New expanded format for 2017 OFC Champions League

first_imgFor the past two years the competition has been hosted in a single venue but that is set to change in 2017 after the OFC Executive Committee approved a format that will split the competition into four stages.Stage 1 will be the Preliminary Competition for the national league champions of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga which will open the competition calendar in 2017.For the first time two teams from this competition will progress to Stage 2, the Group Stage of the OFC Champions League, both the preliminary winner and the runner-up.In another first for the competition, Stage 2 will be contested by 16 teams – two each from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu – which will be drawn into four groups, each one hosted in a different venue.A round-robin league system will be adopted to determine the top team in each group, the four teams will progress to Stage 3, or the semi-finals.A draw will be held involving the four qualified teams to determine their respective opponents for the home-and-away semi-final with the winners progressing to the fourth and final stage.The two match home-and-away final will determine the winner of the 2017 OFC Champions League and the OFC representative at the FIFA Club World Cup 2017.Additional Information:The OFC Champions League is the Confederation’s premier international club competition and brings together the top teams from around the Pacific to compete for the crown of regional club champion.The 2017 tournament will be the 15th edition of this prestigious event which offers a much coveted prize – qualification to the FIFA Club World Cup.Defending champions Auckland City FC will be chasing their ninth regional title, in a competition that has largely been dominated by themselves and Waitakere United.Papua New Guinea club Hekari United became the first club outside of New Zealand or Australia to claim the prize with their 2010 victory, while Sydney FC, Wollongong Wolves and South Melbourne also have their place in the history books. Photo:OFClast_img read more

Remembering Ambassador David A. Straz Jr. (A Tribute)

first_imgAmbassador David A. Straz Jr.Beginning this Sunday, November 24, and all through this week, the University of Liberia (UL) website will run a special feature on the life and legacy of Ambassador David A. Straz Jr, who died on Monday, November 18, while on a fishing expedition in the U.S. State of Florida.The death of Amb. Straz sent immediate shock waves across the United States and elsewhere in the world, but the waves it jolted hit particularly hard more than 8,000 miles away on all the campuses of the UL.The tributes, heartfelt messages of condolence, prayers and sense of shocking disbelief still continue to pour in endlessly.Upon hearing the news, dozens at the UL—faculty, staff, students, alumni—took to social media to express thoughts and prayers, inundating the UL social media platform and crowding the institution’s email domain expressing shock and incredulity, remembering Amb. Straz as one of the biggest, largest individual benefactors in the University’s post-Liberian civil war history, if not in the history of the UL.UL President Dr. Julius sarwolo Nelson Jr. officially communicated Amb. Straz’s death to the UL family.TributeIn a tribute to the late UL benefactor, Dr. Nelson stated: “It is with deep regrets that we officially announce the home-going of Dr. David A. Straz Jr., Ambassador-at-Large and Honorary Consul General for both the Republics of Liberia and Honduras.“His death has come as a shock to all, especially the University Family, as the Centennial Committee had invited him to the Centennial Commencement. The Committee had planned to honor him by unveiling the “Friendship Monument,” a statue of him and three elders of Sinje representing those that donated the land. The University will formally remember Ambassador Straz at Sinje on December 4 when the Arts and Craft opens the 2019 Centennial Commencement.” Amb. Straz donated US$1.5 million of his personal money to renovate and refurbish Sinje, and served as the first commencement speaker in 2017 of the David A. Straz-Sinje Technical and Vocational College, which is named in his honor.As such, we will feature many of the condolence messages sent, as well as special tributes written by past and present officials of the UL, present and former government officials, and others who knew him and had the opportunity to meet or work with him, as a mark of last respects to his legacy and life.So, we will open our archive to feature videos, pictures, speeches, as we try to relive and remember some of Amb/ Starz’s memorable time, and visits at the UL, just to show how close a friend he was. And if you would like to write a special tribute, please do so now and we will publish it on our website and in the local media.All entries should be emailed to tweahnl@ul.edu.lr . So, Let’s Begin! Below is an introduction of Ambassador David A. Straz, which was read verbatim by former UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, when he served as the commencement speaker of the inaugural graduating class of the David A. Straz-Sinje Technical and Vocational College, in 2017.Ambassador Straz donated US$1.5 million dollars of his personal money to renovate and refurbish Sinje, and served as the first commencement speaker, in 2017, of the David A. Straz-Sinje Technical & Vocational College, which is named in his honor.“It is my pleasure to introduce to you a successful banking businessman who is extraordinary in his success, who enjoys the rugged outdoors, and the finer things in life like the fine arts and performing arts; a person who is internationally respected, and one who has a caring and considerate heart.”The Honorable David A. Straz Jr. is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, where he earned a degree in Finance. Two years after his graduation, at age 25, Amb. Straz bought his first bank.Over time, this single bank grew into 26 branches, under the name, First Bank Southeast, and all of this happened before his 40th birthday. Wisconsin, where he lived then, gets very cold in the winter you know, so after about 13 years of developing a banking empire in southeastern Wisconsin, Honorable Straz decided that he needed to move to some place much warmer.He moved to Tampa, Florida in 1980, and again bought a small bank, then another a few years, and in subsequent years consolidated many banks in the Tampa Bay area under Southern Exchange Bank that grew into 21 branches by the time he sold it.It now operates as the Florida Gulf Coast branches of Fifth Third Bank. Noteworthy is the fact that Honorable Straz also held on to his Wisconsin banks for 14 year after he left Wisconsin for Florida before he sold it.His Wisconsin holdings eventually became part of U. S. Bank. Honorable Straz has served, and continues to serve on many Boards, which include boards of: Marquette University, his alma mater, University of Tampa, where he served as its Chair; Lowry Park Zoo Foundation, Carthage College, Tampa General Hospital, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Mayo Clinic Foundation, Southern Exchange Bank, serving as Chairman, and the Bank of Nevis Ltd., among others.The philanthropic efforts of Honorable Straz are widespread. These efforts have earned him extensive respect and appreciation in the USA, South America and West Africa, and major buildings in these areas carry his name, as does our own Technical and Vocational College here in Sinje.He holds honorary doctorates from Carthage College, the Catholic University of Honduras, Polytechnic University of Honduras, and from our own University of Liberia. He received the 19th Carthage Flame, the highest honor bestowed by that College.Evidence of his appreciation can also be found in the number of notable recognition he has received in the Americas and West Africa: “Alumnus of the Year” at his alma mater, induction into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame; “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals; Keys to the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, and to the City of Monrovia; being knighted into the Humane Order of African Redemption.In the USA, Straz is Ambassador at Large and Honorary Consul General for Liberia in Florida, and Honorary Consul General for Honduras. All work and no play is good for no one and Ambassador Straz relaxes by playing golf.As well, he is an avid fisherman, loves quail hunting, and is a sophisticated art collector. He was in his early 40’s, a few years after moving to the Tampa Bay area, during which time he was introduced to Catherine Lowry, who he later married. They have a daughter Keebler and reside in the South Tampa area of Florida.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more