FAT players get free burgers
Thailand’s top players will feast on free burgers as part of a three-year sponsorship deal with fast food giant McDonald’s worth almost US$900,000, the country’s soccer president said yesterday. McDonald’s will provide 25 million baht (US$747,000) for the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and will offer 5 million baht in products in exchange for shirt sponsorship for the next three years. “This will be a great help towards our efforts to reach the 2014 World Cup finals,” FAT president Worawi Makudi said. “This funding will help develop our game, especially youth football, and all the players, junior and senior, will get to enjoy the food too,” he said.
Norway keep faith with Olsen
Norway’s soccer federation have kept faith with manager Egil Olsen, who signed a contract extension on Tuesday that will keep him in the job till 2012. The 67-year-old is the most prolific national team manager in the history of Norwegian soccer, and was at the helm for Norway’s two appearances in the World Cup finals, in 1994 and 1998. Norway failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa. Despite finishing runners-up to the Netherlands in Group 9 their points tally was not good enough to put them among the best runners-up for the play-offs. Olsen has been given an option in his contract that could see him stay on through the 2012 European Championships, if Norway qualify. If he refuses this option, Olsen will hand over to Staale Solbakken, a former national team player who is now coach of FC Copenhagen, on Jan. 1, 2012. After a brief stint as coach of Iraq, Olsen returned to coach Norway in January.
Swine flu hits Haas
German player Tommy Haas has overcome a bout of swine flu quickly because of his fitness as a professional athlete, the nation’s Davis Cup team doctor said on Tuesday. “Athletes are more resistant than other people, leading to a shorter and less violent illness,” Erich Rembeck said. The Bild daily reported on Tuesday that Haas, 31, contracted the A(H1N1) virus and had to withdraw from a tournament in Stockholm after the first round two weeks ago. He subsequently canceled his appearance this week in Basel. “It started after the game [in Stockholm]. A sore throat, and then shivering fits and a fever during the night. It was really bad for three days and I could not leave my hotel room. I felt really bad,” Haas told Bild. “I did the test because I suspected swine flu. The test was positive. Naturally that was a shock for me,” he said. “Like all tennis players Tommy Haas travels a lot. That leads to a greater risk of infection,” Rembeck said.
Henriques joins injury list
An already weakened Australia were dealt another injury blow in the one-day series in India after Moises Henriques was ruled out of today’s fifth match with a damaged hamstring. Henriques, himself a replacement for the injured James Hopes, hurt his right hamstring during Monday’s fourth game in Mohali. Injuries have already forced the tourists, who are level 2-2 with the hosts in the seven-match series, to send back fast bowlers Peter Siddle and Brett Lee, wicketkeeper Tim Paine and Hopes. Aussie captain Ricky Ponting was understandably frustrated at the growing injury list that left just 13 fit players to pick from. “It’s disappointing to see these guys go down because you know how much they want to play and be a part of the series, and do the best they can to win games,” Ponting said.