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Messi named FIFA player of 2022, England women rewarded for Euro campaign

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2023)

Lionel Messi was named FIFA player of the year 2022 on Monday as Argentina scooped all major men’s awards after winning a vintage World Cup final last December, Reuters reported.

The 35-year-old forward scored two goals in the final against France, with the South Americans emerging triumphant on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time in Qatar.

“It’s amazing. It was a tremendous year and it is an honour for me to be here tonight and win this award”, said Messi, who sat next to France forward and Paris St Germain team mate Kylian Mbappe throughout the ceremony at Paris’s Salle Pleyel.

According to Reuters Mbappe, also nominated for the highly anticipated award of the night, netted a hat-trick in the World Cup final but his achievement was overshadowed as Messi finally won the most coveted trophy in world football.

“I want to express my thanks to (coach Lionel) Scaloni and my team mates, without them I would not be here,” Messi added.

“I achieved a dream I had been hoping for so long and finally I achieved it. It’s a dream for any player, very few people can achieve that and I was lucky enough to do so.”

His compatriots Lionel Scaloni and Emiliano Martinez won the coach of the year and keeper of the year awards respectively, and their supporters even got the best fans prize, while England were rewarded for their victorious women’s Euro 2022 campaign.

Mary Earps was named keeper of the year and England’s Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman received the accolade for best coach of a team who had four players in the year’s World 11 – Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh, read the report.

Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who won the Ballon d’Or last year, was named women’s player of the year after inspiring Barcelona to a third consecutive national title in 2022.

Polish amputee Marcin Oleksy won the Puskas prize for best goal of the year for a spectacular acrobatic volley with Warta Poznan against Stal Rzeszow.

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Head of Sports Administration attends opening ceremony of Kazan’s ‘Games of Future’

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

The General Director of Physical Education and Sport of Afghanistan (GDPES) Mawlavi Ahmadullah Wasiq participated in the opening ceremony of the Games of Future competition hosted by Tatarstan-Kazan.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq also met with the Ministers of Sports of Russia and Tatarstan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials also participated in the opening ceremony, GDPES said in a post on X.

According to GDPES the competition started on February 21 and will continue until March 3.

Nearly 2,000 athletes from 107 countries will take part in the games and will compete in 21 sports.

The Next Generation Sports competition is a new series of sports competitions, which for the first time officially starts in Kazan.

The combination of these sports includes digital and classical sports, GDPES said.

Putin said during his opening speech that sport is meant to create unity between countries and nations and should not become political.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Wasiq meanwhile met with the minister of sports of Russia, Oleg Matisin, and the minister of sports of Tatarstan, Vladimir Leonov.

Cooperation in sport and sport development was discussed.

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Afghanistan win three-run thriller, but Sri Lanka take T20 series

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2024)

Afghanistan salvaged some pride on Wednesday when they secured a nail-biting three-run win over hosts Sri Lanka in the third T20I, the last game of their multi-format tour.

It has been a wretched tour for the Afghans — losing six matches in a row — but skipper Ibrahim Zadran said he was “feeling great” after his team held their nerve in a dramatic close with a hard-fought win.

“I am happy with the win,” Zadran said. “Unfortunately, we lost the series.”

Sri Lanka had already secured the three-match T20 series after winning the first two games, the first by four runs, and the second by 72 runs.

They had also won the one-off Test match and the one-day international series in a 3-0 clean sweep.

But Afghanistan seemed determined to win at least one match.

‘Under pressure’

Sri Lanka required 36 off the last two overs, with Dasun Shanaka bringing the chase down to 24 off eight balls — but was run out.

That left Sri Lanka with 19 runs needed off the last over.

But they could manage only 15, with the game marred by controversy as tensions spiked in the last six balls.

The fourth ball from Wafadar Momand was a high full toss, but the square leg umpire didn’t call a no ball despite batters’ protests.

Captain Wanindu Hasaranga was seen exchanging words with the umpires.

“We played good cricket in the first two games,” Hasaranga said.

“Credit goes to our bowlers and the batters”.

Fighting to the end, Kamindu Mendis hit a six off the last ball of the innings, but it was not enough and Sri Lanka fell short by three runs.

Mendis was unbeaten on 65 off 39 balls, with seven fours and two sixes, achieving his maiden half-century in T20 cricket.

On a pitch tailor-made for batting, giving little room for error for the bowlers, Sri Lanka’s openers gave them a rousing start adding 64 runs in 35 balls.

The partnership was broken when Kusal Mendis attempted a boundary on the off-side but failed to clear the extra cover fielder where Sharafuddin Ashraf back-peddled and took a good catch.

In the process, the fielder banged his head onto the turf.

Ashraf was replaced as the concussion substitute rule came into effect and leg-spinner Qais Ahmad took his place.

Afghanistan took two wickets in three balls when Noor Ahmad trapped Kusal Perera leg before wicket for a duck.

Pathum Nissanka posted his tenth T20 half-century, off 27 balls, but soon after hurt his hamstring and his movements were restricted.

He moved to 60 with a six off Noor Ahmad and retired soon afterwards. He faced 30 balls and hit eight fours and two sixes.

Afghanistan’s big total was thanks to the efforts of their openers, posting 88 runs off 44 balls.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz went on to make 70 after being dropped twice.

“I was under pressure but I tried to go in today and play my natural game,” Gurbaz said. “I took responsibility and I think that was the reason.”

Sri Lanka battled back with Matheesha Pathirana claiming two wickets in two balls, but it was not enough to stop Afghanistan from scoring over 200 runs. – AFP

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Afghanistan, Sri Lanka set for 3rd and final T20I

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(Last Updated On: February 21, 2024)

The third and final game of the T20I series between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be played on Wednesday, February 21, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.

This is also the final match in Afghanistan’s tour of Sri Lanka, which included a one-off Test, three ODIs and the T20I series.

So far, Sri Lanka have taken the lead 2-0 in the T20I series.

Afghanistan have failed to win a single game on this tour so far and will be hoping to finish on a winning note.

Sri Lanka have a clear edge over Afghanistan when their head-to-head record in the shortest format is considered. The Lankans have won five games as opposed to one for Afghanistan in their six meetings so far.

Matches played: 6

Sri Lanka won: 5

Afghanistan won: 1

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Pitch Report

The surface at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium looks a good one to bat on. There will be plenty of runs on offer for batters once they get their eye in. The pacers can use slower deliveries while bowling on this deck as it has been effective as seen in the series so far.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan Weather Forecast

Clear skies will greet both sides on Wednesday. The temperature in Dambulla is expected to range between 22 and 33 degrees Celsius.
Watch the match live!

Ariana Television Network will broadcast Wednesday’s match live on Ariana Television from 6pm.

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