Race against time UBAI, United Arab Emirates, (CMC): West Indies’ hopes of an automatic World Cup spot suffered yet another blow when they slid even further in the latest ICC One-Day International (ODI) rankings released yesterday. The Caribbean side remained ninth in the rankings but lost four ratings points to slip to 79, falling further behind eighth placed Pakistan in their race for a top eight place in order to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England. Hosts England and the next seven highest-ranked sides at the September 30 cut-off date will qualify for the showpiece. With their latest slide, the Windies are now nine points adrift of Pakistan who dropped two points in the latest rankings. The two sides met recently in a pivotal three-match one-day series with Pakistan emerging winners by a 2-1 margin. Two-time World Cup champions West Indies are running out of time to improve their ranking with series against minnows Afghanistan in June and England in September remaining. Should the Windies fail to qualify automatically, they will enter a 10-team qualification tournament in an attempt to secure one of the two remaining World Cup berths. South Africa and Australia, meanwhile, have remained top of the ODI rankings, with the Proteas gaining four points to move up to 123 and the Aussies remaining stagnant. India, meanwhile, have gained five points and replace New Zealand in third place with the Black Caps dropping to fourth. England lie fifth on 109 points, Sri Lanka are sixth despite dropping five points while Bangladesh are seventh on 91.
Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene How to help the Taal evacuees FILE – In this Monday, Sept 4, 2017 file photo, Spain’s Gerard Pique takes part in a training session a day prior to the World Cup Group G qualifying soccer match between Liechtenstein and Spain at the Rheinpark stadium in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has defended Gerard Pique from critics who question his loyalty to the national team because of his support for a disputed referendum on Catalan independence. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP, FIle)MADRID — Spain coach Julen Lopetegui praised Gerard Pique’s commitment to the national team and called on the squad to be focused only on soccer despite the crisis involving Catalonia’s push for independence.Pique, the outspoken Barcelona defender highly supportive of Catalans, was harassed by fans Monday when he reported to the national team’s training camp in Madrid ahead of upcoming World Cup qualifiers.ADVERTISEMENT The national team’s practice on Tuesday was closed to the fans.“We are soccer players and coaches, we have to be focused on our main goal, which is to qualify for the World Cup,” Lopetegui said. “We can’t get distracted by anything. I know that this is an unpleasant situation, but I ask for some reasoning and tranquility so we can all play a great match against Albania.”Spain is three points ahead of Italy in Group G. It has a much better goal difference than the Italians, so it can close in a World Cup spot with a victory against Albania or at Israel on Monday.Only the group winner automatically qualifies for next year’s tournament in Russia.On Tuesday, Barcelona and the two other Catalan clubs in the Spanish league — Girona and Espanyol — joined a strike to protest the Spanish government’s actions in Catalonia. Barcelona said none of its professional or youth teams practiced and its headquarters was closed. The club played in an empty Camp Nou on Sunday to show its discontentment with the government’s actions during the referendum.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lopetegui said in a radio interview with local radio station COPE on Monday night that the central defender remained “motivated” despite the abuse from fans. He said he talked to Pique and didn’t think he was affected by it.He said Pique’s “behavior with the national team has always been very good” and there was no reason not to have him on the team. He said the player was well liked by his teammates.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“We don’t analyze the player’s political opinion,” Lopetegui said. “Gerard is an extraordinary central defender and he has been playing with the national team since he was 16. His commitment is tremendous. I don’t see why I shouldn’t bring him to the team. He is available and he wants to play. I know it’s not an easy situation, but I am a soccer coach and I have to prioritize.”The coach said players have the right to express their opinions privately, but have to try to avoid adding to the “unpleasant situation” generated by Catalonia’s bid for independence. LATEST STORIES ‘Very happy’ Nadal survives Beijing scare “We all have the obligation to create the best atmosphere possible ahead of this game against Albania (on Friday),” Lopetegui said. “And I mean all of us. We are playing to make it to the World Cup. After a year and a half we have the chance to finish the job and we obviously need to focus on this game, which is the only important thing for us this week. We all have to contribute to create this good atmosphere, there is no doubt.”Pique was in tears on Sunday as he criticized the Spanish police after violent clashes erupted during the independence referendum that the Spanish government said was unconstitutional. Officials said more than 890 civilians and about 430 members of the police force were injured across the northeastern region.“I see Pique with the same enthusiasm as before,” Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara said. “He is as happyas he has always been inside our locker room.”Pique continued to criticize authorities on social media on Monday, including just before reporting to the national team.Fans in Madrid chanted and held cards against Pique, including some that said “Spain is your nation” and “Out Pique.”ADVERTISEMENT Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ MOST READ DAY6 is for everybody OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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0Shares0000Saddam Juma is joined by teammates in celebrating his goal against Burundi in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup third place play off at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on December 17, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMACHAKOS, Kenya, Dec 17- Saddam Juma’s sumptuous second half brace saw defending champions Uganda Cranes come from behind to beat Burundi 2-1 at the Kenyatta Stadium on Sunday afternoon to claim the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup bronze.Uganda goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan’s butter fingers had given Burundi the lead in the first half, but a sublime volley and a well taken freekick by Juma in the second half handed the Cranes a consolation prize for their efforts. Uganda continued to press and in the 67th minute, Milton karisa who had just come on as a second half substitute came close with a flicking header unmarked from inside the box after Nsibambi cited his run into the box.They finally got the goal five minute later when Shabaan took on the responsibility after being fouled at the edge of the box, curling a wonderful freekick over the wall and leaving the Burundi keeper dazed.They should have had more goals through Allan Katterega and Karisa, bit they were thwarted.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) Burundi broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, Ochan spilling Pierre Kwizera’s curling freekick from the right when he seemed to have had a good grip of the ball.It had been a balanced start to the match, each team trying to open up for an attacking opportunity, but Kwizera’s freekick was the first shot on target in the game.Burundi should have doubled their lead on the half hour mark when Shabaan Ahmed’s dipping cross from the left was met by Laudit Mavugo at the far post, but the Tanzanian based striker headed wide.Burundi’s Ndikumana takes on Uganda’s Nelson Ssekantuka. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaThree minutes to half time, Abdul Razak Fiston took on a daunting run on the left, evading his markers to break through to the edge of the box before releasing a shot from the outside of his foot which bounced against the crossbar.In the second half Uganda came back with more purpose and they needed just four minutes to get back on level terms.Shabaan volleyed the ball home from the edge of the six yard box after tournament top scorer Derrick Nsibambi nodded the ball down for him from a Geoffrey Madoi cross from the left.In the 55th minute, Nsibambi should have had his fifth goal of the tournament but his effort from a tight angle after beating the keeper trickled across the face of goal.