Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson sent a text message to congratulate old rival Kenny Dalglish, the former Liverpool manager has said.
Ferguson’s message was to congratulate Dalglish after Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a top flight title by winning the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) on Thursday.
Both Scots are icons at their former clubs.
Ferguson, who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013 and famously declared he wanted to knock Liverpool of their perch, led his team to 13 Premier League trophies.
Dalglish, who first played for and subsequently managed Liverpool, won three European Cups, eight First Division titles and two FA Cups during his time at the club.
“He (Ferguson) contacted us to say congratulations by the modern medium,” Dalglish said.
“You go through the older generation —– Fergie at Manchester United, Brian Kidd, Mike Summerbee; all the old foes who went through football at the same time as us —– and at the end of the year you sent a letter of congratulations to say `well done’.
“That continues through. It is a great compliment. You are in competition and rivals, but you are magnanimous enough to send a letter saying `congratulations’. Everyone is in the same game, aren’t they?”
Liverpool won the title after second-placed Manchester City were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea on Thursday, leaving the new champions with an unassailable 23-point lead with seven games left.
Dalglish, the last manager before current manager Juergen Klopp to win the league with Liverpool, also praised skipper Jordan Henderson.
The Scot had signed the England midfielder from Sunderland during his second stint at the Merseyside club from 2011/2012.
“He was determined to be a success in football. He’s the only Liverpool captain who will have lifted this trophy but also the Club World Cup as well,” the 69-year-old said.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
UK coronavirus deaths could reach 7,000 to 20,000 – Ferguson
Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London, who has helped shape the government’s response, said on Sunday.
“We had an exponentially growing curve of infections, which we interrupted at a certain time,’’ the epidemiologist told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.
“We don’t have the ability right now to measure how many people have been infected, that will come with antibody tests.
“And so, we are making statistical estimates of that and those are subject to a certain degree of uncertainty.
“We think it could be anywhere between about 7,000 or so up to a little over 20,000.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Ferguson wins debut match as Everton beat Chelsea 3-1
Everton football club on Saturday secured a superb 3-1 victory over Chelsea with caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson raising performance and confidence levels at Goodison Park.
Richarlison scored the hosts’ opening goal with a towering header from Djibril Sidibe’s cross.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin doubled the lead with a smart finish shortly after half-time.
Everton came under pressure as Mateo Kovacic’s low shot from outside the box wormed its way into the bottom corner.
Mason Mount screwed a shot wide and Cesar Azpilicueta brought a save out of Jordan Pickford as Chelsea searched for an equaliser, but the Toffees pounced late as Calvert-Lewin bundled in after goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s wayward pass to start the celebrations.
Ferguson has played down his chances of taking the job on a permanent basis and the presence of Niko Kovac in the stands led to the odds on the former Bayern Munich manager the sacked Marco Silva tumbling.
Chelsea have lost three of their past four Premier League games and fifth-placed Wolves would move three points behind them with victory at Brighton on Sunday.
Tickner, Ferguson help New Zealand thwart England’s chase
New Zealand fast bowlers Blair Tickner and Lockie Ferguson, shared four wickets to trigger an England batting collapse that helped the hosts to a thrilling 14-run win in the third Twenty 20 international at Nelson on Tuesday.
England, chasing 181 for victory, were cruising at 139-2 in the 15th over but lost five wickets in a flurry to end their 20 overs on 166-7.
The victory gave the Black Caps a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. The teams now head to Napier for the penultimate match on Friday, which England must win to keep their hopes of winning the series alive.
Ferguson and Tickner finished with identical figures of 2-25 while all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was Man of the Match for his knock of 55 from 35 balls, which helped the team post 180-7 after they opted to bat first.
De Grandhomme hit five fours and three sixes to build New Zealand’s innings after opener Martin Guptill’s fast start of 33 off 17 deliveries.
England opener Dawid Malan gave a fitting reply for the touring side with a 34-ball 55 with James Vince keeping the team firmly on course in the chase with 49.
England captain Eoin Morgan smashed Mitchell Santner for two sixes in successive deliveries before holing out in the deep against the left-arm spinner, which started the collapse as England lost five wickets for 10 runs.
“I think that’s one that got away from us.
“We were in control for the whole chase until we were three or four down, probably the lack of experience in the chase cost us.
“But the guys need to play more games, need to get into situations like that,” said Morgan.
Edited by Joseph Edeh
Ibrahimovic lambasts Ferguson’s Class of 92 for Pogba criticism
Pogba, who came through Manchester United’s academy, left the club for free in 2012 after Ferguson fell out with the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola.
But he returned following a four-year spell at Juventus for a then world record fee in 2016.
The 26-year-old was criticised for his poor form earlier this season by former players Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, who work as television pundits.
Ibrahimovic said it all stemmed from Pogba’s decision to leave Manchester United and Ferguson for Juventus.
“With Pogba, he was with Manchester United when he was young, then he went out and he came back,” Ibrahimovic, who played with Pogba at Manchester United for one and a half seasons, said.
“In the circle of Ferguson, they don’t like that because they stayed all their life under Ferguson and they never moved from Ferguson.
“They didn’t even talk if Ferguson didn’t tell them to open their mouth. So, now if they’re talking, I don’t know whether Ferguson gave them permission or not.”
Wales manager Ryan Giggs, who made more than 960 appearances for Manchester United and won 13 league titles under Ferguson, said the former players had a right to voice their views.
“When you play over 2,000 games between us, we are going to have an opinion,” Giggs told reporters ahead of Wales’ friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
“But he (Ibrahimovic) obviously knows more about the club than us,” Giggs sarcastically added.
In spite of playing a crucial role in winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France last year, Pogba struggled for form at Manchester United earlier this season.
That was under former manager Jose Mourinho, who benched the midfielder towards the end of his Old Trafford tenure.
But Pogba then turned his campaign right around with nine goals and seven assists in all competitions after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker boss in December.
“I think Pogba has the potential to be the best player in the world in his position,” Ibrahimovic, now with MLS side LA Galaxy, added.
“He’s a good guy, he trains hard, he listens, he wants to become better, he wants to win, he wants to perform in every game.
Ferguson set for Manchester United return in charity match
Manchester (UK), Feb. 16, 2019 (Reuters/NNN) Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will return to the dugout for a charity match to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the team’s treble-winning season.
The English Premier League (EPL) club said on Saturday that the 77-year-old Scot would take charge of a Legends side against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on May 26.
Ferguson, who won the UEFA Champions League twice, the EPL 13 times and five FA Cups with Manchester United, had emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage in May last year.
But he has since recovered and is a regular visitor to Old Trafford on matchdays.
“I’m really looking forward to what will be a special day at Old Trafford,” Ferguson told the club website.
“It will be great to catch up with some familiar faces and a great opportunity to support the work of Manchester United Foundation.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, currently Manchester United’s interim manager, scored an added-time winner to secure a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final match.
The win helped them complete an unprecedented treble, which included the EPL title and the FA Cup.(Reuters/NNN)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
British singers Church, Ferguson snub Trump’s inauguration
British singers, Charlotte Church and Rebecca Ferguson, have rejected invitations from U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump’s team to perform at his inauguration next week, they said in separate statements on Tuesday.
The rejections follow other apparent snubs by celebrities, including Elton John, whose publicist denied in November that he would be performing at the event after an economic adviser to Trump had said that he would.
“@realDonaldTrump Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye,’’ wrote Church in a tweet she concluded with derogatory emojis.
Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Trump who is organising the Jan. 20 event, brushed aside suggestions that there would be a lack of star power at the Jan. 20 festivities.
Barrack told reporters that Trump himself was “the greatest celebrity in the world’’ and that the inauguration committee was aiming for a “much more poetic cadence’’ rather than “a circus-like celebration that’s a coronation.’’
Trump’s inauguration committee did not reply to requests for comment about Church and Ferguson.
Classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho, who rose to fame as a child performer on the TV show “America’s Got Talent’’ six years ago, has confirmed she would sing the U.S. national anthem at Trump’s inauguration.
Church, who also began her career as a child classical singer, has spoken out in recent years about her left-leaning political views, and posted multiple tweets during the 2016 campaign criticising Trump.
Ferguson, who gained prominence as a runner-up on the TV talent show “The X Factor’’ in 2010, said on Tuesday she too had refused to perform at Trump’s inauguration because her choice of the song “Strange Fruit’’ was rejected.
The anti-racist song, which has been performed by the likes of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, protests against the lynching of African-Americans in the South in the early 20th century.
“I requested to sing ‘Strange Fruit’ as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity,’’ Ferguson said in a statement.
“As music is so powerful, I wanted to try and help educate the people watching of where division and separation can lead to if not corrected. My aim was not to cause contention,’’ she said.
(Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)
Australian family business’ tale of lobsters with China
Australia‘s southern rock lobster is the most prized lobsters and nowhere is it valued more than in China. “There is a certain understanding and appreciation of seafood by Chinese consumers,” said Andrew Ferguson, whose family has been fishing for lobsters in South Australia for three generations.
“You can go to markets like Europe where there are different varieties of lobster but people cannot really tell the difference between them. The Chinese can definitely taste the difference and the southern rock lobster is at the top,” said ferguson whose business is ideally suited to the Chinese market.
“On very important occasions southern rock lobster is the one they want to serve on the plate,” he told Xinhua. Ferguson’s family business, which handles between 25 percent to 30 percent of South Australia’s lobster catch, knows exactly how to get them to the Chinese consumers. However, in a coronavirus-ravaged world that is not going to be easy.
LONG ROAD TO SUCCESS
Half a century ago, Ferguson’s father, who was a farmer, left the land and moved to Kingston, 300 km from Adelaide along the southern Australian coastline.
He bought a fishing boat and began catching lobsters in 1969. Andrew worked with his father until 1980 before purchasing his own boat and with his first exports of frozen lobster medallions sold into the European market.
“From 1988 to 1989 the Southern Rock Lobster industry shifted from the American frozen tail market to the Chinese live market. A couple of entrepreneurial lobster fishermen started exporting live lobsters to China in their own tanks and it started from there,” said Ferguson. “The United States market couldn’t keep pace with the Chinese market and almost overnight it trended into the Chinese market.”
Over the past two decades the Ferguson Group has diversified and, in addition to lobsters, now sells fish, prawns, tuna, crabs and scallops. The business has been recognized though numerous awards including being named as South Australia’s best export agribusiness.
While a number of large companies and investors have bought into the lobster fishing industry, around 70 percent of South Australian operators remain family businesses.
“Family business helps our business model,” said Ferguson. “We’ve got a lot of trust with our suppliers. We run our own fishing boats but we also have relationships with other fishermen and being family-owned really helps us in maintaining our business relationships.”
That business culture built on long-term relationships has proved an enormous help in opening up the Chinese market.
The key to the Chinese market, he thought, is quite obvious. “It’s travelling, which means going to China … It’s about building and forging relationships. I first went there 20 years ago, it’s about getting to know people and going back to see them again and again and again. It really is a simple process of relationship building.”
An enormous frustration for family-owned agribusiness of Ferguson and other primary producers is the constant calls from a small group of outspoken media and political commentators that Australia should export to countries other than China.
Relationships have been built up over many years, in the case of Ferguson two decades, and it is impossible to abandon long-term overseas buyers and expect to walk into another market straight away.
Another key factor is that Chinese buyers offer the best price for Australian lobsters. Chinese buyers will pay up to 50 percent more for southern rock lobsters than Australian consumers.
“That’s exactly the issue,” said Ferguson. “And that’s why we are better off working with China because they respect the product. They want it and our relationships with China are very important. We want to keep the doors as wide open as we possibly can because it is a big market and certainly the best price we can achieve is in China.”
His Ferguson Group is not entirely reliant on China, but it is simply the best market. “We can sell to Japan, but there’s less demand and they want smaller lobsters at a lower price point,” he said.
“We’ve sold to the Middle East and we’ve sold to France, but it all falls away once the price of the lobster reaches the 50-Australian-dollar mark. The price point in China is typically 10 to 20 dollars a kilogram better than we can achieve in other markets. It’s all about quality, they are willing to pay for the quality.”
According to Commonwealth research agency ABARES, the total value of Australia’s lobster exports to China is 660 million Australian dollars (about 458 million United States dollars). That money mostly flows back to small operators.
The Ferguson Group processes seafood produce for more than 350 small family-owned businesses. Falling demand at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak and now lack of airfreight capacity to China has seen prices paid to fishermen drop by more than 50 percent, while their fixed costs remain high.
The median price for second-hand lobster boats in South Australia is between 450,000 and 500,000 Australian dollars (312,250-346,950 United States dollars) and those younger families who have borrowed money to buy their boats simply cannot afford to see prices fall.
One small operator, who did not want to be identified, told Xinhua: “Reviving access to the China market is the only way for me to stay in business.”
Live whole lobsters command the best price for exported product and the only way to get live lobsters to China from Australia’s three main lobster producing states, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, is by air.
Around 50 percent of airfreight from Australia to China was carried in commercial passenger flights before the coronavirus hit. The international travel ban has all but wiped out those flights.
“A lot of our product gets trucked to Melbourne and flown mainly to Shanghai with direct flights. Because it is such a perishable product, we need direct flights, we need lobsters to arrive in China at the right time of the day so it’s not sitting around,” said Ferguson.
Though major airlines have cargo divisions few of them have dedicated cargo aircraft. Apart from 1.5 million visitors, the Chinese tourist boom had also delivered enormous capacity for air cargo.
“Pre-coronavirus we had 16 flights a week out of Melbourne, now we’re back to three. We’re coping at the moment because we’re on the shoulder of the fishing season, with the start of the lobster season coming we are going to have trouble getting product out in a timely fashion,” he said.
In April the Australian government came to the rescue, with a 110-million-Australian-dollar (76.3-million-United States-dollar) International Freight Assistance Mechanism which subsidies air cargo flights from Australia to 17 different destinations. However, there are no direct flights to the Chinese mainland and only one flight from Adelaide, which goes to Hong Kong.
“The problem we have is getting government to understand logistics and that’s difficult. We have alternative flights through Singapore Airlines and Cathy Pacific but they don’t always link up to our China destinations,” Ferguson pointed out.
Up until now there has never been a coordinated export approach across all industries air-freighting fresh produce exports.
“You’ve got cherry growers, the West Australian lobster industry want to get product into southern China, and we want to get into northern China. There’s a wide range of produce exporters but we’ve never been synced up in the way we air-freight to China,” he added.
“We didn’t realize how fortunate we were pre-COVID-19 and this just makes it all stand out. It’s going to be a difficult process to try and fix and, until there’s a vaccine, this problem’s going to be around for quite a while.”
Chinese investment in Australia fell over 50 percent in 2019, despite record trading year
The study’s co-author, Professor Hans Hendrischke from the university’s Business School and China Studies Centre told Xinhua on Wednesday that the decline in Chinese investment had also been the case for other developed countries.
“Chinese outbound direct investment into all developed countries has decreased over the last three years after a big spike in 2015 and 2016,” Hendrischke said.
“Australia was for some years during the mining investment boom the largest recipient country for Chinese outbound direct investment and then fell back to second place behind the United States“
According to the report, in 2018 Chinese investment in Australia was worth 5.9 billion United States dollars, falling 58 percent to 2.4 billion United States dollars in 2019.
Meanwhile, it stated that in the 2018-2019 financial year, bilateral trade between China and Australia was up 21 percent to a record 163 billion United States dollars.
The largest transaction in 2019 was the Mengniu Dairy Company’s acquisition of Bellamy’s Australia for one billion United States dollars, accounting for 43.7 percent of total Chinese investment.
The figures come from the report ‘Demystifying Chinese Investment in Australia’ for June 2020, a joint effort by the University of Sydney and KPMG.
Head of Asia & International Markets at KPMG Australia and report co-author, Doug Ferguson, said that since 2008, Chinese companies had invested over 107 billion United States dollars into Australia, which had been an important contributor to local economic growth.
With the global impact of COVID-19, the economic relationship between Australia and China stands at a particularly important juncture, with the potential to play a significant role in both countries’ fortunes moving forward.
“When the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic gains pace, Australia will be keen to expand domestic manufacturing. Developing new manufacturing in Australia will require investment capital on the one hand and demand for Australian manufactured products on the other,” Hendrischke said.
“Australia’s most immediate market opportunities are in China where Australian agribusiness and its products have a strong reputation. Cooperation with Chinese investors who have access to the Chinese market will be among the first opportunities for improving bilateral economic relations.”
Kinyamal, Kipruto gain dream Olympic scholarships for Tokyo Games
Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal is among the six Kenyan athletes gifted with scholarships from the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) for preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The scholarships worth 2.33 million shillings (22,000 United States dollars) was awarded to the six athletes including Kinyamal, Emily Cherotich, Timothy Cheruiyot (1,500m), Conseslus Kipruto (3,000 steeplechases), Rodgers Kwemoi (5,000m) and Ferguson Rotich (800m) to aid in their efforts to prepare for the games.
The six were selected by virtue of their top rank in their respective disciplines within Africa. The six will receive a second tranche of the sponsorship in October.
“The main objective is to improve Africa’s results at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games while offering African Olympic bodies an opportunity to obtain financial support for elite athletes that have potential to achieve a podium finish,” Paul Tergat, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) said on Sunday in Kericho.
Kenya won six out of the ten gold medals that Africa secured at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In total Africa had 45 medals with Kenya winning 13.
“The scholarship will enable them access training facilities, specialist coaching, equipment and accommodation here and abroad during their training period. The funding will go on until the Olympic Games in 2021,” Tergat said.
“We have 87 athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics and we must get as many more as possible and widen the bracket for our medal prospects,” Kioni said.
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