Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hillal (3) x Enyimba (2) - Part 3

Hats off to Enyimba and Nigerian soccer

Enyimba United are a team that deserve respect. They play a fine and commanding game. They were able to weather the Hillal and the crowd with calm and deliberate strategy - taking out Yousef Mohammed and turning the pressure on Hillal's usually indomitable midfield. They owned midfield and Hillal was not able to play their usual cohesive and nimble 2-touch buildups from deep. Enyimba seemed like a more mature and lethal version of Asec United of Ivory Coast. If Enyimba continue to play at this level of performance then they will be one of my to 3 favourites for this year's title. Hillal will be on that shrtlist also. A team that has Iviani, Muhannad Al-Tahir, Seif Massawi and Mandella on the bench is some team!

Hats off to Nigeria, by far the best footballing nation in Africa! and one of the most fertile soccer destinations in the world. To think that Kelechi, Goodwin, Yousif Mohammed and Iviani are not even fixtures in the Nigerian National team speaks volumes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hillal (3) x Enyimba (2) - Part 2

Some things for Heron Ricardo to think about:

Defender Richard Justin is making lethal mistakes that are costing goals but he did save a couple of lethal opportunities from under the feet of Enyimba's strikers. Ahmed Adil who is playing with good confidence, considering that this is his first African season, is to be commended. At this rate he will have a bright future. For now though, there is a gap in his performance with respect to gelling with Kelechi . That is not good. The lethal Kelechi-Goodwin duo is missed this year. On several opportunities, Ahmed kept the ball too long, when he could have slid it over to a well-positioned Kelechi. On other accounts Kelechi appeared….lost - hustling for the ball and trying creative penetrations but overall - displaced and lost. Iviani, inspite of a great performance, needs to stop worrying about vindicating himself so much - has anyone upset him? Let him put his head down and play as part of the team and he will continue to do great things. If he focuses too much on showing himself off - it will create issues for the team. Overall - Ricardo - you are the best coach in Africa….hands down!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Meriekh advance to confederation quarter finals

Got up this morning (US - PST) and watched Meriekh vs Olympique khrebka of Morroco, in their return game in Omdurman. In a dissapointing game our homeside advanced on a goalless draw.

I really hope Kroger, Mazda and the administration can solve the current attacking weakness in the team. Captain Faisal Al-3ajab is way past his prime and is visibly heavy. Although his skill, inventivness and a keen nose for the net are valuable assets - they are not sufficient for a team with an eye on the trophy. A similar issue exists with Tambal, whose confidence and skill level are almost completely
erratic. In a game like this qualifier today - both were out of form, which makes the team impotent and imbalanced. There is NO WAY this team will reach the final this year without the 2 veterans finding swift replacement - Goodwin anyone?

Good luck to our beloved Meriekh in the next round.

Hillal (3) x Enyimba (2) - Part I

Hillal off to a good but difficult start

Hillal (of Sudan) won their first quarter-final Group duel of the African Champions League
2008 (Friday July 18th), against a formidable Enyimba United of Nigeria . After lagging 0-1 and being held at 2-2, earlier in the game, Hillal's recent Nigerian addition - Ifeanyi Onigbo (AKA "Iviani") headed the winning goal for Hillal in the dying minutes of the game. This thrilling finale set ablaze the stands at Hillal's home ground. 30 thousands fans packed the "blue bastion" homestead in Omdurman, where Hillal have had an unbeaten record streak of 108 home-games!

What would an African bout be without refereeing disputes?
In my view the refereeing was fair and balanced, although the Nigerian press feels that the penalty awarded byEgyptioan referee Aouda was a stretch (hear Enyimba's Agwu explain to BBC Sport in this broadcast). Hillal's young new striker Ahmed Adil was tackled down inside the 6 yard box and about to score.

Good high-pressure thriller overall
Both jteams put on a good show. Enyimba's first goal and Hillal's second were masterful. It was also evident that two seasoned and vicious coaches were taking each other on - maxing out on substitutions to respond to the evolution of the game and each other's strategies. Enyimba finished the game with 10 players after Stephhen Worgu took down a Hillal player, on his way to goal in the 62nd minute, to receive his booking (red card).

Here comes "Iviani"

If there were something to write home about in this game, it was Iviani's stellar performance. He was brought in to replace Hamoda Basheer before the kickoff of the second half. Iviani effervesced in midfield and took brave shots at goal - stirring things up a little and lifting morale. Minutes before heading in the winning goal, Enyimba's goalkeeper caught an equally sudden header by the #30. From fancy footwork and dribbling antics to his shirt-off celebration of the winning goal, Iviani was the most exciting player in this game! Welcome home Iviani!

Friday, January 26, 2007

50 Days in Sudan - Ali's Homecoming! (2)

Left-to-Right: Shaza, Khalid, Ali, Mohammed Ameen, Nisreen, Mohammed Mamoun - posing for this shot in the parking lot outside the arrivals terminal at Khartoum airport - a few minutes after Ali walked out.

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50 Days in Sudan - Ali's Homecoming!

Speaking of Ali Mamoun - here he is at Khartoum Airport in mid- December 2006, upon his first visit to Sudan in 6 years! You can see how happy he is :-) wouldn't you be?
Many family members were there to greet him. We were all thrilled! Al-Khartoum nawarat on that evening.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

50 days in Sudan!

On November 24th 2006, we travelled to Sudan for vacation (Sara - my wife, Mamoun and Mohammed - my sons). We returned in mid-January after spending 50 wonderful days in Khartoum.

50 days is a long time in "dog" years!....a lengthy vacation by USA standards. Well it was 2 years worth, since we skipped the annual trip in winter of 2005.

What you see here is a picture of our luggage...

Take my advice - always take pictures of your luggage...just incase...
Also if something is really valuable try to carry it in your handbag only.

Ali (my brother), lost both his bags in his trip out from USA to Sudan this year. We learnt alot from that experience:
1. Minimize the # of connections (Ali flew SFO-LHR-Muscat-Manama-KRT!)
2. Try to fly with 1 carrier (avoid a complicated route with multiple carriers).
3. Never fly Gulf Air (they have no clue what they are doing). After interacting with their staff for several days (in the quest for Ali's lost luggage), I was convinced that the company does not have systems in place to track luggage. It also seems that they do not train their employees. Zai ma bingoul "Al-jatak fi malak sama7atak!" but negligence/carelessness in aviation can lead to catastrophes (al-3afash hayin!).
Ali - always looking at the positive side of things - kept his usual high spirits. I would've sulked for 2 years...That is why Ali is a special human being. The good and positive forces in his soul are overwhelming. My father used to say - "Ali da mabrouk." I think father is right.

To be continued...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Class is class - Cool is Cool!

This is a shot I took today of Tarik Salim's silver Mercedes (123 body style), parked on the pavement outside my house in Santa Clara. I am not sure what year make it is - maybe 1984? and....get a load of this it is Diesel!! I found myself admiring it....still looks as splendid as this kind did in the 80's ....an air all its own, in all its retro glory now - just proof that good style deosn't die - it lives forever!So class is class! - deosn't have to be M-class or S-class....
Also cool is a conviction, first and foremost - something Tarik and his wife luminaire have much of. Last week I was in Japan on business and one of my (local) Japanese colleagues was wearing the most hideous pair of glasses, they were so outlandish - yet super cool - circular black frames, these things were half the size of his face literally! and this guy was so peaceful and low key - wips them out in the middle of a customer meeting and puts them on like nothing ever happened...My work companion (and friend) and I had a hard time keeping a straight face but we commended our colleague for the coolness. I tried to get a shot but he was shy - turns out they are prescription glasses for eye allergies. It is spring (blossom) season in Japan and he wasn't wearing a mask (like many do in Japan) but he wore these because his eyes were more prone. Again it hit me that when you believe you have to do something and are comfortable in it your (individual) cool shines! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Here goes!...

[In the name of God the most gracious and most merciful]
digitally speaking...
My name is Ibrahim Mamoun Ibrahim. Like many of you, it has been a nagging desire of mine - to keep a journal or memoir. I have also had the desire to write a column in a paper or magazine somewhere ...someday.......thanks to the internet, one can do both - write a blog and share thoughts and experiences publicly. When I was earning my undergraduate degree in the University of Khartoum (Sudan), I thought I would call such a column (if I ever wrote it) "Kallam Zahaj!".....roughly translated that means "Pet peeves!" when I came out to the US to pursue graduate school, I left my heart behind in Sudan, so in yearning for home my interests became Sudan-centric. Upon graduating, I started to work for a Silicon Valley technology company in 1997, at which time I came to fancy the idea of writing something along the lines of ... "Memoirs of a Sudanese in Silicon Valley..." Shortly after that, I launched the website omdur.com (a site about Sudanese Music). My brother Ali and I introduced many features on this site, one of which one was an editor's column called "Digitally speaking..." The column was not regular, as we struggled for time to design, write, code and maintain the site as wellas respond to a flood of email. As life sucked us into more and more obligations, the website (omdur.com) suffered but over the last few years we realized that it may be one of the most significant things we had ever done. It has introduced us to wonderful people, some of which have become dear friends. Also, it has been an extremely effective way to do something about and something for Sudanese Music and culture- which in our opinion deserves a voice and a larger share in the world music arena (and regional African and Arab regions as well).

So as my friend Harith just noticed, the name "digitally speaking..." captures several key ideas such as bringing ideas into the digital domain, turning analog fuzz into digital clarity (while this is not desirable in areas such as music where analog can represent warmth....in writing clarity is good).

So - here it is in all its unspectacular reality, my contribution at last - a mere indistinguishable drop in a sea of blogs or something that will become significant? Does it matter - probably not - I just want to express myself, document some thoughts and memories and have somewhere to interact with anyone interested.

Looking forward to your comments!