2021 WAFF Championship in the UAE is postponed after coronavirus disrupts schedules

(UAE Football Association).

Reverberations from coronavirus’ impact have continued after January 2021’s WAFF [West Asian Football Federation] Championship in the UAE was postponed.

All 12 member nations had agreed to take place for the first time in the competition’s 20-year history, from January 2-15. This included the – debutant – hosts, holders Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

A virtual meeting was held on Sunday afternoon to determine the regional tournament’s fate, headed by UAE Football Association general secretary Mohammed Hazzam Al Dhaheri and WAFF counterpart Khalil Al Salem. The compacted fixture list caused by March’s wave of domestic and international cancellations or postponements as countries attempted to curb the pandemic’s spread, however, necessitated a rescheduling.

“The meeting discussed many items, the most important of which is the 10th tournament for men’s teams, which was to be held in the UAE early next year,” said Al Dhaheri.

“Based on the discussion that took place in the meeting, it was decided to postpone the tournament due to changing the dates of the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup, plus joint qualifiers for World Cup 2022 and 2023 Asian Cup.

“The UAE FA will hold coordination meetings with WAFF in order to set proposed dates for the establishment of the tournament, so that these dates are suitable for all participating teams.”

Matchdays 7-10 in the second round of AFC qualifying for the World Cup will now be held in October and November. The governing body has vowed to begin the third round by March 2021.

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Tanzania first African country to restart league amid virus

Tanzania this weekend became the first African country to resume a national league suspended during March because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Young Africans, who have been champions a record 22 times, won 1-0 away to Mwadui and Coastal Union overcame a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with visiting Namungo Saturday.

Runaway leaders Simba and Azam will both enjoy home advantage Sunday in the other two matches scheduled for this weekend.

Simba have 71 points with 10 matches to play, Azam and Young Africans share second place on 54 and Namungo lie fourth with 51.

Tanzania suspended the 20-club national championship in mid-March as the COVID-19 outbreak began to wreak havoc throughout Africa.

According to the Africa Centre for Disease Control on June 13, 225,126 people in Africa have been infected with 6,051 deaths.

Spectators were permitted as the league resumed in the east African state, but the elderly, who are generally most vulnerable to the virus, and children were barred.

Before being allowed into a stadium, fans must wear a face mask, wash hands with soap or use a hand sanitiser, and have their temperature checked.

Once inside, spectators must practice social distancing by sitting or standing several metres apart.

Footballers, referees, coaches and support staff are subject to equally strict measures to combat the virus, and change rooms are fumigated before and after matches.

– Carried on playing –
Burundi, a tiny, landlocked country bordering Tanzania, were the only African country to continue playing top-flight football during the pandemic.

Footballers in Belarus, Nicaragua, Taiwan and Tajikistan also carried on playing while the rest of the global football industry shut down temporarily.

Le Messager Ngozi have 58 points and Musongati 55 in a two-club race for the Burundi title with two rounds remaining, which are set for the weekends

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Marquez open to exhibition fight vs Morales

FILE – In this Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico, celebrates his win over Manny Pacquiao in a WBO world welterweight fight, in Las Vegas. Marquez was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File)

MANILA, Philippines—It seems that boxing legends have been itching for return fights, albeit in a more relaxed environment.

Former undisputed heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield have been training for months with speculations that the two icons will square off for a third time.

This time, it’s Mexican legends Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales–both of whom are four-division world champions–who are teasing for comeback bouts.

Marquez said that he’d be willing to fight Morales once an offer is presented to him.

“For me, it would be to my liking to do an exhibition,” said Marquez in an interview with ESPN Deportes as posted on boxingscene.com.

The two have traded verbal jabs over the past month stemming from their clashes with Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, and Marquez claiming that Morales ducked him during their primes.

Morales, though, claimed that it was Marquez who refused a fight while taking other proposals in 2011 and 2012.

Marquez added that he’d gladly train for a scrap against Morales and he’d do so with former trainer and Hall of Fame mentor Nacho Beristain.

“I would take [Morales] as an exhibition fight. You have to take the positive and the negative of doing that. I would like it. If I trained for this I would do it at one hundred percent. If you could do it, why not?,” said Marquez.

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