Celtic boss burgled
Burglars have raided the home of Gordon Strachan, the manager of Scottish giants Celtic, police said on Saturday. Thieves broke into his home in Bothwell, south-east of Glasgow, while he and his wife slept, reports said. The burglars made off with a haul of his possessions, including a camera and a laptop computer, newspapers reported. Strachan hinted at the incident in a press conference on Friday. Asked if he was having sleepless nights due to the close-run Scottish Premier League title race with Glasgow rivals Rangers, he said: “I’m sleeping too well. It’ll be self-explanatory in a wee while, I’m sure. But I am sleeping too well, trust me.”
Figo under fire over cat
Veteran Portuguese winger Luis Figo is under fire from animal rights groups in Italy after apparently deliberately killing a black cat. Banners lambasting the Inter Milan player were hung up near the club’s training ground overnight from Friday to Saturday. One said: “Figo, you’ve killed a black cat, the whole world is disgusted with you.” Another added: “Figo, shame for Inter, justice for the cat.” According to the Friday edition of the Libero newspaper, Figo deliberately killed a black cat that lived near the training ground with his car, believing it to be bringing bad luck to his team. Figo denied killing the cat in a statement released on Inter’s Web site on Saturday. “It’s is completely untrue. I want them to appologize otherwise I will be obliged to take legal action,” he said.
Malik hopes to overturn ban
Former Pakistan captain Salim Malik on Saturday said he hoped to overturn his life ban for alleged involvement in match-fixing after the country’s top court granted him an appeal hearing. Malik was banned by a match-fixing inquiry in 2001 after three top Australian players accused him of offering bribes for them to underperform. But after Saturday’s decision by the Supreme Court the 44-year-old said: “It is a sort of a win for me. This means a lot to me because I have been fighting to clear my name for eight years and once I get this ban overturned I would like to associate myself to cricket once again.” The May 2001 ban, imposed by an inquiry headed by high court judge Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, also prevented him from holding any office or involvement in any cricket-related activity. He added: “I can’t play cricket at my age now but there are hundreds of things linked to cricket which I can do and one is coaching,” said Malik, whose efforts to start his own coaching academy were blocked by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2006.
Japan close in on title
Japan have the inaugural Asian Five Nations rugby title all but in their grasp after another thumping win over an outclassed Kazakhstan. Saturday’s 82-6 victory included 12 tries, while South Korea beat a dogged Arabian Gulf side 43-20 in Doha in the weekend’s other game. It means Japan will clinch the trophy next weekend if they beat Hong Kong at home. Japan used their superior fitness, lines of running and confidence to score tries from all over the park against Kazakhstan, who were always on the back foot. In Doha, the South Koreans had a battle against a multinational side of amateurs who qualify for international rugby through residency in Gulf states. With just seven minutes left to play, the Gulf were only four points behind Korea, but the visitors’ superior fitness showed through in the dying stages, when they ran in three of their seven tries.