Zico leaves Iraq
DOHA – Zico has quit as coach of the Iraqi national team after little more than a year in the post, saying the country’s football association had failed to fulfil the terms of his contract.
The former Brazil captain’s resignation comes with Iraq still battling for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.
Iraq are third in Group B in the fourth phase of Asian qualifying with five points from five games, trailing second-placed Australia only on goal difference. Japan lead the group on 13 points.
The top two teams qualify directly for Brazil in 2014 while the third-place team goes into a playoff system.
Pressure too great
Zico is widely considered one of his country’s finest players but has refused to coach in his homeland, saying the pressure is too great.
Instead he has plied his trade abroad, most notably in a four-year spell with Japan, who he led to the 2006 World Cup and won the Asian Cup in 2004.
Iraq have played home matches in Doha for security reasons.
Tendulkar talks to selectors
NEW DELHI – The unthinkable has reportedly occurred. Media reports say that batting genius Sachin Tendulkar has spoken to the Indian selectors about making a call on his cricket career.
Tendulkar, who has struggled the entire year, reportedly spoke with the selectors as they met to decide the team for the remaining two Tests against England. The 39-year-old is said to have had a separate discussion with chief selector Sandeep Patil yesterday. The reports also say that the selectors asked him to continue playing.
However, the Indian Cricket Board has claimed it is unaware of any talks between Tendulkar and national selectors on his future.
Ever since he scored the much-awaited 100th ton against Bangladesh earlier this year, Tendulkar hasn’t been in the best of form and critics had questioned his footwork in the home Test series India played against New Zealand. He was bowled in most of the innings and clearly lacked confidence.
The batting stalwart who is eight short of becoming the first cricketer to play 200 Tests, has not reached a century since the Cape Town match against South Africa in January 2011. Since then, he has played 15 Tests, and 28 innings, without a century.