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Injured Anwar Ali misses cut in Asian Cup probables

December 12, 2023 17:21 IST
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Indian defender Anwar Ali

IMAGE: Indian defender Anwar Ali. Photograph: Mumbai City FC/X

India will be missing its key central defender Anwar Ali because of his ankle injury in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in Qatar starting from January 12.

Owing to a fracture sustained on his right ankle, the 23-year-old central defender has been excluded from the 50-member India probables named on Thursday.


A key member of head coach Igor Stimac's defence, Anwar's injury will upset the Croat's plans as he has taken a gamble to include midfielder Jeakson Singh in the probable.

The Kerala Blasters footballer too is down with an injury (shoulder) as it remains to be seen if he makes the final cut of 23 ahead of their Asian Cup opener against Australia on January 13.

In the absence of Anwar, the defence is expected to be helmed by Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal and Subhasish Bose.

Anwar's Mohun Bagan teammate Ashique Kuruniyan, who is down with an ACL injury, has not been named in the probables on expected lines.

India, 102 in the FIFA rankings, is the lowest rung side in its Group B as Stimac's task is cut out to make the Round of 16.

After taking the world No 25 Australia, the Stimac-coached Blue Tigers will face Uzbekistan (January 18), and Syria (January 23)

The side will be pruned to 25 members before they head to Doha for the national camp beginning on December 30.

India Probables

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and Gurmeet Singh Chahal.

Defenders: Naorem Roshan Singh, Bikash Yumnam, Lalchungnunga, Sandesh Jhingan, Nikhil Poojary, Chinglensana Singh, Pritam Kotal, Hormipam Ruivah, Subhasish Bose, Asish Rai, Akash Mishra, Mehtab Singh, Rahul Bheke, Narender Gahlot and Amey Ranawade.

Midfielders: Suresh Singh Wangjam, Rohit Kumar, Brandon Fernandes, Udanta Singh Kumam, Yasir Mohammad, Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Glan Martins, Liston Colaco, Deepak Tangri, Lalengmawia Ralte, Vinit Rai, Ninthoinganba Meetei and Naorem Mahesh Singh.

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Rahim Ali, Farukh Choudhary, Nandhakumar Sekar, Siva Sakthi Narayanan, Rahul KP, Ishan Pandita, Manvir Singh, Kiyan Nassiri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Gurkirat Singh, Vikram Partap Singh, Bipin Singh Thounaojam, Parthib Gogoi and Jerry Mawihmingthanga.

Granada and Bilbao complete match suspended after supporter's death

The captains of Granada and Athletic Bilbao laid flowers at the seat of a fan who died during their match at the weekend as the teams completed the remainder of the Spanish league game on Monday.

The game was initially suspended in the 17th minute on Sunday as paramedics tried to resuscitate Granada season ticket holder Antonio Trujillo Izquierdo after he suffered a cardiac arrest and it was eventually abandoned an hour later.

Players wore black T-shirts during a minute's silence before the game resumed from the 17th minute on Monday with Bilbao leading 1-0 through Inaki Williams's sixth-minute goal.

Granada equalised in the second-half due to an own goal by Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta and the match ended 1-1.

One in five players at 2023 Women's World Cup got abusive messages: FIFA

One in five players were the target of online abuse during the 2023 Women's World Cup, FIFA said on Monday as a package of social media protection tools hid nearly 117,000 comments.

The Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), developed by the world governing body with players' union FIFPRO and launched at the 2022 men's World Cup, was offered to teams at the women's finals in Australia and New Zealand, FIFA said in June.

The tool, which has been used at eight FIFA tournaments in the last 12 months, monitors and moderates hate speech on social media, hiding harmful content from the players.

Players at this year's Women's World Cup were 29% more likely to be targeted with online abuse compared with players at last year's men's finals in Qatar, the FIFA report showed.

About 5.1 million posts and comments in 35 different languages were analysed for abusive content, FIFA said, protecting 697 players and coaches actively using 2,111 accounts across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X and YouTube.

More than 150 female players received targeted discriminatory, abusive or threatening messages during the Australia and New Zealand tournament, where two teams - the U.S. and Argentina - stood out as key targets.

Homophobic, sexual and sexist abuse accounted for almost 50%of detected abusive messages, FIFA added, and 116,800 comments were hidden across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube being junk, spam, discriminatory, abusive or threatening.

The final, which saw Spain beat European Champions England 1-0, generated the largest spike of abusive content across the tournament, with more than 6,500 comments hidden by SMPS.

"There can be no place on social media for those who abuse or threaten anyone, be that in FIFA tournaments or elsewhere," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

FIFPRO President David Aganzo added: "The abuse that persists online impacts football players all over the world and it cannot be ignored.

"This toxic online environment is a risky place to be in for players and it affects their mental health and wellbeing. Football has a responsibility to protect the players around their workspace."

The SMPS tool, which was also used at the 2023 Under-17 World Cup in Indonesia in November and December, uses artificial intelligence to protect the players and also stops their followers being exposed to hate speech.

Puma to end sponsorship of Israel's national football team next year

Puma will end its sponsorship of Israel's national football team next year, in a decision made before Hamas' Oct. 7 attack, a spokesperson for the German sportswear firm said on Tuesday.

"While two newly signed national teams - including a new statement team - will be announced later this year and in 2024, the contracts of some federations such as Serbia and Israel will expire in 2024," said the spokesperson in an emailed statement.

The decision was taken in 2022 as part of Puma's new "fewer-bigger-better strategy" and was in line with the regular timelines for designing and developing team jerseys, added the spokesperson.

The Financial Times first reported the decision.

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement had called for a boycott of the sportswear firm before the Oct. 7 attack over its sponsorship of the Israeli team.

However, boycott calls have grown stronger and expanded to more firms and products following Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip since the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel.

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