What can be traded

You can trade on a most amazing assortment of possibilities. You cannot, at least at the time of writing, trade an individual stock, but you can trade on the major exchange indices starting with the Asian Exchanges in the early morning, then on to the FTSE and German Exchanges, and later on to the Dow. You can trade on the daily result of each index, up or down, or you can trade on the result for each hour of each index.

Of course, you can also follow trading patterns and follow strategies on the prices of football games, both European and North American, tennis matches, darts matches, snooker matches and even horse and greyhound racing – all have prices that move in either direction. Volatility and liquidity vary by index, by sport and by exchange, but there is plenty available for the most demanding trader!

What of the future of the Exchanges?

Betting Exchanges will be around for a long time to come. They are well financed, fill a major need by offering products that are not available from a bookmaker, and provide opportunities for trading not found anywhere else. If ever Betfair is taken public, expect a market capitalisation in excess of $6billion.

The exchanges are also fun to use. No harm in enjoying your trading, and a little variety never hurt. Just don’t jump in to an area or a sport without research – just as in the stock market, know what you are doing with your money, and look before you leap. One last caveat – It is at this time not legal to use a Betting Exchange for US residents.

Odemwingie to FIFA 2018

I heard Peter Odemwingie is happy the FIFA World Cup is going to Russia in 2018. Really? Is it the same Peter Odemwingie who once played for Lokomotiv Moscow? Is it the same Peter Odemwingie who got this banner from Lokomotiv fans after he transferred to West Bromwich Albion?

What was difficult to understand about this racial abuse was the fact that his mum is Russian and he was born and raised in the former Soviet Union. Forget the fact that he chose to play for his father’s nation, Nigeria (good choice!); dude still has Russian blood in him. And now he’s happy the World Cup is going to a country whose club fans can make monkey noises when a black player is on the opposing side? Yeah right, but I understand his point of view. According to him, the World Cup will be an opportunity for football fans in the country to experience the presence of other fans from diverse colours, cultures and continents.

He hopes the effect of the experience will lead the myopic ones to understand and accept that anyone can play football (even Yakubu Aiyegbeni, hehehe). The list of Black players publicly facing racist chants in Russia is limitless. When Marseille played Zenit St. Petersburg (and I’m a big Zenit fan) in 2008, Andre Ayew and teammates Ronald Zubar and Charles Kabore were targeted. Not to talk of all the crap Andre Bikey had to take whiles playing for Lokomotiv.

When Dutch mastermind Dick Advocaat was coach at Zenit, he made the situation pretty clear: “The fans don’t like black players”. Does anyone remember the “Monkey go home” banner by Spartak Moscow fans for Brazilian forward, Welliton, in 2007? Spartak got away with just a £13,000 fine, nothing more. I just hope that Russians won’t embarrass themselves in 2018 and shut out the rest of the football world permanently.

Wenger’s Gunners

When Wenger’s Gunners beat Barca at the Emirates in last February, I was one of those who believed it had nothing to do with luck. Arsenal won; fair, square and tactically. Barca is a monster that gobbles up “willing” opponents ruthlessly. Other monsters of times past; such a the Brazilian national team of 1970, the Real Madrid side of 2000 – 2002, The Benfica European masters of 1962 – 1965; seem to pale in comparison to the present Barca side. But that February night in North London, Wenger’s boys forgot for a moment that they were up againt the Catalans and played their game i.e. pass, run, pass and shoot when you have the chance. The also kept a compact defence line, with the help of midfielders who could both clean up the area in front of the back four, as well as join the attack. If only Wenger had been brave enough to go to the Camp Nou and repeat the same antidote. Rather, just like other coaches before him, he went for the conservative and ended up getting bundled out of the tournament.

But at least that gives us an idea that Barca can be defeated in London again. This is how I will do it if I will be in Sir Alex’s seat on Saturday 28th May 2011:

DEFENCE

In Edwin van der Sar, United has a stable pair of hands. With 28th May being his last game in a United shirt, I expect the old Dutchman to be on top of his game, so no problem with goalkeeping. But let’s talk about lateral defence. If Evra is fit, he will be the likely start at left-back. In his more youthful days, Evra was a surety for overlapping. But I am glad he can’t overlap much against Barca, past the centre line. That should be left to whoever plays left midfield on the night. This is because, key to Barca’s dominance of the 2009 finals was Carlos Puyol’s shift to an attacking right wing-back position to wreck havoc down that side. Evra needs to start tight and compact and overlap only with the tracking of a midfield team mate, in case he loses a ball and Barca launches a quick counter down United’s left flank. An alternative to Evra will be a more youthful and level-headed Fabio da Silva. Fabio has enough energy levels to defend and join the attack.

At right-back, Fergie would likely deploy John O’Shea. However, I will prefer one of the reserve centre-backs, preferably Smalling, as a lateral defender on the right. O’Shea may be good in joining the attack, but he can be pathetic against pacy lateral midfielders. Apart from Afellay, Barca may not have natural wingers. But their midfielders Xavi, Iniesta and Messi shift into lateral positions without warning. Not to even speak of Pedro, a forward who naturally attacks down the flanks. Vidic and Ferdinand will remain constant as centre-backs. The have to be quick on their feet and high in the air. Short-heighted Messi (who I have nicknamed: The Midget of Nou Camp), outjumped Ferdinand to score the second goal of the Rome 2009 final.

Liverpool Oh Liverpool

Liverpool, oh Liverpool. I have always admired their slogan. Never walk alone indeed. They just might surprise us all this season and actually challenge for third place. The manager seems alright and the players are working hard. I just hope they don’t 1break under the pressure to finish in the top four.

I know Arsenal are spectators this season but as a football fan, I have to mention them. That sublime soccer, those fine boys; that intense manager(am almost swooning; give me a break here, am a girl and I have needs!). Those boys need to grow a spine and Arsene needs to learn to enjoy the thrill that comes from spending some one else’s money. He has to learn to let go of the cash and build his team and try to win the Carling cup(that’s all he can get this season), otherwise am afraid he will be fired at the end of this season. Good luck to him.

Finally we come to good old United. I worried about us when Messilona humiliated us last May but no more. THE WIN over City told me that the team has been rebuilt and is ready to go. We do need a strong central midfielder though I am not so keen on Schneider. I fear that on that salary, he may just become a god in the dressing room and this will disrupt team unity. How many clubs can overhaul the entire defense in a match against one of their biggest rivals and still go ahead to beat them? My respect for good ol Sir Alex just when beyond the stratosphere after that brilliant win. Berbatov must be really afraid for his position at this moment; not only has he got Chicharito to contend with but he now has welbeck and macheda as well. The lazy genius needs to start learning the basic rudiments of hard work. I believe the 20th title is within reach this season. ONE UNITED!

West Bank high life masks deepening economic crisis

Past the Israeli sentry towers blackened by firebombs and the entrance to a refugee camp emblazoned with posters of rifle-clenching militants, downtown Ramallah sparkles.

The scars of an intractable conflict and occupation melt away: cafes bustle with smartly dressed patrons, water-pipe smoke perfumes the air and basslines from trendy clubs shake the night. New model BMWs ply leafy avenues beneath villas and tall apartment blocks sprout from the West Bank hills.

But its more mirage than miracle.

Thank God for loans, said Ibrahim el-Far, owner of the newly-opened branch of the upscale Italian cafe chain Segafredo Zanetti in Ramallah, the Palestinians commercial capital and headquarters of their government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Growth in the West Bank is concentrated in Ramallah and in real estate and services even as many sectors like agriculture and construction languish.

Government spending and living on credit at all levels of Palestinian society is rampant and, as the euro zone crisis has shown, may prove to be the economys undoing.

Bank lending for personal consumption in the Palestinian territories has risen five-fold in the last two years to $417 million. Total credit for cars alone accounts for a further $119 million, according to the Palestinian Monetary Authority.

If youre immersed in troubles, why not try to live well, have night life and good coffee? If weve been slapped once by occupation, the slap from the credit bill wont hurt as much, El-Far said.

Aid for the donor-dependent Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals with Israel, has slowed to a trickle.

Salaries for a swollen public sector again cannot be paid in full this month. The productive base for the economy is shrivelling while unemployment climbs along with poverty.

An economic crisis has deepened – growth is down from a peak of 9 percent in 2010 after the lows of the Intifada to 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from the same 2011 period.

The Palestinian Authority accounts for almost a third of the $3.5 billion in credit given by banks in the Palestinian territories but, with donor aid flagging and revenues down, it is not clear how much longer that can last.

A Palestinian request for a $1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund was turned down, officials said this week. And foreign aid is waning partly because of global economic conditions and partly in a backlash to the Palestinians abortive bid for statehood at the United Nations last fall.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has dropped off dramatically since the end of a 2000-2005 Palestinian uprising. But peace and coveted statehood remain elusive. Negotiations with Israel have been frozen since 2010 amidst bitter misgivings among Palestinians over Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Southeast Conference

When he first heard talk of the possibility of Mizzou joining the Southeastern Conference, Gary Pinkel acted like a wise man, not an emotional one. The coach who has turned Tiger football into a significant national program in the Big 12, wanted to proceed on this potential new journey with the caution of an earnest school crossing guard.

He wanted to look before he leaped. So there was no knee-jerk celebration, no automatic stamp of approval. He didnt allow his mind to drift off into how easy it would be to sell Mizzou football to teenaged high school recruits on the value of playing in the best football league outside of the NFL. Personally, he even refused to dream about the possibility of matching his Xs against the Os of some of the best (and highest paid) minds in the college coaching business.

Instead Pinkel wanted answers. All he wanted to know from all the rather giddy folks who were rushing to push Missouri towards the SEC was the answer to one rather poignant question: Were these excitable administrators, boosters, alums and fans getting ready to write a check with their bubbling enthusiasm that their, ummm, financial support couldnt cash?

When we discussed this going into the SEC, I often expressed if youre not going to be committed to excellence and invest, that you should never go into this league, said Pinkel, who already knew from several of his coaching buddies exactly what sort of heavy lifting is required to be competitive in college footballs top conference.

Qatar People

So the Qataris don’t like gay people. Then we should probably boycott the 2022 World Cup, right? Oh cut the crap, be serious and let’s just play football. Qatar isn’t saying they don’t like gay people, just…….ermm…….gay relationships. Let’s just go and play the World Cup, OK. Sepp Blatter is old, forgive him for his outdated gay jokes. But please, can we play some ball? What do I think of gay people in football? Well, I haven’t started blogging about that yet.

From Abu Dhabi to London, where the premiership’s 2 biggest teams (you may think otherwise, I know) clash in what could be a redemption match for Chelsea, against their recent not-too-impressive form. Forget the penalty misses, Drogba and Rooney are gradually getting back to their old selves. There’s no team as scary as Chelsea when Drogba is scoring. It’s infectious! Then Maloudabegins to score, Kaloubegins to score,
Essienbegins to score, even Alex! Their midfield is still a bit of a problem. They have Essien (great), but Mikel is losing it, Lampard lost it, whiles Ramires never found it.

To face Luka Modricalone and not stand, that is worrying. Kalou and Malouda should be kept on the wings and certainly a return for the Anelka-Drogba partnership. This season, Man United have been in sixes and sevens whenever they play against a 4-pronged forward line. An example is the Bolton game. But still unbeaten, they can be dangerous when allowed to go ahead on a goal. On Sunday, Sir Alex is likely to parade his “big game” players: Park, Fletcher, Ferdinand and O’Shea. These are players who have consistently made impact against difficult opponents (only to slump against the minnows, I guess). Berbatov remains an outsider, even though Petr Cech will be hoping to avoid another cheeky lob like he got from the Bulgarian in the Community Shield back in August. I do not expect a goal from Rooney on Sunday, maybe a clever assist.