RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter By News Highland – May 19, 2020 Magee Medical School officially given green light Pinterest News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th Facebook Facebook Twitter AudioHomepage BannerNews Google+ Google+ The Magee Medical School in Derry has officially been given the green light.The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to establish the graduate entry medical school with the first intake of 70 students expected in September.Foyle MLA Karen Mullan has been welcoming the news.She says, not only will the Medical School positively benefit the economic regeneration of Derry but will also be felt across the whole North West:Audio Playerhttps://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/mulgffghgfhgfhlan1pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic WhatsApp WhatsApp FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction DL Debate – 24/05/21 Pinterest Previous articleCalls for resolution to Wage Subsidy maternity debacleNext articleTwo males arrested following cross border chase News Highland Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows
Press Association Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson will be available for the Potters’ opening match of the Barclays Premier League season against Liverpool next month. Wilkinson was sent off for a challenge late on in Stoke’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday during their pre-season tour to the US. Manager Mark Hughes had feared the full-back would be handed a ban that would see him miss the first game of the season at Anfield on August 17. However, Wilkinson will instead have to sit out the final game of Stoke’s tour against Philadelphia Union on Tuesday night. A statement on www.stokecityfc.com read: “Stoke City can confirm that defender Andy Wilkinson will serve an immediate one-match suspension following his dismissal in Saturday’s 1-0 pre-season friendly victory against FC Dallas. “The news, which has been confirmed by the Football Association, ensures that Wilkinson is available for selection for the 2013/14 curtain raiser against Liverpool at Anfield.”
Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditLong Island-Brooklyn (12-15, 7-7) vs. St. Francis (Pa.) (18-8, 11-4)DeGol Arena, Loretto, Pennsylvania; Sunday, 4 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: St. Francis (Pa.) looks for its seventh straight conference win against Long Island-Brooklyn. St. Francis (Pa.)’s last NEC loss came against the St. Francis (NY) Terriers 86-79 on Jan. 25. Long Island-Brooklyn fell 87-77 to St. Francis (NY) in its last outing. For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com February 21, 2020 St. Francis looks to extend streak vs LIU Brooklyn SAVVY SENIORS: St. Francis (Pa.) has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Keith Braxton, Isaiah Blackmon, Myles Thompson and Tyler Stewart have combined to account for 68 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 68 percent of all Red Flash points over the last five games.CLUTCH CLARK: Raiquan Clark has connected on 33.8 percent of the 68 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 5 of 20 over his last five games. He’s also converted 67 percent of his free throws this season.WINLESS WHEN: Long Island-Brooklyn is 0-8 when scoring fewer than 66 points and 12-7 when scoring at least 66.STREAK SCORING: St. Francis (Pa.) has won its last three home games, scoring an average of 84.7 points while giving up 70.7.DID YOU KNOW: Long Island-Brooklyn managed to score exactly 200 points across three matchups against St. Francis (Pa.) last season.___
(Men’s Wearhouse) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/c0/b/jimmy-g-embed-qa_6667xe4qynji1s8wz5w9gljls.jpg?t=-586646973&w=500&quality=80 SN: Is there a sense of urgency with the offense after the lost time? How has everyone embraced the pressure to match the expectations?Garoppolo: In a perfect world, this offense will keep getting better and keep going upward. As a football player you’re always trying to be perfect. It may not be realistic or possible, but that’s the goal. We have a good group of guys who all have that mentality. We trust the results will come.Whatever the level of hype going on outside the building, we are going to put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else. As long as we go out there, put the work in, put the time in and continually grind, good things will happen. We just have to go out there and prove it.SN: You haven’t been Tom’s backup in New England for a while now, but we saw you hanging out with him again at the Kentucky Derby. How strong does that connection remain for you as former teammates, especially that he also experienced a torn ACL earlier in his career?Garoppolo: Tom is a great friend. He’s real down to earth — if I ever have a question on anything I text him and he replies very quickly with an answer. You have to appreciate that in him. He’ll text to just say hello.I talked to him about my knee rehab earlier this offseason, and he helped me there. It’s a great relationship, and I’m thankful I have him to help.MORE: NFL quarterback rankings for 2019SN: As for your current teammates, Dante Pettis looks like he is ready to break out as one of the NFL’s top wide receivers. What makes him so special as a potential No. 1?Garoppolo: Dante is something else. His physical ability is different from most receivers, and different from any receiver I’ve been with. How he moves, it’s very long and gangly, but he makes it work. He has enough explosiveness and power to get out of cuts when it doesn’t look like he can.I’m thrilled about it. It makes my job easier for someone to win one-on-one opportunities like that. He’s a tremendous talent and keeps working, grinding to make big things happen.SN: Rookie second-round pick Deebo Samuel is headed for a big role after flying out of the gate in OTAs. How fun has it been to see him grow in such a short time?Garoppolo: Picking up an NFL playbook isn’t the easiest thing in the world. For these young guys — and the new veteran guys such as Tevin Coleman, Jordan Matthews — to come in and pick up the offense as quickly as they did, it’s impressive. It’s a testament for all the hard work they’ve put in over their off time and it pays off. Deebo is going into training camp rolling with a great opportunity.SN: You had the fortune of playing with one great tight end, Rob Gronkowski, and now are playing with another, George Kittle. How do they compare in what they can do?Garoppolo: There are a lot of similarities — on the field and a little bit off the field, too (laughs). George is tremendous. The energy he brings every day, how he goes about his business — he’s always having fun while he’s doing it. Very similar to Gronk, they both enjoy what they do.It makes everything more enjoyable. It’s fun to be around, and it’s contagious. To have a guy like that makes our team so much closer as well as much better.MORE: NFL tight end rankings for 2019SN: Nice to see that you’ve partnered with Men’s Wearhouse for their annual Suit Drive, which calls upon customers to #ThrowbackandDonate gently used professional attire to men and women who are looking to re-enter the workplace. How rewarding was that for you?Garoppolo: It was a great opportunity that got thrown my way. I was excited about it because I saw the resemblance in the mentality of walking into a job interview for the first time and making a good first impression to the football mentality of “look good, feel good, play good.” Whenever you can help men and women who are less fortunate to look the part that they’re trying to go get, you have to take advantage of it. Garoppolo spoke with Sporting News this week about his tough road to quick recovery for this season, the continued influence of Tom Brady and how the 49ers’ improving offensive weapons — including the new Gronk — can help his team meet those lofty expectations.MORE: Ranking 49ers’ potential Hall of FamersSporting News: You had a frustrating end to 2018 after injuring your knee right when you were getting settled in Kyle’s offense. How difficult was that, and then how rewarding has it been to come back ready to play less than a year later?Jimmy Garoppolo: Initially, it was very tough. Mentally, it was hard accepting that you had put all this work in during the offseason and you don’t get to see any of it go through. But having Jerick McKinnon (torn ACL last August) around, as we were both rehabbing at the same time and talking to guys who had been in that situation before, really helped.To get back for OTAs the way I did, and that I was able to participate, I couldn’t have asked for much more. I’m feeling good going into training camp.SN: When you couldn’t be out on the field and observed what C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens were doing in your place, what did you take away from that experience?Garoppolo: You’re seeing the game from a different perspective, more of a coach’s perspective. I took every opportunity, whether it was third down, red zone or backed up in our own end and said, “What would I call here? What would I be thinking?” It helped my mental game tremendously watching the way Kyle does and strengthened us as quarterback and play-caller. The more we can do that, the better.SN: When you saw what the team was doing to upgrade the offense this offseason, how much faster did that make you want to get back?Garoppolo: The motivation to get back on the field, it’s always been there, because I haven’t been used to not being on the field. Then seeing the guys who came in, the free agents we signed, the rookies we drafted, things started to come together, piece by piece.Exciting is a good word for it, but also anxious to get back out there and go to work with them. Jimmy Garoppolo is looking forward to finally getting in a full season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.Although San Francisco has suffered some big injuries in two years under coach Kyle Shanahan — including the torn left ACL Garoppolo suffered in Week 3 at Kansas City last season — there are high hopes for the team to rebound from 4-12 and challenge for the playoffs with its QB back healthy in 2019. SN: As an NFL quarterback, I’m sure you’ve had to upgrade your wardrobe a little since you entered the league. Where do you stand suit-wise now?Garoppolo: In college, you wore sweats all the time — a pair of jeans was dressing up. I’ve definitely come a long way as far as that goes.
Johannesburg, 4 October 2016 – Brand South Africa will this week launch the ‘Play Your Part and Know Your Constitution, Play Your Part and Live Your Constitution’ campaign.This is in line with Brand South Africa’s mandate to contribute to national efforts to inspire pride, patriotism and active citizenship amongst the citizens of our country. This is the ethos that will drive citizens to play their part to strengthen the Nation Brand and its value proposition domestically and internationally.The Play Your Part and Know Your Constitution, Play Your Part and Live Your Constitution campaign is premised on the notion that knowledge and awareness is a powerful tool that can be used to safeguard embrace South Africa’s democracy.Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Marketing Ms Sithembile Ntombela says, “The Nation Brand’s democratic dispensation rests on the fundamental principles of freedom, social justice, equality and human dignity – and this generation owes it to those who will come after us to entrench these values into the social fabric of our country.”The three-month campaign which commenced on 1 October 2016 aims to empower people with knowledge and information on their rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. This awareness will be integral to the promotion and advancement of South Africa’s constitutional values.“To understand the spirit of our Constitution, one has to reflect on South Africa’s democratic journey and discover those common values that shaped it. Yet the application of the values of the Constitution requires interrogation as our social fabric evolves. Our campaign aims to highlight some of these contemporary issues while continuing to empower citizens about their rights as embodied in the highest law of our land,” concluded Ntombela.Listen out for the ad on Metro, 5FM, Tru Fm, YFM, TUT, VOW, UJ FM this week and let us know your thoughts on #InspiredByMyConstitution #SANationBrand
Guinness Nigeria’s state-of-the-art brewing plant uses sorghum grown locally by small-scale farmers, instead of unsustainable barley imported from outside Africa, to brew its beer. (Image: Guinness Nigeria)• Matthew McGuinnessAccenture Media Relations – Sustainability+44 77 400 [email protected] KeebleAfrica is on a remarkable growth trajectory, with many analysts predicting economic growth to remain above 5% for the foreseeable future. This is to some extent underpinned by a strong rate of demographic expansion. Indeed Nigeria, the host of last week’s World Economic Forum on Africa, is expected to surpass the USA in population size by 2050.But all this growth is set in a rather different ecological context to that of the 19th and 20th century economic growth spurts of Europe, the Americas, Japan and China. Resource-rich Africa’s growing economies are facing expansion after the global commodity price spikes of the last decade wiped out the price falls of the whole of last century. Meanwhile, the world is now trying to wean itself off fossil fuels, while many economies in Africa still rely heavily on coal. So to anyone interested in sustainable development, Africa’s next steps are fascinating.Perhaps it isn’t surprising, in this context, that African CEOs overwhelmingly outnumber their peers from other regions in seeing global sustainability challenges as “very important” to the immediate success of their companies. According to last year’s UN Global Compact and Accenture CEO study on sustainability, in which 1 000 global CEOs took part, nearly three quarters of African CEOs cited sustainability as a major factor – as opposed to under a third from Europe.Innovation on the groundIt is easy to assume that this commitment to sustainable business is more rhetorical than real. But if we look at the situation on the ground in Africa we can actually see where innovative companies are adapting their business models to cater for and even benefit from adaptation to sustainability challenges.A good example is Guinness Nigeria, owned by UK brewer Diageo. The 2007 hike in malting barley prices hit Guinness Nigeria’s business hard. Barley generally has to be imported to Africa as it doesn’t survive well in the harsher climatic conditions. However, the long-term response was to build an Africa-specific business model around sorghum, a much hardier grain which needs much less water to thrive. The company has invested US$250 000 (R2.6-million), working with local governments to train smallholder farmers and secure a sustainable local supply. By 2012 sorghum accounted for 70% of Guinness Nigeria’s grain volume, cutting costs and reducing the risks of poor harvests. This model has since been adopted in all Diageo’s African operations and is playing a central role in securing the sustainability of the company’s operations across the continent.Cellphones for solar powerAnother good example is Kenya based M-Kopa Solar which brings together innovative finance, mobile technology and renewable energy to provide low-income homes with electric lighting. Underlying this innovation is the rapidly growing Kenyan economy, which despite strong growth still lacks investment in energy infrastructure, leading to frequent power shortages. As a result, an estimated 3-million Kenyan homes – or 80% of the population – live off-grid and spend an average of KSh70 (US$0.80) daily on kerosene to light their homes. Kerosene burned in houses for illumination is a major contributor to air pollution and is harmful to health.M-Kopa Solar’s customers buy a solar home system on a mobile payment plan, with an initial deposit, followed by 360 small daily payments. M-Kopa teamed up with Safaricom, operators of the hugely successful M-Pesa mobile money programme, to deliver a technology mix which enables the same cellphones charged by the panels to be used to pay for the electricity generated. Consumers benefit not just from cheaper and cleaner lighting, but have also reported an increase in monthly incomes by as much as 50% from the extended workday.Measuring the full impact of sustainable modelsA final example might be Actis Capital, the former investment wing of the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation with US$4.6-billion (R46.6-billion) in funds under management, exclusively for investment in emerging markets like Africa. Actis has developed an Energy Impact Model and a measurement tool with the aim of measuring the impact of an energy project well beyond just its financial return. Actis systematically measures its investment’s impact on people, wider communities, infrastructure, environment and governance. The model pinpoints where action is required and then tracks performance over the whole life of the investment. This means that environmental, social and governance issues are fully integrated into all of Actis’s investment decisions in Africa.The key to these success stories is that they have responded to specific sustainability challenges by adapting their businesses models. My question is how we administer the same shove to organisations with fewer immediate challenges, such as those in more developed economies. In the end, supply chain risk will be a global problem so the faster all businesses can lock in resilience the better for global as well as African prosperity.Justin Keeble is the managing director of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Accenture Sustainability Services. This article was originally published on the World Economic Forum blog.
Hunger was the motivation for Uganda’s Phiona Mutesi to attend chess classes at a local church: she signed up because they also provided a bowl of porridge. Today, her story is being made into a Hollywood movie. Kenyan Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o is starring in a film about Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi. (Images: News Point Africa and Tim Crothers) Priya PitamberThe rise of Uganda’s Phiona Mutesi from the poor streets of Katwe to international chess sensation is being turned into a Disney blockbuster starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.In 2005, when she was nine years old, Mutesi crossed paths with the game in the slum of Katwe, in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Players were introduced to chess at a church, and given a free cup of porridge.“It was so interesting,” Mutesi told UK newspaper The Guardian of her introduction to the game. “But I didn’t go there for chess; I went just to get a meal.”The hungry Mutesi started to plan her days around visiting the church, and ended up fuelling a passion for the strategic planning it takes to win a game of chess.“She was really desperate for survival,” recalled coach and mentor Robert Katende of Sports Outreach Ministry (SOM) of his meeting with Mutesi a decade ago.“I like chess because it involves planning,” Mutesi said. “If you don’t plan, you will end up with a bad life.”Now, she plays internationally, wins accolades, and inspires young minds in Uganda.All hail the queenMutesi’s afternoons are dedicated to chess. “She will either practice at school with friends or go to the SOM Chess Academy in Katwe and help coach Robert [Katende],” reads the profile on her website. “Phiona has a real passion for teaching the children.”President of the Uganda Chess Federation Vianney Luggya said Mutesi had flourished, and had surpassed all expectations.Mutesi competed in the Africa International Children’s Chess Tournament in South Sudan in 2009, and returned with a trophy. She has taken part in Olympiads in Siberia, Turkey and Norway, and she has a Woman Candidate Master ranking from the World Chess Federation.The young player has also faced off against her hero, the Russian former world champion Grandmaster, Garry Kasparov. Her success has also inspired students in the US to start a chess tournament in her name.The Hollywood treatmentThe movie is based on the book by Tim Crothers, The Queen Of Katwe: A Story Of Life, Chess, And One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream Of Becoming A Grandmaster. It is being filmed in South Africa and Uganda, translated for the screen by Mira Nair.Nair also directed a short documentary on Katende for the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s short film series, The Power of Words.From 6000 pearls to just 1: Uganda. Excited to be back in East Africa to work with @MiraPagliNair on #QueenOfKatwe. pic.twitter.com/wruqunWbpa— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) March 29, 2015It is believed that Oscar-winning actress Nyong’o is taking the role of Mutesi’s mother, Harriet, while Oyelowo is tipped to play chess instructor and mentor Katende, reported the African lifestyle portal, Okay Africa.While filming in South Africa, Nyong’o took some time off to see South African comedian Trevor Noah on stage.I was already having a great time performing in Johannesburg and then @Lupita_Nyongo dropped in and made my night. pic.twitter.com/eIJFbto1xm— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 12, 2015Luggya said he hoped the movie would open doors for chess players across Uganda. “I think Ugandans realise that it is a brain game that can enhance their potential in all other aspects of life.”An inspiration to other girlsMutesi’s success has had a ripple effect, including inspiring young girls across Uganda to achieve their dreams. “Girls are always overlooked, even in chess,” Mutesi explained to The Guardian. “But I don’t think there’s any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself.”In 2013, she was honoured at the Women of the World Summit in New York City and awarded a $25 000 grant. “Phiona has been faithful to use the funds to speak at conferences, organisations and churches,” states her website.When she held her first girls-only chess clinic, more than 400 young women attended. “The girls were not only taught chess but also encouraged by Phiona and invited professional women to pursue education and to delay marriage and children until after they finished school and began a career.”From queen to GrandmasterMutesi would like to rise to the highest level possible in chess: that of a Grandmaster. But outside the game, she would like to improve the lives of children by becoming a paediatrician.“Phiona, [and her brothers] Brian and Richard plan to go back to Katwe after they finish school to build a home to provide shelter, clinic care and education for the slum children,” reads her website.
Forty one million people in the SADC region of Africa are in need of humanitarian food aid. The worst drought in 35 years is a result of a changing climate and Africa will need to adapt to this new normal. Africa needs to start planning for a world where extreme weather is the new normal. (Image: World Vision)Sulaiman PhilipAcross the Southern African Development Community (SADC) fields are barren, rivers have long dried up and livestock is left neglected and bedraggled as the territory suffers the worst drought in the last 35 years.Four SADC states – Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – have declared national emergencies. Mozambique has declared a 90-day red alert in some areas. Seven of South Africa’s nine provinces are drought disaster areas. According to a recently released SADC report, Vulnerability Assessment Results, 2.7 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition; 41 million people face food insecurity and of those, 21 million people need immediate assistance.In June, Botswana’s president and SADC chairperson, Ian Khama, called on the international community to provide humanitarian aid. At the beginning of August he will begin the formal process of declaring the region a disaster area.The designation as a disaster zone unlocks substantial humanitarian aid and funding from the international community. This shock funding allows governments to pay for disaster relief without tapping into national reserves or borrowing.In a statement released by SADC he said that the 2016 harvest would not feed the region and 23 million people faced imminent starvation. Khama will appeal for $2.7-billion (R38-billion) worth of humanitarian and drought relief, and to help strengthen the region’s safety net.“The appeal will be a formal request to the international community to provide assistance to affected member states,” he said. “The severe drought conditions have already taken [their] toll on lives and livelihoods and the situation could deteriorate further if urgent assistance is not provided.”Drought effectsIn 2015, South Africa – traditionally the bread basket of the region – received the lowest rainfall since records began in 1904. It has been a century since South Africa’s pastures have been this dry. In Malawi half of all children under five are malnourished and President Peter Mutharika has declared a national disaster.Despite the drought, South Africa produces more grain than it did two decades ago but harvests are half of what they were two years ago. The last harvest was 9.9 million tons, this year it is expected to be even lower, with just 7.4 million tons available.Maize, the staple food of the region, is now so expensive it is a luxury. The region has also depleted its stockpile of grain reserves. For landlocked countries such as Zimbabwe and Malawi, food costs will double as a result of transport costs from ports in South Africa and Mozambique.In villages in Zimbabwe’s Chivi District and the Neno District in Malawi families are resorting to desperate measures to fill their empty stomachs. A story in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper highlighted the plight of Chidyamakondo High School in southern Zimbabwe. For three years the schools girls’ football team have been national champions. Now Morrison Musorowegomo, the school’s head teacher, told the newspaper’s correspondent: “Students are fainting, struggling to concentrate in lessons, dropping out of school… We’re having to shorten our assemblies and cut back on sport.”Students are also dropping out of school to help families scavenge for food. Even more heart-breaking for Musorowegomo, his students are vulnerable enough to be coerced into exchanging sex for food or cash.Food is a human rights issue, says Malawi’s deputy director for school health and nutrition, Virginia Kachigunda. “We are really at a point where we need support. This is a situation which will eventually recycle poverty in these families. It’s a serious problem.”Climate changeAfrica faces challenges caused by the changing global climate. The environment of SADC is especially fragile and is being affected by higher land and ocean temperatures. In coming decades these changes will alter the weather and will affect when the rainfall season begins; in turn, this will change the agricultural cycle.Historically there was one regional drought every decade, then every five years. The cycle has now sped up and SADC countries are affected every three to five years. Mary Robinson, UN special envoy on El Niño and climate, says El Niño affected by climate change is the new normal. She believes that humanitarian disasters will get worse as the climate changes.Aid workers say that the response should be built on longer term planning. World Vision’s Beatrice Mwangi says this latest drought has shown the need to help affected communities plan for the new reality. Communities need food aid, she adds, but more importantly they need help adapting to the changing climate.The leaders of SADC countries understand that economic development will be hamstrung by more frequent floods, droughts and cyclones. They understand that climate change will damage agricultural infrastructure and that they need to adapt to preserve the progress the region has made. SADC has signed commitments with the World Food Programme that recognise adapting to climate change is an area of co-operation.The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (Amcen) has developed a framework for the region to deal with the challenges it could face. The aim, it says in the report, is “to unlock resources for promoting strategic interventions that sustain productivity and livelihood improvements for millions of climate-vulnerable people in the region”.
Alexander Netherton: The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among othersLionel Messi is an enigma. Not because of what he says and does on the pitch, but because we don’t know what he says and does off it. England striker,Alexander Netherton: The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among othersLionel Messi is an enigma. Not because of what he says and does on the pitch, but because we don’t know what he says and does off it. England striker Wayne Rooney has given interviews describing the thought process of scoring a goal. Swedish powerhouse Zlatan Ibrahimovic tells us he is his own biggest fan. Portugal’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo proves something similar. We are rarely in doubt over these players-they embrace the attention. The Argentine Messi plays as if he invented the game, with a talent that appears genetic, but he seems content to leave it at that: The best player since Diego Maradona.Maradona was Argentina’s last World Cup superstar, winning it in Mexico 1986. He is feted as a hero of the country, a product of its poorest communities. He is loved; Messi is not. Similar to Maradona in many ways-in his supernatural ability and balance-Messi is removed from Argentina, sentimentally and physically. If, however, he wins the World Cup this summer, that would surely change.Argentina themselves face a relatively simple start to the tournament, with a fortunate draw in their qualifying group. Pitted against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria in Group F, the squad has an abundance of attacking talent, with Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain. However, it has a weak defence. Argentina can test the abilities of any of the defences at the World Cup, but Messi and his attacking teammates may not be able to do enough to prevent defeat. Sergio Romero, the goalkeeper, loaned to Monaco last season, rarely played for them, and defender Martin Demichelis is a figure of fun because of his propensity to look like a figure of fun. With the exception of Ezequiel Garay, the defence is lacking. They are still favourites to top their group, but it would be a surprise if their defence copes against the best sides.advertisementDespite this, after years of underperforming, and of a lack of talent in key positions, this might be the best chance of success that Argentina have had in some years-all of which puts immense pressure on Messi. Having moved to Barcelona aged 13-the club offered to pay for essential Human Growth Hormone treatment as he stopped growing as a child-Messi still has the accent of his hometown, Rosario. He retains an interest in Argentine cuisine, and has not culturally assimilated in Spain. He made his name in Spain, with La Liga and Champions League success, but is not thought of as Catalan or Spanish. Similarly, in Argentina, he is regarded as something of an ‘other’. Lionel MessiHis footballing identity is clear, and this may be why he stands apart from his national teammates. Schooled at La Masia, the famous training ground at Barcelona where players are indoctrinated with the side’s approach of short passes and technical excellence, he is entirely a Barcelona player. It was here that the man who oversaw Messi’s greatest period of success, Pep Guardiola, established himself as one of the most impressive modern coaches. When he took over the first team, he won both the Champions League and La Liga in his first season. Plenty more followed. His blueprint was to use a core of players schooled at La Masia who followed the idea of tiki taka-retaining the ball with relentless short passes, one of the most mentally exhausting approaches to use, and physically exhausting to face. They were Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodreguez and Sergio Busquets, besides Messi.All excellent players, but indisputably the greatest was Messi. He scored goals of all kinds, goals of rare beauty that, with his consistently excellent form, he made common. Spain took these Barca players and used their modus operandi of constant possession to win the World Cup and consecutive European Championships.Not Quite Argentine Enough?In Argentina it is different. Argentina play their own way: More direct and less sophisticated. It’s a style that other players might be more accustomed to, but Messi is less effective when he is not with those who play the game at its peak. At Barcelona, as he broke into the first team, he was brought under the wing of the Brazilian aesthetes who recognised just how special he was. At Argentina, there has been no concerted effort to bring him into the fold, nor is there any indication that he seems to want to be part of the family. There is really only one example of emotion for the national team, when he was sent off on his debut and burst into tears-but that could simply be personal disappointment rather than patriotism.advertisementMessi (left) takes a free kick for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid during their 2014 Champions League quarter-final first leg match at camp nouIt is also different because of the 365 goals he has scored for Barcelona, a majority of them having been imbued with a meaning, coming in seasons that ended in success. For Argentina, he has scored 37 in 83 games, but all of them are simply goals that didn’t win a trophy. Some might point out that he won the Olympics in 2008, but it is not seen with any affection by players or fans. Simply put, until he wins something for Argentina, he will not mean anything to Argentina. In his hometown even, there is little evidence they are proud to have produced him, perhaps because there is a feeling that with his experience at Barcelona, he is not really theirs anymore.Argentina treats other players with the reverence Messi is not afforded. The nation focuses on players who play a position that is a national tradition: The enganche or hook. Through this position, the enganche is the playmaker who starts the attacks, and if he performs as he should, appears languid, sophisticated and elegant. He will not need a burst of pace, and he will not score countless goals. The most recent players of this kind are Juan Roman Riquelme, who left Barcelona before Messi established himself and was a relative failure there, and Juan Sebastian Veron, who retired this season with Estudiantes, finally and for the second time, at the club where he had started his career.These two players were divisive figures in a way that Messi is not. Everybody knows that Messi is the best player Argentina has, and its best since Maradona. Yet, there is nobody to passionately take up the cause of Messi because there is nobody who could rationally take up the case against him. He has been consistently the best player in Europe in recent years, and therefore the best in the world. Riquelme and Veron, however, are anachronistic characters on the field. They played the game at a tempo slow enough to be outmoded, so there is a romance to using the position, even as the rest of the world tried to leave them behind, only to be brought to its knees by occasionally devastating passes and beauty. The fleeting nature of their genius is somehow more romantic than Messi’s ability to be brilliant in almost every match. They are inherently Argentine in the way they play, Messi is inherently Messi.Messi is the product of modern football teamed with a genius that allows him at once to define it and at the same time rise above it. He is a recipient of modern medical science. While his use of Human Growth Hormone is unusual, it is part of a newly technological treatment of injuries and development of fitness that has created superhuman footballers. Players now can feature in up to 70 games a season, at full throttle. They can recover from serious knee injuries in six months that as recently as the 1990s would have ended careers. They run at incredible speeds, staying upright while being buffeted by other players. Messi, famous for his balance and indeed a rare reticence to fall under such challenges, is the best example of this strength, except perhaps for his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s presence and brashness highlights what Messi is not. It is through the Portuguese player that we often try to understand Messi, noting the differences.advertisementOther ‘Best Players In The World’Ronaldo, the other Best Player In The World Today, is vain. He strips to the waist upon scoring a goal in the Champions League final to make sure the cameras get his best feature. There were endless rumours that he was desperate to overhaul Messi as the best. Ronaldo doesn’t want to be the best he can be, as much as he wants to be better than everyone else. Because of his own quiet approach in comparison, Messi often appeared humble and modest. Recent contract negotiations that made him the best paid player in the world, and also charges of tax evasion, hint that this could be merely a superficial assumption.Messi with Barcelona team mates Xavi (Centre) and Iniesta (left)Another player comparison also contrasts with Messi, and shows why he is not adored at home yet. His new Barcelona teammate, Neymar, is just 22, and has a close relationship with Brazil. He stayed in Brazil for his formative years, so the national hype started at a young age. Success in the domestic league drew interest from across the country on a weekly basis, and the lower quality of play in Brazil made Neymar’s talents look even better by contrast. Neymar’s embrace of a jaunty image of extravagant haircuts and commercial prominence raised his profile in Brazil unmatched by Messi’s in Argentina. Messi is not known for his nightlife, but Neymar is seen having fun. In some ways, Argentina can’t fall in love with Messi because he gives them nothing to fall in love with.After a disappointing season, the World Cup is Messi’s last chance before he gets back on the treadmill for Barcelona. This year, he scored 41 goals, his lowest haul since 2008-9. A World Cup would take away this pain, but it would mean more than that. A World Cup win would mean that he would have an identity in his home country. It would mean finally moving on from the period of Barcelona dominance defined by Guardiola, who left in 2012. It would possibly even remove any doubt in the discussion between who really is best, Ronaldo or Messi. But as to what it would actually mean to him, rather than to all of us who speculate, it’s almost impossible to say.The writer is a freelance football journalist who has contributed for ESPN, Huffington Post and Bleacher Report, among others. To read more, get your copy of India Today here.
Although not in uniform for Game 1 against the Bucks, Griffin received a technical foul while on the bench in the third quarter for protesting teammate Andre Drummond’s ejection. Drummond was issued a Flagrant 2 foul when he shoved Bucks’ MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to the ground with both hands after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound. The Bucks led by 41 at the time.Griffin averaged 24.5 points during the regular season to lead the Pistons.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Antetokounmpo’s 2nd half explosion leads Bucks past Pistons for 2-0 lead He took part in light drills at Wednesday morning’s shoot around while wearing a heavy brace on his leg. He had been listed as questionable and had been openly lobbying coach Dwane Casey to let him return to the court.Casey said before tipoff Wednesday that Griffin has good days and bad, and the knee might different at different times of the day.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“He’s got the situation with his knee where there’s good days and bad days,” Casey said before Wednesday’s game. “It may feel good in the morning and feel bad at night. He wants to go and I want him to go, but it’s a medical decision. Hopefully, at some point, he can go.”After missing three games with a sprained knee, Griffin returned on April 5 against Oklahoma City and scored 45 points. However, he experienced recurring swelling in the knee and struggled two nights later against Charlotte. He played limited minutes against Memphis on April 9 and sat out the regular-season finale against New York the next night. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles MOST READ Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin, right, watches from the bench during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)MILWAUKEE — Detroit Pistons’ big man Blake Griffin was out of the lineup for the second game of the team’s first round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.Griffin sat out Game 1 of the series with left knee soreness. The Pistons lost the opener by 35 points. They also lost Game 2 to trail 0-2.ADVERTISEMENT DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments