Chinese tourists have shown an increased interest for the Russia World Cup

Major Chinese online travel agencies have confirmed that Chinese tourists are showing more and more interest in Russia, the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to the agencies, the number of airline tickets reserved for major venues such as Moscow and St. Petersburg are up by 50% year-on-year for the period of 14 June – 15 July 2018.

Travel packages have increased, which means hotels around the 12 major arenas are being booked out, with less than a month to go before the world’s biggest soccer tournament kicks off.

According to the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, at least 1.5 million overseas visitors are expected in Russia during the tournament, with expenses amounting to over 140 million euros (USD 165 million).

The agencies also noted that Shanghai fans have placed the most orders for World Cup-related travel, followed by Beijing and Chengdu. About six of the top 10 cities with the largest number of World Cup game attendees are from second-tier cities.



Iconic game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Barcelona

South African soccer fans are delighted to have first-hand experience of one of the most iconic games to take place in the country on Wednesday night. Mamelodi Sundowns will take on FC  Barcelona at FNB Stadium in a friendly match to commemorate a century of Nelson Mandela’s death.

Barcelona agreed to be part of the celebrations and promised to bring players Lionel Messi‚ Louis Suarez‚ Gerald Pique and the outgoing captain Andres Iniesta. The last time these teams played together was in was 2007, where Barcelona won the friendly match with 2-1.

Motsepe Foundation representative, Sizwe Nzimande has confirmed that the Mandela Centenary Cup match will be broadcasted on SABC and Supersport.

Tickets to the game have been sold out, FNB stadium is said to have a full capacity close to 90 000.

Nzimande encouraged the fans to arrive early at the stadium to avoid congestion before the kick-off.

“We have been involved in a series of meetings with Stadium Management‚ planning for the safety of the fans before‚ during and after the game. So far everything is going according to plan‚” he said.


IAAF has approved new rules that will affect Caster Semenya

It has been confirmed that South Africa’s golden girl Caster Semenya will need to take medication to reduce her testosterone levels if she hopes to continue running in events from the 400m to a mile.

This comes after the IAAF announced on Thursday that it has changed eligibility regulations for female classification for the 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1 500m and the mile.

The IAAF said in a statement that the new rules require athletes who has a “Difference of Sexual Development (DSD)” and who are androgen-sensitive must meet certain criteria to compete in the above events.

“She must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent), the statement reads

“She must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (i.e. whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.”

These new regulations will come into effect from 1 November 2018. This means that Semenya and other athletes that are affected will compete in the upcoming European season, including the Diamond League meetings.

Source: IOLSports



Thirteen African athletes go missing at Commonwealth Games

Organisers of the Commonwealth Games have confirmed that five more African athletes have gone missing on Thursday, following the disappearance of eight competitors from Cameron who were suspected of fleeing the day before.

According to AFP, athletes from Rwanda and Uganda were thought to have gone missing, while the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone were till unknown.

Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive, David Grevemberg said that it is their duty to service those with legitimate visas to be in the country.

“Until it becomes a true issue, and somebody has outstayed their visa, or have formally applied for asylum, we just need to continue to monitor the situations.” he said.

He also revealed the focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing.            

Grevemberg has also stated that more than 100 athletes have overstayed their visas at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Athlete visas for the Commonwealth Games this year will expire on 15 May 2018.

As the search continues for Cameroon’s five boxers and three weightlifters, Grevemberg insisted the welfare of the athletes are also top priority.

“We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials. We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes.”

Cameroon team manager, Victor Agbor Nso said the matter has been reported to the police.

source: AFP


SA athletes bag more gold at the Commonwealth Games

South African athlete participating at the Commomwealth Games have one thing in mind: bring home the gold! Golden girl, Caster Semenya on Tuesday broke the national record as well as the games record in a time of 4:00:72 – breaking Zola Budd’s previous record!

In addition, our swimmers came out on top on Monday, with outstanding performances from Chad le Clos, Cameron van der Burgh and Tatjana Schoenmaker.

Van der Burgh who owns the London 2012 Olympic champion title, beat the world record-holder and breaststroke superstar Adam Peaty on the 50m breaststroke, finishing his race in 26.58 seconds.

Schoenmaker broke swimming legend Penny Heyns’ 1999 100m breaststroke African record, claiming the gold medal in a fast time of 1:06.41. The accomplishment comes after Schoenmaker won Gold in the 200m Breaststroke event on Saturday, claiming a 100 and 200m double in the process.

This is a major victory for Schoenmaker who became the first able-bodied female swimmer since Joan Harrison at the 1954 Vancouver Games to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

In the case of Chad le Clos, the swimmer completed the 100m butterfly at a record of 50.65 seconds, finishing ahead of James Guy of England in second place with 50.65 with Australia’s Grant Irvine taking bronze in 51.50. Also on Monday, we celebrated the wins of Akani Simbine, who has made history by winning the first ever gold medal for South Africa in the 100m men’s race at the Commonwealth Games with a time of 10.3, followed by fellow South African Henricho Bruintjies who finished second in 10.17.

India is currently the leading BRICS country at number 3 on the top 10 scoreboards of the Commonwealth Games with a total of 21 medals, followed by South Africa at number 5 with 21 medals.

source: IOLSport

Brazil’s new World Cup Kit Revealed

There are only 79 days left before the FIFA World Cup Russia gets underway in Moscow, Russia.

Nike has revealed their Brazilian (home and away) World Cup kit.

According to Footy Headlines, the kit will be debuted in one of the two friendly matches against either Russia or Germany. Brazil’s home kit has always attracted attention with the bright yellows and greens, a hint of whites and blues to represent the federation badges.

The home jersey features are subtle zig-zag or waveform pattern on the sleeves. The World Cup home shirt however, will have more vibrant base colours than the last few shirts, as Nike’s designers attempted to replace the iconic 1970 World Cup look. The tapping on the upper back and collar of the Brazil 2018 World Cup is blue and green, inspired by the colours of the flag. The Brazilian World Cup away shirt however, is based on the same design as the home shirt. It is royalblue with a unique stars pattern covering the entire front.

Puma and Adidas have also revealed their new kits for some of the biggest nations such as Germany, Spain and Argentina.

Source :

More than 1500 performers booked for Russia 2017 Confed Cup Opening Ceremony

Russia is gearing up for a show-stopping 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup opening ceremony with more than 1500 performers lined-up for the event.
With less than a month before the opening match between Russia and New Zealand on June 17, the organisers said there would be a 20 minute opening ceremony showcasing the country’s culture before kickoff.
Russia 2018 Local Orginising Committee (LOC) revealed that the opening would tell viewers about Russia’s traditions, history, culture and nature of the four cities hosting the tournament: Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi and Moscow.

“This is a very special moment for Russia and we are glad that we can show football fans a glimpse of our culture before the football action takes the stage,” the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Russia 2018 CEO Alexey Sorokin said.
He revealed that more than 1500 performers would be involved in the opening ceremony, which would also feature colourful visual elements and the Russia 2018 Official Mascot, the Zabivaka.

“Differently from what the Russian audience saw in the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in 2014, the highlight of the evening is the opening match. We will not be able to use heavy structures or pyrotechnic for example, but with a lot of creativity we are positive that Russian fans will feel proud while international spectators will wish to discover some of the country’s cultural treasures that will be presented during the show,” Sorokin says.
More than 300 000 tickets have been sold for the tournament which starts on June 17 to July 2.
Confederations Cup is a preparatory tournament for the biggest football event in the world, the FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Russia next year.

Pelé: In a League of His Own


Considered the greatest player of all time by many around the world, the legendary Brazilian footballer achieved records which remain unbeaten today. BRICS Journal looks back on his electrifying career.

“I arrived hoping to stop a great man, but I went away convinced I had been undone by someone who was not born on the same planet as the rest of us.” – Costa Pereira

To any fan of the beautiful game, Pelé is much more than just a retired footballer: He is a global icon. Even after 39 years in retirement, the world is yet to produce a soccer player that comes close to Pelé’s talent and skill. Costa Pereira, who was a goal-keeper at the time, is famously quoted saying this of Pelé after playing against his team in 1962: “I arrived hoping to stop a great man, but I went away convinced I had been undone by someone who was not born on the same planet as the rest of us.”

In 1958 the 17-year-old Pele was the youngest player in the FIFA World Cup tournament held in Sweden. He was also the youngest player to ever play in the World Cup, a record which was broken by Norman Whiteside, who was six months younger than Pelé, in 1982.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he became known as “Pelé” along the way. While there is a tale that he picked up this name because he couldn’t pronounce one of his favourite player’s names – Bilé – properly, Pelé stated in his autobiography that he had no idea what the name meant, or where it came from and neither did his old school buddies.

His 1958 performance cemented his name in the minds of football lovers around the world when the then teen scored two of the five goals that would secure Brazil’s first-ever World Cup win. He went on to secure two more World Cup wins for his country, a feat no other soccer player has achieved to date. At the age of 75, Pelé reflected on that moment in a letter to his younger self with the words: “At the 1958 final, I passed out and fell to the ground. The emotion was simply too much for my body.”

In 1968 he made history yet again, this time with his now famous bicycle kick. The technique is one of the most difficult to execute and rarely perfected. Not only does the player need to maintain good form when executing the move, he must simultaneously exhibit exceptional accuracy and precision when striking the ball. Pelé pulled it off without a hitch in a game against Belgium.

By 1969 Pelé’s fan base had reached Nigeria too and Santos was scheduled to play in the country, which was in the throes of a civil war. The games had been arranged well in advance, and for financial reasons the Brazilians decided not to cancel. The two sides agreed to a 48-hour truce and soldiers from both sides reportedly attended the matches. The war resumed after two-day period had lapsed.

Read more at BRICS JOURNAL…