Robbie Keane may be heading back to the English league

first_imgThe 36 year old has been without a team since leaving LA Galaxy at the end of last year.According to reports in Preston their manager Simon Grayson is interested in the striker, but his wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block.Four Irishmen started for Preston in their win over Brighton last weekend, including Aidan McGeady and new signing Daryl Horgan.last_img

Obituary: Papa Wemba – Africa’s rhumba king

first_img25 April 2016Congolese music legend and king of the sapeurs Papa Wemba died earlier today. What a week— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) April 24, 2016Papa Wemba, the influential Congolese musician known for the hits Esclave, Kaokokokorobo and Le Voyageur, died during a concert on 24 April 2016, following a fall on stage. He was 66 years old.Wemba was known as a cross-cultural icon in the world music genre, collaborating with artists from Sri Lanka, France and the United States, including British musician Peter Gabriel. He ferociously incubated new African music, art and film talent in a number of art communes in Kinshasa and Paris, France, giving African culture a stepping stone into larger markets.“He was known as a true trendsetter,” Suzana Omiyo told Al Jazeera following the news of his death. Omiyo, a popular Kenyan musician, worked with Wemba.Born Jules Wembadio Kikumba in the small river community of Lubefu, in the now Democratic Republic of Congo, Wemba began his musical career with the Zaiko Langa Langa group in 1969, mixing African sounds with more contemporary Western rock and pop music. The group played the legendary Rumble in the Jungle: Zaire 74 concert along with James Brown and Miriam Makeba.Wemba moved on to several other band projects, culminating in his most prominent group as leader, Viva la Musica. He had his most international success with Viva la Musica, primarily in France and other French-speaking territories, including Belgium and Canada, during the early 1980s. Around this time, Wemba discovered the young singer songwriter Koffi Olomide, who went on to become one of the top-selling African artists in the world.Koffi Olomide presente ses condoleances a toute la famille Biologique de Papa Wemba— Koffi Olomide (@Kofficentral) April 24, 2016Settling in Paris in 1986, Wemba’s fame grew, following collaborations with Stevie Wonder, signing to Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label and performing at Womad festivals. The last two popularised African and other non-western music – known as world music – across the globe.He was known for his stylish fashion sense, and was a driving force behind the cultural movement known as the Sapeurs. Sapeurs (“the Society of Atmosphere- setters and Elegant People”) juxtapose elegant colonial fashion with African flare against the backdrop of political volatility in the Congo region.Wemba called it a way to inspire the youth during turbulent times, promoting what he called “high standards of personal cleanliness, hygiene and smart dress, to a whole generation across Zaire”.On stage, his performances were known for their energetic, fun atmosphere. They featured an extensive band, colourful light shows and a troupe of professional dancers, offering a frenetic multi-media showcase of African culture.While Wemba was best known as a dance floor filler with largely upbeat, funky compositions, he was always open to experimentation. He released more than 30 albums, filled with a number of critically acclaimed ballads, soulful instrumentals and indigenous African folk songs.His popularity outside Africa opened doors for later groups from the central African region, including fellow Congolese performers Staff Benda Bilili and Konono No 1. Following his death, Wemba and his work have been honoured by fellow African artists, fans and the world on Twitter.Singing in Minneapolis tonight remembering @prince and Papa Wemba!— Angelique Kidjo (@angeliquekidjo) April 25, 2016Papa wemba one africa biggest artist. Rest in peace. He stood For an africa united. One love— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) April 24, 2016We mourn yet again! Papa Wemba, great Congolese musician dies on stage. Thank you for the rumba & kwassa kwassa. You left joy in our hearts!— Tim Modise (@TimModise) April 24, 2016To celebrate the life and art of one of Africa’s greatest talents, watch some of Papa Wemba’s greatest songs:Source: News24last_img read more

With West Indies at their weakest, chance for Team India to win a series overseas

first_imgEasy for Sir Viv to say. When the West Indies played their best cricket, no one else dared bark.Richards took part in 35 Test victories overseas and played in a team that once went 10 years losing only eight Test matches. In toto. Home and away. Sir Viv should know.But,Easy for Sir Viv to say. When the West Indies played their best cricket, no one else dared bark.Richards took part in 35 Test victories overseas and played in a team that once went 10 years losing only eight Test matches. In toto. Home and away. Sir Viv should know.But who shredded the script? How come nervous travellers India – they’ve won only 16 away Test matches in 70 years-have now stepped into Sir Viv’s borders for five Tests and find themselves anointed favourites? Brian Lara, Caribbean cricket’s answer to Bobby Fischer, has remarked he is “quietly fearful” of the Indians.Single Agenda: Sourav Ganguly leads a team which hasn’t won in the Caribbean since 1971Instead of a triumphant fist-pump, a quick double take is recommended. Sourav Ganguly and his weary men have, unfortunately, not yet turned into ferocious bad dogs. It is the West Indies who are in disarray. India happen to be visiting.It’s the synchronicity which has every expert proclaiming that this is India’s best chance to win an away series outside the subcontinent since England, 1986.Says former captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who was the best performer of the 1986 series and led the Indians through a shell-shock of a West Indian tour in 1989: “This must possibly be the weakest West Indian team ever. They don’t have experience in the bowling, don’t have the class. This is our best opportunity ever.”Flip the coin over and it looks a little different. What is being tested is not West Indies’ strength at home-their powers are fading but they have lost only three series in the islands in the past 30 years-but rather India’s ability to win abroad.advertisementIn 1992, a line-up that contained Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, Ravi Shastri, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Manoj Prabhakar, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath couldn’t beat Zimbabwe in Harare. Six years later, an Indian eleven including Azhar, Navjot Sidhu, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Nayan Mongia, Srinath and Kumble actually lost a Test at the same wretched place. The opposition was Zimbabwe, hardly classy world-beaters.Javagal Srinath leads India’s best attack in yearsIndia’s away record remains a hurdle, a handicap, a heartache and a headache that nothing-no home remedies like Tendulkar centuries, Kumble five-fers (five wicket hauls), Harbhajan hat-tricks or Gangulyan lofted sixes-can cure. It will only be cured when the jinx is broken.When Srinath- who pulled out of the 1996 tour due to a shoulder injury-talks about the West Indies today he could be an impatient commuter sprinting for a train, “There is not much time. The bottom line is I have won nothing abroad. We need to make sure that we do.”A veteran of two West Indies tours, Ravi Shastri says emphatically, “I think this is the first time we have the attack to take 20 wickets since 1971.” Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Tinu Yohannan are hardly the Beastie Boys, but they are not the Marx Brothers either.On wickets which are far slower than what Shastri and Co faced in the 1980s, the presence of Kumble and Harbhajan Singh should in theory give the Indian attack both bark and bite.Manjrekar too insists, “We should be looking at winning in the West Indies-that’s the only result we should be satisfied with.” India rarely travels with such gung-ho ambition. As a player Shastri watched the body language of teammates shrink into silence when faced with lively wickets and hostile quick bowling in the Caribbean.”You could tell from the guys’ faces who was s******g bricks, who wanted to play and who didn’t for fear of being exposed.” A player on the 1996 West Indies tour remembers what he was told even before landing: “Seniors told juniors all the usual stuff, ‘Oh, in Jamaica it will keep flying’. That’s nonsense, you get true wickets there. Some are even slower than India. Winning overseas is a mental block.”Mainstays: The slowing wickets should favour Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Rahul DravidClick here to EnlargeIt’s a block many in Ganguly’s team believe they are chipping away at. They cling to the memory of two wins outside India last year in Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. “It’s a confidence thing,” skipper Ganguly told INDIA TODAY.”We came back in Lanka after losing the first Test and squared the series with a depleted side.” India were the last team to beat Sri Lanka at home before Sanath Jayasuriya’s men won nine straight Tests in a row.The Indians are studying videotapes of the Windies’ recent series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The more Net-savvy have trawled through scoresheets of the Windies’ home games. They have discovered that scoring rates in the Caribbean have fallen: from an average of 3.3/ 3.4 runs scored per over to 2.3/ 2.4 runs per over in the past five years.advertisementIndia vice-captain Rahul Dravid translates the numbers into match-day scenarios, “It’s going to be a game of patience,” he told INDIA TODAY. “The key for the batsmen would be to try to get in on those wickets and be patient.” V.V.S. Laxman, who opened for the Indians on the 1996 tour, says, “The wickets there are similar to Indian wickets-you have to back yourself, occupy the crease and get the runs.”Occupation of the crease. Patience. Ho hum. Not quite our flash middle-order’s morning cuppa. The tour dangles many individual carrots: Captain Ganguly (and for that matter the unflash Dravid) have not scored a Test century overseas for three years, Tendulkar doesn’t have one in the West Indies and Laxman hasn’t crossed the three-figure mark since the Big One in Kolkata.Click here to EnlargeGanguly tosses aside the carrots and looks at the entire plot, “All of us need to score runs, but runs that are going to help India win the series. Those runs, scored under pressure, have more value.”On tour, Indian teams have rarely valued their chances or put a high-enough prices on their wickets. They have tossed opportunities aside like cheap trinkets. In 1989, current selector and ex-coach Madan Lal watched in horror as the Indian batsmen failed to chase 120 in Barbados.It would have given India the series, but Lal remembers their chance came in the earlier Test in Trinidad. He confesses “we didn’t push hard enough” to put up a good lead and let West Indies save Trinidad.The Slow Stuff: The spin of Anil Kumble (right) and Harbhajan Singh will test the WindiesNeither Lal nor any survivor of that tour will comment on how many of the 10 wickets that fell on the final day in Barbados were to genuine panic and how many were deliberately thrown away.”Let’s not go there,” says one player. “All we needed were two partnerships, we went numb,” says another. The Nasty Nineties are, on available evidence, behind the team but the habit of blowing chances overseas is not.In Harare (again) last year an hour’s poor batting let Zimbabwe back in the second Test and helped them level the series 1-1. In Sri Lanka, a few months later, the Indian batting threw away good starts in Colombo twice and let the Lankans take the series 2-1.India even scored 372 on the first day of the Test series against South Africa and went on to lose the game. Lal says sternly, “You have to use your skill at the right time.”The tour of the West Indies, old timers say, is a chance for individual players to “explore” themselves and to come to terms with what they are capable of. One of those is Harbhajan Singh whose battle against the West Indian batting and its left-handers is expected to be decisive.advertisementHe has a particularly good record against lefties and remarks, “I’m hoping when I come back, it will be better.” What about the most la guid lefty of them all-Prince Brian-who single-handedly denied the Australians a series victory on their 1999 tour? Ganguly steps in, “Lara is quality, but for a batsman all you need is one good ball. We’ve got to be disciplined and make sure he gets enough of those.”The Indians have travelled away from home in hope and anticipation before and the chorus on their departure has remained the same: opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. But like the old song says, it ain’t no chance if you don’t take it.last_img read more