Here's to hoping for some new headlines this new year

Anticipate the various sporting worlds to have left behind some of the same old stories in 2012 this year.

Anticipate the various sporting worlds to have left behind some of the same old stories in 2012 this year

For sporting excellence and drama, 2012 will be a tough, if not impossible, act to follow.

Over to you, 2013.

But while we wait to be dazzled, we also know what we do not want to see over the next 12 months.

In two days, the Gulf Cup of Nations kicks off in Bahrain, and there will be genuine hope that the UAE, led by the popular Emirati coach Mahdi Ali, can emulate their one previous triumph in 2007. Success or not, however, we hope that the country's crop of promising youngsters continue to improve, and not stall as has been the case so often in the past. UAE football needs a successful senior national team.

March is usually the time of year when the eyes of the horse-racing world turns to the Dubai World Cup. Sadly, the eyes of many Dubai punters are not necessarily on the world's richest horse race. Not when there are hospitality lounges, parties and concerts to attend. On March 31 this year, don't be a cliche: watch the horses.

Football, with the English Premier League leading the way, will once again dominate the news. And while it is perhaps overambitious to hope for a team from outside Manchester to win it, we can do without the interminable psychological warfare that inevitably accompanies the title run-in.

It's not mind games Sir Alex and Roberto, it's mind-numbing games.

Speaking of the Manchester clubs, expect rumours of Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola taking over at one or the other to turn into some of the year's most unwanted football sagas, along with the destination of the goalscoring phenomenon Radamel Falcao.

Switch on your television sets over the next year or so, and chances are fair England will be facing Australia in one cricket format or another. Let's hope that the overexposure of back-to-back Ashes series does not devalue the world's oldest cricketing rivalry, as some fear. And that cricket news stays firmly on the back pages. To be clear, we're looking at you Kevin Pietersen.

With it being an odd-numbered year there will be no major international summer tournaments like a World Cup or an Olympics, which will at least spare us the bouts of jingoism and hyperbole that accompany such events.

Still, it's a good bet the British media will continue to unfairly burden Andy Murray with 77 years of hurt when Wimbledon kicks off in late June. He has already proven himself as a grand slam winner in an era dominated by three of the sport's greatest players: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

There is more to tennis than winning Wimbledon. Get over it.

This summer also sees a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup, the Confederations Cup taking place in Brazil between June 15-30. It would be churlish to wish that Spain, one of the greatest international teams of all time and statistically the most successful, don't win. Yet, it is hoped that the opposition do not continue to abandon all notions of attacking football against the world champions, as they have done for several years now.

The world's best player will be missing in Brazil, no doubt halfway through another record-breaking year.

Cristiano Ronaldo will score a few goals, as well. But spare us the tiresome "Messi or Ronaldo?" debate once and for all; it was settled long ago.

In 2012, Sir Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France and Olympic heroics brought cheer to a cycling world struggling to come to terms with Lance Armstrong's astonishing fall from grace. This year, simply a Tour with no doping scandals in July will be seen as a triumph for the sport.

And the Abu Dhabi Etihad Airlines Formula One Grand Prix? So uncharacteristically eventful was this year's race that fans would gladly take a repeat next November.

Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and the rest: no change, thank you.

In golf, no one would begrudge the fantastically gifted Rory McIlroy another year as world No 1. However, UAE fans will surely prefer that, unlike last year, the winner of the Race to Dubai is still unknown when Europe's top 60 players tee off at the season-closing event.

Finally, October sees the Under 17 World Cup kick off across the seven emirates. Let's hope that, unlike Pro League matches, the tournament is not played to the backdrop of empty stadiums and public apathy. These events often produce future gems. The 2003 World Youth Championship, held in the UAE, gave the country Ismail Matar.

It also introduced the world to the magical Andres Iniesta. Ten years on, it's reassuring to know that some things in sports you can always count on.

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