BY UTAMU BELLESeveral issues plaguing the Works and Finance Departments of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) RegionalA section of the RDC at the statutory meetingDemocratic Council (RDC) in Linden continue to hamper the smooth execution of projects in the Region.The issues were once again brought to the fore by Regional Chairman Renis Morian as the Council hosted its monthly statutory meeting.A shortage of staff in the Works Department has resulted in numerous setbacks, outlined Morian, as he stressed that Regional Executive Officer (REO) Gavin Clarke has made several requests to the relevant government ministries to have vacancies filled, but those efforts have so far been unsuccessful. This is coupled with the fact that several staff in the department were sent on leave months ago, pending investigations into a fraud probe. Clarke just recently contended that months later, the Works Department, which now has a staffing of three persons continue to be significantly understaffed.He said it appears as if the complaints are falling on deaf ears as he continues to call and write for changes to be made. He had stated his intention to hire consultants to assist, but frowned at the thought, noting that it may come with additional costs. Meanwhile, over in the Finance Department, Councillor Charles Sampson re-iterated the need to monitor what is happening there. According to him, compliant contractors are still complaining of not being paid on time, with some even refusing to do work for the council owing to this recurring problem.“Why would a contractor’s pay be held up at any stage of the process? Is it that people are looking for perks to speed-up the payment of contractors? And the thing get so bad that some contractors does get their payments and say they ain’t get their payments… We need to monitor what is happening in the Finance…” he noted. Additionally, councillor Sandra Adams pointed to RDC employees, which she noted is contributing to the payment issue of contractors. She said the attitude of some is not in the interest of the execution on their duties, and that it reflects negatively on the council. “There are a lot of contractors who have been complaining in terms of the whole, long process – when they go to one department they are told to check at this department and when they go there they are told to check another department. The workers in the system, if they come to work, they need to work. They need to treat people with respect and handle people’s business with urgency”, she iterated. According to the Regional Chairman, these issues have been inherited by the current administration and are not new. Morian alluded that projects are not checked on time and payments are held up unnecessarily. He said a review of the RDC’s works programme is necessary as was proposed by the Finance Committee, as well as solutions on how the payment process for contractors can be speeded up.“Persons are encouraged to do better. There are contractors who want to stay far from this RDC… because of how fast we pay. I am looking forward to see the impact that we would have made in terms of payment for contractors”, he said.Morian said underhand issues, shortage of staff and the way the system is run are all contributory factors.
– says workers being turned away from Social Protection Ministry The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has issued a call for the re-establishment of the Labour Ministry.Junior Minister of Social Protection Keith ScottThis call is being made in light of claims that persons are being turned away from the Social Protection Ministry when they attempt to make complaints against their employers who fail to meet their legal obligations.This, the GTUC stated, is unacceptable as the ministry has a responsibility to investigate and resolve these issues.In a statement issued on Monday, the umbrella union said it continues to receive complaints from workers that they are being turned away from the Social Protection Ministry when they seek to lodge complaints against employers. The process in industrial relations on matters of such nature is not to turn away complainants but to activate a process to investigate and resolve the complaint.According to the union, it is issuing a call to government to ensure that workers’ concerns are addressed as they play a vital role in the development of the country’s economy.“This Government is put on notice that it has to be mindful of Labour’s role and importance in any developmental agenda. It is of concern to the Labour Movement that workers continue to be treated as incidental to production and productivity, even though neither can be achieved without their input,” the body iterated.As such it is calling for the re-establishment of the Labour Ministry that will be responsible for addressing and resolving worker’s concerns.“GTUC once again is nudging the Government to establish a Ministry of Labour that will be dictated to address labour and its attendant issues. During the 6-months Minister Broomes held the portfolio of Labour responsibilities; strident efforts were taken to uphold time-honoured principles, conventions and laws in the interest of all, such as workers, employers and government. This has been an approach consistent with good governance and ensuring stable industrial relations climate. Efforts must be made to restore and build on good practices,” the union emphasised.Efforts to contact Minister within the Social Protection Ministry Keith Scott, who has responsibilities for labour, proved futile.
Stakeholders viewing the butchered turtle before it was burnt.The government has given a one-year prison sentence to a man in the port city of Buchanan for killing a leatherback turtle. The animal is listed as one of several protected wildlife species in Liberia by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).The case was held at the Buchanan City Court, and the man, identified as Boggay Jones, was found guilty.He was arrested on November 15 by officers of the FDA, and was subsequently turned over to the Liberia National Police (LNP). According to police, he was later charged and sent to court for persecution.Boggay Jones, alias BJ, is a local hunter and resident of Sugar Cane Community in Buchanan City.Laws against the killing of endangered species are the world’s most effective and important environmental regulations. These represent a commitment by conservationists and environmentalists as well as other stakeholders to work together to protect and restore species most at risk of disappearing forever.But worldwide, plants and animals are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the natural systems that all species, including humans, depend on are at serious risk.The Leatherback sea turtle is an endangered species, the killing of which is criminal under Liberian law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)The FDA, in an inquiry yesterday, said that the culprit admitted that he was aware that the turtle is an endangered species that is unlawful to kill, but he could not let it go because of its economic value. The butchered turtle was confiscated from Jones and has since been burnt before a group of multi-stakeholders in Buchanan.However, in a statement yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its Deputy Executive Director, Urias S. Goll, commended all parties including the joint team for their cooperation in bringing the perpetrator to justice.Members of the joint-team included the FDA, EPA, Bureau of Fishery, Maritime, LNP, Grand Bass County Attorney and others.Goll also thanked the residents of Salween community who made the arrest before alerting relevant authorities to expedite the prosecution process.He expressed hope that the punitive measure taken will serve as a deterrent to others who are in the constant habit of killing protected and endangered species, as well as degrading their natural environment.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…reports flooding every rainy seasonWith the rainy season here, many residents of West Ruimveldt, Georgetown are expressing concern about clogged canals, which could pose a potential threat, since this has been the main reason for flooding in the past.When this publication visited the area, residents indicated that they have, on numerous occasions, called on the Georgetown City Council to have the canal which drains the East Ruimveldt area unclogged. However, it seems as though their calls have fallen on deaf ears.“We call them, you know…every time, and they don’t come. This thing is not just this year, it is something that we facing for as long as I could remember. Look at the canal. You can’t even know that it get a canal there. People who not from round here don’t know,” a resident stated.The Front Road CanalResidents indicated that neglected canals, overgrown vegetation, and silt and garbage have caused the waterways to become blocked with debris; and as such, they cannot facilitate the increased water flow during rainy days.“What happen is that all this bush and tree grow up in the trench, and nobody really clear it out from the start; so that’s why that’s happening now. The water don’t have nowhere to go, and the place looking like a jungle,” he further explained.Just a month ago, it was reported that many residents of the area experienced flooding when heavy rainfall was experienced for a period of two days.Floyd King Stuart, an affected resident, had noted at that time that he has been residing in the area for over 20 years, and the flooding situation has only worsened with time.In some instances, the water rose by more than two feet, since the Front Road Canal is silted up and overgrown with vegetation.Persons have indicated that in order for residents to get some relief from the constant flooding, the silt needs to be removed and the vegetation has to be cleared, so that the excess water can leave the communities.“They got to come and dig out all the silt that build up and then the water could run out,” has been the general consensus.The residents are calling on the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to engage the public in a discussion which can result in a favourable outcome. In the past, it is alleged, the council has ignored the residents’ plight.
Olympic overcame a first day blip that saw them blanked 5-0 by Wiyeta and head coach Ali Said is confident that having gathered momentum, they will defend their title.“We started slow and the loss in the first game was because of nerves. Most of my players are in this competition for the first time ever and they admitted they were nervous playing infront of many people. But we have addressed the issues and I believe we are better and ready to defend the title,” the coach said.Maureen Awino struck a brace with Naomi Navalayo adding another as the girls from Nairobi booked a ticket to the semis where they will play debutants Moi Girls Nangili. Wiyeta who topped the group will play Waa Girls from Coast.Awino broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute after her long range shot somehow managed to fizzle through the keeper’s arms. The red hot winger twice had shots from the right blocked by the keeper when she used her pace t break off her markers.Action between Olympic High and Sega Girls during in their Copa Cocacola match at the Hill School in Eldoret on July 26, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNavalayo doubled the tally for Olympic just before the break with a well struck freekick from the right after the Sega Girls keeper handled the ball outside her area.In the second half, Olympic continued their dominance and just two minutes in, Awino completed her brace after racing into the box to shoot low past the keeper.In the boys’ matches, St. Anthony’s picked up their third consecutive 2-1 win of the tournament after coming from a goal down to beat Upper Hill. Te two sides though proceed to the semis with St. Anthony topping while Upper Hill finished second.The Solidarity Boys will take on Riyabu who finished second in the other group after a 2-1 win over North Eastern’s Sabunley while Upper Hill will take on St. Peters Mumias who topped their group after beating St. Cyprian from Eastern 4-0.Heading into the last round of matches, St. Antony’s and St. Peters Mumias were assured of qualification after winning their first two games.The most interesting match though pit North Eastern’s Sabunley against Riyabu with the two sides heading into the last round with three points each.However, Riyabu from Nyanza were the strongest of the two winning courtesy of goals from Evans Onsarigo and Justine Omanga.Action between Olympic High and Sega Girls during in their Copa Cocacola match at the Hill School in Eldoret on July 26, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluOnsarigo was the danger man for Riyabu and he almost broke the deadlock with a rasping freekick in the 14th minute which went inches over the bar. He however broke the deadlock in the 26th minute from the penalty spot after Sabunley handled inside the box.Riyabu doubled their tally through Omanga who tapped home from inside the box after racing to a rebound with the keeper having spilled a rasping freekick from Onsarigo.The Nyanza side should have had a 3-0 lead heading into the break but Haron Osiago’s penalty was saved. Riyabu were gifted with a penalty after Onsarigo was axed inside the box.The North Eastern side made for some nervous end after Muktar Hillow squeezed the ball past the keeper’s feet five minutes to time but it was a little too late for them to stage a comeback.Semis fixtures: Boys: St. Peters Mumias v Upper Hill High School, St Anthony’s Kitale v RiyabuGirls: Wiyeta v Waa, Moi Girls Nangili v Wiyeta.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Olympic Girls High School celebrate after their 3-0 win over Sega Girls in their Copa Cocacola match at the Hill School in Eldoret on July 26, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluELDORET, Kenya, Jul 26 – Copa Cocacola National Secondary School Games girls defending champions Olympic High School qualified for the semi-finals of this year’s showpiece after beating Sega Girls 3-0 in Eldoret on Thursday.The result saw them finish second in the pool behind Wiyeta who picked the same result against Alliance Girls High School in a chilly morning at the Hill School.
Due to financial constraints and other factors outside of their control, some teams lack basic healthcare knowledge and often do not have access to suitable medical training or medical facilities.These concerns caught the attention of Betway who, in keeping with their commitment to football, set up the medical training camp to better prepare the sides for medical emergencies.Founded in the late 1960s, Hakati Sportiff – a community based club in Makadara, Nairobi – is one beneficiary of this initiative after one of their players, Vincent Ochieng Ogono, lost his life in October 2017 due to a lack of proper on-field medical attention.In addition to the medical training camp, Betway will also donate training equipment such as balls and bibs for Hakati Sportiff FC and the 16 other teams that use Dandora stadium as their home ground.“We have seen a gap in our sports scene that has greatly affected our teams here in Kenya and we decided to come in and help out where we can. We are glad that St. John Ambulance was willing to come on board and assist. We hope to affect more teams around the country with this initiative,” said Betway Country Manager, Leon Kiptum.0Shares0000(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Betway Country Manager, Leon Kiptum hands over training kits to various Dandora teams’ representatives at the Betway Medical CampNAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – Betting firm Betway will facilitate a medical training camp for football teams at the Dandora stadium in conjunction with St. John’s Ambulance on Thursday and Friday.The betting firm says the move is aimed at equipping teams with basic medical equipment and training to provide adequate care for on-field injuries, especially now that the stadium has been renovated by the County government and is set to attract more teams and activities.
Right wing-back: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8 – Continues to impress in his new role on the right-hand side, playing a key part in the victory, registering two assists. Centre midfield: Aaron Ramsey – 7 – One of the Welshman’s better performances this season, working hard in the centre of midfield and got forward well with the knowledge Granit Xhaka would sit deep. 12 Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny – 7 – A solid performance by the Frenchman, leading Arsenal’s three-man defence and playing a key role in the clean sheet. Left wing-back: Kieran Gibbs – 6 – Moved up and down the flank well but his final product could have been better. 12 12 Left centre-back: Nacho Monreal – 7 – A more central position than the Spaniard has played in previous seasons, but solid nevertheless. 12 12 Right centre-back: Rob Holding – 6 – A shaky start as he was possibly targeted by the United attack, but the former Bolton man improved in the second half. 12 12 Forward: Danny Welbeck – 7 – A lively performance from the striker with good movement and he took his header well against his former employers. 12 12 12 12 Arsenal kept their slim top four hopes alive as they beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates.It was a first Premier League victory over Jose Mourinho for Arsene Wenger, whose side also ended the Red Devils’ unbeaten run which stretches back to October.It leaves the Gunners six points fourth-placed Man City with a game in hand.The hosts opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half, when Granit Xhaka’s long-range shot was deflected past David De Gea.Their lead was doubled three minutes later when Danny Welbeck headed home against his former club.Click the right arrow, above, to see how talkSPORT scored Arsenal’s players in the Emirates clash… Forward: Alexis Sanchez – 5 – An unusually quiet performance from the Chilean, who often had to drop deep for the ball. 12 Forward: Mesut Ozil – 6 – A quiet, poor first half but the German was much improved in the second. Goalkeeper: Petr Cech – 7: Click the right arrow, above, to check out Arsenal’s player ratings for the win over Man United… – A solid performance, dealing with everything asked of him, including an important save to deny Wayne Rooney in the first half. Centre midfield: Granit Xhaka – 8 – One of the Swiss midfielder’s best performances in an Arsenal shirt, scoring his fourth goal of the season. Was rightfully given a standing ovation when he was replaced on 76 minutes. SUB: Francis Coquelin (6), Olivier Giroud (6) and Hector Bellerin (6) – Coquelin came on in the 76th minute to help see out the win, while the latter two had little time to make an impact after coming on in the 84th minute.
Michael Black stormed to victory in the inaugural 5miles New Year run in Letterkenny on Sunday.The local sporting fitness businessman and chairman of LAC clocked a superb time of 26.48 to take the honours, a minute ahead of club colleague, Ivan Toner (2nd – 27.36) and 24/7 Triathlon club member and well known local coach, Adam Speer (27.44).A total of 108 athletes put their toes to the line for the race and despite a stiff head win in the first section of the race the route produced very good times. The ever improving, Noreen McGettigan of LAC, won the senior womens race finishing 28th overall in a time of 32.25. The Kilmacrennan based athlete was ahead of club colleague Margaret Kelly (36th overall) in a time of 33.18 while Maria Boyle took third place in the women’s race with a time of 33.50.Elsewhere, the evergreen and inspirational Kevin Toner was first Over-60 finishing 27th overall in a time of 32.13 while Marty Gormley (17th overall in a time of 30.08) ahead of well known local financial consultant, Garvan McCloskey (31st- 32..38).Popular John Daly (12th overall- 29.46) was the first man home in the Over-40 category ahead of the improving Ciaran O’Donnell (23rd- 31.35).It was a very pleasing result for Ciaran on two fronts as he was one of the key organisers and brainchild behind staging the event. “We’re delighted with the turnout. It goes to show the appetite for good quality racing and there are more and more people getting into the sport which is great to see,” he said.Special mention must be made of husband and wife team, Seamus and Marjorie Morrison who along with their young son, Darragh, competed. Roll on a promising year ahead for all three.The full list of results is as follows:LAC – NEW YEAR 5Mile 2012Place Race No. Time FirstName Surname Category Club 1 204 26.48 Michael Black SM Letterkenny A C2 213 27.36 Ivan Toner SM Letterkenny A C3 306 27.44 Adam Speer SM 24/7 Triathlon4 262 27.58 Gavin Crawford SM Letterkenny A C 5 270 28.09 Sean Mc Shane SM Individual6 297 28.24 Garvan Walker SM Letterkenny A C7 227 29.11 Paul Cullen SM 24/7 Triathlon8 205 29.31 Kevin Ferry SM Letterkenny A C9 253 29.34 James Crossan SM Lifford A C10 206 29.41 Daniel Hannigan SM Lifford A C11 217 29.44 Marcus Mc Clintock SM Letterkenny A C12 201 29.46 John Daly M40 Letterkenny A C13 207 29.51 Jimmy Renfrew M50 Enniskillen14 272 29.53 Joe English M50 Letterkenny A C15 208 29.56 Kevin Donnelly SM Lifford A C16 242 30.02 Pauraic O’ Donnell SM Individual17 235 30.08 Martin Gormley M45 Letterkenny A C18 277 30.28 Declan Caldwell SM Inishowen A C19 252 30.46 Paul Mc Intyre SM 24/7 Triathlon20 282 31.03 Michael Duffy SM Cranford A C21 225 31.24 Paul Doherty SM 24/7 Triathlon22 261 31.33 Pádraig Friel SM Letterkenny A C23 220 31.35 Ciaran O’Donnell M40 Letterkenny A C24 305 31.37 Michael Logue SM Rosses A.C.25 230 32.08 Drew Doherty M50 Finn Valley A C26 234 32.12 Ben George SM Letterkenny A C27 214 32.13 Kevin Toner M60 Letterkenny A C28 263 32.25 Noreen Mc Gettigan SW Letterkenny A C29 224 32.26 Paudraig Kelly SM Letterkenny A C30 264 32.30 Ciaran Hegarty SM Individual31 260 32.38 Garvan Mc Closkey M45 Letterkenny A C32 289 32.41 Gareth Mc Laughlin SM Inishowen A C33 254 32.48 Martin Devenny SM Lifford A C34 278 33.13 Adrian Toye SM Individual35 210 33.15 Gerard Mullen SM Letterkenny A C36 223 33.18 Margaret Kelly W40 Letterkenny A C37 216 33.30 Hugh Gallagher M50 Letterkenny A C38 269 33.31 Brendan Mc Cole M45 Rosses A.C.39 202 33.34 Paddy Ward M50 Letterkenny A C40 211 33.50 Marie Boyle SW Individual41 298 34.05 Gavin Hunter SM Individual42 250 34.25 Richard Raymond M50 Letterkenny A C43 293 34.42 Garvin Mulligan SM Individual44 292 34.44 Derek Gillespie SM Rosses A.C.45 280 34.54 Jerome Burke SM Individual46 284 35.04 Brendan Mc Dyre SM Individual47 209 35.05 Kieran Bovard M40 Individual48 288 35.14 Paul Harris M40 Letterkenny A C49 255 35.15 Noel Lynch M40 Letterkenny A C50 222 35.15 Hugh O’ Donnell M50 Individual51 283 35.19 Paul O’ Gara M40 24/7 Triathlon52 281 35.33 Annraoi Cheevers SM Letterkenny A C53 307 35.36 Paul Dillon SM 24/7 Triathlon54 279 35.45 Deirdre Diver SW Rosses A.C.55 203 35.48 Lester Dobson M40 Letterkenny A C56 276 35.51 Mark Bolton SM Letterkenny A C57 258 35.52 Irene Mc Fadden SW Letterkenny A C58 245 35.53 Colly O’ Donnell M40 Letterkenny A C59 246 35.55 Daniel Cullen SM Letterkenny A C60 241 36.00 Gabriel Mc Crossan M45 Letterkenny A C61 268 36.06 John Grant SM Finn Valley A C62 239 36.16 Colin Mooney SM Individual63 229 36.21 Steven Shiels SM Letterkenny A C64 259 36.27 Billy Gallagher SM Lifford A C65 299 36.33 Basil Malone SM Individual66 221 36.37 Lee Gildea SM Letterkenny A C67 267 36.45 Helen Mc Cready SW Rosses A.C.68 287 36.55 Phil Boyle M40 Letterkenny A C69 265 37.04 Eunan Mc Bride M45 Letterkenny A C70 212 37.05 Monica Mc Granaghan SW Letterkenny A C71 219 37.11 Bill Vaughan M45 Individual72 294 37.26 Darren Mc Elwaine SM Individual73 237 37.38 Eddie Duffy SM Individual74 256 37.41 Paul Mc Guckan M40 Tír Chonaill A C75 247 37.46 Patrick Mc Namee SM Individual76 231 37.50 Margaret Shiels W40 Letterkenny A C77 308 38.07 Kieran Coyle SM Individual78 244 38.28 Simon Stephens SM Individual79 218 38.33 Kathleen Mc Kinley SW Individual80 266 38.36 Sean Bonner SM Individual81 286 38.40 Pauric Hilferty SM Individual82 285 38.43 Thomas Cullen SM Individual83 251 38.45 Siobhan Gallagher SW Individual84 257 38.53 Billy Bennett M40 Unattached85 296 39.11 Charlie Joe Mc Ginley M40 Letterkenny A C86 236 39.21 Seamus Mc Daid M40 Inishowen A C87 291 39.29 Graham Parker SM 24/7 Triathlon88 273 39.45 John Coleman M45 Letterkenny A C89 238 39.49 Diarmuid Doherty SM Letterkenny A C90 240 39.53 Mairead Mc Ginty SW Letterkenny A C91 248 40.01 Terry Mc Devitt SM Individual92 300 40.42 Aine Malone SW Individual93 232 40.47 Amanda Mc Nulty SW Letterkenny A C94 233 41.52 Ann Doherty SW Individual95 249 42.10 Ryan Dorrian SM Individual96 274 42.52 Dympna Barrett W40 Individual97 243 44.12 Mary Higgins SW Individual98 290 45.34 Ruth Mc Crudden W45 Individual99 275 46.03 James Mc Ginley SM Individual100 228 46.03 Sara Doherty SW Individual101 295 48.10 Alan Cunningham M40 Individual102 304 51.14 Darragh Morrisson JM Letterkenny A C103 215 52.32 Ann Gallagher SW Individual104 302 58.55 Seamus Morrison M40 Letterkenny A C105 303 58.55 Marjorie Morrisson W40 Letterkenny A CBLACK WINS INAUGURAL 5 MILE LETTERKENNY ROAD RACE was last modified: January 9th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new 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Barca defeat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in their last away fixture. (PHOTO/Courtesy)Granada vs LevanteEstadio Nuevo los Carmenes, GranadaSaturday, 14-12-2019 @3pmAfter last week’s 3-0 home victory against Alaves, Granada boast a strong record of five wins, one draw and two defeats at Los Carmenes this season. Levante have lost three of their last four games heading into this Saturday’s encounter and have suffered six defeats from eight away matches this term.Survival was undoubtedly the key aim for Granada at the start of this season following their promotion from Segunda last term, so boss Diego Martinez will be delighted that his side are more than holding their own in the top half of the table 16 games into the campaign.Granada unsurprisingly fell away after briefly topping the standings in September, but last weekend’s 3-0 success over Alaves at Los Carmenes inched Nazaries back up to 9th, and boosted their home return this season to five wins, one draw and two defeats from eight outings.Amongst those results, Granada have claimed four points from home fixtures against Atletico Madrid and champions Barcelona – proof that travelling teams need to treat them with upmost respect on their own turf.Sitting just two points behind the top six, a sixth home win of the campaign this weekend could see Martinez’ charges close in on the European places as Christmas approaches and they will be confident about dispatching a Levante side who have struggled on the road this term.Levante began the month of November in tremendous fashion with a 3-1 home triumph against Barca, but Granotas have been in dire form since, save for a scrappy 2-1 home victory on Matchday 14 against a Mallorca side who have lost seven from seven away this season.Following last weekend’s 2-4 reverse against city rivals Valencia, Paco Lopez’ men have lost three from their last four and were hammered 4-0 at Getafe when last on the road a fortnight ago.That result took Levante’s away record this season to two wins and six defeats from eight outings, so with Granada showing up so well at home and being four points ahead in the standings, it’s easy to see why they are clear underdogs for this Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Los Carmenes.Real Sociedad vs BarcelonaReale Arena, San Sebastian Saturday, 14-12-2019 @6pmBarcelona had already qualified for the Last 16 of the Champions League as Group F winners and turned out a much changed side for Tuesday night’s final game against Internazionale, but they still ran out 1-2 victors at San Siro thanks to goals from Carles Perez and teenage Ansu Fati.The fact that Barca’s second string were good enough to beat a full strength Inter in their own back yard typifies the depth of quality that Ernesto Valverde has at his disposal, and his side are now on a six match winning streak in all competitions since drawing a blank away to Slavia Prague in early November.The Catalans secured a crucial 0-1 success over Atletico Madrid when last on the road in La Liga a fortnight ago and their issues on the road appear to have gone following three defeats from their first six away La Liga games this season.Last weekend’s facile 5-2 home win against Mallorca kept Barca in a share of the lead at the top of the table with arch rivals Real Madrid and Valverde’s side will be extremely keen to keep their winning run in tact this Saturday, ahead of next week’s all important El Clasico showdown with Los Blancos at Camp Nou.It’s been a good season overall thus far for Real Sociedad who find themselves in 4th going into Matchday 17, although they are just four points clear of 10th placed Osasuna in a congested top half.They have done just enough to keep their noses in front in the race for Champions League football; however they will likely need to achieve greater consistency to maintain their position as we move deeper into the campaign, after posting eight wins, three draws and five defeats from their 16 matches.And several of their results to date suggest that Txuri-urdinak are likely to come up short this weekend. Whilst Imanol Alguacil’s men have largely take care of mid / lower table opposition, they have lost to 2nd placed Real Madrid (3-1), 3rd placed Sevilla (3-2), 5th placed Getafe (1-2) and 6th placed Athletic Bilbao (2-0).Those results emphatically display that Sociedad have something to find with the teams around them in the table and indicate that their current position could be a false one. With plenty of quality in their side, we can be sure that Sociedad will be competitive this Saturday but Barca will fancy that Alguacil’s charges are there for the taking.Barcelona will be seeking their eighth consecutive victory over Real Sociedad when the sides clash in San Sebastian this Saturday. Barca have lost three of their eight away matches in La Liga this season, but have triumphed in their last three on the road in all competitions including wins against Atletico Madrid and Internazionale. Real Sociedad head into this weekend’s game 4th in the table; however they have won just two of their last six matches and have lost two of their last five at Real Arena.Athletic Bilbao vs EibarSan Mames Barria, BilbaoSaturday, 14-12-2019 @8:30pmAthletic Bilbao have notched six wins and a draw from their eight home matches this term. Los Leones have lost just one of their last 22 La Liga games at San Mames. Last weekend’s 0-1 home loss against Getafe was Eibar’s fourth consecutive league defeat on the spin. The visitors have won just one of their eight away league games this term, drawing three and losing four.Athletic Bilbao went into last weekend’s fixture against Real Betis with the best defensive record in La Liga after conceding just nine goals in their first 15 matches of the campaign, so it was something of a surprise to see Los Verdiblancos race into a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes at Benito Villamarin.Los Leones were undone by an inspired hat-trick from veteran winger Joaquin and despite their best efforts, goals from Inaki Williams and Yuri weren’t quite enough to salvage a point for Gaizka Garitano’s side.The defeat brought an end to a three match winning streak for Bilbao and they will be keen to hit back immediately in this Saturday’s all-Basque affair against Eibar to stay within touching distance of the top four. The host’s haven’t lost in their last six home encounters against Los Armeros and go into Matchday 17 having notched six wins and a draw from their eight outings at San Mames this term.Last week’s 0-1 reverse against Getafe marked Eibar’s fourth La Liga defeat in a row, so this is far from the ideal time for Los Armeros to travel to a side who boast one of the best home records in Spain.Jose Luis Mendilibar’s charges have been gradually sucked into the relegation picture over the past few weeks and sit 16th going into Saturday’s contest, just two points ahead of 18th placed Celta Vigo.Any kind of positive result will do for Eibar this weekend to stop the rot, but that looks highly unlikely based on recent form and their overall away record this season. Los Armeros have only beaten second bottom Leganes on the road (1-2) and have registered three draws and four defeats in their other seven away matches.Atletico Madrid vs OsasunaEstadio Wanda Metrapolitano, MadridSaturday, 14-12-2019 @11pmAtletico Madrid head into this weekend’s fixture having won just two of their last nine La Liga games, drawing six. The hosts drawn three of their eight domestic outings at Wanda Metropolitano this season. Osasuna have lost just one of their last seven La Liga matches and have been beaten in just two of their eight starts on the road this term.A 2-0 success over Lokomotiv Moscow at Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday night clinched Atletico Madrid’s place in the Last 16 of the Champions League, but domestically they have fallen well off the pace in recent weeks after winning just two of their last nine outings in La Liga.Last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Villarreal was Atleti’s sixth draw amidst that run and they go into this Saturday’s home clash against Osasuna eight points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid, who both also have a game in hand.Whilst there are still 22 rounds of the season to go, it’s highly unlikely that Diego Simeone’s men will be able to bridge such a significant gap and a top four berth may now be the best that Los Rojiblancos can hope for.Atleti desperately need a victory against Osasuna here to start moving back in the right direction after dropping to 7th in the table, but Simeone’s side look far too short in the betting at around the 2/5 mark.Osasuna clung on for a 1-1 draw against 3rd placed Sevilla at El Sadar last Sunday despite being reduced to ten men 30 minutes from time when Oler saw red, and the performance typified how tough and tenacious Los Rojillos have been since returning to the top flight.Jagoba Arrasate’s side have lost just three games all season and one from their last seven, whilst they head to Wanda Metropolitano having lost just twice from their eight outings on the road.With Atleti losing just two of their last 28 La Liga matches at home, it will clearly be a tall order for Osasuna to secure all three points this Saturday considering they have won just five from 16, but their low ratio of defeats this term certainly suggests that they can get something – especially after the number of stalemates posted by the hosts over the past couple of months.The other La Liga games this weekendSunday, 15-12-2019-Getafe vs Real Valladolid @2pm-Celta Vigo vs Real Mallorca @4pm-Espanyol vs Real Betis @6pm-Sevilla vs Villarreal @8:30pm-Valencia vs Real Madrid @11pmFriday’s result-Deportivo Alaves 1-1 LeganesComments Tags: barcelonaReal SociedadSpanish La Liga
18 September 2008Fifa is fond of reminding the world that it has more member states than the United Nations and that it wields far greater influence. So when its bosses drop in for a visit, everyone takes notice.And so it was this week when the governing body’s president, Sepp Blatter, secretary-general Jerome Valcke and other Fifa heavyweights came to assess South Africa’s preparations for the 2010 World Cup. Thabo Mbeki, FW de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and ANC President Jacob Zuma met with Blatter, who said the showpiece tournament of the beautiful game is bigger than any political party, “because football will solve everything”.A World Cup on African soil was his idea, he reminded us, and this decision was now bearing fruit. “The work is going well and South Africa is ready to fulfill those dreams. The progress being made is good.”Blatter, who has always promised a unique World Cup, was reminded of just how unique it is going to be.During a visit to the stadium construction site in Cape Town, he was mobbed by hundreds of construction workers who acknowleged the opportunity Fifa has given them, the country and the rest of the continent.At Soccer City in Soweto – venue for the World Cup final – the Fifa delegation received a rendition of Shosholoza, sung by about 2 500 workers.It was moving stuff, and Blatter said as much. Certainly, it’s unlikely that he received such a rousing welcome when he was visiting the stadium construction projects in Munich, Hamburg or Dortmund in the build-up to 2006.Blatter reminded the workers that he came from a blue-collar background, “where my father wore a uniform and worked in a chemical factory for 40 years”.During the four-day visit, there was no mention of any “Plan B”, just a clear affirmation of Fifa’s “commitment, confidence and trust” in the 2010 hosts.It was a message South Africa – and the rest of the world – needed to hear.Urquhart is a former Fifa World Cup media officer and the current editor of Project 2010