Sat, Jul 30, 2011 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

ARGENTINA

Sabella to replace Batista

Argentina on Thursday appointed Alejandro Sabella as national team coach to replace Sergio Batista, the federation’s general secretary Jose Luis Meiszner announced. “The decision has been taken. Sabella is the choice,” Meiszner told Telam news agency. Argentina’s Copa America quarter-final exit to Uruguay earlier this month cost Batista his job, even though he had only replaced Diego Maradona eight months earlier. Batista was vilified in the press for not seeming to know his best team — he chopped and changed after a poor start, before Carlos Tevez returned to miss the decisive spot-kick against Uruguay. As a player, Sabella had brief stints with Sheffield United and Leeds United. Before becoming Batista’s successor he had been in line to take charge of Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates. Sabella, 56, began his playing career with River Plate in Buenos Aires and won the Copa Libertadores with Estudiantes two years ago.

UNITED STATES

Coach Bob Bradley fired

Bob Bradley was fired as coach of the national team on Thursday, barely a year after guiding the US to the round-of-16 at the World Cup in South Africa. US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced the removal of Bradley in a statement after a meeting between the two and US Soccer chief executive Dan Flynn in Los Angeles. It comes just two days before the draw takes place in Rio de Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Bradley took over the US squad in January 2007, first on an interim basis and then as the permanent replacement for Bruce Arena, who was dropped after the US failed to advance beyond the group stage at the 2006 World Cup.

MALAYSIA

Chiefs discuss ban

Asia’s soccer chiefs held top-level talks yesterday following calls for leadership elections after regional boss Mohammed bin Hammam was banned from the sport over corruption. China’s Zhang Jilong has led the Asian Football Confederation on a caretaker basis since last month after bin Hammam became embroiled in a vote-buying scandal and was subsequently banned from the sport for life. There is a strong possibility elections could be held in the next two months to replace bin Hamman. Candidates from Japan, Sri Lanka, Jordan, South Korea and Zhang are vying for the top job, a former top official close to some executive committee members said.

UNITED STATES

Gates, Barca to fight polio

Barcelona took on what could be their toughest rival ever on Thursday, teaming up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to try to eradicate polio. Flanked by players Andres Iniesta and Seydou Keita, Barca manager Josep Guardiola and Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates announced a three-year partnership against the crippling disease in Washington, with vaccination a key part of the fight. “Just as football is a universal sport with the power to transform lives, vaccines are a universal tool with the power to save lives,” Guardiola said.

UNITED STATES

Juve beat Chivas in friendly

Fabio Quagliarella’s first-half goal was enough to lift Juventus to a 1-0 victory over Mexican outfit Chivas Guadalajara in a friendly on Thursday. Quagliarella’s goal in the 12th minute insured Juventus notched their second victory in three nights on their North American tour.

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