After almost six years of waiting and worrying, the FIFA World Cup is finally here in South Africa. Next week’s opening ceremony and the first game for ‘Bafana Bafana’- the nickname given to the national side-will signal the beginning of what many in South Africa, and indeed Africa, hope to,After almost six years of waiting and worrying, the FIFA World Cup is finally here in South Africa. Next week’s opening ceremony and the first game for ‘Bafana Bafana’- the nickname given to the national side-will signal the beginning of what many in South Africa, and indeed Africa, hope to be the best World Cup ever.South African football fans are lively and are waiting for the world to arrive It’s been a long road, filled with doubt and fear, but the construction of wondrous stadiums across the country and the major overhaul of transport facilities convinced those who refused to believe that the world could trust Africa with such a massive responsibility.Many are calling this an opportunity for not only South Africa, but also for the continent of Africa as a whole. Long seen as the poor cousin in the world, hosting the biggest sports event in the world illustrates just how far the ‘dark continent’ has come.South Africa has embraced the Cup, with the majority of workplaces and even schools adopting ‘Football Fridays’, where employees ditch regular attire and wear ‘Bafana Bafana’ shirts to add to the excitement of the biggest year in South Africa’s sporting history.Football, a predominantly ‘black sport’ in South Africa, has been embraced by every race in the Rainbow Nation, with even previously sceptical observers throwing their weight behind the event. Recently, the Blue Bulls-South Africa’s standout rugby side-chose to host two of their most crucial matches in Soweto, a previous hotbed for racial tensions and the symbolic home of black struggle in the country.advertisementR640 million (Rs 90 crore) will be spent to deploy 41,000 specially trained police officials for the 2010 World CupThe Bulls, from the Afrikaner-dominated Pretoria, shattered boundaries with one inspired move, and their subsequent winning of the Super 14 tournament in the heart of Soweto was another step towards unifying a nation that is still rebuilding itself.The sight of white Bulls’ fans mixing with locals in taverns and in the stands has galvanised the wave of support behind ‘Bafana Bafana’ for this World Cup, in much the same way that the 1995 Rugby World Cup swept up the entire nation and pushed the unfancied Springboks all the way to the world title.Yet, a similar fairy-tale story for South Africa’s national team is not likely. Most fans’ hopes are now consigned to simply qualifying for the second round.The embarrassment of becoming the first host nation to fall at the first hurdle is a prospect that no one wants to even consider. Form though suggests that captain Aaron Mokoena’s side will have to find new levels to emerge from the group with France, Uruguay and Mexico.Indeed, ‘Bafana Bafana’ have declined since the turn of the century and the entire country is now in silent prayer that the five-month training camp before the tournament will reap rewards for coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.This is the Brazilian’s second stint at the helm and his presence has managed to restore some sort of stability to a ship that was threatening to veer dangerously off-course.In a landmark event the Africaner-dominated bulls rugby team celebrated a super 14-S win in Soweto stadium After a short break, Parreira’s return as an emergency measure immediately transformed the fortunes with an unbeaten, 10-match run up to the World Cup. Infrastructure may have taken shape but informed observers are nagged with worry about the South Africa’s overall footballing fortunes.Since being on the brink of making second round in 2002, ‘Bafana Bafana’ have not kicked on. Instead they are a shadow of the side that was continental champions in 1996. The development of young talent has been poor, with coaches highlighting this as the glaring weakness in South African football.An entire nation is hoping to be the crucial 12th man for the team with vociferous support from the stands. The ‘vuvuzela’, a trumpet of sorts that is part and parcel of the local scene, was met with disdain by players who participated in last year’s Confederations Cup.Spain and Italy called for the offending instrument to be banned, but the FIFA has said it adds to the atmosphere, and coach Parreira has called on all the ‘vuvuzelas’ to be on full blast to aid his side. No South African will care how the team makes it to the last 16, so long as they get there. The motto it seems is, ‘By any means necessary’.To our visitors I have to say that, despite the usual reports predicting massacres on every street, what you are more likely to find is a country in party mode for a month. Yet, mindful of the country’s notorious reputation for crime, South Africa has invested heavily in getting over 10,000 extra police officers into gear. These extra numbers will allow key areas including fan parks, high volume roads and public areas to be heavily guarded. Crime hot spots have also been given extra attention, with CCTV cameras adorning most city centres.advertisementThe general message now being sent out by authorities is that if the tourists don’t behave reckless, they should enjoy themselves. Every major city is transformed into a cacophony of colour for the occasion. The beaches of Durban will provide variety to the parties of Cape Town and the malls of Johannesburg, along with the country’s vast range of attractions will ensure that the entertainment doesn’t just end on the field.South Africa has put on its best frock and, after much work, is ready to put out its best foot and welcome the world with open arms.It is time. Wozani (Come on in).The author is sports writer for The Witness, Pietermaritzburg, the oldest daily news-paper in South Africa.
Virender Sehwag has been ruled out for Asia Cup due to his hamstring injury. Dinesh Kartik, stumper batsman, will replace Sehwag. Sehwag had sustained an injury during the thrilling win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup.The swashbuckling opener pulled his right hamstring in India’s pulsating one-ball-to-spare win over Pakistan. Sehwag was in pain during his his 30-ball stay at the wicket and was assisted by Suresh Raina as a runner.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will recover Rs 425 crore from IPL’s sub-continent media rights holders MSM Satellite as part of the amended media rights agreement which was approved by the T20 league’s governing council here on Friday.The BCCI successfully contended that the Rs 425 crore facilitation fee paid by MSM to Mauritius-based World Sport Group rightfully belonged to the board, said BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan in a media release after the IPL meeting.Srinivasan also said MSM, who have agreed to pay Rs 300 crore now, were also taking steps to recover the balance amount of Rs 125 crore from WSG and, once this is done, this amount too would be handed over to the BCCI.”Today, the governing council-IPL had approved an amended Media Rights Agreement with MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pte Ltd in which MSM would agree to pay the balance payable under the Facilitation Fee Agreement to the BCCI,” the board secretary said in his media release.”Thus, they have agreed to pay Rs 300 crore as part of the Rights fee to BCCI. MSM Satellite (Singapore) are taking steps to recover Rs 125 crore already paid to WSG Mauritius and on recovery, will pay the same to BCCI,” Srinivasan said.The board had contended that once it became aware of the Rs 425 crore payment by MSM to WSG, they informed MSM it was “an improper payment”, according to Srinivasan.”M/s MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pte Ltd, the Media Rights holders for Sub-continent, had agreed vide an agreement dated 25.3.2010 to pay facilitation fee of Rs 425 crore to WSG Mauritius Ltd. On becoming aware of this, BCCI contended that this money belonged to the Board and should have been part of the Rights fee,” Srinivasan said.advertisement”BCCI had also informed MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pte Ltd that this was improper payment. MSM Satellite agreed to pay the said amount to BCCI as part of the Rights Fees,” the BCCI secretary said.The IPL GC reviewed the status of all matters relating to its suspended commissioner Lalit Modi and was also briefed about the three show cause notices issued to the latter and his replies, Srinivasan said.The Board has found his replies unsatisfactory and a Special General Meeting has been convened on July 3 to decide Modi’s fate.Srinivasan also said the governing council members were briefed about the investigations by government authorities into IPL and the outstanding dues from several vendors who were part of season 3.”Members of the governing council were briefed in detail about the investigations into IPL and outstanding payment to BCCI from several vendors who were part of the IPL-3. The vendors included Ticketgenie, the ticketing agency,” he said.
Global firms have now started roping in Bollywood beauties as brand ambassadors.Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone have all signed mega deals with overseas brands. Katrina has been signed up as the brand ambassador for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.Filmmaker Farah Khan, who is directing Kat in her next Tees Maar Khan, will be making an ad for the airline featuring her.Kareena is the face of Firdous Lawns, one of Pakistan’s leading textile manufacturers. Kareena’s ads are already on billboards in various Pakistani cities, showing the star sporting dozens of different designs.Deepika has been roped in by the Dubai- based Aspire Real Estate. In fact, the actress signed the deal soon after her debut movie, Om Shanti Om . Aspire’s association with Deepika is believed to have been very successful.”Bollywood glamour is no longer limited only to India. Hindi film celebs have a huge appeal among NRIs and foreign audiences too,” Manish Porwal, managing director of talent management firm Alchemist, said.Farah’s ad- film with Katrina for Etihad will be shot at the airlines’ airport lounge in Abu Dhabi. According to the filmmaker, Katrina will not play an airhostess in the film. Katrina is scheduled to fly down to Abu Dhabi for a day to wrap up the ad- film from Spain, where she’s filming Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milenge Dobara . Of course, the money is good.While Kareena has reportedly received around Rs 3 crore to feature in the Firdous shoot, Katrina is believed to be getting over Rs 4 crore for the Etihad ad-film.advertisement” Indian celebs have two advantages. While NRIs easily recognise them, foreigners – who don’t recognise them – can always see them as powerful and impressive models.It’s always an advantage,” Porwal said. Besides actresses, even Bollywood’s male stars have started to make their presence felt in the foreign ad- space.Aamir Khan is believed to have lapped up a three-year deal of around Rs 35 crore with UAE’s telecom giant Etisalat. This makes him the highestpaid Indian star in the arena of endorsement.Not long ago, Shah Rukh signed up as the brand ambassador of du, Etisalat’s rival telecom operators in UAE. And Akshay has been chosen by the Canada Tourism Commission as its ambassador for India. The actor has said that Canada is his second home and he is truly proud to encourage and promote Canadian tourism in India. “I have an extremely strong connection to this great land and its warm people,” Akshay recently said about Canada.
Former India cricketer Vinod Kambli is being unfairly targeted for claiming that the India-Sri Lanka semifinal match of the 1996 World Cup may have been fixed.It is understandable for questions to be raised about why Mr Kambli has made the revelation 15 years after the event. That Ajit Wadekar – a respected cricketer of yesteryear who was the manager of that team- as also a couple of team members have rubbished the claim, is significant here.Yet, it is strange for the media to accord great importance to what Mohammed Azharuddin, the captain at that time, has to say about the allegation. As is known, Mr Azharuddin was banned for life on the charges of match-fixing later in his career, making his credibility on the issue suspect.Mr Kambli must be praised for being among the few cricketers to speak out against match-fixing though the phenomenon was rampant in the 1990s, as acknowledged the founder head of ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit Paul Condon recently.The controversy should make India consider enacting a law against betting in sport.
The main rounds of the 25th Sub-Junior National Badminton Championships will be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium from Sunday. After the three-day qualifying rounds, the event, for shuttlers in the 13-15 age bracket will continue till next Thursday. More than 1,000 players as well as 200 coaches and officials will participate in the tournament, hosted by Delhi Badminton Association. The event carries a prize money of Rs three lakh.
The beauty of sport is that even when your feel-good factor is low, there are several magical moments you can recall to lift the spirits. As the sun sets on another fairly good year for Indian sport, there are several events worth recalling which gave us joy. For months, we have been battered by all negative news from corruption to price rise and how politicians refuse to let Parliament function.Sports View by S. Kannan.Yet, on the sporting field, it has been business as usual with the Indian heroes toiling ceaselessly in pursuit of excellence. Hockey is our national game but cricket continues to be enjoyed with much more passion, and MS Dhoni’s Team India conjured up magic in the ICC World Cup to lift the trophy after 28 years.Ever since Kapil Dev lifted the Prudential Cup on the Lord’s balcony in June 1983, we started believing that in each edition of the World Cup which followed, India would be in with a chance to crown themselves champions again.We failed and fooled ourselves in six editions after that before the Indian team rose to the top in style at the Wankhede Stadium in April. The scenes were delirious all over the country as players danced, wept and displayed a whole gamut of emotions after the intense battles.One man who stood out in a victorious campaign was of course the man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh. An entertainer par excellence, the prince showed his immense utility with bat and ball and played the biggest role in India winning the coveted trophy.advertisementAs we recall those magical moments of the World Cup, Yuvraj is away from the game battling a tumour in his lung. Luckily, it is a benign tumour so there is less to worry about. But as people are bound to celebrate the highs of the year in sport, one must say a special prayer for Yuvraj and hope the dashing all-rounder comes roaring back to the sport, which he plays from the heart.If the World Cup was all about highs, the tour to England was a huge disaster and the 0-4 thrashing in the Test series was painful viewing as the world- famous batting line- up crumbled.In sport, it’s better to forget the bad results and look at the positives, and Team India did well to beat the same Englishmen at home in an ODI series, after which they tamed the West Indies.One man who has now made the entire nation impatient is Sachin Tendulkar, as he has failed to get to his 100th international hundred in 17 innings. The talk has now shifted to which venue will see Sachin get the elusive ton Down Under.BUT before that, one has to salute the man who made batting look bold and beautiful in Indore: Virender Sehwag slammed an ODI-record 219 against the West Indies. The effortless ease with which Sehwag batted left everyone benumbed. It was as if it was just that one man’s day under the sun as he played strokes with amazing timing. As for hockey, it has again been a year of squabbles as far as the officialdom goes but a win in the Asian Champions Trophy was creditable. Sadly, the team was unable to repeat the feat in the Champions Challenge last month. Under new coach Michael Nobbs, the team is working hard though the big test is how it fares in the Olympic qualifiers next year at home, where nothing less than winning the tournament will guarantee India an Olympic berth in London.Talk of athletics, the National Anti Doping Agency’s (NADA) decision to ban seven athletes for flunking out-of-competition dope tests is fully justified. Yet, what comes as a huge shock is that these were the same athletes who brought us glory last year in the Commonwealth Games and the Guangzhou Asian Games.But there were heroes as well with Tintu Luka, Vikas Gowda, Krishna Poonia and Mayookha Johnny booking London Olympics berths by virtue of their performances in the year gone by. Archery is one sport where we have been making good improvement. And the solid showing in 2011 was once again underlined by the women archers, with Deepika Kumari in particular catching the eye.Deepika was unlucky as she missed a gold medal at the World Cup Finals. Looking ahead, this is one sport in which India can spring a few surprises at the Olympics.The surprises came in boxing as well. With well-known names like Vijender and Akhil failing, it was left to the Young Turks to steal the limelight as Vikas Krishan won a bronze medal at the World Championships. It helped him clinch an Olympic berth, with Manoj Kumar, Devendro Singh and Jai Bhagwan also getting their tickets for London.advertisementMore boxers can make the grade in 2012 with the Asian championships offering more berths.However, in weightlifting and wrestling, the Indians disappointed. Sushil Kumar has grappled with form and fitness and how he does in 2012 will be watched with interest.As for the lifters, it has been a pathetic year with the dismal showing at the world championships proof that this is one sport where we stand no chance now on the international stage.But, as if to lift the gloom, we have the Indian shooters making a huge mark once again. The lament of lack of ammunition and coaches will be heard constantly but the marksmen have continued to raise the bar. For sheer class and consistency, Ronjan Sodhi came out tops as he won the double trap World Cup yearend finals once again and also booked his quota berth.In addition, six more sealed their quota places in 2011, with Shagun Choudhary the first Indian woman shotgun shooter to do so. Abhinav Bindra also joined the list of Olympic qualifiers and 2012 could again be a year where his rivalry with Gagan Narang will make this sport even more exciting.What of the women in racquet sports? Saina Nehwal has struggled this year and in a way it is good she understood what it is like to fail at the top. The shuttle queen did pull herself up at the end of the year, but we have grown to expect a lot more from Saina.The grand old men of Indian tennis – Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi – regrouped and won three titles before splitting again!They will make news in 2012 as well, though they will not be on the same side of the net.For chess champion Viswanathan Anand, it was an average year and the Indian golfers did not scorch the greens either.And while the Indian participation in Formula One was short and not very fruitful, the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit showed us that the country could host a world-class event well, and helped us get over the scandals that surrounded the Commonwealth Games last year.When one looks at the gloom which politicians have inflicted on us in 2011, we can feel proud of what the Indian sportspersons have done. This is enough reason to say Merry Christmas!
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will soon have his long locks back.Dhoni, who was in Kolkata for a promotional event, chose not to speak on cricket and mostly talked about his passion for bikes and his hairs.Sporting a white shirt, Dhoni told the gathering that his bald look, immediately after winning the World Cup last year, was in no way related to some offering to God.”Im growing my hair again. People said that I shaved my hair because of some mannat. But actually I wanted a lean look with the summer approaching so I decided to go bald,” Dhoni said.Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had become a Dhoni admirer during India’s tour of 2006 and had suggested him that he should not get a haircut since he looks good in long hairs.There was also talk about Dhoni’s fascination for sportbikes and he revealed that 1983 Jackie Shroff-starrer Hero had inspired him.”There used to be the old Rajdoot motorcyles in Hero… I really liked the model. I still have about eight of them,” he said.Known for his cool demeanour, Dhoni further said they discuss petty things even during matches. “People often ask what we discuss in the middle of a high-voltage match. But we generally talk about what’s there for food at hotel…” he smiled.Dhoni also stumped the gathering with his rendition of Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon from the movie Kabhie Kabhie.
Former Olympic sprint champion Maurice Greene has dismissed the notion that Jamaican Usain Bolt can rescale the lofty heights of 2008 when he established two mind-boggling World records in the 100 and 200 metres. Greene said he expected the marquee 100m at the upcoming London Olympics to be a very competitive affair as Bolt is no longer in the shape he was four years ago, reports Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).Bolt won the 100m in 9.69 seconds before returning to win the 200m in 19.30 seconds, to headline the Beijing Olympics.”The race in London is going to be a lot closer than a lot of people think. It’s going to be a really exciting race,” said Greene, who won 100m gold in Sydney 12 years ago.”I’m going to tell you right now, he can’t do that (set a new world record).””I look at people. I analyze their races. He hasn’t shown to me to be in that type of shape that he was in 2008,” Greene said.He added: “If he is in that kind of shape, he’s going to win. I don’t think he’s in that kind of shape. He’s having problems from zero to 65 (metres). From there to the finish, that’s just him. You have to be with him at 70.”Following the Beijing Olympics, Bolt further lowered both records to 9.58m and 19.19m respectively, at the World Championships in Berlin a year later.His attempt to defend both titles at last year’s showpiece in Daegu was met with disappointment, however, as he false started in the 100m to suffer disqualification.He eventually won the 200 metres in a time of 19.40 seconds. Greene warned, however, that following Bolt’s disqualification, the 25-year-old would be anxious to prove his quality.”He has done it before, so you have to prepare accordingly. If you want the gold, you have to be prepared to go to that area,” the American said.”Usain is talking about his legacy. He wants to prove he should have won when he was knocked out. I don’t think he would have won. I know when someone has something to prove, he is dangerous.”advertisement
No more menthol cigarettes: New ban on tobacco, vape flavors Cojuangco: PH will end Olympic drought with 5 golds in Tokyo 2020 View comments Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH PBA IMAGESWas it an air ball or a perfectly timed pass for an alley-oop that clinched the game for TNT Friday night?Import Glen Rice Jr., swore that yes, his crucial basket from underneath came off a pass from equally flamboyant teammate Jayson Castro.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games On his way out of Smart Araneta Coliseum, and just after paying homage to the large crucifix near the exit, Castro admitted to reporters he took an attempt at the basket.“It was an air ball,” said Castro in Filipino. “But before that play, I signaled Glen to go underneath and be ready for rebound.”At any rate, Castro said they are happy to put the quarterfinal struggles behind them.“We must be ready because we are in for a tougher assignment,” said Castro referring to the semifinal matchup against Barangay Ginebra.They begin their own best-of-five series on Monday also at the Big Dome.ADVERTISEMENT Trump to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ That basket gave the the Texters a 116-114 lead over Rain or Shine in the last 10.6 seconds which TNT protected on the way to a semifinal berth.“It’s a pass, I guess,” said the son and namesake of the famed NBA superstar amid post-game debates. “He just happened to find me open.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAs it turns out, he was probably just being nice to Castro, touted as Asia’s best point guard.For the record, Castro, said it was indeed a brick. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LATEST STORIES Argentine bishop appears at court hearing on abuse charges Winter storm threatens to scramble Thanksgiving travel plans ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next