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EAGLETS RULE THE WORLD AGAIN
Nigeria's Golden Eaglets won their fourth FIFA Under-17 World Cup when they dethroned champions Mexico 3-0 at the finals of the 2013 edition of the competition.
They emerged the top scoring team of the tournament with 27 goals, a record that speaks volume of the attacking instincts of this great team, tipped to rule the world in the future.
Winning the final in UAE makes Nigeria the most successful nation at this level with four titles - in 1985 in China, in 1993 when Nigeria hosted, in 2007 in South Korea and now in the UAE.
The victory also confirmed Nigeria's superiority over Mexico who they walloped 6-1 in their Group F opening match at this competition.
Nigeria also picked up the tournament's fair-play award and Dele Alampasu was awarded the Golden Glove for being the best goalkeeper
The victory in the United Arab Emirates caps a successful year for Nigeria after the senior team won the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in January.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan hosted a reception for the Under-17 team and their officials when they arrived home.
President Jonathan announced a cash reward of 2 million naira (about US$13,000) for each player; 3 million naira (about US$19,000) for head coach Manu Garba and 2.5 million naira (US$16,000) for Garba's assistants.
Other team officials were given cash gifts ranging from 300,000 (US$1,900) and 500,000 naira (US$3,200).
President Jonathan: ''This is a golden era in Nigeria football,'' referring to the country's victory in the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year. You have set two records by emerging four- time winner and scoring 27 goals. I commend you for tactical and exciting football. You won fair and squarely. This victory is for the whole Africa.''
Nigerian previously won the tournament in 1985, 1993 and 2007.
“The success of the Golden Eaglets is an eye-opener to what can be achieved with careful and detailed planning. I think a special retreat is necessary for the players, their parents or guardians, so that all of us will be on the same page because their future should be of concern to all of us,” Nigeria's National Sports Commission (NSC) said in a statement recently.
AFRICA DAY 2013 @ AMSTERDAM & ELSEWHERE
By Ato Bob*
I first entered the impressive building on the corner of the Mauritskade in 1966, as a SNV volunteer designate, to start my training to go and advise sugarcane farmers in Nyanza, Kenya to form a cooperative. On Saturday morning 2nd November I was there, at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), for the ‘Afrikadag’ 2013 of the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS).
The FMS was created in 2013 as a merger of the ‘Alfred Mozer’ and ‘Evert Vermeer’ Foundations, with FMS honouring Max van der Stoel (1923-2011), former Dutch politician, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the UN and High Commissioner for National Minorities of the OVSE.
The annual ‘Afrikadag’ has been organized by the FMS/EVS since the early nineties at various locations, a.o. in Utrecht, The Hague and Amsterdam. It has reportedly the largest event in The Netherlands concerned with Africa.
What happened this year at the KIT?
As in previous years, the programme was an extensive mix of speeches, debates, workshops, performances, films, music and sales about development (including government) policy, opinions, culture, entertainment and other matters. As usual it was at times difficult to make choice as one had to forego one in order to attend another program or performance.
While many complained last year about the cramped facilities of the Barleus Gymnasium and the three different locations, in my opinion the KIT is the ideal location in Amsterdam. The history, track record and above all the atmosphere and ambiance of the building is unique.
It must be remarked however, that while last year a 2,000 people attended, the number was kept limited to 800 this year, which was clearly noticeable. The central meeting point, the impressive marble hall was seldom completely full.
The main theme of the ‘Afrikadag’ was ‘LET’s WORK!, placing labour in general on the agenda, taken up by the 100 guest speakers, 14 partners, 30 organisations and 100 volunteers.
After the opening by FMS chair Max van den Berg, an African welcome was extended by a young African, Amsterdam born Moroccan lady with a heavy Amsterdam accent.
Keynote speakers Ms. Lilianne Ploumen and Ms. Carol Kariuki, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation respectively and CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) set the tone for the day. While the Dutch politician was defending the emphasis of her policy on trade promotion, next to aid, her Kenyan co-speaker show-cased the rise of the African ‘lion-economies’ like South Africa, Rwanda and her own Kenya in comparison to the Asian tigers increasing their presence in Africa.
Obviously the case of the International Criminal Court at the Hague accusing the Kenyan President and his Deputy of having been involved in the 2007 post-election violence had to come up as well, but led to a fairly tame debate in the session I attended.
The Dutch Good Growth Fund created by Minister Ploumen to encourage and assist the Dutch Medium and Small Scale Sector to invest in Developing Countries was another hot item, receiving much criticism.
‘Afrikadag’ elsewhere in The Netherlands
It is not the sole prerogative of the FMS to organize an annual ‘Afrikadag’, as there are a number such days organized in various places and dates throughout The Netherlands:
It is held every year in the fall, mostly at the ‘Landgoed de Kemphaan’. This country estate forms an ideal backdrop as it allows spacious outdoor but has also indoor activities and is usually well attended. Like Amsterdam, Almere has a large population from African descent, mostly from Ghana and from Surinam by indirect African descent. Afrikadag Almere has been celebrated since 1999 and became a separate foundation in 2009 with the aim to promote African art and culture among the population in Almere and beyond.
Afrikadag Almere is also an important stage for city-twinning activities between Almere and Kumasi in Ghana. These are supported and carried out by the ‘Samenwerk Foundation’ and exists of a range of activities in the fields of development cooperation, cultural exchange and knowledge exchange between city civil servants.
The Hague African Festival
This revival of the popular previous ‘Delft African Festival’ has now, after four years, firmly taken root in The Hague. This year in its lustrum edition this event moved as happens in Africa too: ‘from the bush to the town’, that is from the Zuider park to the City Centre, the Spuiplein and the Dr. Anton Philipshall. This year the ‘Afrikadag’ by the FMS was featured a prelude to the Amsterdam event.
‘Afrikadag’ in Belgium
Weert, Bergeijk, and Begijnendijk - Betekom in Belgium are some of the smaller places that organize an annual ‘Afrikadag’. These days often come about because of a particular country, project or organization. Weert’s citizens support a project for handicapped children in the Benin Republic, while Bergeijk has a connection with Kisumu, a city at the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya as well as with Burkina Faso.
Africa Day 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, which gave way for the establishment of closer cooperation in the African Union. On May 25 of this year, the African Union held their 21st African Union Summit in Addis Ababa to mark this anniversary event.
Particularly in Africa and at global level Africa Day, 25th May, is officially the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on that day. The OAU established the African Economic Community in 1991, and in 2002 the OAU established its own successor, the African Union. The name and date of Africa Day has however been retained as a celebration of African unity. It should also be noted that Africa Day is observed as a public holiday in only five African countries, that is, Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, celebrations are held in some African countries, as well as by Africans in the diaspora. It is also celebrated in The Hague, organized by the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps.
African Nation’s Annual days
African Embassy’s in The Netherlands usually give cocktail party for the diplomatic community and their business and important contacts. However, nationals from African countries living in The Netherlands often organize themselves to hold a public national day, either with help of a foundation or association and at times their respective Embassy.
Some examples of these events are the Cameroon National Day, 20th May, actively celebrated by the Cameroonian community for the past six years. Kenya National Day, 9th December always sees a booming (East African Sound with DJ Erick) Kenyan party, while Uganda, managed a massive ‘Oegandadag’ event this year at the RAI in Amsterdam.
GhanaDay was held at Almere, seven times between 2007 and 2012, supported principally by the Almere City Council and the Dutch Embassy in Accra, Ghana.
The Netherlands still has something with Africa, from being its trading partner for centuries, though overshadowed by the period of slave trade, to its development partner for four decades to having countless Africans integrated into Dutch society.
*Ato Bob is a former Dutch Diplomat who now consults with various NGO’s on African issues. He lives in Rotterdam and may be reached on email@example.com
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