Messi and Ronaldo gear up for World Cup knockout phase

first_img0Shares0000France forward Antoine Griezmann will go head to head with Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the World Cup last 16 © AFP / Jeff PACHOUD, Gabriel BOUYSMoscow, Russian Federation, Jun 29 – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi take centre stage as the World Cup shifts into high gear at the weekend with the start of the knockout matches in the loaded top half of the draw.Football heavyweights France, Argentina, Portugal and Brazil are all clustered in one section of the competition, with only Spain among recent winners in the other half. The unbalanced nature of the knockout phase increases the chances of an unlikely team reaching the semi-finals — and of the big guns cancelling each other out.That scenario sparked debate ahead of Thursday’s England-Belgium group match — was it better to win and enter the tougher side of the draw or lose and face potentially easier fixtures down the line?In the event, third-ranked Belgium won 1-0, adding even more firepower to the top half, while if England can get past Colombia they will fancy their chances of reaching a potential semi-final against 2010 winners Spain.The first phase in Russia featured just one goalless draw and already a record number of penalties, with the video assistant referee (VAR) often in the spotlight.Of the half-dozen winners of the trophy since 1970, Germany have gone home in the biggest shock of the tournament by far while Italy never even qualified for Russia. – French firepower –Lionel Messi takes part in a training session ahead of Argentina’s World Cup last-16 match against France © AFP / JUAN MABROMATAThe standout last-16 tie on paper pits France against Messi and Argentina, two teams who laboured through the group stage.France are packed with firepower, boasting Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, but they have failed to click so far, finding the net just three times in three matches — one was a penalty and another an own goal.“It’s make or break. We don’t have any choice. We have to do everything possible to make sure it goes well for us,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.Five-time world player of the year Messi underlined his importance to Argentina with a sublimely taken opening goal against Nigeria but that came after his penalty miss against Iceland in a lacklustre 1-1 draw that set the tone for a disappointing campaign so far.Ronaldo on the other hand started his tournament with a hat-trick against Spain but has slipped behind England’s Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot after seeing his penalty saved in Portugal’s 1-1 draw with Iran.The Real Madrid star, who has four goals in Russia and looks certain to be crowned world player of the year for a sixth time, will come up against a tight Uruguay defence that did not concede a single goal in the group phase.Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is targeting the World Cup Golden Boot © AFP / Francisco LEONGAside from their watertight defence, two-time winners Uruguay boast two of the greatest goal-scorers of their generation in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.The Uruguayans are aware that Ronaldo is not the only threat for the European champions — he is supported by younger talents such as Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes.“We will mark him with the same respect we mark everyone, despite him being a superstar,” said Uruguay’s Sebastian Coates of Ronaldo. “You don’t prepare a match just looking at one player.”– Video boost for referees –Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of FIFA’s referees committee, said on Friday he was pleased with the impact of VAR at the tournament but that it did not mean all decisions would be perfect.FIFA said VAR crews conducted checks on 335 incidents during the group stage, helping achieve a 99.3 percent rate of correct decisions.“VAR doesn’t mean perfection,” Collina said. “There could still be some wrong interpretation or even mistakes, so it’s a not a perfection that can be reached having implemented VAR.”Debate was still raging over Japan’s approach to their final group game against Poland after the Asian side sneaked into the last 16 on the back of their superior disciplinary record.The Asian side faced an angry backlash for running down the clock at walking pace in the last 15 minutes even though they were losing 1-0 on Thursday, gambling that Senegal would not equalise against Colombia in the other Group H game.Kozo Tashima, president of the Japan Football Association (JFA), insisted the team deserved a place in the knockout stage in Russia, won at the expense of the west African team by virtue of having picked up fewer yellow cards.FIFA said it had no plans to change its fair play criteria.“This is the first time (the fair play rule) has been used in a senior World Cup in this way. Obviously what we want to avoid is the drawing of lots,” said Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief competitions and events officer.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Conserving Water for Future Generations

first_imgWise Wayz Water Care (WWWC) programme is based on the South Coast of Durban- in the communities of Folweni and Ezimbokodweni. It is there where the desire grew from two community groups at grassroot level – to restore and manage the communities’ dwindling natural resources and build a sustainable project for future generations to come. The programme stemmed from humble efforts by the local citizens to empower themselves in order to mitigate the social, economic and environmental challenges that confronted them.As South Africa is a water stressed country and has been experiencing droughts and low water levels, this stimulated the community to protect the aquatic ecosystems, such as the wetlands,rivers and streams of Ezimbokodweni and Folweni.It was community members like Desmond Malgas, who is now a project coordinator, who went knocking for assistance and support from corporates and organisations, to endorse their project and indeed, the AECI Community Education and Development Trust jumped onboard. This is how the WWWC programme was born.Since its inception in 2016, the programme has been able to bring hope to the lives of the downtrodden communities of Folweni and Ezimbokodweni and has allowed them to think beyond their circumstances. Mr Malgas, alludes to how the project has personally helped him to develop and improve himself in terms of learning about governance, and the skills that he has acquired through the training he has received. He further extols that it has also allowed him “to grow, find full expression through uplifting his community and changing his mindset to see a better future”.Its three-tier model encompasses the different levels of donor, implementer and beneficiary. This project, funded by the AECI Community Education and Development Trust and implemented by i4WATER – has been able to build synergy between corporates and the community, by introducing interventions that develop sustainable livelihoods through impactful and practical measures. Some of the interventions include water conservation, food security, solid waste management, alien plant management, aquatic assessment and monitoring as well as Sinqonqozela Ulwazi (which aims to educate the community and create awareness around waste management).The Wise Wayz Water Care team with members of the AECI Community Education and Development Trust and Brand SA representatives at the interactive site visit.The programme has had a huge impact on the members who have also become beneficiaries of the project in several ways. It has been able to give the youth and elderly members a stepping stone to realising their future prospects through providing skills and knowledge on a basic, intermediate and advanced level. It has also trained and supported the commercial agriculture start-up of the project’s food security intervention by supporting community gardens. The food garden component has yielded a supply of vegetables for consumption by the community. The project recently won its first contract to get profits from their Invasive Alien Plant clearing start-up.Although they have faced several challenges, it is their vision to upscale the piloted model and continue successful sustainable change throughout the country. This keeps an implementer such as Ntswaki Ditlhale of i4WATER committed to the values and vision of the project.For more information on the Wise Wayz Water Care programme, click on the link below:You can also contact them on the following platforms:E-mail: kirsten@i4WATER.org or ntswaki@i4WATER.orgTwitter: @wwwczaFacebook: Wise Wayz Water CareWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Brand South Africa hosts Top 50 Brands in South Africa event

first_imgThe Top 50 South African brands have been announced by Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance. These brands are said to contribute not only to the country’s economy, but to the image they portray when doing business internationally.Pratiksha Jekison-Singh of MTN (in middle) receives the award for Top Most Valuable Brand in South Africa on 15 September 2015. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanA brand’s performance, its relationship with its customers, and the money the brand spends on equity, were the key pillars of success, Thebe Ikalafeng, the chief executive officer of Brand Africa said yesterday at the announcement of the country’s Top 50 Brands of 2015.Brand South Africa and Brand Africa hosted the breakfast announcement, which took place in Houghton, Johannesburg.It was the third annual study undertaken by Brand Africa, said the organisers. The study found that the top 50 corporate brands in South Africa were valued at approximately R1.5-trillion, with many of these companies also contributing to national priorities such as uplifting identified and targeted communities.Retail group Woolworths and First National Bank are the strongest brands in South Africa for 2014/2015. The cellphone network MTN is the Top Valuable Brand in the country.Brands are assetsIkalafeng said brands had become more than just a logo or slogan. “They are now seen as corporate assets which are amongst the most valuable that an organisation can have. By extension, national corporate brands also contribute to a nation’s assets in terms of the value they add to the country – both in terms of (gross domestic product) as well as reputational impact,” he said.“The brand managers and executives who oversee and manage these brands therefore play their part to contribute to corporate profitability and visibility and we at Brand South Africa and Brand Africa Finance salute you.”Sydney Mbhele, divisional executive: group marketing at Nedbank, and Peter Mancer, chief executive officer of the company Diversity Management, were among the guests at the event. Nedbank is ranked seventh on the Top 50 SA Brands list. (Image: Melissa Javan)Faye Mfikwe (on right), chief marketing officer of First National Bank also received the Top Strongest Brand award for her company. Here she is with Ashraf Garda of SA FM Radio, another guest at the breakfast. (Image: Melissa Javan)Zukiswa Modisakeng, Vuyelwa Nyakaza, and Busi Dziba are entrepreneurs who attended the event to support their favourite South African brands. (Image: Melissa Javan)Brand South Africa’s chief executive officer, Kingsley Makhubela, stressed that while developing, strengthening and maintaining a nation’s brand was a multifaceted task, there were a range of factors that could help to position the nation positively.“These factors, if based on a solid foundation, can help the nation brand weather the storms posed by the global political and economic environment. One of these factors (is) national corporate entities,” said Makhubela.“Your excellence in the corporate field contributes immensely to the strength and positive reputation of the South African nation brand. Your brands are sometimes the first point of contact between consumers and the South African nation, especially where corporate brands have an international footprint.”The Top 50 Brands’ product quality, customer service and ethical framework, he said, contributed to perceptions about South Africa’s spirit of ubuntu, its innovation, and “the values that the country drives”. “South Africa’s corporate sector is therefore critical to enabling Brand South Africa to position the country as an attractive inward destination of choice.”Customers, the focusKate Fordyce of Woolworths says the retailer’s Top Strongest Brand award is the result of the passion and hard work of staff. She is pictured with Thebe Ikalafeng of Brand Africa Finance and Kingsley Makhubela of Brand South Africa at the Top 50 Brands announcement on 15 September 2015. (Image: Melissa Javan)Pratiksha Jekison-Singh, the senior manager of brand communications and media at MTN, welcomed the win, especially following the recent strikes and structural changes within the company.“Our customers are the core focus, the centre of our business,” she said. “We’re driving to what’s best for them, looking at their behaviour and educate them on what is best suitable for their needs.”The Top 50 Brands were a prestigious event. “The brands are competing in the same industry, markets and fields. Yet with competing, we have the same respect for each other, and our goal is to achieve what is best for the country as a whole,” she added.Kate Fordyce, the head of agency at Woolworths, said the retailer was very proud and honoured to receive this award from Brand South Africa. “This award is testament to the passion and hard work of our people and the loyalty of our customers.“The Woolworths difference is brought to life by our values such as quality, integrity, energy and sustainability. These same values inform everything we do – from our customer service to our interactions with suppliers and our contribution to the communities in which we operate.”Click on the image below for a larger view.Sources: Brand Africa Finance and Brand South Africa Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Many in Odisha denied PDS rice due to non-seeding of Aadhaar

first_imgThe ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme seems to be not working in favour of many in Odisha, according to a survey that found that hundreds of people have not been provided rice through the Public Distribution System for two months due to non-seeding of Aadhaar. The study also found that exclusion due to Aadhaar linking is more prevalent in tribal areas.A study of 63 villages in Nabarangpur district found that out of 1,271 people in 272 households surveyed, 435 have not been provided PDS rice for September and October due to non-seeding of Aadhaar. Out of these, 35% are children between 0-10 years of age.The survey was conducted during the first week of October by the Odisha chapter of the National Right to Food Campaign, an informal network of organisations and individuals working on right to food issues.PDS rice for two months was distributed in Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput area from September 20 to 30, according to Sameet Panda of the food campaign.Ineligible personsOut of 272 families, there were 17 households having a total of 50 members who have not received grain for September and October as none of the family members were seeded in PDS-Aadhaar.There are 255 such families where Aadhaar of one or more family members has not been seeded. There are 385 persons across these 255 households who have not been seeded into Aadhaar, so their names have been eliminated.The survey found that there are 17 persons who are ineligible. They include those dead; female members married outside; and not available in the village.Out of 435 persons whose Aadhaar has not been seeded, 185 persons don’t have Aadhaar. The survey team met those who have applied for Aadhaar several times but have not received it so far, said Mr. Panda.There are 228 persons who have an Aadhaar number but it has not been seeded yet. Out of them, 72 persons have submitted their Aadhaar in the gram panchayat but they don’t know why it has not been seeded. There are 17 such persons whose Aadhaar number is reflected in the PDS card but their name has been deleted.last_img read more