NY Congresswoman Yvette Clarke hosts Tessanne voting party, re-election event

 

New York Congresswoman Yvette Clarke poses with her mother, indomitable politician Dr. Una Clarke.

New York Congresswoman Yvette Clarke poses with her mother, indomitable politician Dr. Una Clarke.

(Brooklyn, New York, 12/16/2013): Tonight, Monday, December 16, 2013, from 7:00-9:00 p.m., friends, supporters and well-wishers of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, from New York’s 9th Congressional District, will join her for a post-holiday soiree, cocktails and a voting party for Jamaica-born Tessanne Chin, who has made it to NBC’s “The Voice” Finals. The event will be held at the Windland Restaurant, located at 242 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.

“For weeks we have watched our darling Tessanne deliver one flawless performance after another on The Voice,” Clarke said. “On Monday night, she will deliver her final ‘winning’ performance and we will be right there, all Jamaicans, wherever we are across the Diaspora, to support her with our votes.” The congresswoman noted that regional support for Chin has reached fever-pitch proportions, especially in her Brooklyn congressional district.  “I encourage everyone to get on every device available and vote  to ensure victory for Tessanne,” she said. Part one of the two-part “The Voice” Finale airs on NBC tonight at 8:00 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Tuesday night.

Guests at the Tessanne voting/re-election event will mix and mingle with the political elite, business leaders and young professionals of New York City, while raising well-needed funds for the congresswoman’s 2014 re-election bid.The primaries will be held in June 2014 instead of September, the usual month. Distinguished guests are expected to include: NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; NYC Public Advocate-elect Letitia James; Assemblyman Karim Camara; Council Member-elect Laurie Combo, as well as other political, business and community leaders.

Congresswoman Clarke was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 from New York’s 11th congressional district. She was re-elected to represent New York’s new 9th congressional district in November 2012. Her steady rise in the 113th Congress has seen her serving on three House Committees including the Homeland Security, Small Business and Ethics Committees. Her 7-year tenure has been one of leadership on key issues, a path that she hopes to continue on behalf of her constituents. She recently called on President Obama to halt the deportation of immigrants to the Caribbean and other countries to protect families and ease the sense of fear under which these families exist.

General admission tickets for the event are $100.00 with other support levels ranging from $500-$2,600.00. For information on tickets and contributions please call: (718)-940-2480, or (718)-940-2008. Funds raised from the event will support “Clarke for Congress.”  –OnPointPress.net.

Please follow us on twitter @OnPointPress_,Facebook: Carmen Glover.

 

 

 

Many memorials later, Nelson Mandela is laid to rest

South African residents leave notes and flowers for their beloved Nelson Mandela.

South African residents leave notes and flowers for their beloved Nelson Mandela.

By Carmen Glover

The ten-day mourning period announced previously by South Africa’s President Joseph Zuma culminates today with the burial for late international icon Nelson Mandela. Mandela was buried earlier today in his ancestral hometown of Qunu, surrounded by family members.

President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy at last Tuesday's public memorial service for the late great Nelson Mandela.

President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy at last Tuesday’s public memorial service for the late great Nelson Mandela.

Well-wishers have flocked to pay their respects to the late great leader, as his body lay in state from Wednesday through Friday last week in Pretoria. This period occurred after a public memorial was held on Tuesday in Johannesburg. That memorial was attended by U.S.A. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, three former U.S. Presidents as well as presidents, prime ministers, leaders, celebrities and admirers from across the globe. Raindrops fell throughout the public memorial but the event continued unabated with dancing, singing and reflections. President Obama delivered a stirring eulogy.

Mourners listen to various speakers at the public memorial.

Mourners listen to various speakers at the public memorial.

Memorials were held across the globe during the week, including one in Washington D.C. which was hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and one in New York City which featured former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. Dinkins hosted Mandela at Gracie Mansion on his first US visit in 1990, mere months after his release from prison. The outpouring of love, grief, celebration and reflection inspired by Mandela’s death provided mourners from across the globe with an opportunity to share their views about the impact of the late leader’s life on citizens all over the world. Additionally, it provided a forum for people to reflect on their lives individually and globally. Also, it inspired mourners to examine ways in which they can learn from Mandela’s myriad of examples to achieve goals and change people’s lives, regardless of how dark, difficult and impossible the odds may seem.

Late South African President Nelson Mandela is now at rest.

Late South African President Nelson Mandela is now at rest.

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela. Your inspiring legacy will live on and serve as a beacon of light, propelling others to unleash their inner greatness.–OnPointPress.net.

Follow us on twitter @OnPointPress_, Facebook: Carmen Glover.

Jameis Winston takes home the 2013 Heisman Trophy

 

Jameis Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (featured above) with a convincing tally of votes.

Jameis Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (featured above) with a convincing tally of  668 first place votes.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Heisman Trophy was awarded to red-shirt freshman Jameis Winston Saturday night in a decisive victory. Once the investigation into his involvement in a sexual assault case was ended last week, the Florida State Seminoles quarterback entered Saturday as the favorite to win the award. Winston, 19, becomes the youngest Heisman Trophy winner, a designation formerly held by fellow finalist and last year’s winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The six Heisman Trophy Finalists (l - r) Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston.

The six Heisman Trophy Finalists (l – r) Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston.

The final tally of votes for the award saw Jameis Winston win the Heisman in a landslide with a total of 2,205 points which included 668 first place ballots. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron placed second with 704 points, with Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch totaling 558 votes. Andre Williams of Boston College (470), Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (421), and Tre Mason of Auburn (404) rounded out the ballot. Winston took to the podium and graciously thanked “God for allowing this dream to come true.” Winston also continued to thank his family and Florida State teammates and coaching staff for instilling the value of “trusting in the process” and their continued support. His parents looked on proudly as Winston addressed the gathering.

Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Davey O’Brien Award as the top quarterback in the nation. He also becomes the third Seminoles quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (1999) won the Heisman Trophy and led their team to the college football National Championship in the same season they won the award. Winston will try to keep that tradition alive as the Florida State Seminoles will face the Auburn Tigers for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship on January 6, 2014 to conclude the college football season. He will celebrate his 20th birthday on the day of the BCS Championship.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.

Golden Globes nominations for Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o

Idris Elba in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."

Idris Elba authentic performance in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor Category.

By Carmen Glover

Movies depicting the nuanced and diverse range of the black experience have been released in record numbers in theaters this year, making 2013 a great year for blacks in film. The announcement by the Golden Globes that two dramatic actors, Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) in theaters Christmas Day and Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave,” will compete in the category of best actor comes as no surprise. In fact, it would have been unsurprising if that category had been dominated by black actors, including Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station;” Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Black Nativity;” and Chadwick Boseman in “42: The True Story of an American Legend,” for his moving portrayal as baseball great Jackie Robinson.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in “12 Years a Slave” for which he was nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes.

“12 Years a Slave” tied with “American Hustle” in receiving 7 nominations each. The movie was nominated for best actor, director, film in drama, supporting actor, supporting actress, screenplay and score. The nominations were announced yesterday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The Golden Globes are often seen as precursors to the Oscar, as far as the films most likely to be honored. The Golden Globes will air on January 12, 2014.

Lupita Nyong'o  was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "12 Years a Slave."

Lupita Nyong’o was nominated by the Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave.”

Michael B. Jordan in "Fruitvale Station."

Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station.”

Although Elba and Ejiofor were nominated in the dramatic category, black actors were ignored in the comedic category, despite the strong performances by the actors in the popular romantic comedy “Best Man Holiday.” And for reasons known only to the Globes’ selection committee, black women were snubbed for their film portrayals in the major categories. The exception was Lupita Nyong’o, who was nominated in the supporting actor category for her stellar performance in “12 Years a Slave.” Also, Kerry Washington snagged a nomination for her fierce depiction of Washington fixer Olivia Pope in the television drama Scandal.

Chadwick Boseman in "42."

Chadwick Boseman in “42.”

Among the noteworthy films that showcased the diversity of the black experience this year are: “Temptation,” directed by Tyler Perry and starring Journee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Vanessa Williams; “2 Guns,” with Denzel Washington and Paula Patton; “White House Down,” with Jamie Foxx; “Olympus Has Fallen,” with Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, directed by Antoine Fuqua; “The Call,’ with Halle Berry; “Las Vegas,” with Morgan Freeman; “Now You See Me,” with Common; and several movies starring Dwayne “The Rock Johnson,” including “Snitch” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

Forest Whitaker and Oprah in "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

Forest Whitaker and Oprah in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

One aspect of the range illuminated by the plethora of black films that hit the theaters this year is the opportunity the trend allowed for the pantheon of directors and producers to expand their reach and shine. Validation for the risks taken by directors and producers were evident in box office receipts with many films far exceeding expectations. Moviegoers flocked to the theaters in droves, eager to reunite with characters who seemed like old friends (“The Best Man Holiday.”) or simply to gain exposure to a different take on slavery in Steve McQueen’s masterful direction of “12 Years a Slave.”

The cast of The Best Man Holiday.

The cast of The Best Man Holiday.

 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Snitch."

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “Snitch.”

As the wait for the Oscar nomination continues, expectations are high that more black actors and actresses will be recognized for stellar performances that filled theaters from the year began. That trend is expected to surge when British heart-throb Elba’s stirring performance in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” is made available to an expanded audience base on Christmas Day, when the movie opens in wide release. —OnPointPress.net.

Mike Shanahan’s saga of failure continues, RGIII is benched

Robert Griffin III is benched by his coach and will consider his future and ways to improve.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Washington Redskins easily win the title of the most dysfunctional team in the National Football League (NFL) with the news that they have benched starting quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. The decision highlights more question marks about the future of a franchise that is performing so poorly that the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders look like well-oiled machines in comparison. Not even Scandal’s talented Olivia Pope could fix this debacle.

Head coach Mike Shanahan’s struggles continue while the Redskins seem to be in turmoil.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is on the proverbial hot seat as the Redskins endure the third losing season in Shanahan’s four-year tenure. The news yesterday that Kirk Cousins would start the remainder of the season raised eyebrows in the football world. Senior ESPN writer Ed Werder expressed surprise stating: “This is an unprecedented move to make when the starting quarterback is healthy.”

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

2nd year quarterback Kirk Cousins is the starter for the remainder of the season for the Redskins.

The change in the quarterback position sends a confusing message to a team struggling with leadership concerns and overall poor performance. The change also endangers the most valuable trade asset the team has, since Cousins is a second year quarterback who has looked good in the few games he has played so far. Shanahan stated “RGIII has taken too many hits and we want to protect him,” as the reason for making the change. If Cousins takes the same  hits as Griffin did while behind center, it will be interesting to see if he will retain the same kind of trade value.

The relationship between Shanahan and Griffin has been far from harmonious, which further complicates the situation. The perceived animosity between the two raises questions about Shanahan’s true motives. Is he trying to sabotage Griffin while designing a play to be fired as well? While speculation runs rampant that the coach is trying to get fired, the implication is that Shanahan does not trust Griffin to protect himself or the team to protect the star quarterback.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension filled relationship for the Titans.

Jeff Fisher (l) and Vince Young (r) also experienced a tension-filled relationship while they were with the Titans.

However, the rumors that Shanahan was not enamored with RGIII coming out of college brings to mind another coach/quarterback relationship that has mixed results:Jeff Fisher and Vince Young with the Tennessee Titans. In both situations, the star quarterback was beloved by the owner and earned Rookie of the Year honors while essentially saving the coach’s job. Also, the quarterback became a rising star in the league and quickly fell out of favor with the head coach. The Fisher/Young situation ended with neither being a member of the Titans, just five seasons later (2006-2011).

Shanahan’s questionable decision to bench RGIII also brings to mind his unceremonious firing from the Denver Broncos in 2008 after his decision to draft Jay Cutler to replace Jake Plummer despite Plummer leading the Broncos to the AFC title game in 2005. Shanahan’s decision backfired in spectacular fashion and the team disintegrated into a chaotic mix, sealing his ouster by owner Pat Bowlen.

As the disastrous Redskins season evolves, the Shanahan/Griffin union seems to be irreparably harmed. Of course, their deteriorating relationship has not been a secret since the season began. Also, questions still abound about Shanahan’s decision to play Griffin last year when he was obviously hurt and the impact that ultimately had on his need for surgery and RGIII’s performance this year. The Washington faithful have a hard time feeling confident that their team knows what it is doing. Die-hard Redskins fan Steve Taylor’s reaction to yesterday’s news sums up the fans’ collective mood:

“I feel as though the coach and his son need to be fired,” Taylor said. That sentiment is widespread among Redskins fans and it is hard for them to remain hopeful for next season. The trade that helped them acquire RGIII cost them what seems like a top five pick in next season’s draft. Maybe the Redskins fans will be able to at least take solace in their hated rival Dallas Cowboys collapsing in December again. Maybe.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant.

Political contingent celebrates distinguished politician Dr. Una Clarke

 

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio pays tribute to Dr. Una Clarke while his wife Chirlane McCray and Public Advocate Letitia James look on. _Roland Hyde Photo.

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio pays tribute to Dr. Una Clarke while his wife Chirlane McCray and Public Advocate Letitia James look on.

By Andrea Daley

It was an evening to remember a Jazz Meets Fashion birthday celebration for Dr. Una S. T. Clarke, CD, which took place at Galapagos Art Space New York, Sunday December 1, 2013. The massive turnout was not a surprise, nor was the outpouring of love for an indomitable personality of the Caribbean-American community, a trailblazer on the New York political scene.

Clarke spent a decade in the New York City Council, delivering substantive bills and spearheading numerous measures to benefit the minority communities she represented. Also, she guided many political aspirants to successful careers. Her groundbreaking achievement as the first Caribbean-born woman to enter the New York City legislature has proven to be timeless and rewarding as so many have followed in her footsteps.

With her husband of close to 54 years, Leslie, at her side, her two adult children: Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke and Leslie, Jr., and her three grand -children, Dr. Clarke basked in the glow of all the positive energy in the room. It was a feast of embrace, hugs and pure joy. In a show of support, the New City political elite was out in full force, led by New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray. De Blasio’s  tribute to Dr. Clarke was the highlight of the evening. He spoke of their bond and her steadfast support in his recent election bid, helping him to get over the 40% of votes needed to avoid a run-off.

Also in attendance were Controller-elect Scott Stringer, out-going Controller John Liu, Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams, NYC Public Advocate-elect, Letitia James; Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; Brooklyn District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson, City Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, New York State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, Council Member-elect Robert Carnegie, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Rose Pierre Hyacinth Lewis and Brooklyn District Leader Rodneyse Bichot.

Chirlane McCray, wife of NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio embraces Dr Una Clarke, looking on L-R are: Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams, NYC Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Brooklyn District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson and NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.-Roland Hyde Photo
Chirlane McCray, wife of NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio embraces Dr Una Clarke, looking on L-R are: Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams, NYC Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Brooklyn District Attorney-elect Ken Thompson and NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

Among the other distinguished guests in the room were Michael Gaskard, vice president of the Advanced Group; Tom Montvel Cohen, president of Dumbo BID; Morshed Alam, of the South Asian and Bangladeshi Business Community with a six-member delegation; Chanina Sperlin, rabbi and chair of the Political Action Committee, Crown Heights; Dr. Roy Hastick, president of the West Indian-American Chamber of Commerce and his wife, Edith; Monica Foster, F&R Installations; and Veronica Airey-Wilson, former deputy Mayor of the City of Hartford.  The clergy was represented by the Reverend Bishop Eric Barnes, Bishop Orlando Findlayter,  Bishop Sylveta Hamilton-Gonzales and Pastor Samuel Nicolas, who delivered the Invocation.

Elda Pinchinate City Councilmember from Jersey Cityl presented a special award to both Dr. Clarke and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. Bondongani Sadika, of South Africa, presented Dr. Clarke with an award for her efforts in the movement to free former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Entertainment included a beautiful fashion show by couture designer Trinidad’s own Francis Hendy. 9-year-old dancer Little Douglas, from the Tony Award-winning Broadway production Kinky Boots, wowed the audience with two dance numbers.

Musical entertainment kicked off by The Jeff King Band with a 30- minute set. Next up was Jazz Songbird Felina Backer who delivered a stellar performance. It was pure magic when she serenaded Dr. Clarke and her husband as they waltzed to the Etta James number, “At Last.”  Master of Ceremonies, (former  Director of  the Jamaica Tourist Board), Noel Mignott, kept the proceedings flowing nicely throughout the evening. Fashion expert Walter Greene narrated the fashion show which featured thirty male and female models on the runway. Hendy, who also does New York Fashion Week, showed why he is highly regarded.  He presented a  professional and dazzling show. The event was also a fundraiser for Clarke for Congress, a fact reinforced throughout the evening with the reminder that unlike previous years, in 2014 primaries will be held in June as instead of the usual September.

 

For more information contact andrea@caribmediamarketing.com–OnPointPress.net.

Mixed bag in FIFA World Cup groupings, English-speaking Caribbeans excluded

Defending World Cup Soccer Champions Spain, with the trophy.

Defending World Cup Soccer Champions Spain, with the trophy.

By Carmen Glover

Immediately after the FIFA World Cup groupings were released last Friday, U.S. sportscasters began to panic publicly. Watching the forlorn expression on the face of ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser, as he debated the U.S. team’s prospects with his Pardon The Interruption (PTI) partner Michael Wilborn, was priceless. “We’re in the Group of Death,” he moaned, as Wilborn shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. Kornheiser was referring to the U.S.A’s placement in group G with soccer powerhouses Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Although the U.S.A. team is coached by former German star Jurgen Klinsmann, the team’s chances of making it out of their group are bleak, at best.

USA Soccer team and their fans are bemoaning their spot in the "Group of Death," for World Cup 2014.

USA Soccer team and their fans are bemoaning their spot in the “Group of Death,” for World Cup 2014.

But for passionate fans from the English-speaking Caribbean nations, the groupings revealed a more disturbing reality: World Cup 2014 in Brazil will not have a single team from that region. No appearance by Jamaica’s thrilling Reggae Boyz who excited the masses in France in 1998 when they became the first English-speaking Caribbean team to make it to the World Cup . No appearance from the Trinidad and Tobago team, which made its first appearance in 2006.

Jamaica's Reggae Boyz thrilled World Cup fans in France in 1998 but failed to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz thrilled World Cup fans in France in 1998 but failed to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Judging from statements made recently by the presidents of FIFA and CONCACAF, the paucity of representation from English-speaking Caribbean nations and African countries at the World Cup is a trend that has not gone unnoticed. Speaking recently about the matter, CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said he would create a panel to explore the formation of a professional Caribbean soccer league designed to ensure that more teams from that region qualify for the World Cup.

Trinidad & Tobago participated in World Cup 2006 but failed to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Trinidad & Tobago participated in World Cup 2006 but failed to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

“We have so much talent in the region and the game needs a professional league and professional approach,” he said from his base in Cayman Islands, according to news reports. CONCACAF is comprised of 35 nations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. And although the entity will be represented by countries such as the United States, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica for World Cup 2014 in Brazil, the absence of representation from the English-speaking Caribbean is an open wound to soccer diehards in the region who have nurtured dreams of playing in Brazil, soccer’s mecca.

CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb is exploring the formation of a Professional Caribbean Soccer League.

CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb is exploring the formation of a Professional Caribbean Soccer League.

Jamaica feels the impact much more profoundly than many of its regional competitors because of the high esteem the country holds for Brazil and its iconic face of soccer: Pele. Embracing a strong Brazilian influence, Jamaica hired Brazilian Rene Simones to manage the team in the late 1990s, in preparation for World Cup 1998. Simones methodically recruited Jamaican-born soccer stars and players who boast Jamaican heritage, from across the globe, to join the team. The result was the nation’s first World Cup appearance, where they had a robust presence. However, the Reggae Boyz failed to qualify for the most recent Word Cup games.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter agrees that more teams from Africa and Asia need to compete in the World Cup.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter agrees that more teams from Africa and Asia need to compete in the World Cup.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addressed disparity in representation in an article appearing recently in the FIFA Weekly magazine. Describing the need for total globalization and equity in the selection of World Cup berths, Blatter wrote: “It cannot be that European and South American confederations lay claim to the majority of the berths at the World Cup, because take together they account for significantly fewer member associations (63) than Africa and Asia (100).” Combined with Webb’s plans to explore the feasibility of a Caribbean soccer league, Blatter’s comments seem to indicate a shift in the consciousness of the FIFA World Cup governing body and a belated realization that the game needs to be more globally representative.

Brazilian Soccer Legend Pele displays his numerous medals and serves as an enduring ambassador for soccer.

Brazilian Soccer Legend Pele displays his numerous medals and serves as an enduring ambassador for soccer.

Noel Street, a Toronto-based businessman who played soccer in Jamaica from elementary school through college, said that unless funding, marketing and good infrastructure are put in place, a Caribbean soccer league won’t work. “The Caribbean had a professional soccer league between 1992-1995,” he said. The league failed due to poor management. “If FIFA is taking an active role in creating a new Caribbean Soccer League there will be more funding and marketing so it could work,” he said.

In the meantime, no tears are being shed for the U.S. team for its grouping in the “Group of Death” for the very reason why the English-speaking Caribbean teams are excluded. While the U.S. team falls under the CONCACAF umbrella, many teams in the English-speaking Caribbean yearn for the resources that the U.S. team has and they believe that if those resources were available they would give the U.S. team strong competition every qualifying season.

“Casual Caribbean soccer players have more raw talent than the U.S. players but the U.S.A. team has more funding, infrastructure and marketing which is why they have made more World Cup appearances that the Caribbean countries have,” Street said. Others are more generous in their sentiments about the U.S.A. team.

USA Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who propelled his German teams to World Cup victories, has to strategize to face the formidable team from Ghana in the first round.

USA Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who propelled his German teams to World Cup victories, has to strategize to face the formidable team from Ghana in the first round.

“I feel sorry for poor U.S.A because they are in the hardest group with Germany, Portugal and Ghana,” Jamaican musician Paul Kastick said when he evaluated the groupings, while visiting Malaysia. But he expressed excitement about seeing Spain and the Netherlands re-play the World Cup of 2010. “You know that the Netherlands will be looking for revenge in that first game,” he said of Group B which also has Chile and Australia.

Ines Bebea, a New York-based sports journalist who is originally from Spain, is confident that Spain is in good shape to repeat as champions in Brazil. “The team from Spain is intact from the last World Cup and most of the players of the team play professionally for Barcelona and Real Madrid,” she said in assessing Spain’s prowess. Regarding the strong European presence in World Cups when compared to nations from Africa and the English-speaking Caribbean, she said the reason is simple. “The European teams have a better system and their infrastructure is stronger than other regions,” she explained. “Europe is like the NBA of soccer.”

The World Cup trophy which is at the heart of global competition that will take place Summer 2014 in Brazil.

The World Cup trophy which is at the heart of global competition that will take place Summer 2014 in Brazil.

Street agreed with Bebea, stating that “European Clubs are more serious about the business of soccer, sponsoring students from very young ages with resources from their soccer clubs, some of which have schools as well,” he said. For the Caribbean teams to compete, he said, “Caribbean governments have to fund soccer leagues like social programs. When the league develops then businesses will give their support. If the teams make it to the World Cup then they will get funding from FIFA simply for participating in the World Cup,” he explained. The challenge, it seems, is not to create a new Caribbean Soccer League, since that has been done in the past. Rather, it is to put the right foundation, funding, marketing and support in place to ensure that it is a viable and well-funded product that will generate interest and enthusiasm to be sustainable.

As the momentum builds for the upcoming World Cup on Brazilian soil, it will be interesting to see if both Blatter and Webb follow through with their ideas about creating a more balanced system to ensure a more broadly representative World Cup for the future. Soccer fans from English-speaking Caribbean nations, Asia and Africa will be watching.–OnPointPress.net.

World leaders to attend Mandela’s Dec 15 funeral, Dec 8 is day of prayer

Former South African President Nelson Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela

By Carmen Glover

As the world unites in mourning, South Africa’s President Joseph Zuma announced on Friday all the funeral details for iconic world leader and former South African president Nelson Mandela.

“We will spend the week mourning his passing. We will also spend it celebrating a life that we must emulate for the betterment of our country,” Zuma said. Using the name given to Mandela by his clan, Zuma continued: ” We always loved Mandiba for teaching us it was possible to overcome hatred and anger in order to build a new nation and a new society.” Zuma announced that South Africa will have a national day of “prayer and reflection,” on Sunday, December 8.

Mandela, 95, died Thursday at his home in Johannesburg, succumbing to respiratory illness for which he was hospitalized this summer. He suffered from lung disease and the side effects of tuberculosis with which he was infected during his 27 years of incarceration. The mourning period for late leader will feature memorials, while the residents of South Africa and Mandela’s admirers across the globe will continue to celebrate his life and grieve through music, dancing, sharing their thoughts and shedding tears.

“Let us reach out to one another and make Mandiba’s dream our dream,” said Bishop Desmond Tutu at a prayer vigil held last night in Cape Town. A memorial service, open to the public, will be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, December 10. FNB Stadium is the site of Mandela’s final public appearance for a World Cup game. Mandela’s body will lie in state for three days starting Wednesday, December 11 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. On Saturday, December 14, Mandela’s body will be escorted via military airplane to Mthatha. Mandela will be laid to rest in his childhood hometown of Qunu, after a state funeral.

President Barack Obama announced that he and First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to the funeral on Air Force One, accompanied by former presidents George W. Bush and his wife Laura. Former President Bill Clinton is also expected to attend the funeral, as will numerous leaders across the world, who have admired Mandela’s triumph over adversity to lead his country in the post-apartheid era as its first black and freely elected president. —OnPointPress.net.

 

 

 

International Icon Nelson Mandela ends his long walk (1918-2013)

image

By Carmen Glover

People of all stations in life across the globe begin a period of mourning today for international icon Nelson Mandela. The beloved former South African president died yesterday at the age of 95 after multiple hospitalizations for a lung infection left him weak and on life support. As soon as the news broke, people took to social media to express their grief, reflect on his life and draw solace from an exemplary life that has served as inspiration for residents in every corner of the world.

Former New York Mayor David Dinkins hosted Former South African President Nelson Mandela 1n 1990, four months after Mandela's release from prison, and a few years before he became the nation's first black president.

Former New York Mayor David Dinkins hosted Former South African President Nelson Mandela at City Hall in 1990, four months after Mandela’s release from prison, and a few years before he became the nation’s first black president.

Mandela fought valiantly to secure the freedom of Black South Africans who were deprived of human dignity under apartheid, the horrific system of discrimination and inequality in which the majority black population was brutalized by the white minority that held all the power. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and was released in 1990. Four months after being released, he visited the USA, addressing large crowds in venues such as New York’s historic Harlem, when the city’s first and only African-American mayor to date, David Dinkins, led the city.

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Former South African President Nelson Mandela.

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Announcing Mandela’s passing, current South African President Jacob Zuma said simply: “Our nation has lost its greatest son.” President Barack Obama was somber as he addressed the nation: “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages,” he said.

The movie named after Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom,” starring British heart-throb Idris Elba opened in London yesterday and has been showing in limited release in the USA since last weekend. The movie is scheduled for wide release on Christmas Day and Elba’s portrayal has been described as authentic, eliciting early talks that he should receive an Oscar.

As the period of mourning continues, details about Mandela’s funeral have not yet been released. In the meantime, people in South Africa and across the world weep and wait for collective closure. Still others will be celebrating the mystique of a life well-lived, inspirational and so iconic that the full force of Mandela’s legacy will require time, careful scholarship and thoughtful examination to fully grasp, even as his triumph over adversity is emulated and lauded far and wide.–OnPointPress.net.

 

 

Are New York NBA teams doomed by poor management?

 

 

New York Knicks Owner James Dolan (l) and Brooklyn Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov (r) have very little to smile as both teams are struggling right now.

 

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Thursday night the New York Knicks (3 – 13) will travel for a few minutes from Manhattan to Brooklyn to play the Brooklyn Nets (5 – 13), in a game that will feature two of the worst teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA) at this time. Both teams’ struggles seem to have caught a number of fans off guard, but there were early clues that this would be a challenging season for the teams. The management structure for both teams leaves a lot to be desired and it will be a challenge for either team to turn things around this season.

Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King (l) and head coach Jason Kidd (r) have a lot of challenges to overcome to turn the Nets into championship contenders.

Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King (l) and Head Coach Jason Kidd (r) have a lot of challenges to overcome to turn the Nets into championship contenders.

Both teams have dealt with significant injuries and it is still early in the season. However, both teams came into this season with championship aspirations, which seem highly unattainable at this time. Also, there are specific management issues that hold both of these teams back. If things do not improve, neither team will be able to select a player in the first round of the upcoming, highly touted, draft as both teams have already traded away their first round pick for next season. There is optimism for the faithful fans as the Eastern Conference has so many teams off to dismal starts that playoffs still remain a possibility for both teams.

The Brooklyn Nets hired Jason Kidd as their head coach though he had just retired as a player and has zero coaching experience. The head coaching job is a primary leadership position with responsibility for helping the team cope with the rigors of the lengthy season. The problem for the Nets is that the intricacies that go into leading a team to a championship is unreasonable to  expect a first year head coach to grasp. For historical reference, Hall of Fame coach/player Alex Hannum was the last coach to lead his team to the NBA championship in his first season as a head coach for the St. Louis Hawks in 1958. Nets General Manager Billy King is responsible for hiring Kidd and assembling a team full of veterans hoping to make one last playoff push towards the championship. The current controversy surrounding the demotion of current Nets assistant coach (and former Nets head coach) Lawrence Frank creates more doubt about the decision making process for both King and Kidd. Kidd’s recent drink-spilling stunt and well-deserved $50,000 fine also raise more questions about his coaching judgment.

The problems with the Knicks start at the very top with impatient owner James Dolan.

The problems with the Knicks start at the very top with impatient, and mostly clueless owner James Dolan.

The New York Knicks are in a more dire situation due to their problems being firmly entrenched at the very top of their organization with James Dolan. The Knicks owner appears impetuous, clueless and tone-deaf to reasonable feedback. Dolan has been at the helm of a Knicks team that has seen massive turnover throughout the entire Knicks organization over the past decade. It is difficult to install a system of consistent winning with such regular replacement of personnel in top leadership positions. The Knicks have had 5 different individuals serve as president of team operations since 2000. The Knicks have also had 8 different head coaches over the same time period. The constant turnover is clearly not a recipe for success, and this does not include the revolving door of under-achieving players to don the Knicks uniform over the last 13 years.

The Larry O'Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a NY team win this award in my lifetime?

The Larry O’Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a New York- based team win this award in my lifetime?

The Knicks and Nets share similar problems. Neither team has done a good job of consistently drafting players and growing their players to become long-term solutions for the team. Both teams have also spent a great deal of money on big-name free agents with noticeable injury histories. The Nets seem to have a better chance of turning their problems around. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov appears to trust the people he has hired to make basketball decisions. Whether the general manager and head coach can lead this Nets team remains to be seen but it appears they will be given a decent chance to prove themselves. The Knicks appear likely to remain in the same cycle of negligible strides and consistent failure because their owner’s impatience and lack of basketball judgment.

The Knicks have struggled with hiring the proper people in leadership positions and this has a trickle-down effect, negatively impacting every facet of the team. Both the Knicks and Nets will be watching the NBA Finals from home for another season, to the dismay and frustration of their long-suffering fans. In the meantime, teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Indiana Pacers demonstrate that strong leadership, smart drafting, and clever free agents signings are the best combinations for success in the NBA.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.