Jamaican comedian Oliver Samuels highlights charity event in Belgium

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(L-R) Ambassador Vilma NcNish poses with Ms. Rose McBean de Vrieze, lead organizer for the event, and noted Jamaican comedian Mr. Oliver Samuels.

The Jamaican community and friends of nation in Antwerp, Belgium, received its fair share of laughter on Saturday, 15 November, 2014, from internationally renowned Jamaican comedian, Mr. Oliver Samuels. The occasion was the Jamaican Gala Dinner and Charity Event, organised by the Jamaican community and held under the patronage of Her Excellency Vilma McNish, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium, at the Linder Hotel in Antwerp.

Mr. Samuels, who was the master of ceremonies, kept the audience entertained throughout the evening as he interacted with the guests in his inimitable comedic style. He recounted experiences such as his recent encounter with the dreaded Chikungunya virus. Proceeds from the event will go towards the restoration of the Ward Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica, and Mr. Samuels reminded the audience of the enormous significance of the Ward for Jamaican theatre, having provided the stage for many renowned performers, including himself, to launch their careers and the staging of the nation’s annual pantomime.

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Jamaica Ambassador McNish presents the grand prize to Ms. Paulette Hamilton

In her address, Ambassador McNish used the opportunity to encourage participation in the Jamaican Diaspora Mapping Project, which involves an online survey aimed at identifying and mobilizing skills, expertise and interests the Jamaican Diaspora to contribute to national development. The Ambassador also stressed the importance of representatives of the Jamaican community in Belgium participating in the next Jamaican Biennial Diaspora Conference, which will be held in June 2015 in Montego Bay.

Entertainment was provided by talented members of the community. Guests were treated to a buffet of typical Jamaican cuisine courtesy of Jamaican national Mr. Omar McBean, a top chef at the hotel. The Gala Dinner and Charity Event is the first in what is expected to be an annual affair by the Jamaican community

One of the highlights of the evening was the grand raffle, which included a trip for two to Jamaica courtesy of Belgian Airline Jet Air Fly, and Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, Montego Bay. Other sponsors of the event included the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Information Service, and the VDL Group, the Belgian manufacturers of buses for the transportation system in Jamaica..-OnPointPress.net.

 

Jamaican athletes warmly welcomed, skills touted, in Brussels visit

Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Mr Wlifrid Meert/ Van Damme Games Representative, Mr Andreas Gerlandt, Mr Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, Ambassador Vilma McNish and Kemar Bailey-Cole.

Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Senior VP of Commerzbank and Honorary Consul in Belgium; Mr Wlifrid Meert/ Van Damme Games Representative; Mr Andreas Gerlandt, Commerzbank Country Manager for Belgium; Mr Nesta Carter; Jamaica’s Track Star Asafa Powell, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium  Vilma McNish and Kemar Bailey-Cole.

“Our Jamaican athletes continue to blaze a trail of triumph and glory globally,” said Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in a special video message on the occasion of a reception on September 4, 2014 in honor of the athletes who participated in the recent Memorial Van Damme Games in Brussels.The treasured and talented ambassadors of Brand Jamaica continue to bring distinction to Jamaica, the Prime Minister said.

The event was hosted by the embassy of Jamaica in Brussels and the Commerzbank on the eve of the season’s final IAAF Diamond League meet on September 5, 2014.
The Prime Minister used the opportunity to highlight the fruitful relationship and the strong bonds of friendship between Jamaica and Belgium.

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Jamaican track star Asafa Powell shares his thoughts with the gathering.

Referring to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Brussels after the Second World War, she stressed the power of sport to free the world from prejudices and unite people in the spirit of cooperation, friendship, peace, security and freedom.

In welcoming the athletes, Ambassador Vilma McNish, Jamaica’s ambassador to Belgium and head of mission to the European Union also lauded their outstanding achievements of the athletes during the season, in particular their performance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August. Mr. Jacques Nyssen, vice president of the Commerzbank and Honorary Consul, underscored the many years of co-operation between Jamaica and Belgium, particularly in the area oftransportation.

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L-R: Mr. Andreas Gerlandt, Commerzbank Country Manager for Belgium,  Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium Vilma McNish, Track star Asafa Powell and Mr. Jacques Nyseem, Senior Vice President of Commerzbank and Honorary Consul in Belgium.

The relaxed atmosphere allowed the athletes who had spent the day training for the track meet the following day to meet and greet members of the Jamaican Communityand Belgianwell-wishers. They included Asafa Powell, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nesta Carter, Andrew Riley, Kaliese Spencer, Christine Day, Stephanie Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams Mills, and Kimberley Williams.

A donation was made by Commerzbank to the Asafa Powell Foundation. In accepting the donation, Mr. Powel affirmed his dedication to sport and in assisting in the development of young track and field athletes in Jamaica through his foundation. He expressed the appreciation of his fellow athletes for the warm reception.-OnPointPress.net.

The Netherlands survive penalty kicks to face Argentina in semi-finals

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A joyous Lionel Messi runs around the football field, leading his teammates and the stadium filled with fans in a rousing rendition of Argentina’s national anthem at the conclusion of the team’s victory over Belgium’s Red Devils.

By Carmen Glover

Argentina broke it’s 24-year World Cup drought on Saturday by beating Belgium 1-0 and earning a spot in the semi-finals to face the Netherlands who struggled to be a plucky Costa Rican team that many did not expect to reach this far. The semi-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands will air on ESPN at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 9. Argentina presented Belgium’s  Red Devils with a much stronger competition than the USA team did. This made it difficult for the Red Devils to see the back of Argentina’s net, instead of the 16 touches it gave USA goalkeeper Tim Howard. But Belgium’s coach Marc Wilmots, speaking in the press conference after the game did not give Argentina much credit.

“We were not impressed by Argentina. They are just an ordinary team,” he said, while contradicting himself in stating “they did not give us any space.”

Gonzado Higuain scores Argentina's only goal in the quarter final match against Belgium.

Gonzado Higuain scores Argentina’s only goal in the quarter final match against Belgium.

Argentina’s striker Gonzado Higuain scored the sole goal in the game, putting his team ahead. Argentina never faltered after that .Lionel Messi’s quiet leadership and poise was on full display during the match, as he guided his team to victory with his understated yet supportive style, which inspired his teammates to shine.

Argentina's World Cup Football Team.

Argentina’s World Cup Football Team.

Still, Messi has a long way to go to prove himself in the eyes of Argentina’s vocal fans who compare all of their football stars to iconic player Diego Maradona, who bought his countrythe World Cup championship in the 1986 by beating Belgium in Mexico. While Messi does not seek the spotlight, Maradona has been plagued by drama and has staunchly brushed off the controversy surrounding his infamous handball which he described as “the hands of God.”

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas frustrated the Dutchmen and pushed the game to extra time.

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas frustrated the Dutchmen and pushed the game to extra time but was unable to save any of the Dutchmen’s penalty kicks.

During the match between Costa Rica and the Netherlands, Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas was focused and determined to limit the goal post at all costs, much to the frustration of the Dutch, particularly top striker Robin Van Persie, who made several attempts to score in regulation and extra time. The Costa Rican defense was also very stifling, which Greece saw when the Ticos beat them in the round of 16 with only ten men on the field.

Costa Rican player Joel Campbell left the game in the second half, overcome with exhaustion.

Costa Rican player Joel Campbell left the game in the second half, overcome with exhaustion.

In the quarter-final game, one of the Ticos’ best players, Joel Campbell, a striker for Arsenal, left the field in the second half, overcome with exhaustion. His presence was missed but the Ticos put up an epic battle and manhandled the Dutch, pushing the game to overtime and penalty shootouts, determined to hold the banner for their CONCACAF region and causing the fans In the stadium to erupt with pride.The Ticos had a late rally in the last minutes of extra time and seemed poised to make their first appearance in the semi-finals.

Robin Van Persie, the Netherlands' top flight striker.

Robin Van Persie, the Netherlands’ top flight striker, applied relentless pressure to the Costa Rican goalkeeper.

But it was not meant to be and the Netherlands eked out a victory in penalty shootouts, advancing 4-3.The Netherlands were very motivated to win and advance to the semi-finals since they have the distinction of losing the most World Cup Finals, having been to three finals and losing every time.

Robin Van Persie's iconic World Cup goal that decimated Spain in the first round.

Robin Van Persie’s iconic World Cup goal that decimated Spain in the first round in pent-up revenge for losing to the World Cup Championship to them in 2010.

The Dutch switched goalkeepers for the penalty kicks but the Ticos kept Navals, who  served them well throughout the tournament but fell short in the penalty phase, failing to save any of the penalty shots. While the game was thrilling, the manner in which the victory was achieved does not bode well for the Dutchmen because it took them enormous effort to defeat the Ticos, who many had dismissed as the “Cinderella team.”

The Netherlands' World Cup Team.

The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.

With Brazil losing its star player Neymar on Friday due to a broken vertebrae, their chances of advancing to the final is also in doubt so if the Netherlands face Germany, can they reasonably expect to triumph? That seems highly unlikely. Somehow, it seems like the World Cup final will be a matchup between Germany and Argentina, based on the style of play that the four remaining teams have shown so far and the fact that Brazil’s overall performance, which has not been impressive, will suffer without their star player. The Netherlands is the only team in the semi-final round that has never won a World Cup Championship and with Messi having so much to prove, it seems unrealistic to expect the Dutchmen to beat the Argentinians.

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FIFA highlighted Anti-Discrimination message during all quarter-final games.

FIFA officials, in designating the quarter finals as the period of the World Cup to focus on Anti-Discrimination, asked each team’s captain to read an anti-discrimination message, while a FIFA representative read a statement denouncing “discrimination in all its forms.” -OnPointPress.net.