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The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina has been postponed

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Brazil’s home World Cup qualifier against Argentina was called off on Sunday after four visiting team players were accused of violating COVID-19 standards.

Seven minutes after kickoff, officials from Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa walked onto the Corinthians Arena pitch and ordered the game to be suspended. Premier League players Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, and Emiliano Buendia, according to the government agency, failed to comply with travel entrance restrictions.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, new rules restrict non-Brazilians from entering the nation if they have been through the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland, or India in the previous 14 days. Anvisa accused the players of supplying fraudulent information on immigration documents and ordered them to self-isolate immediately in a statement issued hours before the match. “Anvisa considers the scenario to be a major health concern and has instructed local health authorities to determine the urgent quarantine of players, who are barred from engaging in any activity and should not remain on Brazilian territory,” the agency stated.

Martinez, Lo Celso, and Romero were on the field when the game was called off, while Buendia sat in the stands, having been left out of Argentina’s matchday roster.

After play was halted, players and coaches from both sides, including Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazil star Neymar, spoke at length with Anvisa authorities. Messi was heard asking why the game was allowed to begin if authorities were already aware of the protocol violation.

Most of his teammates were already in the locker rooms at that point, and the game was formally called off about an hour later. Brazil’s players stayed on the field the entire time and afterwards participated in an impromptu training session. It was unclear whether the qualifier would be rescheduled.

“The referee and match official will submit a report to the FIFA disciplinary committee, which will decide what steps to take,” said the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in a statement. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni mirrored Messi’s concerns, questioning why officials chose to wait until the game began before intervening. Argentina touched down in Brazil on Friday.

“It saddens me greatly. I’m not seeking for anyone. Regardless of whether or not there was any misconduct, this was not the time to intervene “Scaloni explained. “It should have been a game that everyone could enjoy, a chance to see the top players in the world.” I want the people of Argentina to understand that it is my responsibility as a coach to defend my players.

“We were never informed that they would be unable to play the match.” We wanted to play the game, as did the Brazilian players.”

Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, denied that the Albiceleste had willfully violated Brazil’s health regulations.

“You can’t talk about someone lying because all South American [football] competitions are played under health legislation,” he told reporters. “Each country’s health authorities approved a protocol, which we have strictly followed.” What occurred today is a travesty for football.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Pele is no longer in intensive care

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Pele, the legendary Brazilian footballer, has been transferred out of intensive care 10 days after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his colon, according to the hospital where he is being treated.

According to a statement made by Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, the 80-year-old will continue his recovery in a general room. It didn’t specify when he might be released.

Pele took to social media to thank supporters for their support and assure them that he is “ready to play 90 minutes.”

“Don’t believe for a second that I haven’t seen the thousands of beautiful comments I’ve received around here,” the three-time World Cup champion posted on Instagram.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took a minute out of their day to send me happy vibes. Love, love, and more love!”

Pele has struggled with a number of health issues in recent years, including complications after hip replacement surgery, as well as kidney and prostate issues.

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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A stadium built with Chinese assistance strengthens Sino-Cambodian ties

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Tourists passing along National Road 5 in the northern suburbs of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, may notice a massive “sailing ship-shaped” construction out there, the China-funded Morodok Techo National Stadium.

When Cambodia organizes the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time in May 2023, the 60,000-seat stadium will be the focal point for tournaments. The project, designed by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) with grant funding from China, began in August 2017 and was finished last month.

The stadium was handed over to Cambodia on Sunday, in the company of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Thong Khon, Cambodian Tourism Minister and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia said the stadium is a tremendous achievement in Cambodia’s sports sector and a new emblem of Cambodia and China’s unshakable ironclad friendship.

The 39.9-meter-tall tower was created in the shape of a “sailing ship,” with two 99-meter-tall prows, and it was surrounded by an ancient Angkor-style moat.

“The sailing ship represents a long-standing traditional friendship between Cambodia and China since Chinese people used to visit Cambodia by sailing ships in ancient times,” Thong Khon explained.

He claims that the 99-meter-tall prows of the sailing ship-like stadium symbolize the “Sampeah” gesture (in Cambodia, placing both palms together in a prayer-like fashion as a greeting or a method of showing respect), which really embodies Cambodian culture and tradition.

The five-story stadium, which covers a 16-hectare plot of the 85-hectare Morodok Techo National Sports Complex, was built using innovative technology and high-quality materials, he said.

“The CSCEC was very cautious, and it used high-end technology for the stadium’s construction while adhering to all technical standards,” he stated. “The stadium has a seating capacity of 60,000 and is designed to enable for a complete evacuation in seven minutes in the event of an emergency.”

QR codes have also been embedded on each seat, according to him.

The stadium, which was roughly 18 kilometers north of the city, also included a hotel, sportswear and equipment shops, food courts, and other facilities, he claimed. “It would not only help the growth of the sports sector, but it will also operate as a magnet to draw tourists, particularly Chinese visitors, to Cambodia in the post-COVID-19 period.”

The stadium is one of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation projects between Cambodia and China aimed at increasing sports, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people contact.

Hun Sen remarked at the occasion that the stadium was the result of tight cooperation between Cambodia and China and that he never imagined the kingdom would have such a beautiful stadium.

“It’s a new record of Cambodia and China’s unshakable friendship,” he remarked. “Without China’s backing, we would not have had this stadium.”

“I can say that this is only the fruit of our unshakable friendship from the start of the season,” Hun Sen continued.

Meanwhile, Wang said that the stadium was the largest sports complex that China has ever donated to its foreign partners.

“We built this very enormous stadium in Cambodia because our two peoples’ friendship is really deep,” he explained. “I hope that Cambodian citizens and athletes enjoy their sporting activities at this stadium and that Cambodian athletes achieve even greater success at the 2023 SEA Games.”

Phay Siphan, the Cambodian government’s main spokesman, stated that the stadium clearly highlighted China’s special interest in assisting Cambodia’s sports growth.

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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At China’s 14th National Games, Hunan shooters win two trap gold medals

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Liu Yingzi of Hunan won the women’s trap gold medal in the shooting event at China’s 14th National Games on Wednesday after a duel with compatriot Wang Shuying.

Liu finished first on the podium with 43 hits out of 50 tries. Wang won the silver medal with 42 hits.

“My performance isn’t as fantastic as those younger shooters,” admitted Liu, 50, who is competing in her seventh National Games. “Perhaps it was my experience and good fortune that helped me win the title.”

“I’m pleased with my performance today,” Wang stated. “It’s my first time competing in the National Games, so I’ve put in a lot of effort. I had completed several rounds of specialized training prior to the qualification and final.”

Despite missing only one of her first 15 shots, Zhu Jingyu had to settle for bronze after hitting 34 of 40 attempts.

Military World Games gold medalist Guo Yuhao of Hunan, 30, won gold in the men’s event with 47 hits from 50 tries.

Zhao Yunkai of Qinghai finished second with 45 hits, and Qi Ying of Shandong ended third with 34 hits in 40 shots.

“I kept reminding myself that I couldn’t miss any shots in the event, and I did,” Guo remarked.

“Tomorrow will be a fresh new day with new activities,” he added, “so I won’t indulge myself in the euphoria of victory but will be prepared for the following competitions.”

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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