FIFA has officially brought forward the opening match of this year’s World Cup by one day to 20 November in a rare change so that hosts Qatar feature in the gala game.
FIFA said in a statement this week that football’s top officials universally approved the decision, while Qatar said it would give unspecified help to fans affected by the change.
On the old schedule, Qatar against Ecuador was to be the official inauguration match on 21 November but Senegal against Netherlands would be the first match of the day. England against Iran would have been the second.
Qatar had also been frustrated as it has invested in a huge opening ceremony show.
“Host country Qatar will now play Ecuador on Sunday 20 November as part of a stand-alone event,” said FIFA.
“The opening match and ceremony of this year’s tournament at Al Bayt Stadium have been brought forward one day following a unanimous decision taken by the bureau of the FIFA Council today (Thursday).”
The bureau is made up of FIFA leader Gianni Infantino and the six heads of the continental confederations.
“The change ensures the continuity of a long-standing tradition of marking the start of the World Cup with an opening ceremony on the occasion of the first match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions,” added FIFA.
Under the new plan, the Group A game between Senegal and the Netherlands has been shifted from 13:00 (14:30 Kabul time) on 21 November to a 19:00 start. There is no change to England’s opening Group B clash against Iran.
Qatari organizers, who have spent billions of dollars preparing for the event, immediately welcomed FIFA’s gesture.
“Opening the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East and Arab world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Qatar,” said the organizing committee in a statement.
“The impact of this decision on fans was assessed by FIFA. We will work together to ensure a smooth tournament for the supporters affected by the change,” they added without giving details.
Ariana Television Network (ATN) meanwhile announced in July it had secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan.
According to company officials, the broadcasting schedule will be revised to include the events of November 20.
Ariana Television Network, the Official and Exclusive broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in Afghanistan, has worked closely with FIFA to bring what is undoubtedly the world’s most prestigious event into as many homes in Afghanistan as possible.
While not much has been revealed about the opening ceremony, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is reported to have special plans for the event, with some reports indicating he has a big fireworks display planned.
For the revised match schedule CLICK HERE
ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 qualifiers continue
The qualification pathway through to the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 resumes next week, with Oman preparing to host the eight-team Asia Division 2 Qualifier across two venues at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground in Al Amerat.
The hosts will welcome young stars from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand for the eagerly anticipated event which starts on 29 September and features an action-packed schedule of 16 matches over nine days.
The Division 2 Qualifier represents the first step on the qualification pathway to the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, and the two teams that progress to the final match on 7 October will join already-qualified Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal and the UAE in the Asia Qualifier in 2023.
A total of 16 teams will be competing at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.
Eleven teams have automatically qualified for the event as the best-placed Full Member nations from the previous event in 2022. These are: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The remaining five spots will be determined through regional qualification pathways, with one team from each region securing a place at the event.
Americas and East Asia-Pacific will each host one qualifying event in 2023, with the winner of each event sealing a spot at the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.
The Africa, Asia and Europe regions will each have a two-step qualification structure. These regions will host Division 2 Qualifiers in 2022 to determine the teams that will compete in the second and final qualifying event, the Regional Qualifier.
Only the winning teams from the Regional Qualifiers will qualify to compete at the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Afghan cricket team heads to UAE for training camp ahead of World Cup
The Afghan men’s national cricket team left Kabul on Thursday for the UAE where they will take part in a training camp in preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 next month.
This is the first of two training camps. The next camp will be in Australia, which is the host country of this tournament.
The World Cup will start on October 16 and run through until November 13.
Afghanistan are in Group 1 and begin their campaign on October 22 against England in Perth.
Mohammad Nabi, who led Afghanistan in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022, takes up the captaincy reins again.
Samiullah Shinwari, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Karim Janat and Noor Ahmad, all of whom were a part of the Asia Cup squad, miss out.
Meanwhile, middle-order batter Darwish Rasooli, all-rounder Qais Ahmad and the right-arm quick Salim Safi have been added to the list.
Twenty year old Safi has secured his maiden international call-up.
Afsar Zazai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rahmat Shah, and Gulbadin Naib have been named as reserves, while the rest of the squad is made up of familiar names.
According to chief selector Noor Malikzai, “the Asia Cup was a very good opportunity for the team to build up things nicely for the much-important global event in Australia.”
“Fortunately, Darwish Rasooli has recovered from injury (broken finger) and we are happy to have him available for the WT20, he has demonstrated good glimpses of him in the previously held Shpageeza Cricket League 2022 and offers an additional batting option to our middle order,” Malikzai said.
“Since the Australian conditions offer further support for the fast bowlers, so we have added Salim Safi, the tall right-arm quick to add further impetus to our bowling department. Overall we have picked our best available players for the event and we are hopeful of them to do well and better represent the country in the mega event,” he said.
For Afghan cricket fans, Ariana Television Network will broadcast the tournament live after having secured exclusive broadcasting rights in Afghanistan.
22 October – Afghanistan v England, Perth
26 October – Afghanistan v New Zealand, Melbourne
28 October – Afghanistan v TBA, Melbourne
01 November – Afghanistan v TBA, Brisbane
04 November – Afghanistan v Australia, Adelaide
Bangladesh A vs Afghanistan A series postponded
A scheduled cricket series next month between Afghanistan’s A team and Bangladesh’s A team has been postponed indefinitely.
Along with the young, upcoming players, a few national team players had been selected for the series.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said on Sunday the decision had been made by Afghanistan.
“This is their internal issue,” Nizamuddin Chowdhury, the BCB’s chief executive officer, told the Bangladeshi media on Sunday.
He said Afghanistan Cricket Board hosts tournaments outside of their home. “So they may have some logistic problems. We are not sure. They said they want to host this series later,” he said.
BCB’s CEO said they are now trying to host a longer version of the series for the Bangladesh A team during the same period.
But he did not reveal details.
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