Famous Greek footballer helps refugees


This video is about the Greek national football team unexpectedly winning the 2004 European championship by beating favourites Portugal in the final match.

A big factor in the Greek victory was their goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis. He stopped many dangerous shots by Cristiano Ronaldo and other Portuguese players.

As Dutch daily De Volkskrant reports today, Antonis Nikopolidis now is 46 years old, and still involved in football. He is a trainer for refugees from the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, stuck in Greece because of anti-refugee policies in European countries.

Football helps the refugees cope with their terrible memories of bloody wars, and with their uncertain present.

How a project to help refugee women is making American produce a lot more interesting: here.

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Bumblebee football video


This video says about itself:

Watch a bee score a goal | Science News

23 February 2017

In experiments, buff-tailed bumblebees learned how to roll a ball to a goal (first clip), a task more bees mastered after watching a trained bee do it (second clip). When successful, bees received a sip of sugar solution as a reward.

From Science News:

Score! Bumblebees see how to sink ball in goal, then do it better

Lesson in six-legged soccer tests power of insect learning

By Susan Milius

2:32pm, February 23, 2017

Even tiny brains can learn strange and tricky stuff, especially by watching tiny experts.

Buff-tailed bumblebees got several chances to watch a trained bee roll a ball to a goal. These observers then quickly mastered the unusual task themselves when given a chance, researchers report in the Feb. 24 Science. And most of the newcomers even improved on the goal-sinking by taking a shortcut demo-bees hadn’t used, says behavioral ecologist Olli Loukola at Queen Mary University of London.

Learning abilities of animals without big vertebrate brains often get severely underestimated, Loukola says. “The idea that small brains constrain insects is kind of wrong, or old-fashioned.”

He and colleagues had previously challenged bees to learn, in stages, the not very beelike skill of pulling a string to reveal a hidden flower. Bees eventually succeeded. So the researchers devised an even more fiendish protocol to see how far insect learning could go.

Loukola invented six-legged sort-of soccer (or football for bees in London) in which a Bombus terrestris rolls a yellow ball about the size of its own body down a trackway to a central goal, where researchers dispense sugary rewards. This time, there was no pampering, no working up in stages to full completion of the test. But bees could observe a trained ball roller, a ball moving on its own (thanks to a researcher sliding a magnet under the arena) or get no advance ball-movement hints at all.

The 10 bees that saw an expert bee roll the ball and score three times before their own attempt succeeded in almost every trial at the task. Watching ghostly movement didn’t help as much, and only a few bees happened on the solution on their own. Social learning matters, but Loukola highlights the way bees changed the technique they watched. Most of the successful bees ignored the ball they had seen rolled and instead used one closer to the goal, doing less work for the same reward.

“Fascinating,” says Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in England, who studies bumblebees. Ball rolling may not be part of routine foraging behavior, but he notes that bees do drag around nesting material, moving backward as they do when playing soccer in the test. And they occasionally remove fat almost ball-like grubs from the nest with a similar technique.

Exactly how the bees solved the problem remains a puzzle, says Bennett Galef of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who has studied social learning. He would like to know more details, for instance, about how untrained bees react to a ball.

Loukola often gets a different question: Could he train bumblebees to play a soccer match? He says he could certainly train some to score on one side of an arena and some on the opposite side. Then he might be able to study whether bumblebees could share a ball.

Football and peregrine falcons


Logo of Valken '68

This picture shows the logo of Dutch football club Valken ’68.

It shows two peregrine falcons, sitting on top of two footballs.

The number 68 refers to the founding of the club in 1968.

‘Valken’ means falcons in Dutch.

Valken ’68 is an amateur club from Valkenburg village in South Holland province; not to be confused with the other Valkenburg in Limburg province.

Hillsborough bloodbath activist refuses British Empire honour


This video from Liverpool, England says about itself:

The best version of You’ll Never Walk Alone – 25th Anniversary of Hillsborough

15 April 2014

As sung by all that attended – Truly made the hair on the back of my neck stand up on end.

From the BBC:

Hillsborough campaigner Phil Scraton refuses OBE [Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire]

33 minutes ago

Hillsborough campaigner Prof Phil Scraton has turned down an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

The author, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel‘s research team, said he could not receive an honour in protest “at those who remained unresponsive” to help families and survivors affected by the disaster.

Ninety-six people died following a crush at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.

In April, an inquest jury concluded the fans were unlawfully killed.

Prof Scraton’s book, Hillsborough: The Truth, is widely accepted as the definitive account of the disaster.

In a statement, he said: “I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.

“Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough, independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.

“This changed as a direct result of the families’ and survivors’ brave, persistent campaign.

“It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts.”

Prof Scraton has previously received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, the Political Studies Association‘s Campaigner of the Year Award and an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Liverpool “with gratitude and humility”.

But he added: “I headed the Panel’s research team and was a consultant to the families’ lawyers throughout the new inquests.

“I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice.” …

Prof Scraton acknowledged his decision “might come as a disappointment to some Hillsborough families, survivors and whoever nominated me”.

However, he added: “Finally, I could not accept an honour tied in name to the ‘British Empire’.

“In my scholarship and teaching I remain a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy.”

Fresh inquests in April concluded that the 96 football fans who died as a result of a crush at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed,

The jury found that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was “responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence” due to a breach of his duty of care.

Police errors also added to a dangerous situation at the FA Cup semi-final.

After a 27-year campaign by victims’ families, the behaviour of Liverpool fans was exonerated.

The jury found they did not contribute to the danger unfolding at the turnstiles at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground.

South African football keeper scores goal


This video says about itself:

30 November 2016

Baroka FC goalkeeper, Oscarine Masuluke, scores a last minute overhead kick winner.

A goalkeeper in South Africa has equalised for his team with a last-minute bicycle kick.

Baroka vs Orlando Pirates 1-1 / South African Premier Division

Dutch football cup, Jodan Boys amateurs defeat professionals


This 25 October 2015 video from Deventer city in the Netherlands shows local Premier League professional team Go Ahead Eagles losing their cup match against Gouda city amateurs Jodan Boys one goal to two.

After the first goal by Go Ahead Eagles (not in the video), Levi Marengo (born in Suriname) equalized with a free kick. Just before the end of the match, a header by (cinema worker) Roald Heerkens meant that Jodan Boys won the match.

Yesterday, today evening and tomorrow evening are the second round of the Dutch football cup. Winning teams are included in the last 16 teams in the third round.

A thousand Jodan Boys supporters had traveled in over ten buses with their team from Gouda to Deventer and were very happy with the result. When the team came back in Gouda, hundreds of other supporters welcomed them at the Jodan Boys ground.

This video is about Jodan Boys players celebrating after the match, with the trainer and Roald Heerkens being interviewed.

Before the match, Jodan Boys club official Maarten Westerduin had expected that he would be satisfied if the ‘inevitable’ Go Ahead Eagles victory would be less than ten goals against zero.

This is only the third time ever in Dutch football cup history that an amateur team has won an away match against an Eredivisie (Premier League) team without needing extra time.

Another amateur club is VVSB from Noordwijkerhout village. Last year, this club with their purple and yellow colours very surprisingly were one of four clubs reaching the semi finals. Yesterday, VVSB reached the last sixteen by beating fellow amateurs Katwijk three goals to zero.

This is a video about that match yesterday in Noordwijkerhout.

There are at least four amateur clubs among the last sixteen, as ASWH beat fellow amateurs Spakenburg in an away match three goals against two in extra time.

And at 20:00 tonight, IJsselmeervogels (another amateur club with a history of beating professionals) will play at home in Spakenburg against fellow amateurs HFC from Haarlem, the oldest football club in the Netherlands, founded in 1879. One of these two will be among the last sixteen teams.

This video is a song of IJsselmeervogels; produced by Dutch rock musician Peter Koelewijn.

This video is another IJsselmeervogels song.

Tonight at 18:30, the amateurs of Kozakken Boys will play at home in Werkendam against Ajax Amsterdam. Will a fifth amateur team reach the last sixteen?

Tonight in Almelo, the Heracles Premier League professionals will play against the amateurs of UNA from Veldhoven village. A sixth amateur team among the last sixteen? Well, UNA and some others are ‘second division’, semi-professional. But the second division (re-)started only this year; before that they were amateurs.

Another surprise was that Sparta Rotterdam knocked PSV Eindhoven out of the cup competition by winning three goals against one. They are both Premier League teams; but PSV are last season’s champions.

This video shows Sparta, in the red-white striped shirts, winning this match in Rotterdam.