Ex Ivorian footballer Bonaventure Kalou elected mayor

Ex Ivorian footballer Bonaventure Kalou elected mayor

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban Content provided by AFP

Former Ivorian international Bonaventure Kalou has been elected mayor of Vavoua, a city located in central part of the country.

The former Paris Saint Germain, PSG, Auxerre and Feyenoord player was elected during last Saturday’s municipal elections, he run as an independent candidate.

“I have a feeling of pride and I have an emotional thought for my father, (who died in 2016) who would have liked to be mayor of this area, I’m following in his footsteps,” he said after his victory was confirmed.

It is often thought that footballers are good only to hit the ball, we confine them in a role. I wanted to get out of this scheme. You can be a footballer and do politics or become an intellectual.

Mayor Kalou will be leading a city of over half a million inhabitants. The last census in the area put the population at 400,000 (2014). Vavoua is located in the center of the main cocoa region of Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer.

It is however saddled with poverty, the roads are muddy and strewn with garbage cans, and many of its inhabitants live without running water or electricity.

“There is a sense of pride and also relief at having been elected against an electoral apparatus,” Kalou told the media.

“This fight was also for other footballers. It is often thought that footballers are good only to hit the ball, we confine them in a role. I wanted to get out of this scheme. You can be a footballer and do politics or become an intellectual,” he added.

Kalou reached fifty caps with the Elephants before retiring from international assignment. He won the Coupe de France twice during his time at PSG and Auxerre. He also won the Dutch championship with Feyenoord.

Bonaventure, 40, is elder brother of Solomon Kalou. He featured in the 2006 World Cup in Germany playing two matches and scoring once. He is the latest ex player to join politics.

Liberia’s president George Weah in 2018 won the presidency after three attempts. He contested and became a senator after losing his second bid. He succeeded Africa’s first female president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Source – Africanews

Ethiopia: Exiled Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa returns home

Ethiopia: Exiled Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa returns home

Marathoner who sought exile after making protest gesture at 2016 Olympic Games returns amid political reforms at home.

An Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics finish line has returned from exile.

Feyisa Lilesa’s return on Sunday came several months after Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy took office in the East African nation and announced sweeping political reforms.

The runner held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second in the 2016 Olympics in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia.

He sought asylum in the United States, saying he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu received Feyisa at Addis Ababa’s airport, where relatives – clad in traditional attire from the Oromia region – and fans had also gathered.

Feyisa said the new government is “a result of the struggle by the people” and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression.

“I knew this day was coming because I know the blood spilled by all these people was not going be in vain,” the medal-winning runner told the Reuters news agency upon arrival.

‘Loved by my people’

The unrest in Ethiopia was originally triggered by protests over a government development plan for Addis Ababa, which critics said would lead to expropriation of farmland in the surrounding Oromia region.

Hundreds were subsequently killed by security forces as the demonstrations evolved into rallies against perceived political and economic marginalisation of ethnic Oromos.

In April, the EPRDF coalition which has ruled the country since 1991, elected Abiy – a 42-year old ethnic Oromo – as prime minister.

“I knew the dictatorship would eventually fall down,” Feyisa said. “I was expecting this day, but I did not know if it would be today or tomorrow, but it has been clear in my mind that I would go back to my father’s land alive.”

As well as making peace with neighbour Eritrea, Abiy has pursued a reconciliation strategy, extending an olive branch to dissidents and rebel groups, although the changes have not stopped bouts of ethnically charged violence.

After Rio, 28-year old Feyisa competed in a number of marathons, winning some. He told reporters he planned to focus on training for his sport.

“I can still bring good results for my country in my field,” he said. “I was loved by my people because I am a sportsman not because I am a politician. I only brought their suffering to global attention by using my profession.”

SOURCE: News agencies

Mbappe’s emotional visit to Bondy

Mbappe’s emotional visit to Bondy


The French football star went back to his hometown for the first time since helping France win the World Cup in Russia.

French football star Kylian Mbappe was back in his hometown of Bondy, a suburb of Paris, and thousands thronged there to greet him.

Mbappe was one the stars of the World Cup this year, his success making him a hero in the place he grew up.

Source – Al Jazeera

Ford could have paid nothing to own VW after World War II

Ford could have paid nothing to own VW after World War II

The British were willing to give the company away.

Breaking news hints that Ford and Volkswagen’s agreement to split development of future commercial vehicles could bloom into a full merger that would immediately create the world’s largest automaker. It’s impossible to know yet whether these discussions might actually result in unification between the companies. However, the reports immediately took the minds of the Motor1.com team back to a brief moment in 1948 when Henry Ford II had the opportunity to take over Volkswagen and all of its facilities at absolutely no charge. He turned it down.

Understand How Ford And VW Are Growing Closer:

Before we get to the intriguing meeting where this opportunity happened, we need to cover a little Volkswagen history. The famous Beetle started as a way to mobilise the German people during the country’s industrialisation in the 1930s. The Nazi regime never referred to it as a Beetle, though. Instead, the machine was the KdF-Wagen for Kraft durch Freude or “strength through joy” in English. Before the Wolfsburg factory’s completion, the automaker only built 210 of these models, and all of them went to Nazi offices or officials, according to Walter Henry Nelson’s book Small Wonder (which is available for free on Archive.org).

1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle
1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle

Following the end of World War II, the Allies split Germany into occupied zones, and the British were responsible for the area containing the Wolfsburg factory. The occupational leaders actually restarted production there as a way of creating jobs in the decimated, post-war economy, and the plant built 1,785 Beetles in 1945.

The British occupation forces had no desire to be in the auto industry, though, and they soon started looking for someone to take over the Wolfsburg plant. Sir William Rootes and his brother Reginald were the first choices in 1947. Their Rootes Group controlled auto brands like Hillman, Humber, and Sunbeam. However, they passed on the opportunity.

1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle
1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle

Now, Henry Ford II finally enters the picture. In March 1948, the British got in touch with the American auto executive and scheduled a meeting with him in Cologne, Germany. The Brits were willing to turn over all of VW for nothing, just to get the burden off their hands. When the time came to make a decision, Ernest Breech, Chairman of Ford’s Board, looked at Ford II and said: “Mr. Ford, I don’t think what we’re being offered here is worth a damn,” according to Small Wonder. Meeting adjourned.

1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle
1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle

Breech’s opinion might not have been the only factory in the decision, though. The Wolfsburg factory was also just miles away from the Soviet-occupied zone that later became the East German border. Unnamed Ford execs expressed misgivings about having a plant so close to such a potentially turbulent area, according to Andrea Hiott’s book Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle.

1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle
1943 KdF Type 60 Beetle

With that attempt’s failure, in addition to a breakdown in a potential deal in 1947 with the Australian Reparations Council, the Brits gave up. They handed over the reins to Heinz Nordhoff, who had taken over the Wolfsburg plant’s management in January 1948, and let VW’s future success or collapse rest in his hands. As evident today, things went well. Now, this merger has a chance of happening once again.

Source: Small WonderThinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle

Ivory Coast 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets big budget backing

Ivory Coast 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets big budget backing

AFP News

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly laid the foundation stone of a brand new football stadium in Yamoussoukro on Friday as work accelerated in preparation for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Several thousand people were present at the site for the 20,000-capacity stadium in the political capital, which is expected to be one of six venues for the tournament.

Coulibaly promised a budget of 300 million euros ($345 million) investment in infrastructure in preparation of the country’s first hosting of the event since 1984.

Work on a separate 60,000-capacity stadium in Abidjan began in 2016, while other new grounds are scheduled at San Pedro and Korhogo, and the renovation of a major stadium at Bouake (40,000) is also on the agenda.

Previous editions of the CAN have taken place in January-February but a new format for June-July tournaments with 24 nations rather than 16 will see the event enlarged.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) said there were major delays in the building of infrastructure in Cameroon, scheduled to stage next year’s competition, and that a decision on whether to strip them of hosting rights would be made at the end of November.

Morocco, which unsuccessfully bid to host the 2026 World Cup, has lobbied to replace Cameroon as hosts.

18-hole golf course by Lake Victoria

18-hole golf course by Lake Victoria


Well-manicured golf courses are the ultimate image of beauty and serenity. They are perhaps only rivalled by large water bodies whose health and wellness effects are empirically proven.

So, imagine a landscape that provides both these features and you have the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa.

Located 18km south of Kampala on the banks of Lake Victoria in Kigo off Entebbe Road, the 18-hole course is part of a luxury real estate complex on about 300 acres.

It includes, among other features, Uganda’s first marina located on a man-made bay that, like the course, was sculpted out of Lake Victoria. The marina’s channel is about 30 metres deep and 100 metres wide, and meanders between the ninth and 18th hole.

The 18th is touted as the course’s signature hole — an island green near the centre of the channel that is well-guarded by bunkers.

Some local golfers who have already played the course lost several golf balls over its stretch of 347 yards from tee to green.

The course was developed in two phases by Golfplan Inc, an American architectural company that has built a global reputation for the finest golf courses in the world. The choice of architects aligned with the aspirations of the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa to build the best possible course in the region and tap into sports tourism.

“The vision of the developers for the entire complex is to offer a fulsome experience both to guests at the hotel, which was developed first, people who take up residence in our Italian-styled villas and apartments and national and foreign golf enthusiasts seeking to play a tough course. Although the location of the complex at the lakeshore is already pristine, the course enhances that natural beauty and introduces the sort of challenge we believe is irresistible to golfers,” said Frank Nyakundi, the resort’s general manager.

PGA ranking

The completed Serena Golf Course aims to attain the rating of Baobab Golf Course in the 2,500-acre Vipingo Ridge estate on the Kenyan Coast.

The course is the only one in East Africa approved by the world-renowned Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), joining the ranks of a select number of clubs around the world.

The affiliation, as the PGA touts it, “serves as a highly valued international seal of approval and assures visitors and owners that the course is built and maintained to a certain set standard.”

Interestingly, works on both courses actively began in 2009, with Serena’s involving part reclamation of some marshland adjacent to the picturesque Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.

Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa

The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa clubhouse. PHOTO | GAAKI KIGAMBO | NMG

The course incorporates small water bodies that teem with birdlife. The downwind from the lake supplies a constant breeze.

To golfers, this is certain to add to the challenge of playing the course. The course also utilises natural growths, especially the studded acacia trees, to amplify its natural theme and to blend in with its surroundings.

The result is a work of fine art with immaculate zigzagging freeways offering as much a cool ride for golf carts as a quiet stroll for anyone seeking some quality time alone. It is unsurprising that its proprietors position it as ideal for a romantic walk as well.

The first nine holes were completed in 2015, and unveiled in a championship sponsored by Johnnie Walker whiskey.

The second phase, which includes the marina, was started in early 2016 and will be unveiled on October 6, in an invitational-only competition slated to attract some 220 players, 42 of whom are professionals. Once again Johnnie Walker is the main sponsor and has put up Ush25 million ($6,500) as the prize for the overall winner. Such partnerships are central to the resort’s ambitions to get PGA approval.

“Partners are very important in the development of these facilities, since the bigger the prize money the more attractive the event. We are already in discussions with the organisers of the Sunshine Tour since it offers great short cuts to PGA recognition,” said Nyakundi.

Uganda Breweries, which markets Johnnie Walker in the country, agreed about the importance of partnerships. The company views the Serena Golf Resort as “an embodiment of progress” as its expansion provides world class facilities previously unavailable in Uganda.

“It is a triumph for golf in the region that Johnnie Walker is proud to associate with as a stylish global icon, which represents the idea of personal progress,” said Anne Nakiyaga, UBL’s luxury portfolio manager.

She added that the company is keen to maintain and grow its relationships with golf in general, and the resort in particular, because, “It is only through associations like these that the game can grow. UBL is keen to facilitate the building of progressive networks and connections at both personal and corporate level.”

Previous attempts

Previous attempts to build professional golf courses in the country have failed. For example, Marasa Holdings tried to develop courses at its breathtaking safari lodges at Chobe and Mweya, located in the middle of Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in the north and west of the country respectively.

Their plans were successfully resisted by conservationists who made watertight arguments about the distortions the specialised nature of golf course development would introduce to wildlife habitats, to the detriment of tourism.

Luckily, both lodges are within a short distance of existing courses in Pakwach (for Chobe) and Kasese (for Mweya). With or without courses inside the national parks, luxury golfing in Uganda is about to tee off.

Source – The Standard