Sunday, July 05, 2009

Roger Federer , King of Tennis - The Final Verdict

The debate about who is the Greatest Tennis Player ever was concluded today when Roger Federer took Andy Roddick through over four hours of brilliant tennis to emerge winner of the 2009 Wimbledon Men's Singles tennis championships 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14. In this single match alone Federer served 50 aces - a record at the Wimbledon championships. The final set went to 16-14 and lasted over one hour.
All the Tennis greats were on hand to watch him prove his mettle. Rod Laver of Australia had won the tournament four times, Bjorn Borg of Sweden five times, Pete Samparas of the US seven times. Pete Sampras flew in from the United States especially to watch the final and to witness Federer break his record of 14 Grand Slam titles, a record which Federer had equalled when he won Roland Garros in May. At the post match interview with BBC Sports journalists, their verdict was unanimous - Roger is the greatest of all time, and come to think , he surpassed Pete Sampras's seemingly unbreakable record in a spate of just six years.
Long live the King of Tennis!!

Serena Williams - True Grit

Serena Williams showed class to overcome her big sister Venus to win th 2009 Winbledon Ladies singles championship trophy. She exhibited a real thirst to win Wimbledon one more time. Serving very well and dishing out aces at will, she totally broke the resolve of her big sister in the second set of the final. She stopped any expectation of a classic when she overpowered Venus with her serves and finished off the second set at 6-2. This was the fourth meeting of the sisters in the finals of the ladies singles event and Serena's third victory in the ladies singles, having previously won in 2002 and 2003.
A few hours later, the two sisters teamed up to defeat the No.3 seeds in the Ladies doubles final. By these victories, Serena has reclaimed the No. 1 spot from Dinara Safina in the WTA rankings.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Williams sisters - Too hot to handle

Wimbledon 2009 has seen a fresh resurgence of Venus and Serena Williams. Throughout these two weeks they have exhibited a new standard of tennis. All the '..ovics' '..ova's and ..'evas' that have attempted to stop them have been literally brushed aside. Elena Dimentieva was the bravest and best of the lot in this year's championship. Having been knocked down by big sister Venus in the semi-finals in 2008, she tried to explore the possibility of going to the final via Serena this year. Once again despite a spirited battle which has been described as epic, she fell by the wayside. The anguish of Elena Dimentieva's mother who was watching the semi-final match just behind Daddy Williams was palpable.
In January this year at the Australian Open, the honour of teaching Dinara Safina tennis lessons fell on Serena. She took the task seriously and properly trounced Dinara. Dinara herself acknowledged the absolute dominance of Serena. Serena not only beat her but also prevented her on that occasion from becoming World No.1. Since then by dint of hard work and compettion in several WTA events, Dinara has snatched back the No. 1 position.
As the ladies World No.1, many expected that she would have the courage and audacity to challenge Venus's seemingly easy ride in this tournament. Alas it was not to be; she instead took in a few new lessons from Sister Venus. She was made to look not only ordinary but totally out of place in a Wimbledon semi-final event. Such was the severity of the trouncing that she looked dazed and humbled as BBC journalists tried to interview her just after the match. The ladies World No.1 position was embarrasingly disgraced. Again Dinara honestly conceded that she learnt a few more lessons from Venus. I am sure Venus and Serena do not mind giving the lesson 'free of charge'. They get their rewards shortly afterward in fat purses.
As if the singles dominance was not enough, the sisters have so far terrorised all opponents that have come their way this week in the ladies doubles game. The blowing away of the ladies doubles World No.1, the seasoned pair of Black and Huber at the semi-finals at 6-1 6-2 today tells a lot about their current form. They are simply too hot to handle and therefore unstoppable. Top of the Ace Table was Serena with 60 aces in this tournament at the last count. With their combined arsenal of hot serves, beautiful groundstrokes, agressive volleys and intelligent net play, Venus and Serena have placed themselves in a class apart from the pack at least on grass. Venus, afterall has a natural claim to the Venus Rosewater Dish which is the trophy that is awarded to the ladies' singles champion at Wimbledon since 1886.
On Saturday, they will again have a monoply of the ladies singles and doubles trophies. Long live good tennis!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fulfillment at last for Roger Federer - The Greatest Tennis Player Ever?

Last Sunday at the finals of Roland Garros (the French Open tournament), Roger Federer the Swiss tennis maestro outplayed Robin Soderling of Sweden, defeating 6-1 7-6(1) 6-4 and finally achieved his dream of joining the select band of very special men that have won all four of the Grandslam tennis championships - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US open. Before him, only the following tennis legends had achieved this feat - Fred Perry (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 3 Wimbledons, 3 US Opens between 1933 and 1936), Donald Budge (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between1937 and 1938), Rod Laver (3 Australian Opens, 4 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between 1960 and 1969), Roy Emerson (6 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between 1961 and 1967) and Andre Agassi (4 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, 2 US Opens between 1992 and 2003). By this effort, he was also €1,060,000 richer and 2000 ATP points higher. This win also marked his 59th career title.
In contrast to his tears of frustration at this year's Australian Open, at Roland Garros, Federer shed tears of joy for a mission accomplished.

But more than winning all four grand slams, he also equalled Pete Sampras' record of 14 grand slam tournamment victories. Pete Sampras won 2 Australian Opens, 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens between 1990 and 2002. To his credit, Roger Federer has won 3 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 5 Wimbledons, 5 US Opens between 2003 and 2009.

Details of Federer's wins:
Australian Open 2003, 2006 & 2007
French Open - 2009
Wimbledon - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007
US Open - 2004, 2005, 2006 2007, & 2008

Many in the tennis world have already proclaimed him the greatest player of all time, having won the highest number of grand slams at par with Pete Sampras and also having won all the four grand slams - a feat Sampras failed to achieve. At age 27, and in his current form, Federer has the chance to win many more grand slams.

With Wimbledon round the corner and the defending champion, Rafael Nadal not in his best form and fitness, it will be a matter of weeks before Roger Federer confirms beyond any doubt or argument whatsoever that he is indeed the best player the world has ever seen.

Long live the King of Tennis!!

PS: By the way, did you know of Roger Federer's African connection? His mum, Lynette Federer, is South African. Dad Robert is Swiss.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Zuma Presidency - Who will be first lady?

Today, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma will be sworn into office as the 4th President of post-apartheid South Africa. His political life has been full of interesting and controversial episodes - his sack as vice president, his accusation of rape and subsequent acquittal in court, his apparent ignorance of the dangers of HIV, his arraignment in court over corruption charges and finally his election to the top job despite all these odds. To say that Jacob Zuma is a colourful politician is an understatement.

As he assumes the presidency, the question bothering the minds of many Zuma watchers, especially women, will be 'Who will be his first lady?" The position of first lady is a very sensitive one. The laws of South Africa have made it very convenient for traditionalists like Zuma to be frankly and opening polygamous. In many other countries, men are ostensibly monogamous while infact they have a string of mistresses and illegitimate children whom they are often embarrassed to acknowledge when thy are in office. Jacob Zuma by being open about his polygamy does not bear this burden. He once told an interviewer “There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children that they hide so as to pretend they're monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I'm proud of my children.”

Whatever harmony there may be at the Zuma polygamous home, there will be jostling for recognition among his three wives as to who will be designated First Lady. These are the contestants. His first wife Sizakele Khumalo has been married to him since 1973. She did not bare him any children and she still lives in his village of Nkandla, Kwazulu-Natal. He has publicly praised her and she is favourite to be “first lady”. Khumalo has the seniority and experience. His second wife is Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma who has the glamour and ease in social situations, and his third wife Thobeka Mabhija married this year, also an elegant woman known for her designer outfits.
For a start, Jacob Zuma has invited all three current wives and his nineteen children to the inauguration. Just in case you wondering how he got nineteen children given the record of wives I have indicated above, I should add that Zuma had two other marriages and besides, girlfriends also bore him children. His old flame, Minah Shongwe, has one son for him though she was never formally marrried to him. One of his earlier wives, Kate Mantsho Zuma, had five children with him but committed suicide in 2000. Another of his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, despite a divorce in 1998, remains in his inner circle as a current member of cabinet. Nkosazana is also the mother of four of his children.

President Zuma alone can make the delicate diplomatic choice - which of his wives will be the country's first lady?
Will it be:
Sizakele Khumalo?
Or Nompumelelo Ntuli?
Or Thobeka Mabhija come lately?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama's First 100 days

President Barrack Obama has completed his first 100 days in office. Here is Newsmax's record of his performance so far - an anthology of the key acts and events of the first 100 days. Given Newsmax's well-known position as an Obama critic, this is a very objective catalogue.
Will it be complete without a CNN analysis? See what the CNN report says.
Watch the White House video below to hear directly from President Obama himself.

Friday, April 10, 2009

So He Bowed ! Obama bows off American Supremacy

There is much hue and cry about Barack Obama' first meeting as President with the King of Saudi Arabia. The episode has been described as 'most unbecoming for a president of the United States'. Hear the flow of logic of the misobamists: President Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia and showed himself to be subservient to the King, therefore made all Americans subservient to the King, the head of the muslims of the world , therefore took along along all Americans with him to become citizens of the Greater Saudi Arabia and by implicit logic Associate muslims. Poor Americans I totally sympathise with them.
Yes I can see that they are not enjoying their first week as muslims and already showing a rebellious side of their character. "When you catch the muslim bug you become rebellious". Maybe they were right when many Americans argued that muslims were inherently rebellious and prone to violence. We shall wait to see their upcoming violent streak.
Let's face it, Americans should not engage in self-delusion by thinking of themselves as being the supreme country in the world. It is such a delusion of supremacy howbeit unwarranted that makes Americans put on an air arrogance that George Bush so perfectly exemplified. Obama is changing all that and they are not liking it. Many Americans who are not islamaphobists have lightheartedly explained the "bow" as a pre-emptive ducking in case a shoe or other personal missile was thrown at him. One learns a few key tactical manouvres from predecesors you know!!
Many nations such as Great Britain respect the traditions and culture of other countries and peoples. I remember many years ago when the Queen of England visted Saudi Arabia, she was constrained to wear a drab long gown she was unaccustomed to. Obama showed respect to an older world leader in the same way as he respected the Queen when he met her in London last week. It is a reflection of his international upbringing. Some Obama watchers have gone on to suggest that he now be called President O'Bowman (given due credit to his Irish ancestry from his mother's line) for his ultra civility.
Many critics have compared the depth and the duration of the respective bows to the Queen and the King and have concluded that the bow to the Queen of the closest political ally Great Britain, was not as prolonged and deep as the bow to the King of the closest Oil ally, Saudi Arabia.
The message in this tale of the bows is that Oil is thicker than thin colonial links.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Africa is coming of Age in the Telecommunication World

Recent developments in Africa indicate that the big gulf in the so called digital divide is narrowing and very soon access to the Internet will be easier and cheaper for African countries.
GLO and WACS Telecommunication Initiatives
In this Internet era, undersea cables have become a critical element of telecommunication networks. Modern undersea fibre optic cable systems have almost miraculously increased the technical capabilities to transmit enormous amounts of data around the world. The extra bonus is that the cost is also now significantly lower relative to copper cable systems and satellites. Telecommunication service providers have recognized the immense capacity of undersea cables to satisfy their rapidly growing data transmission needs. Globacom of Nigeria, a late comer to the Nigerian telecommunication market has taken bold steps to lead the way in the field by launching the Lagos to London fibre -optic cable link. The project has hubs along the West African coast and in Morocco, Portugal and Spain - 9,500 kilometres in length with a capacity of 640 gigabits. It is scheduled to be completed in 2009. West African Cable System (WACS) is another initiative being undertaken by a consortium of telecom firms - Telkom , Vodacom , MTN, Neotel, and Infraco. The WACS line goes from South Africa to England and covers the entire western coast line of the African continent -13,000 kilometres in length with a capacity of 3.84 terabits.
Undersea cable systems have become an integral part of the international telecom infrastructure for supporting rapidly growing bandwidth needs. Low bandwidth has been the bane of African telecom development. The constantly evolving technological improvements have reduced the infrastructure costs and improved the quality and availability of international services.
Technological advancements coupled with entreprenurial foresight are changing the telecom landscape in Africa. See below the current cable projects setting the stage for the coming telecom revolution in Africa.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rapping up the Flight Safety Announcements

There are many ways to get people's attention to take in routine and boring information.
An American flight attendant has developed a new way of ensuring passengers pay attention during the pre-flight safety announcement by delivering it as a rap.
David Holmes of US airline Southwest raps and encourages the passengers to stomp and clap to give him an accompanying beat.
Check out the video via this link.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Billionaire Feeling

Yesterday, I became a multi-billionaire in one dramatic stroke. I was given twenty billionaire dollars by a friend I made just a few days ago. Shortly after I received the gift, I photographed it and locked it up in my room safe as any billionaire would probably do. Such is the security risk of going about with 20 billion dollars that I felt it was safer to leave it in a safe.

Before anyone begins to have ideas about possible soft loans from my new-found fortune, I should rush to add that these were Zimbabwean dollars. Despite the fact I cannot even pay for a local bus ride with the whole of my new wealth, the feeling of belonging to a select class of humans with several billions in their possession is itself exhilarating!

It is with mixed feelings I state that I owe my being in this special status to the absolute recklessness of President Mugabe and his government. Mugabe had broken the record set by President Mobutu, of blessed memory, who became the first head of state in Africa to make all his countrymen millionaires.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Zimbabwe - A new beginning?

This week has marked a significant turning point in Zimbabwe's turbulent history. The Old Man who will turn 85 next weekend has agreed to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai of the rival MDC - the Movement for Democratic Change. This in itself is an achievement in Zimbabwean terms, yes, this is how badly things have degenerated!
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a remarkable man by all accounts - a national hero of the Zimbabwean independence struggle turned villain and vicious tyrant. Very few persons in history will be able to match the ability and power to ruin a country to the extent Robert Mugabe has done through sheer stubbornness and power-drunkenness.
The economic facts speak for themselves: Unemployment - over 90%; Inflation -a mind-blowing 231,000,000%; national budget of 66,500,000,000,000,000,000-Zimbabwean dollars (66.5 quintillion) in 2009. These are figures that mock the concept of budgeting. All these digits mean in real terms a measly US$3 000,000, 000. Arithmetic must be a made a compulsory subject for the populace to grasp the meaning of all these zeros in the budget figures.
The general economic situation has become so bad and the human condition in the country so dire that retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa in a recent interview suggested that Robert Mugabe be made to go by all means including forceful removal.

Speaking on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga suggested that the "dinosaur" 84-year-old should be offered a "golden handshake" to leave office. Mr. Odinga took a swipe at fellow African leaders who lacked the courage to tell Robert Mugabe to leave and said the world should tell him "the time to go is now, we are ready to give you a golden handshake if you will quit".

So this week, Zimbabwe has made a transition from a despotic monarchy to the semblance of a democratic government. The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister at last. Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues must not fail the Zimbabwean people by becoming complacent in the corridors of power. The whole world is watching anxiously and intently. There is a lot of international goodwill which must not be squandered. The humiliated Zimbabwean people do not have time to waste. For many faced with cholera and relentless famine, delay means death. Tendai Biti the new Finance Minister has one of the greatest challenges a politician has ever faced. Turning the current tide to make Zimbabwe habitable will be an act of faith, but then miracles are performed by men of faith. The road ahead is littered with all kinds of booby traps.

Already Morgan Tsvangirai's view of Mugabe has changed just two days after becoming Prime Minister. Hear him: "world needs to get over Robert Mugabe". We hope he is not being infected by the virulent bug that has changed the mindset of Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

As we wait for Robert Mugabe to celebrate his next birthday I can not help reliving this dream I had a few weeks ago that the Old Man finally let go his iron grip on Zimbabwe on his 85th birthday, Saturday February 21 2009. Yes, he retired so that new hands can rescue and steer the ship he has so thoughtlessly run aground. Am I being clairvoyant or was it wishful dreaming? Can that be the coolest gift Zimbabwe ever received?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Women's Tennis: Return of the William Sisters

This week in the searing heat on the courts of Melbourne, we have witnessed the return of the William sisters to the top of world tennis. On Friday January 30, Venus and Serena Williams crushed the pair of Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama. in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, to capture the women's doubles crown in this year's Australian Open Tennis Championship. Playing as the No.10 seeds in this tournament, the Williams sisters collected their third Australian Open - and eighth Grand Slam together - with a convincing win over the hard fighting Slovako-Japanese partnership who had knocked out the Tournament No.1 seeds (and World No.1) in the women's doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the quarter-finals . Mind you, Serena and Venus were also the women's doubles champions at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
On Saturday January 31st, Serena crushed Dinara Safina of Russia 6-0, 6-3 to regain the Women's singles title which she has now won in every odd numbered year since 2003. She had earlier, in the semi-finals, defeated Elena Dementieva, the 2008 Olympic singles champion. She joins Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles as four-time winners at Melbourne Park.
The first set of the final match against Dinara Safina lasted only 22 minutes, with Safina winning just eight points. And in just 58 minutes the match was over. During her speech after the end of the match, Dinara acknowledged Serena's absolute superiority in very clear terms. “She was just too good. I was just a ball boy on the court today.” Serena gave poor Dinara a lesson to remember in tennis. Serena was graceful in victory, hear her, "Dinara will have a great future - she is hitting so hard I just had to go for broke against her."
By this victory, Serena has regained the No. 1 position in the WTA rankings that will be announced on Monday February 2. She last enjoyed this position in 2002. Furthermore, according to the Guardian of London, she is now the highest prize money earner in women's sport with over £15m to her name. To add to the bargain, this victory marks her Grand Slam title No. 10 and Serena Williams has now clinched the seventh position in the all-time list of female Grand Slam singles champions (Billie-Jean King (12), Chris Evert (18), Martina Navratilova (18), Helen Wills Moody (19), Steffi Graf (22) and Margaret Court (24). Serena has joined that elite club of tennis queens. May her new reign last a long while!!

The latest football news and comment plus rugby, tennis, cricket and horse racing | Sport |

The latest football news and comment plus rugby, tennis, cricket and horse racing Sport

Friday, January 23, 2009

Middle East: An Integrated approach- more of the same old rhetoric?

It is refreshing to note that President Obama has within 2 days of being in power raised a formidable team to address the seemingly intractable Middle East problem. Does former Senator George Mitchell have the silver bullet?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Signed Sealed & Delivered

Last night it was wonderful to behold the world showing great joy at the inauguration of President Barack Huissen Obama - signed sealed and delivered!! Is he the black Jesus as one Dutch newspaper suggested in its headlines? For now, let us just enjoy the moment.
Click the blog title to have glimpses of the inaugural boogie etc.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Threshhold of Change

This is a significant day in US political history. The redemption of America's image in the world starts today. The world awaits the moment, that point where the transition becomes the beginning and Barack becomes President Obama.

Never in the history of world politics has so much goodwill been shown worldwide to the incoming president of one nation.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Europe's Deep Freeze & The Ukrainian Gasline

This week, Europe is experiencing unprecedented levels of low temperature (significantly below zero degrees Celsius). Purely by coincidence, the Russians are pressing their Ukrainian brothers to pay up their gas debts or get their supply cut off. The Ukrainian are insisting that they have paid up and making sure they will not lack gas no matter what the Russians say or do as long as the Russian gas pipelines pass through their territory. Many countries in Europe are beginning to receive less gas and are nearing a crisis situation. The Russians are accusing Ukraine of gas theft. Meanwhile some Europeans west of Ukraine partcularly Bulgaria and Slovakia are feeling the squeeze and freezing as the squabbling continues - no gas means limited heating in the homes.

I have looked around in these subzero temperatures and observed that the water birds have all disappeared to warmer environments because all the small water bodies which are their normal habitats are frozen - no place to swim anymore or even to search for food. Thank goodness, they can transport themselves by air at little or no cost. In their place, I see children skating (or walking and running about on 'water').
This week's temperatures are beginning to cast doubts on the gloomy predictions of Global Warming experts.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Back to the Grind

After a well-deserved two-week Christmas break, we are back to the grind.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Fireworks in Gaza

Last night fantastic fireworks heralded in the new year across the datelines as the 2009 crept in from the South Pacific. The sights in Sydney harbour, Hong Kong, Beijing and the London Eye were a pleasure to behold. However, in the Middle East, fireworks were banned for the New Year celebrations in view of the war situation in Gaza.
Here in the little town of Huissen on the surburb of Arnhem, there was a free-for-all in firework displays as youth who had been itching to let off, released all they had to the night sky. There was a cacophony of sounds and the sky was lit up in flares of all colours and configurations. There were loud bangs, hissing sounds, crackling and whistling sounds as of bullets and other military projectiles. I stopped to ponder that for us, these were sounds and lights of merriment and celebration to welcome a new year but over the Gaza strip this same night, the fireworks of the Israeli Defence Forces were the harbingers of death and destruction. I watched our local fireworks and experienced the blinding flares, the booming noises and the incessant activity in the sky above. Fortunately the threat of imminent death was the all-important missing factor. Last night, I empathised the plight of the helpless citizens of Gaza. My heart went out for the terrorised people of Gaza.