perez and Ballar are believed to have escaped during a stopover in Miami while on the return journey to Cuba.
Cuba suffered its worst ever result at an athletics world championships, failing to win a single medal.
More than two dozen Cuban sports people have defected this year alone, including Olympic long jump silver medalist Juan Miguel Echevarria, Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ismael Borrero and Olympic sprint canoeing champion Fernando Dayan Jorge.
Last month, Olympic boxing champion Andy Cruz, considered by many experts to be the finest Cuban boxer of his generation, was caught trying to flee the island nation.
Cuba has slowly been opening up to professional sport in a bid to discourage the defections.
In April, communist authorities finally allowed boxers to take part in professional boxing competitions, leading to a team match against Mexico, which the Cubans won 6-0 with five knockouts, even without Cruz.
Other sports such as baseball have also embraced limited professionalism recently as in May Cuban authorities reached an agreement with the sport’s international governing body, the WBSC, to allow Cuban baseballers to manage their own professional contracts with clubs in foreign leagues.
Cuba is suffering its worst recession in three decades, partly provoked by the coronavirus pandemic and the ramping up of US sanctions under former president Donald Trump, which has led to mass migration.
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