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Ballack unfit to play against Denmark

German midfielder Michael Ballack, who missed the World Cup because of an ankle injury, is not fit enough to play in next month's friendly against Denmark, his Bayer Leverkusen coach said on Tuesday.

sports Updated: Jul 28, 2010 00:00 IST
Agencies/HT Correspondent

German midfielder Michael Ballack, who missed the World Cup because of an ankle injury, is not fit enough to play in next month's friendly against Denmark, his Bayer Leverkusen coach said on Tuesday.

The former Chelsea midfielder, who joined the German club during the summer, began training with his new teammates last week, but coach Jupp Heynckes does not think he is ready for the August 11 friendly.

“The match against Denmark is too soon for him.

“There's no point in thinking about it,” Heynckes told the daily Bild.

“It would be foolhardy. For a friendly game you have to be fully fit.”

The 33-year-old injured his ankle in his last appearance for Chelsea in the English FA Cup final in May, and saw the German captaincy pass to Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm.

Coach Joachim Loew indicated last week that he would speak to both players about their future roles in the national team just before the Denmark game.

Maradona asked to axe staff

Buenos Aires: Senior members of the Argentine Football Association say Diego Maradona has been asked to replace a majority of his staff, jeopardising his future as coach of the national team.

Maradona has said with trademark defiance that he would refuse to renew his contract if the AFA dismissed even one member of his coaching staff.

But in a meeting on Monday, AFA president Julio Grondona asked him to replace seven of his assistants, effectively showing him the door, according to several executive committee members.

They spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday because they were not authorised to make public statements about the meeting. Maradona and Grondona have yet to make a statement about the former football great's future.

Asian cup ticket sales begin

New Delhi: The online ticketing sales for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 have been launched and tickets can be purchased at the tournament's official website, www.afcasiancup.com.

There are approximately 550,000 tickets available for sale to the general public. The tickets are priced between Rs 65 and Rs 2000.

Physical ticket sales will start later this year at outlets in Qatar. India will be participating at the event after a gap of over two decades.

Friendlies for India in Portugal

New Delhi: The Indian football team, which is currently in Portugal for a two month training cum exposure trip will play its first two matches this week, against Portugese third division sides. India will take on Caldas SC on Wednesday at the Pilado Ground, while on Friday they will play Monsanto.

Asian all-star athletics

New Delhi: The third Asian All Star Athletics meet will be held at the newly-built Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday and Friday. This is the second time the event is being organised by the Athletics Federation of India, after holding the first edition in Bhopal two years ago. Indian star like discus thrower Krishna Poonia, Vikas Gowda and shot putter Om Prakash Singh will feature in the event.