Real sack coach Benitez and appoint Zidane

first_imgBy Iain RogersReal Madrid have sacked coach Rafa Benitez after less than half a season in charge and promoted their former France great Zinedine Zidane from the B team to replace him, president Florentino Perez said on Monday.Perez announced the dismissal of the experienced Benitez, who had a contract until June 2018, following a board meeting and Zidane was present at the president’s news conference at the Bernabeu stadium.“Firstly I would like to thank the club and the president for giving me the chance to coach this team,” Zidane, known as “Zizou” and a hero to Real’s fans, told reporters.“What we need to do now, and what I will try to do, is try to do my best so that this team is a winner at the end of the season,” added the 43-year-old, one of the club’s youngest-ever coaches.“The important thing is to be with the team tomorrow and start work,” he said.“I will put all the heart I have into the job for this club and try to make sure things work out well.”ELEVENTH COACHReal did not immediately specify the length of Zidane’s contract.He is the 11th coach Perez has installed during two terms in charge and it will be the former France captain’s first top-flight management job.He played for Real for five seasons after joining from Juventus in August 2001 and helped them win their ninth European crown with a stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final.Perez, who has publicly backed Benitez in recent weeks, said it had been a difficult decision to sack him.He said Zidane had always tackled the biggest challenges in soccer with “talent and dedication” and noted that the Frenchman knew many of the players well from his role as assistant coach under Benitez’s predecessor Carlo Ancelotti.“You have all our confidence and support so our fans can be excited and entertained in every match,” Perez told Zidane, who won the World Cup and European Championship as a player.He retired from international football after the 2006 World Cup, having been sent off in the final for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi. France lost on penalties.DISGRUNTLED FANSBenitez, a former Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Napoli manager who began his coaching career in Real’s youth ranks, replaced Ancelotti after the Italian was sacked in June.Real have failed to find the level of consistency Perez demands, however, and there have been widespread reports Benitez does not get on with some of Real’s key players like Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez.Disgruntled fans have been whistling Benitez at the Bernabeu in recent months and he also appears to have been blamed for Real’s expulsion from the King’s Cup last month for fielding an ineligible player.Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Valencia, when Real twice surrendered the lead, left them third in the standings, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two behind champions Barcelona, who have a game in hand.Real’s biggest failure this season was a stinging 4-0 home loss to arch-rivals Barca in November, although they did qualify for the Champions League last 16 as group winners.Their next outing is a La Liga game at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday and they have been drawn to play AS Roma in Europe’s elite club competition, with the first leg in the Italian capital on Feb. 17.last_img read more

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PNG U17 arrive in Tahiti for OFC Championships

first_imgPNG is pooled in Group A against hosts Tahiti, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.Their first clash will be against New Caledonia in the opening match of the competition on February 11.Head coach Harrison Kamake wants the team to move into camp in Tahiti focused on the competition.This follows their successful friendly lead up matches in New Zealand recently in preparation for the championship.They played three friendly matches while in New Zealand against Fiji U17 national team, Auckland Central Academy and Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team.They had a 2-0 win over Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team on Saturday.Kamake was ecstatic about the victory and said the team is now in competition mode and looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of them.He said the three friendlies in New Zealand have lifted their spirits and are now focusing on the competition and what they are there to achieve.Kamake said it will be a bigger challenge in the competition and they should take the momentum of the positive result.(Picture courtesy of PNG Football Association)last_img read more

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Price: We like our chances against Costa Rica

first_imgJamaica lost their opening match of the CONCACAF Women’s Championships 2-0 to Canada on Friday, but assistant coach Andrew Price said that their display suggests that they will get a positive result against Costa Rica tomorrow night. “Despite the loss, we see some positive signs going into the Costa Rica game. Defensively, we held good shape, and we just need the offensive players to take the game to Costa Rica,” Price told The Sunday Gleaner. Having drawn the number five-ranked Canada in the group, the technical staff, of which Price is a part, knew that it would have been difficult to top the group, and as such, they have set their sights on winning the group’s runner-up position. But the technical staff knows that finishing second in the group won’t be a stroll in the park either as they will have to contend with the Costa Ricans, who edged the Reggae Girlz 2-1 at the Central American and Caribbean Games in the summer. “The technical staff was always aware that six points could move us on into the second round. Canada were always going to be our most difficult game, and we are over that now,” Price said. “It was a good test for us, and now we are getting ready for Costa Rica, which I believe will be the game of the round and we still like our chances against them.” Costa Rica trounced Cuba, a team the Reggae Girlz have beaten badly in the Caribbean Qualifiers, 8-0 in their first match of the Championships. But Price believes that their defensive shape against the Canadians suggests that they will be able to contain the Costa Ricans. “We defended well against Canada, who are a top-five team and have a lot of experience playing against top-10 teams in the world, so that suggests that we should be able to contain the Costa Ricans,” Price explained. “We just need our offensive players to take the game to them now.” He continued: “We got some good opportunities against the Canadians, and we could have hurt them, but we didn’t because I think we respected them too much. We can’t do that against the Costa Ricans. It is a must-win game” The Reggae Girlz are fighting for one of the three and a half spots available to take them to the FIFA’s Women World Cup in France next year. DEFENDED WELLlast_img read more

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There is nothing more to be taxed

first_imgDear Editor,Finance Minister Winston Jordan was quoted as saying that “there will be no new taxes” in the 2018 Budget. Now, that pronouncement was made with the expressed intention to placate the poor and dispossessed in our midst. Benign at best and diversionary as the Finance Minister continues on that eel-like, slippery, evasive slope when it comes to the management of the nation’s finances. Of course, Mr Jordan can afford the luxury of an excuse that there would not be any new taxes, because the truth of the matter is, there is nothing more to be taxed. Over two plus years in office and more than 200 taxes that is record breaking by any standard. One hundred taxes for each year.At least the budget would be balanced, there is no doubt about that, with so many taxes floating around, the treasury would be inundated with  what I call “cry money” from those monies squeezed out of a tax-fatigued nation. But at the end of the day would the lives of the Guyanese people be any better? I hasten to give a resounding no! What the Minister should be talking about is a reduction in taxes, the creation of income-generated investment, while giving the nation hope on job security. There is no guarantee of the lessening of the hardships Guyanese face as industries are arbitrarily shut down by this Government and more and more persons join the ranks of the jobless. How on earth can those families sustain themselves?Respectfully,Neil Adamslast_img read more

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“Dead meat” Alliance For Change (AFC)

first_imgDear Editor,Khemraj Ramjattan had predicted before the 2015 national elections that his political party, the AFC, would become “dead meat” should it team up with PNC/APNU. Well, it subsequently contested the elections under the banner of APNU/AFC, and with active campaigning by the party’s leader, Ramjattan.Having teamed up with APNU, the AFC claimed that it brought in some 11% of the votes; and the AFC leaders and members were given some 40% of parliamentary seats and ministerial positions in the Granger-led government. The AFC faction was given large and important ministries, including Public Infrastructure, Agriculture, Public Safety, and the Prime Ministerial position, with attractive and substantially enhanced remuneration packages which motivated them, at every opportunity, to sing loudly for their supper without rocking the government boat.This gives the facade of a powerful partnership with ministerial titles and parliamentary seats, but the PNC kept them in their places, so that they support without a squeak of opposition to all the actions of the PNC leader and President, who is dominantly and totally in control of the grouping, having remunerated them well, and with magnificent ministerial and job titles.However, their conduct and performance of their lawful public duties can only be evaluated as third-rated. Their campaign was deceptive, fooling part of the PPP base, offering them “a good, and even a better life”. The AFC sold out to the PNC. The rice farmers and the thousands of sugar workers who were vindictively, spitefully, racially and politically discriminated against, dismissed, and placed on the bread line as the 2017 Christmas gift for themselves, their families, and surrounding communities, now agree and confirm the “dead meat” status of the ‘political prophet’ Ramjattan.Let Trotman tell the nation of his half-hearted campaign, how many votes he brought to the coalition, and the secret Nassau understanding with Granger. Many, like prophet Ramjattan, predict that Trotman is easing his way back into the PNC with an eye on a leadership position in the PNC.The declared results of the 2015 elections gave the combination a one-seat majority with a one-vote win of the seat for Region 8. Some people argue that we have a Government with a seat which was won by one vote, and consequently a one-vote majority Government.The reported declaration by Trotman and other AFC leaders that the AFC was considering contesting the 2018 local government elections independently is welcome news. The reality of this is good, and will confirm their status as “dead meat” or otherwise. It would be useful information for Granger’s assessment. The voters may be required to bury the “dead meat” AFC party, or freeze the meat. The voters will not be fooled again.Yours faithfully,Joshua Singhlast_img read more

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Gunmen rob UNDP employee

first_imgGunmen on Friday afternoon attacked and robbed an employee attached to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) outside of the organisation’s Lot 42 Brickdam, Georgetown, headquarters. The incident occurred sometime around 12:50h.Guyana Times understands that the victim was in front of the UNDP office when two men pulled up in a black car and snatched a bag he was carrying. The employee raised an alarm which caused several persons to run to his assistance. The gunmen then escaped in the car.When this publication arrived on the scene, the victim, who was unharmed, was in the protection of Police Officers and was said to be in a traumatised state.According to Police reports, two UNDP employees (a male and female) had just pulled up in front of the organisation and the female proceeded into the compound.However, as the male employee was exiting the car, a dark coloured vehicle with the two suspects drove up. They existed and accosted the male employee, who resisted and was pushed to the ground. The suspects grabbed a handbag from the employee, entered the vehicle and sped off.The bag contained $10,000 cash, one iPad, an electronic dictionary and some documents.“A public spirited citizen, who is a licensed firearm holder, witnessed the robbery and discharged his licensed firearm in the process, in aid of the victim of the robbery,” the Police said in a statement.They added that investigators have retrieved several spent shells at the scene and are in possession of CCTV footage. Further investigations are currently ongoing.Additionally, acting Commander of A Division, Marlon Chapman, visited the scene and spoke with the Chief Security Officer along with other officials and the victim.On the other hand, Jerome Khan, an attorney whose office is a building away from where the incident occurred, said he was in his office when he heard gunshots.Khan explained that when he went to investigate, he saw the black car fleeing the scene; he said too that several spent shells could be seen lying in front of the UNDP building after the incident.The attorney took the opportunity to voice his concern over the recent upsurge of such incidents.“These persons that carryout these acts are unemployed and are hell bent on using robbery as a way of surviving apparently. Something has to be done to create opportunities for employment in order for people not to have to resort to criminal activities as the way of surviving,” Khan stated.He reminded that these situations are becoming all too common, and he called for better to be done: “Every single day, every single week and every single month this has been happening and it’s not a good sign, from all appearances it can only get worse, and we need to find solutions.”The attorney declared that many persons are seeking to leave Guyana as a result of the crime situation.Police have launched a manhunt for the perpetrators and the vehicle used during the robbery.last_img read more

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Barca laugh off Man City Busquets bid

first_img“The players are happy here, they know they are the best in the world and they will carry on here,” said Rossell.British media reported that City manager, Roberto Mancini, was interested in making the Spanish national midfielder his next big name signing having been a long-term admirer of the player.Meanwhile, Toni Freixa, the spokesman for the club’s Board of Directors, has explained why the club is against playing the Spanish Super Cup in China.The Spanish FA has an agreement to play five of the next seven editions of the pre-season event, in which the winner of the Primera Liga takes on the champions of the Copa del Rey, in China.However, although the majority of the 20 teams in the Spanish Primera Liga are in favor of the idea, both Real Madrid and Barcelona oppose it.Given that Madrid and Barca dominate the race for the league title season after season and that one of the two clubs has won the Copa del Rey in three of the last four years, their refusal is a major setback to the Spanish FA’s plans.Freixa explained that one reason for Barca’s opposition was that although playing in China would guarantee four million euros for the club, it would mean losing money.“Barca took seven million euros in gate money this year and everything indicates that it would mean us losing money,” he confirmed, before adding that the financial issue was not the main problem for the club.“At the end of the day we cannot imagine an official competition without our supporters being able to go and we also question whether or not it is a good idea from a sporting point of view to play an official match in China,” he explained, perhaps aware of the fact that the Super Cup finalists would face a long return trip to China with important changes in time zones just as they were putting the finishing touches to their pre-season preparation ahead of the start of the new Primera season.However, Freixa admitted that at the end of the day the decision was not in the hands of either Barca or Real Madrid.“We have made our posture clear, but evidently if the Federation decides to do something then we have no option other than to accept it,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000MADRID, Spain, October 17- Barcelona president Sandro Rossell has laughed off suggestions that Manchester City were interested in buying midfielder Sergio Busquets.“A lot of people here and abroad don’t want Barca to do well and look to destabilize us. Manchester City can make offers for Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Leo Messi or Victor Valdes, but it will be no use to them. last_img read more

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Home sales hit the skids

first_imgDavid Seiders, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, said he looked for home prices to continue to be depressed in 2007 as builders scramble to reduce near-record levels of unsold homes. He said his organization’s January survey of builder sentiment showed continued extensive use of incentives to clear the backlog, with 60 percent of builders surveyed offering optional items such as kitchen upgrades or decks at no charge. That’s up from 41 percent at the beginning of 2006. Other incentives include paying closing costs, which 52 percent of builders said they were doing, up from 31 percent a year ago, and paying purchasers’ financing points on loans, something 30 percent of builders in the survey said they were doing. Seiders said he looked for new home sales to be essentially flat for 2007. He predicted that new home construction, which fell by 12.9 percent last year, would fall by an additional 14 percent in 2007. The cutback in building has led to thousands of job layoffs in the construction industry. The report on new homes followed a report Thursday that sales of existing homes dropped by 8.4 percent last year to 6.48 million units. That’s the biggest decline in sales of previously owned homes since 1989. New home sales were up in all parts of the country in December except the West, which posted a 4.4 percent drop. Sales rose by 27.3 percent in the Northeast, 26.6 percent in the Midwest and a much smaller 0.3 percent in the South. Economic growth slowed to a lackluster 2 percent in the July-September quarter, raising concerns that the steep slump in housing could trigger an outright recession. However, in recent weeks a number of reports have shown the year ended with stronger-than-expected activity, easing worries about such a general slowdown.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The housing bust is occurring after a boom in which sales of both new and existing homes set records for five consecutive years. The lowest mortgage rates in four decades powered a surge in sales that was bolstered by investors making purchases in hopes of turning around and reselling the properties for quick profits. Analysts attributed the big declines in 2006 to a cooling of that speculative boom. That reversal has given the housing industry its toughest downturn since the recession of 1990. The slowdown trimmed 1.2 percentage points off overall economic growth in the July-September quarter. Analysts are looking for an equally severe hit in the final three months of the year, with housing expected to be a continuing drag in the first half of 2007. The downturn has meant a break for homebuyers, as double-digit price gains during the boom years have slowed considerably. The median price of a new home sold in 2006 rose by 1.8 percent to $245,300. That was far below the 9 percent price gain turned in during 2005. WASHINGTON – New home sales fell in 2006 by the largest amount in 16 years, but they were up for a second straight month in December, raising hopes that the worst of the housing downturn is coming to an end. The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales last month rose by 4.8 percent, following an even bigger 7.4 percent rise in November. Those two increases, however, were not enough to salvage the entire year, with total sales of 1.06 million units, down 17.3 percent from 2005. That marked the biggest decline since a 17.8 percent plunge in the housing downturn of 1990. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average had another down day, falling by 15.54 points to close the week at 12,487.02. last_img read more

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Spurs winner at Emirates and north London derby goal king – talkSPORT’s Arsenal v Tottenham quiz

first_img Emmanuel Adebayor has scored more goals than anyone in north London derby history How well do you know your north London derby history?Ahead of the fiery fixture, which is live on talkSPORT, we have put together 10 questions for you to tackle before the two teams take to the Emirates pitch.It is sure to be a game packed full of goals, with Arsenal having last failed to score at home against Spurs in the Premier League in November 1998.The only place to hear Arsenal v Tottenham on Saturday 27 September is on talkSPORT with coverage starting from 5pm.About | Privacy | Terms 1last_img

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GAO: Little progress is made in Iraq

first_imgBut Democrats and even some Republicans say military progress made in recent weeks is not the issue. If Baghdad politicians refuse to reach a lasting political settlement that can influence the sectarian-fueled violence, the increase in troops is useless, they said. “By almost every measurable measure of progress, they have not only failed to progress, they have in many cases gone backwards,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., after his recent trip to Iraq. “That to me is the most troubling part of the experience that we had – because we can see, on the military side, our men and women are doing what has been asked of them.” The Pentagon and State Department provided detailed and lengthy objections to the GAO this week hoping to sway the findings. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Thursday that after reviewing a draft of the report, policy officials “made some factual corrections” and “offered some suggestions on a few of the actual grades” assigned by the GAO. “We have provided the GAO with information which we believe will lead them to conclude that a few of the benchmark grades should be upgraded from `not met’ to `met,”‘ Morrell said. He declined to elaborate or to spell out which benchmark grades the Pentagon was disputing. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The political wrangling came days before the report was to be officially released and while most lawmakers were still out of town for the August recess, reflecting the high stakes involved for both sides in the Iraq war debate. President Bush, who planned to meet Friday at the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is nearing a decision on a way forward in Iraq while Congress has planned another round of votes this fall to end the war. “It is clear that every objective expert keeps providing the American public with the same facts: that the president’s flawed Iraq strategy is failing to deliver what it needs to – a political solution for Iraq,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. In a draft report circulated this week, the Government Accountability Office concluded that at least 13 of the 18 political and security goals for the Iraqi government have not been met. Administration officials swiftly objected to several of the findings and dismissed the report as unrealistically harsh because it assigned pass-or-fail grades to each benchmark, with little nuance. GAO officials briefed congressional staff on their findings behind closed doors, promising the aides an unvarnished assessment of Iraq when an unclassified version of the report is publicly released on Sept. 4. “The real question that people have is: What’s going on in Iraq? Are we making progress? Militarily, is the surge having an impact?” said White House spokesman Tony Snow. “The answer is yes. There’s no question about it.” POLITICS: The Bush administration counters by saying the draft report ignores nuance. By Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – An independent assessment concluding that Iraq has made little political progress despite the recent influx of U.S. troops drew a fierce rebuttal from the White House on Thursday and provided fresh ammunition for Democrats who want to bring troops home. last_img
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