Driving a new vision for Africa

first_imgYoungsters from organisations likeBrightest Young Minds, One YoungWorld and the African LeadershipAcademy took part in a paneldiscussion on their vision for Africa.(Image: Ray Maota)MEDIA CONTACTS• Brand Africa+27 11 463 5091• Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122Nicky Rehbock and Ray Maota  The 2011 Brand Africa Forum, sponsored by Brand South Africa and Brand Leadership Academy, saw an impressive range of pan-African, diasporan and global thought leaders, influencers and decision-makers coming together to debate how Africa can drive its growth, reputation and competitiveness.The event was held on 29 September at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and attracted more than 300 government, business and civil society representatives.Special focus areas included the role of the nation brand in economic development, governance and sustainability on the continent, economic lessons for Africa and the role of business in driving progress.The significance of South Africa joining Brazil, Russia, India and China in the BRICS bloc was explored, along with lessons to be learnt from emerging markets.The forum shone the spotlight on youth and their vision for the continent by including a panel of young leaders from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Senegal.The inaugural Brand 100 Awards for Africa also took place at the forum.In the opening address, Brand South Africa chairperson Anitha Soni challenged African nations to cooperate in developing strong country brands to improve the continent’s global competitiveness, adding that this would require better cooperation and information-sharing among countries on the continent.“For us, Brand South Africa’s involvement in the Brand Africa Forum is a natural fit because the health of Africa’s brand is important for the strength and health of our own nation brand,” said Brand SA CEO Miller Matola.“If countries on the continent improve in terms of their image and reputation, the same holds for South Africa. Our prosperity is inextricably linked to that of the other countries on the continent,” he said.Nation branding: we must walk the talk“National branding is not about slogans, it is about what you do and what they think, that matters. If one does not change the negative perceptions they will become realities. In Africa we are good at talking and planning, but weak in implementing. We must walk the talk,” said Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Arthur Mutambara.“A brand must transcend political affiliations and should not be the sole property of a set political party … it must be taken personally because we will never be respected as Africans unless Africa has done well as a continent. This applies to individual countries as well,” he added.Telling it like it isGlobal economist Dr Dambisa Moyo spoke frankly about the current economic crisis, the sovereign debt crisis extending beyond Europe, and Africa’s place in the global picture.“We could be in for a 10-year bear market and recessionary environment. Where does Africa fit into this?” she asked. “We’re facing a very serious problem … there are simply not enough resources to go around.”Moyo said in the coming years the world will increasingly struggle due to a shortage of arable land, energy constraints and a lack of food security, compounded by a lack of water.“This is particularly in the context of the famine that’s going on in the Horn of Africa,” she added.“There are about 1-billion people in the world who go hungry every day – and the majority of them are on this continent. And yet, Africa has the largest amount of untilled land left on the planet.”As an economist, Moyo sees this in terms of supply and demand: “We’ve got hungry people, and we’ve got land.”When there’s a food crisis in Africa, the first response of NGOs is often to “provide a so-called band aid solution, sending bags of maize to Somalia or Ethiopia immediately”.Moyo said she doesn’t find this objectionable, but as an economist, she believes it presents a structural problem.“We’ve got to get to the root cause: why is it that Africa, in the last 30 years, has been the only continent that has failed to feed itself – especially in light of the fact that we have the most untilled land?”But there is some good news, she added: “In a future world of 9-billion people, in a world where we know there are going to be supply constraints in commodities and resources, Africa has an important role to play.“But before we can actually get to a point where we are producing food and coming up with innovative ways to develop, we need to deal with Brand Africa.”Moyo said Africans had to proactively discuss and respond to its important role in the future of the world.“Without us getting our heads around this, it’s all just wonderful conversation – but it’s not going to help us in the long term.”Addressing forum delegates, Moyo concluded: “I urge you in your discussions today – and when you return to your respective businesses – to really focus on where the world is going, and to also focus on Africa and its very important role in the future.“The winners in the decades to come will be the people who look to Africa as a place of business opportunity and a place for partnerships – not as a place that is a drag on the world economy.”What should Africa do to be a powerful continent?Malik Fal, MD of Endeavour spoke about the Africa 2.0: Kenya Report. Endeavour is a New-York based NGO dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship in emerging markets.The report is a manifesto of the envisioned economic and political transition Africa should take if it is to rightfully claim its spot as a powerful continent.Fal said: “The manifesto is the collective effort of young Africans’ views about what Africa should do to be a powerful continent.”Fal added that Africa was in danger of developing presidential monarchies, with leaders favouring their children to become future presidents. He said this was the same as a dictatorship.The report, which comes out in October 2011, will have four main themes: uplifting Africans; creating and sharing African wealth; upgrading Africa’s infrastructure and creating a stable environment for growth.Seeing Africa through the eyes of youngstersCedric Ntumba, an executive at Capitalworks Investment Partners, led a panel of youngsters in discussing their vision of Africa in the future and how their goals could be achieved.The panel included Gertrude Kitongo of Kenya and Ralph Baumgarten of South Africa – both from Brightest Young Minds organisation; Zamatungwa Khumalo and Erik de Ridder – both of South Africa from the One Young World organisation; and Francis Ekii of Uganda and Linda Rebeiz of Senegal – from the African Leadership Academy.Ntumba asked the panel what should be done to inspire African youngsters.“Youngsters should be forward-thinking and their thoughts should sketch a positive future,” Baumgarten said.De Ridder added that for the youngsters of Africa to be inspired, countries should have a human-centred approach to development and that young people should take ownership of the fact that they are the future.Ekii said: “Youngsters should be proactive and not reactive to their situations.”He cited an example of how, when he was just 13 years old, he and a few friends from his hometown in Uganda took it upon themselves to talk openly about HIV in the community.When Khumalo was asked how youngsters from other continents welcomed African youth, she said: “Youngsters from other parts of the world have a warped sense of Africa and African youngsters are more receptive to the outside world than their counterparts.”BRICS and the role of AfricaA panel discussion on South Africa’s role in the BRICS grouping of nations was chaired by Abdullah Verachia, director of Frontier Advisory.The panel included Ajai Chowdry, chair of HCL in India; Dr Vijay Mahajan, author of Africa Rising; Dr MG Vaidyan, CEO of the State Bank of India in South Africa; James Mwangi, global managing partner at Dalberg and Christine Jiang, from Huawei Technologies.Chowdry said that for Africa to protect itself from the effects of the looming economic crisis, it had to indirectly help Europe by keeping its domestic consumption growing.He said South Africa would play a direct role with its involvement in BRICS as the bloc would probably contribute money as a group to the International Monetary Fund.Dr Vaidyan said: “India understood early on like China that population size is not a burden but an asset, and an asset should be maintained.”Vaidyan said that although India had a large population; it had 18 000 colleges, 350 universities and 1-million schools to provide education to its citizens.“The country also recognised that for urban India to progress, rural India has to be developed, that is why at least 40% of the loans we give are to small-scale farmers. South Africa needs to follow that route if it is to be a major player in the BRICS grouping,” said Dr Vaidyan.Mahajan said Africa’s greatest challenge was its migrants overseas who talked negatively about their native countries, creating a warped view of the continent. Africa should make sure its “ambassadors” in foreign countries celebrated Africa, he added.Speaking about competition between companies in the BRICS grouping, Mahajan said: “Africa should not just roll out the red carpet for companies from the BRIC grouping to invest in the respective countries on the continent, but should advocate for African companies to also invest in those markets.”Brand Africa 100 awardsThe inaugural Brand Africa 100 awards also took place during forum, giving credit to the continent’s most valued brands as voted for by pan-African consumers.Research methodology for the awards was developed by the Brand Leadership Academy in partnership with TNS, a globally respected consumer knowledge and information company, and Brand Finance – the world’s leading independent valuation consultancy.“One of the primary drivers of Africa’s growth lies in stimulating and growing thriving African and global businesses and brands in Africa,” said Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and chairperson of Brand Africa.Ikalafeng added that consumers were the ultimate arbiters of a brand’s success and that the awards would show which brands are getting it right on the continent.The award sector categories included food, beverages, electronics, telecoms, automotive, apparel, banks, oil and gas, retail and personal care.Credit was also given to the most valued non-African brand, the most valued brand in Africa and the Grand Prix award for the most valued African brand overall.The winning brands were:•    Food – McDonalds•    Beverages – Coca-Cola•    Electronics – Samsung•    Telecoms – MTN•    Automotive – Toyota•    Apparel – Nike•    Banks – Absa•    Oil and gas – Shell•    Retail – Blue Band•    Personal Care – NiveaThe most valued non-African brand went to Shell, while MTN was voted the most valued brand in Africa and took the Grand Prix award.last_img read more

Want To Revive The Economy? Open Public Buildings To Remote Workers

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The City of Palo Alto, Calif. and mobile workspace-finding app LiquidSpace have teamed up for an exciting step in public co-working. The Palo Alto City Library will make rooms available on LiquidSpace in a 3-month pilot. This is the first instance I can find in the U.S. of a public facility using a location-aware mobile app to reduce its unused capacity.Co-working is the new normal, and city governments could drive lots of high-tech productivity if they make their latent space available to flexible, remote workers. Palo Alto is an obvious place to start, but every city in the world should start thinking like this.The partnership began this week. Two of the library’s study rooms, with room for around 10 people, are available on LiquidSpace, a free iPhone app that lists available workspaces in business centers, hotels, offices or co-working spaces. During the pilot, the library will assess whether it will benefit the public, as well as the library itself. If so, it will work with other city departments to expand the program to other facilities.We like the looks of this. Coffee & Power, another remote working story we’re watching, has figured out how to make a win-win out of helping private spaces open up to remote workers. LiquidSpace is doing a civic service by pushing municipal governments to open their doors to co-workers, too.If you want to learn more about this topic, Phil Shapiro wrote a cool post about co-working in public libraries in PCWorld.Do you work remotely? Share your experiences in the comments. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img jon mitchell Tags:#e-commerce#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

RWW Recommends: The Best Mobile Payments App

first_imgEmbarrassment of Riches: Other RecommendationsWhile Square may be a leader, an incredibly diverse set of companies has entered the field of mobile payments.Google Wallet is a potentially disruptive option. Essentially, Google Wallet is an NFC-enabled digital app that stores financial information, loyalty cards and deals. But since its release in 2011, many mobile carriers have blocked the app from running on their networks as they work out NFC solutions of their own. And Google Wallet is available only on select Android devices. With some justification, PayPal loves to think of itself as a leader in mobile payments. Storing information on the buyers smartphone, PayPal can be used  to purchase both physical and digital goods. It also offers NFC money transfers between people just by bumping smartphones. While PayPal may be one of the largest digital payments providers, it still lacks widespread presence in retail stores. Other dongle providers that compete with Square include Intuit’s GoPayment, Verifone, Erply and others. An interesting startup in San Francisco called Mobeam uses light to beam payment information into a barcode scanner. One of the fastest growing startups in the mobile payments ecosystem is LevelUp from Boston-based SCVNGR. It is working toward the concept of “interchange zero” where it does not cost merchants anything to transmit payments. Dwolla, out of Des Moines, Iowa, offers an interesting ecosystem for local mobile payments. Jumio and Card.io allow merchants to use a smartphone camera to scan credit cards for payments. Meanwhile, some of the biggest companies in the world are working on mobile payment solutions. A partnership between T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon is working on an NFC solution called Isis. Amazon offers its “1-Click” purchasing through mobile phones for both physical and digital goods. The major transaction companies including MasterCard, American Express and Visa are all working toward some type of digital wallet.Even with all the competition, though, Square’s unique combination of features, ease of access and competitive pricing make it today’s leader. But the mobile payments space is still evolving rapidly and who will ultimately rule the future of currency remains very much up in the air. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#e-commerce#mobile#Mobile Payments Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Mobile payments. The phrase has hit the popular conscious over the past several years as smartphones have permeated the lives of people around the world. Pay for anything you want without a plastic card, without cash, without your checkbook. Just use your smartphone to buy anything you want. There are many different ways to make payments or receive payments with a mobile device. We give our recommendation for the best mobile payments option below. Many Ways to PayThe tem “mobile payments” encompasses many types of transactions. Large companies and enterprising startups all claim to offer the brightest and best in mobile payments – with very different offerings. So a little context is required before we can single out the best mobile payments app. The various tiers of mobile payments can be broken into two high-level groups: 1. The ability to buy digital goods with your mobile device. Fundamentally no different than buying a digital product through your computer but often with a different payment structure  – such as the ability to charge it through your carrier. Digital goods could include apps, music, e-books or video subscriptions, among other items.2. The ability to buy physical goods with your mobile device. The end goal: total disruption of the cash-based transaction ecosystem. This could include the ability to accept credit cards from smartphones or making the smartphone the actual vehicle of payment. Then there are the different ways to perform mobile transactions:Carrier Billing: Charging a digital or physical good through your mobile carrier bill.Near Field Communications (NFC): Financial information is stored on a device and transactions are made through a “tap” between the smartphone and a point-of-sale system. QR Codes/Code Scanners: As with NFC, payment information is stored on the device or can be accessed through the device from the cloud. But with QR codes, either the merchant scans the code on the buyer’s phone with another smartphone or tablet, or the buyer’s phone uses its own LED sensors to “beam” out information that a barcode scanner can read.Mobile Card Readers: Often referred to as “dongles,” these devices plug into a smartphone or tablet and let merchants swipe credit cards.Stored Payment Information: This is when a company holds buyers’ credit card information in its system and allows them to easily purchase physical or digital goods through “one click.” Amazon and PayPal are leaders here, but Google and Apple also store user information to allow payments on mobile devices. Mobile Wallets: This generic term covers mobile payment services that store payment information on or through a device. They typically offer other services, such as loyalty programs, coupons, deals and offers (which are all technically different things). A mobile wallet can use any type of payment system to make the transaction.Given all of the above, we applied the following criteria to determine our recommendation for the Best Mobile Payments App:Must be able to purchase physical goods.Must have a mobile wallet component.Must be as ubiquitous as possible – supporting, at the very least, Android and Apple’s iOS. Must have the potential to fundamentally change how payments are made. Our Recommendation: SquareSquare, a company created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, helped start the mobile payment phenomenon. When it first hit the market, Square was primarily a dongle solution. The dongle (called a “Square”) plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet and through an app lets merchants accept credit cards on their devices. The dongle concept is simple and very powerful. It boils down to giving the masses the ability to make and receive digital payments from anywhere. That could be the local farmers market or an out-of-the-way bike shop on your favorite path. All that the merchant needs is a smartphone and some type of data connection.  Square (and its many dongle competitors) is ushering in a new era of transactions that makes cash (which is still how about 85% of all transactions are made) irrelevant. While Square started as a dongle, it has evolved a much richer feature set to lead the way in mobile payments. The Square Register turns an iPad into a point-of-sale system, while the Square Card Case integrates loyalty cards that can be used for payments through the register. Consumers can even make payments through their smartphones at a merchant that has a Square Register just by coming in and saying their name. Square and the merchant have the consumer’s financial information on file, and making a payment is as simple as saying “charge it to my account.” Think of it like having an open tab at your neighborhood pub. For consumers, Square is a free app on iOS and Android. For merchants (or anybody who wants to accept credit cards with their smartphone), the dongle and app are free with an industry-competitive 2.75% fee per transaction.  dan rowinskilast_img read more

Pepperdine University Enhances Efficiency, Eliminates Deskside Visits with Intel® Core® i5 vPro™ Processors

first_imgDownload NowFor the IT group supporting Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, managing the fleet of nearly 300 client systems used by faculty, staff, and graduate assistants had become too time-consuming and resource-intensive. When it was time to refresh client systems, the IT group selected laptops and desktops equipped with Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ processors. By using Intel vPro technology with Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite*, the IT group has streamlined software diagnostics, patch and software deployment, asset discovery, and security, eliminating software-related deskside visits while providing outstanding performance to users.“With Intel vPro technology, I can access the system and start to resolve problems even if the operating system is completely unresponsive,” explained Ramy Rizkallah, program manager for the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University. “I can have users back up and running much faster than if I had to make a deskside visit.”To learn all about it, download our new Pepperdine University business success story. As always, you can find this one, and many others, on the Intel.com Business Success Stories for IT Managers page.last_img read more

Bartomeu expects another Messi deal

first_imgTransfers Messi will sign another Barcelona contract, predicts Bartomeu Jamie Smith 02:02 2/22/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Lionel Messi Getty Images Transfers Barcelona Eibar v Barcelona Primera División Lionel Messi The Argentine’s current deal will take him to 34 years old, but his president believes he could extend that contract and stay even longer at Camp Nou Lionel Messi will sign another Barcelona contract to ensure he stays at the club for the rest of his career, believes president Josep Maria Bartomeu.After a long delay and with his deal running down, Messi finally agreed terms on a fresh four-year contract in November, taking him to the end of the 2020-21 season.AdChoices广告Messi will be 34 at the end of that contract, but Bartomeu expects the Argentina star to sign another Barcelona deal before he retires. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “We are a club that bets on good football,” Bartomeu told Bloomberg. “We have a unique style of play and Messi is the best player in the world, our key player.”Andres Iniesta is an example. We want him here not as a player, but as a legend in the future.”And with Messi I hope it’s the same. Now he’s got a four-year contract, but I don’t think it will be his last [with Barcelona].”He made his debut 4,788 days ago.He has played 602 games.He has scored 523 goals.He has won 30 trophies.The story continues.#Messi2021 pic.twitter.com/XPdIhvaqgI— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 25, 2017Messi’s new contract has a buyout clause set at €700million, with his 30 club titles matching the record set by his team-mate, Barca captain Iniesta.last_img read more

16 days agoJuventus goalkeeper Buffon delighted he chose to return

first_imgJuventus goalkeeper Buffon delighted he chose to returnby Carlos Volcano16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveJuventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon has no plans of retiring just yet.Now 41, Buffon returned to Juve from PSG last summer.He said, “Quite rightly, a few people at the start were confused by accepting this new role, but I realised the only club where I could accept being second choice was Juventus. I waited and I was proved right.“I am glad to be back in the dressing room with my teammates, embracing the fans and directors again, lads who I experienced so much with both on and off the field. That was why I made this choice.”Buffon is targeting another Scudetto with new coach Maurizio Sarri.“Sarri has very clear ideas and that is because he’s been working in football for 30 years, so in that time he experienced and learned so much, from success and failure. He’s certain of what he’s saying and that passes on to the players.“The group is also ready to learn something new after this philosophy Juve have had for 10 years. Everyone talks about Max Allegri, but don’t forget we had Antonio Conte there first.“This new philosophy is something we’ve never dealt with before. We like it. Great players need great motivation and the performances will arrive.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Lane Kiffin Takes Dig At Tennessee With Recruiting Article

first_imgLane Kiffin holding his son after Alabama wins national championship.Twitter/@lane_kiffinWhen Lane Kiffin was hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, many wondered how the dynamic would work with his former employer, Tennessee, as a major rival. Kiffin has made it very clear: he leans all the way into the hate that he receives from Vols fans.Lane Kiffin has trolled Tennessee over and over on Twitter. He continued the efforts this afternoon, sharing an article from Gridiron Now about Tennessee’s struggles in holding onto top talent from within The Volunteer State.Tennessee loaded with top-level recruits — but they’re leaving the state https://t.co/gSTNhKtftJ— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) August 1, 2016In the article, Dave Hooker points out that Nashville is producing more football talent than in the past. However, many of those players don’t have immediate ties to Tennessee. At the same time, other recruiting powers like Alabama and Clemson are taking more advantage of the local recruiting boom than Tennessee is in its own backyard.With one of the best group of recruits in history, in-state recruiting certainly has changed in Tennessee.The mid-state area surrounding Nashville is chock full of talent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean prospects will flock to play for the Vols. Nashville is much like Atlanta a few decades ago: Both cities are filled with families that have moved into the area, not born and raised there.Nashville has seen economic growth while other areas of the country have struggled. That means more families have moved in. But those families – and the prospects from those families – have previous allegiances.According to 247Sports‘ rankings, the state currently has nine blue chip recruits in the class of 2017. Four-star safety Maleik Gray is a Vols commit. Clemson has three players on that list, No. 1 Tennessee recruit Tee Higgins (five-star wide receiver), four-star running back Cordarrian Richardson, and four-star wide receiver Amari Rodgers.We don’t think Kiffin was too concerned with sharing an interesting article about the shifting SEC recruiting landscape. He wanted to get a dig in against Tennessee, something he does with increasing regularity. Until the Vols can beat Alabama, which they haven’t done since 2006, there isn’t much for Tennessee fans to say in response.last_img read more

Manitoba wants to know about your marijuana use as it prepares for

first_imgWINNIPEG – The Manitoba government plans to poll residents about their marijuana consumption and what kind of rules they would like to see when recreational pot is legalized next year.The provincial liquor and gaming authority is looking for a company to do 15-minute surveys of at least 1,200 Manitobans in the coming months as it prepares for the new law.“We don’t have a great understanding about cannabis as a substance and how people use it,” said Kristianne Dechant, the authority’s communications and research manager.“And this is really unlike with liquor and gambling — which are two products that we currently regulate — where we have a great understanding about the gaps in people’s knowledge.”Dechant said the aim is to develop ways to advise people about safe levels of consumption — whether the cannabis be eaten, smoked or otherwise ingested.“I think Manitobans are really looking to the province to define what responsible use could look like and to provide information about how, if they choose to use it, they could minimize the harm.”Survey results will help shape a “regulatory framework for cannabis that meets public expectations for safety and consumer protection,” says the authority’s request for proposals issued Tuesday.The sample must include a reasonable representation across the province, including people between 18 and 24, “as this demographic is notoriously hard to reach, yet of particular interest with respect to cannabis knowledge and choices.”The federal government is setting a minimum age of 18 for pot use, but many of the details are being left to the provinces, including how and where cannabis will be sold when the law takes effect next July.Manitoba has yet to determine where pot will be available at the retail level and whether the liquor and gaming authority, or some other agency, will regulate it.Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government asked Ottawa last December to delay its plan for legalization.Premier Brian Pallister said there were many details still to be worked out, including who would pay for increased police resources. He also said a big awareness campaign was needed to convince people of the dangers of driving while using cannabis.last_img read more

The story of the Mikmaq boy Lil G and his battle with

first_imgAPTN National NewsSevere Combined Immune DeficiencyIt’s an illness that affects one in every 69,000 children.It’s also known as the “bubble boy” disease where children were forced to live inside a shield of plastic in order to stave off viruses.Although children no longer need to live in bubbles, it’s still life threatening.APTN’s Tom Fennario has the story of the Mi’kmaq boy they call “Lil G” and his battle with SCID.last_img

The Netherlands Is In A World Of Trouble And Argentina Might Be

For soccer fans around the world, Tuesday may be an emotional day. This could be the last time that Robben, who is 33 years old, appears in an orange shirt on the field. And for Messi, arguably one of the greatest players ever, the 2018 World Cup is his last great opportunity to fill the one glaring hole on his stellar résumé as he will be in his mid-30s the next time the tournament comes around. It would be a shame if that chance ended before it even started. 5Peru177462625+125 The top four teams automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup; the fifth-ranked team must win a playoff against a team from another region to make the tournament.Source: FIFA 201018231.3–✓ 1974492.3–✓ YEARGAMES PLAYEDGOALS SCOREDGOALS SCORED/GAMEQUALIFIED 199816231.4–✓ TEAMGPWONTIEDLOSTGOALS FORGOALS AGAINSTGOAL DIFF.POINTS 10Venezuela1716101835-179 7Paraguay177371924-524 In 2014, Argentina and the Netherlands — two of the world’s most established soccer powerhouses — met in the semifinals of the World Cup. After 120 scoreless minutes, Argentina prevailed in an agonizing penalty shootout. It’s very unlikely, though, that the Dutch will be able to exact revenge on Argentina during next year’s World Cup in Russia. That’s because the Netherlands most likely won’t be there — and Argentina may not be either.The Netherlands is on the brink of soccer disaster: To make the 2018 tournament, the Dutch must beat Sweden by 7 goals in their final qualifying game, at home on Tuesday. If they don’t, it will be the fourth time that the Netherlands has failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1982, or the last 10 tournaments.More than 6,000 miles away in South America, an even bigger crisis is brewing for Argentina, which has won the World Cup twice and made it to the final in 2014. If Argentina were to fail to qualify for 2018, it would be the first time that the team has missed the tournament in 48 years. But the Argentines have more ways to get in than the Dutch do (although they’re still in deep trouble). Depending on what happens elsewhere, a loss to Ecuador on Tuesday could mean elimination — but, likewise, a win doesn’t guarantee that Lionel Messi’s men will earn a berth in Russia either.Things are so bad that the Argentine Ministry of Health has issued instructions on how to avoid a heart attack during Tuesday’s game. 8Ecuador176292526-120 1966492.3–✓ 19584102.5–✓ *Argentina has one game left to play in its 2018 qualifying campaign.Source: FIFA 3Chile178272624+226 19866122.0–✓ 6Argentina176741615+125 2018*17160.9– 201416352.2–✓ 1Brazil1711513811+2738 200618291.6–✓ 200218422.3–✓ In defense of both the Dutch and the Argentines, each has had a brutally tough path to Russia, unlike some other countries (cough, America). According to the Soccer Power Index rankings of all teams on Sept. 4, 2016 — the day that the first round of European qualifiers were played — the Netherlands’ Group A was the third-toughest of the nine European qualifying groups, with an average SPI ranking of 57. And Argentina — ranked No. 1 in the world in SPI on Oct. 8, 2015, the day of the first round of South American qualifying games — faced an even gloomier schedule. The sole South American group had an average SPI ranking of 19, including five teams rated in the top 10 in the world.Why both teams have been this bad is baffling. OK, the Netherlands hasn’t had the star-studded lineup that made the World Cup final in 2010, but the Dutch have still had stalwarts Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, among others, at their regular disposal. For Argentina, a lack of talent is also not an excuse. In its 0-0 tie with Peru on Thursday, Argentina’s squad included 10 players who are on teams playing in the Champions League this year — and this doesn’t even include Manchester City star striker Sergio Aguero, who missed the game because of injury. No, for the Argentines, they simply haven’t scored enough — which is unusual for a country where you seemingly can’t throw a rock without hitting a world-class striker. Through 17 qualifying games, Argentina has scored just 16 goals, and in seven of those matches, the team didn’t score at all. That’s the lowest goals per game in their qualifying history since, well, ever.1For years not listed in the table below, qualifying was not yet needed, Argentina withdrew or did not enter, or Argentina qualified automatically through either hosting the World Cup that year or winning the previous World Cup. Deep breaths, ArgentinaSouth American standings in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers 9Bolivia1742111434-2014 2Uruguay178452818+1028 1970441.0– Argentina’s attacking firepower has dried upThe number of goals scored per game in each of Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaigns 19622115.5–✓ 4Colombia177552018+226 1994671.2–✓ For countries with as rich a soccer history as the Netherlands and Argentina, not qualifying is unthinkable. For the Dutch, however, they’re used to struggling to make the World Cup on the heels of a good showing. They failed to make the 1982 tournament after finishing as the runner-up in 1978, and in 2002, they didn’t qualify after making the semifinals in 1998.The Oranje have been in turmoil since Louis van Gaal left for Manchester United after leading the team to third place in 2014. They failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championship in France with Guus Hiddink and then Danny Blind in charge — the first time they failed to make Europe’s national team tournament in 32 years — and are on their third manager in as many years, with Dick Advocaat at the helm. In context, the KNVB’s current crisis may be the worst in its illustrious history. In August, the Dutch dropped to 36th in the world, their lowest spot in the rankings since FIFA started them in 1992. The team’s 3-1 win over Bulgaria in September nudged it back up to 29th. Among Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain — the seven teams that have made a World Cup final since 1994 — none has been ranked as low as 29th since 1994. Although FIFA’s world rankings are flawed, this is just one measure of how far the Netherlands have fallen relative to the other top nations in the world. read more