Visionary soccer academy for SA

first_img11 July 2007World football is coming to South Africa in 2010 and French star Patrick Vieira, 31, is hoping to add to his 100-plus international caps at Africa’s first World Cup. He’s also hoping to see another of his dreams come to fruition by 2010: the building of a Diambars Football Academy in South Africa.Vieira is one of the founders of the Diambars Institute, a pioneering football academy that provides African boys with a real education and a genuine chance of making it in professional football – without being exploited along the way.Launched in Saly, Senegal four years ago, Diambars has proved a huge success and Vieira, along with his friends, wants to take that success forward in the host country of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.In a statement issued last month, Vieira announced the institute’s intention to open the second Diambars academy in South Africa. “Our goal has always been to expand the Diambars Football Academy across the globe, and we decided South Africa would be our next step,” Vieira said.“We want to build on the momentum behind the World Cup to promote the idea that football can be a great instrument to advance education and promote social and human development”.Giving back to football, and to AfricaDiambars – meaning “champions” in Senegal’s Woloof language – was the brainchild of Bernard Lama and Jimmy Adjovi-Boco, long-time teammates at French clubs Lille and RC Lens, who dreamed of giving back to soccer what the game had given to them.After Adjovi-Boco’s retirement, he roped in former French junior international Saer Seck, who was heavily involved in the game in Senegal, and Patrick Vieira, who had left Senegal with his mother at the age of eight to seek a better life in France.It took just five minutes of explanation from Seck to gain Vieira’s backing. Vieira had been wondering how he could give something back to the country of his birth. Diambars would be about more than just giving money, it would be about becoming actively involved. He liked the idea.The plan was to use Senegal’s passion for soccer to promote education. Senegalese President Abdulaye Wade gave the project his backing by donating a 38-acre piece of land on which the first Diambars Institute would be built.In France, the Nord-Pas de Calais region financed a feasibility study before becoming the association’s first partner, soon to be joined by France’s ministry of cooperation.On 24 May 2003, Bernard Lama, Jimmy Adjovi Boco, Patrick Vieira and Saer Seck laid the foundation stone of the Diambars Institute for boys between the ages of 13 and 18. By November of the same year, the institute began its first classes, and in mid-2004 Diambars undertook its first European tour. By September 2005, the school was able to house boarders.Education firstDiambars focuses first and foremost on the education of its pupils: about 70% of their time is dedicated to schooling.Graduates from the school are sold to clubs, but not before they turn 18, and their “transfer fees” are reinvested in the school, and in funding the roll-out of academies across Africa.Ensuring the scholars receive a good education also helps prevent the exploitation of the boys.Europe looks to Africa to find new talent at affordable costs. A mere £2 000 is often enough to attract players with potential to European clubs and academies; in some places in Africa that is a lot of money. For those that don’t make it, the consequences can be terrible.Jean-Claude Mbouvin of the charity “Culture Foot Solidaire” says he knows of 800 African boys who have been effectively lost in Europe. Other people put the figure as high as 5 000 children.Not every young player is going to make it, not even every scholar of Diambars. The institute, though, offers them protection against unscrupulous agents. Should a player’s goal of playing professional football not work out, they have a good, solid education to fall back upon.Even if boys are fortunate enough to secure a contract with a club, Diambars keeps close tabs on their progress, with the staff of the academy, including the professional players that support it, continuing to provide guidance and protection.‘Keep the ball moving’Today, Diambars has some heavyweight partners, including Fifa and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Corporate sponsors include Adidas, Cadbury, and Air France.Current and former players – apart from the founding quartet – who have lent their support to the cause include Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Robert Pires, Alliou Cisse, Claude Makelele, Ferdinand Coly, William Gallas and Mickael Sylvestre.Besides the football academy in South Africa, Diambars recently announced another new project: “Keep the Ball Moving”, an online competition-cum-education programme aimed at schoolchildren. The aim is to establish a multimedia classroom that combines soccer with education.The institute is hoping that Fifa will help fund “Keep the Ball Moving”, which will be launched in Senegal and France to start with, followed by South Africa and Scotland.Diambars is ambitious, it’s exciting, and it’s working.Now it’s South Africa’s turn to benefit from the hands-on contribution of some of the world’s biggest soccer stars, who know what it takes to be successful, who know the pitfalls, and who know how to make things a little bit easier for those with dreams of becoming professional players. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Toyota Robot Can’t Slam Dunk but Shoots a Mean 3-Pointer

first_imgTOKYO (AP) — It can’t dribble, let alone slam dunk, but Toyota’s basketball robot hardly ever misses a free throw or a 3-pointer.The 207-centimeter (six-foot, 10-inch)-tall machine made five of eight 3-point shots in a demonstration in a Tokyo suburb Monday, a ratio its engineers say is worse than usual.Toyota Motor Corp.’s robot, called Cue 3, computes as a three-dimensional image where the basket is, using sensors on its torso, and adjusts motors inside its arm and knees to give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a swish.Efforts in developing human-shaped robots underline a global shift in robotics use from pre-programmed mechanical arms in limited situations like factories to functioning in the real world with people.The 2017 version of the robot was designed to make free throws.Yudai Baba, a basketball player likely representing host Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, took part in the demonstration and also missed a couple of shots. If the robot could learn a few more tricks, he was ready to accept the robot on the team, he said.“We human players are still better for now,” he said.Toyota’s basketball robot Cue 3 demonstrates Monday, April 1, 2019 at a gymnasium in Fuchu, Tokyo. The 207-centimeter (six-foot-10) -tall machine made five of eight three-pointer shots in a demonstration in a Tokyo suburb Monday, a ratio its engineers say is worse than usual. Toyota Motor Corp.’s robot, called Cue 3, computes as a three-dimensional image where the basket is, using sensors on its torso, and adjusts motors inside its arm and knees to give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a swish.(AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama)Right after missing, the robot slumped over. It wasn’t disappointment, but a temporary power failure.Cue 3’s name is supposed to reflect the idea the technology can serve as a cue, or signal of great things to come, according to Toyota.The company plays down how the technology might prove useful. It’s more about boosting morale among engineers, making them open to ideas and challenges.In making the robot’s outer covering something like that of an armadillo, the engineers said they were just trying to avoid the white metallic look often seen on robots.The maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models has shown off various robots, including one that played a violin. Another, resembling R2-D2 of Star Wars, slides around and picks up things. At Monday’s demonstration, it handed the basketball to Cue 3.Experts say robots that can mimic human movements, even doing them better, could prove useful in various ways, including picking crops, making deliveries, and working in factories and warehouses.Stanford University Professor Oussama Khatib, who directs the university’s robotics lab, said Cue 3 demonstrates complex activities such as using sensors and nimble computation in real-time in what he called “visual feedback.”To shoot hoops, the robot must have a good vision system, be able to compute the ball’s path then execute the shot, he said in a telephone interview.“What Toyota is doing here is really bringing the top capabilities in perception with the top capabilities in control to have robots perform something that is really challenging,” Khatib said.Japan has been aggressive in developing humanoids, including those that do little more than offer cute companionship.Toyota’s rival Honda Motor Co. has its Asimo, a culmination of research into creating a walking robot that started in the 1980s. It not only can run, but also recognize faces, avoid obstacles, shake hands, pour a drink and carry a tray.When will such robots be able to slam dunk, a feat that will require running, dribbling and jumping?“In 20 years, with technological advances,” said Tomohiro Nomi, a Toyota engineer who worked on Cue 3.By: Yuri Kageyama, AP Business WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

PHOTOS: Children Reading with State Minister Terrelonge

first_imgMinister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Alando Terrelonge (left), interacts with students of Half-Way Tree Primary School, today (May 7), to mark Read Across Jamaica Day. This forms part of activities slated for Education Week, observed from May 5 to 11, under the theme ‘Empowering Educators: Retooling, Innovating, Networking for Sustainable Development’.last_img

Running Backs Had A Good Thing Going — Until The Analytics Era

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight This week marks the start of NFL training camps, but a few big names might not take the field. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott may hold out in the hopes of negotiating a more favorable contract.Elliott would join a list of running backs who have recently held out from practice — or, in Le’Veon Bell’s case, a whole season — in search of more lucrative deals. What do the numbers say about his chances at a raise? On today’s show, we discuss how analytics might play a role in the depreciation of positions and whether these evolutions are for the better.Our Rabbit Hole this week discusses our recent research into the danger of foul balls and what might constitute a baseball VIP experience in Japan.What we’re looking at:Our colleague Josh Hermsmeyer weighs in on the Elliott debate.The Atlantic investigates the disappearance of centers from the NBA.The Washington Post examines the reaction time fans have should they find themselves in foul ball territory. read more

Marvel actress Elizabeth Olsen gets engaged to Milo Greene frontman Robbie Arnett

first_imgMarvel’s Wanda is all set to tie the knot! Actress Elizabeth Olsen, who has been dating Milo Greene frontman Robbie Arnett for three years, is now engaged to him.The first time that the two made an appearance as a couple was back in September 2017 when they attended the Gersh pre-Emmys party and were photographed together. However, that was one of the few moments when they stepped out at the red carpet together.Olsen has been extremely guarded about her personal life, but the engagement does not come as a surprise to many. The two have been seen together on numerous occasions. Not to mention how they even took some time off of New York City to go on a vacation in Mexico.Before Robbie, the actress was linked to Narcos actor Boyd Holbrook. In fact, they also got engaged after dating for about three years. However, they called off the engagement later. Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie ArnettTwitterIt is not the only Olsen who has been making headlines for taking the next step in a relationship. Sister Ashley Olsen was also seen donning a ring as she stepped out with her boyfriend Louis Eisner.The couple was spotted in Pacific Palisades, California, and set the rumour mills abuzz with possible news of being engaged. Although they have not confirmed the reports yet, we know for sure that one Olsen sister will be tying the knot soon! Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie ArnettTwitterOn a professional front, Elizabeth Olsen will be seen in the fourth phase of MCU films as she will star in WandaVision, a venture of Disney+ and in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Directed by Scott Derrickson, the film will bring back MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch. He will be donning his Cloak of Levitation again and will reunite with his Avengers: Endgame co-star.last_img read more

Ravi Shastris continuation as Team Indias head coach confirmed CAC not looking

first_imgVirat Kohli and Ravi Shastri together.BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty ImagesFormer Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri is, reportedly, almost confirmed to continue as the head coach of Team India. As reported by IANS, a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), appointed to pick the coaching unit has made it clear that Shastri is the biggest contender and they are not looking for foreign coaches. The member further added that under Shastri the Indian team have performed well so he probably will be handed a new contract.”We are not too keen to bring in a foreign coach. Yes, had someone of the stature of Gary Kirsten applied, we might have given it a thought. But even then, an Indian would have always been the priority. After all, the team has also done well under an Indian head coach, so why look for a change? As things stand now, Shastri does look to be the favourite to be handed a fresh contract,” the CAC member told IANS.The Kapil Dev led committee member also mentioned that if there is a joint-winner then Kapil’s vote will become the decider but as of now it is likely to be in favour of Shastri.”See, firstly, it is a three-member panel, so a split decision is highly unlikely. But yes, if at all a situation does arise where A goes for one candidate, B for another and C for another, the vote of the chairman will come in and the decision will stand. But as of now, we don’t see something like that happening,” the member said. File photo of MS Dhoni and Ravi Shastri.ReutersOn the other hand, a senior BCCI official stated that it is necessary for Shastri to stay as India is undergoing a transition phase. He further claimed that as Kohli has a good equation with Shastri it will be better if the latter stays as the coach.”Nothing permanent with a long term effect should happen at this stage of transition. Shastri and Kohli complement each other well and it would be unfair to change half of a team that has been successful. A change in coach may disturb the equation that exists and allows the players to have the mental space to excel,” the official told IANS.”If a change is made at this stage, it would be a change of strategy and planning for the next 5 years. It would be unfair to take such a decision at a stage when the stakeholders are not the ones deciding,” the official further added.The Men in Blue are currently in the Caribbean for the West Indies tour and they are already 2-0 up in the T20 international series. The coaching unit of the Indian team has been given an extension till the end of the Windies tour.last_img read more

Qatar slams unrealistic demands by Saudiled allies

first_imgA man looks at his phone on the corniche of the Qatari capital Doha on July 2, 2017. AFPQatar said Tuesday the demands of Arab rivals in a Gulf diplomatic crisis were impossible to meet, ahead of talks in Egypt between Saudi Arabia and allies that have cut ties with Doha.Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told a press conference in Doha that the list of conditions for restoring relations “is unrealistic and is not actionable”.”It’s not about terrorism, it’s talking about shutting down the freedom of speech,” he said at a joint press conference after talks with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt — who accuse Qatar of supporting extremism — gave Doha an extra 48 hours to meet their demands after an initial 10-day deadline expired on Sunday.The demands included Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al-Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the emirate.Sheikh Mohammed handed an official response on Monday to Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, but its contents have not been disclosed.He refused Tuesday to give any further details, but said Doha was looking for a solution to the month-long crisis based on dialogue.”The state of Qatar has adopted a very constructive attitude since the beginning of the crisis. We are trying to act mature and discuss the matter,” he said.On Tuesday Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani received a written response from Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the official Qatar News Agency reported, without elaborating.The four countries cut diplomatic and transport links with Qatar a month ago and have suggested further sanctions could be imposed if Doha does not comply.Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the diplomatic crisis, the worst to hit the region in years.Qatar, which denies any support for extremists, has said it will not bow to pressure and that the demands seem designed to be rejected.The UAE has accused Doha of supporting Al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, Libya and Yemen.On Tuesday a spokesman for the forces of Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, Ahmad al-Mesmari, speaking at a press conference in Cairo, accused Qatar along with Turkey and Sudan of supporting “terrorist groups” in Libya.Qatar is the world’s leading producer of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and on Tuesday the head of state-owned Qatar Petroleum said it was planning a significant production increase over the coming years.Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi told a press conference that the emirate intends to produce 100 million tonnes of natural gas a year by 2024, up 30 percent from current levels.”This new project will strengthen Qatar’s leading position,” Kaabi said. “We will remain the leader of LNG for a very long time.”‘Absolutely no fear’Some officials have suggested if Qatar does not cooperate, Riyadh and its allies could tell foreign companies to choose between doing business with them or with Doha.Kaabi said Qatar wanted the gas production increase to be carried out through a joint venture with international companies but that Doha could go it alone if necessary.”We have absolutely no fear of having the embargo in place,” he said. “If there are no companies willing to work with us we will go to 100 million (tonnes), 100 percent.”Riyadh and its allies have also accused Doha of being too close to their regional arch-rival Iran, which shares an enormous gas field with Qatar in the Gulf.The crisis has raised concerns of growing instability in the region, home to some of the world’s largest energy exporters and key Western allies who host US military bases.Qatar’s gas riches have transformed it into one of the world’s wealthiest countries, a major international investor and a regional player that will host the 2022 football World Cup.Qatar has also pursued a more independent foreign policy than many of its neighbours, who tend to follow the lead of regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia.UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said Tuesday it was “premature” to discuss what further action might be taken against Qatar.Any measures that are taken will be “within the framework of international law,” he said.”Any independent state has the right to take measures against any party,” Sheikh Abdullah said, urging Doha to listen to “the voice of reason and wisdom.”last_img read more