Redknapp hails Leeds as ‘one of the great clubs in English football’

first_imgQPR boss Harry Redknapp says his players must be ready to face an intimidating atmosphere when they play Leeds United at Elland Road this weekend.Both teams are unbeaten in the Championship so far this season and Redknapp believes Leeds will challenge for promotion under manager Brian McDermott.“It’ll be a tough game. You don’t get an easy game at Leeds,” said Redknapp.“It’s a passionate, fantastic crowd – great support. It’s one of the great clubs in English football.“You look at the support and the club over the years that Leeds have been. They still have great support home and away and it’s an intimidating place to go.“They’ve got a good manager in Brian McDermott and a good team. I’m sure they’ll be there or thereabouts.“With that crowd behind them, no-one will go to Elland Road and get an easy game that’s for sure. They’ll be right up there.“They’re talking about getting maybe 30,000 tomorrow. It’ll be a great atmosphere and we’ll have to be at our best to get a result there.”See also:QPR star passed fit for Leeds 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Hindcasting the Grand Canyon: Geologist Rejects Dam Breach Theory

first_imgA geologist rejects the idea that an ancient lake spilled and carved Grand Canyon, but maybe he misrepresents the theory.  Besides, how can geologists “hindcast” an unobserved event without philosophical assumptions?“Grand Canyon Carved by Flood? Geologist Says No,” reads a headline on Live Science, but the URL is stronger: “Megaflood debunked as Grand Canyon cause.”  Debunked is a strong word.  It implies permanently laid to rest, or falsified, by a concurrence of geologists.  In the article by reporter Becky Oskin, however, it appears that the debunking is just the opinion of one geologist, Bill Dickinson, an emeritus professor of geology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who could provide no better explanation.Tracing the history of the Grand Canyon is controversial. The deep gorge exposes a billion years of Earth history in its candy-colored cliffs, but geologists can’t agree when it formed, or exactly how.A long-standing hypothesis by both creationist and secular geologists places a vast lake, called Hopi Lake, to the southeast of the current canyon, proposing that a dam breach carved at least much of the canyon rapidly and catastrophically.  The Painted Desert and other remnants called the Bidahochi Formation would be remnants of the old lake bottom.Dickinson doesn’t believe the dam breach is a valid story, so he said “my main purpose is to dismantle it.”  He argues that the lake would have been too shallow, and that the waters could not have climbed over the Kaibab Upwarp.  This argument, though, overlooks the proponents’ scenario that the upwarp and the dam breach were tied together.  Dickinson and others mentioned in the article additionally argue that there’s no way the lake could have existed for 10-20 million years.  Creation geologists, however, do not need the millions of years, while secular geologists have no agreement on the sequence of events in the region, begging the question that the lake required the time.It would seem hard for Dickinson to triumph over a competing theory when he is admittedly baffled by the origin of the canyon:Knocking down Hopi Lake leaves a major puzzle: What was the course of the Colorado River before the Grand Canyon deepened? Some geologists think the early Colorado River flowed south into the lake….“One of the hardest things to hindcast is to know how big a river you’re looking for in Grand Canyon country,” he said. “What was the river like up in Utah? I hope that if people would just abandon the Hope Lake spillover game, their thoughts would lead them on to worrying about Utah.”Although Dickinson presented a proposal that the ancestral river flowed northwest across northern Arizona, his idea hardly accounts for many features of the canyon, including its crossing the Kaibab plateau.  Oskin implied that no other geologist is likely to come up with a better idea any time soon: “Part of the challenge of solving the Grand Canyon’s history is that so much has changed in the ensuing millions of years: climate was different then, the topography has changed dramatically, and tectonic forces continue to reshape the plateau.”It seems hardly appropriate for Oskin to say the megaflood theory has been “debunked” when all the other theories have just as many or worse problems.  Oskin misrepresented the megaflood theory by assuming the millions of years as part of the story.  It’s the millions of years that are a large part of the problem with competing theories.  This was no debunking; it was rather a story of a man on a mission to discredit competition so he could present his own fallible hindcast. (Visited 114 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Bloggers to fight hunger in Africa

first_imgA double storey classroom for delightedpreschool children. The proud and happy graduates of the firstCans4Skills development course. A container classroom renovated byBreadline for foreign nationals at theSoetwater refugee camp, set up after theoutbreak of xenophobic-related violencein May 2008.(Images: Breadline Africa)Janine ErasmusThe ingenuity of an African NGO is raising international awareness for the plight of Africa’s millions of starving people, and harnessing the power of the internet to drive its newest project.Cape Town-based Breadline Africa is an NGO that aims to give Southern African communities the means to break out of the trap of poverty. The organisation is involved in many community-based projects in three main categories – skills development, assisting youth and children, and health and nutrition.Breadline Africa launched its latest initiative in October 2008. Using the power of consumer generated media – posts made in all kinds of online media such as blogs, wikis, discussion lists and forums – the World Blogger Bake-Off is a global call to bloggers to join the fight against hunger in Africa by collectively raising R11-million ($1-million).Bake bread or give doughBreadline Africa’s partner in the World Blogger Bake-Off is Quirk eMarketing, responsible for the NGO’s e-marketing strategy. Quirk is known for its involvement in projects such as the recent Google Earth layer for South African Tourism.The World Blogger Bake-Off encourages bloggers from all over the world to get involved in Breadline Africa’s fight against poverty in various ways. These range from promoting the initiative by blogging about it, pledging and challenging fellow bloggers to do the same, hosting bread and cake sales in their areas to raise funds, uploading a bread recipe, and generally spreading the word amongst the online community.Non-bloggers may also become part of the campaign by uploading their favourite bread recipe into one of three categories – most nutritious, most unusual and best traditional recipe.The blogger responsible for the most money donated will receive an Amazon voucher worth R5 600 ($500) and will have a container kitchen named after them or their blog, while the most popular recipes in each of the categories will receive Amazon vouchers to the value of R2 800 ($250).Bread was chosen as the project’s theme because it is the staple food of millions of people in Africa and around the world. Many of these people live below the poverty line and have to endure the associated problems of unemployment, hunger, disease, violence and despair. By supporting charity projects run in the heart of communities, and helping them to reach a level of sustainability, Breadline also helps to reduce the need for welfare.Sustainable community projectsBreadline Africa works by gathering and disbursing funds to convert old shipping containers into functional, sustainable, community-uplifting projects such as soup kitchens, classrooms, and nursery schools. Not only do the containers provide an essential service in disadvantaged areas, but they also offer a platform for skills development in communities.With offices in both South Africa and the United Kingdom, the organisation acts a bridge between the needy in Africa and donors in Europe and the UK. Since its inception in 1993 it has supported over 130 projects in Southern Africa through annual grants. Breadline also participates in the Multi-Agency Grants Initiative, which aims to bring donor partners together to share resources and thus more effectively support community based organisations.Project manager Edna Titus says that the organisation sometimes struggles to find containers, as they are not that easy to come by and shipping companies are strangely unwilling to freely donate old containers, however battered, rusty and unusable they may be. This forces the NGO to use some of its funds for purchasing.“Shipping companies only seem to donate directly to communities,” says Titus. “This ties our hands somewhat because they often retain ownership of the container and that hampers us even from renovating it on the community’s behalf.”Old shipping containers are often found in communities masquerading as anything from telephone booths and hair salons to spaza shops. The Breadline difference is that they are completely renovated and are no longer merely cold, drab, windowless boxes. “We beautify the containers and make them user friendly,” says Titus, “and even their bright colours give the area a boost.”While community projects may use the containers for as long as they remain successful and sustainable, if they should fold the container reverts back to Breadline who will then pass it on to another worthy project. “But this happens very rarely,” says Titus. “We scrutinise our potential projects very carefully and choose the ones which we believe will succeed.”Skills developmentBreadline Africa also runs a very successful poverty alleviation and skills development programme called Cans4Skills, centred on the container renovation and working on the principle that people become independent by learning to help themselves.Skills development in South Africa is a cause espoused by many organisations as well as government, as it is one of the main factors in the country’s unemployment rate.Cans4Skills takes its name from the communities’ name for containers, and Breadline Africa uses containers, or cans, to provide opportunities for people in informal settlements to hone trade skills such as plumbing, bricklaying, woodwork and painting – practical skills which can be passed on for the benefit of the community. The company also teaches basic domestic tasks including cooking, ironing and using a washing machine.The containers are cleaned and spruced up with a floor, windows and doors and a coat of paint, transforming them into classrooms for those who cannot afford to attend a college or don’t have transport to get to one. Bringing the classroom to the people and teaching them in their own environment, says Titus, is an effective way of giving them a kick-start in earning an income.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] linksBreadline AfricaWorldwide blogger bake-offBlogger bake-off Facebook groupMulti-Agency Grants InitiativeQuirk eMarketinglast_img read more

Soccer City: an architect’s dream

first_img25 February 2010 Architect Bob van Bebber waited 15 years to realise his dream – and it’s a dream the world can share on 11 June when 88 851 spectators take their seats at South Africa’s spectacular Soccer City stadium for the opening of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. Van Bebber originally proposed a stadium – not just any stadium but a World Cup stadium – back in 1991 while completing his architecture degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. But he was told a stadium required too much engineering – until then engineers mostly designed stadiums. So he told his professor at the time, respected conservation architect Herbert Prins, that one day he would do it. That day arrived in 2006, when his design for Soccer City was approved. “This has been a dream project that I have been chasing for so long,” he says. A massive calabash, one of the symbols of rural African life, rises from the ground at Nasrec on the outskirts of Soweto in Johannesburg, outflanking the long, surrounding mine dumps. “I wanted to bring aesthetics and design into a stadium,” explains Van Bebber, a keen footballer at one time. The calabash was selected from a number of designs as being “the most recognisable object to represent what would automatically be associated with the African continent and not any other”, he says. “The calabash, or ‘melting pot of African cultures’, sits on a raised podium, on top of which is located a ‘pit of fire’. Thus the pot sits in a depression, which is the ‘pit of fire’, as if it were being naturally fired,” reads the info pack. It is hoped that the calabash shape will be “recognised instantly by spectators in every corner of the world”. Aesthetics and design So, does it have aesthetics and design? Its large, rounded shape is created by means of thousands of glass-fibre concrete panels in eight different earthy colours, fitted together in a patchwork, and curving around into the cantilevered roof. Odd glazed panels punctuate this facade, allowing sunlight to stream in. The three-tier stadium soars 60 metres into the air, and stretches across 300 metres. At night when the lights are on, it takes on a fantastic glow, something almost extraterrestrial. It looks magical from a distance; it looks magical from inside, with its multiple shapes and colours soaring above your head in a curve, as you enter. Although it encases you in its roundness, that roundness is tempered by huge angled concrete columns and ramps on the inside, and although the concrete is dead and grey, the contrasting shapes are alive with design, enhanced by tall open spaces. Van Bebber says that for him the design of the calabash has special meaning. “It symbolises people coming together, a melting pot of cultures, sharing and passing around the calabash.” And the world is going to be sharing from that calabash come June. He says now, with the stadium almost complete and a truly splendid addition to Johannesburg’s growing list of African-inspired structures, that he is “very proud” of it. Construction will take three years – it started in February 2007 and will be complete in March 2010. Sibongile Mazibuko, the executive director of Joburg’s 2010 unit, says the design of the stadium “symbolises the unity of Africa”. “There is something very cultural about it, it touches who we are,” she says. World football body Fifa describes it as “one of the most artistic and awe-inspiring football venues on the African continent”. Seats Arguably the most striking of all the 10 stadiums, teams playing at Soccer City are likely to be overwhelmed by the sounds of cheering and vuvuzelas coming from 88 851 people, the number of seats in the stadium. This is almost double the capacity of any of the other nine World Cup stadiums around the country. Symbolism has been built into it. Nine vertical lines run through the seats and through the facade, aligning with the other nine 2010 stadiums, as well as the Berlin Stadium, where the 2006 World Cup was held. “These are representative of the road to the final, and it is hoped that, after the World Cup, the scores of each game at each venue will be placed in pre-cast concrete panels on the podium,” reads the information statement. “A visit to the stadium will thus provide one with a full history of the World Cup and all its scores.” The stadium has other significance, too. In 1990, Nelson Mandela was welcomed back to his home town, Johannesburg, here. A funeral service was held here for Communist Party leader Chris Hani, who was assassinated in Boksburg in 1993. First in South Africa Van Bebber is an architect at Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners. The firm was ranked first in South Africa and Africa and 63rd in the world for 2008, according to the World Architecture Magazine. It has been around for 25 years, with offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Dubai and Mauritius. Its designs range from hotels, shopping centres, office parks and showrooms, to industrial parks and homes and palaces. It has picked up awards for the design of the Parktown Quarter, the Irene Village Mall, the Blu Bird Centre in Rivonia and the Bigen Centre in Pretoria. Van Bebber has previously been involved in the design of office towers, a beach resort in Dubai, retail developments, a parkade, sections of OR Tambo International Airport, and Emperor’s Casino in Benoni. He had been working on a stadium design since 2001, believing that South Africa would win the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup. So when, in 2004, it was announced as the host for the tournament, the firm was asked for its design. Boogertman were ready with seven different proposals, among them a design acknowledging the city’s disappearing mine dumps; the kgotla, defined by the tree, of the African city state; the African map as a horizontal representation, with the roof of the stadium depicted as a desert plane set within the mineral wealth of southern Africa; and a representation of the national flower, the protea. Van Bebber says that very little of the old remodelled FNB Stadium was kept. It had only one grandstand, on its western side, with the other three sides simply banked seats. All sides now have covered stands, with two levels of VIP boxes and suites running completely around the stadium. The moat and the curved geometry of the edges of the field have been retained. Van Bebber is particularly proud of the fact that all seats have a good view of the field. The stadium has green-friendly elements. All lighting is energy efficient; materials from dismantled sections of the old stadium were re-used; water collected in the moat around the field is used to water the field, and excess water is used to flush the toilets. The flushing of the urinals is programmed, releasing water in tune to the use of the toilets. Budget The major challenge has been making the budget stretch as far as it can, says Van Bebber. “But despite this, I think we have given value for money.” The original budget started at R1.9-billion in 2007, and escalated to R3.3-billion by the end. Increasing costs for items like materials, the scope of the stadium and import duties led to the jump in budget, costs felt equally by all the stadium construction teams. Mazibuko agrees, saying that the City has got value for money in Soccer City, and that the investment was “quite justified”. She is also pleased with the impact of the development on the surrounding neighbourhood, which is receiving an upgrade. A transportation hub and pedestrian mall is being constructed to its south and the precinct will contain new roads, walkways, lighting, signage, landscaping, CCTV cameras and public amenities. Boogertman brought in overseas stadium contractors Populous, despite not being required to. One person spent three to four days for six weeks working with Van Bebber’s team, fine-tuning the design. “It was amazing how much we had done right,” says Van Bebber. He admits, however, that building the stadium has been an “almost vertical learning curve”. He is pleased with the comparison with the other stadiums around the country. He feels three of them – in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – are good but Eurocentric designs, having been designed by German architects. “They’re very slick, with very high specs, and therefore more expensive.” The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban cost R4.8-billion to build and the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town cost R5,8-billion. “Soccer City compares very favourably with the others, but we feel it’s ahead of the pack,” he says. It seems appropriate that South Africa will play the first game here. At 4pm on 11 June, Bafana Bafana will run on to the field, to face Mexico. Every South African hopes that the final game, at 8.30pm on 11 July, will also see Bafana Bafana run into the stadium, to take the trophy. Standing with Van Bebber in the stands on a wet day, I suddenly became aware of a gentle roar. I looked around, wondering what it was, then realised: it was the rain flashing down on the roof. A gentle roar seemed a good sound for this spectacular stadium. Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Sulia Joins Forces with Twitter to Give Publishers More Relevant Twitter Streams

first_imgTags:#twitter#web Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos audrey watters Sulia’s channels are built by analyzing the tens of millions of Twitter lists in order to identify the best-regarded sources. This is a real-time process and works across thousands of topics. Sulia then combines machine learning and human curation to help remove off-topic content. The result: “high-quality real-time Channels that are always on-topic, readable, and relevant.”Better Real-Time Content for Publishers“Publishers want to include smart real-time content on their sites,” says Sulia CEO Jonathan Glick. “The great thing about Sulia Channels is that partners not only get the best tweets from the best sources, but our customization services allow each partner to modify each Channel so that it reflects their unique editorial voice.” In other words, partners get to customize their channels by adding filters, featuring its own content contributors, adding or removing sources, and so on. Flipboard, for example, uses Sulia’s news and event-based channels in its Weekly Picks section. Sulia works with publishers like Fliipboard in exchange for a fee, and some of this revenue goes back into Twitter’s pockets. It isn’t simply that monetization route that makes this a good partnership deal. Curation is becoming increasingly important, and as Twitter builds out its own advertising and promoted Tweet efforts, it too may want to make sure it is targeting the right ads at the right people watching the right Twitter streams. Sulia a startup dedicated to helping people find relevant content and users on Twitter, has just announced that it is working with Twitter in order to deliver “premium streams” of Twitter content. Distribution partners so far include Flipboard, The Washington Post, TweetDeck, and The Wall Street Journal.Despite all the recent hoopla about the Twitter ecosystem becoming unfriendly to third-party developers and startups, as Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson points out, Sulia may be just “the kind of partner Twitter doesn’t want to kill.”That’s because Sulia offers an important service built on top of Twitter that seems to be beneficial to all parties involved – users, publishers and Twitter.Relevance and CurationThe startup tackles one of the major challenges of Twitter: as its usage increases, it can be more and more difficult to find relevant and important content. Spammers have managed to infiltrate hashtags and keywords, for example, and it’s not always easy, particularly for those who aren’t experts in a particular topic, to locate those who are. If you’re trying to search or follow an event or subject – say recent events in Egypt – then the “channels” that Sulia curates can be far more valuable. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

Overcoming Your Fear of Sharing Insights

first_imgEat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition contains a chapter about Capturing Mindshare or, put another way, shaping the lens through which your dream client views their business, their challenges, and their opportunities. The framework in that chapter is designed to allow you to identify and leverage the trends that are already impacting your dream client’s results—or soon will be. It’s also designed to provide you with the implications of maintaining the status quo in the face of what are almost always systemic challenges.After the concept of Level 4 Value Creation (strategic value), the chapter on Capturing Mindshare is responsible for the second most responses over email and social channels. The responses can generally be divided into two very different categories.Capturing Mindshare WorksThe first category of emails share success stories on how creating a context for a conversation works better than a lot of other approaches for creating new opportunities. The salespeople who send me these emails have used their insights to provide a strategic view of the client’s business as it pertains to what they sell. They are also using the idea of an executive briefing and the talk tracks in Eat Their Lunch to schedule more meetings.Win customers away from your competition. Check out Eat Their LunchThe second category of emails that find their way to one of my inboxes might best be described as concerns about sharing trends, analysis, views and values, insights, and recommendations. Many of these notes are concerned about insulting the client, believing the client knows more than they do about the trends that impact their business. Others suggest they shouldn’t share their analysis or their views and values, that being too bold an approach. When the case being made is about changing something more strategic than swapping out their competitor’s product to buy theirs, they worry about having the right to make those recommendations.Here is how you might think about overcoming your fear of sharing your insights, ideas, views and values, and recommendations.What Do You KnowWhen you study the trends that create challenges and opportunities for your dream clients, you are undoubtedly going to find your clients are tracking some of those same trends, which is why the framework contains implications and views and values. You don’t need to have an executive briefing built exclusively on novelties. While there is value in novelties when you can find them, the trends and factors that would cause your client to change don’t need to be a surprise.Part of what you are doing by providing a sort of executive briefing is demonstrating that you are tracking these trends—and that you understand the implication for your client’s business. If you do this well, you will have established infinitely more credibility with your client than the salesperson that begins the conversation with eight slides about their company. You are demonstrating you belong in the room and that you know enough to have ideas worth exploring.You can very easily open the conversation by saying, “I am certain you are tracking some of these trends, and I’ll be interested to hear how these things show up in your world.” There is no reason to assume your dream client knows nothing, and you can learn much from your clients as you do this work, strengthening your approach.New World Approach vs. Old WorldThere are old approaches to sales that have outlived their usefulness, which is not to say that they may not be useful again sometime in the future. One of those approaches is to avoid answering a client’s question by asking questions about their question. The idea here is not to lock yourself into something with which the client might disagree. When you are trying to compel change, you need a better approach.There is an enormous misunderstanding of what “consultative selling” means. While it includes the avoiding of hard sell and high pressure tactics, that is not enough by itself to make one consultative. A consultative approach also includes good questions, something else that contributes to the approach, but is also inadequate without something more. The word “consultative” means to give recommendations and advice, requiring you to share your views, your values, and your recommendations.If you have not done the work to develop your view of your client’s world, their systemic challenges, the implications of doing nothing, it will be difficult for you to be consultative. If you don’t have views on what the right response would be and the changes the clients would make—even if they don’t choose you—you make it difficult to be perceived as consultative. If you don’t have values that suggest that you have good reason to prefer this choice over that one, it is difficult to provide advice.A Word for Young SalespeopleIf you are a young salesperson, I want to offer you two ideas here. First, you may not yet have the business acumen and situational knowledge necessary to do this work that you will after you have worked in your role for awhile (I hope you have the intellectual curiosity to learn about your business and your client’s business). That said, you need to know a couple things.Even though you may not know something, inside the four walls of your company, there are salespeople and leaders who do. They have the experience, and they have the views and values and recommendations. Ask to spend time with them, join them on sales calls, and ask questions about what they say and do to accelerate your acquisition of business acumen and situational knowledge.Also, do the work to read, study, and compile your own briefing (see Chapter 2 of Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition). The time you spend thinking about your client’s challenges and the trends that are impacting their businesses, the faster you will be consultative. Know that nothing is beyond your capabilities if you are willing to give it your time and energy. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Nehru Cup 2012: Syrian team find solace in football

first_imgWhen the question is of survival, football takes a backseat. However, the Syrian team here at the Nehru Cup defies the norm as they perform on the pitch while their compatriots back home go through turbulence in their lives.This has been the case for the last one year during which time the West Asian country has seen battles between the state and the factions fighting the regime in power. Reportedly, more than 20,000 have lost their lives and the strife does not seem to end any time soon.The footballers, however, choose to concentrate on their game. Their captain and goalkeeper Mosab Balhous has various explanations about the loss to India on Wednesday and the challenges ahead.However, just as questions veer towards the difficulty of playing amid the situation in his country, Balhous’s face turns grim.”I would not like to say anything on that subject,” comes a stern reply from the 28-year-old indicating a strong displeasure about a topic that has so evidently affected the Syrians.Coach Marwan Khouri takes up the damage control exercise.”The international media has been giving a very dark and different picture of our country. The situation is not like that,” he says. “Prior to coming here, we trained in Damsacus (Syria’s capital) for 40 days. We played matches among ourselves and had no problem there.”The duo becomes much more comfortable and lively when football is the subject.”Against India, we were playing well in the first half. In fact we were the better team, but after the rain we just lost the plot,” said Balhous, who is also the senior most member of the squad. “That, according to me, was the main reason for our loss.”advertisementSyria, finalists in the 2007 and 2009 editions, have brought their home-based players this time and the inexperience affected their performance, Balhous admitted.”We have young players and I agree absolutely it has affected our performance,” he said. “This is the third time that we are playing here and winning the tournament is very important for us.”This is Balhous’s third Nehru Cup as he came with the team in the earlier two editions also and he is not ignorant about Indian football.”I know several Indian players. Your goalkeeper (Subrata Paul) is a friend of mine. Your No.11 (Sunil Chhetri) is also good. I heard that he is playing in Portugal now,” he said.When told that the Indian captain is now playing in Sporting Lisbon’s B side, Balhous boasts that top players from Syria too are playing abroad.”We have 20 players who are playing abroad in countries like Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But those players are not here,” he said.About their game plan in the upcoming matches, especially after the loss in the opening game, Balhous says: “We face Cameroon next. If we can win that, the other two matches (against Nepal and Maldives) would be easy. We can then enter the final.”last_img read more