Friday’s Singapore Stipes’ Report Highlights

TIGHT FINISH: Twickenham (V Duric atop), who was difficult to be loaded into the barrier at the start of the race, staving off the challenge of the D Beasley-ridden Dragon Fury to win Race 7 by a head.
SURPRISE WIN: 2015 champion jockey, M Nunes (in red), steering $173 winner Rusty Brown to beat Royal Ruler in Race 10 despite also being difficult to be loaded into the barrier at the start of the race.
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They'll be lining up behind lim's rally

LARRY FOLEY'S COMMENTS ON TODAY'S KRANJI MEETING

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Paltrow shows her winning side

EASy WIN: Paltrow (Vlad Duric astride) breaking away for an easy win with four-and-a-quarter lengths to spare in the opening race on Friday.
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Neymar can learn from Suarez, says Richard Buxton

What he needs to do is look at how Barca teammate Suarez has turned his fortunes around

COOL DOWN: Uruguay's Luis Suarez (right) calming down his Barcelona teammate in the Brazil team, Neymar (No. 10), who got caught up in a confrontation with officials.

CONMEBOL

BRAZIL 2
(Douglas Costa 1, Renato Agusto 26)

URUGUAY 2
(Edinson Cavani 31, Luis Suarez 48)

Brazil require a leader of men but Neymar, for some time now regarded as the player to lead them back to the top of football, appears to be shunning the responsibility.

At a time when the Barcelona forward has the world at this feet, he is far happier to indulge in backyard tomfoolery.

His time is now but the 24-year-old continues to plead that it is not quite yet.

He appears content with remaining a wonder kid trapped in a man's body.

In a thrilling 2-2 draw with Uruguay yesterday morning (Singapore time), that pattern continued as the two giants failed to force a win in their South American World Cup qualifier.

Refining the attributes capable of placing him alongside Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho in a recent illustrious dual pantheon for both club and country seems like a formality after his form for Barcelona this season, but even with the Selecao's captaincy now firmly in his grasp, Neymar's attitude continues to trump that ongoing search of excellence.

Providing an assist for Renato Agusto with a long-range pass, complemented by a handful of at goal during this World Cup encounter was clear evidence of his ability, but his flashes of insolence and frustration continue to get the better of him.

That Luis Suarez was forced to restrain him after his team-mate at the Nou Camp became caught up in confrontation, with officials and Uruguay players alike, was indicative of just how much growing up Neymar still has to do between now and summer of 2018.

His impending suspension, following another needless booking, will doubtless be welcomed by Barcelona manager Luis Enrique ahead of the El Clasico next weekend but threatens to be as a potential blow for his country's midweek encounter with Paraguay.

This was the player whose fortunes dictated the rise and fall of Brazil's run to the 2014 World Cup semi-final in their homeland - he should now be making the side his own; taking it firmly by the scruff of the neck in a bid to reach Russia in 2018.

Neymar could do far worse than take a leaf out of Suarez's book.

The former Liverpool striker was a casualty of the 2014 World Cup, albeit for different reasons, and his long-awaited competitive return for Uruguay, poetically back in Brazil, served as a lesson in the merits behind curbing one's immature streak.

Since he last wore La Celeste's shirt, the 29-year-old has transformed himself from a footballing pariah into one of the game's most celebrated attackers.

All has not been forgotten, nor forgiven, since he sunk his teeth into Italian Giorgio Chiellini's arm two years ago, but his decisive second-half equaliser suggests that those 640 days in the international wilderness have been put to productive use.

Suarez still governs by one clinical action but it is the sublime rather than the stupid which has returned to the fore.

He still terrorises defenders, although it is with trickery instead of baring of teeth, as he did in that infamous encounter against Italy.

His road to redemption has been one laden with trophies and an enhanced reputation at Barcelona.

From having nothing to lose to gaining everything, it has been a tale of personal triumph.

Neymar never did have the mean streak or the temper, but he definitely can learn from Suarez about leadership and living up to expectations.


NEXT FIXTURES

Wednesday (March 30):

  • Colombia v Ecuador
  • Uruguay v Peru
  • Venezuela v Chile
  • Argentina v Bolivia
  • Paraguay v Brazil

'Payet has enormous qualities'

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France are Euro 2016 favourites, says Gary Lim

Euro 2016 hosts fire warning after impressive win over Dutch

FRENCH FIREPOWER: Goals from Blaise Matuidi (No. 14, above), Olivier Giroud (No. 9) and Antoine Griezmann (No. 7) seal a deserving victory for France.
FRENCH FIREPOWER: Goals from Blaise Matuidi (No. 14), Olivier Giroud (No. 9, above) and Antoine Griezmann (No. 7) seal a deserving victory for France.
FRENCH FIREPOWER: Goals from Blaise Matuidi (No. 14), Olivier Giroud (No. 9) and Antoine Griezmann (No. 7, above) seal a deserving victory for France.

HOLLAND 2
(Luuk de Jong 47, Ibrahim Afellay 86)

FRANCE 3
(Antoine Griezmann 6, Olivier Giroud 13, Blaise Matuidi 87)

At an arena where Holland paid a moving tribute to their greatest player, it was the French who stole the football show.

Perhaps the rest of the football world would have wanted a home win in the circumstances, but Didier Deschamps and Co. stayed focused yesterday morning (Singapore time), hustling the Dutch into a back alley to snatch a 3-2 victory.

The minute's applause for the late Johan Cruyff from the 50,000 fans inside the Amsterdam ArenA in the 14th minute, when play was temporarily halted, provided the game's poignant moment - but it couldn't stop France from delivering their own message.

Euro 2016 is three months away, and they are beginning to look like the real deal.

They have their guns cocked and locked.

They are chomping at the bit for the chance to showcase their talent in front of their own fans.

Whoever stand in their way must be prepared for a fight from start to finish.

Even in the absence of stars like Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, the French demonstrated an abundance of flair and creativity.

As one would expect of a Deschamps side, there were also cohesion and grit.

The pieces are falling into place at the right time.

This might be a friendly, but France treated it far more seriously.

They had to.

The players are battling among themselves in a supremely talented pool for a place in the final squad.

INTENSITY

And Deschamps needs them to regularly produce such intensity during their warm-up matches to negate a lack of competitive action since elimination at the quarter-final stage of the 2014 World Cup Finals.

Setting a blistering first-half tempo, they were 2-0 up within 13 minutes.

Antoine Griezmann's superb free-kick and Olivier Giroud's volley on the turn raised the prospect of many red faces in an orange-clad crowd.

The trio of Lassana Diarra, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi performed the midfield choke-hold which rendered the hosts' attack impotent.

Up front, West Ham's Dimitri Payet carried his club form onto the international stage with a dazzling performance that outshone even scorers and attacking partners Giroud and Griezmann.

If there is work to be done, it is in defence where France have a tendency to go to sleep.

Luuk de Jong's "headed goal" came off his hand, actually, but the visitors could not escape culpability for Holland's second goal, when Memphis Depay simply stroked a corner-kick to the edge of the box for a completely unmarked Ibrahim Afellay to hammer home in the 86th minute.

Alas, Holland lacked the durability and determination to complete the task, leaving it to France to show them how to push for a win at the death.

When it was time to show resolve, Les Bleus' willpower shone through.

Payet somehow managed to retain the ball in Holland's half, before passing the ball to Anthony Martial, who set up the outstanding Matuidi for the winning goal.

The accomplished display wouldn't have gone unnoticed by their Euro 2016 rivals, and France's quality on the bench would also have raised eyebrows.

Martial and N'Golo Kante had to be satisfied with substitute appearances, while Hugo Lloris, Bacary Sagna and Kingsley Coman never left the dug-out.

On top of that, there is still a chance Benzema and their football federation can resolve the tricky issue arising from his blackmail allegations, while there is also talk of Ribery coming out of international retirement.

France may be on the cusp of a brilliant summer.

It was important to win. We want to prepare for the Euros and for that, you have to win all matches. 

- France forward Antoine Griezmann

Football salutes Oranje wizard Cruyff

FITTING FAREWELL:
The Holland v France friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA is stopped in the 14th minute to pay tribute to the late Johan Cruyff.

Who knows where Pep Guardiola will sit among the ranks of the greatest when he retires as a football manager?

The 45-year-old Spaniard won it all when he ruled at Barcelona.

He's threatening to do the same at Bayern Munich and next season, he will bring his considerable managerial skills to the hurly burly of the English Premier League at Manchester City.

Guardiola, though, knows where Johan Cruyff will rank.

Cruyff, who wore the No. 14 shirt for his country and led them as captain to the 1974 World Cup final, died on Thursday at the age of 68 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

Cruyff, already rated one of the greatest players of all time, was manager when Guardiola began his playing career at Barcelona.

In an emotional tribute, Guardiola, who was part of the Barcelona "Dream Team" that Cruyff coached to the club's first European Cup triumph in 1992, said yesterday: "One day, I went for dinner with my wife and my children and we were talking about Johan. One of my children, who had never met Johan, asked me who he was.

"I explained to him that it's as though you were going to a history lesson, or science or math, and you can't wait for that lesson with that teacher to start because he helps you love the class. My son said 'like Merlin?'

"We had Merlin, a person who helped us and was special."

GREAT MAN

All of his peers have acclaimed his precision passes, speed, technique and scoring ability which set new standards as a player.

"We have lost a great man. May we carry on his example of excellence," said Brazil's Pele.

"He leaves a very important legacy for our family of football."

"He was the best player of all time," French legend Michel Platini said.

"We will never forget you, skinny," said Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

The Holland international against France was halted in the 14th minute yesterday morning (Singapore time) to lead global tributes to the Dutch football legend, as fans and players applauded the footballer and coach.

A huge portrait banner showing Cruyff's back and his familiar Dutch orange No. 14 shirt was hauled across one end of the ArenA stadium in his home city of Amsterdam.

A seat covered with flowers and a No. 14 shirt was left empty in the VIP stand at a game which saw the Dutch slip to a 3-2 defeat against the hosts of the Euro 2016 tournament this summer. It was the first time that an international has been halted for such a gesture.

"Immortal," the Dutch popular daily De Telegraaf said, of Cruyff.

Fans are already clamouring for the Amsterdam ArenA to be renamed the Johan Cruyff Stadium.

"Cruyff was a trainer, an oracle and an Ajax revolutionary," said famous Dutch columnist Bert Wagendorp.

"A gifted football wizard who took the B-nation Dutch to the top of football's Olympus - an icon of an era, a youth hero and the carrier of Dutch dreams." - Wire Services.

FOOTBALL SALUTES ORANJE MERLIN

Guardiola describes Cruyff as a wizard; Pele, Platini and Maradona pay their own tributes ›S2

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Jurong Fishery Port to undergo redevelopment

Jurong Fishery Port to go through overhaul, possibly become tourist spot

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: A worker handling an assortment of fishes, including stingrays.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: 
A fishing crew preparing to bring unsold fish back home to Batam, Indonesia.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: While some workers handle and weigh the seafood, others deal with customers and payments.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: 
A worker weighing fish to determine its selling price.
BUSY AT WORK: One of the many workers at the fishery port transporting seafood on a pallet jack.
BUSY AT WORK: Apart from fishermen in boats, Jurong Fishery Port receives seafood from Malaysia via lorries as well.

Tucked away in a small corner of the island, Jurong Fishery Port is all hustle and bustle when most of Singapore is still fast asleep.

The fishery port started operations in 1969, integrating a port for fishing vessels to dock, a 400m-long wharf and a 9,000sq m wholesale fish market. It is where most of the seafood found in wet markets or supermarkets are from.

A cacophony of sounds greets visitors in the wee hours - fishermen noisily dropping off their catches and fishmongers announcing loudly the variety of seafood available at their stations.

Then-Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan announced last year that the fishery port will be upgraded.

A spokesman for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, which operates both the Jurong and Senoko fishery ports, told The Straits Times that redevelopment for the former is on its way.

One idea is for the fishery port to become an attraction, like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco or the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.

The New Paper on Sunday (TNPS) visited the fishery port last Thursday and talked to the people at work.

THE FISHMONGER

Mr Lim Pong Hooi, 50, has been running around the fishery port since he was 29 years old.

TNPS visited him at 2am, only for the man to share that it was the busiest time of the "day" and that the hubbub would die down only when the day breaks.

His company, Ee Heng Chop, has been in the trade for over 40 years. It sells up to 4.5 tonnes of fish daily, with the bulk going to wet markets and supermarkets.  

The air is thick with the smell of the sea, but it is something Mr Lim has got used to.

At the fishery port, many men work without shirts, perhaps to save their clothes from the briny fumes.

Mr Lim says: "We're rough people here, because we want to get stuff done fast."

THE CUSTOMER

Smart locals skip sleep and head to the fishery port for bargains.

Mr Amir Mohd Ariff, 49, is one of them.

"The seafood here is fresher and cheaper, sometimes up to $4 cheaper as compared to the heartland wet markets," says the technician, while showing off his loot.

His favourite are the sea prawns, as he claims most of the prawns sold at other places are of the farmed variety.

When asked if he would be happy to share his secret spot with other locals and tourists, he says: "It'll be sad as the raw feeling of this place would be gone."

THE FISHERMEN

While taking a breather from the main market, this journalist spotted a group of men cutting up fish.

When asked if it was for the shops, they reply that it is the lot that did not manage to get sold.

As fishermen, they leave nearby Batam, Indonesia, at around 9pm with the day's catch of about 15 to 20 tonnes of seafood, ranging from fishes to crustaceans, in a 10m-long vessel.

Before returning to Batam at around 7am, some of them will scale and prepare the unsold fish to be taken home.

When told about the talks of upgrading the fishery port to an upmarket spot, the first thing one of them asks is whether they will still be allowed in.

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