MENA Sports Wrap: Could cricket minnows Oman upset England in the T20 World Cup?

MENA Sports Wrap: Could cricket minnows Oman upset England in the T20 World Cup?
Oman hope to score a win against England in the cricket T20 World Cup while some of the biggest names in football are linked to moves to the Saudi Pro League.
6 min read
07 June, 2024
Arab teams have been taking part in the cricket T20 World Cup [Getty/TNA]

Oman are competing in the cricket T20 World Cup, where they face giants such as England and Australia, while Saudi Arabia continues to attract the attention of some of the biggest names in football.

Oman competes in cricket T20 World Cup

Oman is taking part in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the USA and West Indies, where they made a disappointing start to their campaign with losses in their opening two group games.

The cricket minnows face some of the best teams in T20 cricket in their group, including England and Australia, along with Scotland and Namibia, who are both no push-overs.

Oman managed to hold Namibia to a draw on Sunday until losing in the Super Over despite Mehran Khan taking three wickets and Khalid Kail scoring 34 runs.

They then lost to cricket powerhouse Australia by 39 runs at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown in Barbados, one of the world's best-known grounds.

Despite the two losses, the Omani side has managed an impressive feat in reaching the finals, pitting their players against the best in the world, and will be hoping to pull off at least one surprise in the group stage following the USA's remarkable win against Pakistan in New York on Thursday.

Oman face Scotland on Sunday and England on Thursday, and we'll keep you updated on the sultanate's progress in the tournament next week.

Football legend Eric Cantona reads out letter by Palestinian journalist Bisan

Former professional footballer Eric Cantona joined A-list celebrities speaking out in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing war on Gaza.

The ex-Manchester United legend lent his voice to Palestinians by reading out a letter written by photojournalist Bisan Owda about their suffering since the eight-month war on the besieged enclave began in October.

"Each time, Gazans somehow manage to survive and live again, one way or another, war after war," Cantona read in his native French language.

"But this time is different. If Gaza is over this time, the world is inevitably over. The world developed its ways of murdering, its greediness grew, and its desecration of innocents has extended.

"If Gaza doesn't make it this time, this means that victory is the most violent and the most barbaric."

Bisan, known by her social media handle Wizard Bisan, has documented Israel's war crimes in Gaza throughout the war, which has killed over 36,500 people - 70 percent of whom were women and children.


A post shared by Voices for Gaza (@voicesforgza)

Kevin De Bruyne 'open' to Saudi Pro League move

Kevin De Bruyne is speaking with his family about a possible move to Saudi Arabia as a free agent next year, the Manchester City playmaker said Tuesday.

The experienced Belgium midfielder will turn 34, and have completed 10 seasons with the English Premier League champions, when his contract expires next June, making him a prime target for the Saudi Pro League.

"You’re talking about incredible sums of money during what might well be the twilight of my career," De Bruyne told Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws when asked if he would consider moving to a Saudi club.

"We are increasingly having such conversations as a family"  he said, noting that his eight-year-old son "only knows England. He is also asking how long I will play for City".

‚ÄúAt my age you have to be open to everything,‚ÄĚ De Bruyne said about his future.

Saudi league clubs backed by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on salaries and transfer fees to attract some of the world's top players since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr nearly 18 months ago.

Karim Benzema and Neymar later followed, though Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé resisted tempting offers last year.

Saudi officials say they want to focus on signing more young players at the peak of their careers, but an exception could be made for a generational talent like De Bruyne.

His visionary passing, reading of the game and shooting has helped Man City win six Premier League titles in his nine years there so far.

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He also could attract offers to start playing in Major League Soccer a year ahead of the US co-hosting the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

There were also rumours that Manchester United's out-of-favour defensive midfielder Casemiro could also be heading to the kingdom.

League champions Al-Hilal have allegedly registered interest in the player, but Al-Nassr are apparently keen to reunite the midfielder with his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. 

According to reports, Al-Nassr could pay an astonishing¬†‚ā¨100 million (¬£85 million) for the Brazilian.¬†

Agencies contributed to this report.

'The Special One': Mourinho makes surprise move to Turkey, coaching Fenerbahce

Top Turkish club Fenerbahce have nabbed one of the most successful managers in football history, Jose Mourinho, who is set to coach the team for the next two years.

Mourinho, who has coached some of Europe's leading teams, will manage the Turkish team until the end of the 2026 season. The manager, who last coached Italian side AS Roma, is tasked with winning the Turkish league, something Fenerbahce has not achieved since 2014.

The team was beaten to the title by fierce rival Galatasaray last month. Fenerbahce will also enter the Champions League in the early qualifying rounds in July.

The Portuguese national will be earning 10.5 million euros ($11.4 million) a year with the club. 

Mourinho was greeted by thousands of Fenerbahce fans as he signed for the Istanbul club. In a video gone viral on social media, Mourinho was seen waving the Fenerbahce shirt and called it "his second skin", much to the elation of the club's supporters.

When asked about why he joined Fenerbahce, Mourinho said:" "Being in London, fighting to be 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and to try to make a miracle and fight to be in the Europa League, is that ambition? Ambition is to play to win, to feel the heat. This is the reality of Fenerbahce. Fenerbahce is ambition."

It will be the first time Mourinho has stepped back from Europe's top five league since 2004, when he managed Portuguese side Porto, before his move to London club Chelsea.

Mourinho went on to coach Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Throughout his glittering career, Mourinho has won several Premier League, La Liga and Serie A titles, as well as a host of European club trophies. However, some of his managerial stints yielded less-than-favourable results, notably at Tottenham.

Nicknamed the 'Special One', Mourinho is the first-ever coach to win European titles with four different clubs.