FOOTBALL Loew extends Germany reign until 2020
BANGLADESH heaved a sigh of relief yesterday after successfully hosting England for a month-long series and hoping their gripping battle would persuade other teams to follow suit after security fears proved unfounded.
The tour was plunged into doubt after five Islamist gunmen attacked a restaurant in Dhaka in July, killing 18 foreigners, with England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan among others deciding to sit out the series.
But after being promised security measures more usually accorded to heads of state, the bulk of England’s players did agree to travel and played their part in a nail-biting contest.
After Bangladesh pulled off a 108run victory in the second and final Test in Dhaka on October 30 to level the series, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury was beaming with joy.
“We’ve done everything possible to make the tour successful and it was a huge, a huge success,” Chowdhury told AFP.
“A sense of great comfort and relief is prevailing everywhere.”
The Bangladesh board, which has long struggled to persuade teams to travel to Test cricket’s newest nation, was dealt a major blow last year when Australia scrapped a planned tour at the last minute on safety grounds.
The BCB was wary that a major security incident involving England could condemn it to the same fate of Pakistan, which hasn’t hosted a major Test team since an attack on the Sri Lankan bus during a match in Lahore in 2009.
Nizamuddin said he hoped the Australian board – whose chief security officer Sean Carroll visited Bangladesh last week to witness the measures provided for England – would be persuaded that Bangladesh was a safe venue.
“It was a big challenge for us to host this event successfully on the field and off the field. And we think we have done that. We have been praised by the England cricket board, their players and officials,” Nizamuddin said.
“Given the circumstances, there could not have been a better series on and off the field. It’s a clear message to the rest of the world that Bangladesh is an absolutely perfect venue for hosting any international event.”
The first of the two matches, which England narrowly won by 22 runs, was Bangladesh’s first Test in nearly 15 months.
While Australia’s refusal to tour partially explains the dearth of Tests, a bigger problem has been Bangladesh’s poor record since gaining Test match status 16 years ago.
Their victory in the second Test was only their eighth in 95 contests – and the first against a full-strength side from a major country.
Before the match, skipper Mushfiqur Rahim had pleaded for more teams to play Bangladesh, saying that the only way they would improve would be to get more games under their belt.
It was a point echoed yesterday by Mohammad Ashraful, one of Rahim’s predecessors who just returned to domestic cricket after serving a three-year ban for match fixing.
“We need more Test matches to improve,” Ashraful told AFP, saying the series proved that Bangladesh could now compete against the best.
“I just hope our players will get this opportunity and they deserve it.”
Even though the defeat will have dented the mood in the England camp ahead of their eagerly awaited tour of India, Bangladesh fans were swift to praise skipper Alastair Cook and his team for making the trip.
After watching a preceding ODI series from the sidelines, Cook flew back to Bangladesh for the first Test only days after the birth of his second child back in England.
Writing on Facebook, Bangladesh fan Rajib Hasan hailed Cook for agreeing to return to the fray even it meant he only had “his baby in his arms for a couple of minutes”. – GERMANY’S World Cup-winning coach Joachim Loew has extend his contract until 2020, the German Football Association (DFB) announced yesterday.
The 56-year-old, who took charge in 2006, has inked a two-year extension that will see him lead Germany’s defence of the World Cup in Russia in 2018 as well as their European Championship campaign in 2020.
If Loew stays in office until 2020, his 14-year reign would make him the joint second-longest-serving Germany coach, equalling the reign of Helmut Schoen (1964-78).
After having won a fourth World Cup in Brazil two years ago but losing to hosts France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals in July, one of Loew’s goals is to win their first European crown since 1996.
“We have visions and things that we want to tackle, so the time of the extension was just right,” Loew told a press conference in Frankfurt.
“The goal is, of course, to repeat our success story in Rio and we want to be European champions, which is a big goal of mine.
“When the head and the heart both say ‘yes’ at the same time, then there is not much to think about.
“I feel the same motivation as I did at the beginning of my term at the DFB and I still feel their confidence.”
“It’s simply great fun to work with this team and these players.”
Loew, who took charge of die Mannschaft after the 2006 World Cup following two years as assistant coach under Jurgen Klinsmann, will reportedly receive a pay rise to earn 4 million euros (US$4.4 million) per year.
His old deal is believed to have earned him an annual salary of around 3 million euros per year.
“Loew is the best coach that we in the DFB’s executive committee can imagine,” said German FA president Reinhard Grindel.
“We have the same goal – we want to defend our World Cup title in Russia and, after we were so close to it in France this year, we want to try to be Europe champions in 2020.”
Grindel added that Loew’s new deal was “a reward” for the head coach’s hard work, but the president wanted to get the contract signed before the German FA meets in Erfurt on November 3-4.
Sepp Herberger holds the 28-year record for a Germany coach, from 1936-64, during which time he led West Germany to their first World Cup title in 1954.
Germany, who are top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group with three straight wins, play San Marino away in their next qualifier on November 11 before facing Italy four days later in a friendly in Milan. –
Mehedi Hasan (left) celebrates after Bangladesh won on the third day of the second Test cricket match in Dhaka against England on October 30. Bangladesh won by 108 runs and levelled the two-match Test series 1-1.
Germany’s coach Joachim Loew speaks at a press conference in Hanover on October 10.