Social Innovator: Basil Kransdorff

first_imgFounder: e’PapWhy is Basil a Social Innovator?Industrial chemist by day and social entrepreneur by night, Basil Kransdorff has been hailed as a pioneer in food engineering. Basil is the founder of e’Pap, a pre-cooked maize meal that delivers the nutrients of a 10-course meal in a single portion.Not only is e’Pap full of nutrients, it was also formulated to improve the ability of the body to digest food. This is especially beneficial for HIV-positive or malnourished people.e’Pap is a super food that reaches the masses across Africa and has changed the lives of many undernourished or terminally ill people who could not otherwise afford essential food stuffs for themselves or their families.In his own words .“People often believe that products developed in Africa are inferior. We are very proud that we’ve created a state of the art product that we know is going to change the future road map of our continent.”Fast Factse’Pap started as a single project in the Johannesburg General Hospital eight years ago and is now distributed to 15 countries across Africa.Weight gains of between two and five kilograms are reported within five to 10 days of consuming e’Pap, while marked improvements in energy and concentration, sleep habits and skin condition have also been clinically observed.e’Pap is 29 times more nutritionally dense than refined maize and is packed with 28 micro and macro nutrients.Over the last eight years, over 42-million food portions of e’Pap has been delivered via community-based structures across the African continent.A single portion of e’Pap will cost between R1 and R2 a day.How can I help?To find out more about e’Pap and how you can contribute, send Basil an e-mail on basilb@iafrica.com.Story published on SAinfo on 27 June 2008.Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

Remarks for consul general Yusuf Omar

first_imgHowever, it was not just the prospect of escaping those winters that caused me such excitement when I learnt my next assignment was to be Sao Paulo. What got my adrenalin going was the prospect of playing a part, however small, in the building of a historic relationship. What Brazil and South Africa and our other partners in the so-called south do together in the years and decades ahead will, I am confident, mean better lives for untold millions of our people. Together, we are striving for a system of global governance which is more democratic and which more accurately reflects the world as it is, rather than as it was half a century ago. Together, we are working to achieve a new set of international trade rules that will empower the hitherto disempowered to lift themselves out of poverty, for the betterment of all. Our countries share many daunting challenges, but we also share a capacity to innovate and find solutions.. For example, who could fail to be profoundly impressed by Brazil’s achievements in the fields of alternative energy or combating HIV? South Africans, too, are ingenious people. A third of our petroleum needs we furnish from coal. With the pebble bed modular reactor we are on the threshold of revolutionizing the economics of nuclear power. In Paris this week we are showing off what could well be the world’s first truly affordable electric car. .Technological problems are not the only things we are good at. We have successfully confronted political and social problems that have left less fortunate societies in ashes. Many have called the way we brought down the curtain on apartheid a miracle or they have attributed it to the greatness of one undoubtedly great man, Nelson Mandela. But our democratic transition was neither miracle nor the work of any individual. It was a testament, like Mandela himself, to the content of our people’s character. .Yes, we have a serious crime problem in South Africa. Paulistanos would be the first to admit that theirs is not the safest community in the world, either. We share with you the reality of being rapidly urbanizing economies characterized, as such economies always are, by major disparities in wealth. These are harsh realities that breed crime. But the criminals are not representative of who we are, Brazilian or South African. The fundamental spirit of South Africa is captured in the word ubuntu. It is a difficult world to translate but is closely akin to the quality the Roman philosopher Seneca called humanitas or humanity. This he defined as ”the quality which stops one being arrogant towards one’s fellows, or being acrimonious. In words, in actions, in emotions humanity reveals herself as kind and good natured towards all. To her the troubles of anyone else are her own, and anything that benefits herself she welcomes primarily because it will be of benefit to someone else.” Like every young democracy, we have our good days and our bad days, but the good preponderate and sometimes observers mistake for bad days that are in fact very good. Some have been alarmed by our recent change of leadership. But I would urge you to consider this. Our ruling party’s decision to recall President Mbeki was no different that the British Labour party’s decision to replace Tony Blair while in office or the Conservative party’s to replace Margaret Thatcher. Nobody for a moment thought that Britain’s democracy or its institutions were under threat at those junctures. No one should think that about South Africa, either. Our democracy and our institutions – our judiciary, our robust free press, our financial system — all are solid, rooted in what I believe is one of the most stable societies anywhere. One of our newspaper columnists last week compared South Africa with a pond when you throw a stone into it. There is a splash and there are ripples, but calm always returns. South Africa, he wrote, was not a piece of glass that shatters. We are also a very practical, results-oriented people. You can see that in our economic policies and you can see it in our diplomacy. I very much hope my own tenure here in Sao Paulo will serve to further illustrate this. I am looking forward to reaching out and far and wide as I possibly can in this great region and working to build partnerships that will make a real difference in people’s lives. Thank you for your warm and generous welcome.last_img read more

‘We rise to any challenge’ – Zuma

first_imgSouth African President Jacob Zuma showsoff his football skills in parliament beforethe 2009 Confederations Cup, flanked by2010 Fifa World Cup Organising CommitteeCEO Danny Jordaan (left) and Fifasecretary-general Jérôme Falcke (right).(Image: LOC)MEDIA CONTACTS• Wolfgang Eichler, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 2010 471media-sa@fifa.org• Delia Fischer, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 11 567 2524media-sa@fifa.org • Jermaine Craig, Media Manager2010 Fifa World CupLocal Organising Committee+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 201 0121jermaine.craig@2010oc.com RELATED ARTICLES• Mandela meets final Bafana squad• Black Stars shine for Africa• Meet Bafana’s number-one fan• 2010 World Cup journalist’s toolkit• 2010 World Cup: SA’s great leap forward?As South Africa enters its last week of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, President Jacob Zuma has said in an interview with Fifa that his country’s organisation of the tournament has exceeded expectations – and confounded the sceptics.Speaking at the presidential residence in Pretoria, Zuma discussed the legacy of the tournament, its effect on nation-building, and his favourite teams. This is an edited version of the interview.Fifa: With only a week left in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, what are your impression so far of the tournament? Jacob Zuma: I think the tournament is going extremely well and South Africans are happy. You just have to see the reactions of the people at the matches.I must also say that the international community is happy about this tournament. I had an opportunity to be in Toronto at the G8 meeting and there was much excitement among other heads of state. I think we have proved that not only South Africa, but Africa is capable of hosting any major event.When you were in prison on Robben Island, did you imagine that South Africa would host an event of this magnitude, and you would be in charge of the country when it took place?I don’t think any of us imagined that. At that time we were campaigning for the isolation of apartheid South Africa. And when Fifa took a decision to ban South Africa, it was a significant step. We only dreamed that, one day, a free and equal South Africa would participate in international competitions. We never thought that South Africa, so early on, would host a World Cup.In any case, when I was in Robben Island I never thought I would be president. It is indeed a humbling experience.How important was it for South Africa to succeed at this Fifa World Cup, given the scepticism some have shown in its ability to do so?I think it was very important for us to succeed. You must remember that, as South Africans, we pride ourselves on the fact that we always rise up to any challenge. As a matter of fact, nobody believed that we would have a smooth transition from apartheid – but we did it.As you know, a Fifa World Cup has never been hosted in Africa. When South Africa first declared its intentions to host the World Cup, some people said, “What is this country from Africa thinking?”Yes, we lost the first time (to Germany), but we knew we would do it the next time. That is what defines us as a country – our belief that nothing is impossible.When we completed the stadiums, people started to talk about security and other issues, but we have had a great tournament. And today a lot of people who are honest enough have come out and said, “We were wrong about your country.”The tournament has also been seen as an opportunity for nation-building in this young democracy. Do you think that has been achieved?Absolutely, beyond expectations. It has been an important component of our nation-building. This is the first time we have seen this Rainbow Nation really coming together in a manner we have not witnessed before. For the first time, every South African is now flying our national flag. Everybody is just crazy about the tournament, both black and white.Do you think that successfully hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup will make it easier for the country to win bids to host other international events?We have proved to the world that we are capable of hosting any international event, that we have the resources and infrastructure. People are already talking about the possibility of bidding for major events, such as the Olympics. I don’t see why we can’t bid to host the Olympics in the future. It’s important for Africa.What lessons, as a government, have you learned from hosting the World Cup?There are many. For one, we learned a lot about how to work with strict timelines. We have embarked on a lot of development and we had to work within a tight schedule in order to deliver on time.You are known for your love for football. How many matches have you been able to watch, and which team has impressed you so far?I have watched many games. I think this Fifa World Cup has been different. The football has been so unpredictable. Some of the countries who were favourites are now out of the tournament and the gap between the so-called big teams and other teams is narrowing.Of course, there are countries that have played well. Even though Bafana Bafana did not qualify, I think we played good football. We were so close to qualifying.I have been impressed with the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Germany. I think the Germans has reinvented their game: they are playing with so much speed and it’s good to watch them. And the teams from Latin America have been great: Brazil and Argentina are a pleasure to watch. In Africa, we are proud of Ghana – they have represented us well.May we put you in the spot and ask you to predict the team that will win the tournament on 11 July?It’s difficult to say, but I think the winner will be among the teams I have mentioned (laughing).There is a lot of talk about the legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. What legacy would you like it to leave for South Africa’s children?Firstly, the world is aware that Africa has the capacity to host the World Cup. Everybody has seen that we are equal to the task. It has taken our economic development to a new level.One of the important things for Africa is education and programmes like 1Goal are playing a vital role – that is legacy. The tournament has inspired Africans.last_img read more

South Africa’s plan for a better future

first_imgSouth Africa’s National Development Plan, a blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in the country by 2030, was presented to President Jacob Zuma by National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel during a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.‘We say to one another: I cannot be without you, without you this South African community is an incomplete community, without one single person, without one single group, without the region or the continent, we are not the best that we can be’ – from South Africa’s National Development Plan (Photo: South African Government, via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)Brand South Africa reporter South Africa’s National Development Plan seeks to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 by drawing on the energies of the the country’s people, growing an inclusive economy, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.Following months of public consultation and revision, the National Development Plan 2030 was handed over to President Jacob Zuma by the chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Minister Trevor Manuel, during a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday.The commission released a draft of the plan in November, following this up with six months of nationwide public consultation. The revised document, entitled “Our future – make it work”, takes into account inputs received from South Africans from all walks of life, as well as business, labour, government departments, the nine provinces, and state-owned enterprises and agencies.The Cabinet will now consider the plan before making an announcement on its implementation.NDP 2030: Our future – make it work “This is a historic occasion,” Manuel told Parliament on Wednesday. “This plan is the product of thousands of inputs and perspectives of South Africans. It is a plan for a better future, a future in which no person lives in poverty, where no one goes hungry, where there is work for all.”He said the plan was about the actions that all South Africans should take to secure the future chartered in the country’s Constitution.Eliminating poverty, reducing inequalityThe plan focuses on the elimination of poverty – reducing the proportion of households with a monthly income below R419 per person from 39 percent to zero – and reduction of inequality in South Africa.Other goals include increasing employment from 13-million in 2010 to 24-million by 2030; broadening the country’s ownership of assets to historically disadvantaged groups; ensuring that all children have at least two years of pre-school education and that all children can read and write by grade 3; providing affordable access to healthcare; and ensuring effective public transport.Manuel said that, during the consultation process, it emerged that there was an incredible amount of goodwill that needed to be tapped into.However, there were problems in the country that needed strong leadership, such as joblessness, children who could not read or count, services that did not function, and public officials that were uncaring.Interventions for a better futureThe plan emphasises the need for a strategy to address poverty and its impacts by broadening access to employment, strengthening the social wage, improving public transport and raising rural incomes.It also outlines the steps that need to be taken by the state to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability, improve coordination and prosecute corruption.It calls for private investment to be boosted in labour-intensive areas, competitiveness and exports. It also stresses the need for jobs to be located where people live, for informal settlements to be upgraded, and for housing market gaps to be closed.The plan suggests that public infrastructure investment be set at 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).It says that crime can be reduced by strengthening the criminal justice system and improving community environments, and that National Health Insurance should be phased in with a focus on upgrading public health facilities, producing more health professionals, and reducing the relative cost of private healthcare.‘Doing things differently’“Progress over the next two decades means doing things differently,” the plan states, setting out six interlinked priorities:Uniting all South Africans around a common programme to achieve prosperity and equity.Promoting active citizenry to strengthen development, democracy and accountability.Bringing about faster economic growth, higher investment and greater labour absorption.Focusing on key capabilities of people and the state.Building a capable and developmental state.Encouraging strong leadership throughout society to work together to solve problems.While achieving of these objectives will require progress on a broad front, the plan states, “three priorities stand out”:Raising employment through faster economic growth.Improving the quality of education, skills development and innovation.Building the capability of the state to play a developmental, transformative role.Removing structural impediments“A sustainable increase in employment will require a faster-growing economy and the removal of structural impediments, such as poor-quality education or spatial settlement patterns that exclude the majority,” the plan argues. “These are essential to achieving higher rates of investment and competitiveness, and expanding production and exports.”At the same time, the plan stresses the need for business, labour, communities and the government to work together to achieve faster economic growth.“Social cohesion needs to anchor the strategy. If South Africa registers progress in deracialising ownership and control of the economy without reducing poverty and inequality, transformation will be superficial.“Similarly, if poverty and inequality are reduced without demonstrably changed ownership patterns, the country’s progress will be turbulent and tenuous.”Manuel said the methodology used in the plan “was to set overarching objectives, to set key targets for various sectors, and to make recommendations on how these targets can be achieved.”Linkages between goalsHe also noted that there were linkages between the goals in the plan.“Better quality schooling will make it easier for young people to access the labour market. But it also enables workers to improve their productivity, to learn faster on the job and to raise their incomes and living standards.”He added that good public transport would help people search for work over a wider area, and help get them to work faster and more cheaply, but it would also enable people to live fuller lives with more family and recreation time.Manuel said the National Planning Commission would now turn its attention to mobilising society to support the plan and conducting research on critical issues affecting long-term development, and advise the government and its social partners on the implementation of the plan.The African National Congress (ANC) welcomed the plan and commended the Commission for the work it had done. The Democratic Alliance (DA) also welcomed the plan, saying it hoped the government would align its programmes to the goals contained in it.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Small Steps to Improve Health and Wealth

first_imgBy Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.eduPeople don’t have problems any more. They have “issues” and some of these issues (e.g., obesity, diabetes, lack of savings, and high debt) affect their health and personal finances. Service members and their families, of course, are not immune. The Cooperative Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) program encourages people to make positive changes to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. Below are specific steps:Convert Consumption Into Labor- Research how many hours of exercise, gardening, house cleaning, or other physical activity are needed to burn off a certain number of calories. A comparable financial example is “converting spending into labor” by calculating how many hours of work are needed in order to buy something.Meet Yourself Halfway- To lose weight, decrease portion sizes by one-half. For example, eat one cookie instead of two. A comparable financial example is to reduce spending on “discretionary” expenses such as meals eaten away from home, lottery tickets, clothing, and food. Don’t cut out spending on these items completely but spend less than you do now. Plans to change are more likely to succeed when people don’t feel “deprived.”Downsize Eating and Spending- Buying less food saves calories and cuts costs. For example, eat lunch portions or appetizers at restaurants and/or take food home for another meal. Household spending can also be downsized. Simply figure out ways to purchase items for less (e.g., thrift shops) or buy fewer of them.Say No to Super-Sizing- No matter how much of a “deal” upgrading a meal’s size may be, don’t be tempted. Rather, eat fewer calories by ordering smaller portions. Ditto for non-food spending such as “buy three and save” offers when you only need one item. Avoid “deals” that require you to spend more to “save” more.Track Eating and Spending- Most people don’t know how many calories they consume daily or how many dollars they spend monthly on “incidentals” such as snacks, beverages, children’s expenses, and gifts. One of the best ways to increase awareness of current practices is to record foods eaten and dollars spent for a typical month or two. Then analyze relationships between eating, spending, and emotions and make needed adjustments.Photo by Alan Cleaver. CC BY 2.0Compare Yourself with Recommended Guidelines- A nutrition example is body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, 25 to 29.9 overweight, 30 to 39.9 obese, and 40+ morbidly obese. A comparable financial example is a person’s consumer debt-to-income ratio, which is calculated by dividing monthly consumer debt payments by monthly take-home (net) pay. The recommended ratio is 15%-20% or less.Start Small- Simple behavior changes, such as drinking an small can of soda instead of a large bottle (or, better still, water!) or using less butter, salad dressing or other spreads, can help people lose weight. The same is true for small financial changes. Two examples are saving a dollar a day, plus pocket change, in a can or jar and adding $1 a day (about $30 monthly) to the minimum monthly payment required on a credit card.Follow Nutrition and Personal Finance Standards-People often understand portion sizes better when they are compared to common objects. Three ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards and one cup of rice or pasta looks like a tennis ball. A common standard for personal finances is saving three to six months expenses for emergencies. This means an emergency fund of $6,000 to $12,000 for a household that spends $2,000 a month.Control Intake and Outgo- For weight loss and improved health, this means reducing the calories you consume, increasing exercise to burn off more calories, or doing both. For improved finances and positive cash flow, increased income, reduced expenses, or doing both, are the keys to success.For additional ideas about strategies to improve health and personal finances, visit the SSHW website. For a personalized assessment of personal health and financial management practices, take the Personal Health and Finance Quiz and save the date of October 11 for a webinar on this topic. Health & Wealth Relationships will be presented by the MFLN Personal Finance and MFLN Nutrition & Wellness teams. This 90-minute presentation will focus on the correlations between positive financial behaviors and positive health behaviors.last_img read more

Intruder beats up headmaster for making students clean school

first_imgThe headmaster of a primary school in Odisha’s Ganjam district was attacked and injured by an intruder on Tuesday during a cleaning exercise on the premises.The headmaster, Purna Chandra Das, was admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur. The incident happened at Gangadhar Primary School in Kavisuryanagar. The intruder, a youth in early 20s, was angry as the headmaster had engaged the school students in cleaning their classrooms, said sources. It is to be noted that Gangadhar Primary School has been adjudged the best school for cleanliness in Kavisuryanagar Notified Area Council. The headmaster, according to the sources, had asked two Class V students to clean their classroom. The accused saw this from outside and entered the campus to record it on his cell phone. He protested against students being used for cleaning work and entered into an altercation with the headmaster. He hit Mr. Das’s head with a boulder, injuring him seriously, the sources added. The headmaster has lodged a complaint at Kavisuryanagar police station but the culprit is yet to be arrested.Ganjam District Education Officer Sanatan Panda condemned the violent act and said that if the youth had any complaints he could have conveyed them to the authorities instead of taking the law into his own hands.“Under the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ drive going on in the district, students and teachers together clean their school campuses.last_img read more

ISL: Injury-time penalty goal hands Bengaluru FC second straight defeat at fortress

first_imgTrindade Goncalves converted a late penalty as Jamshedpur FC subjected Bengaluru FC to their second consecutive loss at home after the visitors managed a 1-0 victory at the Sree Kanteevara Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.Goncalves kept his cool to find the net off an injury time penalty as Jamshedpur won full points for only the second time in the league.On the other hand, Bengaluru were keen to get back to winning ways after their defeat against Chennaiyin FC in the last game. With the Bengaluru crowd and the West Block Blues backing them, they began well as always but Jamshedpur took the cake in the end. Jamshedpur now have nine points from six matches, the same as FC Pune City and are placed sixth in the league table.The defeat was Bengaluru’s third in seven matches but despite the loss, Sunil Chhetri-led club are placed second in the league table behind FC Goa with 12 points. However, Goa have two games in hand and have a huge opportunity to open up a good point gap.Bengaluru FC were keen to get back to winning ways after their defeat against Chennaiyin FC in the previous game. With the crowd backing them, they started well but, just like the previous clash, Jamshedpur FC had the last laugh with a dramatic winner in the 90th minute of play.The fierce battle seemed destined for a draw after both teams went close in either half but took a dramatic turn in the final minute of play. Substitute Sameehg Doutie made his trademark run towards the goal with the ball ahead of him and was tripped from behind by Rahul Bheke. The referee promptly awarded a penalty in the final minute which Trindade converted by showing nerves of steel.advertisementIt was a dramatic end to a match which could have gone either way in the 90 minutes of play.Jamshedpur, for instance, went close twice in quick succession in the 54th and 61st minutes. At first, Kervens Belfort had a golden opportunity to give his team the lead but goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh made a super save when his outstretched legs kept the close-range attempt away.Seven minutes later, Belfort played a delightful through ball for Jerry Mawhmingthanga, leaving the Bengaluru defence in tatters, but Jerry’s effort missed the target by a whisker.Bengaluru, too, came agonisingly close to securing the opening goal with 19 shots on goal. Captain Sunil Chhetri had the best chance in the 77th minute when he found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat. But the striker hit straight into the onrushing goalkeeper Subrata Paul, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.last_img read more

Three High Schools to Get Rid of Shift System

first_img Cedar Grove High School, St. Catherine will open in September Holy Trinity High, in Kingston; Glengoffe High, St. Catherine; and Anchovy High, St. James removed from shift system Over time, more schools will be removed from the system Story Highlights During the new school year, students attending three of the nation’s high schools will no longer have to contend with the shift system, as the institutions will be removed from that fixture.The schools are: Holy Trinity High, in Kingston; Glengoffe High, St. Catherine; and Anchovy High, St. James.This was announced by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, during a back-to-school press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, on August 23.He indicated that over time, more schools will be removed from the system being used by institutions to accommodate the large number of students.In the meantime, the Education Minister said expansion works at the Holy Trinity High will be completed during the first term of the school year.For Glengoffe High School, Mr. Thwaites said a new classroom block has been added, which will facilitate its removal from the shift system. He thanked the Government of Japan for funding the project.The Minister also informed that the Montpelier Complex in St. James will be renovated to facilitate the expansion of Anchovy High School in January 2014.Turning to other school plants which are being upgraded, Rev. Thwaites said the Cedar Grove High School, St. Catherine will open in September, starting with 100 grade seven.“A portion of the building has been finished for us to start. When the plant is completed in November, it will have a capacity of 1,200 students and will include a sixth form, which is very much needed in the Portmore vicinity,” he said.He informed that the Belair High School in Manchester is now a grant aided school and will, in September, accommodate an additional 105 students at grade seven, and an expanded sixth form.The Minister also noted that repairs and expansion at the Garvey Maceo High School in Clarendon will be ready for occupancy at the start of the new school year.In the meantime, he said 63 basic schools will be absorbed into 50 infant departments in primary schools, with others to follow later during the school year.Rev. Thwaites also noted that the Ministry is on track to convert 66 pit latrines to water closets by December 2013.The 2013/14 academic school year is slated to begin on September 2.last_img read more

Khloe Kardashian Helps Launch Live Chin Up Campaign

first_imgEarlier this month, Allergan plc, a leading global pharmaceutical company, kicked off their Live Chin Up campaign at an exclusive event at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building in New York City, hosted by television personality and New York Times best-selling author Khloe Kardashian.The Live Chin Up campaign is designed to help encourage people to not let the things that bother them get in their way.At the event, Kardashian moderated a distinguished panel of experts which included a dermatologist who discussed submental fullness and treatment options, including KYBELLA (deoxycholic acid) injection 10mg/mL. Additionally, a patient joined the panel to discuss her experience living with submental fullness.“We are very pleased that Khloé was able to serve as the host of our event and discuss how she lives chin up,” said Philippe Schaison, EVP and President Allergan Medical. “As someone who lives life in the public eye, Khloé embodies what it means to live chin up by refusing to let negativity stand in her way. We feel she is the perfect person to kick off this inspiring campaign.”Anyone interested in learning more about this campaign or how they can live chin up can visit www.livechinup.com.last_img read more

Statkeepers Call the Shots But They Cant Agree on Them

In the third minute of added extra time in Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. World Cup match, Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne took a pass in the box, dribbled to his right and hooked the ball into the left side of the net. Finally, after 31 shots, the Belgians had broken through. Or … wait. Was it 32 shots?It depends on which Twitter account you follow. ESPN’s Stats & Information Group tweeted that Belgium had scored on its 31st shot of the day. OptaJoe, the U.K. Twitter account of the soccer stats company Opta, said it was the 32nd.At the World Cup, shots are in the eye of the beholder. At least three major soccer stats companies are logging every match, and they have yet to all agree on each team’s number of shots and shots on goal. For every one of the 58 games so far, the companies can’t quite get their stories straight. Sometimes their counts have differed by as much as two or three.Even small discrepancies like these have repercussions beyond mere trivia. Advanced analyses of the sport, such as my colleague Benjamin Morris’s magnum opus on Lionel Messi this week, rely on match loggers for shot counts and characteristics. Some teams base tactics and personnel decisions partly on stats. And the disputes are proxy battles for soccer’s more philosophical debates: If a shot is deflected in a forest of defenders, was it on target?According to World Cup organizer FIFA, it was; but according to Opta and Prozone, two of the companies that employ analysts to log every match of the tournament and provide data for media coverage, it wasn’t. That disagreement is responsible for the bulk of the numbers mismatch. Through the round of 16, FIFA’s official match stats — which are being collected by the Italian company Deltatre — included 68 percent more shots on target than Prozone’s, and 74 percent more than Opta’s.1I used Opta data compiled by TruMedia Networks, which provides stats for ESPN. Prozone emailed me their match reports and other data, which — along with match statistics posted on FIFA.com — allowed me to compile shots and shots on goal for every match so far during the World Cup. Remove blocked shots, though, and the discrepancies drop to 4 percent and 8 percent, respectively.And what about a ball crossed in the box near the goalie — does it count as a shot or a cross? In the 120th minute of the Belgium-U.S. match, DeAndre Yedlin kicked the ball well wide of goal as the U.S. hunted desperately for an equalizer. Was he trying to score, or just to cross the ball? FIFA thinks the latter, but Opta thinks the former. Short of interviewing every player immediately after every subjective touch, the statkeepers are left to guess at the intent, divining purpose in actions that may have been performed instinctively, rather than with premeditation.With 58 of the tournament’s 64 matches in the books through Friday, there have been 116 opportunities to compare the three data providers on a team’s shooting profile in a match. There have been just 14 times, or fewer than one out of eight, that all three organizations counted the same number of shots and shots on goal for a team in a match — and none for both teams in the same match.The counts appear to reflect genuine disagreement over tricky cases — touches that look like passes to some but shots to others, say. Or, a shot that hits the post or crossbar and goes out. Typically these don’t qualify as shots on target, but they can if they are deflected onto the woodwork by the goalkeeper, who then gets credit for a save. If they are blocked onto the woodwork by a player other than the goalkeeper, that’s a block. The stats, then, pivot on an arbitrary criterion: Was the player who deflected the ball a goalkeeper or did he happen to play another position?My analysis showed that, overall, the companies weren’t consistently stingy or generous in their statkeeping. No provider consistently tallied many more shots or shots on goals than another. The major philosophical divide was over (unblocked) shots on goal: Deltatre sees more than Prozone, which sees more than Opta. But that amounted to only about one additional shot on target counted in every three matches.The disputes have touched every team, to similar degrees, but teams with less active offenses tend to have higher differences among statkeepers because one uncounted shot matters more in their overall percentages. These include the U.S., England and Cameroon. Analysts attempting to study whether Cameroon threw its matches, as Der Spiegel has reported, might get subtly different results depending on which set of stats they consult. So might England manager Roy Hodgson and U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann as they assess how to improve their teams.Discrepancies between data providers don’t stop at shot counts. Most soccer events are subjective. Someone must decide, was that a tackle? Was that shot weak? Was that attack a dangerous one? Possession stats also differ by provider, as Slate noted last week.Shooting stats have particular relevance for one form of analysis that tries to divine a team’s true skill by gauging whether or not they’re getting lucky. It’s a technique that’s based on the theory that generating chances is the part that teams can control — converting them is based more on luck (unless you’re named Lionel Messi). Teams that convert and save a high percentage of their chances are due for a regression in their results. Change the underlying data, and any conclusions about which teams are good and which are just lucky could shift.When I spoke with Garth Lagerwey, general manager of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, in a telephone interview last week, he said data discrepancies are a prevalent problem in soccer stats at all levels, not just a World Cup anomaly. When I contacted the companies, they declined to comment or didn’t respond to a question about why their numbers differ. In other contexts, they tout the training they provide to match analysts; the consistent guidelines they enforce across analysts, competitions and time; and the oversight of experienced checkers. Some shots just might not look like shots to everyone.Other sports’ stats also require subjective judgment: errors in baseball; assists in basketball. But in baseball and basketball, the official scorer’s decision is what goes into the record book and, generally, what fuels advanced statistical analysis. In soccer, with different leagues and competitions worldwide at varying levels of stats sophistication, third parties with standardized methods report alternative numbers to the official ones. Opta and Prozone are scoring every match alongside the official scorers and releasing their numbers in real time to media organizations — hence the potential for conflicting tweets like those about Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. match.2ESPN Stats & Info typically uses FIFA for shot counts, and Opta stats — via TruMedia — for everything else.“Shots should not be that subjective, let alone shots on goal,” Lagerwey said. On the other hand, “A lot of companies use human beings to code this stuff. It’s easy to understand how you’re going to have an error rate.” read more