Struggling Fulham are thrashed at Anfield

first_imgLiverpool 4 Fulham 0Fulham’s poor run continued with a defeat at Anfield, where they were totally overrun.Goals from Martin Skrtel, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing and Luis Saurez gave Liverpool a comprehensive victory.Skrtel thumped home on eight minutes after the Whites were unable to clear Gerrard’s corner.Liverpool should have doubled their lead when Suarez pulled the ball back from the right for Daniel Agger, who contrived to shoot over from two yards out.But there was no escape for the visitors when they were split open by Downing’s superb through-ball to Gerrard, who fired beyond Mark Schwarzer.Keeper Schwarzer’s near-post save prevented Suarez making it three shortly before the break and the striker also missed a good chance early in the second half.Downing added the third by cutting inside and shooting past Schwarzer from the edge of the box.And Suarez netted in injury time after being teed up Jose Enrique.Fulham have now won only one of their last 10 matches and the best they could muster was a free-kick from Hugo Rodallega, which was well saved by Pepe Reina.Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise, Kacaniklic (Rodallega 45), Karagounis, Baird, Richardson (Frei 54), Dejagah, Berbatov.Subs: Stockdale, Senderos, Kasami, Briggs, Tavares.   See also:Liverpool v Fulham player 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Skilling South Africa

first_imgCalvin AugustineThe world has changed over the last few months, as developed nations edge closer towards recession and world growth prospects begin to fade. But this reversal in world fortunes is in one sense a positive for Africa, and particularly South Africa, in the area of skills development and retention.People tend to follow opportunities, says Bobby Godsell, former head of mining multinational AngloGold Ashanti. He believes South Africa has a wealth of opportunities ready for the picking, and the country will not have a problem in attracting the scarce skills it needs.Godsell is an adviser to the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), the body created to tackle the country’s skills shortage. He says emerging markets such as South Africa will be on world investor’s list of choice destinations, as this is where growth is expected over the next five to 10 years.Through his interactions with international companies, particularly those in the West, Godsell notes that their sentiment towards Africa has never been more positive. “We’ve got massive infrastructure development underway, corporate governance is improving,” he says. “I’ve never seen sentiment as positive as this. I think we’re going to see a return of engineers.”South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka echoes this, saying that the opportunities in South Africa for people to advance are “quite attractive”. Speaking at the release of the Jipsa annual report in April, Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the government and the private sector are actively engaging in various initiatives to attract skills.Better working conditions and remuneration packages are critical in retaining and attracting highly skilled professionals for South Africa, she says. Jipsa is looking into these retention areas and the government would also continue to improve the conditions of service.Chief economist in the Office of the Presidency Alan Hirsch says that Jipsa’s interactions with town and regional planners, a scarce skill highly demanded by South African municipalities as they expand, have revealed that it is not that the country is not producing enough planners, but that people did not stay in the profession due to the poor conditions of service.To remedy this, professional standards have been designed for the town planning profession, the South African Council for Planners has now been strengthened and the registration of planners is being promoted to enhance the profession.Urgent attention has also been given to foreign skills recruitment. The government, through the Department of Home Affairs, is facilitating the easier importation of skills with a quota of work permits. The quotas enable foreign professionals in specific categories to apply for work permits without having already found jobs in the country.In addition, in the two years since the inception of Jipsa, great strides have been made in training up South Africans as engineers, artisans, technicians and educators.According to the Jipsa report, the 2007/08 service levels agreements – signed between the various sector education and training authorities and the labour department – a total of 18 879 artisans have been registered. An additional 20 000 will be registered for 2008/2009 and a total of 50 000 is expected to be achieved by 2010. Jipsa overshot its engineering training targets with its target of graduating 1 000 engineers a year being topped by 500 last year; the body hopes to increase this to 2 000 a year by 2010.But Mlambo-Ncguka says South Africa will still need to improve skills development if the country wants to keep abreast with the rest of the world.“It is important to highlight that in the area of skills, since we started the world has changed,” she says. “The scale of the problem is bigger; it’s now time to up our game.”While the brain drain remains a concern, one solution is for South Africa to produce more skills than it requires. Another is the Jipsa Work Placement Programme, which fast-tracks deployment and improves productivity of qualified young people with scarce skills.This programme includes the placement of unemployed graduates both locally and internationally. Both local and international companies have responded to the call, with more than 20 000 offers received for graduates and about 15 000 already being placed. Eskom, Transnet, Microsoft, Shoprite, Old Mutual and Xstrata have taken several hundred, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce.Jipsa records that a few companies have recruited matriculants so far, but will in future focus more on these new entrants to the work force as well as semi-skilled people with potential for training. Foreign missions in South Africa have embraced the programme, with China, Canada, the US, UK, Cuba, Brazil, Singapore and Malaysia so far committed to the programme.The mandate period for the Jipsa secretariat has been extended by another 18 months. In its second phase of operation, the body will focus more on research and evaluation.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email [email protected]last_img read more

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UK sculpture honour for Pistorius

first_imgBritish contemporary sculptor BenDearnley has created a bronzetorso sculpture of South AfricanParalympic icon Oscar Pistorius.(Image: Ben Dearnley) Pistorius’s model will form part ofDearnley’s series of 18 life-sizedsculptures of celebrated athletesfrom both sets of games. They willgo on show at the Avenue ofChampions exhibition at SalisburyCathedral next year.(Image: Ben Dearnley) MEDIA CONTACTS • Ben DearnleySculptor+44 7792 859 312RELATED ARTICLES• Sibusiso Vilane’s trek to the top• Tribute to Arthur Goldreich • SA producer gets Olympics for Korea • Drive to stamp out doping in SA sportWilma den HartighBritish contemporary sculptor Ben Dearnley has created a bronze torso sculpture of South African Paralympic icon Oscar Pistorius, which will go on display in London as part of an exhibition ahead of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.Pistorius’s model will form part of Dearnley’s series of 18 life-sized sculptures of celebrated athletes from both sets of games. They will go on show at the Avenue of Champions exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral next year.The sculpture was unveiled by Pistorius and former UK sprinter Iwan Thomas at London’s Trafalgar Square on International Paralympic Day earlier in September.UK Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former athlete and head of London 2012 Organising Committee chair Lord Sebastian Coe, and many Paralympic athletes were also in attendance.Pistorius will be representing South Africa at the London Paralympics.World champion sprinterIncluding Pistorius in the exhibition was an obvious choice for Dearnley. “My sculpture of Oscar is just a small way of honouring his commitment to be free from his disability,” Dearnley says.Pistorius was born without a fibula in both legs. On recommendation of leading medical specialists, his parents decided to have his legs amputated below the knee, as this would give him the best chance learning to walk later in life.Six months after the operation, Pistorius received his first pair of prosthetic legs and within days he learnt to walk with them.Years later he went on to become a world champion sprint runner and the first Paralympian to win gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints in Beijing in 2008.His athletic ability has earned him the international reputation as the “fastest man on no legs”. He runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs, which is why he has come to be known as South Africa’s Blade Runner.Art in motionThe Bath-based artist had the opportunity to arrange the casting session in May, when Pistorius was in Manchester for the Paralympic World Cup.Dearnley speaks with great admiration about working with South Africa’s Blade Runner: “I jumped at the chance as I know what an amazing athlete he is and what an inspiration he is to so many.”When making a sculpture of an athlete, the first step is to study them in motion. The artist studied Pistorius in action at the indoor track where he was training. “I see his running motion as a kind of flight, somewhere between the ground and the sun. His blades mean that nothing of himself is actually in contact with the ground,” Dearnley explains.He also had to decide on the best position for the casting, which is vitally important when working on a sculpture of an athlete. He wanted the Pistorius torso to reflect his movement, which is key to his success.Pistorius was required to hold the position for up to 20 minutes while the casting plaster was applied to his body. The next step was to sculpt the torso in plaster and then get it made in bronze at the foundry.“The colour patination of the bronze is sky-blue in reference to his flight,” Dearnley says. Pistorius’s signature is also engraved into the bronze, which shows as gold. “I polished a golden highlight around the top edge, which is a reference to the sun.”Pistorius has already challenged convention by running in the world championships against able-bodied athletes and Dearnley says he has no doubt the South African will continue to “shake up the establishment” with record-breaking achievements.“The sculpture captures for all time a true fragment of the athlete, frozen in mid-flight,” he says.last_img read more

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2014 World Cup: End of an era for Spain, end of mystique for Brazil

first_imgGermany’s Miroslav Klose in action against Brazil in the World Cup’s first semifinalTime flies sweetly when it flies at the pace of a football. Only yesterday, it seems, host Brazil was kicking off the World Cup with an unconvincing win against Croatia; and only yesterday, this time more literally, was,Germany’s Miroslav Klose in action against Brazil in the World Cup’s first semifinalTime flies sweetly when it flies at the pace of a football. Only yesterday, it seems, host Brazil was kicking off the World Cup with an unconvincing win against Croatia; and only yesterday, this time more literally, was Brazil getting a shellacking of historic proportions at the hands of Germany in the semifinals. If Brazil was smug and dandy in that first game, a mediocre side with an bloated sense of entitlement, it was no better than a carcass in the second, carved up by German butchers looking for the juiciest, plumpest cuts.As this issue goes to press, we have had the pleasure of 62 of the 64 scheduled World Cup games. (Let me finesse that: 60 of those 62 completed games actually gave us pleasure; Iran vs Nigeria on June 16 and Ecuador vs France on June 25 were both distinctly unlovely.) Two games remain: the playoff for 3rd place, on July 12, between The Netherlands and a mortified Brazil; and the final, the next day, between Argentina and Germany, both deserving opponents in the ultimate contest for the Cup.As someone who has watched every single game played-yes, even those played simultaneously in the last round of the group stage, done by streaming one match on my laptop while the other played on TV-I’d like to offer readers a few observations. Some of these are strongly influenced by my son, with whom I watched all the games, and who knows more about football than could possibly be good for any 14-year-old. Let’s start with two termini, two ends: The first, the End of an Era for Spain; the second, the End of a Mystique, for Brazil.advertisementSpain’s dominion of world football was brief, and altogether late in coming in the long sweep of football history. It existed from 2008-14, spanning two European Championships and one World Cup (that of 2010, in South Africa). Spanish rule over world football coincided with the domination by Barcelona FC of European club football, its grandeur being such that Newsweek magazine once asked, in a cover story in June 2011, whether Barca was the best football team ever. (The story was by Jimmy Burns, a historian of Barcelona football, so the answer, naturally, was yes!)On June 13, only the second day of the World Cup, Spain’s reign was over after a 5-1 hammering by The Netherlands. The score was monstrous, and we all felt we’d watched a once-in-ageneration mauling of one titan by another. (Little did we know, then, what the first semifinal had in store for us.) The Spaniards lost their next game, too, to Chile, and were out of the Cup after two matches, an ignominious exit for the holders. These were more than just defeats: They were the end of an order. Barcelona has lost its lustre, as last season showed; and Spain, which derives its entire pattern of play, not to mention many of its players, from the Catalan club, has lost its lustre, too. I cannot foresee a Spanish return to football’s pinnacle.Argentina celebrates after scoring a goal against the Netherlands in the second semifinalWorse than the dethronement of Spain, by far, was the humiliation of Brazil, on a night so catastrophic that no team will take the field against a Brazilian side in years to come and feel weighed down by awe. The majesty has gone: The emperor was shown to have no clothes.This was to have been Brazil’s World Cup. The cosmic script, as written by Brazilians, had them hosting a beautiful tournament, one awash with goals and flair, that would end with Thiago Silva, their captain, holding aloft the trophy on a cacophonous night at the Maracana Stadium in Rio. Neutral observers and unsentimental aficionados had an early sense that this script would go awry. Brazil beat Croatia with some help from a friendly Japanese referee, and couldn’t put a goal past Mexico’s goalkeeper in 90 minutes of huffing and puffing.In the round of 16, it scraped past a doughty Chile by virtue of a penalty shootout, after a game in which its southern neighbours had matched it move for move. The quarterfinal against Colombia offered the evil omen before the nadir. In a brutal game in which Brazil sought to muscle its way past the twinkle-toed Cafeteros, the team lost Neymar to a robust tackle by its opponents: Live by the kick, die by the kick. Neymar was out for the rest of the Cup with a broken vertebra, and Silva, the captain, was forced out of the semifinal due to an accumulation of yellow cards.advertisementHow on earth would Brazil beat the Germans without Neymar, its only goalscorer, and Silva, its best defender? No one in Brazil knew, and no one in Brazil seemed to care. In the days before the Germany game, all focus was on Neymar, and it was a very mawkish focus. The injured player was sanctified; and accusations of cowardice were hurled at the Colombian defender who had fouled him. Amid all the wailing and raging, and the nationwide obsession with the ailing Neymar, no thought was given to tackling the Germans. And on the night of the game, it showed.Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil’s coach, must shoulder much of the blame. His was a shoddy squad, packed with mediocrity; it was packed, also, with the coach’s favourites. Fred, the forward, was a national embarrassment, bereft of technique and imagination, of skill and wit. And yet he played game after game, always starting, never being dropped. Fred wouldn’t have come within a country mile of any of the previous Brazilian World Cup teams. His presence in this one was proof of its inadequacy, its impotence.The quarter- and semifinals showed that the centers of world football power remain Europe and Latin America (and, more precisely, the national leagues of Spain, Germany, France, Holland and England). For all the pluck shown by the United States in reaching the last 16, and all the maturity and skill shown by Costa Rica in vaulting to the quarterfinals, the World Cup remains a tournament where the established powers thrive. My son and I scanned the schedule meticulously in the days before the opening game and made our predictions of the likely quarterfinalists. We were right on all teams but one: We had Italy down instead of Costa Rica.The semifinals were merely a concentration of the phenomenon: Brazil (five-time winners) vs Germany (three-time winners); Argentina (twice winners) vs The Netherlands (thrice finalists). These teams, with Italy, are akin to the permanent members of football’s “security council.” But no one seems to mind. There is no clamour for a more equitable representation of teams from Other Places. Why should there be? The outsiders from Asia and Africa had their moments at this Cup, as they tend to do at most World Cups; but those were no more than moments, fleeting memories of an underdog getting in a bite or two before losing to the “overdog”.The final awaits us, the third time Argentina will face Germany for the Cup. For those tempted to say that the Germans should win, I have a single word of warning: Messi. He has had a lukewarm tournament so far, offering us a couple of goals of brilliance and setting up a couple of others. He has been hampered by his team, which gave him next to no support in the earlier stages. He is a game-changer.The Argentine team began to cohere in the quarterfinals against Belgium, but the loss, there, of Angel di Maria, handicapped them against The Netherlands. Di Maria is a playmaker of exceptional intelligence and flair, and should he recover from his thigh injury in time to play the final, the Albiceleste-the skyblue-and-whites- will be a match for the Germans. Argentina’s defence is rock solid, as the Dutch found in the semis, and as others found before them. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie were all kept at bay with remarkable success. Can you imagine any other team stifling Robben so completely that he could get his only shot on goal in the 9th minute of extra time- the 99th minute of the game? The Germans have their own great strengths, and are the most complete team of the Cup. They attack incisively with Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose; their midfield boasts the superb Sami Khedira; and their defence, with Philip Lahm restored to his God-given place as right-back, has overcome the lethargy of the group games, when Joachim Loew, the coach, miscast Lahm in the midfield.advertisementI end with a prayer: May the referee have a good night on June 13. May he be fair, may he let the game flow. May he not fall for dives and cheating, especially in the penalty box. May he not be trigger-happy with his cards, even as he is intolerant of brutality. May he, in short, let the best side win.Tunku Varadarajan is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover InstitutionTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.last_img read more

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