Something From The Weekend: Walter Smith; Pakistan lose in Guyana; Blatter's faith
The Good, the Bad and the Odd
Monday 16 May 2011
In a season that has demonstrated the toxic excesses of Scottish football, it was touching that Walter Smith should win for himself the successful leaving bow he has truly earned. Rangers burned through Kilmarnock yesterday, scoring three goals in the first seven minutes. When Kyle Lafferty clips a lob over a goalkeeper within the first minute, the stars are clearly arranged in Rangers' favour. They won 5-1, allowing Smith to leave Ibrox with his tenth Scottish title, 20 years after his first. Neil Lennon, who has been personally touched by the worst of the game this year, praised Smith, who represents the best. "Congratulations to Walter," he said. "He is a really decent guy – one of the best in the history of Scottish football."
Pakistan lose in Guyana
Pakistan's performances in the World Cup showed the peaks that their cricket can reach. In Guyana this weekend they may have plunged into the deepest valley – in a sporting, rather than a moral sense. They allowed the West Indies to win a Test match, their first since Jerome Taylor tore through England at Sabina Park in February 2009, 17 matches ago. And not a full-strength West Indies side either, but one which could not entice Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Taylor to play. And yet they beat Pakistan by 40 runs. After conceding a first-innings lead, Pakistan needed 219 to win. They lost five wickets to Darren Sammy and four to Ravi Rampaul. Where are Mohammed Amir and Salman Butt when you need them?
Sepp Blatter's commitment to Middle East peace is longstanding. This is the man who sent the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, so passionate is he about using the solidarity inherent in what was traditionally a socialist sport to heal places riven by conflict. No surprise at all, then, to hear of Blatter's latest ambition, revealed in Palestine yesterday. "We cannot change the world," said Blatter with uncharacteristic modesty, "but we can try to help make the world a better place – also here in this country." If nations followed Fifa's example – it gave Palestine full membership in 1998 – strife would disappear. "If the international community did the same," he said, "you would have no more problems here in this region."
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