Camavinga17Stade Rennes37.5 Palaces17San Lorenzo9 Kouassi17PSGeleven Gravenberch17Ajaxeleven Reinier18Real Madrid22.5 Ihattaren18PSVtwenty In the list there are also players who start to sound on the international scene such as Giovanni Reyna (son of the North American midfielder Claudio Reyna), who plays for Borussia Dortmund, as well as the Argentine midfielder Palacios, for whom it was rumored that Real Madrid had made an offer for it earlier this year. What is certain is their names. At just 17 years old, Eduardo Camavinga is the new diamond emerged from the inexhaustible French quarry. With meager figures (he has participated in 43 games adding up all the competitions with Stade Rennais in just over a year: he debuted on April 6, 2019), the greats of Europe have kept an eye on him with a view to making him a reinforcement Special for their respective squads: Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and the greats of the Premier, rejoice at the thought of having him in their ranks.But not only that. Transfermarkt, the reference website in terms of market values, places it in the first place of players born in 2002 with the highest market value. Transfermarkt values the young midfielder at almost 38 million euros (37.5) (2.20 million euros per year that marks your ID). He surpasses in a million and a half the second, who is the striker of Barcelona Ansu Fati (36 million). Both are condemned to become the benchmark for the teams in which they will participate in the future.The distance they keep with the third and fourth in this Transfermarkt list. They are the Brazilians Verón (Palmeiras) and Reinier (Real Madrid, although he has been playing for Castilla since his arrival at the beginning of the year). Both are valued at 22.5 million. By Reinier, the white team paid about 30 million euros to Flamengo to get their services. Until now Ansu Fati17Barcelona36 Queen17B. Dortmund13.5 Market values for those born in 2002 Esposito17Inter de Milan9 Veron17Palmeiras22.5 PlayerAgeEquipmentMarket value (millions of euros)
Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Earlier Thursday, German police arrested a Russian suspected of seriously injuring a British soccer fan during the European Championship in France two years ago.“UEFA strongly condemns the violent clashes which occurred in Bilbao,” the governing body for European soccer said in a statement. “We are in contact with local authorities to obtain further information on these incidents.”The Spanish league said it “deplores and condemns the death” of the police officer, and its president said he hopes FIFA and UEFA take action to halt fan violence.“The Russian ultras shouldn’t have traveled to Bilbao because of their history,” Javier Tebas told the sports daily As.The trouble erupted ahead of the round-of-32 match in the second-tiered European club competition.ADVERTISEMENT Police were escorting some Spartak fans into the stadium but a stray group allegedly started igniting fireworks and throwing flares and objects toward Athletic supporters and police officers.The fighting spread onto the streets near the stadium and police struggled to restore order. Many fans were seen trying to run away from the trouble as fireworks exploded all around.There was concern ahead of the match because of the reported presence of ‘Ultra’ Russian fans in Bilbao, and a large police force was deployed to try to prevent fan trouble.There were reports of other minor clashes involving Russian fans in Bilbao for Thursday’s match.Six years ago a fan died in Bilbao in clashes after a match between Athletic and German club Schalke.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Muguruza beats Garcia again to advance to Dubai semifinals MOST READ GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Basque riot policemen control the perimeter of the stadium close to FC Spartak Moskva’s followers before the match during the Europa League – round of 32, 2nd leg, between Athletic Bilbao and FC Spartak Moskva, at San Mames stadium, in Bilbao, northern Spain, Thursday, Feb.22, 2018. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)BILBAO, Spain — A Spanish riot police officer died of cardiac arrest after clashes involving Russian soccer fans before a Europa League match on Thursday between hosts Athletic Bilbao and Spartak Moscow, raising concerns less than four months before the World Cup in Russia.Basque Country authorities in northern Spain said the officer died in a hospital after the confrontations outside San Mames Stadium in the city of Bilbao, which will host matches in the 2020 European Championship.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Police also said a Russian man was injured but the extent of his injuries was not immediately disclosed. Five people were arrested — three Russian nationals and two Spaniards.The identity of the dead officer was not immediately disclosed. Local media said he was a 50-year-old man.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThere were conflicting reports about what caused his death, with some saying he was taken ill during the confrontations and other reports suggesting he was hit by an object during the fighting.Spartak won the match 2-1 but Athletic advanced 4-3 on aggregate. Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed View comments Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Collin Sexton (2) drives past Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 11, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND— Even with Kawhi Leonard back in the lineup, the best fight Toronto put up in Cleveland was when Serge Ibaka threw a punch at Marquese Chriss.Ibaka and Chriss were ejected for fighting during the Cavaliers’ 126-101 victory over the Raptors on Monday night.ADVERTISEMENT “I saw it out of the corner of my eye,” Love said. “It happened so fast. Everybody almost wants to run out there and check what’s going on. It was broken up quick. That’s usually how it goes.”Neither player was available for comment following the game. A Raptors spokesman said Ibaka was reacting to something Chriss said to him after the Toronto player was knocked to the floor.Cleveland held a 91-77 lead when the fight occurred and poured it on in the fourth quarter. Toronto coach Nick Nurse pulled his starters as the Cavaliers pulled away and the lead reached 27 points with just under a minute to play.“That was a great win for us,” Love said. “Especially against a real good team at home. It was fun.”Cedi Osman scored 19 points and Ante Zizic had 17 for Cleveland, which placed six players in double figures.ADVERTISEMENT FIGHT ANALYSISPlayers and coaches stepped in when Ibaka and Chriss squared off, but no one seemed to get a good view of the incident.“I didn’t see much of it, to be honest,” Nurse said. “Listen, it’s always going to be concerning when something like that happens. We certainly don’t want that in our game. We don’t want to lose one of our guys.”The teams don’t play again this season.TOUGH NIGHTNurse had a simple explanation for the loss that ended Toronto’s three-game road trip that began with wins over New Orleans and Miami.“It didn’t seem like our energy was where theirs was,” he said. “Obviously, we’re coming off a back-to-back and off a game where we played unbelievably well and we didn’t handle the success that great.”Nurse said Lowry turned an ankle late in the game, but the injury isn’t serious.UP NEXTRaptors: Host the Lakers on Thursday. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history MOST READ Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Bradley Beal’s late surge lifts Wizards past Kings Cavaliers: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Leonard scored 25 points after sitting out Sunday’s game, but the team with the league’s second-best record trailed most of the way.Collin Sexton scored 28 points and Kevin Love had 16 points and 18 rebounds for Cleveland, which dominated the second half and seemed to gain momentum after the fight with a second left in the third quarter.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsIbaka went to the floor after he and Chriss were battling for position under Cleveland’s basket as the Raptors attempted a full-court pass that sailed out of bounds.Ibaka shoved Chriss from behind and grabbed near his neck before throwing a punch. Chriss responded with a punch before players from both teams separated the two. Ibaka immediately headed for the locker room and both players were kicked out after the officials conferred. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Leonard was 11 of 19 from the field, but the Raptors only led briefly in the first half.“They did a great job, they played well, and they made open shots,” Leonard said. “That’s pretty much the way the game played out.”Kyle Lowry scored 14 points for the Raptors. Toronto (48-20) trails Milwaukee by 2 1/2 games for the best record in the league.Toronto rolled to a 125-104 win over the Heat without Leonard, tying a franchise record with 21 3-pointers and outscoring Miami 63-24 from beyond the arc.Leonard, averaging 27 points this season, hasn’t appeared in more than two consecutive games since playing in five straight from Jan. 25 through Feb. 5.The Raptors, showing signs of being tired in their third straight road game, struggled throughout the game. Toronto fell behind by 10 points and committed 11 turnovers leading to 13 points for the Cavaliers.Cleveland coach Larry Drew said before the game Love, who hasn’t played in back-to-back games since returning from foot surgery, will sit out Tuesday in Philadelphia.TIP-INSRaptors: G Fred Van Vleet (ligament tear in left thumb) missed his 11th straight game. … G Patrick McCaw made his first start with the team Sunday at Miami with Leonard sidelined, scoring 10 points in 26 minutes. McCaw appeared in three games with the Cavaliers earlier this season.Cavaliers: Cleveland is 5-4 since the All-Star break. … F Larry Nance Jr. (bruised rib) was out after being injured Friday against the Heat. … G Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) missed his second straight game. Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra LATEST STORIES View comments
As drop in the price of rubber continues to raise concern among farmers across Liberia, the head of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa, Rev. Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah Jr. has asserted that rubber is not the solution to Liberia’s food crisis.Speaking at a program at the Township of Geepoe recently, he was quoted by Radio Kehgheaman (in Nimba County) on April 24 that rubber planting makes labourers out of Liberians.He explained that Liberia has a large fertile land, but instead of Liberians being encouraged to plant crops that are more needed, “we are encouraged to plant rubber or palm which are shipped to other countries.”Rev. Dr Jallah, who came to Nimba upon the invitation of Rep. Larry P. Younquio, told local church leaders to grow what they can eat and eat what they grow.“Why are you planting trees that benefit other people when you are still importing rice and buying frozen imported meat?” he asked them.Rev. Jallah urged local church leaders to engage in food production to be able to feed their congregations instead of collecting offerings or tithes and allowing them to go hungry.He said Jesus whose footprint they are following fed over 5000 followers with the little he had, and observed that no church leader has ever provided food for their congregations after his regular discourse.He noted that nearly everything imported to Liberia, including meat, fish, rice and vegetables can be produced in Liberia. “It only needs our total involvement like how we have been involved in planting rubber trees,” Rev. Jallah said.Nimba County remains one of the chief rubber producers in the country where most farm lands are covered with rubber trees.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Charandass probePolice Commissioner Leslie James on Friday remained tight lipped on several aspects of the investigation against former Alliance For Chance (AFC) Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud, but did indicate that it centres around allegations of bribery and gold movement out of Guyana.Former AFC parliamentarian Charrandas PersaudWhen asked where the Guyana Police Force’s investigating team has been able to successfully link Persaud to the allegations which are being investigated, James said, “the word ‘link,’ I would not use that; I would say that this matter is a matter of national security. The last time I spoke, I did say it is a former Member of Parliament that is under investigation; but in terms of ‘link,’ I would not use such a phrase, such a word, because what we are doing is gathering evidence at this time.”In terms of the investigation, the Top Cop was unable to give a progress report, but noted that the Police have made substantial headway, and based on the information they have, it may require them to speak to Persaud.Persaud created history in Guyana’s Parliament on December 21, 2018 when he voted in favour of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s motion of no-confidence against the Coalition Government, and has since taken up residency in Canada, where he is also a citizen.Police Commissioner Leslie JamesIn response to that, James told the media on Friday that, if the need arises, the Guyana Police Force, and by extension the Government of Guyana, would seek an extradition order for Persaud to return home to face questions.While remaining tightlipped on several aspects of the investigation, and even outright refusing to answer questions from the media, the Police Commissioner informed that at this time the investigators have been collecting statements from a number of persons, and that the investigation is a spiral one, meaning that whatever leads come up they will be pursued.Persaud is being accused of collecting a bribe for his yes vote in the National Assembly and of attempting to purchase US$1 million in gold from a dealer. The Police have so far interviewed a number of gold dealers, whom James claimed have given corroborating evidence. However, in the interest of national security, he declined to state whether any Government officials or Members of Parliament have provided the Police with a statement.“I am saying that this is an allegation, I am not saying that it was actually done. I am saying it is an allegation that something pertaining to gold, plans to move gold out of Guyana…,” James said.However, when asked whether the plans to purchase gold counts as a criminal offence, the Top Cop would only say, “Well, plans can be part of…well, let me tell you that a criminal offence must have actus rea and mens rea; once both (are) present, it is a complete crime. I am just saying that actus rea must be present together with mens rea, that is when a crime is complete, and that is not to be determined by the Police; that is to be determined by the legal person we are submitting our reports to.”ImpartialCommissioner James said the investigation they are conducting is completely impartial, despite Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan admitting to directing the Top Cop to start the probe.“This is an impartial investigation. If it becomes necessary for us to have a request (for Persaud) to come back, we will do that. I would not say if it is linked to any crime or anything. We are not seeking to manufacture anything, so whatever is being given to us we will take and (then) go forward with our investigation…. What we have are statements which (embody) certain things which I would not disclose for certain reasons…He is innocent until proven guilty,” the Top Cop stated.On Wednesday, Ramjattan admitted that he initiated the ongoing probe against Persaud.When asked about that on Friday, James refused to respond to the question. Instead, he said, “That is an internal matter between myself and the honourable minister. If he (said) that, he must know what he is saying. I will not get involved with whether he spoke to me and whatever it is.”Meanwhile, Jagdeo on Thursday said his Party had not paid any money, and as such called for an independent investigation to be conducted. The December 21, 2018 vote led to effective toppling of Government, since the Cabinet is meant to resign and the President has to call elections in 90 days unless two-thirds of the National Assembly agrees otherwise. When asked about an ongoing investigation, Jagdeo told reporters he would only consider it if it comes from an independent probe, preferably done by an international body or expert.
Lightning-quick reflexes and an intimate knowledge of math and science earned North Hollywood High School the championship Saturday in the 15th annual Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Science Bowl. It was the 10th regional victory in the last 11 years for the school, which competed against 41 other teams from 27 area high schools in the quiz-show format contest, which tested their command of subjects from physics and astronomy to earth science and calculus. “A lot of it is being confident in what you know,” said team member James Kim, 17. “I really crammed hard this last week.” Kim – along with team captain Anguel Alexiev, John Chen, Andrew David and Emily Law – now will go on to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl April 26-30 in Washington, D.C. Third place was won by the El Camino Real High School team. North Hollywood’s team also found a charm in their team captain, who cropped his shoulder-length hair to a crew cut before the competition. “We rubbed his head for good luck,” said Law, 17. Each member of the winning team receives a $1,000 scholarship from Hitachi, and the school gets $2,000 to purchase science equipment. But the prize that drew the loudest cheer was a tour of the newly renovated Griffith Park Observatory, personally guided by director Ed Krupp, the event’s quizmaster. email@example.com (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LADWP Science Bowl winners have won four national titles and made it to the top five final teams in eight of the past 12 years. North Hollywood won the title in 2001 and placed second in the national competition last year. Chen, 18, a returning competitor, said the team wants to go all the way this year, but it’ll be tough. “Every round feels like a final round here,” he said. “You really have no margin of error.” Besides having “book smarts” – teammates meet about two hours a week after school and 12 hours during vacation to train – speed is also a factor in North Hollywood’s success. During the finals against second-place Granada Hills Charter High School, teammates often buzzed in with the right answer before the moderator finished reading the question.
But we do have more questions: Did Lasorda, who has yet to pay for a meal in the past half century, actually pay for sex? Couldn’t he have said it happened because he slipped on a patch of ice in Utah? If Kobe Bryant bought his wife a new diamond ring when he got in trouble, what will Jo Lasorda get for all this embarrassment? What did Tommy think of Nanna’s performance? Lasorda’s lawyer threatened to sue but backed off since he said he is done helping promote the book by offering daily denials. What’s the spin: It’s wrong on so many levels. We’re talking about a culture that seems to continually push the line of demarcation for privacy, meaning the 79-year-old Lasorda could have gone more mainstream by shaving his head and checking into a rehab center. This old-school, pillow-talk stuff is so yesterday. What’s bizarre news to you has likely already been filed in our recycle bin. So here’s the convenient truth: We’re going green today, giving you one last posting of the past week’s hairy headlines before they end up in your compost pile: What’s the story: A former Hollywood madame is trying to turn a quick trick with a tawdry tell-all book, throwing all sorts of names under the bus. One of them is former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who supposedly paid $1,500 to meet up back in the ’90s with someone named “Nanna” for some afternoon delight before he went home for dinner. What’s the story: According to several Internet reports, billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is seriously considering buying the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Company for $625 million. “Mark is desperate to buy the Cubs,” an unnamed source said of Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, who in the past has been rebuffed in trying to purchase the Pittsburgh Pirates. “He wants this so bad.” What’s the spin: Eventually the Chicago Tribune, also owned by the Tribune company, tracked down Cuban and got him to say that the story was “not true … I have no idea where they got their info.” Too late. A post at www.ipetitions.com already has 800 signatures in support of a Cuban hostile takeover. And just to think: If he were to run the Cubs like he does his Mavs, the Wrigley Boys could be winning games 132-115 every day, even if the wind generated from the owner is blowing in. What’s the story: Guests at a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue party on Valentine’s Day at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood were told they may have been exposed to Hepatitis A. The virus was diagnosed in an employee of Wolfgang Puck Catering, which provided food for the bikinifest. The L.A. County Department of Public Health urged anyone who ate raw food at the foo-foo event to receive an immune globulin shot as soon as possible. What’s the spin: How would you know if you’ve come down with Hepatitis A? Oh, you’d know. Vomiting, diarrhea, darkened urine or jaundice. Which are the same symptoms your mom got after she went to the mailbox and found the SI Swimsuit Issue when you were off at junior high. What’s the story: A year after the book “Game of Shadows” leaked grand jury testimony to imply that San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds had been messing with human growth hormones, a paperback version has been issued with updated information. One of the facts the authors point out is how Bonds’ body parts have increased from the time he joined San Francisco in 1993 (when he was 28) until today. His jersey size has gone from 42 to 52; his cleats have blow up from 10 1/2 to 13; and his cap size has jumped from 7 1/4, even though he has shaved his head. What’s the spin: The guy plays for the Giants. What do you expect? Stay away from flaxseed oil if it bothers you that much. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Dinny McGinley TD, right, is heading to the StatesThe government has announced details of the largest St Patrick’s Day travel programme since it came to office with Donegal TD and junior Minister Dinnt McGinley one of 28 of the 30 government ministers going abroad.Taoiseach Enda Kenny will lead the programme, travelling to New York, Boston and Washington DC while Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin heads for China.Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley is going to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia The programme marks the first time that ministers will have travelled to Vietnam or Mexico, and the first time in four years that one will go to Russia.Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes are the only members of Government not travelling abroad this St. Patrick’s day.Who is going where:Taoiseach Enda Kenny – New York, Boston and Washington DC Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore – FranceMinister for Finance Michael Noonan – CanadaMinister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin – ChinaMinister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton – ItalyMinister for Social Protection Joan Burton – New York Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan – San FranciscoMinister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte – London and BirminghamMinister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan – United Arab EmiratesMinister for Justice and Equality and Minister for Defence Alan Shatter – Mexico Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney – New Zealand and Eastern AustraliaMinister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald – Japan and KoreaMinister for Health James Reilly – Boston and ClevelandMinister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar – Atlanta and SavannahAttorney General Máire Whelan SC – Washington DCMinister of State at the Department of The Taoiseach & Defence Paul Kehoe – LebanonMinister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Jan O’Sullivan – ScotlandMinister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley – Pittsburgh and PhiladelphiaMinister of State for Small Business John Perry – SpainMinister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring – NetherlandsMinister of State, Department of Health and Department of Justice, Equality & Defence Kathleen Lynch – VietnamMinister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Environment, Community & Local Government Fergus O’Dowd – GermanyMinister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills Sean Sherlock – Chicago and Kansas CityMinister of State for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon – RomaniaMinister of State Alan Kelly – Western AustraliaMinister of State for Public and Commuter Transport Alex White – RussiaMinister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine Tom Hayes – NorwayMinister of State for European Affairs Paschal Donohoe – Belgium and LuxembourgDINNY McGINLEY OFF TO AMERICA AS PART OF ST PATRICK’S DAY EXODUS was last modified: February 17th, 2014 by John2Share 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 window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Dinny McGinley TDSt Patrick’s DaystatesUSA
Justice MalalaSometime back I was asked, during a panel discussion on the 2010 Fifa World Cup, whether the South African national football team stood a chance of winning the trophy.Like everyone else on the panel, I laughed at the possibility and said we had better concentrate on other things, such as ensuring that we make this the best and safest tournament in the history of the World Cup. A win? No way, I said.The next day, a Sunday morning, I was sitting in my house when US swimmer Michael Phelps won his eighth Olympic gold medal of the Beijing Games. His win meant he beat Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven gold medals in a single mounting of the games.It was a phenomenal week for Phelps, and among the things he said that day were a few lines that stuck in my mind.“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination, and that’s something I learned and something that helped me,” he said.It was that word imagination that was key. A few weeks before my panel discussion I had lunch with South African football chief – and the man responsible for bringing the 2010 extravaganza to our shores – Danny Jordaan at his offices in the shadow of the impressive new Soccer City stadium just outside Johannesburg.The stadium will be the home of the final of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.Jordaan believes that imagination is what makes great things happen. He gave me the example of the South African Oscar Pistorius, the inspirational double amputee world record holder in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre sprinting events.Pistorius was born with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles.Today, known as the “Blade Runner”, he runs with the aid of carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs. He has run in competition with able-bodied athletes and fights to run in the Olympics.“What did it take for Oscar to reach the levels he is at today?” asked Jordaan. “Over the years, from when he was young, what did he have to do to get himself up and to do what he has done?”The football chief said Pistorius had to imagine himself out of his disability and believe that he could not only run, but that he would win. It is this imaginative journey that has drawn him up and above the average man.“Imagination is a powerful thing. What kept Nelson Mandela and the rest of the people on Robben Island going? What were they thinking as year 20 of their incarceration came and went?“It was their imagination that kept them going, that made them achieve what they achieved. They imagined the impossible, and they achieved it,” said Jordaan.And so I wonder, what made Roger Milla, at the ripe old age 42 years and 39 days, dominate the 1994 World Cup and score against Russia? What made him become the anchor for his team and the darling of the world?Some analysts have said that South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup because they believed, after a pep talk from Mandela, that indeed they could do it. It is generally acknowledged that they were on a hiding to nothing, yet many say that imagination and self-belief pulled them through.Nelson Mandela himself once said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”Until 1994, when South Africans queued from the crack of dawn to cast a democratic vote for the first time in their lives, it seemed impossible that such a thing could happen. People like Jordaan say it seemed impossible that an African country would host the world’s greatest football showpiece. And now it will happen in 2010.I have to say that thesis of Phelps, Jordan and Mandela is persuasive. Can it work for our national team, though? We have just under two years to go to the 2010 finals.At the moment our team is a shambles, struggling to stand up to some of the weakest sides on the continent. But no one says a word about imagination, about what is in the heads of the team and what is in the heads of the nation. Perhaps if we believed that we can win, perhaps if our players started imagining themselves as winners rather than losers, perhaps we have a chance.Had I thought about that question at the panel discussion properly, this is what I would have said: For us and Bafana Bafana, it is time to be children again, to dream and imagine ourselves as winners.Justice Malala is an award-winning former newspaper editor, and is now general manager of Avusa’s stable of 56 magazines. He writes weekly columns for The Times newspaper and Financial Mail magazine, as well as a monthly media and politics column for Empire magazine. He is the resident political analyst for independent television channel e.tv and has consulted extensively for financial institutions on South African political risk. Malala was also an executive producer on Hard Copy I and II, a ground-breaking television series on SABC 3. Hard Copy I won the Golden Horn Award for best television series. Malala’s work has been published internationally in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, Forbes, Institutional Investor, The Age and The Observer.