Why Bafana are in with a real chance

first_img12 May 2010What do Bafana stars Aaron Mokoena and Mathew Booth and President Jacob Zuma have in common? They believe South Africa could reach the 2010 World Cup final.And South African Football Association President Kirsten Nematandani says the national side cannot be underestimated. “This event is big for the African continent. We’re the hosts, so we have to do well. Doing well means making sure that the Cup stays in South Africa.” They may be the only ones holding out hope for a team that is languishing in 90th place in the world rankings, but there are no sports as fickle as football, and some extraordinary upsets have happened on the greatest stage of all.Take 1990, for example, when unfancied Cameroon defeated world champions Argentina in the opening fixture of Italia 1990. And Senegal handed out similar treatment to cup holders France in South Korea in 2002.When Bafana Bafana take the field against mighty Mexico at Soccer City on 11 June, the odds will be heavily stacked against them. Let’s not forget, though, that South Africa held their own against some of the giants of international football – including Spain, the world’s top ranked side at the time – in the Confederations Cup a year ago.With the 90 000 vuvuleza-blowing supporters inside the new cathedral of South African football, South Africa could set the stage for a famous upset.There are other factors favouring Bafana – and the other African contenders. No European country has won a World Cup outside of Europe. The 1978 champions Argentina struggled to qualify for the tournament, and coach Diego Maradona, the legend who lost his way, is widely regarded as their greatest obstacle.Five-time champions Brazil can never be written off, but it remains to be seen whether they can show their famous dance moves on the pitch. They failed to get out of the starting blocks at the 2006 World Cup, and they are missing some of the giants of the game, including Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Romario. Kaka, their best player, is coming out of an off-form season at club-level. Brazil’s hopes are resting on the aging Fabiano or and Robinho.With two minutes remaining in the semi-final of last year’s Confederations Cup, it took a wicked deflection from a Daniel Alves free kick to separate South Africa and Brazil.Yes, anything could happen in the opening fixture of the 2010 World Cup.Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010last_img read more

Lightning kills two inmates in Ludhiana jail

first_imgTwo inmates were killed on Thursday after lightning struck them in Borstal Jail in Ludhiana, the police said.“The incident occurred when four inmates were praying at a temple situated inside the jail premises. Lightning struck, leaving two of them dead and the other two injured,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (East) Devinder Chaudhary told reporters.Mr. Chaudhary said the deceased have been identified as Lakhvir Singh (18) and Rishav Kumar (19), both from Ludhiana. The injured inmates — Rajwinder Singh of Sidhwan Bet and Gurdeep Singh of Jagraon — were admitted at the civil hospital with serious burn injuries.last_img

IHF, HI resolve differences, decide to merge

first_imgThe warring factions of Indian hockey — Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) — on Monday resolved their differences and decided to merge into one unit. The decision to merge the two bodies was taken hours before the Union sports ministry’s final deadline was to expire. Sports Minister Ajay Maken had set July 25 deadline for the two groups to settle their differences after they failed to reconcile in the previous attempts. Good sense finally prevailed and the rumbling row that had crippled the administration of the game got over. It should help India’s quest for glory ahead of the London Olympics. The move comes as a big boost for the national sport as the HI headed by Narendra Batra and the IHF led by K.P.S. Gill would now work together to help power the game in the country. The merger would ensure that the much-awaited World Series Hockey League, to be held later this year, gets the necessary go-ahead from the Federation of International Hockey.last_img read more

IIJW 2014: Bollywood divas sparkle in jewels

first_imgDay 1 of the India International Jewellery Week in Mumbai started on a high note on Monday with Bollywood beauties sashaying down the ramp in glitter and gold.In its fifth edition this year, the four-day event from July 14-17, organised by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), is a major destination for buyers and designers alike as the latest in traditional and modern wear with diamonds, gold, silver and precious stones are presented for the upcoming bridal and festive season.Dia Mirza, Kalki Koechlin, Sunny Leone and Lisa Ray walked the ramp.Gorgeous actresses added extra glitz to the show. Former Miss India Neha Dhupia cut a graceful figure as the ‘royal bride’ – with heavy polki and ruby earrings, necklace and maang teeka – for Geetanjali Jewels, while actress Chitrangada Singh looked traditional yet sexy in a red lehenga choli combination, accentuated by a kamarband with latkans, heavy diamond necklace and a nath. Her voluminous open hair, kohled eyes and confidence on the ramp gave the collection an electric makeover.Dia Mirza, whose wedding with fiance Sahil Sangha has been confirmed for October, looked stately and elegant in a beautiful orange lehenga sari as she walked the ramp for jewellery designer Shobhana. With her hair in a vintage updo with soft ringlets, the diva was seen in chunky jewellery set in diamonds, gold, pearls, emeralds and rubies.After traditional bridal looks, modern brides got their share of trinkets to feast on as well. Big Boss 7 winner Gauhar Khan walked for IIGJ Mumbai in a strapless, white pleated maxi gown with a diamond-studded crown, bracelet, rings and a statement necklace with big emeralds to do the talking. Likewise, the ladies in red – Dev D actress Kalki Koechlin and model/activist Lisa Ray – kept it simple in ruby hued dresses and jewellery for Jewels by Preeti and Farah Khan Ali, respectively.advertisementZayed with sister Suzanne Khan.Last but not least, Baby Doll Sunny Leone took to the ramp as showstopper for Apala by Sumit in a black one-shoulder dress and strong and tribal-like ornaments in gold and silver. With three layers of studded chains draping her hair, the Jism 2 actress sported an armour-like necklace, armlet, cuff and solid anklets with aplomb.Shantanu and Nikhil break the stereotype with new bridal wearThe grandeur of sartorial pleasures has begun in the Capital with the Fall 2014 haute couture collection presented by designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil in collaboration with Johnnie Walker Black Label at JW Marriott, New Delhi, on Monday.The collection was true to the designers’ aesthetic of fluid drapes, lace applique work and layered frills that enhanced the fitted gowns in a way that they accentuated the body curves. Adding fresh perspective this time around to their bridal wear, the duo made use of unconventional colours – such as grey, black, blue and beige – handcrafted accessories and varying layers of fabric. There were also a variety of options for cocktail wear. Titled ‘Rani Sultanat’, the mood of the collection reflected a palace in Istanbul during the Art Deco Revolution of 1930’s.The exotic ensembles included white flowey anarkali dresses, lehengas with floral lace and sari gowns, while men strutted down in smart velvet achkans with subtle embroidery and sharara pants. Accessories such as handcrafted cuffs and head crowns with feathers, chains and an adjustable bone structure, royal looking brooches and embellished formal loafers added extra punch to the show.Speaking to MAIL TODAY, designer Nikhil Mehra shared, “Couture for us is about refinement. It’s in the details of the craft that makes every ensemble a special creation.” Designer Shantanu Mehra added, “Many brides want a complete look from us for their wedding. As a result, the inclusion of accessories and elaborate head gear has been a natural progression in our design expression. These garments are not for the big day alone, but can be incorporated into a woman’s wardrobe afterwards as well.”last_img read more