CHAN Final: CHAN was a Success: Take a Bow Eagles, Salisu

first_imgI have learnt over time that the expectations of most Nigerian football fans, even analysts, are largely based on wild emotions, even illogic, and the post-event reviews the Super Eagles have received since the recent African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco is no different. Despite reaching the final for the first time ever, the Super Eagles and head coach Salisu Yusuf have been subjected to abuse and ridicule because they lost the final 4-0 to the inspired hosts. For some perspective, it was Nigeria’s third appearance in the competition. Past teams have been coached by the legendary Stephen Keshi and Sunday Oliseh. The best result before now was the third-place finish in South Africa in 2014. I can understand fans being disappointed, but our teams can not only be deserving of praise when the win a trophyEven the best teams and the best coaches in the world lose by wide margins on a bad day. As recently as the last World Cup, Brazil were crushed 7-1 at home by Germany. In 2014, famed Spanish coach Pep Guardiola had his Bayern Munich team decimated 4-0 at home by Real Madrid in a UEFA Champions League semi-final clash, while respected French coach Arsene Wenger and other have lost by more scandalous margins. So yes, teams lose, the best coaches also lose. Losing a match does not always mean the players are useless or the coach is clueless.We must learn to manage expectations so we can appreciate our teams even more. When France, who are heavyweights in the global game, reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, their coach Didier Deschamps declared their campaign a success. He argued that given the stage of development of the team, they had achieved their limit. It is simple logic, you cannot be the best every day and every time. Salisu has earned a place for himself in our history in the competition as the first coach to lead Nigeria to the final. That’s something. Hopefully, tomorrow, someone comes along and betters the record, but for now the man and his boys deserve nothing but praise.When we also consider that the competition is limited to players in their country’s domestic leagues, there is ground to argue that the Super Eagles overachieved. The poorly-supported and poorly-funded Nigerian Professional Football League is rungs below a number of leagues on the continent, especially the North African leagues. If we want the CHAN Eagles to perform better, then we should contribute our beat to improving the domestic game.CHAN was a fan engagement opportunity missed by the LMCWhy was the local league in full session while the CHAN was being played? The Eagles going all the way to the finals would have been a great way to engage local fans and connect them on a deeper emotional level with the NPFL. Continuing the league during the continental tournament communicated negative messages to discerning fans. The most glaring for me being that whatever is at stake in the NPFL is nothing the clubs really care about.How else could the league’s best players be away from their clubs for a national assignment and none of the clubs cared? In South Africa it is tough enough to get players for full internationals, let alone a second tier international tourney. Were the stakes high in the NPFL, the league would have been suspended or clubs would only have released their fringe players. This once again show why our clubs should not be run by government. Many of these civil servants hardly worry about the stakes.Fans follow sports stars more than they follow sports events, and this accounts for either the success or failure of many sports events. Our league has almost zero celebrity influence on fans. The CHAN should have been a way to highlight the best NPFL players, connect them with fans, and raise interest in their club activities post-CHAN.Stardom just does not happen. In today’s world brand builders carefully and methodically build the more popular stars we know. Stars are the business. The Spanish La Liga, for instance, has just four million plus fans on Twitter, while just one La Liga player, Andre Iniestas has over 20m followers. Another, Cristiano Ronaldo, has about 68m. It is the same trend across all sports events and across all social media platforms. Englishman Wayne Rooney, for instance, has more followers on Twitter than the English Premier League.There should have been a daily focus on these top NPFL players, allowing fans to make the connections with the players and their clubs, and to build on them. There should also have been clear strategies to connect these stars with fans on a daily basis. Technology has not only exploded the popularity of sports, it has brought more fans and celebrity athletes closer together than at any other time in human history. Fans may have been engaged in predict and win games even for modest prizes like recharge cards, or an opportunity to fly to Morocco to watch a few of the games live. Sponsors love such initiatives.As it is, I’m not aware any such was deployed. The players are back in Nigeria and fans remain far from engaged, at least in the numbers sponsors love.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

USC teams up with NYU to research a cure for cancer

first_imgNew York University and USC have collaborated to create a breakthrough project in cancer treatment. Together, they have developed a new synthetic molecule that will disrupt the “conversation” between cancer cells in the human body.According to a press release, the synthetic molecule created targets the interaction between two proteins, causing the genes to promote tumor progression. This compound was specifically designed to interrupt the type of molecular conversation within the cell that promotes the growth of cancer cells and tumor progression. The NYU team is lead by chemistry professor Paramajit Arora, and the USC team is led by the USC School of Pharmacy professor  Dr. Bogdan Olenyuk.“Professor Paramjit Arora and I studied together at Caltech,” Olenyuk said. “He is an expert in bioorganic chemistry and chemical biology, specifically in the design of synthetic protein mimetics, and we have been working on this project since 2007.”HBS1, the synthetic molecule described in their paper, limits tumor progression. The method required for locking the correct spiral helical shapes in synthetic strings of amino acids was developed at NYU.“Our designed compound selectively disrupts expression of genes required for tumor progression and metastasis,” Olenyuk said.The results from this research project could be tremendously important for the future in the scientific community.“These results could dramatically improve several types of cancer therapies currently used in the clinic,” Olenyuk said.Dr. Ramin Dubey, a member of Olenyuk’s team, who worked toward the development of small molecule therapeutics that targets angiogenesis, or formation of new blood vessels in tumors, was involved in development of two classes of molecules.“Our approach works on transcriptional level of cancer progression by inhibiting the transcription factor HIF-1,” Dubey said. “Inhibiting the transcription factors directly is, in theory, a very powerful approach but not many practical examples are known for this strategy. Our work is a significant step in showing the practical relevance of this approach.”Dr. Swati Kushal, a USC School of Pharmacology postdoctoral scholar, also contributed to the project by exploring the biological potential of the rationally designed compounds that can selectively disrupt the a transcription factor complex and hence down-regulate the expression of genes critical for tumor progression and metastasis.“Our research has demonstrated the potential of designed protein secondary structure mimetics to become new research tools for disruption of protein-protein interfaces involved in transcription factor complex,” Kushal said.The work will likely revolutionize the cancer treatment drug creation process.“Of all the proteins in cells, less than 20 percent are considered as druggable,” Kushal said. “With the innovative approaches in hand, I would hope that it would be possible to raise this bar that would ultimately lead to the discovery of novel therapeutics.”USC researcher Hanah Mesallati was involved in maintaining the cancer cell lines and carrying out in vitro cell-based assays, including viability and luciferase studies.“The results of this research show that transcription factor protein domain mimetics can halt the growth of tumors in vivo,” Mesallati said. “Hopefully this research will eventually lead to the development of pharmaceutical agents, which will form part of an effective multi-drug chemotherapy regime.”Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojanlast_img read more

Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin blows late lead to Nebraska

first_imgUniversity of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (10-13, 3-7 Big Ten) fell to Nebraska (17-8, 8-4 Big Ten) 74-63 Monday night at the Kohl Center for their third consecutive loss in conference play.Throughout the game, Wisconsin went on hot and cold streaks that allowed the Cornhuskers to come back from significant leads. Due to the defensive adjustments that Nebraska made, Wisconsin had difficulty scoring during the final 10 minutes of the contest.Early in the game, Wisconsin had success both shooting outside and driving the lane with Ethan Happ. Eighteen of Happ’s 25 points came within the first half of a game where he even made his first career three-point shot.Daniel Yun/The Badger HeraldMen’s basketball: A recovered D’Mitrik Trice may be Badgers’ best — and final — shot at tournament bidUniversity of Wisconsin sophomore D’Mitrik Trice has been absent since Dec. 9 after a right-foot injury ruled the starting point guard Read…In the post-game press conference, a reporter asked Nebraska Coach Tim Miles what adjustments he made to contain the Badger offense. He seemed to think using a zone defense to contain the Badgers as opposed to man coverage is what marked the turnaround.Nebraska’s man defense was originally beneficial to the Badgers as the Cornhuskers chose between doubling Happ or covering the perimeter, which resulted in high efficiency for the Wisconsin offense.Until the Nebraska comeback, Wisconsin was seemingly hitting on all cylinders on offense shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep.  But in the final 9:59, when the Badgers gave up their game-high 11-point lead, the team went 2-13 from the field and 0-3 from deep.Men’s Basketball: Yet another nail in coffinWisconsin (10-12, 3-6 Big Ten) lost 76-61 to No. 6 Michigan State (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) Friday night in East Read…This stagnation on the offensive end combined with shooting just 10-19 at the free throw line killed any chance for Wisconsin to keep up their scoring production. Also, the Badgers committed four turnovers during these last 10 minutes, which allowed Nebraska’s offense great looks to score. As a team, the Cornhuskers gained 44 points over the entirety of the half compared to the 30 they had in the first period.James Palmer Jr. dominated offensively and defensively for Nebraska, scoring 28 points with eight boards in a near double-double for the guard.Wisconsin being under .500 is unusual at this point in the season as it did not happen since 2002. The Badgers will look to get back on track this Thursday night at home versus Northwestern.last_img read more