For African footballers Russia is a land of false promises

first_imgSoumahoro paid the scout 3,000 euros ($3,500) only to find, like so many before him, that promises of a spot with a Moscow club disappeared like a mirage.He ended up training with a local team in the southern city of Krasnodar until his tourist visa ran out, leaving him adrift with no income in a country with frigid winters and a language he could barely speak.“It was tough, I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “It gets you down as you’ve lost your home club and your dream. In a stroke, you have nothing.”While teams in Russia’s Premier League can sign foreign talent, players in the lower divisions must be Russian or have a hard-to-obtain residence permit.Ernest Akhilomhen was a regular in Nigerian youth squads before leaving at age 16 to try his luck in Russia.He said coaches regularly tell him: “Ernest we like you, we want to sign you, but you have to get the good documents.”Without the correct paperwork Akhilomhen says he must break into the Premier League because it allows foreigners, a dream he stubbornly clings to.“That’s the reason I’m still here: I still have hope,” he said.Several times a week, Akhilomhen meets up at a pitch in the Moscow suburbs with Soumahoro, who coaches the Black Stars, a team he created for African footballers “to stay in shape and keep their hopes up”.– Scams and dreams –Players of the Black Stars, a team created for African footballers, train at a pitch in the Moscow suburbs © AFP / Maxim ZMEYEVEvery year some 6,000 African minors quit West Africa looking to make it with a European club, according to the charity Foot Solidaire.It’s difficult to estimate the number of adults who make the same journey.In villages and towns across the continent, young footballers seduced by the promise of an international career hand over sums that put entire families into debt, said Christophe Gleizes, author of the book “Magic System: Modern Slavery of African Footballers”.“They are well-developed scams with official papers signed by clubs: Spartak, Zenit… The traffickers exploit the confidence and the dreams of these kids,” he told AFP.Gleizes said the vulnerable young Africans were “ready to do anything for a better life”.“The El Dorado of European football makes them blind.”Russia, host of the June 14-July 15 World Cup, is an increasingly popular destination such scams as tourist visas are relatively easy to obtain and its top league is considered a springboard to big European clubs.– Small jobs –Mouhamed Kone arrived in Russia with an agent’s promises of introductions to a top club and manager ringing in his ears. Two years later, he’s still waiting and has run out of hope.“I don’t have any papers, I lost my passport,” said the young Malian. “Each time I see the police I get very afraid.”Fellow Africans helped him find an small apartment which he shares with eight others. The 17-year-old hangs up advertisements in a town north of Moscow to pay the rent and eat.He can earn up to 50 euros per week at best, and often brings home half that.“I wouldn’t encourage anyone to come to Russia to have career in football,” he said.Other Africans find work cutting hair, washing dishes in restaurants or as extras in films in order to earn enough to eat.For his part, Soumahoro earns his way with football, by training Muscovites, both kids and adults.But eight years after he arrived in Russia, he still hopes that one day he’ll be noticed by a Premier League side.“If your have your goal, with or without papers, you can achieve it. The solution is in your dreams.”0Shares0000(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Many African players who come to Russia with promises of lucrative careers end up with their dreams shattered © AFP / Maxim ZMEYEVMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 10 – As football’s top stars arrive in Russia chasing World Cup glory, young African players lured to the country with promises of lucrative contracts say that for them it is a place of scams and shattered dreams.“We are the team of false promises,” said Ismael Soumahoro, who was 16 and playing in Ivory Coast’s top flight when a scout convinced him “football is Africa is good but it would be better to take my chances in Europe.”last_img read more


first_imgBirdwatch Ireland has appealed to the public to make reportings of dead seabirds being washed up off Co Donegal.Several seabird stranding events have occurred along the Atlantic coast of Europe over the past month.Numbers of dead or dying seabirds found on beaches have been greatest in Brittany, Channel Islands & along the South West coast of Britain. The situation in Ireland seems less severe so far but a number of dead seabirds have been reported from coastal areas in Counties Donegal, Galway, Cork & Wexford.The prolonged period of bad weather experienced this winter is believed to be the main driving factor behind these stranding events.A continuous run of strong low pressure systems has made feeding conditions at sea very difficult with some of the smaller species such as Guillemot, Razorbill & Puffin being hit hardest.Lack of food & exhaustion leads to them washing up on our shores either dead or in a weakened condition, displaying signs of malnutrition. Other seabirds such as Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag & Great Northern Diver have also been reported among the list of casualties. In order to ascertain the full scale of this event, BirdWatch Ireland are asking members of the public to report any dead or dying seabirds they have found washed up along the coast so far this winter and over the coming weeks.As many of the following details as possible would be greatly appreciated:(1) Date(2) Location (with a Grid Reference if possible: Species involved (4) Numbers involved(5) Presence of any ringed birds (metal or coloured rings on the birds legs with details of codes if noted)Please send details of any stranded seabirds you have encountered to the BirdWatch Ireland seabird team at [email protected] any live seabirds are found which may require rehabilitation then please consult the Irish Wildlife Matters website ( for guidance and details of any listed vets or rehabilitators in your area which may be able to help. BIRDWATCH IRELAND SEEK HELP ON DEAD BIRDS WASHED UP OFF DONEGAL was last modified: February 27th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Birdwatch Irelanddonegalseabird strandingslast_img read more

NRI Bengalis to focus on Tagore songs in prepuja albums

first_imgThe pre-puja season is a time which sees a number of music albums hit the stands every year. This year saw a number of non-resident Bengalis launch their albums, like Soumya Dasgupta’s Bengali album ‘Khusi Noi Awlpey.’ Soumya is the son of legendary Bengali composer, Sudhin Das Gupta.’Khusi Noi Awlpey’ features eight Bengali non-film songs rendered by Raghab Chattopadhyay, Nirmalya Roy, Swagato Dey while lyrics have been penned by Rajib Chakraborty and Soumya Dasgupta. Songs like ‘Khusi Noi Awlpey’ (Raghab Chattopadhyay), Beparoya Hawa (Nirmalya Roy), Jekhane Jemon (Swagato Dey), Roshnai (Raghab Chattopadhyay) are worth a mention. All the songs have been composed by Soumya Dasgupta. The album was released at Kolkata Press Club on UD Series. Paroma, Upal, Raghab Chattopadhyay, Soumya Dasgupta, Nirmalya Roy, Rajib Chakraborty were present at the launch ceremony. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSoumya started studying music through the instrument of his choice, the guitar, first with his uncle, Parimal Das Gupta and later on with legendary Indian jazz guitarist, Carlton Kitto. The early years were spent in the company of legendary Indian singers including Manna Dey, Arati Mukherjee, Banasree Sen Gupta and instrumental maestros who were regulars in the recording industry. His first recording stint was with his father, in 1979, at the Technicians’ Studio, Kolkata. His first band was a folk rock band, called “Further Away” after he left India in 1990 to work in Oman. There he started a rock band called “Feedback” in 1991which featured Mangalorean and Sri Lankan musicians. He gave up active gigging, concentrating on larger shows in Oman and composing music in his home studio. Between 2003 and 2012, Soumya composed and produced music for a number of plays for the Indian and Bangladeshi diaspora in Oman. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn 2013, he produced a fusion album with his long time musician friend, tabla player Subrata Bhattacharya. They formed a fusion band, called Crossover, which featured a lot of well known Indian artists. In 2015, Soumya composed, arranged and produced a western instrumental album called “Roots”. In 2016, he produced a Bengali language album, called “Khushi Noi Awlpey” featuring singers Raghab Chatterjee, Nirmalya Roy and Swagato Dey, with sound design by Sayan Ganguly. Soumya has teamed up with prominent Greek – Omani singer, Thanae and started producing songs with an album planned in the near future. The album RANG by Anindya-Shelley was released by eminent Rabindra Sangeet artist Prabuddha Raha at on INRECO, recently. Anindya-Shelley has chosen six of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs which interpret the relationship of love with that of nature, and its varying inspirations in different seasons. It was a cherished dream of the duo to reach out to other-than-Bengali-speaking audiences, with the gems of Tagore’s creations. Shouvik Mazumdar, a composer of contemporary times has translated Gurudev’s songs, with a touch of his simple yet chaste Hindi. Professor Debal Dasgupta from the MS University of Baroda, Gujarat, has enriched the verses with a touch of finesse.Music has been arranged by Rana Sarkar. Songs like ‘Aaj Sawan ghanaghata chaiye re’ (Aji jhoro jhoro mukhoro badoro diney), ‘Sakhi pyar mein na janu’ (Sokhi bhabona kahare boley), ‘O mere chand suhana’ (O amar chander alo), ‘Kab se main ye socha tha’ (Kotobaro bhebechhinu), ‘Udashini jaisey kesuyo ki lat se’ (Udashini beshe bideshini ke se), ‘Pagli hawako aaj de diyahaiman’ (Phagun haway haway) are worth a mention.Anindya and Shelley’s musical journey gained momentum way back in 2011 at Baroda, Gujarat. Anindya has been widely acclaimed for his albums, one of Rabindrasangeet and two others of Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. Shelley’s debut album of Rabindrasangeet has also been appreciated by listeners from all quarters. Moreover, Ratnendra, an artiste from Mumbai with a Bong connection released his debut non-film Bengali album ‘Jani Tumi Asbe’ on INRECO featuring five songs penned by Rajib Chakraborty, music composed by Arbind Dogra recently in city. Ratnendra is a trained singer and one of very promising disciples of legendary artist, Suresh Wadekar.Music is his passion though he does a job in Mumbai. Songs are modern with a high range of variety. The album was released by Surojit Chatterjee, eminent singer, Ashok Bhadra, music composer, Debasish Kumar (MIC) at the Press Club, Kolkata.last_img read more

Peaceful bypolls in Darjeeling Islampur

first_imgDarjeeling: Assembly by-polls were peacefully conducted in Darjeeling and Islampur in North Bengal on Sunday. “There were no incidents of violence. However, there were some complaints, which have been addressed. The voting till 5pm stood at 62 per cent,” said Koushik Sinha, SDO, Darjeeling.”An FIR was lodged at the Darjeeling Sadar Police Station but no one has been arrested,” said Amarnath K, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling. A scuffle took place in Badamtam tea estate. There were allegations from the GJM (Binoy Tamang faction) that outsiders had entered booth number 112, Badamtam Higher Secondary School. After the scuffle ensued, additional security forces arrived. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataIn Darjeeling, BJP candidate Niraj Zimba entered the Turnbull school polling station with his armed guard to cast his vote. The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel asked his bodyguard to leave. On his way back after casting his vote Zimba and his supporters had a heated exchange of words with GJM (Binoy supporters) on Gandhi road. GJM supporters alleged that Zimba and his men manhandled GJM workers. Zimba however denied the allegation. Binoy Tamang, the GJM president and an Independent candidate backed by the TMC and GJM (Binoy faction) while talking to mediapersons appealed to maintain peace in the Hills. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateThere are 321 polling stations in the Darjeeling Assembly constituency. Altogether 45 polling stations have been declared as critical. There are 2,34,758 voters, including 1,15,665 males and 119093 females. There are 3,950 service voters. Along with state forces, 16 companies of CAPF were deployed in Darjeeling for the polls. Except for a stray incident at Madaripur, Islampur the by-polls passed of peacefully. One person was arrested in Islampur. Polling stood at 71 per cent. The number of voters in Islampur Assembly constituency is 2,03,891. The number of male voters stood at 1,07,255 and female voters 96,634. There are 219 polling stations in Islampur. With Congress MLA Kanailal Agarwal resigning from the Assembly and contesting the Lok Sabha elections as a TMC candidate, the seat had fallen vacant.last_img read more

The Democratization of Software Development

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » 5 min read December 14, 2016 Software development — once the domain of hard-core techies who worked in a world apart from the day-to-day operations of the business world — has become democratized. Newer business models now bring tech, development and business together, and line-of-business managers now have a hand in developing programs that were once relegated to a windowless back room staffed with the mysterious high priests of code, working late into the night and guzzling energy drinks.Those days are gone, thanks to a new generation of software-as-a-service development platforms that simplify app creation, along with new cloud and as-a-service innovations that have brought IT out into the daylight in a new “dot-cloud boom” era of easy access and development for the masses.Related: How To Build a SaaS Startup That Wins and LastsCary Landis, founder and CEO of SaaSMaker, has been on the forefront of the cloud movement from the very beginning when he assisted with defining the NIST reference architecture for cloud computing and implementing SaaS at NASA as early as 2008. “As-a-service platforms are part of the natural evolution of technology,” said Landis. “We’ve gone from needing highly specialized programmers to create a thousand cardboard punchcards fed into a hopper just to execute a single task, to an environment of ready-made, do-it-yourself components and drag-and-drop development that puts routine programmatic execution in the hands of line managers. The result is faster execution, greater innovation, and more efficiency than we ever dreamed was possible.”Ushering in a new wave of entrepreneurship.Technology-driven innovation has come in waves. From the dotcom boom of the 1990s, to the more recent onslaught of mobile and smartphone apps, each successive iteration of innovation has become more accessible. The ease with which these apps are developed, and the convenient platforms for selling them, has led to more than 2.2 million apps currently available on Google Play, 2 million in the Apple store, 669,000 in the Windows store, 600,000 in the Amazon app store, and 234,500 on BlackBerry world, with BlackBerry apps expected to skyrocket after the company’s recent shift away from its iconic hardware platform to being a software company.Related: 7 Rising SaaS Startups Delivering Stellar Content“The cost of launch often ran in the tens of millions of dollars in the early part of the dotcom boom,” said Landis. “All software was custom-made and time-consuming. There were no small projects. As the cost of launch moves towards zero, a new era of dotcloud boom has already begun. We’re seeing a new type of startup today in the post-dotcom world, which we call dotclouds. These new agile startups use cloud-based infrastructure, so they don’t need a data center. They use SaaS development platforms, so they don’t need huge programming staff. And they take advantage of things like existing app stores, so marketing and selling is as simple as posting the app in the online store with a creative description.”I wanna start a software company!There will always be great ideas. The difference today is that those ideas are a lot simpler to execute, and more small-scale app companies will be launched not by technologists, but by business users and innovators. Landis launched SaaSMaker in recognition of the continuing evolution of tech innovation and entrepreneurship. “The evolution of cloud computing has brought us to a point today where entrepreneurs can create anything from a prototype to a full-scale free system, on a single ‘idea to revenue’ platform that allows for prototyping, development, hosting, and marketing.”The new dotcloud era will be marked by developers looking for dramatically reduced time-to-market, taking advantage of cloud infrastructure and services to avoid the costs inherent to on-premise operations, and drag-and-drop development that bridges the gap that has traditionally existed between business and IT. Unlike traditional development tools, Landis defines a SaaS development platform-as-a-service (PaaS) as more of an entire ecosystem rather than a single utility. “It’s not a hammer; it’s the whole toolbox,” he says. These types of platforms will be especially important in the next wave of entrepreneurship.Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Your SaaS ChurnWith development traditionally representing the majority of IT costs, new product launches have often been prohibitively costly to new entrepreneurs, often running into the millions of dollars. Independent software vendors stand to gain a lot with the PaaS model. According to a Frost and Sullivan report sponsored by Cisco, “As the cloud matures, providers who have invested in cloud infrastructure will look to evolve today’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings into new sources of revenue and competitive differentiators. They will leverage their current cloud infrastructure, services, systems and expertise to take on the next great opportunity in cloud services — Platform as a Service.”last_img read more