|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
21 - 27 February 2002
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Hidegkuti dies at 80NANDOR HIDEGKUTI, the famed Hungarian football striker who coached Egyptian club Ahli to a string of league and cup titles in the 1970s, died last Thursday of heart failure in Budapest.
Hidegkuti, 80, revolutionised soccer in 1953 when Hungary became the first oversees team to defeat England at home. He scored a hat-trick at Wembley Stadium -- switching from wing to wing in never-seen-before tactics -- as the "Magical Magyars" demolished England 6-3.
Hidegkuti won 68 caps and scored 39 goals for his country between 1945 and 1958, including the 1954 World Cup final against West Germany. He returned to Egypt in 1997 for a one-year stint as coach of Alexandria's Ittihad.
The "RoRo" questionBRAZIL coach Felipe Scolari confirmed that Ronaldo would be on his World Cup 2002 squad, but he was less than flattering over the chances of veteran striker Romario.
"Ronaldo will definitely be there," Scolari said. "He's almost there technically, almost back to his best. Physically, he has a way to go, though," he added.
Ahead of the 1998 World Cup the prospect of a "RoRo" (Romario and Ronaldo) front line was widely awaited, a scenario that ended when Romario was dropped from the final 22.
But the evergreen striker, 37, claimed this week his call-up would be "justice" and that he was the best Brazilian in his position. It was a belief Scolari appeared to pour cold water on. "I'm not sure I'll be taking Romario to the World Cup, because it's my responsibility to take the best players," Scolari said.
But there is growing public support in Brazil to recall Romario, widely credited with a major role in Brazil's 1994 World Cup win in the United States, and the top scorer in Brazil this season.
"We'll keep an eye on him," said a seemingly unconvinced Scolari, who has only selected him once, a 1-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in Montevideo.
Fifty-fiftyCHIEVO president Luca Campedelli admitted last week that there was only a 50 per cent chance that coach Luigi Del Neri would stay with the Italian football club after this season. Del Neri, who has masterminded Chievo's rise from Serie B towards a possible place in the Champions League, announced that he would decide his future in the next two weeks. Del Neri's contract with Chievo runs out at the end of this campaign.
The Chievo president declined to speculate on who might take over should Del Neri leave for a bigger club. Chievo is currently fourth in Serie A after an outstanding first season in the top flight during which it has won praise for its refreshing style of play.
One dead from footballPRE-GAME violence by rival fans at a soccer match in Buenos Aires on Sunday left one man dead and 12 others injured, including six police officers.
Gustavo Rivero, 22, was shot in the chest and killed outside the stadium. At least one other man was shot in the back and was in serious condition. Rivero was a fan of Buenos Aires club Independiente, which was playing rival Racing Club in Argentina's Clausura league. Independiente won the match 2-1.
Rivero was shot after a fight broke out between roughly 400 fans in front of Independiente's stadium, located just 200 yards from Racing's stadium.
Police said there were between 70-80 arrests in the violence.
Baggio's unsettled dreamFORMER European Player of the Year Roberto Baggio is still holding out hope of making Italy's World Cup squad despite a recent knee operation. Baggio, who turned 35 on Monday, underwent an operation on a knee ligament earlier this month, prompting speculation that he could retire. But Baggio is determined to return to the field and believes he can do so in time to push for a place in Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni's squad of 23 for the tournament in South Korea and Japan.
Asked on Italian television about the World Cup, Baggio said: "It is a personal challenge and I am not used to losing against myself. I will try. I want to take up this extreme challenge."
But Baggio admitted he was pessimistic after suffering his latest injury. He did not make the Italian squad for Euro 2000.
Blatter boastingSEPP BLATTER has boasted of having the support of 112 of the 204 FIFA members for his re-election as head of soccer's world governing body.
The Swiss-born Blatter declared himself confident last week at being re-elected as FIFA president even if he is challenged by Issa Hayatou, the Cameroonian president of the African Football Confederation (CAF). Hayatou, the current FIFA vice president, must declare his candidacy by 28 March.
The elections are due to take place on 29 May in Seoul on the eve of the World Cup finals.
FIFA's bestSENEGAL, Cameroon and the United States had the most to be happy about after the latest FIFA world rankings were released. Cameroon, newly- crowned African Nations Cup winners, moved up 19 places to 18th spot in the list and Senegal, runners-up in the same competition, climbed from 68th spot to 45th. The United States, which won the Gold Cup title on 2 February, moved up from 26th to 13th.
The top teams were France, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Colombia, Italy, Spain, Holland, Mexico, England, Yugoslavia, Germany, the United States, Paraguay, the Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Cameroon, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
In need of restMOROCCO's triple world 1,500-metre champion Hisham El-Guerrouj has decided to miss the rest of the indoor season for health reasons. After pulling out of last weekend's meeting in Ghent, Belgium, El-Guerrouj later decided not to compete in Birmingham, England.
"I decided to pull out of these two meetings because of lack of training for several days and for health reasons," he said. He is also believed to have suffered a severe flu recently.
El Guerrouj holds both the outdoor 1,500-metre record of 3 minutes 26.00 seconds and the indoor mark of 3:31.18, earned in Rome in 1998 and Stuttgart a year earlier.
He added he has been doing regular training at Ifrane, Morocco, which is 1,600 metres above sea level, in preparation for the outdoor season.
Berlin to challengeBERLIN has won Germany's nomination to vie for the 2005 Athletics World Championships ahead of Munich and Stuttgart.
The German capital joins Brussels, Budapest, Helsinki, Moscow and Rome in the race to host the event.
The venue will be chosen by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at a meeting in Nairobi on 14 April. The last championships took place at Edmonton, Canada, in 2001 and the next event is scheduled for Paris in 2003.
(Compiled from wire services)
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