first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceFormer Raiders and 49ers linebacker Matt Millen reportedly underwent a successful heart transplant early Christmas Eve and is in recovery in New Jersey.The 60-year-old Millen, who was diagnosed earlier this year with amyloidosis, a rare disease that can attack the lining of the heart, has been hospitalized for the past three months while waiting for a match. NBC Sports columnist Peter King reported a match was found …last_img read more

first_img13 June 2011One year after the first Fifa World Cup tournament on African soil, my heart is still filled with pride and patriotism every time I hear the sound of a vuvuzela or see a car drive by with the South African flag attached to its window.On Friday, 11 June 2010, Africa’s first Fifa World Cup kicked off with a brilliant opening ceremony and what turned out to be a memorable 1-1 draw between hosts South Africa and Mexico.Like they say, Africans celebrate everything – a new life entering the world, the ending of one, the joining of two souls in matrimony – it is all about celebrating. And South Africans more than lived up to that.On that day, there was no such thing as strangers: people hugged each other everywhere you looked, waving flags, with most unable to utter a word, but wearing jubilant smiles, and tears of joy gleaming in their eyes.Galvanizing sense of unityFans of all shapes, hues and sizes draped the flag over their shoulders; some had headscarves, others donned oversized plastic glasses and bright earrings in the shape of Africa, with frizzy, colourful wigs, giving birth to a unique, galvanizing sense of unity that tore through a country.Who would have guessed this was a country once hinged on a racial divide?Sport’s biggest showpiece, which took the country six years of planning and came to define the national agenda, shaping budget priorities, infrastructure development and daily conversations from townships to vineyards, was now a reality.The month-long event put South Africa at the centre of the world. And boy, did we silence the critics with our smooth operations and vuvuzela-blowing. Foreign fans, some of whom came as skeptics, went home as converts.On July 11, as the final whistle was blown – marking Spain’s victory, but also Africa’s – fireworks lit up the skies, vuvuzelas shrieked mercilessly, crowds danced and sang – and a palpable magic stretched out to the horizon.It was the biggest celebration in my living memory, and I bet that goes for most of us, as this was the moment that helped challenge not only the way South Africa is perceived around the world, but Africa as a whole.World Cup legacyToday, a year after the tournament, there are still many reminders of the World Cup.In every city and neighborhood, one finds people proudly sporting their yellow Bafana Bafana jerseys. The World Cup theme songs Waka Waka and Wave the Flag can be heard in townships, where pre-school children still sing along word for word.But that is not all. Direct infrastructure developments such as new stadiums, enhanced transport options and road upgrades around stadiums, improvements at border posts and points of entry, upgraded telecommunications infrastructure and improved security systems all lead to a better quality of life, and provide long-term, valuable assets to communities.The World Cup brought an entirely new definition to South African travel. The stadiums are an inspiration of architectural design and top the list of places to see for tourists.Fifa head Sepp Blatter gave South Africa “nine out of ten” for its performance, saying he would happily back any bid we made for any event in the future.Fifa also said the World Cup was a huge financial success for all parties concerned – South Africa, Africa, the world football body and its sponsors. Fifa made over U$3.5-billion (R24.15-billion) from the tournament, a figure that flies in the face of previous concerns that the event would be a financial risk.Not an answer to every problemHowever, economists and critics have questioned if the South African government saw returns on its massive investments, and whether the tournament did anything to ease unemployment or grow the economy.Some have predicted that some of the stadiums are doomed to become “white elephants” due to their large operating costs and lack of events being held in them.Yes, there are effects from the World Cup which haven’t been as positive as others. Many businesses and municipalities had forecast too much of an economic impact, and some businesses are hurting after anticipating a huge rise in sales and profits.I’m also not in denial that not every South African shared in the World Cup’s jovial spirit, and I admit that there are still many problems in this country that the World Cup did not solve.Some missed the games because they had neither TVs nor electricity. People still died from Aids, or in poverty, or at the hands of criminals, far from the world’s cameras, and some informal traders were driven out of stadium exclusion zones.Some people question why it took Fifa, an immovable deadline and a worldwide audience for us to come together as a nation and for things to be delivered on time.InspirationThe answer is not clear-cut, but I will say this: the tournament left us with an infinite legacy. We were great hosts as individuals, as towns, cities, provinces and as a nation.We partied, played, worked hard and we definitely supported this World Cup like no event before it. The enthusiasm we showed as a nation with our homemade costumes and signs surely left a lasting impression on television screens worldwide.Nelson Mandela once said in 1996: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”And I couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, everyone who experienced the World Cup would agree. It was the biggest celebration in my living memory and that of the country.The World Cup showed me that football is ageless, it can make everyone from those in their ’80s to teenagers behave the same way.South Africa does have challenges and hurdles to climb, some quite significant. Instead of moaning and looking at the negatives, why don’t we look back at last year’s event with eyes that recognize the achievements? After all, we won the hearts of the world, and we changed perceptions.And it shouldn’t stop there. My challenge to the nation therefore is: How do we keep winning?Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Things That Caught My EyePrepare to feel old and super unaccomplishedRedmond “Red” Gerard won the first U.S. medal of Pyeongchang, taking a gold in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding competition. Gerard is the youngest — only 17 years old — male American to take a Winter Olympics gold medal since 1928. [NPR]Team Canada crushed OARThe Canadian women’s hockey team shut out the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5-0, thanks to Ann-Renee Desbiens making 18 saves over the course of the game. Canada is a juggernaut in women’s hockey, as this is its 21st straight win in Olympic competition. [CBC]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?He probably shouldn’t have said thatSemen Elistratov is one of the 169 athletes who are from Russia and competing under the Olympic banner rather than their country’s as part of Russia’s penalties incurred for operating a massive top-to-bottom doping operation. He’s also the first Olympic athlete from Russia to medal, taking a bronze in the 1500m short-track speed skating competition and used his time in the limelight to dedicate the medal to Russians banned from the game in “a hard and unfair way,” which normally would be standard nationalist jock talk but in this case spurred an investigation given the rules Olympic athletes have about making political statements. [BBC]Try out our brand new super fun quiz, Which Winter Olympic Sport Is Best For You? I got ski jumping! 1-2-3Congratulations to Norway, which led by Simen Hegstad Kruger took the gold, silver and bronze medal in the 15km + 15km cross country skiathlon event. Kruger was stuck in a collision early on and fell to last place out of 68 but mounted a comeback for the ages to finish first. [BBC]North and South play togetherNorth Korea and South Korea teamed up to play women’s hockey together, a fascinating diplomatic overture. The team fell to the Swiss 0-8 on Saturday, but the stunning display of unity is a potential opportunity for cross-border collaboration. The two countries have been technically at war since a 1953 armistice but proved no effort for the Bronze medalists of Sochi. [Reuters]Reverse sweep!In a decisive playoff series, the London Spitfire defeated the upstart Houston Outlaws and then the powerhouse New York Excelsior in a 3-2 reverse sweep to win the first Overwatch League round one playoff series and the $100,000 that comes with. [Kotaku]Leaks from Slack: micah:can I ask a non-sports fan dumb question: Is John McDaniels turning down that head coaching job basically proof that Belichick is gonna step aside soon?neil:If I had to bet, I would bet there is some kind of succession plan in place – not sure when, but McDaniels basically torpedoed his head coaching chances anywhere else by screwing the Colts at the last secondkyle:yeah doesn’t have to be soon, but that was heavily implied by the salary cap stuffPredictions NBA All newsletters Oh, and don’t forgetNice. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe See more NBA predictions read more

first_imgArsenal’s forward Alex Iwobi has revealed that Sporting was lacking in composure in their Thursday night match, adding that the club deserves credit for being very compact and difficult to break.“We have to give credit to Sporting because they were very compact and they made it difficult for us, but maybe that composure was lacking a bit today,” Iwobi said via official club’s website.Discussing about the red card after Aubameyang found himself through on goal, he continued:Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“It’s a bit sad, especially when you’re seeing Pierre running and he’s so fast that we knew he was going to get there, but I guess it was a smart challenge from Mathieu, but it was unfortunate for us and we were unable to get the goal.”While also talking about Wolves at the weekend and aiming to finish top of the group, Iwobi concluded:“We will go again and start analysing Wolves and that’s not going to be an easy game because they’ve been doing well this season, so onto the next one.”last_img read more