Pullouts plague run-up to Millennium Cup
Fazal-Tomashevic registers win
UP meet Punjab in semis
Japan students on exposure trip
‘19th player’ is not Zamorano
Tickets today
Golf meet for seniors on Friday
Calcutta Racing/ 7 line up for Wednesday’s Ardiles cup

New Delhi, Jan. 8: 
Uncertainty prevails, two days before the kick-off of the much-hyped Sahara Millennium Cup, with teams and players withdrawing at the last minute.

Today it was confirmed that Iraq have pulled out and Panama, who were to replace them, are not coming either. Thus, the ‘Group of Death’, in Kochi now has just three teams — Yugoslavia, which arrived this afternoon, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh.

Consequently, it is learnt that there will be no opening match on Wednesday in Kochi, as the Iraq-Yugoslavia tie has fallen through. Matches will comence in Kochi on Thursday, with group B matches, Iceland versus Uruguay and India versus Indonesia.

To appease those who have bought tickets for the first day, the Iceland-Uruguay match may be re-scheduled for Wednesday. A final decision will be taken tomorrow.

Cameroon too are on the list of doubtfuls. The official Fifa website states that Cameroon have withdrawn due to visa problems and non-availability of some players.

As India does not have an embassy in Cameroon, there is a delay in procuring visas.

However, AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is using his clout to ensure that Cameroon’s squad get visas on their arrival in Delhi on Wednesday. Cameroon are supposed to meet Hong Kong in a Group C match Friday.

If Cameroon withdraw, then the fans will be deprived of seeing the four Olympians in their squad, defenders Aaron Nguimbat and Clement Beaud, Nicolas Alnoudji and the talented Carlos Kamini.

Uruguay, who are also in India’s group, are coming with just 18 players. Attacker Santiago Silva Oliveria has withdrawn after being signed by an English club.

Another setback is that Uruguay’s highly-rated junior international Fernando Machado has withdrawn due to injury. He has been replaced by 23-year-old Pablo Muniz of second division club Sud America.

Chile’s defender Eros Roque Perez, who played in their recent World Cup qualfying matches, has also withdrawn due to injury. He has been replaced by Andres Oros, who plays for a middle-of-the-table first division club, Santiago Morning.

Iceland, also in India’s group, are having visa problems but are expected tomorrow.

The players to look out for are defender Gunniaugur Jonsson from a second division German club Bayer Udingen, stopper-back Indridi Sigurdsson and midfielder Gyifi Einarsson of Norwegian first divison club Lillestrom and promsing striker Tryggvi Gudmundsson, who plays for Tromso in the Norwegian league.

Iceland’s 43-year-old coach Atli Edvaldsson took charge in November last year. A legend in Iceland, he played for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and represented Iceland 70 times, and was captain on 31 occasions.

Following the withdrawal of Iraq, fixtures for matches in Kochi have been altered, adds PTI. The Kochi leg will now start on January 11 instead of the day before.


Jan. 11: Uruguay vs Iceland; India vs Indonesia. Jan. 12: Bosnia vs Bangladesh. Jan. 13: India vs Iceland; Uruguay vs Indonesia. Jan. 14: Yugoslavia vs Bosnia. Jan. 15: Iceland vs Indonesia; Uruguay vs India. Jan. 16: Yugoslavia vs Bangladesh.


Jorhat, Jan. 8: 
India’s Syed Fazaluddin and Dmitri Tomashevic of Uzbekistan came from behind to quell the challenge of Russian duo of R. Nourmatov and S. Krotiouk at the ITF Futures meet which got underway at the Jorhat Tennis Club here today.

Fazaluddin and Tomashevic won 5-7, 6-0, 6-2.

It was, otherwise a disappointing day for Indians as both wild card Rahul Rajkhewa and qualifier Mustafa Ghouse were sent packing. Rajkhewa, playing his first Futures, went down 3-6, 3-6 to eighth seed Luke Milligan of Britain in one hour and 28 minutes. Ghouse, on the other hand, lost 2-6, 4-6 to fourth seed Viktor Bruthans of Slovakia.

After losing the first set rather tamely, Ghouse did manage to level scores 4-4. But inconsistency put paid to his hopes of extending the match to the third set.

Prahlad Srinath and Fazaluddin open their singles campaign tomorrow. In other doubles matches, Indonesian duo of S. Wibowo and B. Wiryawan defeated A. Kokurin of Uzbekistan and M. Zewar of Egypt 7-5, 6-3.

RESULTS: Singles — James Nelson (GBR) bt James Auckland (GBR) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Donovan september (Rus) bt Dmitri Sitak (Rus) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; Denis Grenelmayr (Ger) bt serguei Vassine (Bela) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Fabio Maggi (Ita) bt Sergi Arumi-Romeu (Spa) 6-4, 6-0; andreas Fasching (Aut) bt Tomas Janc (Slo) 6-2, 6-3.


Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
Uttar Pradesh meet Punjab and Delhi face Hyderabad in the Vijay Merchant Trophy semi-finals beginning tomorrow.

At the Narendrapur Ramkrishna Mission ground today, UP piled up 597 for four in reply to Bengal’s first-innings 207. Taheer Abbas made 246 and Rohat Elahi an unbeaten 212.


At Narendrapur: Bengal 207. UP 597/4 (Taheer Abbas 246, Rohat Elahi 212 n.o.; Soujan Biswas 2/102).

At ECDSC: Mumbai 328. Delhi 382 (Prithpal Singh 77, Shekhar Dhawan 68; Goutam Jadhav 3/79).


Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
A 26-member Japanese squad landed in the city this morning to play in the Sahara Millennium Cup, with very little knowledge about India and its football, but high on no-nonsense ambition.

“We know very little about India and the football being played here. All we know is that a team from Calcutta, East Bengal, came to our country and that India’s most popular game is cricket,” Junichi Miyazaki, coach-cum-manager of the team said soon after their flight landed here at 8.45 am from Mumbai.

The Japanese, who will field a side well below their national standard here, are clear about what their gains from this tournament could be.

“Our team consists of young university students, most of them awaiting their graduation. They are eagerly looking for a call from J-League clubs. And a good performance here may help their dream come true,” Miyazaki told The Telegraph.

There was no hiding of such an ambition on the captain’s part either. “We aim at the Millennium Cup as a stepping stone for our future careers,” said skipper Taadaki Hirakawa, who plays as right wing back.

Picking Chile and Yugoslavia as ‘strong rivals’, Miyazaki said they would prefer to play pressing football in a 4-4-2 formation. “We love to operate in the styles of Roma and AC Milan”, he said.

According to him, the players’ average age is 18-22. “Apart from Hirakawa, we also depend a lot on the services of our two strikers — 1.94m tall Keisuke Ota and the diminutive Masaki Fukai. While the former is an aerial threat, little Fukai is known for his quick dribbling and powerful shooting.

“In midfield, Satochi Horinouchi is our mainstay, whose piercing passes can change the colour of a match at any moment,” the coach opined.

About their opponents in the opener, Miyazaki said the Uzbeks are a good fighting side. He also added that the team is hopeful of making it to the last-eight stage.


Toshiyasu Takahara, Tetsu Sugiyama, Kazuhiko Sakamoto; Tadaaki Hirakawa (capt), Hiroshi Fujikura, Daiki Iwamasa, Kobayashi, Mitsuru Chiyotanda, Takuya Mikami; Satochi Horinouchi, Takanori Suzuki, Keiji Yoshimura, Yoshimasa Fujita, Naotake Hanyu, Jun Sakai, Nobumitsu Yamane; Keisuke Ota, Masaki Fukai, Tsuyoshi Saito, Hideki Sekine.


Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
Football fans in the city may can now be sure that there is no chance of seeing Ivan Zamorano playing in the Sahara Millennium Cup.

AIFF officials have been claiming that the Chilean World Cupper may join the squad from either quarterfinal or semi-final stage. But it has proved to be a hope against hope. First the Chile football federation’s website denied all such claims, and now, a Chilean journalist, who is in the city covering the Millennium Cup, confirmed it.

“Both Zamorano and Marcelo Salas are busy with their club engagements. At no point of time, their names were discussed for the team to India. The former Inter Milan player, in fact, has already gone to join his new club, America, in Mexico, after a brief vacation in Chile,” said Pavlo Aravena of El Merquiro a well-read newspaper in the South American country.

The Chilean scribe also blasted the AIFF, who had earlier presented a 19-member Chilean squad with the 19th slot blank, saying it may have been reserved for Zamorano. Aravena today said the 19th member of the squad would be Andres Oros.

According to him, the team to play here “is basically a C-level team of Chile” but at least eight members of the squad had represented the country in the Sydney Olympics. They are goalie Christian Andrez Alvarez, Rafael Andres Olarra Guerra, David Andres Henriquez Espinoza, Javier Hoste, Rodrigo Nunez Ortez, Francisco Arrue Pardo and Andres Oros. Besides, Hector Santiago plays in Seria A for Perugia.


Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
Tickets for matches in the Sahara Millennium Cup will be sold from tomorrow from nine SBI branches: at Howrah, Ultadanga, Elgin Road, Narkeldanga, Behala, Bagbazar, Ballygunge and Park Street. Prices for qualifying rounds are Rs 50 and Rs 75.    

Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
Senior citizens of the city, who double up as avid golfers, will relive some of their green days when the BOC seniors golf tournament is held over the Tollygunge Club course Friday.

There has been confirmation from 325 players, and there will be 30 more nominees from the corporate world, a prerogative of sponsors BOC India Ltd and its managing director Mr Raman Pandya.

Mr Pandya said at a press conference today that while the seniors B (61-70 years) and veteran (above 70) categories will cater for those who have seen the best and have been among the elite in the golfing and corporate world, there is also this seniors A (50-60 years) category which will feature the current top crop of executives, industrialists et al.

There is als a ladies group, for those above 30.

Seniors A and B and the ladies play 18-hole stableford, while the veterans play nine-hole stableford.

Among the elite will be names like the state governor, Mr Viren J. Shah, as also Messrs J.N. Sapru, chairman BOC India, G.P. Goenka, chairman of Duncan Industries, J.J. Irani, managing director Tisco and more.

BOC India will also be promoting its medical oxygen concentrator, which “this age group would welcome,” felt Mr Pandya.


Calcutta, Jan. 8: 
Seven horses have lined-up for the Ardiles Cup, the chief events in Wednesday’s six-event card. First race starts at 1.25 pm. ACCEPTANCES
1. Little Bob Handicap 1,100m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 1.25 pm: Cancun 60; Aliqa 58; Pistol Star 53.5; Private Lives 53.5; Three Good 47.5; Fibonacci 47.5.
2. Wheels Handicap 1,400m (Cl V, Rt. 00-28) 2.05 pm: Arco Europa 61; Acaress 58.5; Consul’s Secret 55; Go With The Wind 54; Alastar 54; Armed Alarm 53; Double Cross 52.5; Madame X 52.
3. Quincy Handicap 1,200m (Cl III, Rt. 44-72) 2.35 pm: Sharp Sensation 60; Added Asset 59.5; Ispahan 55; Raaz 54.5; Sovereign Bullet 54; Armetta 53.5.
4. Ardiles Cup 1,400m (Cl II, Rt. 66-94) 3.05 pm: Desert Force 60; Giorgio 57.5; Double Bull 53.5; Auctioneer 53.5; Solo Act 53; Sterling Prospect 51; Harry The Horse 51.
5. I. N. S. Hooghly Cup 1,200m (Cl IV, Rt. 22-50) 3.35 pm: Stately Honour 60.5; Queen’s Logic 55.5; Orbital Star 54.5; Stella Blue 52.5.
6. Prince Royal Handicap 1,100m (Cl IV, 5-y-o & over Rt. 22-50) 4.10 pm: Tajik 60.5; Splendid Star 60.5; Storm Centre 60.5; Kargil Soldier 60; Tequila Shot 55; Special Sovereign 53.5; Work Order 53; Persuasion 53; Floral Path 51.5; Hoyo Hoyo 50.5; Flying Power 49.5.
Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.
Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.

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