How Pep Guardiola transformed Manchester City into a giant

“Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You cannot do anything about that. They will always be noisy” is what the great Sir Alex Fergusen had to say about Manchester City back in 2009. 13 years later, Manchester City changed their status from the “noisy neighbours” to the dominant ones. Manchester City has won 4 of the last 5 Premier League titles, which might give an idea about their dominance in recent times. What changed? The answer is simple, Josep “Pep” Guardiola Sala.

Many might argue that the “Oil Money” is the real reason behind City’s recent success. But that’s not it; a stat shows that Chelsea and Manchester United have also spent close to Manchester City in the last decade, but the returns have not been the same. Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City in 2016 and took no time to take over the Premier League. Let’s have a look at how Pep Guardiola transformed Manchester City. 

How Pep Guardiola transformed Manchester City into a giant? 

Before Pep Guardiola, there was Manuel Pellegrini, who enjoyed a successful run of 3 years at the helm of Manchester City. During his term, Pellegrini won a Premier League title in the 2013-14 season and two Carabao Cups. However, Pellegrini faced a fair share of tactical problems as he went through long spells of sticking to the same formation despite poor results. 

Pep Guardiola took over an ageing City squad that lacked pace and couldn’t press aggressively. Manchester City initially wanted to sign Pep Guardiola in 2012 but missed out on the deal as the Spaniard went on to lead Bayern Munich in Germany. 

However, Manchester City was well prepared to sign Pep Guardiola in 2017. The Blues got in some major names from Barcelona, with whom Pep Guardiola was comfortable working in the past. Man City signed Ferran Soriano as their CEO, Txiki Begiristain as their Director of football, and Dr. Mauri to make Pep Guardiola feel at home in Manchester. 

Pep Guardiola was arguably one of the best managers in the world with his legendary run with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. However, many of the English media were not convinced whether his methodologies would work in the Premier League. Nevertheless, Pep answered all their queries. 

2016-17 

Pep Guardiola identified some major setbacks in the City squad as soon as he arrived at the club. They had an old squad under their belt. In fact, only Watford, Stokes, and West Brom had higher average squad ages than Manchester City. Adding to that, Pep Guardiola was not happy with some of the names in the squad who didn’t suit his playing style. 

Wilfried Bony was not technically strong. Joe Hart and Eliaquim Mangala were not good enough on the ball. And as per reports, Manchester City’s superstars Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri didn’t have the required discipline to be in Pep Guardiola’s team.

Pep Guardiola bought in players like Ilkay Gundagon, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Nolito, Leroy Sane, Claudio Bravo, and Gabriel Jesus in his very first season. At the same time, Guardiola got rid of players like Mangala, Jovetic, Martín Demichelis, Nasri, Joe Hart, J Navas, and Bony. Guardiola let go of the ageing players and replaced them with some of the best young talents in the world at that time. 

However, despite some major changes, Pep Guardiola still struggled to find his best XI in his first season. He used a total of 8 different formations in 38 matches. However, City saw some major improvements in Pep’s first season itself. Guardiola’s side scored more goals, allowed fewer goals, and kept more possession than Pellegrini’s. 

Having said that, Pep Guardiola didn’t win any silverware with Man City in his first season and finished 3rd in the Premier League. It was a decent season, but there was still pressure mounting over Guardiola as he was accused of not adapting to the style of the Premier League. 

What did Pep Guardiola say about the start he got in his first season? 

“Yeah. I don’t know what would have happened had we not been able to win the games. I can assure you something, my players always run. And after that, we must try to play as well as possible to achieve the result and win the games. But first is to play good, and to play good, you have to run, and I was pretty sure we could do that. In some moments, we played really well; it’s just the quality of the intelligence of these players.” 

“You can make a training session; you can say this or that. Some understand quickly; some need more time. Most get it quickly. That is why we are a little surprised about how fast, in some moments, we have been in our three games: we played really well. Not for 90 minutes – that is not normal – but how stable they [the players] are. In terms of full games, we have to improve a lot. 

“Yesterday I saw the game v Stoke City again and thought about many things we must improve. But in the short time, we have spent together, we have made many good things. That is why I am confident that it will remain this way and we will have solidarity and help each other. We can achieve good things.” 

2017-18 

However, Pep Guardiola didn’t waste time rejuvenating Manchester City’s squad. Pep got talents like Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Danilo, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, and Aymeric Laporte in the very next transfer window. And with that, Manchester City transferred out players like Nasri, Nolito, Sagna, Bony, Clichy, Iheanacho, and Kolarov. With this transformation, Man City became the 6th youngest squad in the league. 

Pep Guardiola had the team he needed to begin his supremacy in English football. Pep Guardiola won his first Premier League title with City in his second season with 100 points on the table. Man City were 29 points clear of the second-placed Manchester United in that very specific season. Manchester City asserted their hold in the upcoming seasons and went on to win 3 out of the 4 league titles. 

Pep Guardiola built and created one of the best teams in the history of the Premier League. However, he still has one trophy missing from his cabinet: the Champions League. He had come close to winning the Champions League in 2021 but eventually lost to rivals Chelsea in the final.

With the inclusion of Erling Haaland this season, we might see Pep Guardiola achieving his long-lasting dream of winning the Champions League trophy since 2011. 

Trophies won by Manchester City since Guardiola became their manager;

  1. Premier League (2017/18, 2018/19 and 2020/21)
  2. The FA Cup (2018/19) 
  3. The League Cup (2017/2018, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21)
  4. The FA Community Shield (2018/19 and 2019/20)

Tunisia out of World Cup despite stunning win over defending champs France

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is full of surprises. After Argentina and Germany, 2018 World Cup champions France suffered a massive defeat in their Group D clash against Tunisia. As a result, France were beaten in a World Cup match for the first time since the 2014 quarter-final (0-1 v Germany), ending a run of nine games without defeat.

The match started with France making nine changes, with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Kingsley Coman and Jordan Veretout given chances to shine. France was quickly down on the backfoot as the Tunisian players took advantage of the low chemistry of the French team. They attacked relentlessly and came quite close to beating the French defence.

The match’s turning point came in the 58th minute when Wahbi Khazri, Tunisia’s star striker, cut through the French defence to land the ball into the net. The goal shocked the entire French team. However, they tried to make a comeback by bringing their first-choice players, including Rafael Varane, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Greizmann and Ousmane Dembele.

With the clock ticking towards the ninth minute of added-on time, Griezmann looked like he’d broken Tunisian hearts by firing in a loose ball in the box. However, a VAR review was eventually triggered, and the referee was ordered to the pitchside screen to review Griezmann being two yards offside from the original ball.

With this ruled-out goal, Tunisia had one of their most famous World Cup wins. But the FIFA #30 ranked team crashed out of the tournament as Australia defeated Denmark and occupied the second qualifying spot in Group D.

Cristiano Ronaldo offered a huge “£173million-a-year” deal by Saudi’s Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be making headlines every day. After having a controversial goal denied against Uruguay in their World Cup clash, the former Manchester United attacker is in the news again. As per reports, Ronaldo has accepted Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr’s two-and-a-half year deal for £173million-a-year.

Spanish publication Marca report he has accepted a two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi side Al Nassr. This deal which excludes bonuses and incentives, would see Ronaldo eclipse PSG’s star man Kylian Mbappe and become the costliest signing of all time.

With him being in his late 30s, Ronaldo is seeing very little interest from European clubs. Earlier, Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn had denied the reports suggesting that the club is interested in signing Ronaldo.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was clear in his interview with British journalist Piers Morgan.  Besides Al Nassr, Newcastle United and Chelsea had shown some interest in signing the superstar. Now only time will tell which club signs the superstar.

Stephanie Frappart to become first women referee at a men’s World Cup game

On Thursday, when Germany and Costa Rica take to the field for their World Cup clash, the attention will be on Stephanie Frappart, the official referee for the match. Frappart will be the first women referee to officiate in a men’s World Cup game.

France’s Stephanie Frappart is one of three women referees among the 36 selected for the tournament in Qatar, alongside Rwandan official Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita. Additionally, three female referees have travelled to Qatar as assistant referees.

Frappart is no stranger to big games. She was the first woman to referee in France’s Ligue 1 in 2019, the same year she took charge of the women’s World Cup final in her home country.

Frappart also officiated the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea before refereeing the Champions League in 2020 and the French Cup final last season.

Ronaldo to exit Man United

“Bayern will not sign Ronaldo”, says CEO Oliver Kahn

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich’s Chief Executive Officer Oliver Kahn has announced that his team will not be signing Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. This comes after several rumours surfaced that the German club will be signing the former Manchester United player since their latest signing, Sadio Mane, didn’t live up to the expectations.

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn announced, “I can rule out a move for Ronaldo. We’ve considered it, we all love Ronaldo, but the strategy is different.” He further said, “We’ve a clear idea, philosophy of how our squad should be put together.”

After weeks of drama, the former Manchester United attacker recently mutually decided to part ways with the club. The G.O.A.T. is currently without any club. However, there were many reports suggesting that he has got a mammoth $225 million offer from Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr. The deal will see Ronaldo bag a whopping $75 million deal in his late 30s.

Cameroon’s Onana suspended from the national team following ‘disciplinary reasons’

Cameroon’s first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana has been suspended from the national team due to disciplinary reasons, the country’s federation (FECAFOOT) said after he was left out of the squad for their clash against Serbia at the FIFA World Cup.

The official statement from FECAFOOT said, “The Cameroon Football Federation hereby informs the public that following Mr. Rigobert Song Bahanag’s decision, head coach of the Indomitable Lions, the player Andre Onana has been temporarily suspended from the group for disciplinary reasons.”

The statement further stated, “The Cameroon Football Federation reiterates its full support to the head coach and his entire staff as they implement the federation’s policy aimed at preserving discipline, solidarity, complementarity, and cohesion within the national team. FECAFOOT further reaffirms its commitment to create a peaceful atmosphere for the team and to provide them with adequate facilities for an outstanding performance.”

Devis Epassy played in the absence of Onana in their Group G clash against Serbia, which ended in a draw with 3 goals scored from both sides. 

Top 10 Female Tennis Players you must know about

In the matter of women and sports, the world has witnessed that “tennis” has an extremely important role to play with its record of great accomplishments and achievements as well. 

Talking about the past few decades, various iconic & exemplary female tennis players have been highly successful in creating history with their outstanding performances & procurement! 

There have been a wide number of excellent female tennis players till today. Some of them are known to dominate the sport for a really long period of time, and others have achieved greater success in respective contests or Grand Slams.

Well, for us, deciding on the top 10 greatest female tennis players was an extremely difficult job to do! As we know, there have been numerous tennis players serving their countries with glory & utmost pride in the history and even today. 

In this blog post, we will read about the greatest female tennis players and how they have successfully left their mark on the sport and continue to encourage new generations worldwide! 

Let’s not wait any longer!! Here we go… 

  1. Sania Mirza 

Sania Mirza, I mean, who doesn’t know this name? Even words will fall short of explaining her achievements. She is unquestionably India’s best female tennis player ever! Santa Mirza has been an inspiration to billions of females in India and across the globe as well. 

HOBART, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 17: Sania Mirza of India prepares to serve during her semi final doubles match against Maria Bouzkova of Czech Republic and Tamara Zidansek of Slovakia during day seven of the 2020 Hobart International at Domain Tennis Centre on January 17, 2020 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

She has won 6 Grand Slam Titles and is the first Indian Female Player to win a Grand Slam of any kind! Additionally, in 2013, she was ranked No. 1 in her doubles career. She is the only Indian who entered the top 100 WTA singles rankings, being at World No. 27.

She has also done commendable work in many multi-national matches, as she has won medals in the singles & doubles categories and the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and the Afro-Asian Games. 

  1. Serena Williams 

She is known as the strongest & influential female tennis player and has inspired millions of us throughout her journey. Serena, as well as her sister Venus Williams, have proved to be a dominant force in the sport of tennis since the late 90s. They both have won fourteen Grand Slam Doubles titles, which is commendable. Serena Williams, at present, holds the  “Open Era Record” for Grand Slam Singles Titles by a tennis player as she owns 23 Grand Slam Singles titles, including the 2017 Australian Open. 

 

The world has seen that Serena’s game has clearly withstood the ordeal of time, hard work, competition, and commitment. The achievement of owning the Grand Slam titles came over an 18-year long period, starting from 1999, with her latest win at the 2017 Australian Open. 

Out of competitive tennis for most of 2017, while pregnant, Serena reached 4 Grand Slam finals without securing that coveted 24th title to tie Margaret Court before retiring after the 2022 US Open. The point can now be brought in to raise up Serena Williams to be the most remarkable tennis player of all time! 

  1. Martina Navratilova

She was considered to be one of the toughest competitors by many players out there. Martina Navratilova dominated the sport of women’s tennis from the late 1970s to the 1980s. She is specifically known for her intense physical activity. Plus, she got the big serve & volley back to the sport. 

Moreover,  she made the Open Era record for career titles, holding 167 of them, and also has 59 Grand Slam titles, which comprise singles, doubles, & mixed doubles! Isn’t it incredible? You must know that Martina Navratilova also possesses the record for career Wimbledon titles with an extraordinary nine titles. 

  1. Karman Thandi 

Karman Thandi is known to be one of the very few Indian tennis singles players to reach the top 200 of the WTA rankings. She was the sixth tennis player who has been successful in doing so! On 20th August 2018, Karman Thandi caught up with her career high-ranking of 196, which was amazing. At present, she holds the rank of 447 and owns 107 points to her credit. On 23rd June 2018, the 24-year-old achieved the maiden singles title in the $25k Hong Kong tournament. 

Plus, in the Fed Cup, she was one of the players to represent India. She also retains a win-loss track record of 3-6 in singles in this specific tournament. Karman Thandi is known to be the first tennis player since Sania Mirza to gain a victory in a WTA main draw match. At the 2018 Jiangxi International Women’s Tennis Open, she won against Lu Jiajing.

  1. Steffi Graf 

Steffi Graf, having a 17-year-long career, became an inspiration for so many people all over the world. Her record of ranking number 1 for continuous 377 in the world is a history for any player, be it male/female. 

In the year 1988, Steffi held the position of the first player to accomplish what is considered as the calendar year Golden Slam by gaining a victory in all four majors, along with the Olympic Gold Medal in the same year! If we observe, no one was better than Graf from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.

  1. Rutuja Bhosale 

Rutuja Bhosale, who hails from Maharashtra, is one of the most talented and skilful Indian tennis players! She actually had blown away everyone with her performance as a junior tennis player. She is best known for her achievement of securing the 55th rank as a junior competitor, and she also holds four titles on the ITF circuit. 

Rutuja Bhosale is at present ranked 476 on the WTA circuit. But she has dropped more than a hundred spots because previously, she was ranked at 342. Nevertheless, if you look at her career graph, then you will observe that her doubles career has proliferated in the past few years. 

  1. Margaret Court

A lot of experts out there believe that Margaret Court is one of the best tennis players of all time! She has made an outstanding record of 24 Grand Slam Singles titles, so it’s hard to deny experts’ beliefs, right? Margaret Court has an astonishing record of 62 major tiles, including 19 doubles and 19 mixed doubles. 

 

In the year 1970, Court was the first ever woman who was in the Open Era to win the singles Grand Slam. Plus, she is the only female (other than Daniela Hantuchova) to win a Grand Slam in mixed doubles, and she won it twice! Also, Margaret Court was the first ever female to integrate weights and fitness training into her daily routine to enhance her skills.

  1. Ankita Raina

Next is Ankita Raina, a 29-year-old tennis professional from Ahmedabad. She is one of the most successful and inspiring Indian women’s tennis players. She has been quite amazing in slowly climbing the ranks and going after the footsteps of none other than “Sania Mirza” as she has also achieved the titles in the ITF circuit, with an excellent record of 18 doubles titles and 11 singles titles. 

Ankita Raina has also won the title on the WTA tour and one at the contests in the WTA 125K series. She is even defined as one of the best Indian female tennis players because she is only the 6th Indian ever to embark on the WTA Top 200 in singles. Moreover, in 2021, she also cracked up in the Top 100 in doubles. 

  1. Chris Evert 

Chris Evert, have you heard of any player more graceful on the tennis court than her? No, right! In the 1970s & 1980s, with her two-handed backhand shot, she successfully dominated the sport of tennis. Chris Evert is one of the players who still holds the track record for catching up with the most Grand Slam singles finals with 34. 

Chris Evert attends the 30th Annual Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic at Boca Raton Resort & Club on November 22, 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida.

She actually won 18 titles which also includes all of the majors twice. Chris Evert was proven to be the number one player in the world continuously for seven years, and moreover, she had a career-winning percentage in singles tournaments of over ninety percent.

 

  1. Rushmi Chakravarthi 

Rushmi Chakravarthi is a former Indian tennis player with a record of winning 52 ITF titles, which are the most titles by any Indian tennis player to date. She started her career in 2005 and has only featured in two WTA matches.

In the year 2003, she won a total of four medals at the Afro-Asian Games; her performance was applaudable as, two of which included gold medals. In the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Rushmi won the bronze medal in doubles along with Sania Mirza. 

All these tennis players are regarded as the most excellent female tennis players in the world. They have all stretched for a really long career; it’s quite remarkable that these female tennis players have all excelled in their own ways, and all of them will always be remembered for their precious contribution to the field of sport. 

Their legacy and hard work shall never be ignored or forgiven, as each one of them laid the foundations for so many women across the globe and also for all our future generations!

Ruturaj Gaikwad creates history in Vijay Hazare Trophy; smashes 7 sixes in one over

Ruturaj Gaikwad has etched his name into cricket’s history books. The right-handed batter has become the first man to hit seven sixes in one over of List-A cricket.

Gaikwad, 25, achieved the feat in the 49th over of the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal clash between Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The opener smashed four consecutive sixes off the first four deliveries of Shiva Singh. The fifth delivery, a no-ball, also went over the boundary ropes. The batter hit the last two legal deliveries also for maximums totalling 43 runs off one over, the joint-most expensive over in List A cricket history.

Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 220 runs off 159 deliveries with 10 boundaries and 16 maximums, helping his team score 330 for the loss of 5 wickets in their allotted 50 overs.

Top 5 great badminton players of all time and their rackets

How good is a warrior without his weapon? The warrior might possess every ability to rule the world but he can not do it without his sword. Similarly, every sportsperson requires his/her gears to dominate their opposition. Every top batter personally crafts their bat as per their needs, every footballer wants a personalized stud. It is extremely necessary for athletes to have their sporting gear as required and they only choose the best for them. 

Similarly, badminton players have specific preferences when choosing their racquet. Every badminton has different features like weight, grip size, and head. The top players in the business make sure to play with the racquet which suits their ability the most. Let’s have a look at the top 5 great badminton players in the world and the badminton racquets that they use. 

Top 5 great badminton players and their racquets 

1) Kento Momota 

Kento Momota is a Japanese badminton superstar who is currently ranked 10 in the BWF world rankings. Momota is known for his fearsome quick attacking skill on the court. He is also great with his lethal swings, which puts the opposition in a worrying situation. Momota has tasted glory in almost every championship he has featured in like the All-England Badminton Tournaments and World & Asian Championships. Momota was the first Japanese men’s singles player to grab World number 1 in the BWF World ranking in 2018. 

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 24: Kento Momota of Japan competes in the Men’s Singles Second Round match against Prannoy H. S. of India on day three of the BWF World Championships at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on August 24, 2022, in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)

Kento Momota uses Yonex Astox 99 Racquet. This racquet is for the shutters who want to dominate the court with dynamic smashes. The racquet helps with getting the accuracy that a player demands in his smashes. 

“Yonex Astox 99” Details: 

  1. Head: Square/Isometric 
  2. Grip Size: G5 
  3. Weight: 4U (80-84g) / 3U (85-90g) 
  4. Balance: Head Heavy 
  5. Flex: Stiff 
  6. String Tension: 4U (20-28 lbs) / 3U (21-29 lbs) 
  7. String Used: Yonex BG80 Power Badminton String 

2) Srikanth Kidambi 

Srikanth Kidambi, is undoubtedly, one of the greatest Indian badminton players to date. He has proudly represented India globally with back-to-back glories in the Gold Coast. Kidambi won a Gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth games and recently clinched bronze in the 2022 edition. Srikanth was awarded the “Parma Shri” in 2018 and has also won numerous titles in “BWF Badminton Tournaments.”

India’s Srikanth Kidambi hits a shot to India’s Lakshya Sen Sindhu during the men’s singles semi-final badminton match of the BWF World Championships in Huelva, on December 18, 2021. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kidambi uses the Li-Ning Turbo Charging 75 racquet which matches perfectly with his game style. Kidambi prefers the attacking style of play and the racquet sits perfectly with it. Kidambi was a loyal user of Yonex until his contract with the company came to an end. 

“Li-Ning Turbo Charging 75” details: 

  1. Head: Isometric 
  2. Weight: 85-89g 
  3. Balance: Head Even 
  4. Flex: Medium 
  5. String Tension: 20-30 lbs 
  6. String Used: Li-Ning No.1 String 

3) P.V. Sindhu 

P.V. Sindhu is one of the most renowned badminton players in the world. Sindhu has made history in every tournament she has played in. She has won accolades in the Olympics and in BWF as well. Sindhu won gold at the 2019 World Championships. Sindhu is the only Indian shutter to become the badminton world champion and only the second Indian athlete to win two back-to-back medals at the Olympic Games. She reached the highest ranking of no. 2 in 2017. 

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 08: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu of Team India plays a shot against Michelle Li (Not pictured) of Team Canada during the Badminton Women’s Singles – Gold Medal Match on day eleven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 08, 2022 on the Birmingham, England. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

P.V. Sindhu uses the “N9 Li-Ning Racquet.” The racquet is mainly designed for attacking and offensive players who desire to dominate their opponents. 

“N9 Li-Ning” details: 

  1. Head: Isometric 
  2. Weight: 85-89g 
  3. Grip: G2 
  4. Balance: Head Heavy 
  5. Flex: Medium 
  6. String Tension: 24-28 lbs 
  7. String Used: Li-Ning No.1 String 

4) Parupalli Kashyap 

Parupalli Kashyap is a former World No.6 shuttler. Kashyap was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2012 by the Government of India. Parupalli Kashyap was the first Indian male player to reach the quarter-finals of men’s singles at the 2012 London Olympics. He also won Gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the men’s singles competition. Kashyap was named the Icon player for Banga Beats in the Indian Badminton League in 2013. He is also the husband of the famous Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal. 

Photo Credit: Olympics.com

Parupalli Kashyap has grinded his way to the top. Kashyap is known to be a hard worker on the court and his racquet supports him in every situation. Kashyap uses a Yonex Arcsaber 11 Racquet which Is known to be one of the best in the business.

“Yonex Arcsaber 11” details: 

  1. Head: Square/Isometric 
  2. Weight: 85-89gm 
  3. Flex: Stiff 
  4. Grip Size: G4 
  5. Balance: Head Even 
  6. String Used: Yonex BG-65 

5) Sai Praneeth 

Sai Praneeth is one of the best Indian shutters in the world. Sai Praneeth was the first Indian male badminton player who won a bronze medal in the BWF World Championships in 36 years after Prakash Padukone in 1983. Sai Praneeth achieved the feat in 2019. Sai Praneeth was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2019.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Sai Praneeth is known for his fearless and fast-paced playing style. Praneeth relies a lot on his smashes and has been using the racquet which matches his style of play. Sai Praneeth uses the “Yonex Voltric Z-Force II” racquet. 

“Yonex Voltric Z-Force II” details 

  1. Head: Square/Isometric 
  2. Weight: 80-84gm 
  3. Flex: Extra Stiff 
  4. Grip Size: G4 
  5. Balance: Head Heavy 
  6. String Used: Yonex BG-65 

So, these were the top 5 badminton players and their preferred racquets. Which one among them is your favourite?

Belgium loses to Morocco

Morocco shocks Belgium thanks to Sabiri & Aboukhlal’s goals

Belgium who was considered one of the favourites for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Morocco. The second-ranked football team was outclassed by Hakim Ziyech’s team 2-0 thanks to the two second-half goals scored by Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal.

The match started with both teams attacking consistently to get the lead. Morocco, however, got the better of the Belgian defence. In the 47th minute of the first half, Hakim Ziyech, the star winger of Morocco, scored a fantabulous goal before the stroke of the whistle. But the goal was ruled out as VAR called it offside.

This didn’t deter the confidence of the Moroccan team as they continued to keep possession of the ball and take shots at the target. In the 74th minute, the Moroccans breached past the Belgium defence. Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a carbon-copy free-kick to Ziyech’s earlier ruled-out goal. The Belgians were left shocked due to this absolute error by their defence.

To make the matters worse, the Moroccan team scored another wonderful goal thanks to Zakaria Aboukhlal’s graceful strike inside the box. Aboukhlal’s strike sealed the game for Morocco and gave his team their first World Cup win in over 24 years.

The loss makes matters worse for Belgium to qualify for the knockout stage. They have 3 points from 2 matches with one win and one loss and are in the third position in Group F. The Belgians have one match remaining against 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up Croatia.

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