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Troussier takes charge of Qatar

Doha: Frenchman Philippe Troussier, who coached Japan to their best-ever performance at a World Cup finals in 2002, signed a two-year deal to take charge of Qatar’s national team on Monday. Qatar Football Association general secretary Saud Al Mohannadi said Troussier’s contract would run until the end of the Asian Zone qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Financial details were not disclosed.

Troussier told reporters that Qatari football officials had not set any targets for him but he said his goal was to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. “There is no professional football in Qatar, that’s a big handicap,” said Troussier. “But I am sure things will change. I have many new plans for Qatar.”

The Frenchman coached Nigeria, South Africa, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast before becoming Japan’s most successful manager by taking them to the last 16 of the World Cup finals.

Asked why he opted for the Qatar job, Troussier joked: “If I had gone to Saudi Arabia they would have straight away asked me to get the World Cup.”

Nine Africans banned

Johannesburg: Nine African footballers were banned for up to two years on Monday after attacks on referees in recent African Nations Cup and club competition matches.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the bans in Cairo on Monday.

Kevin Tamboulas of the Central African Republic was handed a two-year ban for kicking the fourth official while Ethiopian international Dawit Mebratu received a two-year ban for attempting to throttle referee Crespin Aguidissou.

Team mates Mamo Alem Shanko and Anteneh Alamrew received one-year bans for spitting at the match officials. While Mauritanian internationals Boubou Ndiaye and Mohamed Ould Khouna were banned for a year for hitting and kicking the referee, Brazilian-born goalkeeper Luis Agostino, now a naturalised Libyan, was suspended for a year for hitting the linesman.

Asian laurel for Vikram Solanki

London: New batting star Vikram Solanki, who excelled in England’s triumphant campaign in the NatWest tri-series, has won the Asian sports achievers award for 2003.

The Indian-origin Solanki, who hit a brilliant century against South Africa in the league phase, made his debut for Worcestershire in 1993 and is now one of England’s rising stars.

Solanki, who was recently described by England one-day skipper Michael Vaughan as a “perfect role model for young and aspiring cricketers” received the award at a function organised by the Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar Monday night.

A smell for ‘life’

New York: Andre Agassi will help Aramis launch a new fragrance Wednesday night, with the slogan, “Life. It’s a great game.”

The new ad campaign will go on air in September, and the men’s fragrance will go on sale nationwide in October.

Aramis is now the lead global sponsor of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. Agassi, at 33 the oldest man to be ranked world No. 1, won his eighth career Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January.

Israel ban

Nyon: Uefa will consider lifting a ban on matches in Israel at the end of the month following a meeting with the country’s foreign minister Silvan Shalom on Monday.

Uefa-sanctioned games are not permitted in Israel after a ban was imposed in March 2002 because of the security situation.

Shalom, accompanied by Israel FA chief Gavri Levi, met Uefa’s chief executive Gerhard Aigner and his successor Lars Christer Olsson in Switzerland on Monday to plead for the ban to be lifted.

“It was a very positive meeting and the minister was able to make the case for matches to be played in Israel,” Uefa communications director Mike Lee said.

Soccer, ASEAN Club Championship — East Bengal vs Army XI, Philippines, Live from 4.30 pm on DD Sports
Cycling, Tour de France — Highlights from 8:30 am on ESPN
Cricket, Sri Lanka vs West Indies — Second Test, Day II Highlights from 2.30 pm on ESPN

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