Nuri Sahin Finally Makes Real Debut

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

Nuri-SahinTurkish midfielder Nuri Sahin finally took a bow with his new soccer team Real Madrid this past weekend as part of their 7-1 blowout of fellow Spanish club Osasuna. His debut was delayed by a knee injury, after having signed with the club this past summer from Borussia Dortmund. He admitted to being nervous prior to his debut, but he received a warm welcome from the crowd as he was introduced as a second-half substitute.

Sahin, who was a key figure in Dortmund’s Bundesliga title success last season, told the club’s website: “It’s been a great day for me. I wish to thank everyone at the Santiago Bernabeu, my team-mates, the manager and the president. I must now work hard to be able to help the team.

“I’m very happy for playing my first game with Real Madrid. It’s been difficult being injured. I was a little nervous before coming on because it was my first match before the fans. I felt confident and happy after a couple of minutes. We must continue to work hard because we will face difficult games after the league break.”

Real extended their lead at the top of the Primera Division of Spain’s La Liga to three points after their blowout victory, coupled with rival Barcelona’s 2-2 draw at Athletic Bilbao later in the day.

It was a big day for another Muslim footballer on Real Madrid as well, as French striker Karim Benzema scored twice. Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo added a hat trick. The one negative note was the injury sustained by Angel Di Maria. The Argentina winger was forced off with what the club described as a hamstring injury, having set up all three of Real’s first-half goals.


Ramy Ashour Wins Australian Squash Open

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of,

OzchampsEgyptian squash player Ramy Ashour won the Australian Open by upending world No1 Nick Matthew in five games. The final score was 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, the 23-year-old Egyptian revealed a robust mental game was behind his success.

His coach was not able to be in his corner for the match so when asked by The Canberra Times for the keys to his victory, Ashour was not quite able to formulate his thoughts. But he did seem to suggest that came down to his mental state. ‘‘It’s a bit complicated really, I can’t really describe it,’’ Ashour told The Canberra Times. “You have to always be right in your head as much as you can and that’s your mission on court.

‘‘Your mission’s not to keep on running or hit the right shots. You need to have all kinds of plans, you can’t just stick to one plan. In everything in your life you can’t just stick to one plan and that’s what most of the people do, they just don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. When they don’t get out of their comfort zone they don’t achieve much.’’

Ashour got off to a slow start, losing the first game, and two of the first three, before building momentum with his patented arsenal of shot-making. Eventually, he was a runaway train. ‘‘He just ran away from me, sometimes he can get on a run of points in a blink of an eye,’’ Matthew told The Canberra Times. “I couldn’t stop the rot.”

‘‘He played a good fifth, I played a bad fifth and that was the difference. From the games I won I had the lead and he fought back and took it to tie breaks both times. Everyone gives him credit for his shot-making. Some people forget he’s got that [mental strength] side of his game as well which you need to go alongside and that makes him such a champion.’’

The victory was Ashour’s seventh in 12 meetings with Matthew, with Ashour being the only player on the professional squash tour with a winning record against the world number one. ‘‘It’s such a thin margin,’’ Ashour said. “Maybe Nick has a little bit more pressure on him because he’s No1 and I’m No2.’’

The two now have the men’s world team championships in Germany to look forward to later this year. And that should be a competition in which Ashour has ample reinforcements, with fellow Egyptians Karim Darwish and Amr Shabana ranked number three and number five in the world respectively.