The Soweto Gospel Choir has been inundated with congratulatory messages, following their third Grammy win this weekend.The choir was recognised at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles, taking home Best World Music album for their latest offering Freedom.In 2007, the group won their first Grammy in the category Best Traditional World Music for their album Blessed, and took home the same award a year later for African Spirit.President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed his delight in how the group successfully represents South Africa to the world. He tweeted:“Congratulations to the Soweto Gospel Choir for being awarded the Best World Music album for ‘Freedom’ at the #GRAMMYs. This is the choir’s third Grammy award and we thank them for telling our story to the world and flying the flag high.”According to their website, the Soweto Gospel Choir consists of talented individuals from churches in and around Soweto. The choir was “formed to celebrate the unique and inspirational power of African Gospel music, and is dedicated to sharing the joy of faith through music with audiences around the world.”Brand South Africa is proud celebrate the collective that continues to portray an unmatched level of excellence on a global scale.
Greece’s Giorgos Samaras challenges Japan’s Yoshito Okubo during their Group C clash Reduced to 10 men after captain Costas Katsouranis was sent off in the 38th minute with his second booking, Greece held on for a 0-0 draw with Japan on Thursday that kept both alive in Group C and sent rival Colombia through to the knockout round of the World Cup.MATCH COMMENTARY Both teams inserted new strikers in search of goals and a first victory, but ultimately the main objective was survival and both achieved that with one match left in group play. Japan would have been eliminated with a loss.Once Katsouranis was sent off after a rough challenge on Makoto Hasebe, Greece withdrew into a defensive setup and held firm. Greece surrendered three goals in a loss to Colombia, but even short-handed was better organized against Japan and avoided any critical mistakes.Japan pressed the attack after halftime and had several chances to score.The best came in the 68th minute when Shinji Kagawa played a long pass over the top to Atsuto Uchida, who sent it back across the middle to Yoshito Okubo, who blasted the volley over the net.Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis also was forced to make a diving save in injury time to preserve the draw and the point for Greece.Greece was determined to turn around its dismal scoring history in the World Cup – 18 goals conceded against just two scored – inserting Kostas Mitroglou up front. But Mitroglou’s best effort was an early volley that spun off his foot and he didn’t even make it to halftime.advertisementAfter taking an elbow in the side in the 30th minute, Mitroglou collapsed to the ground. He got up and walked off under his own power but soon determined he couldn’t continue and was taken off for Theofanis Gekas in the 35th minute.Things got worse for Greece just moments later when Katsouranis was sent off. Greece retreated into its half of the field for most of the second half.Japan, which had been beaten up in a physical matchup with Ivory Coast in a 2-1 opening loss, once again had to deal with a bigger, stronger and much taller opponent.Coach Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni dropped Kagawa from the starting lineup in surprise move, putting veteran striker Okubo up front with Europe-based star Keisuke Honda.Okubo had one of Japan’s best chances to score in the first half but sent his header over the crossbar in the 33rd minute.Team Lineups(from):Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Atsuto Uchida, Maya Yoshida, Yasuyuki Konno, Yuto Nagatomo; Hotaru Yamaguchi, Makoto Hasebe (Yasuhito Endo, 46th); Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda, Yoshito Okubo, Yuya Osako (Shinji Kagawa, 57th)Greece: Orestis Karnezis; Vasileios Torosidis, Konstantinos Manolas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Jose Cholevas; Ioannis Maniatis, Konstantinos Katsouranis, Panagiotis Kone (Dimitrios Salpingidis, 81st); Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Georgios Karagounis, 41st), Konstantinos Mitroglou (Theofanis Gekas, 35th), Georgios Samaras
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—With seeming ease defending champion La Salle barrelled closer to the Final Four after crushing Adamson, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Imposing their dreaded system and winning attitude, the Lady Spikers didn’t allow the Lady Falcons to get their bearing, pulling away in the third set, 8-2, en route to their eighth win in 11 matches.ADVERTISEMENT Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting View comments LATEST STORIES Winning three in a row, La Salle will now need to win just one more game to assure itself of at least a playoff for a Final Four slot. Rookie Jolina dela Cruz led the Lady Spikers with 13 points, while fellow new recruit Lourdes Clemente sowed terror by the net, scoring three kill-blocks.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsAlso-ran Adamson absorbed its 10th defeat in 11 games. Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte NU continues winning run, FEU dumps UE DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man City veteran Fernandinho: I’ve been training as centre-back all seasonby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFernandinho has revealed he has been training as a centre-back all season. With John Stones and Aymeric Laporte injured, Pep Guardiola was forced to field the defensive midfielder alongside Nicolas Otamendi against Shakhtar Donestk on Wednesday.City cruised to a 3-0 victory and Fernandinho was happy he could contribute to the win.”It was a quiet night at the back but the team have made a very good game,” said Fernandinho.”It was easier at the back because we played as a team and the guys up-front closed down the space.”I’ve been training in this position since the start of the season. Pep knows all about our squad and team. Today was my opportunity and I hope I can improve more.”
Newcastle legend Shearer: Almiron has no confidence whatsoeverby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveToon legend Alan Shearer was unimpressed by Newcastle United’s performance in their 0-0 draw with Brighton.United had chances to win but they had far inferior possession statistics and were indebted to Fabian Schar for keeping out Aaron Mooy’s shot. Even the late introduction of Andy Carroll to attempt to spark the team into life didn’t work. Analysing the match, Shearer said of his former side: “You can see why both of these teams are struggling to score. I thought it was a poor game. Brighton were the better team, Newcastle were really poor.“But still had two very, very good chances they should have scored from. The first one Almiron had no confidence whatsoever. I never fancied him to score. He desperately needs a goal, still hasn’t scored.“And then Joelinton finds himself eight yards out and with a free header (from a corner). He should score.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Luton manager Jones expects Justin to feature for Leicesterby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLuton Town manager Graeme Jones expects James Justin to make his Leicester City debut in their Carabao Cup clash.Justin left Luton in the summer, signing a five-year-deal at the King Power Stadium having impressed last season, helping his side to Championship promotion and earning himself a spot in the League One team of the season. Jones said; “That was the sad part of the job for me, coming in when you’ve got two really dominant full-backs – I saw Jack Stacey play on Friday and you see what he brings to the show, James Justin exactly the same.”You come in and you haven’t got those players available, which is disappointing, but I think what everyone needs to remember is what he did for the football club, what both of them did.“But obviously James is coming back, how luck would have it.”I expect him to make his debut tonight for Leicester, so you’d think we will give him a warm reception and then make it as difficult as we can for him, so I look forward to seeing him. I am aware of what James Justin can do, he was regarded as possibly our best player here – he hasn’t played for Leicester yet, so it gives you an idea of the level.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
APTN NewsThe government has signed off on a bill to remove sex-discrimination from the Indian Act.Lillian Dyck, a First Nation senator from Saskatchewan, confirmed on her Facebook page the vote on the bill known as S-3 took place Monday.“I am relieved and happy,” Dyck posted.“It’s not perfect but we in the Senate from all caucuses will ensure that the clause implementing the removal of the 1951 cut-off gets enacted!”Dyck is a member of the Senate’s Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which refused to move the bill forward without an amendment to who gets status.It introduced an amendment to eliminate the discrimination she says has been hard on Aboriginal women since the Act was introduced in 1876, by preventing them from passing their status onto their children like men do.The government agreed to the amendment but introduced a cut-off date of 1951. That stalled the passage again until this week.Dyck promised to keep an eye on it.“The Senate will not allow the equality to be delayed indefinitely,” she said on Facebook.“The government has to report back to us and to the House of Commons at five months and 12 months after consultations on implementing the inclusion of the pre-1951 group.”The bill is now awaiting Royal Assent before it becomes law.
The Oakland Raiders had the option of selecting highly touted wide receiver Calvin Johnson or quarterback JaMarcus Russell as their No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL draft, and selected Russell, who ended up being categorized as a “bust.” But now Russell is attempting a comeback, according to Yahoo! Sports.Russell’s last snap came in 2009 with the Raiders, but he has been away from the NFL for the last two seasons. He received tryouts from the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins in 2010, but now finds himself trying to resurrect what once was deemed as a promising career.“My first year out, I couldn’t watch football, but after a while, I couldn’t keep the TV off,” Russell said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I got that itchy feeling but now I gotta watch it, gotta watch.”The 27-year-old Russell was heavily criticized throughout his collegiate and professional career for his weight. When he entered the league he was 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. He has picked up even more weight since his absence. Now Russell has dropped from 320 to 308 pounds by focusing on his cardio conditioning in the last six weeks.“The last few years, the things going through my life, football is my job and it is how it feeds my family,” he said. “People would say (that) I didn’t love the game but that pisses me off. People don’t know the real you, but I want people to know the real me and see what I can do. People are always saying that I’m a bust. I want show them I’m not. I’m committed to this now.”The next couple of months will be one of Russell’s biggest tests of commitment to reclaiming his future in the league. He will work with a plethora of former NFL players and personnel to get into better physical shape and retool his memory. Jeff Garcia, Marshall Faulk and Olympian Ato Boldon are some of the people he will be working with.Russell will still need to prove that he has changed from the man who was arrested in July 2010 for possession of codeine syrup without a prescription.“I’m not looking for a pat on the shoulder from people who haven’t been there for me,” Russell said.One step that Russell has taken is speaking to youth groups about his arrest and poor decision making.But he is determined that the decision to make a comeback will be the right choice in the long run.“It’s going to feel good to go back out there again,” Russell said. “I will make this happen.”
With the NHL playoffs starting this week, all eyes will be on the goaltenders, hockey’s masked men. A goalie’s time on the ice is a solitary existence, with flurries of activity punctuating long periods of inaction. Hockey has been called the ultimate team sport, but all too often the goaltender finds himself alone as the puck approaches.Because the goalie is a team’s last line of defense, it’s no surprise that strong performance in net is incredibly important to winning a hockey game. During the regular season, save percentage (the generally accepted shorthand measure of goaltending effectiveness) explains a higher proportion of team performance than any other fundamental factor1Think of hockey’s “Four Factors” as the following: generating shots (as measured by shots per game), scoring on a high percentage of those shots (shooting percentage), preventing opposing shots (shots allowed per game), and stopping shots (save percentage). Together, these factors explain over 99 percent of a team’s goals-per game-differential, which in turn explains 92 percent of point percentage (a team’s standings points divided by the total number of points available in its games). in hockey.2The measure of relative importance used here is the Lindeman, Merenda and Gold (LMG) method described in this paper. In NHL regular seasons since 1988, team save percentage has a 29.5 percent LMG value when regressed against goal differential/game, compared to 28.9 percent for shooting percentage, 24.0 percent for shots allowed/game, and 17.7 percent for shots/game. In the playoffs, the emphasis on goaltending only intensifies; save percentage is easily the most important determinant of a team’s goals-per-game differential in the postseason.3In postseason play since 1988, team save percentage has a 43.3 percent LMG value when regressed against per-game goal differential, compared to 34.9 percent for shooting percentage, 13.3 percent for shots allowed/game and 8.6 percent for shots/game. A hot goalie really is the key to a successful playoff run.But herein lies a great paradox: Despite goaltending’s outsize impact on the outcomes of hockey games, it’s extremely hard to say exactly which goalies are truly good or bad at their jobs.This perplexing point was raised by the authors of the 2010 book “Stumbling on Wins,” and it still stands today. Using Hockey-Reference.com’s adjusted version of the save percentage statistic, adjusted Goals Against Percentage (GA%-),4I used GA%- because it’s useful for historical analysis since it compares a goalie’s save percentage to the ever-changing league average. GA%- is scaled to represent the percentage of the league’s rate of goals per shot that a player allows, so lower is better. For example, a GA%- of 84, like Henrik Lundqvist had last season, means he allowed only 84 percent of the number of goals a league-average goalie would have allowed on the same number of shots. the correlation of goalie performance from year to year is so low5A correlation coefficient of 0.296, to be exact, for goalies who qualified for Hockey-Reference’s leaderboards in back-to-back seasons. that, in practical terms, only 30 percent of the difference we see between a goalie and the league average in any given season actually “belongs” to the goalie himself. The rest is just random.6So when Ottawa’s Craig Anderson led the NHL last season with a 67 GA%- (the second-lowest mark of any goalie since 1984), the best expectation of his talent going forward was still only a GA%- of 90 — the assumption being that the other 23 points of GA%- were probably due to random variance. (If you’re doubting that assumption, Anderson snapped back to earth this season with a 104 GA%-.)The poor correlation of save percentage from one year to the next also indicates that goalies are extremely volatile commodities. For instance, if a goaltender is above average in a given season, there’s only a 59.2 percent chance he’ll be above average again the following year. And if he’s below average now, don’t worry: There’s a 47.2 percent probability that he’ll be above average next season.7Some of this is admittedly due to selection bias; by zeroing in on goalies we knew had a “next season,” we’re implicitly weeding out the ones who played poorly and were never given another chance — presumably because scouts decided they were as bad as the numbers said. But the threshold to qualify for Hockey-Reference’s save percentage leaderboard is a mere 26 games in a normal season, so the selection effect shouldn’t influence the results too much.Take Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues. During the 2010-11 season, Elliott was the NHL’s second-worst qualified goalie — only Nikolai Khabibulin was less effective at stopping pucks — and in 142 career games he had a lifetime GA%- of 111 (which translates to 11 percent worse than league average). If any goalie seemed unlikely to play well in the future, it was Elliott, but the very next year he led the NHL with a 69 GA%- (31 percent better than league average), at the time the third-best single-season performance by any goalie since the NHL started tracking save percentage in 1984.8Elliott’s 2011-12 season now ranks fourth because Craig Anderson put up a 67 GA%- last season. And how did Elliott follow that brilliant campaign? By posting a below-average 106 GA%- last season, and a 90 GA%- this year.It’s the kind of thing that will spin you around faster than a Pavel Datsyuk deke.So is Elliott a good goaltender or not? We can say he is probably a slightly below-average netminder who happened to have an all-time outlier of a career year in 2012. But that’s just because we have a relatively large amount of data on him by now. His career GA%- is 103 after nearly 250 games and 6,000 shots faced. A goalie’s save percentage only begins to stabilize after facing around 3,000 shots, at which point we would expect half of his observed performance to be talent (the rest is still luck). The busiest goaltenders each year face roughly 2,000 shots, so it takes about a season and a half for GA%- to offer insight on even the biggest goaltending workhorses.This does not mean that there is no difference in talent among goalies. It just means there’s a great deal of uncertainty around how any one goalie compares to another, and that the distribution of talent among NHL-caliber goaltenders is significantly more narrow than would be expected from looking at season-level save percentages alone.9The spread of which is artificially inflated by luck in small samples. As a consequence, the “replacement-level” save percentage for goalies (to borrow a term from baseball’s sabermetrics, referring to the production a team could expect from a minimum-salary player freely available on the waiver wire) is remarkably close to league average.10In keeping with the ratios of cap dollars devoted to each position, a save percentage .006 below average is probably the optimal replacement level. In 2013-14, that would set the replacement level at .908, a number that was average just five seasons ago. This, too, is a product of the uncertainty surrounding the true talent level of any given goalie — with such high levels of volatility, teams don’t need to accept bad goaltending performances for long. Given what little information we have about any goalie’s actual talent, a backup is almost as likely to give above-replacement production as a struggling starter is.If chance overwhelms skill in an entire regular season’s worth of goaltending statistics, imagine what can happen in the playoffs, when the leading goalies face but 800 shots at most. The Vancouver Canucks have experience with this: Kirk McLean, a nine-year veteran with a perfectly average 100 career GA%- going into the 1994 playoffs, backstopped the team to within a win of the Stanley Cup on the strength of a stellar 78 GA%- in the postseason. So do Capitals die-hards: Olaf Kolzig led Washington to the Finals in 1998 with a playoff GA%- that was 27 points lower than his career average. And Mike Smith nearly did the same for the 2012 Phoenix Coyotes. Playoff history is littered with seemingly nondescript goaltenders who suddenly became incredible puck-stoppers come springtime.But history can also cut the other way. In 2001, the great Patrick Roy had a regular-season GA%- of 90 — 13th in the league, if slightly down from his peak numbers of a few years earlier — and during the playoffs he had one of the best performances of his career with a 75 GA%-, leading the Colorado Avalanche to the championship. The following year, Roy was quite a bit better during the regular season (81 GA%-), ostensibly setting himself up for another strong playoff bid. So what happened next? Roy put up a terrible 110 GA%- in the playoffs, capped off by an embarrassing, season-ending loss to Detroit in which he allowed six goals before being pulled from the game in the second period. In the minuscule sample of the playoffs, even Hall of Famers are at the capricious whims of variance.It’s something to keep in mind during this year’s playoffs. Just as we found the correlation for regular-season GA%- to be quite low from year to year, the correlation between a goalie’s regular-season and his playoff GA%- is even smaller, as is the correlation between his previous career GA%- and playoff GA%-. We can’t predict who will fluctuate, just that somebody likely will.It’s not just goalies who are unpredictable; hockey’s stats holy war over shot quantity versus shot quality has shown us that an offense’s shooting percentage is just as inconsistent. The whole sport is especially vulnerable to random fluctuations, something that shows up most once a puck starts moving towards the net.In 2008, an Edmonton fan named Brian King left a comment at a now-defunct Oilers blog suggesting that the best way to understand luck in hockey was to look at a team’s shooting percentage on offense and the collective save percentage of its goalies. If you combined those stats for a team, and compared them to the league average, you could tell whether a team had been lucky or unlucky — and how far it had to go to regress to the league’s mean. The metric became known as PDO (its namesake was King’s online pseudonym), and the more it strays from its baseline of 1.00 (above 1 means lucky; below, unlucky), the more likely the team’s record, and even its goal differential, has been tainted by randomness.A great deal of recent hockey research has shown that, if given a large enough sample, every team’s PDO will more or less regress toward the league average of 1.00. The big implication of PDO is that a team has virtually no long-term control over shooting percentage, just like it can’t predict the efficacy of its goalie. The key to good defense, then, is simply to keep the opposition from shooting, because it’s impossible for a goalie to maintain a consistently high save percentage.PDO can now tell us the extent of hockey’s chaos, but goaltenders have always grappled with the randomness of their position. In his classic book, “The Game,” the Montreal Canadiens’ Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden wrote that a goaltender’s mental focus is key:If you were to ask a coach or a player what he would most like to see in a goalie, he would, after some rambling out-loud thoughts, probably settle on something like: consistency, dependability, and the ability to make the big save. [ … ] Because the demands on a goalie are mostly mental, it means that for a goalie the biggest enemy is himself. Not a puck, not an opponent, not a quirk of size or style. Him. The stress and anxiety he feels when he plays, the fear of failing, the fear of being embarrassed, the fear of being physically hurt, all are symptoms of his position, in constant ebb and flow, but never disappearing. The successful goalie understands these neuroses, accepts them, and puts them under control. The unsuccessful goalie is distracted by them, his mind in knots, his body quickly following.Stats portray the goalie’s job as a nihilistic one. Chaos mounts, pucks fly, muscles react. What happens beyond that is so random that, as Dryden writes, the only way for a goalie to cope is to focus on what’s immediately in front of him: a stretch of ice with an ever-changing landscape of variables.
The Ohio State softball team (7-5) returned the bulk of its offensive production from last season, but through its first 12 games of the 2017 season, the best offense has come from a newcomer — sophomore shortstop Lilli Piper, an Akron transfer.Piper has made an immediate impact for the Buckeyes since her arrival before the season. She leads the team in hits, RBIs, multi-base hits and has the team’s second-highest slugging percentage.Before putting up those team-leading numbers, Piper had to adjust to a new environment and group of teammates.“It was almost like starting freshman year all over again,” Piper said. “I was kind of finding my niche in the program and what they wanted to do and what they wanted from me. I was just getting used to the girls, getting used to the team, making new friends and a new family.”Complicating matters, Piper wasn’t just switching teams, she was switching sports. Though she did play softball at Akron, Piper was on scholarship with the basketball team and spent extensive time on the hardwood.“Going from playing basketball year-round for years to stopping and completely switching was definitely another switch in my head that had to come on and a different mentality,” Piper said. “Playing both sports really helped me become the athlete and player today when it comes to softball.”The changes didn’t seem to hinder Piper. She earned a starting spot before the season, beating out freshman shortstop Amy Balich, and exceeded expectations at the plate. Before the season, OSU coach Kelly Schoenly said Piper proved she could handle the job defensively, but was waiting to see what she could add offensively. Obviously, she’s more than proven herself at the plate.Senior pitcher Lena Springer said she knew immediately Piper was going to add a lot to the Buckeye offense.“I actually thought that the first day of practice, when she first stepped foot on the field,” Springer said. “I remember I was throwing batting practice for her one day and I was like, ‘Woah, this kid’s got a bat.’”Despite the immediate success, Piper knows she must keep working, or she will lose her spot as quickly as she got it.“Every single day, every game you’re fighting for a spot on the field,” Piper said. “That’s what kind of pushes me, that nothing is guaranteed. So, coming out there it’s working every single day to be out on the field and earning the right to be on the field. That’s the mentality I had.”Piper will look to continue her hot hitting at the Central Florida Tournament, where the Buckeyes will face Georgia, Central Florida, Delaware State and Mercer.