The Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) has officially started its four-year (2016-2019) strategic plan on sexual and reproductive health in Monrovia.The Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula, according to a release, served as the chief launcher of the program. He underscored the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the issues relating to maternal and newborn deaths in the country.The release noted that Dr. Kerkula also stressed the need for the government to make available resources to build human capacity on how to tackle prenatal problems. He admitted that although there are challenges, the government and its partners should exert more effort to address the country’s maternal and mortality rates.“There is a need to identify key factors to the cause of high maternal deaths and the death of newborn babies in the country,” Dr. Kerkula said.Dr. Kerkula used a powerpoint presentation to explain how he arrived at the conclusion of the alarming rate at which maternal and newborn deaths were recorded. PPAL Executive Director Miatta Kiawu Cojolo disclosed that the maternal mortality rate had remained high since 2007, with 994 to 1,072/100,000 live births. She also revealed that 1.9 percent of the population has been diagnosed with HIV&Aids.“PPAL’s four year strategy will leverage on restricted projects income to attain maximum…coverage (on) sexual and reproductive health services; where there are growing demands for the services especially in the southeastern and northern regions of the country, where the roads have remained deplorable and largely inaccessible.”The strategic plan, according to Madam Cojolo, sets the specific identity, vision, mission and PPAL core values, four outcomes and eight priorities that allow the association to deliver impact as an SRH/R organization by 2019 and provides focus by setting the operational plans. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
DRUMKEEN NOTESCake SaleEoghan, Sean and Jerome would like to thank everyone who supported the cake sale last weekend. Special thanks to those who donated to the sale or sponsored the boys in any way. The three players have been selected to take part in the Galway Cup next week. Everyone in Drumkeen would like to wish them the very best of luck as they test their skills against the best soccer talent in Ireland. Charlie Daly & H-Block Martyrs Sinn Féin Cumann DrumkeenLotto Results 23rd July 02, 04, 10, 21. No jackpot winner. Winnie Doherty, Carrigart and Cathal Mc Connell Dunfanaghy each win €50. Next week’s jackpot €2,625. Go raibh maith agat. Birthday WishesBest wishes to Maeve Mc Gettigan, Myles Conway, Henry Patton and John “JC Sound” who are all celebrating big birthday’s this week from all in Drumkeen.Foyle CupWell done to Drumkeen Utd U-16 who participated in the prestigious Foyle Cup last week. They played a total of 4 games which included a match against the famous Cliftonville FC from Belfast who were the eventual winners of the competition. A great experience for the boys who are the current U-16 East Donegal league champions.Parish HallAnyone wishing to book the hall should contact Charlie Quinn on 91/34010 or 087 7728608Drumkeen Notes Anyone wishing to have material included for next weekPlease Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text 086 4083625 (Deadline Fri @ 8pm)DD LOCAL – DRUMKEEN SOCCER PLAYERS THANK ALL FOR THE CAKE SALE SUPPORT was last modified: July 28th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Drumkeen notes
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A new round of storm repairs will start next week on Interstate 5 north of Santa Clarita and motorists can expect to feel some frustration. The state Department of Transportation plans a series of lane and ramp closures from Frazier Park to the Pyramid Lake area to repair asphalt battered by the season’s record rainfall of more than 50 inches. Construction on the $6.8 million project is scheduled to start Tuesday and will take about a year to complete, according to Caltrans. Speed limits will be reduced to 45 mph in some construction areas along the 40-mile stretch – and will be strictly enforced. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The work includes replacement of the pavement, striping and installation of reflective markers between lanes. From Tuesday through Saturday, three lanes on both sides of the freeway will be closed intermittently in various locations between Vista del Lago Road two miles north of Castaic to Frazier Park. Southbound on-ramps at Frazier Mountain Road and Gorman Post Road, and the connector to state Route 138, Smokey Bear Road and Vista del Lago will be closed as needed. Emergency repairs were required immediately after the winter rain tapered I-5 lanes near Templin Highway that buckled when the surrounding hills became saturated and slumped. For several months, southbound traffic was shifted to the northbound side, which handled traffic going both directions until repairs were complete.
WHITTIER – The Whittier Union High School District has changed the way it determines honors students’ grade-point averages, a move meant to align the district with the way the UC and CSU systems operate.The positive side, district officials say, is that students will get a more realistic view of their academic competitiveness when it comes time to apply for college.The downside is that students will no longer earn extra grade points for taking the more difficult honors courses in ninth and 10th grades.Previously, high school students taking honors courses were given an extra point for earning a C or better. Essentially, their scores were bumped up one grade.The problem was that UC and CSU colleges do not add the extra points when they calculate GPAs for their applicants.“We want our students to have the best possible chance of gaining acceptance to colleges and universities, so our students need to have a clear picture of their academic record,” said Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson.“By realigning our GPA calculation with the UC system’s formula, we give our students the opportunity to really see how they measure up against college entrance requirements and their peers outside (the district),” Thorstenson said.Aside from giving no extra credit for freshman and sophomore honors courses, the new GPA calculation gives extra weight to only certain honors courses in the 11th and 12th grades.Some parents are not happy with the changes.“I don’t agree with this,” said Anna Grossman, whose 14-year-old son Kristopher is a freshman at California High School and is currently taking honors algebra and biology.“These kids work so hard, and they should get credit for all four years of honors courses,” she added.District officials had held parent meetings in recent weeks to explain the new GPA calculation, which took effect this school year.But school board President Jeff Baird said there was relatively little discussion among the panel before it unanimously voted for the new GPA calculation.“The decision was made for us by the UC and CSU systems. We’re just aligning ourselves with them,” Baird said.“I would be fine with giving students the weighted grades if these universities honored them, but that doesn’t seem to make sense,” Baird added.Even without the extra grade points, Grossman said the new GPA policy will not keep her from encouraging her son to take honors courses.“In middle school, he had a 4.0 GPA and he needed a challenge,” Grossman said. “This is his chance to get something going for himself. Even though the classes are a challenge, he loves it.” Tracy.Garcia@sgvn.com(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has said she Brexit is causing uncertainty any increase in the old-age pension in this year’s budget.The government has raised social welfare entitlements by €5-a-week in each of the last three budgets.But with Brexit looming, Age Action, a charity for older people, has called for the State pension to be increased by €9 a week.The advocacy organisation for older people said that a €9 increase in the weekly Old Age Pension would be a key step in building towards the Government’s own commitment that the pension should be set at 35% of average weekly earnings. However, Ms Doherty said she couldn’t guarantee any increase in the budget this October. “No because I can’t guarantee the outcome of Brexit,” she said. “So until we are sure of what we are dealing with next year I don’t think it would be wise to give anybody a promise at this stage, no.”She also warned that the annual €5 increases risked diminishing the value of the payments to those who in receipt of welfare entitlements. The Fine Gael TD said targeted increases would more effective.“If we keep continuing doing a fiver across the board for everybody, first of all, it kind of diminishes in the value but second of all it doesn’t actually hit the people who really need the attention from the state the most and so those 120,000 children who are living in consistent poverty, they don’t get helped by a fiver across the board they get helped by targeted increases.”She said these targeted increases could come in the form of increases in qualified child payments, more school meals programmes, payments for school books and increases in the back to school clothing a footwear allowance. Ms Doherty said there would be a social welfare package in the budget, but she added: “Until I know until how much money I have to spend I can’t give any guarantees and I certainly won’t make any promises to anybody because I think that would be unfair.”The government is facing calls today from Age Action to increase the state pension by as much as €9 in the budget. The government has committed to setting the pension payment to at least 34 per cent of average weekly earnings.“What’s most important to me is to make sure that whoever is living on the fixed income that the state gives a minimum standard of living – an absolute base which below we do not go and right now none of our payments actually reach that base,” Ms Doherty said.Calls for Govt to increase old age pensions payments was last modified: July 7th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Mention the Western Cape, and people immediately think of Table Mountain, V & A Waterfront and Stellenbosch. But the province is more than Cape Town’s attractions. It is a hodgepodge of natural and cultural delights.The iconic image of Cape Town and the Western Cape. The view of Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront is always spectacular. Wherever you go in Cape Town, the mountain is always looming over you. (Images: South African Tourism, unless stated otherwise.)Compiled by Shamin ChibbaIt’s September. It’s spring in South Africa – and Tourism Month, celebrated this year with the theme “Tourism for All”. To inspire your next road trip we bring you nine galleries, one for each province, showcasing our country’s remarkable beauty and diversity.A thriving tourism industry means South Africa is closer to achieving its National Development Plan goals of skills development and creating decent employment through inclusive economic growth.It is the province from which South Africa was born and grew from. It is home to ghoema music and Table Mountain, the country’s winelands and Robben Island. It is the province where the Khoisan first came into contact with foreigners such as the Dutch, British, Malay and French immigrants.The Western Cape is a tapestry of historical, cultural and natural delights.Here, you will find vertiginous mountains begging to be hiked, caves with rock paintings and artefacts thousands of years old, and towns populated by people content with the simple life.Most of all, you will find South Africa’s roots.Cango Caves is situated at the foothills of the Swartberg range near Oudtshoorn. It is located in Precambrian limestone, which means it is from the earliest aeon in the Earth’s history, which dates back to over 4-billion years. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Stone artefacts and other cultural material indicate that people lived in the cave’s entrance during the Middle and Later Stone Ages. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Franschoek has become known as South Africa’s food and wine capital with one of the more popular restaurants being Reuben’s. This town of approximately 15 000 has a Bastille Festival which has been celebrated since July 1994. It coincides with France’s national holiday on 14 July.The Little Karoo town of Oudtshoorn is reliant on ostrich farming. Known as the ostrich capital of the world, its ostrich farming industry dates back to a feather boom in the 1860s.The Cederberg Mountains are noted for their dramatic, wind-carved sandstone formations like the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch (above), as well as San rock paintings.The Model Shipyard in Mossel Bay has been designing and producing model ships for private collectors, companies and even Hollywood productions, the more recent being “The Adventures of Tin Tin”. (Image: Shamin Chibba)The Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary is situated between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The semi-tame wolves can be petted. Wolves are not native to South Africa and it has been purported that they were brought to South Africa as part of a military programme. It didn’t work out. Those that remain are now being taken care of by the likes of this wolf sanctuary and others in the country. (Image: Shamin Chibba)The Knysna elephants are the stuff of legend. The beasts found at the Knysna Elephant Park are not part of the same herd. The park was established to take care of more than 40 orphaned elephants since 1994. (Image: Shamin Chibba)The Mossel Bay Maritime Museum, also known as the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, is a treasure trove for those interested in South Africa’s maritime history. Artefacts, artwork and information provide a holistic story of 500 years of ocean travel in the Cape. Make sure to check out the life size replica of Dias’ caravel, which had actually sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, in December 1987 and two months later, it berthed in Mossel Bay. (Image: Shamin Chibba)The quaint fishing village of Elands Bay is perfect for dolphin and whale watching and surfing. The Elands Bay Cave houses numerous rock paintings and quartz stone tools that date back 9 000 years.The Franschoek Motor Museum gives visitors the opportunity to check out vintage saloon and sports cars dating as far back as 100 years ago.The Knysna Lagoon is perfect for water sports such as water skiing.Known as the ‘diamond of the West Coast’, Lambert’s Bay is home to Bird Island with its numerous seabird species.Long Street is Cape Town’s nightlife hub. With numerous pubs, clubs and restaurants to choose from, a traveller in search of a vibrant party wouldn’t have to look further.The Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson brings together over 40 wineries, boutique wineries and tourist establishments to showcase the valley’s award winning wines over the four days.The Stellenbosch wine route will satisfy wine connoisseurs and beginners alike. But if you’re not drinking, it doesn’t matter, the scenery is enough to make the trip to this university town.
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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseNext month more than 75 Ohio hop growers will gather for the 2019 Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show in Columbus. The Jan. 9 and 10 event is a sign that, as Ohio’s craft beer production has boomed in recent years, agriculture is starting to follow to meet the exploding demand for one of the key ingredients for brewing beer.Members of the Ohio Hops Growers Guild (OHGG) have more than 70,000 hop plants under cultivation and many craft beer brewers and drinkers put a premium on Ohio-grown ingredients. Ohio’s climate, however, does make hop production challenging.A century ago, Ohio was home to very robust hop production to match the state’s substantial brewing industry. In subsequent years, though, Ohio’s insect and disease issues pushed the nation’s hop production to the drier climates in the Pacific Northwest. But with the recent brewery boom, many farms are again taking a look at Ohio hop production.“Today less than 2% of the hops brewed in Ohio are grown in Ohio. The fact that we have so few Ohio hops available helps with the demand. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association and the breweries are extremely supportive of the Ohio hop grower industry and most of them do pay aDried hops are similar in weight to packing peanuts.premium price to support their local growers,” said Jamie Arthur, who serves on the OHGG board. “If we growers get a premium price, we have to show up with the best product we can. Many of the Ohio growers hand deliver and don’t charge freight. And they are establishing and deepening relationships with their local brewers. Again, because of the premium for locally grown hops and to sustain these grower-brewer relationships, we cannot compromise on quality. Our quality has to be as good or better than out-of-state suppliers or we will not get a premium price for very long.”The potential for hop production appealed to Jamie and his wife, Krista Arthur, for their Little Miami Farms in Greene County near Xenia.“We purchased two small farms — less than 100 acres — back in ‘02. We had no real farm background, but 5 years ago wanted to focus more on the farm and less on the corporate careers. We were in a basic corn/soybeans rotation at first. We then started to bale hay and do other related things, which led to a more serious look at specialty crops,” said Jamie Arthur, who serves on the board of the OHGG. “I was getting less interested in a corporate career and this opportunity with hops was sort of a catalyst to pursue specialty crops. The market was right with a lot of new breweries opening. That was in ‘13 and we started researching hop production and in ‘14 we started growing hops. We’ve just completed our fifth year. We were lured by the demand and unmet opportunity. At that time there were maybe 150 breweries and maybe three or four hop growers in Ohio. Michigan already had some pretty good-sized hop yards and Brad Bergefurd with OSU Extension South Centers saw the opportunity. He was testing hops and putting on seminars down in Piketon. We learned the basics through what Brad was doing.”The challenges in getting started were substantial.“We had to decide how big we wanted to start out, what varieties to grow and where we were going to do it. We wanted a nice setting for people to come and visit the hops,” Jamie said. “Southern Ohio is a little far south for ideal growing conditions. Hops like sandy, well-drained, lighter soils. The soils here are pretty thick with clay. We probably did not do enough soil amendment. You need a high organic matter content. We had between 1% and 2% and it needs to be more like 3% to 5%. We put in some compost and we probably should have added much more. We installed a French drain and some tile. We dug a trench for tile, put gravel down then 6-inch tile 2 feet down. We created raised, 4-foot wide rows with a two-bottom plow and a three-point hiller. We started with a one-acre hop yard, which is tiny for Pacific Northwest hop yards, but about average for Ohio growers to start with.”A significant part of the high upfront cost is the substantial trellis system for growing hops.The trellis system is an important (and expensive) part of growing hops. Photo provided by the Arthurs.“If you do a poor job on the trellis you can lose a lot of hops during summer storms. We took a three-point auger, to drill the holes and purchased and installed 25-foot utility poles — a total of 75 for an acre. We then had to run cables and rigging. The cables hang between the poles and the poles have to be anchored down with guy wires,” Jamie said. “It is similar to a vineyard trellis but three times taller. Most of our cables are 20 feet high. Each year, we use coir, which is coconut fiber string, and tie one length of that string to the cable in the air and run it down to each hop plant which are planted every three feet. We used baler twine the first few years, but it is no longer strong enough to hold the weight of mature hop plants. We can purchase the coir in pre-cut lengths which means we don’t have to measure it out while standing on a scissor lift. The cost is comparable.”Typically, there are 1,000 plants per acre, but the Arthurs’ acre is divided into two yards with 700 plants. The layout of the hop yard is also important to consider.“Fewer, longer rows are easier to manage but you have to consider the prevailing wind so it blows down and through the rows to reduce disease,” Jamie said. “Our rows are planted on 12-foot centers so we can more easily move equipment through the yards.”Variety selection is also very important, and challenging.“We can’t sell what we can’t grow, so we tried to select varieties common in beer recipes that are disease resistant and grow well in our soils. We also didn’t want them to all mature at the same time. You get full production from a hop plant for 15 or more years and if you ask brewers what they are looking for, it could easily change in a couple of years. So we planted what we can grow well and find demand for,” Jamie said. “And, of the top 10 hop varieties that brewers want, at least seven are trademarked so we can’t grow them. That is a bit of a challenge since if you ask any brewer in Ohio, the majority of hops they want can’t be legally grown in Ohio. We started off with Nugget, Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus hops. Our advice is to not load up on one variety because you don’t know what the demand will be and they may not grow well. Later we added Crystal and Southern Cross.”Hops can be started with plants or rhizomes. The Arthurs got most of their hop plants from a greenhouse in Michigan.“We tried both and both were successful,” Krista said. “We found, though, that a couple of varieties we planted just didn’t do well. We pulled them out and replaced them with the varieties that are successfully growing in our yards.”The hops are planted in holes made with a small auger on a cordless drill and then we train them to grow up the strings on the trellis.”They are “bines,” not vines.“We hang two strings per plant in a v-shape in order to train two or sometimes three bines per plant. We start training them by wrapping the plant around the strings,” Jamie said. “They want to grow up and around something. A wire runs along the surface of the ground but above the plants.Once they got up and running, the Arthurs discovered a significant issue they had not thoroughly researched.“We underestimated the need for water. We installed all the irrigation after planting and I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. The cost was something we did not factor in. We use the pond for our water source and we have to keep pond clean enough so that murky water doesn’t clog the irrigation lines. The irrigation was the biggest miss for us,” Jamie said. “Now we have drip irrigation to maintain soil moisture.”Nutrients are also important to consider.“We soil test and use a prescribed nutrient program. Generally, hops require a lot of nitrogen — up to 200 pounds per acre,” Jamie said. “We apply nitrogen three or four times a year from May to July. After July 1 we cut back. You can negatively affect the quality of hop cones if you apply nitrogen when the cones start forming.”With all of this initial work and significant investment lined up, Ohio’s real challenges start to show and need to be monitored and controlled carefully.“The major disease impacting hops in this part of Ohio is downy mildew. Most hop growers are spraying four to five kinds of fungicide in five to eight applications a year. You need to follow a preventive maintenance program. Once you see downy mildew, it’s too late and the quality of effected hops will be poor. You have to stay ahead of it,” Jamie said. “However, powdery mildew and most other disease problems can be treated when the problem arises.”In the first year, hops growers can expect a 20% production from the plants. The plants will reach full production after three or four years.“We test the moisture content of the cones and they are ready for harvest around 78% to 80% moisture,” Jamie said. “The brewers gauge the hop quality on the alpha acid percentage so that, too, is how we gauge the peak maturity.”The harvest is very labor intensive. There are mechanical harvesters for-hire in Ohio but the Arthurs still pick by hand.“We started off hand picking, which involves cutting the bine down, taking it to the barn and picking the cones off. We contemplated either buying a harvester or outsourcing the harvesting, but after 5 years we are still hand picking. We could not do it without friends and family. We’ve partnered with OSU on hop research projects and as an added bonus they’ve helped with the harvest. Harvesting takes a significant amount of time and many of our fellow hop growers probably think we are crazy,” Jamie said. “We have a big table in the barn and we have hop picking parties with food, beer and music. We start harvesting in early August and finish by Labor Day. My mom is 86 and she’ll pick hops all day long so it must not be as bad as it sounds.”Hand picking is challenging, but it helps ensure a high-quality end product.“It really helps with quality control,” Krista said. “We only pick the best cones and harvesting is time sensitive. You can’t just cut down a bine and set it aside until you have time to pick the cones. We pick them off the bine within an hour of cutting the bine down. If you let a bine sit, the cones wilt and the bine pulls moisture and nutrients out of the cone.”Most brewers then want pelletized hops. The Arthurs’ air dry the cones and send them off to be pelletized.“The hop cones are about like handling foam packing peanuts,” Jamie said. “We air dry them and put them in grain bags and take them to the pelletizer. There are at least five pelletizers in the state and they are all inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. We get the pellets back in approximately one month. We can get them in different sized weights and bags, but the standard packaged amount is 11 pounds for brewers.”Some brewers want whole cone hops for specific recipes.“There is a small market for dry whole cone hops and fresh, wet hops. For that you have to get them picked and brewed within 24 hours. We do about 25% of our business in fresh hops,” Jamie said. “It creates very intense, unique beer with a fresh aroma.”Because of the production challenges, yields are a bit lower in Ohio than the western states.“We usually get a half pound to three-quarters of a pound per plant. In Ohio, a good yield is typically 800 pounds of dried hops perAfter being hand harvested, the hops are dried before being pelletized.acre. In the Pacific Northwest, it will be 1,000 or more,” Jamie said. “There is not a set market price but most pelletized Ohio hops sell from $8 to $12 per pound. Pelletizing costs $2 per pound so it is our biggest production cost. And even though the pelletizing cost is significant to a grower, it is still not high enough for those with the pelletizing machines to make much money.”The Arthurs’ longtime friend Amy Forsthoefel is part owner of their hop yard and responsible for marketing and getting a foothold in the booming brewery business in nearby Dayton. Given the craft brewing trends she was observing, she strongly encouraged the Arthurs to make growing hops one of their specialty crop endeavors.“There are 20+ breweries in the Dayton area at this point and there is also a healthy home brewer community. We have gotten great support from our customers and haven’t had to go beyond this region to sell our products,” Jamie said. “Our favorite part of this is when the brewery releases the beer. We can see patrons enjoying it and we get to hear the brewer say, ‘Wow — this is a great beer.’ That makes all the work worth doing. We never got that feeling from our corporate careers.”
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. Dubai: Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri on Tuesday asked his team-mates to pull up their socks and produce an improved performance in the team’s crunch World Cup qualifying round match against Afghanistan on Thursday.After inspiring performance against Asian champions Qatar (0-0 draw), India played out a 1-1 draw against lower-ranked Bangladesh, who were on the verge of running away with the match before the home side’s late equaliser in Kolkata on October 15. Igor Stimac’s side are now at the fourth spot in the Group E table with two points and the Thursday’s match at Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe will be a crunch game for India to remain in the hunt in the qualifying round. The war-ravaged Afghanistan chose Dushanbe as their home venue for the second round qualifiers of the World Cup.Chhetri said “converting chances” was an area where the team needs to work more. India had a slew of chances against Bangladesh and all of them they wasted except for the 88th minute header from Adil Khan.”We are creating chances. But that is not enough. We have to try our best to convert them and try to be a tougher unit while defending. We have missed against Bangladesh and we need to pull up our socks against Afghanistan,” Chhetri said after a short training stint at the Dubai Sports City.”At the end of the day, if we can do better on the pitch, we’ll be happier, Chhetri mentioned,” he added.The team is on transit here on way to Dushanbe. The players reached here on Monday and will leave for the Tajikistan later in the day. They will reach Dushanbe — which has no direct flight from any Indian city — on Wednesday, just a day before the match.Stimac, on his part, said his team will go for a win and it cannot afford to slip at any cost.”We have a steep task in Dushanbe and we have to overcome that. Winning against Afghanistan is the only thing that is going on in our mind now. It will not come to us, rather we need to go and snatch it. It’s always about us and our performance to achieve something,” the Croatian said.Fullback Subhasish Bose said, “Maintaining clean sheets will be of paramount importance in order to stay alive in the race of the World Cup Qualifiers. We will need to be sharper in the absence of Sandesh-bhai (Jhingan).”The team is upbeat. We will leave no stone unturned to make the most out of the remaining games. We were able to do the same against Qatar. If we play to our true potential, there’s no reason not to repeat it against Afghanistan and Oman again,” he added.Seasoned defender Anas Edathodika, who paired with Adil Khan at the heart of the defence against Bangladesh, sounded optimistic about the “defensive solidarity” that the Blue Tigers have shown so far.”There are no easy games at the International level but we have shown defensive solidarity so far. We have to continue to believe in ourselves. We really need to get some good results in the next two games and all that starts with our performance at the back,” he said.”In Asian Cup qualifiers last time, we had three consecutive clean sheets. It always makes your job easier to win a match if you can come out with a clean sheet. If we can maintain our shape and hold the defensive line as per our plans, we can pull it off against them,” he explained.”We will miss Sandesh Jhingan (injured), but the others need to step up and shoulder the responsibility now. All players are currently playing in the Hero Indian Super League and so it should not be the same problem,” centreback Adil Khan mentioned. AfghanistanFIFA 2022 World Cup QualifiersfootballIndia First Published: November 12, 2019, 10:21 PM IST