Excitement with heightened anticipation is building up ahead of the climax of the 2014 Hogbetsotso Festival in Keta, in the Volta region of Ghana. The festival will have a major sports feature this year as the Ghana Beach Soccer Association (GBSA) will outdoor the Hogbetsotso Beach Soccer Classic.Saturday 1st November will also play host to a number of events under the distinguished patronage of the King of Anlo Togbi Sri III.With a record surge in tourism over the past few years, the CEO of the Aborigines Beach Resorts, Mr. Mitch Woollams Awoonor, believes beach soccer can marry festivals to be an additional attraction as the new frontier in Ghanaian tourism especially along the coastal belt.”I have observed what pertains in other countries like Costa Rica, Portugal, Brazil and some parts of the the Americas with beach soccer. In the same way, the sport can boost tourism if given the needed push and support here in Ghana. By developing and promoting beach soccer, we automatically develop the coastal areas of the country thus attracting new tourists and potential businesses, create jobs and to bring revenue for the country”.Mr Awoonor was speaking from the venue for the games, the picturesque and serene Aborigines Beach Resort which is the the biggest in the Volta Region and rated as one of the best in Ghana.Coincidentally, the region and community is home to double GBSA league Champions, Keta Sunset Sports, who are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest beach soccer showcase in Ghana since the league commenced in 2011. With just four weeks to end the 2014 season, the spectacular Hegbotsosto festival of the Chiefs and people of Anloga in the Volta region will certainly provide record spectators and the perfect setting for over half a dozen beach soccer matches.CEO of Keta Sunset Sports, Ruben Adjahoe remains upbeat about Keta’s readiness for the games; “We are expecting thousands of people for the festival and games on Saturday and we are fully prepared to welcome Ghanaians, tourists and corporate bodies to this beautiful venue”.With local entertainment to match the white sandy beaches, live band music, acrobatic displays and cultural dances, the beach soccer teams hope to leave a positive indelible impression on the tens of thousands expected to attend.The President of the GBSA Yaw Ampofo Ankrah also reiterated that beach soccer is not just a sport but a culture with people at the heart of it. ”It is no secret that beach leisure, entertainment and culture is what brings out the passion in beach soccer. Apart from producing great athletes, it could be the catalyst that attracts a higher volume of tourists to Ghana and certainly create jobs for the unemployed youth”.Ampofo-Ankrah emphasized that additionally, the national beach soccer team known as the Black Sharks could help promote Ghana tourism beyond boundaries. Other distinguished guests expected to grace the festival include MCE of Keta Hon. Sylvester Tornyeavah, MP of Anlo Hon. Clement Humado, MP of Keta Hon. Richard Quashigah, President of the Volta Foundation Dumega Raymond Okudzeto among others.The 2014 Ghana Beach Soccer League is expected to come to a close on Saturday 29th November at the La beach Soccer Arena in Accra.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey report suggests that business conditions improved last month in nine Midwest and Plains states.The report issued Wednesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 55.2 in December from 54.1 in November. The October reading was 54.9.Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says the shortages of skilled workers are still holding back even stronger growth.The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline.The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
23 Apr 2012 Shinkwin eyes England spot with impressive Hog victory Hampshire Hog 136 C Shinkwin (Moor Park) 68 68 139 M Young (Brokenhurst Manor) 68 71, J Titlow (Knole Park) 68 71 140 M Wallace (Moor Park) 66 74, G Samuels (Leighton Buzzard) 68 72, J Bartlett (Worthing) 65 75 Callum Shinkwin (Moor Park, Hertfordshire) boosted his chance of a call-up for next month’s international with France with an impressive victory in the Hampshire Hog at a showery and chilly North Hants yesterday. Two rounds of two-under-par 68 earned the 18 year old a three-stroke winning margin over Martin Young (Brokenhurst Manor, Hampshire, IoW & CI) and Jerome Titlow (Knole Park, Kent). Watched by England selectors, Shinkwin, who opted to miss the previous day’s Selborne Salver – won by England boys’ squad member Matt Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire, Yorkshire) – said: “This win sets up a lot of opportunities for me. My aim is next year’s Walker Cup so hopefully a full England place is a possibility.” On the eve of jetting out to Spain for a week’s coaching with the rest of the England ‘A’ squad, Shinkwin found himself three strokes off the halfway lead, held by Jack Bartlett (Worthing, Sussex), after his opening 68. But as the weather deteriorated in the afternoon with showers moving in so the scores increased, apart from Shinkwin’s. His second 68, the only sub-par return of the round, left him out of touch for the rest of the field as he signed for four birdies and two bogeys. “I didn’t find the conditions more difficult after lunch,” he added. “The only problem was continually putting on and removing waterproofs. “But I’ve been playing solid all year. This is a superb course but I didn’t hole many putts today but I hit a lot of greens. “It’s great to win this title and to have my name up there with so many famous winners such as Michael Bonallack, Peter McEvoy, Gary Wolstenholme and Justin Rose.” While Shinkwin kept his form in the afternoon, the early leaders lost ground. Bartlett followed up his 65 with 75, while Matt Wallace (Moor Park, Hertfordshire) and Gavin Samuels (Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire) added 74s to their opening 66s, all three finishing equal fourth. But Bartlett, winner of the Berkhamsted Trophy three weeks earlier, had to consolation of lifting the Hampshire Salver for the best aggregate over the Selborne Salver and the Hog. He finished tied on 278 with Fitzpatrick but won on countback for his 140 at the Hog against Fitzpatrick’s 145. However, the Yorkshire teenager began the weekend by winning the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor with a 36-hole tally of 133 after a superb opening 63. He finished a shot ahead of ‘A’ squad member Jonathan Bell (Royal Blackheath, Kent) and Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire). Leading final scores Selborne Salver 133 M Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) 63 70 134 J Bell (Royal Blackheath) 67 67, P Howard (Southport & Ainsdale) 66 68 136 P Tarver Jones (Worthing) 64 72 Hampshire Salver 278 J Bartlett (Worthing) 138, 140; M Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) 133 145 (Bartlett won on countback)
PITTSBURGH (AP)—They said the losing had to stop, and it didn’t. They said the familiar pattern of a player getting good and then getting gone would stop, and it didn’t.Instead, the losing didn’t slow down for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it increased. The players kept leaving en masse. Attendance dipped yet again. WHEN WILL IT END—Pittsburgh Pirates fans Ben Samson, left, and Iliya Udler, of Pittsburgh, hold signs at the end of another Pirates loss, 4-2 to the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park Sept. 7. Flip the calendar, shuffle the roster—they’re still the same old Pirates.Just two of the eight starting position players projected at the start of spring training was in place when the season ended, but it made no difference.The Pirates are the franchise that sets the standard for losing in American pro sports, and they certainly kept up the pace during a dismal 99-loss season in which the roster kept changing but not much else did.Just days after team president Frank Coonelly said of his own club, “We expect this team, this year, to win,” the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Barely a week after the Pirates angered their shrinking fan base by trading their most popular player, Nate McLouth, mere months after giving him a contract extension, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.Yes, welcome to what’s jokingly being referred to as the City of Champions—and the Pirates. They didn’t win many games, but the Pirates certainly provided a lot of laughs.Jay Leno made fun of them—in two different time slots. “Saturday Night Live” parodied them in a skit in which the Pirates mythically won the World Series (30 years after they last accomplished it). During the G-20 summit, a fan waded through an anarchists’ rally with a sign protesting the Pirates’ record-breaking 17th consecutive losing season. Former Pirates pitcher Sean Burnett called them the “laughingstock” of baseball.Yuk, yuk, yuk. The Pirates’ only problem was their latest bumbling act of a season was real, and their 62-99 record during the second worst of the 17 straight losing seasons illustrates how far they still must go to stop being an all-too-convenient punch line.Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Nyjer Morgan? Gone. John Grabow, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny? Gone. McLouth, Burnett and Adam LaRoche? Gone, too, all in deals that brought only prospects—some promising, some marginal—in return.Neal Huntington, the ever-optimistic general manager who has few financial resources to work with other than a competitive draft day budget, acknowledges 2010 and 2011 could be tough, too.This season was bad enough, with a late-season stretch of 23 losses in 26 games, no player with more than 64 RBIs (Andy LaRoche), no pitcher with more than 11 wins (Ross Ohlendorf and Zach Duke) and a closer (Matt Capps) with a 5.80 ERA and 8 losses.For the second year in a row, the Pirates collapsed after their roster was gutted by trade deadline deals; a year ago, they dropped 41 of their final 60, this time it 46 of the final 65 (including 27 of the final 36). Their 22-58 road record was their worst since the NL adopted a 162-game season in 1962.Manager John Russell (129-194 in two seasons) is repeatedly praised by management for his calm, never-get-rattled approach, but some players said he is virtually noncommunicative for long stretches. Others are unhappy that Russell constantly refuses to argue close calls, creating the impression the players are on their own—and that the Pirates are a team that can be pushed around.Russell and Huntington are unsigned past next season, but Huntington said 2009 can be blamed on him, even though owner Bob Nutting has shown no signs of being willing to spend the money necessary to field a competitive team.“People are shocked we didn’t make staff changes because we lost 90-plus games again this year; it’s the era of human sacrifice, someone has to go if the team doesn’t win,” Huntington said. “Well, the reality is the losses this year are on me. We took the veteran players on this group and we put a group of young players out there and it is not fair to evaluate this staff based on wins and losses.”Russell had a similar view.“Take away the wins and losses—which you can’t, because that’s what we’re about—I think some guys made some good strides,” he said.There were glimmers of hope. Andrew McCutchen (.286, 12 homers, 54 RBIs) played every day but one after McLouth left and looks like a fixture in center field. Garrett Jones, a 28-year-old minor league free agent, hit .293 with 21 homers and 44 RBIs in half a season. Ohlendorf (11-10, 3.92) was a good pitcher on a bad team. Rookie right-hander Jesse Chavez pitched in 73 games, most of them effectively. Charlie Morton (5-9, 4.55) showed flashes after being dealt by Atlanta.Starting next season, the Pirates are counting on their waiting-in-the-wings minor leaguers—third baseman Pedro Alvarez, outfielder Jose Tabata, right-hander Brad Lincoln—to start arriving. However, no franchise bats 1.000 with its prospects, and the Pirates have little room for failure by their few top prospects.They would appear to have millions to spend on talent beyond the estimated $28 million already committed to their current players, yet Huntington said that while it’s possible the Pirates might sign multiple free agents, there’s a chance they won’t sign any.“As tough as it is to acknowledge during a 90-plus loss season, we are going in the right direction,” Huntington said. “On paper, it certainly feels like we took a step back…But 2009 was great growth year, though we realize fans don’t know that. It is going to show itself at the major league level in terms of wins and losses as we move forward.”