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Monumental decision on Maradona

Associated Press / July 7, 2010

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An Argentine legislator has proposed building a monument to honor Diego Maradona, whose future as coach of the national soccer team has been uncertain since it was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Juan Cabandie, a member of the lower house of the Argentine congress, sponsored a bill yesterday to honor Maradona “as an icon of popular Argentine culture.’’

One of Maradona’s assistant coaches has publicly urged him to stay in the job after the team was routed, 4-0, by Germany Saturday. A senior member of the Argentine Football Association has said the decision rests with Maradona, who has yet to make his plans clear.

Maradona has also received encouragement from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, and yesterday two of his players — starting midfielder Angel Di Maria and substitute goalkeeper Mariano Andujar — offered their public support.

Many happy returns
Africa’s first World Cup tournament has been an economic success for South Africa, President Jacob Zuma told an investment conference. The country got a good return on the $4.26 billion it invested on transport infrastructure, telecommunications and stadiums, Zuma said.

Some 66,000 people got new construction jobs as a result of stadium construction and rehabbing, while money spent on security means there are 40,000 additional police officers, Zuma said, according to a transcript of his speech.

On top of that, the image the country has projected to the world has been positive, Zuma said.

Christopher Hart, chief economist for Investment Solutions, said he doesn’t believe the event itself has been financially profitable, but the positive coverage the country received as a result of the tournament is priceless.

Ghanians cash in
Ghana’s players will be given national honors and $20,000 each after reaching the quarterfinals in South Africa. “You deserved to be honored because you have made Ghana and indeed Africa proud by your performance,’’ President Atta Mills said at a lunch for the team. Coaches will receive $10,000 each . . . One in three German residents watched their team’s victory over Argentina in the quarterfinals. FIFA said 27.7 million viewers watched the German TV broadcast of the 4-0 win Saturday. The match attracted 90 percent of all people watching TV in Germany . . . A cephalopod mollusk is predicting Germany will be defeated by Spain in today’s semifinal. In Germany, a Sea Life Aquarium spokesman said an octopus named Paul chose a mussel from a glass tank marked with a Spanish flag, while ignoring the tank with Germany’s colors — indicating a Spanish victory. Paul has correctly predicted all of Germany’s games — wins over Australia and Ghana and a loss to Serbia in the knockout round and victories over England and Argentina in the second round and quarterfinals.

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