Events to watch in 2013
Posted Wednesday, January 2 2013 at 02:00
All Sport. With another year upon us, Daily Monitor looks ahead to the definitive events of the next 12 months.
Hasn’t Ugandan football become so predictable and ultimately defined by wars? You won’t have to wait too long to see if relief is on the way. Education and Sports minister Jessica Alupo set a January 31, 2013 deadline for Fufa and Uganda Super League (USL) to settle their differences and merge into one league.
Many have become accustomed to fighting that we don’t know what sanity feels like. An ultimatum won’t heal local football but we cannot wait to see what happens after that date.
There is no doubt that Stephen Kiprotich was the star of 2012 with Uganda’s first Olympic Gold since 1972 when John Akii-Bua won the 400m hurdles in Munich. Road runners opt to do few races a season to conserve energy and consequently, Kiprotich hasn’t run competitively since August 12, 2012. Ugandans will be very interested in seeing how the Olympic champion performs in his next race which should be in the early quarter of 2013.
Cricket will never be the same again when Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar does eventually retire from the game and it’s almost bound to happen at some point this year. At 39 and out of form, retirement is inevitable for the ‘greatest cricketer’ who has already quit One Day Internationals (ODIs) but remains part of the Test side. The ‘Little Master’ holds the record for most runs in international cricket and at 196 tests, his target could be the magical figure of 200 which he can achieve when Australia tour India in February.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to take a break from football stunned the world. The former Barcelona coach has barely enjoyed his sabbatical. It’s easier to find a story linking Guardiola to coaching jobs across the world than finding someone who thinks Real Madrid will snatch the Spanish League title from his former side.
Is it AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United that will hire Guardiola? Football seems to miss him and his return is awaited come this summer.
The English Premier League (EPL) is by far the most marketable and watched sports product there is in the world. It has become a favourite pastime for many.
As the title race unfolds over the next five months, millions will be glued to their TV screens to see if Manchester United, who held a seven-point lead heading into 2013, can reclaim it. Champions Manchester City, currently second, and Chelsea will give it a go. That coveted fourth place fight between Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and lately Everton will hog the headlines too.
Messi vs Ronaldo
First, there was always Pele vs Maradona. Player comparisons demand a lot of adrenaline but the debate over Lionel Messi (Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) never stops.
People never get tired of it and even after Fifa hand out the Ballon D’Or on January 7 for the best player in 2012, the arguments won’t end. It will escalate.
By mid-2013, it will be exactly 12 months to the World Cup to be hosted by Brazil. Critics will be willing to jump on to Brazil’s readiness to host football’s biggest showpiece.
Attention given to stadiums will equal that the hosts’ national team receives. In the aftermath of sacking Mano Menezes, Luis Felipe Scolari returned to the job with the aim of reviving Brazil.
They have it all to do to look like World Cup contenders when they host the Confederations Cup in June/July.
Come August, the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, host to the 1980 Olympics, will be the gathering of the world’s best athletes.
Athletes and fans alike still have fond and bad memories of the London Olympics. Moscow will present athletes like Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and David Rudisha an opportunity to cement their legendary status.
For the first time in a generation, England will start an Ashes cricket series as the outright favourites against rivals Australia.
Australia lead 31-30 in Ashes series wins, so England have the chance to go ahead for the first time since 1997 when the Aussies leveled the tally at 27-all.
The ‘Kangaroos’ make the trip north in July/August then host the ‘Barmy Army’ in November/December.
Hamilton vs McLaren vs Vettel
In moving to Mercedes from McLaren at the end of the 2012, Lewis Hamilton took a huge risk in going against his mentor Ron Denis. Hamilton’s move came as Formula One great Michael Schumacher retired for ‘real’. How will Hamilton fare with the German team? That is going to be a common question. RedBull’s three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel should still be the man to beat.
Move over Tiger
As far back as three years ago, Tiger Woods said that Rory McIlroy “has all of the components to be the best player in the world.”
The comparisons are inevitable – the incredible skill and youth. McIIroy is returning the compliments with two golf majors already before his 24th birthday. He won the 2011 U.S. Open, setting a record score of 16-under-par on his way to an eight-shot victory.
The following year he won the 2012 PGA Championship by a record eight shots. If the McIIroy era has already started, it starts this year.
When Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in December, he perhaps ended the latter’s chances of fighting Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather-Pacquiao is the bout boxing craves but having waited for two years to no avail, 2013 offers another chance to iron out that deal. However, chances of it happening are bleak.
The tennis Grand Slam season starts in Australia later this month without 11-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal as injuries and now a stomach virus hamper the Spaniard.
Due to the physical nature of his game, Nadal faces a tall order to get back to his best.
The stage is now dominated by Novak Djokovic while Andy Murray, having won his first Slam, the US Open in 2012, and Roger Federer refusing to go away.