Saudi Arabia used to qualify for World Cups as a matter of course, but failure to make 2010 and 2014 had fans desperate to reach the 2018 World Cup.Led by Bert Van Marwijk, they did. Just. There was some luck along the way, but a last-day victory over an already qualified Japan did the trick and put the Green Falcons above Australia on goal difference. Yet qualification was followed by chaos, as Van Marwijk was replaced by Edgardo Bauza – who then left himself. Currently, former Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken up the head coaching role.Key Moments in QualifyingSep 2016The opening game against Thailand in Riyadh was proving to be a frustrating experience until the softest of penalties six minutes from the end allowed Nawaf Al Abed to secure the points. Five days later, the midfielder scores twice more from the spot to give the Saudis a come-from behind win against Iraq.Oct 2016With 11 minutes remaining, Van Marwijk’s men are trailing at home to Australia. Then Nasser Al Shamrani strikes to earn what will turn out to be a vital point won.Nov 2016A 2-1 defeat in Japan prevents Saudi Arabia from breaking free at the top of the group.Sep 2017Needing to beat Japan at home in the final game to qualify, winger Fahad Al Muwallad makes the second-half difference and the 1-0 victory is celebrated wildly. But days later Van Marwijk announces he is leaving, with Edgardo Bauza replacing him.Nov 2017After just five games in charge, Argentinian Bauza was sacked as Saudi coach.Saudi Arabia World Cup GroupIn Group A, Saudi Arabia are in a group containing the hosts Russia, Uruguay, and Egypt, lead by Mohamed Salah.Saudi Arabia World Cup FriendliesSaudi Arabia recently played two friendlies as preparation for the World Cup, a 3-0 victory against Moldova, and then a 4-1 loss to Iraq at the end of February. They then drew against Ukraine, but got hammered by Belgium four days later. Two wins against Algeria and Greece followed, and then two losses to Italy and Peru nearly concluded their World Cup friendlies. Finally they lost to Mats Hummels and Germany on the 8th of June. 26th February – Moldova (won 3-0)28th February – Iraq (lost 4-1)23rd March – Ukraine (drew 1-1)27th March – Belgium (lost 4-0)9th May – Algeria (won 2-0)15th May – Greece (won 2-0)28th May – Italy (lost 2-1)3rd June – Peru (lost 3-0)8th June – Germany (lost 2-1)Saudi Arabia World Cup FixturesSaudi Arabia will play in the opening game of the tournament against the hosts Russia on the 14th of June. This will be followed by matches against Uruguay on the 20th and Egypt on the 25th.14th June – Russia20th June – Uruguay25th June – EgyptThe CoachJuan Antonio Pizzi, age 49 (07.06.1968)Even by Saudi standards, the recent coaching merry-go-round was shocking. Van Marwijk, who had been in place for two years and was building a solid team, left just days after the Russian deal was sealed. In came Bauza, who had taken over the United Arab Emirates just weeks previously. A month later, the Argentinian had also said his goodbyes. Juan Antonio Pizzi, who lead Chile to the Copa America Centenario in 2016, has come in to fill the void.The PlayersStarsNawaf Al Abed was cool and composed throughout the final stage, and he scores as well as creates. When given the opportunity, Fahad Al Muwallad is exciting.StalwartsOsama Hawsawi has been in the centre of defence for a long time – although some feel for too long.MissingNasser Al Shamrani was Asian Player of the Year in 2014 but he started just one game in qualifying.DebutantsVan Marwijk gave a first call-up to right-back Mohammed Al Burayk and the 25-year-old performed well under pressure. Saudi Arabia World Cup SquadFinal 23-man squad – GOALKEEPERS: Mohammed Al Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al Mayouf (Al Hilal).DEFENDERS: Mansoor Al Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al Breik (Al Hilal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al Bulaihi (Al Hilal).MIDFIELDERS: Abdullah Al Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al Faraj, Mohamed Kanno (both Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr), Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad).FORWARDS: Mohammad Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli). The Unanswered QuestionsWhat effect will the change of coaches have?Losing the experienced Bert Van Marwijk, who took his homeland to the 2010 Final, was huge. Not only did he know the players, they knew him and his system. Edgardo Bauza barely had time to get to know the squad, but friendly performances against Portugal and Bulgaria ended with much criticism and his departure proves that there are few seats as hot as that of Saudi Arabia’s coach. Time will tell if Pizzi can be as effective in this role as he had been with Chile.Is Osama Hawsawi up to the job?At 33, the centre-back and captain came into the team just after the 2006 World Cup but his ageing legs have been showing a little of late.What about international exposure?Almost all the Saudis play at home and this is a problem. Nine were loaned to La Liga clubs in a marketing move to increase the league’s visibility in the Kingdom, but it did not work as they spent all their time on the bench. *Follow the World Cup with the Multimedia Group! With live English radio commentary on Joy 99.7 FM radio, Akan radio commentary on Asempa 94.7 FM and livestreaming on Myjoyonline.com, we’ve got you covered all-tournament long.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Thunder aren’t sure whether Draymond Green intentionally targeted Steven Adams’ groin area on May 22.They just know they don’t appreciate it.Green said he was just gathering himself after a foul by Adams when he kicked Oklahoma City’s center in the groin, and he feels the Flagrant 1 foul he was called for in Game 3 should be rescinded.Perhaps the play wouldn’t have drawn so much attention if Green hadn’t kneed Adams in the same area in Game 2.“It happened before, mate,” Adams, a 7-foot center from New Zealand, said. “He is pretty accurate, that guy.”Adams and the Thunder beat Golden State 133-105 to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals, and the now-reeling Warriors could enter Game 4 on May 24 in Oklahoma City without their All-Star forward if the NBA deems the play worthy of a suspension after a review May 23.Green said doing something like that intentionally is not his style.“I followed through on a shot,” he said. “I’m not trying to kick somebody in the midsection. Somebody wants to have kids someday. I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court.”The play was part of an ongoing battle between Green, an undersized but rugged 6-foot-7 power forward, and Adams, who has asserted himself with physical play and is one of the main reasons the Thunder lead the series.“Honestly, I think it’s intentional,” Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook said. “That’s two times in the last two games. I don’t think you can keep (hitting) somebody in their private areas.”Warriors coach Steve Kerr disagreed.“Stuff like that happens all the time,” Kerr said. “There’s contact, people’s arms, legs flailing. If they think it’s on purpose, play the game, you know. This stuff happens all the time. Westbrook kicks out his feet on every 3 and there is contact. I mean, that’s just part of the game. So I don’t understand how that can be deemed a Flagrant 1. I think it should be rescinded.”Green was called for the flagrant with 5:57 left in the second quarter, and the Oklahoma City crowd chanted, “Kick him out! Kick him out!”Adams wasn’t aware of the crowd’s response.“Straight to the drawers, you don’t think about any of that stuff,” he said. “It was rough.”Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he was proud of Adams for not retaliating.“He takes a physical pounding and he’s a tough kid,” Donovan said. “He’s got a great pain threshold, and, again, he doesn’t retaliate. He just tries to keep playing.”The Thunder handled the situation well, outscoring the Warriors 24-7 the rest of the first half to take a 72-47 lead.“It takes a little pain off my mind since then, I guess it kick-started us,” Adams said. “I guess you could say that.”(CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppMontego Bay, Jamaica, December 28, 2016 – Some 3,000 children were presented with gifts on December 25 (Christmas Day) by Hah-R-Mony Entertainment Limited of Montego Bay. The event was facilitated by the St. James Municipal Corporation at the Old Hospital Park, Gloucester Avenue, in the city.Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Homer Davis, praised the efforts of the local company for providing the gifts for the children. “The city really needed something as beautiful as this for a change,” he said. “There are many good and decent law-abiding persons throughout the parish of St. James, and we saw a lot of that on display here today. The parish council is indeed happy to have been a part of it,” the Mayor said.Originally billed to cater for 2,000 children, the event well exceeded the amount, forcing the organizers to resort to a contingency plan. Fortunately, there was enough staff on hand to keep things in order, so that every single child inside the venue was able to receive a gift. Earlier, they were treated to a live concert where the steel band Tropical Vibes was a huge hit, playing a number of popular Christmas songs.For his part, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson, said he was impressed with the event. “The JHTA took some 60 kids from the SOS Children’s Village to the event, and they all had smiles on their faces. It is really nice to see an organization taking this time to put in such a tremendous effort. This is a beautiful thing for Montego Bay and the adjoining communities, and the organizers must really and truly be commended,” he said.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Entertainment Director of Hah-R-Mony, Ho-Chi-Min Castillo Rolffot, said his company is very happy to have been able to put on the event, noting that “it was worth every penny that we spent”. “We are fully committed to do this again next year. We are going to try our best to get more sponsors involved, so we can have even more gifts for the children,” he said.Hah-R-Mony Entertainment Limited is a promotional company that was established in 2009, and which currently operates in 29 hotels and employs more than 100 workers. #MagneticMediaNews Related Items:
In what looked like a tariff war directed at improving trade balances, has now ballooned into a tussle on broader economic relationship. The US has brought up more contentious issues like intellectual property rights, technology transfer, and what the US calls illegal state subsidies to Chinese exporters. The on-going trade-tussle between the US and China has much deeper implications not only for the global trade environment but also for the flow of capital. The adverse impact on the global economy as a whole may be much larger than what we thought of a few months back.Since China’s “coming out” in 1978, through building world class infrastructure, actively seeking foreign investment, championing of local firms, and emphasis on exports, it has built the largest manufacturing base in the world. Given the fact that China is deeply embedded into the global supply chains, and is a global low cost manufacturing hub, the repercussions of this trade war could be severe if it escalates beyond a certain point.Till recently the market took comfort that the tussle was limited to tariffs. However, when the Trump administration’s measures led Google to deprive Huawei of its Android Software and related services, the trade wars are in uncharted waters. Google was soon followed by others like UK-based chip designer ARM, Microsoft, Panasonic in restricting activities with the Chinese telecom giant. This move by the US indicated it would not shy away from using its dominance over technology and software exports as leverage in negotiations. It is important to remember that Huawei has been accused of using its networking equipment to help the Chinese military spy on others.However, Trump also indicated that Huawei could be part of future deals, provided some conditions are met, this reprieve was accompanied by a strongly worded message to China. It allowed Huawei to use these products till August-end. While China on its part has imposed some tariffs it has indicated it could use its dominance in certain items like Rare Earths as a negotiating tactic. It does have more options; for instance, it could restrict import of aircrafts (Boeing) from the US. However, it does appear that the Chinese have misread the resolve of the Trump administration to tilt the economic relationship of the US and China back to a more balanced one.The global financial crisis has often been compared to the great depression of the 1930s, while the two economic crises may not be comparable in all respects; there are important similarities. The most relevant one is the trade wars that followed the onset of the great depression. The US through the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 imposed tariffs on most imported goods. This resulted in other countries imposing tariffs as well. Many economists believe that these tariffs not only worsened the crisis but also delayed economic recovery. The fear is trade wars could escalate to a point where it causes widespread economic damage.I believe, however, that we are far from that point, but the thought is scary. For instance, China can take advantage of it being the largest creditor to the US and dump some of the treasuries it holds or significantly prune its future purchases. This could be detrimental not just to the global capital markets but to China as well, and perhaps China would avoid such a move. China for sure may allow its currency to depreciate against the US dollar in order to offset the impact of tariffs partially.This shows how deeply the world is connected. For instance, Western Europe and US have held close security relationship since World War II and have close trade relations as well. However, China is a growing market for Europe making it hard for them to choose sides. While a full-blown tech-war will increase Germany’s value as USA’s ally, it will squeeze out the rest of the EU members who are dependent on China.According to the latest statistics, China is the world’s largest exporter having shipped $2.3 tn worth of goods across the globe in 2018. While China’s Asian partners consumed the lion’s share of 47.8% of these exports, 22.4% was exported to North America, 19.2% was consumed by Europe. In May 2019, China’s global trade surplus soared to $41.66 bn vs. $23.42 bn in the previous year.What has driven the US to slap these tariffs is the trade deficit with China which was ballooning and stood at USD 383 bn in 2018. USA is the largest importer of Chinese goods globally. Interestingly South Korea is the most import dependent on China by importing 11% of its total imports from China. South Korea is followed by Japan (9.8%) and the US (9.2%). However, South Korean import of Chinese goods reflects supply chain integration, whereas US imports of Chinese goods represent largely final consumption.To add to the complexity, the war now has been extended to services like finance and capital markets. Given China’s immature capital markets and inability to handle large capital issues, China has increasingly relied on the US capital markets. For instance, Alibaba’s IPO was in the US in 2014, today 174 other Chinese firms aggregating a market cap of $394 bn have their main listing in the US. The poor corporate governance standards of Chinese firms have been a concern to US investors and the SEC.Restrictions on M&A have added another dimension. For instance, Ant Financial, Alibaba’s payment affiliate was blocked from acquiring MoneyGram, a US-based fintech firm on security grounds. A new law called FIRRMA would require foreign purchases of critical technology in the US to get prior regulatory approval.While this is not directed explicitly at China, it is perceived as a tool to clip China’s growing clout as an emerging global technology powerhouse. In fact, this prompted Alibaba to consider second listing in Hong Kong. While this shows China’s efforts to reduce dependence on the US capital markets, Chinese financial firms have already made inroads into the global capital markets. For instance, in 2018, 7 of the top 20 underwriters were from China, and Chinese banks are among the largest cross-border lenders in Asia. During 2018, Hong Kong saw more money raised through new listings – approximately $ 37bn.While one may argue with the means, it is hard to argue with the end result that the US wants to achieve. China’s intellectual property regime should be of concern to not only the US but to other countries as well. Many have accused China of reverse engineering products from other countries and then manufacturing themselves, harming the original innovators.Under the current leadership, China is getting more aggressive. China is now using its economic muscle, for instance through the One Belt One Road (OBOR) program to acquire foreign assets cheaply. Under a more aggressive leadership in China, this has serious security implications, especially for China’s immediate neighbours and the rest of the Australasia region. All this means that it is in the world’s interests to see that the balance is restored in the economic and political relationship between China and the rest of the world, and countries (especially Asian) should back the US led efforts in their own long term interests.While the US and China may reach an agreement sometime over the next 12 months, it is clear that the globalization as we know it is set to change. The ongoing global trade tensions are slowly but surely causing a shift in the global supply chain and payment mechanisms. Companies are realigning themselves by reducing exposure to companies that are likely to face US sanctions. While the shift in the global trade system is a long drawn process western manufacturers are thinking of options. These involve an acceleration in shifting of manufacturing to South East Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia) or South Asia (India, Bangladesh). Another option would be to shift manufacturing back to the US; something Trump certainly hopes for, unfortunately, a shift back to the US would involve automation and not create many jobs.In whichever way one looks at the current scenario, it seems that here is a definite move by all country to become more insular and this is perhaps the shape of things to come. Globalization 3.0.[Rajiv Singh is the CEO of Karvy Stock Broking. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of International Business Times, India]
Reliance Jio Republic Day 2018 Offer. The telco’s rapid growth since its launch in 2016 has been powered by aggressive marketing and brutal price wars.IBTimes India/Sami KhanMukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio is eyeing an initial public offering that may also coincide with its climb to the top of the mobile communications market. The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) subsidiary already has the second biggest market base of 31.7 per cent nipping at the heels of market leader Vodafone Idea that has 32.2 per cent share. After having overtaken Bharti Airtel, which now has 27.3 per cent share, with aggressive pricing policy, Jio now hopes to become the top player by early next year, reports say.RIL, however, wants to first clean up its books by hiving off the fibre and tower assets to two infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) it has created with external investor participation, a report in the Economic Times says. The report cites sources as saying that the IPO plans have advanced much through several meetings the company’s top management had with banks and financial advisers.”The telecom company has informed bankers that it expects to topple competition on the subscriber front shortly, which would bring in more revenue, and roll out its fibre to the home (FTTH) network, all of which will ensure a successful IPO,” the report quotes an unidentified source as saying. Another source said that concerns “were raised over Jio’s falling average revenue per user (ARPU),” a key industry parameter. The ARPU of Jio, that began operations in 2016, dropped for the fifth straight quarter to Rs 126.2 in March quarter from Rs 131.7 in the preceding one. Meanwhile, rivals Airtel and Vodafone managed to improve ARPU sequentially, signalling that their customers subscribe to higher tariff plans.Jio was the only telco to post profits in the March quarter, up 65 per cent year on year against a 56 per cent rise in revenue, the report says. But sequential profit growth was 1 per cent in the March quarter against 22 per cent in the previous quarter as the company was hit by a fall in ARPU and higher network cost and rising depreciation and amortisation expenses. A woman checks her mobile phone as she walks past a mobile store of Reliance Industries’ Jio telecoms unit, in Mumbai, India. Jio is aiming for to top market share and hopes to close the gap with leader Vodafone Idea in a matter of months.REUTERS/Shailesh AndradeThe telecom unit’s enterprise value is pegged at around Rs 4.41 lakh crore, according to a note by brokerage IIFL. Rival Bharti Airtel, which has yielded the top position in market share to Vodafone and fallen to the third position behind Jio, has a market capitalisation of nearly Rs 1.79 lakh crore, at the close of trade on Thursday. Its stock closed 2 per cent higher at Rs 348.65 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Vodafone Idea share ended 4 per cent higher at Rs 11.90, giving it a market cap of over Rs 34,195 crore.RIL has apparently made it clear that the IPO could take place only after the recently demerged fibre and tower businesses – Jio Digital Fibre Pvt Ltd and Reliance Jio Infratel Pvt Ltd respectively – get monetised via external investments, according to media reports. Earlier reports said Brookfield Asset Management is close to investing in the portfolio of 170,000 towers currently valued at around Rs 36,000 crore. After transferring of debt to the tune of Rs 1.07 lakh crore to the two demerged units, Jio’s net debt stood at Rs 67,000 crore by March-end. “Since regulatory guidelines state that the telco can be listed after three years of financial reporting, the IPO cannot come before March 2020. But that will be too early – it’s likely late 2020 or even in 2021,” said one of the people cited above, according to the report.The return to power of Prime Minister Narendra Modi heading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seen to be more business-friendly, may also encourage companies to go public as the investment climate is expected to improve. Reliance Jio wants fresh funds to expand the 4G network and take part in the imminent 5G spectrum auctions.