25 May 2011Lonrho, a conglomerate that operates in 17 sub-Saharan African countries, has secured a secondary listing on the JSE’s AltX, a parallel market focused on quality, high-growth companies.Lonrho has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange, and has business dealings in agribusiness, infrastructure, transportation, hotels, and support services.The company has a long history of operating on the African continent and believes these sectors offer significant opportunities for growth and unique exposure to economic development across sub-Saharan Africa.It was previously listed on the Venture Capital Market of the JSE.“Lonrho welcomes the move to the AltX market of the JSE as a natural reflection of progress as the company continues to grow,” Lonrho executive chairman David Lenigas said in a statement last week.“We remain focused on achieving further significant growth going forward as we continue developing our key divisions and expanding our presence across sub-Saharan Africa.”According to the statement, the board of Lonrho considers the transfer of the secondary listing from the JSE Venture Capital Market to AltX as a natural reflection of the ongoing development of the company, and sees the AltX as a stronger exchange on which Lonrho shares can be traded in South Africa.“We are delighted to welcome Lonrho to AltX because they provide investors with an opportunity to invest in a diversified African company,” said JSE head of marketing and business development Noah Greenhill. “We are confident that Lonrho will have a successful listing on AltX.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Malmo midfielder Brorsson: We’ll give Chelsea a hard, tough matchby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveMalmo FF midfielder Franz Brorsson has mixed emotions drawing Chelsea in their Europa League tie.The two teams will meet in the round of 32.Brorsson stated: “It was the toughest possible. Interesting in terms of sport. What a challenge. I would love to see an easier opponent. I immediately thought, ‘a really big team’. There are many friends who will ask about tickets.”On their chances, Brorsson added: “It’s hard to put numbers on it. We are a giant, great underdog. There is no arguing on the matter. There are probably not many who think we’ll do this, but we’re going to give Chelsea a hard, tough match.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Story Highlights The first cohort of 109 specialist mathematics teachers is now in training and will be deployed to the education system, upon graduating next year. The first cohort of 109 specialist mathematics teachers is now in training and will be deployed to the education system, upon graduating next year.This was disclosed by Minister of Education Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who noted that the teachers will be bonded for a five-year period.He informed that the five-year bond would ensure that the Government gets a return on its investment.“The Ministry has taken steps to ensure that teachers not suitably qualified to teach mathematics are no longer engaged. At the same time, steps have been taken to increase the number of trained mathematics teachers. More than 400 scholarships have been awarded to persons interested to become secondary-school mathematics teachers,” he stated.The Education Minister was speaking at the official opening ceremony for the newly constructed building at the New Forest High, Primary and Infant School in Manchester on November 29.The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund contributed $43.7 million to the project. The new facilities include four classrooms, office, sickbay, bathrooms, kitchen, play equipment and perimeter fencing.Chief Executive Officer at the CHASE Fund, W. Billy Heaven, said his organisation believes that modern infrastructure and highly trained teachers are essential elements of a high-quality and comprehensive learning environment for early-childhood students.“The children who are here today are at a crucial stage of their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and creative development. At this stage, the growth of their mental and physical abilities progresses at an astounding rate. That is why we need to provide them with a positive learning experience,” Mr. Heaven said.Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Early Childhood Commission, Trisha Williams-Singh expressed appreciation to the CHASE Fund for the building and furniture, which she said would help the school to achieve the 12 Operating Standards for Early Childhood Institutions.“The first two and a half to three years of a child’s life are critical for cognitive, social and emotional development. This time span is the period where a solid foundation for health and well-being can be created for children in their childhood and beyond. Good-quality resources and environment help to secure optimal development of our children,” Mrs. Williams-Singh said.She noted that for children, the resources would play a crucial role in their health, behaviour, engagement, learning and growth, noting that research has shown that without adequate facilities and resources, it is difficult to serve large numbers of children with complex needs. He informed that the five-year bond would ensure that the Government gets a return on its investment. This was disclosed by Minister of Education Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who noted that the teachers will be bonded for a five-year period.
The Rockets’ season may come down to whether Trevor Ariza, coming off a career year in Washington and beginning his second go-around in Houston, can be a better fit than Chandler Parsons. Parsons is a versatile offensive player, but in Houston his value came largely from his ability to work around Dwight Howard-James Harden pick-and-rolls, either spacing the floor or driving to the basket with well-timed cuts. Ariza is a more limited offensive player, particularly off the dribble, but he is great in transition and can be effective providing spacing around pick-and-rolls. No player made more corner threes than Ariza last season, and he shot 45.0 percent from that location, among the best marks in the league.But Ariza’s real value is his defense. While Parsons was capable, Ariza is a near elite defender. ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus estimates the effect Ariza has on defense as +1.04 points per 100 possessions, nearly twice that of Parsons. That’s an important difference when playing alongside Harden, whose defensive inadequacies are well documented.Ariza has a specific defensive talent that makes him such a great fit for Houston. Over the last two years, he is in the 90th percentile of all NBA players in his ability to affect an opponent’s turnover percentage, according to NBA stat blog Got Buckets’ adjusted Four Factors Ratings. Parsons ranks in the 61st percentile. Forcing turnovers has an effect on both offensive and defensive performance, as steals often lead to fast breaks. The Rockets’ preference for an up-tempo, transition attack is well known and it works well for them — last season they had an effective field goal percentage of 66.0 percent after forcing a steal, compared to just 52.8 percent overall.Ariza may not bring as much offensive versatility as the man he’s replacing, but the quality of his defense may end up being much more important for a team already rich with offensive players. — Ian Levy The San Antonio Spurs’ dynasty is a blessed one. Tim Duncan’s longtime brilliance and the twin discoveries of Tony Parker and (particularly) Manu Ginobili, both draft picks that had no business turning into Hall of Famers,5Parker was taken 28th overall in 2001; Ginobili went 57th (!!!) in 1999. are the kinds of gifts that, while not guaranteeing championships, certainly set a team up for them. And perhaps the biggest blessing of all is Gregg Popovich, the greatest coach of the NBA’s modern era — Phil Jackson included.For his article about LeBron James’s potential free-agent destinations, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver created a projection system using my Statistical Plus-Minus (SPM) metric that predicted how well each player would perform in the upcoming 2014-15 season. We can also apply the projection process to previous years, using SPM data that would have been available at the time6While still using the players’ actual minute totals from the season in question. to form “retro predictions” for historical teams dating back to the 1979-80 season.If we compare coaches’ records to the ones we would have predicted for them, Popovich’s greatness becomes clear. No coach since 1980 has exceeded preseason expectations like Popovich has.Not only has Popovich outdone the computer by 117 wins over his 18 seasons at San Antonio’s helm — 33 more than second-ranked George Karl and nearly 62 more than the oft-extolled Jackson — he’s done it in far fewer games than his coaching peers. While it took Karl and Don Nelson around 2,000 games to add 83 extra wins apiece, and Jackson more than 1,600 games to beat expectations by 55 wins, Popovich racked up his excess victories in far fewer: just a shade more than 1,400 games.7In the chart above, coach games and wins above expectation were pro-rated up to account for years where the schedule was less than 82 games per team.The 2013-14 NBA champion Spurs were a classic example of Popovich coaxing superior performances from his roster. In addition to Duncan (age 37) and Ginobili (36) cheating Father Time, Kawhi Leonard’s and Patty Mills’s respective games grew at an accelerated rate, while Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, Cory Joseph and Jeff Ayres all played much better than their previous track records suggested they should have. Of San Antonio’s core players, the only one who had a down year relative to expectations was Parker, whose SPM fell to +0.1 from +2.5 in 2012-13.The aforementioned SPM projections think the Spurs will suffer a decline in 2014-15. They call for Duncan and Ginobili to finally show their age, and for the supporting cast to regress to the mean. But Popovich’s bunch have also exceeded those same expectations in every single season since 1997-98. The good money’s on them bucking the odds yet again this year. — Neil Paine The Oklahoma City Thunder had one of the best draft runs of all time in recent years. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka — major, franchise-defining pieces all. And yet no NBA title. Harden was (infamously, in some quarters) traded, Westbrook has been hurt for significant parts of the past two seasons, and now Kevin Durant is out indefinitely with a foot fracture.Given the outsize role Durant has filled, using more than 30 percent of the Thunder’s possessions and playing virtually every important minute over the past five seasons, analyses of how the Thunder will fare without him will be imprecise, to say the least. And while Durant’s health will be the most important factor in determining whether the Thunder can win an NBA title this season, that, too, is currently outside the realm of statistical analysis.3At least for us plebeians in the public domain.And so, in the absence of a Durant analysis, let’s talk Reggie Jackson. Jackson’s third season was his best as a pro, and his emergence in the playoffs, including a 32-point performance in a vital win over the Memphis Grizzlies, gave the Thunder some hope that he could be a major piece going forward.His most valuable asset is his ability to attack off the dribble. According to SportVU, Jackson averaged 0.22 drives per minute last season, putting him 23rd in the league. He shot 48 percent on those drives, above average for a point guard, and generated more points for his teammates on drives when he did not shoot (0.74 per drive) than Kemba Walker and Jeff Teague, two other young starting point guards. Jackson’s ability to create for his teammates is not at an elite level, but it is improving; his assist rate increased to 23 percent last season.He’s an above-average defender, ranking as the 12th-best guard by Real Plus-Minus last season. But that likely overstates his ability; his length and speed help him match up well against point guards, but he gambles too often and doesn’t defend larger shooting guards well.Jackson is clearly the second-best guard on Oklahoma City’s roster, but he is not a natural two-guard. Scott Brooks may elect to start a better shooter, like Jeremy Lamb or Anthony Morrow, as a shooting guard, using Jackson off the bench. But in crunch time without Durant, a Westbrook-Jackson backcourt likely gives the Thunder the best chance to succeed. — John Ezekowitz For the past few seasons, the Mavericks’ offense has been composed of Dirk Nowitzki and people paid to play well with Dirk Nowitzki. Making people play nice can be hit or miss. In 2011, it hit, with the Mavericks beating the Miami Heat to win the NBA Championship. Other years, the strategy has usually been enough to get the Mavs a playoff berth, but rarely out of the first round.Dallas went through significant roster changes this summer and this year’s group of supporting specialists may be the team’s best yet. Judging by the decisions they made, the Mavericks sought out supporting players who possessed a few specific skills — breaking down the defense, creating shots for others, making open 3-pointers and finishing around the basket.The table below shows the better part of the Mavericks’ roster for this season and includes statistics on those offensive specialties, several of which come from the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking statistics. For a glossary of what each term means, check out the footnotes4Drives are defined as any touch that started at least 20 feet from the basket and was dribbled to within 10 feet. Assist opportunities include all assists, as well as passes that led to shooting fouls and passes that would have been recorded as assists if the shot had been made. Catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts are those where the player held the ball for less than 2 seconds and shot without dribbling.:For a central offensive player, Nowitzki is remarkably flexible — comfortable in the post, at the elbow or behind the 3-point line, and willing to score, pass or act as a decoy. Depending on the matchup, the Mavericks may want to surround him with shooters, drivers, creators or finishers. Looking over the roster for this season reveals a wealth of options in each case.This table shows the number of players last season who met some elevated benchmarks in these categories, against the number of players currently on the roster who met those benchmarks:It’s Nowitzki that makes the Mavericks’ offense great. Having this array of subtly interchangeable offensive parts could make them into something even more this season. Just don’t ask about the other side of the court. — Ian Levy The NBA season, like a Stockton-Malone pick-and-roll, always arrives on time. To prepare for the next 1,230 games (All-Star festivities excluded), we took each player’s projected Real Plus-Minus and wins above replacement, calculated a total for each team, and ran 10,000 simulations of the NBA schedule to divine likely records and championship odds.1The rosters we used came from ESPN.com’s depth charts, and were current as of Monday, Oct. 20. We’ve split the teams into the lower and upper tiers in each conference; these are the eight teams that will likely make the playoffs from the West. (We previewed the West’s lower tier here.) So fill that Kevin Durant-sized hole in your heart with the stats, x-factors and regressions that could help determine the West’s pecking order. Basketball strategies come in and out of fashion, and last year the Trail Blazers might as well have been wearing dad jeans. In the post-“Moneyball” zeitgeist, long 2-point shots are verboten; it’s nearly always better to shoot a 3-pointer than a long, 2-point jump shot because the former has a higher expected number of points per attempt.But as with any fashionable tactic, there are those deploying countermoves. And the Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge is that movement’s leader.Below is a plot of the top 100 players by the number of shots per game they attempted from 17 feet to 22 feet last season.2The NBA 3-point line ranges from 23 feet, 9 inches at its maximum to 22 feet at the corners. So the attempts plotted here do not include any 3-pointers. And look at Aldridge, up on a peak by himself:Aldridge took more of these types of shots than any other player in the league — 489 in 69 games, nearly two attempts per game more than the next-closest player. Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki, two superstars also known for long 2s, attempted 4.5 and 3.6 such shots per game, respectively.And Aldridge made a lot of them. He ranked 25th in long jumpers made, at 45 percent. Anthony shot marginally better than Aldridge (at 46 percent), while Nowitzki hits at a ridiculous rate of 52 percent. But Aldridge is taking many more of these shots than either Anthony or Nowitzki.Shooting this well at distance allows for greater offensive spacing for other players. With Aldridge, Portland has an invaluable asset: a great player whose talents run counter to the prevailing trends in the league. — Andrew Flowers Last season DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers’ 26-year-old center, led the NBA in rebounding — by the conventional statistic of rebounds per game. Which is impressive! But in the advanced-stats age, few stats are as they seem. Just because Jordan pulled in a lot of rebounds doesn’t make him a good rebounder — assuming, that is, we know what a good rebounder is in the first place.A better statistic than rebounds per game is Total Rebound Percentage.8This statistic and the data plotted come from Basketball-Reference.com. This measures the percentage of all rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor, which means it adjusts for how many rebounds were available to be gathered. That can vary by the pace of play, the team’s shooting percentage and other factors. By this measure, Jordan grabbed 21.6 percent of available rebounds, making him third in the league last year, behind Andre Drummond and Omer Asik, who gobbled 22.3 percent and 21.7 percent of available rebounds, respectively.But even this “advanced” metric, while an improvement, is still flawed. A truly good rebounder should not just grab a lot of rebounds, but rebounds above and beyond what his team would get otherwise. In other words, he shouldn’t be a rebound cannibal.Luckily, we can measure this form of cannibalism. From the basketball stats blog Got Buckets, we have plus-minus statistics that tell us how much a player steals rebounds from teammates when he’s on the floor.9I ran a regression between a player’s offensive rebounding percentile (which measures how well the team rebounds when the player is on the floor, after controlling for teammates and opponents) and his offensive rebounding rate (which measures only the player’s own rebounds grabbed) to determine the relationship between the two aspects of rebounding. (I also repeated the analysis for defensive rebound percentile and defensive rebounding rate.) For the entire population of NBA players, it’s a strong relationship, so there isn’t usually much difference between a player’s actual percentile and what we would predict from his individual numbers. However, some rebounders help their teams more or less than you would think from their own rebounding stats. With this data we can test whether prolific board-grabbers actually improve their teams in that category, essentially identifying “selfish” and “unselfish” rebounders.On the offensive boards, Jordan is a slightly unselfish rebounder, with his team ranking about three percentiles higher than you’d think given the share of offensive boards he grabs. (In the charts below, the unselfish players are above the lines, and the selfish ones below.)On defense, however, Jordan is a hungry cannibal.Even though he’s one of the most prolific defensive rebounders in the league (taking nearly 30 percent of available boards), the Clippers are 24 percentile points worse in this category when he plays, relative to what you’d think given how good Jordan is.Drummond is even more of a cannibal with the Detroit Pistons, however. The real winner seems to be Asik for the Houston Rockets, who, for a player in the top three in rebounding rates, still seems rather unselfish.Jordan is a good player, and a great rebounder. But don’t take his raw rebounding stats as gospel. — Andrew Flowers Across the entire league, the percentage of shot attempts that have come on 3-pointers has been increasing by about 1.5 percentage points per season over the last three seasons. Last year, for the first time in league history, more than a quarter of the shots taken were 3-pointers.That revolution has not yet reached Memphis.Last season just 16.9 percent of the Grizzlies’ shot attempts were 3-pointers, lowest in the league for the second consecutive year. Over those two years, the Grizzlies have attempted nearly 500 fewer 3-pointers than any other team. This strange, against-the-grain trend is a mix of design and circumstance, but the circumstances might be about to change.One of the reasons 3-point attempts have been going up around the league is that more and more big men are venturing out to the perimeter. The Grizzlies don’t have the personnel for that. They play a tough, interior style built around Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, neither of whom has 3-point range. Their focus on defense also means a significant number of minutes have been given to wing-stopper Tony Allen, who doesn’t have 3-point range either.But this year, the team gets back its best 3-point shooter from 2012-13, Quincy Pondexter, who missed all but 15 games last year with a stress fracture in his foot. (Tayshaun Prince took most of Pondexter’s minutes and had a disastrous shooting season.)Going into this season, small-forward minutes should be going to a healthy Pondexter and Vince Carter, who was signed to replace the departed Mike Miller. You can see from the table below that Pondexter (whose 2012-13 numbers are shown) and Carter are both excellent 3-point shooters, and together they are much more active behind the arc than the Miller/Prince combination was.The Grizzlies likely aren’t going to be breaking any 3-point records this season. Their offense will still be run through Randolph on the low block and Gasol in the high post; defense will still be given priority in most rotation decisions. However, this season the Grizzlies should have just a little more 3-point talent than they’ve had in the past, enough to add some much-needed variety to their scoring attack and to make them that much more dangerous in the Western Conference. — Ian Levy Very few first-time NBA coaches are lucky enough to inherit a team as talented as the one Steve Kerr has in the Golden State Warriors this year. Last year, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shared one of the most remarkable offensive seasons any starting backcourt has had in the NBA since 2000. Together, they averaged a 55 percent effective field goal percentage10Effective field goal percentage accounts for the additional value of 3-point shots. The formula is (FG Made + 0.5* 3-Pointers Made)/FG Attempted. while combining to take 38 percent of the Warriors’ shots. That is the best eFG percentage for any backcourt that took more than 35 percent of its team’s shots since 2000.Kerr also inherits a defense that finished fourth in the league in defensive efficiency last season. Golden State’s defensive prowess, built on holding opponents to 46 percent shooting from inside the arc, the third-best mark in the league, was masked by its frenetic pace. The Warriors were sixth in the league in tempo last season, which meant that they actually gave up only the 10th-fewest points per game.Much of Golden State’s defensive success can be attributed to the signing of Andre Iguodala, perennially ranked by advanced metrics and scouts alike as one of the best wing defenders in the league. But drafting Draymond Green also helped. Green was the afterthought of the Warriors’ 2012 draft; Harrison Barnes, drafted seventh overall, was supposed to be the star. But Green quietly had a breakout campaign last year. He had the best defensive rebounding percentage (19.3 percent) of any small forward who played more than 15 minutes per game, and also was in the top three in block percentage and steals percentage. Green averaged only 21 minutes per game last season. He deserves more under Kerr.For Golden State to break through to a Western Conference finals appearance (or beyond), Kerr and associate head coach Alvin Gentry will have to maintain the team’s defensive record. Neither has ever presided over a top-10 defense in the NBA. They will also need the three veterans over 30 years old — Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Iguodala — to remain healthy, something that has not happened in recent seasons. The Warriors’ core is not getting any younger, and the elite in the West are not getting worse. But that’s for Kerr to worry about next year. For now, he needs to capitalize on his roster’s head start. — John Ezekowitz
OSU fullback Ronan Forrestal during a game against Wisconsin on Oct. 24. Credit: Courtesy of GJ HildebrandtFor the second year in a row, the Ohio State men’s club rugby team is preparing to play in the Big Ten Universities Rugby Conference Championships on Saturday.A tight race for the top two spots in the conference came to a close Saturday when the Buckeyes narrowly defeated Michigan 35-31 to solidify their opportunity to play for the conference title.Senior flanker and co-president of the rugby club Jake Berlin said the final minutes of the game against Michigan were a culmination of the squad’s season.“In the final seconds, your position on the field didn’t matter; it was all about grabbing the man next to you and doing whatever you could to crush that seed of doubt and prevent Michigan from crossing that line,” Berlin said. “Everything we worked toward came together in those final seconds.”Last season, the Buckeyes fell short in the championship game against Wisconsin, but this year the team feels stronger and better prepared after instituting a tougher practice schedule and 6 a.m. workouts three days a week.“Last year, I’d say we wanted to have the focus of being out here and being competitive, but it wasn’t there. This year it’s incredible,” sophomore lock and co-president Nathan Grose said. “Doing that stuff just brought everyone together, you show up at 6 a.m. and yeah it sucks, but it sucks with everyone else. We know we’re all getting better.”Berlin said he’s seen the work ethic of the program grow over time.“I can say right now the team is probably closer than it’s ever been in my four years, there’s kind of this old rugby culture that was around before I came in. It was a lot about more fun than actually working hard,” Berlin said. “I think myself and the captains have kind of gotten rid of that and started a culture that’s ‘work hard, play hard.’”Coach Ron Bowers, who played rugby at OSU from 1987-1991, said he is impressed with how the level of collegiate rugby has risen both since his playing days and over the last few years.“There are bigger, faster, stronger athletes,” Bowers said. “In Ohio now, there’s a lot more high school rugby, so they’re coming to us with three or four years of experience already, which makes a huge difference.”Despite the rise of high school rugby, many of those athletes got their starts playing football in high school, including senior 8-man/flanker and captain Santino Cua.“In high school I kind of wanted to play collegiate football and thought rugby would be a good way to hone in my skills. But I fell in love with the sport and chose to play it over collegiate football,” Cua said.While rugby is growing — plans for the first professional league in North America were announced Monday — it remains a relatively unknown sport in the U.S. However, Grose said those who start with it usually stick with it.“In high school, you see guys quit football to play rugby, but nobody ever quit rugby to play another sport,” Grose said. “I decided to try it out here, and I fell in love with it, fell in love with the team and it’s been awesome.”Cua said the team’s camaraderie and passion for the sport and team were the keys against Michigan and will be the keys moving forward.“The win over Michigan only happened because we had 15 guys who refused to let their brothers down. The bond amongst our players proved stronger than Michigan on Saturday,” Cua said. “It is one of those intangible characteristics that define a championship team, which is exactly what we plan to be come Saturday afternoon.”The Buckeyes are set to take on the Indiana Hoosiers for the Big Ten Universities Rugby Conference Championships on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Rockford, Illinois.