Barton: We’re stronger now

first_img Barton spent the campaign on loan at Marseille as Rangers finished 15 points adrift of safety in 2013 and paid the price for a lack of cohesion on and off the field. Harry Redknapp was unable to rescue the west Londoners after taking over in November that season but his side have made a positive start to their return to the top flight. Rangers’ impressive form at home is in stark contrast to their results on the road where they have lost to Tottenham, Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham, Chelsea, Newcastle and Swansea this season. Redknapp’s side are the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to register a single point away from home and Barton admits it’s a problem that needs addressing. “We have lost seven out of seven on the road but without making excuses, we haven’t been to the easiest places,” Barton said. “We haven’t played teams in and around us. That will be the test for us. We’ve been to some of the tougher places in the league. “I think everyone we’ve played away has been in the top 10 at the time we’ve played them. “We’re very mindful that we’ve got to improve our away form.” Rangers’ awaydays do not get any easier as they travel to Everton and Arsenal before the end of the year either side of home games against West Brom and Crystal Palace. The bottom half of the table remains congested ahead of the busy Christmas calendar with only five points separating QPR in 17th and Aston Villa in 11th. “If you string back-to-back wins together in this league you can propel yourself up the table,” Barton said. “That’s how tight it is. That’s why people tune in. The Premier League is so competitive. “Chelsea’s “Invincibles” all of a sudden go to Newcastle, Newcastle with their eighth-choice goalkeeper or whatever – and all of a sudden he comes on and they go on and beat Chelsea. “There’s not many other leagues where that happens. I’ve just seen on the TV, Real Madrid (have recorded an) 18th straight win. “Arsenal went unbeaten for a year but I can’t see anyone banging 18 wins out on the spin, not in this league, not with how competitive it is. “There’s a different element here, which is why people tune in from all over the globe.” Second-half goals from Leroy Fer and Charlie Austin ensured Rangers took maximum points against Burnley but there was disappointment too as Austin was sent off and will subsequently miss next Monday’s match at Everton. “He’s our top scorer, he’s been the difference for us at various times this season,” Barton added. “To be without him is going to be a massive loss.” QPR midfielder Joey Barton believes this current Rangers side is “poles apart” from the one that finished bottom of the Barclays Premier League two years ago. A 2-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday – their third win in four games at home – saw Rangers climb out of the bottom three for the first time since September. “The performances we have put in at Loftus Road have been exceptional, even in defeat sometimes,” Barton said. “The team spirit and togetherness of the football club is poles apart from that side which went out of the league with a whimper. “We came up and we want to give a good account of ourselves. Slowly but surely we are doing that.” Barton continued: “To look at the table and see yourselves not in the bottom three is always heart-warming. “Hopefully at the end of May that’s the case because that will be job done and goal achieved. There’s a long way to go. This is the 15th game. “After the defeat at Swansea the other day I asked our analyst to pull the table up from the year that QPR went down, the year I was in France. “After 14 games we only had five points and I think it took them 16 games to win a game. So comparatively we’re light years ahead.” Press Associationlast_img read more

South Africa shows huge growth from Australia

first_imgSouth African High Commissioner, Koleka Mqulwana speaking to trade South African Tourism hosted a breakfast this morning, announcing monstrous potential to grow their national economy by investing in the burgeoning Australian market. Lalie Ngozi, general manager of South African Tourism, thanked guests for the opportunity to break bread with the important people responsible for South Africa Tourism’s involvement in the Australian market place. “Australia has honoured South Africa and we are here to stay,” Ms Ngozi said. The Republic of South Africa Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, expressed how important a stake in the Australian market is and that priority must be to develop this long-haul market.“We take this market very seriously and the support received by the trade has been appreciated. “Of the outbound market, 1 percent encompasses Australia, which is a good base to grow on,” Mr Schalkwyk said. Tourism is a primary solution to boost the South African economy.   The government will focus on developing small businesses within the tourism sector; a joint initiative (Tourism Enterprise Program) providing small businesses a chance to break into the market which will in turn help develop rural tourism. Agents at the trade show wondered how South Africa would remain competitive in terms of price and safety. “The destination offers value for money and to remain competitive we have introduced many new products to offer any traveller regardless of their budget. Activity-based Tourism is the direction for 2012 and by attracting the Australian and New Zealand market, we will be focusing on outdoor holidays, golf, hiking and of course the safari,” Mr Schalkwyk said. Products will be sold around the experience with a variety of inclusions to provide extra value and incentive. Safety was a hot topic and South African Tourism said it takes the safety of travellers very seriously and addressed this excessively during the World Cup. “Just like all major cities around the world, there are areas you just do not go but international events have helped maintain our message of that it’s safe to travel,” Ms Ngozi said. Word of mouth is another initiative South African Tourism is planning to roll-out in Australia throughout 2012. Launching this week, the new website www.southafricanholidays.com.au will showcase deals and specials, creating a new online platform to the market. In an exclusive interview with e-Travel Blackboard, The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk shared one of his favourite getaways, the Isi Mangaliso Wetland Park, located north of Durban. “It’s a sub-tropical paradise. It is absolutely wonderful and the only place you can see elephants on the beach; another example of the unique products on offer in South Africa,” he said. The Hon. Marthinus van Schalkwyk. South Africa Minister of Tourism Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tcenter_img South African High Commission Mauritz Lindeque, South African Tourism Trade Relations Leisure Manager Rob Gurr, South African Tourism Asia & Australasia Business Tourism Manager Eric Lewanavanua, South African Tourism Chief Marketing Officer Roshene Singh, South African High Commissioner Koleka Mqulwana, South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism Australasian Country Manager Lalie Ngozi, Deputy Director Administration Tebogo Kambule and Republic of South Africa Director General Lm Makhubela joined the South African Tourism Minister for the breakfast event at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel this morning. South African High Commissioner, Koleka Mqulwana last_img read more