Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose rare talent burst into the limelight with a splendid goal against Italy at Euro 2004, was a shadow of his brilliant best when Sweden lost 1-0 to the same opponents on Friday.Sweden’s 34-year-old captain again looked his age after a subdued display in an opening 1-1 draw with Ireland and an early Euro 2016 exit looms for a side with one point from two games before facing Belgium in their final Group E match next week.The tall and powerful striker, who left the pitch without saluting the crowd and did not stop to talk to anyone, has failed to produce a shot on target so far in the tournament.The same goes for the whole Sweden team but Ibrahimovic will get most of the blame because he was expected to deliver.ZLATAN ONE OF THE GREATEST”Zlatan is one of the greatest forwards I’ve ever encountered,” said Sweden coach Erik Hamren. “He’s a winner and if he’s disappointed, I think everyone understands that. It’s important to me to respect people for who they are.”It was a different story 12 years ago in Portugal, when Sweden had also faced Italy in their second game at the finals.The Italians led 1-0 when goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rushed out to punch a ball that had just bounced in the area.Ibrahimovic, then 22 and playing at his first European Championship, got there before him and volleyed the ball with his heel, over an Italian player standing on the line and into the net for a late equaliser.advertisementThe atypical forward has performed similar acrobatics several times throughout his career but certainly never came close to such a spectacular gesture on Friday.EMBARRASSING MOMENTThe notoriously immodest striker, famous for describing himself as an awe-inspiring scoring machine, looked lost on the pitch and had an embarrassing moment in the closing stages when he fired over the bar from close range in front of an open goal.He was offside anyway but his miss provided a symbol of a dismal performance from a player who has so often lifted Sweden out of tight spots.His team mates hoped Ibra could do the trick again after a prolific season in which he scored a club record 38 goals to help Paris St Germain win a fourth straight Ligue 1 title.Questions will now arise as to why the talismanic striker went missing at Euro 2016, although if does have one group game left to redeem himself.Some will say he collapsed under pressure or point out that he was probably exhausted after a gruelling season.Others will suggest Ibrahimovic, who has left PSG after four trophy-laden years and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, was distracted by the uncertainty hanging over his immediate future.The cruellest will say it was not the first time he has crumbled on a big occasion and will suggest that he lacks the ability to make a difference when it really matters — a trait that separates excellent players from the all-time greats.
Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, says the disaster preparedness and emergency relief efforts undertaken prior and subsequent to the passage of Hurricane Sandy were demonstrative of the strong spirit of volunteerism that exists in Jamaica. Speaking at the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) second Parish/Town Hall Meeting in May Pen, Clarendon on Wednesday (October 31), Mr. Arscott in empathising with victims of the hurricane, highlighted several ministries, agencies and organisations, which lent support to the efforts. These, he said, include: the Ministries of Transport, Works and Housing, and Health; National Works Agency (NWA); Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB); Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Jamaica Red Cross; Adventist Development and Relief Association (ADRA), “and the many schools which opened their facilities as hurricane shelters in the various communities across Jamaica.” “Especially now, we must remember that no man is an island and no man stands alone and we must extend a hand to our brothers and sisters on trying to assist them, in terms of trying to put their lives back together,” he said. Mr. Arscott disclosed that, to this end, a number of initiatives, “some of them private”, will be launched “in the next few days”, while expressing the hope that support will be forthcoming from the various stakeholders, in executing these. “The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, through (the) local authorities, ODPEM, and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), will play a part in returning normalcy as quickly as possible,” he assured. Wednesday’s meeting was one in a series of islandwide fora, being jointly staged by the Ministry and the SDC under the theme: ‘Government and Governance’. They aim to provide Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and other members of the Cabinet and Government, with the opportunity to engage the public in discussions on a range of topical issues, and for relevant government agencies to provide updates on programmes and initiatives, specific to the local and parish levels.