Dubai, 14 September 2020: Garena is to stage the fourth edition of its Free Fire Arab Series tournament that will see the best gamers in the Middle East and North Africa region put their skills to the test.
To be held between September 19 and October 10, the competition will have a prize fund of USD $20,000, with team overall national champions qualifying directly to the Free Fire Continental Series Grand Final, which will be held later this year.
Registration for the event will take place between 14 and 17 September ahead of the qualifying round from 18 to 20 September where the Free Fire gamers will aim to claim one of the 144 play-off berths.
The competition schedule will see the 144 teams, who will be split into 12 groups, compete in the play-off stage with the top four sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals on October 2 and 3.
With 12 places available, the semi-finals will see the 48 teams divided into four groups with the top three sides from each group securing their spot in the Grand Finals.
As well as vying for glory, the Grand Finals stage will also provide an opportunity for the runners-up and third-placed side to represent the MENA region in the play-offs of Free Fire Continental Series where both could join the champion in the Free Fire Continental Series.
Among the teams to participate in the latest Free Fire Arab Series edition are former champions Heroshima (Series 1), INFINITY_YT (Series 2) and INFISHIMA (Series 3) which merged between Heroshima team and INFINITY_YT.
As reigning champions, INFISHIMA are looking forward to battling against the region’s top’s gamers.
Achour Mourad (INS HARDCREW), team leader of INFISHIMA, said: “It is an honour to be participating in the Free Fire Arab Series tournament which we will go into as defending champions. We expect a stern test considering there are a number of strong teams across the MENA region and we are determined to do our best and win the title again.”
Staging the Free Fire Arab Series is part of Garena’s commitment to promote the eSports sector in the region and provide regular opportunities for gamers to test themselves against the best in the region.
This year, Garena has hosted a number of competitions including the Free Fire Arab Tribal and the Free Fire Arab Clash War.
Gamers can register for the Free Fire Arab Series event by going to esports in-game interface (FFC).
Young Emirati karting star shines bright in first X30 Junior season
Abu Dhabi - Sienna – 15th September 2020: Young Emirati karting star Rashid Al Dhaheri continued his successful first-ever season stepping up to the X30 Junior category, as he achieved first and second place respectively in Campionato Italiano Karting – with a big final and a smaller final following. This is in the face of Rashid being the youngest in the 12-14 category, with more seasoned drivers.
An excellent racing weekend was not without challenges. Finishing first in the qualifiers, with a tight margin against fierce competition, Rashid was placed in an excellent position for the first, big final race of the weekend, which was 20 laps.
Rashid powered ahead straight from the start, creating a gap immediately between himself and the competition. Holding firm for the extensive 20 laps, a small issue with his carburettor meant that he was losing fractions of a second each lap, creating a drag on his kart. Rashid held firm as the race ensued, with his competition gaining. Towards the last two laps, Rashid slowly held firm and closed the door.
Upon the last lap – an overtake. Despite the challenges to his kart, Rashid pushed his kart with determination. A photo-finish saw Rashid overtake with 0.3 of a second, sending Rashid to the top of the podium.
The weekend was a two-for-one, with the second final at 16 laps. The top eight of the first final were placed as reverse grid which meant Rashid started P8 on the outside line. Despite the big task to overcome, the young driver shone once more, overtaking lap upon lap, finishing in second and achieving fastest on the track.
Rashid said “This was a fantastic race to become involved with and I was glad to have held out for a first position and had a great second race as well. The competition is really challenging stepping up to the Junior category, so I am proud to have made an impact already. I hope to build on these performances for the rest of the season.”
Coach and ex-Formula 2 champion Fausto Ippoliti said: “The move up to Junior category is a big step up in the karting world and Rashid’s consistency in achieving victories so early on should not be underestimated. The field is tough, however we are seeing that Rashid’s innate skills, preparation in practice and absolute determination even under challenges, is a great combination to keep him competitive at the highest level. I am really happy to see him developing his talent.”
The Circuit of Siena 1,037 metres, with a width of 10 meters and a new 12,000 m2 paddock. Among many excellent debuts, the Siena Circuit has held renowned racing personalities as a ‘baptism’, such as the son of the two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen. The track has a National ‘A’ type approval and a ‘C’ type international approval.
About Rashid Al Dhaheri
Rashid Al Dhaheri’s passion for motorsports started from a very young age, growing up just 10 minutes away from Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, which ignited his passion. After some practice sessions he attended a karting summer camp in Italy organised by the Italian Karting & Motorsport Federation (ACI CSAI). Here he immediately demonstrated an aptitude for racing and considerable natural talent.
Rashid has rapidly developed into a young karting racing star who continuously achieves a string of firsts for the Arab world. In March 2019, the young Emirati became the first person from both the Middle East and Asia to became champion of the WSK Super Master Series. He won the championship with a big margin and became the first Mini driver to win three out of four races in the last seven years. Rashid added to this the prestigious WSK Euro Series Championship and a win at the world’s greatest karting race in Macao.
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez reckons prolific batsman and limited-overs skipper Babar Azam should bat in the middle-order as to try different things.
Hafeez, who was also appointed Pakistan T20 team captain back in May 2012, shared his opinion that the star batsman should bat in the middle-order to try different things.
“I think in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe, we should try a new opening pair. It will help us evaluate the prospect of other opening batsmen in the domestic circuit. I believe Babar should come lower down the order,” Hafeez, who has scored 2,147, runs in 94 T20s, said while talking to a private news channel.
Hafeez, who scored 6,614 runs in 218 ODIs, believes that the Pakistan team management should give chance to youngsters in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe team are due to arrive in Pakistan for a limited-overs series in October, which includes three Twenty20s and as many ODIs.
Hafeez, who collected 3,652 runs in 55 Tests, reckoned that the team management should rest seniors for the said series and give chance to younger players.
“I think the team management should give chance to youngsters in the series against Zimbabwe,” said Hafeez. “This kind of series is a perfect opportunity to test your bench strength and give rest to seniors.”
Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan has confirmed that the Zimbabwe series will be split between Rawalpindi and Multan.
The ODIs will be staged in Multan while the T20s will be held in Rawalpindi.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020
LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday reiterated that the domestic players are not required to resign from their parent departments to obtain contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season, which commences with the National T20 Cup from Sept 30.
“The PCB is neither asking the players to resign nor to cancel existing contracts with their departments if they are interested in securing player contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season,” the cricket board said ina statement said. “All the PCB is asking from the employed and contracted cricketers, in accordance with applicable policies and SOPs, is for them to provide No Objective Certificates (NOC) from their departments so that they can be offered contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season. The issuance of such NOCs is part of the normal course of business; is not only a PCB requirement but that of the departments as well; and is, in fact, an established past practice.
“Once the relevant NOC has been issued by the player’s parent organisation and submitted to the PCB, the PCB will make payments in accordance with the terms of the contract it has executed with the player.”
The PCB has already explained that an employed cricketer is eligible for the 2020-21 domestic contract and the PCB will have no objection if the player’s parent organisation also pays him during the term of the 2020-21 domestic player contract.
“An employed cricketer can be offered 2020-21 domestic contract provided that the player has submitted the relevant NOC issued by his employer to the PCB in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable to such players. Whether or not the player will be paid by the employer is a matter between the two entities.”
The PCB has further explained that two types of contracts will be offered to the high-performing domestic players.
“A maximum of 32 players in each Cricket Association will be offered domestic central contracts, while the remaining players will be offered a seasonal contract.
“Under the domestic contract, a player will be bound by the obligations of the domestic central contract and will receive a monthly retainer along with match fee, daily allowances, other related benefits etc. wherever applicable.
“Under the seasonal contract, a player will be bound by the same obligations as those prescribed under the domestic central contract but will not receive monthly retainer. Such players, however, will be eligible to receive match fee, daily allowances, other related benefits etc. wherever applicable.”
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020
The Pakistan cricket squad left on Sunday for their England tour without 10 players who had tested positive for coronavirus.
Test skipper Azhar Ali said the team was looking forward to playing in what will be some of the first Test matches since the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a global lockdown.
“All the players are excited after a tough period,” said Azhar on the eve of departure.
“Though a tour to England has always been challenging, our performances there on the last two tours [in 2016 and 2018] are encouraging and we will try to repeat those.”
Pakistan drew a four-Test series 2-2 in 2016 and a two-match series 1-1 two years later.
A chartered plane carried 20 squad members including two reserves, who were seen wearing face masks and observing social distancing at Lahore airport in pictures released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The squad will face a two-week isolation period on arrival before continuing their preparations ahead of the first Test with two four-day warm-up matches.
The travelling party did not include 10 players who tested positive for the virus last week. Six later tested negative for the virus, and will be allowed to rejoin the squad once they have had two consecutive negative results.
Pakistan are due to play three Tests against England in August followed by three Twenty20 internationals.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday reversed its decision to terminate 55 employees as a downsizing measure, days after it handed them a one-month notice period ending on June 30.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan in a statement today said "making changes is about timing and, on reflection, the process and communication needed to be better".
"As a responsible organisation, we have reviewed our decision and acted quickly to withdraw the notices," he added.
A PCB spokesman had earlier said that the decision of downsizing had not been taken due to financial constraints caused by the Covid-19 outbreak but it had been done as per the requirement of corporate norms since their was surplus staff in the organisation.
Khan, in his statement today, said "the vast overstaffing that the current Board has inherited remains a long-term sustainability issue for the PCB", adding that the cricket body would continue to "restructure and rationalise its staff numbers".
"The PCB will make necessary decisions in due course," he added.
The PCB has possibly the largest set up among the cricket boards of the world as far as its staff strength is concerned. Almost every chairman had made appointments to oblige friends and relatives and the staff strength is said to be approximately 800.
The incumbent PCB body has already cut down the staff strength to some extent by abolishing the regional body system, where nearly 260 employees including groundsmen, curators besides office clerks were working and getting some portion of their monthly salaries from the PCB besides from their respective regions.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday decided to cut short the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 and hold the final match of the tournament on March 18 instead of March 23.
According to a press release by the cricketing body, the playoff match has been replaced by the semi-finals, which will be held in Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on March 17; one at 2pm and the second at 7pm. The final will also take place at the Gaddafi Stadium at 7pm on March 18.
The playoff matches scheduled for today, tomorrow and March 15 will be held according to schedule.
The announcement came hours after the board announced that the tournament will continue as planned.
PCB had also said that all players participating in PSL 2020 have been given the option to pull out of the tournament amid growing fears of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Sindh confirmed its first "secondary contact case", taking Pakistan's coronavirus tally to 21.
“Today, the PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home," PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying.
According to an official statement by the cricket board, the following players have confirmed they will not take part in any future matches of the tournament.
Peshawar Zalmi coach James Foster and Islamabad United trainer Corey Rutgers are also going back home.
“This remains an evolving and unprecedented situation with a number of moving parts that require constant and regular monitoring. Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB," Khan said.
"As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many [...] who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries."
He added that the PCB will facilitate their safe return and will ensure the same for all of the players and support staff personnel who decide to withdraw from the league.
"We will continue to assess and review the situation and will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved," he said.
In another statement issued today, the PCB has decided that that final few matches of PSL scheduled to take place in Lahore will be played behind closed doors, meaning that all remaining matches will be played in the absence of spectators.
Yesterday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had announced that all PSL matches at Karachi's National Stadium would be played without spectators.
“A high risk is involved in allowing spectators to gather in the stadium to witness the matches and we can’t put everyone at risk, therefore matches will be held without spectators,” he had said.
The PCB had endorsed the Sindh government's decision and the board's chief executive had also said that they were in consultation with the Punjab government over holding the remaining matches without spectators.
In today's statement, the cricket board said: "The decision will not impact accredited commercial partners, media and other service providers, who will be allowed to enter Gaddafi Stadium.
"In addition, immediate families of competing players, player support personnel and franchise owners will be allowed to attend the matches."
The statement added that the step has been taken as a precautionary measure to better protect the health and safety of all those involved, adding that all those who had purchased tickets will be given a full refund.