House to Hold Final Public Hearing on NFF Act Today

first_imgAnother bill for discussion at today’s hearing is the Act establishing the Nigeria Sports Anti-dropping Agency, the body responsible for carrying out all functions of the Nigerian anti-doping organisation.The committee will also discuss the bill for an Act to provide for the Administration and Management of Sports in the country.This body is to handle the establishment of sports institutions and facilities, harness sports development and to encourage and promote drug-free sports and recreation in Nigeria.Over the years, football stakeholders have clamoured for the autonomy of the Glass House from government control. But the government that has been funding almost all its activities has been exerting influence through the supervising Federal Ministry of Sports.Total government control has made it impossible for any incumbent president of the NFF (A) to seek re-election and most corporate bodies shy away from partnering the football federation.The administration of Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi at its 2008 Congress approved the change of the then NFA to NFF in line with FIFA Statues.However, that change remained mere paper work as it has no legal backing.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Femi SolajaThe House of Representatives Committee on Sports is to hold a public hearing today on the bill proposing to repeal the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) Act.The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly (the Senate) had earlier conducted its own hearing on the same NFA act and passed it.Today’s public hearing in the lower chamber is scheduled to hold at the Conference Room 028, New building of the Assembly complex in Abuja starting from 10 am.In a paid advertisement signed by Rt. Hon Goni Bukar Lawan, the House Committee on Sports is inviting the general public and stakeholders to vent their airs on the bill seeking to repeal the Nigeria Football Association Act, CAP. N110, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Act.last_img read more

FIFA Club World Cup Exclusive on StarTimes

first_imgAs part of its commitment to broadcast sporting content to its growing number of subscribers, StarTimes is bringing the live coverage of the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup to the screen of football lovers.The 2017 FIFA Club World Cup commenced on December 6 and will run till 16 December at the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Seven clubs will play a total of eight matches in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain’s Hazza Bin Zayed stadiums.The all-champions football tournament, currently in its 13th edition, is a FIFA organised international club football tournament between champion clubs from each of the six continental confederations, as well as the national league champion from the host country. The tournament will be hosted by Japan and beamed live on StarTimes sports channels including sports focus and world football. The Club World Cup UAE 2017 is featuring CAF champion, Wydad Casablanca from Morocco, Mexico’s Club World Cup veterans, Pachuca and New Zealand’s Auckland City.Club World Cup holders Real Madrid will have the chance to defend their global crown and be the first club to win two consecutive titles after winning the UEFA Champions League in June.According to the Brands and Marketing Director, StarTimes, Qasim Elegbede, “We are glad to offer the only world club tournament on an exclusive basis to our subscribers in Africa. We are very excited because this is a unique opportunity for football fans to see the best clubs from each continent, including Real Madrid, play one against another.”Elegbede further noted that, “The live telecast of these matches reflect the firm’s commitment to provide the best sporting action to its subscribers at a very affordable rate. Football lovers can also enjoy the thrills and action of these games on StarTimes World Football Channel 254 or 245, sports focus or live on the StarTimes mobile app available for download on the app store.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Edmond Ajoge:  We Must Bring Down the Cost of Running Tournaments

first_imgBy Stanley NkwazemaFor four years, Edmond Ajoge, through Tombim Sports Foundation has shouldered the sponsorship of an International Tennis Federation-sanctioned tournament in Abuja. Three seasons ago, Engineer Dayo Akindoju joined in the sponsorship before he was elected the President of Nigeria Tennis Federation also joining the train is Bayo Okusanya through GSL, now in its second edition. This brings three weeks of uninterrupted international tennis to the Federal Capital Territory.Interestingly, even as the last edition was concluded recently, it was yet a pipe dream for the Nigerian players as Brazilians won the Tombim and GSL tournaments and Sweden’s only entrant, Markus Eriksson, won the Dayak leg of the International Tennis. After following the editions and sharing the challenges faced by the sponsors, who indeed deserve commendations for the daunting task of bringing players aiming for the top level of the pro circuit, Ajoge told THISDAY that he feels happy impacting on tennis in Nigeria.Ajoge said: “God has given us the grace. We have done four editions. It has been very challenging. Everything, everywhere in the world is now a challenge coupled with the economic situation in Nigeria. It is a bit difficult but we are committed to it and by the grace of God we will see it through. “When we set out to do these four years ago, it was one of the things we had in mind. But like they say, man proposes and God disposes. That was part of our dream but we have not been able to do that because right now, achieving it in the near future is very tight for few reasons. One of them is the fact that we don’t have very good players in this country. It doesn’t have to do with only tennis, it is just the way our country is right now, and we are all in a mess in all facets of life in this country. So, sports are no exception and tennis in particular is just one of it.“You find kids, instead of them training to be somebody in life, all they are taking about is money. They have the wrong set of people as their mentors. That is the biggest problem we have in tennis today. The Nigeria Tennis Federation is working towards that and one of the things they are trying to do is to develop our players at the grassroots level; reason they had a tournament recently called ‘play your age’. The NTF President is pushing so hard to achieve the best in that regard and see to it that he can replicate it three or four times in a year.  If that can happen regularly, we will have the privilege to see our local players grow into better players and get to maybe the Semi-finals or the finals of the Tombim, Dayak and GSL Tournaments.“It’s quite unfortunate, the foreign players come here and they look forward to playing this tournament every year; they know they will come to Nigeria and pick the points and walk away. There is no resistance from any Nigerian player.”It is no longer news that a particular set of officials dominate the tournaments in Nigeria almost monopolising the officiating due to the fact that tennis enthusiasts doesn’t seem  interested in running the lines. Ajoge said: “It was a battle for us like three years. We were on it and finally last month, we were able to accomplish it. The way we function in Nigeria as a people, whatever we are used to doing, we do not want to change and I felt that we could do something to it. We have done it repeatedly for a few years and there is no difference and if you still continue to do it that way, of course, that is what is called madness.“You have tournaments in Lagos, Kano and other places and you are bringing people from Taraba to come and officiate in tournaments in Lagos. It doesn’t make any sense. If we can develop our data and equally develop a good number of officials everywhere in the country, then that makes life easier for us in this country. If you have a tournament in Abuja then the residents in Abuja will do it. My aim is to bring down the cost of running tournaments in this country as low as possible. When you do that, you will see many people coming in to assist with hosting as many tournaments as possible with little amount of money.“It is possible. But before now, the cost of running tournaments in Nigeria is up there; you to pay the officials, their transport, accommodation and all these raise the cost of tournaments. I can guarantee that if there is any tournament in Abuja and I am invited, I will commute from my house.According to Ajoge, one of the goals is to get Nigerian players rated by ITF and the ATP. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to achieve that because the players are not ready to sacrifice; most of them are not disciplined. The second part is to bring as many tournaments to the country as possible. We have been able to achieve that. We have three which runs for weeks here in Abuja. Hopefully, more people are joining us to run more tournaments. The other is also to bring down the cost and we are going to achieve that with every opportunity we have. We now have many volunteers ready to run around with each tournament which therefore encourages others to be part of the train.Raising Africa’s Hope of Digital Migration with Digital Technology The 2018 Digital Dialogue Conference facilitated by MultiChoice Africa, has raised hope among African countries that the current drive for nations to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting, will reposition Africa in today’s digital era, writes Emma OkonjiM ultiChoice Africa, penultimate week, played a major role in the just concluded 2018 Digital Dialogue Conference, which held in Dubai, UAE, by facilitating it to further create a better understanding of the future direction of the video entertainment industry in Africa. Already in its fifth year, the conference was established in 2012 to create a better understanding of digital migration and its impact on Africa’s digital landscape. Since then, the independent and growing platform has been critical in fostering a better understanding and building knowledge on video entertainment and digital terrestrial markets while creating necessary conversations with thought leaders about various industry-related issues.African countries have been battling to conclude the process of digital migration, which is designed to phase out analogue television broadcasting and usher in digital broadcasting in the TV and entertainment industry. Nigeria is still in the process of completing the entire digital migration process, having covered some few cities where it has launched the Digital Switchover (DSO), as it is fondly called in Nigeria.Digital Migration in AfricaThe rapid advances in digital technology in Africa has created new opportunities to innovate on content delivery, however, while “the digital disruption has and will change how people consume digital products, as people who are invested and committed to the future of Africa, it is our collective responsibility to play an active role in making sure our continent benefits from this opportunity”. These insights were shared by the CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice, Yolisa Phahle, on the first day of the fifth edition of the Digital Dialogue.Speaking in front of a delegation comprising of several international industry thought-leaders and key media stakeholders from across the African continent, Phahle’s talk set the tone for the conference with its positive outlook into the future directions of video entertainment and how the industry is responding to the rapid change in technology when it comes to platforms of content delivery.Key InsightsAccording to Phahle, “If you speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disrupter and if necessary even to cannibalise yourself.” She said it was the need to be innovative that made Multichoice to launch GOtv in spite of the reach of DStv, adding that that was possible because the company was launched by people who were creating a media group not for the present, but one for the future.“We produce over 16 local content channels across the continent showcasing local storytellers and created the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards that celebrate African film making, we work with local broadcasters so that East Africans can see what is happening in West and Southern Africa. As a company, we are looking forward to investing even more in telling local stories, documenting our history and providing a platform for Africans to share African stories,” Phahle said.Speaking on MultiChoice vision for future digital content creation, Phahle said: “At MultiChoice, our vision is to be the best African story teller in the world, at the same time, we also promise to bring our customers the best international stories. Being able to tell the right story, at the right time to the right person is our absolute focus and if we are able to leverage the technology, and become obsessed with pleasing our customers, we will nullify the headwinds and use the tail winds to drive exponential growth for our collective future.”The Nollywood RevolutionThe CEO of Zuri24 Media Limited, Femi Odugbemi, who unpacked the Nollywood revolution to industry thought leaders at the conference, said: “If there has ever been an industry that created digital dialogue from the word go, it is Nollywood.” He reflected on Nollywood’s exponential growth since 1992 with the release of the classic ‘Living in Bondage’ and 2014 when it was declared a $3.3 billion sector by the Nigerian government.According to him, in 2016, Nollywood’s combined Box Office topped a staggering N3.5 billion ($11.5 million) and in 2017 Nollywood was named one of the priority sectors identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria with a planned $1 billion in export revenue by 2020.MultiChoice said it was of the view that with the right digital content and enabling policies, Nigeria could be digitally ready to achieve digital migration.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Cavani’s Hat-trick for PSG Inflict More Misery on Thierry Henry

first_imgEdinson Cavani inflicted more misery on Monaco and their manager Thierry Henry last night with a hat-trick to send Paris St-Germain 13 points clear in Ligue 1.Henry’s struggling side were totally outclassed by the French champions as Cavani scored the first three goals.Neymar added the fourth from the penalty spot as Monaco suffered a second successive 4-0 defeat. Henry’s side have won just one league game all season and are second bottom – five points from safety.Cavani opened the scoring from PSG’s first meaningful attack – the Uruguay forward tapping home Neymar’s pass – before doubling the lead with another close-range finish.Both goals were awarded after a short delay while they were reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).Former Napoli player Cavani completed his hat-trick after half-time before Neymar’s penalty – after Kylian Mbappe was fouled by Djibril Sidibe – completed the rout.It could have been worse for Monaco but Julian Draxler and Mbappe had efforts disallowed.Monaco, eliminated from the Champions League after they were thrashed by Club Brugge last week, face fellow strugglers Caen following the international break on 24 November.portsShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

U17 AFCON: Eaglets Top Group after Draw with Uganda

first_imgTwo-time champions Nigeria finished as winners of Group A of the ongoing Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania after forcing Uganda to a 1-1 draw at the Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam Saturday.In a pattern that has stuck with them since the tournament began, the Golden Eaglets created a basketful of chances, wasting them one after the other, starting from Akinkunmi Amoo’s poor touch after a sweet team move in the 17th minute.In the 70th minute, Uganda drew first blood as the Nigeria defence ball-watched from a corner kick. Davis Ssekajja’s pull out only got a slight touch from Sunday Stephen, and substitute John Alou had the simplest task of nodding into an empty net. Two minutes later, with the goalkeeper to beat, Wisdom Ubani – who got a brace against Tanzania on the opening day but is yet to add to that despite his high work rate and activity – wasted another clear chance. But a minute later, Nigeria were level as Ibraheem Jabaar read a long pass from substitute Olakunle Olusegun quite well and pushed it beyond onrushing goalkeeper Komakech with the Ugandan defence in no man’s land.In Wednesday’s semi finals, the Golden Eaglets will play against the second –placed team in Group B, which would be sorted out today as leaders Cameroon confront Senegal and second –placed Guinea tackle Morocco.Angola join Nigeria in the semi finals from Group A, following their 4-2 defeat of Tanzania, as the host nation ended up losing all three group phase matches, conceding 12 goals.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Golden Eagletslast_img read more

African T’Tennis Club Championships Begin in Lagos

first_imgIn the draw conducted, men’s number one seed, ENPPI of Egypt has been drawn in Group A alongside Benin’s Unversite d’Abomey Calavi, Congo DRC’s APC Spin and Remo Stars of Nigeria.Group B has SOJ TT Club of Nigeria as well as Togo’s Club Avenir, Ethiopia’s Commercial Bank and Rwanda’s Vision TT.Women’s defending champion and Number One seed, Al Ahly of Egypt has been drawn in Group A with Nigeria’s G20 and Senegal’s Club International of Dakar.In Group B, Nigeria’s Cannan Queens are to compete with Congo DRC’s APC Spin and Ethiopia’s Commercial Bank.The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinal stage of the competition starting today.The Club Championships is kick starting the table tennis festival in Lagos as the City of Excellence is playing host to three major tournaments on the ITTF calendar.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The 2019 African Table Tennis Championships is scheduled to begin today at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.The bi-annual tournament which was hosted in 2017 in Agadir, Morocco, has Egypt’s Al Ahly as the defending champions in the men and women events.For the first time, the number of teams increased to eight with Nigeria, Egypt, Togo, Senegal and Rwanda competing in the two events.last_img read more

NYSPHAA cancels fall sports state championships

first_img Tags: fall sportsNYSPHSAA If interscholastic sports are to take place in New York State this fall, they will do so on a delayed basis and without the lure of regional or state championships.At the recommendation of its COVID-19 Task Force, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Thursday that it would not hold its slate of fall state championships in November.Also, NYSPHSAA decided to push back the start of fall sports until Sept. 21, four weeks after teams were scheduled to begin practices. And the possibility of further postponements remains on the table.“We recognize this is challenging for everyone,” said NYSPHSAA executive director Dr. Robert Zayas. “The decisions made at the state level are based upon data and statewide infection rates all in an effort to stop the spread of (COVID-19) and reopen responsibly”.As of now, interscholastic athletics remains prohibited across the state based on state Department of Health guidelines.A determination will be made in the first week of August if schools are to open on time the first full week of September, with Governor Andrew Cuomo saying schools can open if infection rates remain below 5 percent and the state’s regions remain in “Phase Four” of their reopening processes.NYSPHSAA’s COVID-19 Task Force met for the third time on Thursday after two meetings in June and after the State Department of Education released, earlier in the week, a 23-page guideline for schools looking to open after they were closed in mid-March.Aside from making the decision not to have state championships in the fall, NYSPHSAA also waived a seven-day practice rule for fall sports teams and, encouraged geographic scheduling for games and contests – if there is a fall season.If regional differences, school closings and pandemic outbreaks force further delays, NYSPHSAA is prepared to move most fall sports to a 10-week stretch from March 1 to May 8 in between the usual winter and spring seasons.Football, soccer, cross country, field hockey, volleyball, girls swimming and Unified bowling would all make this move, with girls tennis moved to later in the spring.As for the winter season, NYSPHSAA’s condensed schedule would have it begin Jan. 4 and end March 13, including basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, wrestling, bowling, gymnastics, skiing and competitive cheer.Then the third 10-week slate which would run April 5 to June 12 would include lacrosse, baseball, softball, outdoor track, tennis and golf.“We will continue to follow state guidance and work collectively with state officials to ensure high school athletics will start responsibly in the future,” said Zayas. “We must be willing to be flexible and continue to explore all options with student safety as our main focus.”Any of these plans, said Zayas, remain subject to further changes, depending on what state officials decide in the weeks ahead. And those changes could include having non-contact sports (such as baseball, softball and golf) in the fall while still moving football and soccer to early 2021.One certainty is that NYSPHSAA’s COVID-19 Task Force will meet again to discuss further options once state guidelines are updated.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story last_img read more

Rent-A-Fit student fashion startup makes sustainable street-wear accessible

first_img“When we first started this company, we had no idea what we were doing,” Chen said. “We’ve never done a tech startup team before. And that’s kind of where I’ve been fortunate enough to go to USC, and USC really played a big role in helping us grow this business.” “What is really cool about being a part of this venture, while we’re all still in school, is that we can use what we’ve learned from USC and within Marshall and then test it out in real-life situations,” Marcussen said. Photo Courtesy of Calvin Chen Starting their business model as freshman roommates, Chen and Mullen worked tirelessly on their plan throughout their freshman year. Chen said that he sometimes needed to sacrifice class periods to meet with key investors, and Mullen said the pair worked on their final project daily.  “I think those two students had a huge amount of [mindset and entrepreneurial spirit] that they were very good at sharing ideas about their business, participating [and] encouraging other students to learn about their ideas,” Szymanski said. “The presentation was great and they were very motivated and extremely passionate about clothing.” “It really just came down to putting in the time, the grind and effort, really into making it successful,” Mullen said. “We would just work every single day on building our business plan, establishing our model, looking at projections, sourcing out products [and] developing our website.”  Rent-A Fit offers clients an affordable alternative to expensive name brands. Renters pay a $5 monthly subscription fee for access to the latest clothing trends and the ability to take items from Rent-A-Fit’s luxury inventory home for a three- or six-day period. The company, which has over 500 subscribers, offers full dry-cleaning services and members can buy their rentals at a discount at the end of each fashion season. “This idea is really relevant for people who still want to experience luxury without committing and paying the big-ticket price,” Marcussen said. “On a sustainability level, I think Rent-A-Fit is such a great option for people to be able to try this out, you know, wear it a couple of times and send it back without having it sit in their closet for months and never wearing it.”  “The last year or so, the whole renting revolution trend has become very popular,” Mullen said. “And I think for us, with minimal competition in our specific niche — which is a luxury good phase — has an incredible opportunity to grow.” With a closet full of shirts and an idea in 2018, Calvin Chen and Brendan Mullen beat the clock and founded a fashion rentals brand startup to help young professionals make a statement in the City of Angels. Both juniors majoring in business administration launched a startup called Rent-A-Fit, making high-end fashion more sustainable and affordable for students and budding professionals. Now, they couldn’t be more excited to see their project begin its initial launch. Now more than ever, consumers consider alternatives to purchasing high-end products for both financial and environmental reasons. Fast fashion is one of the leading causes of landfill waste, and renting represents a sustainable alternative for any occasion. With the help of USC resources such as the Marshall Incubator Program at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the pair reached out to Marshall mentors such as professor Marianne Szymanski and alumni investors. While maintaining a busy school schedule, their first inventory came from Chen’s closet, and they worked long into the night creating online platform tools and learning about previous rental business models as freshmen. “We didn’t have any experience right away,” Mullen said. “We knew we had a great idea we were sitting on. We wanted to go about it the right way.” Risks in starting a new enterprise kept the team on track. Rent-A-Fit founders said that time is their most valuable resource when building their brand since starting a business in college is difficult.  In 2018 the pair met with more than 30 USC business professors and professionals like Director of the USC Incubator Program Paul Orlando, who advised and connected them with other professionals. Chen and Mullen both said that they are responsible for angel investors’ money — today Rent-A-Fit has raised $100,000 in fundraising and the company is valued at $2.5 million. Rent-A-Fit team members said they are determined to put this startup funding to good use. “The minute you walk in my [classroom] door, you’ve already told me, ‘I want to be an entrepreneur’ and have a business idea,” Szymanski said. “It could just be a sketch on a paper, but you will really focus on yourself and how to apply yourself to the situation of running a business.”   Mullen said he doesn’t want to waste any time with an opportunity like Rent-A-Fit.  Earlier this year, the duo asked Emma Marcussen, a sophomore majoring in business administration, to join their team. Marcussen helps develop the brand’s online platforms and has recently worked on building brand recognizability for Rent-A-Fit. Szymanski said she is excited to see her students succeed in the fashion industry.  Taking Szymanski’s Management of New Enterprises course allowed Chen and Mullen to apply their ideas in the classroom and gain mentors along the way. “Now that I am responsible for investors’ money, it really changes your perspective,” Mullen said. “I want to work as hard as possible to ensure that they will have a gain on their investment down the road.”  Under Szymanski’s guidance, Chen and Mullen learned what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Szymanski stressed that students need the discipline to excel in Marshall startup courses and beyond. She also recommended that students interested in small business development take Entrepreneurship of the Toy Industry, a two-unit course that follows the business models of popular toy brands like Hasbro and Mattel.  The trio agree that renting is the business of the future. Chen said that post-pandemic fashion is already changing for the better. With the economic downturn, fashionistas are more conscious about their spending and are looking for alternatives to fast fashion — and Rent-A-Fit has just the answer for this change.last_img read more

Braun: UW could prove worth in Maui

first_imgThe Bo Ryan-led Badgers are no stranger to tournaments. Since 2001 when Ryan took over, his squad has qualified for eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments. His teams have experienced some success, reaching the Elite Eight in 2005 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2008.But never have any of those teams played in the Maui Invitational.Arguably the most competitive early-season tournament the NCAA has to offer, tonight the Badgers will face Arizona in what will be the team’s first serious challenge of the year.The field, which consists of Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Colorado, Maryland, Vanderbilt and Chaminade in addition to Arizona and Wisconsin, includes teams from six major conferences and four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last season.Obviously, it’s early in the season, perhaps too early to truly evaluate the Badgers’ performance thus far. Forwards Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil have shown glimpses of brilliance, and Trevon Hughes has exhibited improvement in his decision-making abilities, albeit against far weaker opponents.But now in such a tough field, the Badgers could prove they are better than many believe they are, or perhaps, just as weak as the media predicted.It is no secret Bo’s squads have been perennially underrated in preseason rankings. Two years ago, when the Badgers won the Big Ten outright for the first time since 2003, they were predicted to finish third in the conference, and ended up losing only two games to one conference opponent all year.Now, Wisconsin has a chance to impress a national audience, and if the Badgers’ past early-season tournament success is any indication, this could be an opportunity UW won’t want to pass up.Last year in another difficult Paradise Jam Tournament, Wisconsin defeated San Diego and Iona before falling to a far superior UConn squad. But in the Maui field this year, while nearly every team has a solid core that could propel it to a high finish, there isn’t a squad like Connecticut’s a year ago.Simply put, the Badgers have a chance to prove their worth against a very beatable set of teams. Unlike last year when a trip to the tournament championship meant an imminent loss to the Huskies, Wisconsin must like its chances against a team like Maryland or Vanderbilt.But really, there’s more to this tournament than just a chance at winning in a team of solid competitors. The Maui Invitational, unlike nearly every other early-season tournament in the country, is essentially a shorter replica of what the Badgers will hope to be a part of in March. Every game will be a challenge, and the difficulty of playing on a neutral court against quality opponents is a dream come true for Ryan and the Badgers.Looking at the rest of UW’s nonconference schedule, things simply don’t get any easier. As always, the Badgers will face Marquette, and of course, Duke is coming to the Kohl Center next week.So what does a strong performance in this tournament mean for the Badgers? Well, aside from the respect it could gain from a couple wins on national television, simply the experience of being in a tournament that resembles the NCAA Tournament can give the Badgers confidence they are able to compete in a field like that at the end of the season.But a bad performance wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either. If you ask any of the players who endured the Badgers’ six-game losing streak last season, they would tell you while it was perhaps the toughest stretch of the season, the ability to recover and qualify for the NCAA Tournament was more rewarding as a result.This tournament is no different. Even though the Badgers could lose at most three consecutive games in Maui, they would still have to reassess their current situation and come to the realization that someone, whether it be Leuer, Hughes or Nankivil, must step up to perform well in the Big Ten and throughout the rest of the team’s nonconference schedule.For now, though, the Badgers should feel privileged to be selected to play in the Maui Invitational. Their appearance, whether it turn out bad or good, is simply a nod to the team’s recent success. Hopefully for UW, it will use its experiences from this tournament to help the team when faced with similar challenges at the end of the season.Jonah is a junior majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Excited for the Badgers’ appearance in the Maui Invitational? Send your thoughts to jbraun@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

TENNIS : Syracuse not content with 2 losses in 1st half of season

first_imgLuke Jensen said his players work harder than any other team in the country, regardless of level. He makes them work for three hours at a time and expects results.‘There isn’t a group of tennis players on the men’s side or the women’s side in any facet of this game, from the juniors (to) college (to the) pros, that works harder,’ Jensen said. ‘Honestly, for three straight hours when they’re out here (practicing), they’re not allowed to sit down, and they don’t get many water breaks.’At the halfway point of the season, his team sits 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference. SU is currently riding an 18-game Big East regular-season winning streak, as well as a streak of 19 straight home wins.But for a team whose sights are set on winning the Big East tournament, Jensen and his players know they still need to get better. Especially considering the team dropped only two regular-season matches last season and was still unable to get past the second round of the Big East tournament — something the team would like to change this time around.Freshman Maddie Kobelt wasn’t around for that early exit from postseason play a year ago, but she knows the importance of winning the conference championship. With that trophy, the team will earn a berth into the NCAA tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It’s definitely important and good for us to come out and show the rest of the teams in the Big East that this is our record against other Big East teams,’ Kobelt said. ‘This is how we’ve competed, we’re here and we mean business.’So far, SU has bullied its four in-conference opponents with both losses coming in nonconference matches. The Orange defeated Cincinnati and Georgetown and dropped just three of 14 matches combined against those teams. And against Seton Hall and West Virginia, Syracuse registered shutouts.Those teams, however, aren’t the ones Jensen expects to compete with in the late rounds of the conference tournament. The Notre Dames of the Big East are much more of a concern for the fifth-year coach.‘The reality is (Notre Dame) is the favorite,’ Jensen said. ‘They have higher-ranked players; they have higher-ranked junior players. But really when you come onto the court for competition, that doesn’t count. They don’t get extra points unless you give it to them.‘When we come into the Big East tournament against anyone, we face them with a chip on our shoulder — that we’ve got to prove something.’But before the team gets to the Big East tournament, it has a grueling regular-season schedule to complete. Syracuse will take on teams such as Southern California, San Diego State and William & Mary to test the Orange late in the regular season. USC is currently ranked No. 17 in the nation, while SDSU and W&M are 62nd and 75th, respectively.Kobelt is especially looking forward to facing off against teams outside the northeast region. Especially those from the West Coast.‘We’re really excited for that,’ Kobelt said. ‘(We’re) ready to go out and show them what us East Coast girls got.’Though they may not have the 10-0 record they wanted at this point in the season, the ‘East Coast girls’ bring a competitive edge and an unmatched work ethic to the courts every day. It is a work ethic that stems from their coach.But work ethic alone doesn’t yield results. The team might be the hardest working in the nation, as Jensen said, but that didn’t prevent SU from dropping two matches in the first half.Nonetheless, Jensen knows this determination is what makes his team so special. He made it clear this year’s team is the most highly motivated squad he’s ever coached.With all this said, there can be no letup for Jensen and his squad. Other elite teams in the nation are out there training every day, preparing for their respective conference tournaments, just like Syracuse is.That means the Orange needs to put those early-season losses behind it and continue to make strides under Jensen’s tutelage.‘I think last year we had a much better start to last season than we did (this year),’ junior Emily Harman said. ‘We just really have to step it up in those (close) matches and look more like a veteran team.’sebail01@syr.edu Published on March 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: sebail01@syr.edu | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more