Fans of the Pharaohs who want to forget their team's recent defeat by Algeria are preparing to head to Luanda, Angola for the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN 2010). Sixteen teams will take part in this year's CAN, the 27th of its kind, which will be held from January 10th-31st. Egypt has been the star team for the past four years, winning the 2006 event by beating Côte d'Ivoire 4-2 in a frenzied penalty shootout after a scoreless draw. The Pharaohs came back to grab the same Cup two years later, beating Cameroon 1-0.
Egypt is already on the move. The Pharaohs played Malawi on Tuesday (December 29th) in a friendly in preparation for the tournament. The match looked one-sided as Egypt controlled the ball most of the match, but it ended in a 1-1 draw. Pharaohs' head coach Hassan Shehata made sure that most of his players spent time on the pitch in order to determine the best lineup for the Africa Cup.
In other matches, Jordan's national side arrived in China on Monday to start training for a pivotal match against Thailand on January 6th in Bangkok. Both teams are looking to grab a win to gain three points which will get them closer to the 2011 Asia Cup finals in Qatar. The (Jordan) Brave Men have high hopes after beating group leader Iran 1-0 in a match last November in Amman.
Thailand prepared by taking on Zimbabwe in a friendly, beating the African outfit 3-0 on Tuesday. The Brave Men know they have to win in order to qualify for the Asian Cup for only the second time in history. Both Jordan and Thailand are part of Group E along with Iran and Singapore. Jordan is last in the group with four points, only one point less than third-place Thailand with five points. Iran leads the group with seven points, trailed by Singapore with six.
In the Qatar Stars Cup, Ahli thrilled their fans with a last-second win over Arabi on Friday. Al-Arabi seemed to be coasting towards a 1-0 victory for most of the match. But Ahli scored with four minutes left and again in the last few seconds of extra time to earn a 2-1 victory. In the final, Ahli will battle Gharafa Club, who defeated Saliyah Club 3-2. This should be a classic battle, with both teams hoping to add the Cup to their list of victories.
In golf news, Saudi Othman Mullah is one of several stars expected to take part in the Abu Dhabi Golf World Championship 2010, which starts January 21st. Mullah will compete with 120 other top-ranked golfers from around the world. The event will take place at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club Par-72 National Course, which has hosted the event since 2006 under the supervision of the European PGA. The prize money is $3 million. American Chris DiMarco won the championship in 2006 and 2007. The 2008 winner, Paul Casey, hailed from England. Last year's winner was German Martin Kaymer. Mullah will be the first Saudi to participate in the Abu Dhabi Championship.
In Kuwaiti basketball on Wednesday, Al-Sulaibikhat beat Al-Salmiya 52-33. Al-Kuwait Club crushed Yarmouk 115-80. Nasar lost to Al-Arabi 77-73. Al-Tadamon managed a 69-54 victory over Al-Shabab.