CHILDREN SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE UP SPORTS AT AN EARLY STAGE

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What is childhood made of? Anatomically speaking, it is all about growing up. You become taller every year, your arms become stronger, you run a little faster and your weight fluctuates rapidly. However, it is also about playing, learning, falling down and surviving; all of which comes from one little package- sports.

Starting early has always been one of the key factors in the lives of successful personalities, especially in the world of sports. Nonetheless, becoming a successful sportsperson is not the only conclusion of making a head start.  In a world, where team game is associated with team work, the significance of sports in a child’s life seems unquestionably vital.

Being part of a team provides a child with important lessons which cannot be taught in a classroom; the first and foremost being to be courageous. A crucial decision is made when a child is asked to pick a sport, even before he is familiarized with his liking or strengths. The second most important lesson is hard-work, that nothing is gained unless you put in your hundred percent. This builds integrity and determination in a child as well as they receive honest results based on the hours they spend in perfecting their form. In a team game, they learn to adapt, be a team player and appeal to each others’ strengths.

One of the major ironies that sports carries is the ability to surface the finest when everything has been lost. Children easily lose heart when their team loses or they face any injuries. Many parents and it is only natural, advocate the thought of keeping their child safe in the classroom or at home. However, facing and conquering the challenges allows them to comprehend the true form of victory. Through the journey with their teammates, they build a sense of belongingness and learn to fight for a common goal.

Holding all this together is sportsmanship. The will to play fair and square, to respect the game and the opponents, forms an integral part of a child’s personality.

An early start in sports encourages a child to make healthier choices in life. According to a study, team athletes are happier and more mentally stable than their counterparts who do not participate. They also stand higher chances of being selected for a job opportunity.

The world is becoming fierce by the day, and the importance of sports in the life of a child shouldn’t be discredited. Sport forms the base of the personality of the child, it shapes his character and it galvanizes his values. Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is a whole lot better. It gives him/her the confidence to take on the world and make the impossible- possible. To make it the “Poss-impible”. See, it gave us the confidence to make a new word!

EPL Weekend 2: The Games have just begun (5 Talking Points)

  1. Chelsea’s Troubles?

The 2-2 home draw to Chelsea, was down to the poor performance on the right flank of the team, however for this side to be caught out for similar traits two games running is peculiar.

Branislav Ivanovic was the target man for the Manchester City attack line and it was executed perfectly with most of the attacks coming from that side. Kolarov and Sterling took turns in overlapping the Serbian whilst attacking leaving him high and dry at many a time. However, it just isn’t Ivanovic who is to blame. Cesc Fabregas was played alongside Nemanja Matic in the deep lying midfield, but he was seen most off the time in City’s half and was didn’t retreat well, exposing the back four and instigating Mourinho to take off John Terry for the first time in the Premier League era.

Jose Mourinho also called Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City a “fake result”, a bogus representation of his side’s performance in the second half.

  1. Will Arsenal gamble on Coquelin for the whole season?

When Le Coq was a foul away from being sent off, Wenger turned to his to his bench to look for a solution. The sight of Mikel Arteta being summoned was a stark reminder of the limited options that Arsene Wenger has at his disposal in that position should Coquelin have been suspended. Or on any other day, injured or suffer a sudden loss of form.

Wenger denied any interest in either of the German Internationals, Lars Bender or Chris Kramer on Friday and, though Arsenal does not necessarily need an upgrade on Coq, certainly they are in need of a viable alternative.

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  1. City on Rampage mode.

Manchester City built on their normal 3-0 destruction of West Bromwich Albion on matchday one in the Premier League by doing likewise to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. City are setting a standard that may as of now be unachievable for the chasing pack. On the off chance that this is the means by which they deal with Chelsea, their title rivals at the beginning of the season, then Everton are in for one hell of a match, one week from now. This is a superb team playing exqusite football and with everyone finding their place and form in the line-up, there may be no stopping them this season.

  1. The Friday night football match.

This is this the first time a top flight game has been played on a Friday night outside of the holiday season since 2004 (Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-0) which is pretty cool in itself. However, it’s also a good warm up for next year. From the 2016-17 season onward, there’ll be regular football on a Friday evening. The match on focus that night was Aston Villa taking on Manchester United. Adnan Januzaj marked his first start for Manchester United in six months with the game’s only goal, taking the Red Devils to their second win in the opening two games of a season for the first time since 2011. Although it was far from a vintage display, Louis Van Gaal side’s kept their second-straight clean sheet and go top of the table for the first time since the start of the 2013-14 season, albeit shortly.

All of that was possible thanks to the Belgian’s first-half goal that was calmly taken following Juan Mata’s through ball from the inside the left flank.

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  1. Spurs facing a “Striking” issue.

After slumping to a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the opening game, Spurs went on to blow a two-goal lead at home against Stoke City after Kane was withdrawn at the 65-minute mark. Pochettino’s side is very light in the strikers’ department and has moved quickly to sign Clinton Njie from Lyon and there are rumors of Saido Berahino joining them before the season ends. However, as seen during the match, Spurs looked lost at the final third of the pitch whilst attacking. The absence of Kane was visible and felt by all. While Pochettino’s emphasis is on pressing the opposition which certainly troubles defences, he needs to get a striker capable of popping in the goals on the other end to relieve some pressure of Kane.

Inagural EPL Weekend 2015-2016 – Five Talking Points

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  1. Emergence of Swansea City

Swansea City was backed by manager Garry Monk to improve further, after giving a fight to Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. Swansea came from behind twice to secure a point against the champions at West London thanks to an Andre Ayew strike on his debut and a Bafetimbi Gomis penalty. Earlier Oscar’s free-kick and a Federico Fernandez own goal had put Chelsea in front on two occasions. Swansea had a plethora of chances to secure a first Premier League win over Chelsea after Thibaut Courtois’s red card for fouling Gomis. This could’ve been another 1st day victory over the top 4 after a win over Manchester United 12 months ago. However, he can be content with the performance of the team as a whole.

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  1. Leicester New Life under Ranieri

Leicester City’s teamwork and offensive playing qualities were lauded by Claudio Ranieri after their 4-2 opening-day victory over Sunderland. The Leicester manager made his Premier League return at King Power Stadium and witnessed a clinical first-half display by his team en-route to beating Sunderland. A Riyad Mahrez brace and a Jamie Vardy goal put Leicester 3-0 up at half time. Jermain Defoe pulled one back in the second half only for Marc Albrighton to kill the with Leicester’s fourth. Steven Fletcher got a goal for Sunderland later but it was no more than a consolation one. Ranieri, a former Chelsea manager who took over Leicester from Nigel Pearson was pleased with the start.

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  1. Cech’s Home Debut

It was supposed to be a dream start for Arsenal’s new signing Petr Cech after joining from Chelsea for 11 million dollars this summer. He was touted to be their knight in shining armor who would lead the team to their first premier league title in 10 years. However, the dream was shattered with Cech conceding two easy attempts on goal, which otherwise should have been saved. Adding to the misery of the Arsenal fans, it was the first victory of West Ham over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium since 2007.

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  1. Harry Kane Misfiring

Harry Kane came into this season with a burden of expectations to his name. Kane had to a tough beginning for this season as he faced a new look Manchester United. And it was to be proven right with the United rear-guard keeping Kane away from the ball and not giving him space to make his runs nor the time to position himself. It is to be seen if he was a one season wonder or not. However the Spurs faithful can take solace in the fact that it was one of those days where he was carefully isolated by Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick and successfully followed up by Schneiderlin.  With him being a prime transfer subject for many clubs, such performances may not find him any suitors come the end of August.

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  1. The Goalkeepers – Second Choice Talent

This season is widely looked upon to be the season of Goalkeepers. Vorm, Ospina, Begovic, Romero, Jääskeläinen; these are the second choice goalkeepers for some of teams in the EPL. A plethora of talent is there on show this season, hence making it very difficult for strikers to score. Whether or not we will get to see these players on the pitch regularly is impossible to tell, but with such talent on the bench, a sense of security will always be present with the defenders come a moment of madness by their 1st choice keeper. E.g. we witnessed such an incident when Chelsea played Swansea in the opening day fixture of the Premier League, where Courtois was sent off, but was ably replaced by Begovic.

THE ASHES 2015 – Aussie Batting Missing

ashes ausAhead of the fourth Test, England remain just as capable of running through the Australian middle order as they are to succumbing themselves. This year has seen very little of team cricket, with many a star throwing away his wicket, or losing form. We have seen out-right match winners in Joe-Root and James Anderson for England and Steve Smith and the ever- erratic Mitchell Johnson for Australia.

Whichever side winds up winning this Ashes series,they will presumably have done so by avoiding a domino-effect collapse. From the players available in the rosters of both teams, we can see some who wouldn’t be able to make it past a century of runs – that too collectively. A reason for this below par performance could be attributed to the emergence of the shorter format of the game. Yes, the age old debate of whether T-20 is killing Test Cricket. There were glimpses of that answer in the debacle that was witnessed first at Sophia Gardens, then at Lords and also Edgbaston. We can’t rule out some stump splattering mayhem at Trent Bridge either. The emergence of T-20 cricket as a major focus of domestic cricket championships (Big Bash-Australia, IPL- India, CPL-West Indies, Ram Slam – South Africa, NatWest Blast, etc) has pushed the batsman to change his playing style and technique with “Rampage mode” at all times. This has made players like Chris Rogers, a batsman capable of knuckling up a century with the red ball, move to the sidelines and wait for his turn to play in a schedule filled with the shorter form of the game. In terms of statistics, let us have a look at Rogers’ and David Warner’s respective batting performance during this series; Rogers has faced 640 deliveries at an average of 106 per innings while Warner has faced 354 at an average of 69.

The latter often getting out early in the innings, playing risky shots as he may have done so in T-20 cricket. However, it becomes harder to point fingers at Warner as he is barely supported by the lower order batsmen. Given the state of the Australian team, they will have to rely solely on the services of Steve Smith, unless Warner finds a way to partner Rogers through a significant chunk of the innings. The prospect of the lower order finding its form at the crease continues to be largely implausible.

In all this chaos, a certain Mitchell Marsh might be allowed a few more opportunities to cement his position in the side. With the dithering form of Watson, Australia is in need for a broad shouldered all-rounder to step up. While Mitchell Marsh is great when the middle order is playing with all guns blazing, he becomes something of a liability when they are not.

Australia began the series armed with what seemed a more attacking and well structured line-up but after two majorly disappointing performances,they have got to get their mojo back. They can may be find some inspiration from the capitulation of England at Lord’s.The home side is never far away from putting in a shocker either, but the Australian team may be better off not betting on it.

The EPL Returns: What to watch out for this season

Last season saw very little excitement with Chelsea sealing the title way before the season ended, the European places being sorted out before the last weekend, moreover even the relegation battle wasn’t much ado, apart from Newcastle skimming past at the last. The final whistle of the Community Shield Match on Sunday, 2nd August 2015 not only signaled the end of the match, but also the start of the English Premier League – 2015-16. This season promises a lot, with new managers, new teams, new philosophies, new signings, new tantrums and old as well. Lets Kick-off by looking at 7 of the most captivating headlines that could determine the campaign ahead.

  1. Who Will Be The Signing Of The Summer

sterling This is what all fans will be yearning to know, some may rule off the transfer fees if they get to see the results. Will it be Petr Cech saving 12-15 points for Arsenal? Raheem Sterling scoring 15+ goals for Machester City? Yohan Cabaye inspiring Crystal Palace to a European Place Finish? Schweinsteiger and Schniederlin cementing the hole in the United midfield? It’ll be an answer we’ll only get when the season sees its end.

  1. Brendan Rodgers On The Tight Rope.

Since the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool has struggled to compete for a top four finish. With Balotelli not filling the void as seen last season, Rodgers is left with more questions than answers coming into this season. Raheem Sterling’s departure to Manchester City saw him take the villains’ spotlight away from Rodgers. But with the release of his two assistants, Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh, It can be tipped that Rodgers was next in the line. Rodgers started with a bang at Liverpool, followed by the season that saw Suarez-Sturridge almost bring home the title, and last season saw the struggle to cope up. This is probably Rodgers’ last chance. Emre Càn, Divock Origi, Lazar Markovic were overseas talents brought in last season, but were either loaned out or played out of position. This season, Rogers has brought in proven Premier League talents, James Milner, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings. Let’s see if they are the answer to Liverpool fans’ cries or just the boot to Rodgers Days at Liverpool.

  1. Van Gaal And His Decisions.

louis-van-gaal-man-united Despite splashing the cash, the last season didn’t belong to the Dutchman. He was saved, thanks to De Gea’s Heroics and the late season collapse by Tottenham and Liverpool which sealed the top 4 finish for his team. The spending continued this season with Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Schweinsteiger-Schniederlin coming in for an estimate of $75 million, but Van Gaal still seeks more creativity. With the loss of Van Persie and Falcao, United might be lacking cover in attack, but his other positions are well filled. Carrick – Herrera was the combination used last season, but with Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin in the equation, it is to be seen what Van Gaal will opt for. In defense, with Blind being suggested as one Center Back, it leaves Evans, Smalling, Jones and Rojo to fight for the other spot. This ought to put Van Gaal in a spot.

  1. Falcao To Chelsea?

flcao The arrival of Falcao on loan to Chelsea was a very intriguing one. Falcao, a superstar flying high in his career, notching up goals regularly, contributing to the teams’ victories (FC Porto and Atletico Madrid) brought down by an injury and is still trying to regain his form. Will he suffer the same fate as Eduardo at Arsenal, or Hagreaves at United? It’s too early to tell, at least for Jose Mourinho that is. Mourinho has got his man on loan, meaning there is no financial outlay like that of his previous strikers(Torres and Shevchenko). Mourinho will look to get more out from the Colombian than his mentor Van Gaal, based on the fact that the game play of the teams differs. United played to build and keep the ball whereas Chelsea take on the pressure and hit on the counter, with Willian and Hazard speeding down the flanks to assist. Will this be what Falcao needs to rejuvenate his career and find his lost form. With the absence of Diego Costa at the start of the season, we may get the answer soon.

  1. Will There Be A New Entrant In The Top Four Places?

The English League has always been dominated by the top 4. Earlier, it was Arsenal, United, Chelsea and Liverpool, but the emergence of Manchester City last decade saw it dethrone Liverpool and take over. However, the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson saw new life being breathed in the race for Champions League Qualification spots. Liverpool were the winners in this race in 2013-14, but last season, everyone missed out to pip United for the last spot with Tottenham, Liverpool and Southampton running out of steam at the business end of the season. It definitely would have been a different story for United had they failed to secure that last Champions League Spot. The transfers of Schniederlin and Schweinsteiger would be put to question, so would the imminent departure of De Gea. The summer transfer window has seen all the top seven sides strengthen their squads, but the gap between top four and the chasing teams looks even bigger than before. We are destined to have an exciting battle for the coveted domestic trophy. It would be a huge surprise if there was a new name in the top four this season joining Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.  

  1. Can Arsenal Win The Title With Olivier Giroud Upfront?

arsenal Wenger, on his latest meeting with the media cleared the air about the transfer of Karim Benzema, that they aren’t in the market for him. This led us back to what Thierry Henry said last season, “Arsenal needed a top, top striker to win the league.” With that remark, he reopened the longest-running debate in north London: Can you win the title with a good striker and not a great one? Giroud has been a good signing for Arsenal for the past three seasons, that too for a bargain price of 10million pounds. But his big-game record suggests that he will never be on the level of strikers who win you titles. Arsenal is an efficient, experienced unit. It remains to be seen if their spearhead is sharp enough.  

  1. The Coaches On The Sidelines

Klopp Last Season saw Sunderland bring in Dick Advocaat with 10 games of the season left to play. His calling came when the team was in deep trouble, unable to pick up points and destined to go down. What happened after that was a miracle called Advocaat. It is always a 50-50 chance that bringing in a new coach in the middle of the season will yield you the results. But desperate times will call for desperate measures. This season bring us two outstanding coaches on the sidelines; Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti. If Liverpool, Manchester City or even Everton suffer nightmare starts to the season, they could receive a call, with City keeping an eye on Guardiola’s contract situation over in Munich. This should leave Pellegrini with a clear run for the title, however Rogers and Martinez need to be on their toes, at all times.