Rashford ‘blown away’ by grassroots pledges to feed kids

In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, England's Marcus Rashford warms up ahead of their UEFA Nations League soccer match against Denmark at Wembley Stadium in London, England. (AP)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Rashford ‘blown away’ by grassroots pledges to feed kids

  • Rashford said many families are struggling because of job losses related to the coronavirus pandemic

LONDON: Restaurants, cafes and even some local governments across England have mounted a grassroots effort inspired by soccer star Marcus Rashford to feed students during the upcoming school break.
Pledges to provide free lunches started rolling in after the Manchester United striker’s bid to extend food vouchers over school holidays until Easter was voted down in the House of Commons.
The 22-year-old Rashford vowed to continue his fight and was joined by local businesses offering everything from beans on toast to chicken nuggets and fruits.
“Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know,” Rashford wrote on Twitter, adding an emoji of the English flag.
On Friday, the England international fired off a stream of Twitter posts marking the locations of businesses offering their support, and he embedded their social media messages, which urged parents not to feel ashamed to seek help. Many offered to keep requests confidential.
Khandoker, an Indian restaurant about 8 km from Old Trafford, said parents can send a direct message on Twitter.
“We don’t want any child to got to bed hungry in Manchester. Voting against free school meals for kids in poverty is inhumane. If there are any parents struggling to feed (their) kids don’t be ashamed. DM us we will always be happy to put together a hot meal,” the restaurant wrote.
In June, Rashford successfully lobbied British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to extend free school meals through the summer. But on Wednesday, a Labour Party motion backed by the player to extend it again was rejected largely along party lines.

Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know.

Marcus Rashford, Football star

More than 1.4 million children benefit from free school meals, according to the Labour Party. English schools are on break next week.
Rashford said many families are struggling because of job losses related to the coronavirus pandemic. Britain is among the worst-hit European countries, with almost 44,000 confirmed deaths.
The soccer star said he’s passionate about the issue because his family relied on free school meals and food banks while growing up in the Manchester area.
Farm Fresh UK in Nottingham said it will provide lunches over the break consisting of a cheese cob or vegan sausage roll and a carton of apple or orange juice. Minikin Paint a Pot Art Cafe in Manchester said it will offer a hot baked potato with beans, fruit, snack and drink to needy kids next week.
Local governments also pledged support. Hammersmith and Fulham Council in London said it would extend the vouchers over the break “to ensure 5,000 primary and secondary school pupils don’t go hungry.”
It is also delivering 600 breakfasts to kids each morning. Rashford posted similar statements from councils in Liverpool, Doncaster and Southward.


Iniesta fires Japan’s Vissel Kobe into last 16

Updated 26 November 2020

Iniesta fires Japan’s Vissel Kobe into last 16

  • They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings

DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday.

The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th minute to help the Japanese side consolidate their position at the top of their group with two wins from as many matches.

They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings and assured of a spot in the knockout phase after the group was reduced to three teams following Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim's withdrawal from the tournament.

In another match on Wednesday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors pipped Sydney FC 1-0 in Group H with Na Sung-eun scoring in the 44th minute.

It was the Australian side's third defeat in four matches while Jeonbuk revived their hopes with their first victory.

Iniesta, who was declared MVP of the match, had been an influential presence for Vissel Kobe throughout the encounter with his quick thinking and crisp passing, and that reflected in their first goal in the 44th minute at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The Spanish veteran dashed his way up on the left flank to control a long diagonal pass and after advancing further turned around near the goalline to tap the ball onto the path of the advancing Kyogo Furuhashi who struck with a clean, low shot from close range.

Furuhashi's personal joy at scoring lasted only 10 minutes as the forward first conceded a corner and then watched in horror as his attempted clearance from the resultant kick found his own net to give Guangzhou the equalizer.

Cannavaro made three substitutions in a desperate bid for victory after having drawn their opening game against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. But although the two-time champions enjoyed a couple of brief purple patches during which they had the Kobe defence under pressure, the goal they were looking for never materialized.

Vissel Kobe regained the lead in the 74th minute when Douglas, who had just come in five minutes prior, took advantage of a great back-heel from Daigo Nishi and blasted the ball home.

Brazil-born Elekson, now known as Ai Kesen, had a goal disallowed for off-side on eight minutes and when Iniesta struck two minutes later, it extended Cannavaro's misery in Doha.

"The result is bad. We tried but I know that something in my team is not clear. I don't know if they are afraid to play or they are not confident anymore," the Italian complained after the match.

"I need to try and do my best to give them the confidence to play. This is my job. I know they are very good players, and we can do much, much, much better."

Vissel Kobe had landed in Doha after a string of disappointing results back home, conceding a whopping 58 goals in 33 league matches and losing five games in a row.

But their coach Atsuhiro Miura was basking in joy on Wednesday, saying he was ready with a game plan against a side packed with several Brazilians.

"Guangzhou is a very strong side, they have several good Brazilian players but we analysed how they play and how to prevent them from playing to their strengths," said Miura.

"We did everything well and everything went how we wanted it to. That's why we got this result."