… Uncapped duo earn Test call-up(REUTERS) – South Africa have called on the uncapped pair of Heinrich Klaasen and Theunis de Bruyn for the three-match Test series in New Zealand next month, while there is also a return for fast bowler Morne Morkel.Wicketkeeper-batsman Klaasen will act as cover for Quinton de Kock, while de Bruyn is retained from the squad that beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 118 runs in their last Test in Johannesburg in January.Right-hander Klaasen finished the domestic four-day competition with 635 runs at an average of 48.84, including a best of 195.Fast bowler Duanne Olivier, the leading wicket-taker in domestic cricket this season, made his debut in that game, posting match figures of 5-57, and has been retained.There is also a recall for fit-again Chris Morris, whose last Test was against England in January 2016, while Morkel has also spent the last 13 months on the sidelines with back problems.“Heinrich Klaasen was one of the top performers throughout the (domestic) season and he is rewarded for his form,” Cricket South Africa selection convener Linda Zondi said in a statement yesterday.“Morne Morkel has worked hard on his fitness over the past few months, and we believe he is now 100 percent fit and fully able to compete for his place in the team.”The other seamers in the squad are Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell, with Keshav Maharaj the only recognised spinner.The side will be captained by Faf du Plessis, with leading batsman AB de Villiers announcing earlier in the year that he would not be available for this tour.The first Test starts in Dunedin on March 8. South Africa have won their last three Test series, away in Australia and home to New Zealand and Sri Lanka.South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Stephen Cook, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.
British Prime Minister Theresa May (3rd right, back row)_ CEO of CSG, Sola Opaleye (2nd left, back row) with parents and attendees of the City Sports Group_Burnley Football Leadership and Development Programme in the UK What is City Sports Group all about?City Sports Group (CSG) is a total sports development and a business of sports company which is professionally structured and run. We aim to develop leaders and capacity building of young individuals using sports as a platform.The company was formed in January, 2018 and despite the expected challenges associated with businesses at the formative stage, we have managed to steady the ship and remain on the right track to be pacesetters in the business of sports in Nigeria.City Sports Group, an affiliate of City Sports Group UK, is the parent body for six other brands here in NigeriaPresently, our football clubs, City of Lagos FC, City FC Abuja and City FC Kano are fully operating in Lagos, Abuja and Kano, while plans are in top gear to make City FC Enugu, City FC Port Harcourt and City FC Ibadan operational by the fourth quarter of 2019. Why do all your football clubs carry the name, City?Our idea is to build clubs that are locally relevant to their environment while espousing our values as an entity. All over the world, the most passionate supported club are identified and known for the cities they are from. We want our clubs to carry the hopes and represent the aspirations of their various cities while retaining the same look and feel, general character, playing style and organizational philosophy of CSG. We want to build clubs with a local flavour but with a national view as well. We believe this is the direction to go. Sola Opaleye was the Chief Executive Officer of the now defunct Lagos-based amateur C.O.D United Football Club. He successfully managed the model club for a decade. Having interacted and witnessed first-hand the foundational and structural defects in the Nigeria Sports sector, he was spurred to become a change agent in the industry and ensure sports is properly organised, well-structured and adds value like it’s obtainable in other nations globally. He spoke with DURO IKHAZUAGBE on his pet project. Excerpt…. You left your job in NLNG to start this company, how did you find the courage to leave certainty for uncertainty? One word for that, passion! Despite the job security and income stability guaranteed working in a government regulatory agency, the desire to make a lasting impact in the sports sector was unquenchable, and I braced up to face the unquantifiable odds.Growing up as a child, I was an active participant in sports, notably football. Despite never making it professionally, the passion kept growing and I got the perfect opportunity to hone my managerial sports skills when I was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the now defunct C.O.D United FC, a role I successfully filled for a decade. My interaction with major players in the sector as well as my witnessing some of the structural defects in Nigeria sports are responsible for why I am striving to become a change agent.What is your objective in setting up CSG?Preparation for life! Our programmes are designed to adequately prepare every participant, who goes through our system for the future. While a few of them might succeed as professional athletes, a good number due to various factors will not make the grade and must be ready to excel and be outstanding in whatever chosen career elsewhere.We aim to ensure every participant in our sports programmes are armed with the life skills Discipline, Integrity, Excellence, Teamwork, Perseverance, Leadership and Courage as we tackle a fundamental societal problem.I see us becoming a reference point in capacity building through the application of sports leadership values. In the next decade, we aim to be recognized globally for the outstanding impact and contributions of budding leaders that passed through our programmes.You seem to be passionate about sports in schools? Why?We are all product of the schools we attend. Look at American sports for example, school sports is the bedrock of their entire sports industry and their sports industry is the largest in the world. The NFL makes more money than the top five European leagues combined and it sources 90% of its talent from US colleges and high schools. In the heydays of Nigerian football and sports, the best talents were discovered through the school sports system. This shows clearly that if the right foundations are built, school sports has the potential to serve as the platform for discovery, nurturing and first introduction into competitive sports. We also believe that while in school, the mind is tuned towards learning. The students are very receptive to ideas and concepts because they see school as an environment to learn. So we are working with a few schools to develop frameworks and structures that will engage students in sports and create programmes that will significantly improves the outcomes of talented athletes in those schools.Tell us more about the Sports Leadership development programme?As the name says, it is about introducing young children to the concepts of leadership with sports as a vehicle. Concepts vital for leadership such as personal discipline, personal responsibility, communication, team work, planning, delayed gratification and how to deal with wins and losses can be taught in very exciting ways through sports. We held the first programme in Burnley, England and the children and their parents had a phenomenal time. We are holding a few more of the programmes before the year runs out as we have been inundated with inquiries from parents and schools. We are also developing a curriculum that can be embedded into sports programmes and taught by our coaches in schools or through the schools’ sports departments’ staff who we have trainedYou recently met the UK Prime Minister Theresa May in England. Tell us about that experienceThat was a great experience actually. We were training with the children at a brand new £4million facility which Burnley had built in partnership with others for the community and she had come to officially open it. She saw our boys undergoing training, became very interested in how they were so focused on their training and she came over to speak to us about our experience in Burnley. She was very excited to hear we had come all the way from Nigeria in partnership with Burnley FC. It was a great experience for us and the children particularly. Many of them didn’t know who she was she, understandably so, but they could sense she must be really important.You seem to have close ties with Burnley football club, how did relationship develop and what are the opportunities?In Burnley, we have a partner that shares our passion and commitment to seeing sports beyond entertainment (aprofessional and recreational activity?) but as also a tool to express values and teach lessons in commitment, dedication, discipline and belief. This is the team with one of the lowest budgets in England, but rivalled Arsenal for a 6th-place finish only two years ago and played in the UEFA Europa League despite revenues of under £150m. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all make in excess of £400m per annum and have played in the same competition repeatedly in recent years. That shows you what Burnley is about, not using your limitations as an excuse, optimizing whatever you have, however little and being undaunted in pursuit of your goals. These are the lessons they work with us to teach young boys and girl in our football leadership programme. We are working with them to expand the partnership to harness other opportunities. We would have announcements soon and we are excited about the things in the pipeline.You have clubs and academies in key cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu and Ibadan, why?Because we believe that talent is widely distributed in Nigeria and we want to be as close as possible to these talents, so that they can have the comfort and familiarity of home during their formative stage. One of the reasons why young players who leave their families at a young age struggle to adapt is generally as a result of cultural shock. If you can build a structure that allows them stay close to home, we have found that it significantly improves their focus and concentration. Once early stage development is done, they are better prepared and equipped to cope with being far from home. It is significant investment but we believe any investment that improves the chances of a young player living up to their potential is worthy investment.You recently partnered Real Betis in Spain, tell us about thatReal Betis are one of the most professionally run clubs in Spain and they are looking to have a global footprint and Nigeria is an interesting market for them from a brand point of view and also in terms of scouting talents. We are also constantly open to new partners and opportunities so that we can find new opportunities for the players on our academy and clubs. It is a new relationship and we are both working on making it work for both parties and maximising the opportunities therein.Apart from talent, what else do you look for in players before taking them on?Attitude. Commitment. Dedication. An intrinsic desire to succeed. You can teach these things but only if the player truly wants to succeed. I always say that you cannot have desire on anyone’s behalf and that internal motivation is fundamental. Our programmes are built to teach these things but if you are not personally driven to achieve, eventually, you will fall by the way side. Comportment and personal discipline are also very critical now. Punctuality, courteous communication, respect for people and spaces are important as well. Talents are dime and a dozen. Sometimes, what makes the different is not what the players does on the pitch, it is in the little things he does or doesn’t do off the pitch that separates the wheat from the chaff.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Not as good as you’d like to be at League? Enter RiftAnalyst. The low cost platform was built by Fluendo; this is a company which has built video analysis tools for traditional sports and worked with the likes of Blackburn Rovers and the Spanish national handball team. Maye Mac-Swiney, FluendoMaye Mac-Swiney is the Global Marketing Director at Fluendo. We asked her about the process, the aim of platform and who it’s targeted at. Esports Insider: How long has this tool been in the development stages and what was the process, who worked on it?Rift Analyst: It started as an internal brainstorming session on what product to develop next. Our employees suggested we went into the esports industry given its growth potential and given the fact that there were no video analysis tools in the market for League.“We’re working with Spanish teams like KIYF Esports Club and we’re closing agreements with other Challenger Series teams”The project started in April 2016 with a phase of research and after doing the numbers, we started development. We are multimedia experts, not LoL experts, and that’s why we approached the LVP as well as professional coaches and players to help us develop the functionalities that they thought were important.Esports Insider: Is it more geared towards amateur players and teams or do you think it’s sufficient enough to improve the pros’ games too?Rift Analyst: RiftAnalyst can help both amateurs and professionals. The features contained in our software can be used in many different ways: from analysing individual or team performances, inserting annotations or drawings to highlight actions in the match, easily creating playlists of the best or worst plays on the match, and so on.“The people that are using it sum it up as a tool that enables them to save a bunch of time and focus on the analysis aspect instead of going through hours of footage”Whether the user is an amateur or pro player, a coach, an analyst or a content creator, RiftAnalyst’s features can be extremely beneficial. Esports Insider: Will you be partnering with any teams or players to promote the product?Rift Analyst: Yes, now that we’ve officially launched we’re working towards that. At the moment we’re working with Spanish teams like KIYF Esports Club and we’re closing agreements with other Challenger Series teams.Esports Insider: Fluendo has some history when it comes to working with big sporting organisations such as Blackburn Rovers and the Spanish handball team. Will you be focusing on League for now, or are there plans to diversify into products in other major esports titles?Rift Analyst: At the moment, we’re focusing on LoL, but yes, it’s within our plans to develop solutions for other esports titles.Esports Insider: There’s a free version which means you’ll doubtless get a decent amount of first time players try it out. What has their feedback been like? Moreover, how did you come up with the 3.99 price point for the premium version?Rift Analyst: Their feedback has been great so far. The people that are using it sum it up as a tool that enables them to save a bunch of time and focus on the analysis aspect instead of going through hours of footage to identify the actions that are important to their strategy. Professional teams are really keen about this tool that, in the end, makes their jobs easier.“RiftAnalyst can help both amateurs and professionals”The price point was a combination of customer feedback and knowing the consumption habits of our demographic. We knew the price needed to be very affordable and users have reacted very positively so far!