South African Sports News – 10 August
Perfect Province remain on top
Western Province made it five wins from five starts in this year’s Absa Currie Cup competition when they thrashed a hapless Griquas outfit 50-3 at Hoffe Park in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon. Province ran in six unanswered tries in a dominant performance that confirmed their status as the leading contenders for this year’s title.
Griquas were expected to provide Province with a stern test in Kimberley after defeating the Cape side by a single point there in 2009 and 2008 and losing by no more than five points in 2007 and 2006. And in the early going on Saturday, it looked as though another tight contest was in the making as Province went into the interval just 12-3 ahead. However, the wheels came off for the home side in the second half as the visitors scored 38 unanswered points to romp to victory.
Griquas were hoping to remain unbeaten at home this season after recording excellent victories over the Sharks (40-34) and Lions (26-20) in previous outings, but those plans were well and truly scuppered by Province who were full value for their victory on the day. The loss was a rude wake up call for Naas Olivier’s men who must have wondered what had hit them.
Griquas, to their credit, put up a good performance in the opening 40 minutes as they tackled with fierce determination and committment to keep their more illustrious opponents at bay. In fact, had Riaan Viljoen been on target with all of his four attempted drop goals, Griquas could have gone into the interval with a three point advantage rather than being nine points in arrears.
However, stasistics always tell a story and with Province enjoying an advantage in the possession stakes it was only a matter of time before this translated into points. The visitors also employed the clever tactic of slowing the game down at key moments, a move which frustrated Griquas and preserved the energy levels of the Province players.
Willem de Waal slotted four penalties in the opening 40 minutes for Province while Griquas replied with a single penalty from Olivier as the home side fought hard to stay in touch with the the log leaders. Griquas were helped by the referee’s dubious decision to yellow card Duane Vermeulen for a dangerous tackle that at best warranted a penalty.
However, there was to be no help forthcoming for the home side in the second half as Province turned up the heat to power home to victory. Juan de Jongh (pictured) began the try feast for the visitors seven minutes into the second period after an impressive multi-phase movement that saw a host of Province players handle before the centre rounded off the move in the left hand corner.
De Jongh’s try sparked a desperate response from Griquas who bashed their way towards their opponenst line only to loose the ball going forward following which Province launched a spectacular counter attack to set up their second five-pointer. Frikkie Welsh and Conrad Jantjes featured prominently in that attack, but it was hooker Deon Fourie who got the try after collecting a pass from Vermeulen to crash over and score.
Fourie’s try seemed to knock the stuffing out of Griquas and Jantjes quickly took advantage of the situation to run through seven defenders to score Province’s third try. Then, a few minutes later, Springbok winger Gio Aplon added his name to the scoresheet when he dotted down near the corner flag and it was clear Griquas had conceded defeat.
Further tries from Pieter Louw and Lionel Cronjé rubbed salt into Griquas’ wounds and enabled the visitors to reach their half century – a feat unimaginable at the kick-off just 90 minutes earlier. The win means Province stay on top of the Currie Cup standings with 23 points, just two points clear of nearest rivals the Sharks, who have four wins from five matches.
WP: 50 – Tries: Juan de Jongh, Deon Fourie, Conrad Jantjies, Gio Aplon, Pieter Louw, Lionel Cronjé. Conversions: Willem de Waal (3), Cronjé. Penalties: De Waal (4).
Griquas: 3 – Penalty: Naas Olivier.
Other results (from left to right)
Pumas 30 – Cheetahs 45 – Puma Stadium, Witbank
Bulls 43 – Leopards 38 – Loftus Versveld, Pretoria Accommodation
Sharks 48 – Lions 19 – The Absa Stadium, Durban
Griquas vs Pumas – GWK Park, Kimberley
Leopards vs Sharks – Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Phokeng – 7.10pm
Lions vs Cheetahs – Coca-Cola Park Stadium, Johannesburg – 3pm
WP vs Bulls – Newlands Stadium, Cape Town – 5.05pm.
Currie Cup log (After five rounds)
Pos Team Points
1. WP 23
2. Sharks 21
3. Bulls 16
4. Griquas 15
5. Cheetahs 14
6. Lions 6
7. Pumas 5
8. Leopards 4
Pitso plays it safe
New Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane (pictured), who replaced Carlos Alberto Parreira at the end of last month’s World Cup, has named a tried and tested side for tomorrow’s friendly international against Ghana at Soccer City in Johannesburg. The new coach has clearly taken a conservative, but sensible approach to prepare Bafana for next month’s opening 2012 African Nations Cup (Afcon) qualifier at home to Niger.
Mosimane explained that due to the fact there had been no league matches in Europe and South Africa because of the Fifa break after the World Cup, he opted to select players who were part of the World Cup programme rather than to risk blooding new players. The coach made only one surprise selection when he picked new Kaizer Chiefs signing Sthembiso Ngcobo, who joins Bernard Parker and Katlego Mphela, as the three strikers in the 22-man squad.
Ngcobo infamously refused to honour his call-up to the national squad for a match against Chile in February 2009 under then coach Joel Santana, citing personal reasons. However, under Mosimane’s governance all players have been given a fresh start. “I have been impressed by the way Ngcobo ended as Free State Stars’ top goal scorer last season and he deserves another chance. We cannot keep relying on Mphela in every game. We need to test other strikers,” explained Mosimane.
SuperSport United captain and central defender Bongani Khumalo, who is struggling with an ankle ligament injury, was not selected. The lanky Khumalo had an excellent World Cup and will be sorely missed by Bafana against the Ghanaians today. Mosimane said he was not troubled about facing World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana in his first match at the helm of the Bafana squad. “This will be a big test for me and the players and I aim to come through with a win and set up a foundation for Niger and the 2010 Afcon qualifying campaign,” said Mosimane. The match kicks-off at 8.35pm.
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs.
Defenders: Morgan Gould, Siboniso Gaxa, Tsepo Masilela, Bevan Fransman, Siyabonga Sangweni, Innocent Mdledle, Aaron Mokoena, Anele Ngconca.
Midfielders: Daine Klate, Teko Modise, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Macbeth Sibaya, Andile Jali, Steven Pienaar, Thanduyise Khuboni, Surprise Moriri.
Strikers: Sthembiso Ngcobo, Katlego Mphela, Bernard Parker.
Chiefs take Telkom Cup honours
Kaizer Chiefs defeated Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates 4-3 on penalties in a tense encounter at Soccer City on Saturday evening to capture their 11th Telkom Charity Cup title. The Amakhosi’s victory broke a seven-year drought in the traditional season-opening competition and denied the Buccaneers a hat-trick of Charity Cup titles after their truimphs in 2008 and 2009.
The game began at a fast pace with both teams exchanging scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes. Young Chiefs striker Lucky Khune (pictured) had the first opportunity to find the back of the net after meeting a Siphiwe Tshabalala cross at the back post, but he decided to play the ball down rather than unleash a header towards the goalmouth, and the danger was eaily cleared.
However, Khune more than made up for his mistake when he scored the opening goal in the 13th minute, blasting a vicious right-footed drive into the top corner of the net after strike partner Sthembiso Ngcobo had shrewdly played him into space on the edge of the penalty area. The 21-year-old Khune celebrated his goal with a series of back flips along the Pirates by-line before being mobbed by his team-mates.
Chiefs were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men on 18 minutes when Jimmy Jambo dragged down veteran Lucky Lekgwathi after the Pirates player looked set for a good scoring chance, but referee Daniel Bennett decided on a yellow card rather than red – allowing the Amakhosi to breathe a sigh of relief. Buccaneers midfielder Mark Mayambela almost scored from the resultant free kick, his powerful shot bringing out the best in Chiefs goalkeeper Arthur Bartman who managed to deflect the ball over the crossbar.
Pirates pressed hard for an equaliser in the remaining minutes of the second half but were thwarted by the well-organised Chiefs defence and so the sides changed ends with the Amakhosi still holding a slender 1-0 advantage. The Buccaneers eventually equalised in the 10th minute of the second half when Lekgwathi met an Isaac Chansa free kick and headed the ball past a helpless Bartman.
With 20 minutes left to play a quick passing movement from Pirates split open the Amakhosi defence leaving Ndumiso Mabena clear on goal. However, instead of unleashing a shot, the young striker tried to win a penalty by tumbling in the penalty area. Referee Bennett was having none of it however, and correctly booked Mabena for simulation instead.
A short while later Pirates ‘keeper Moeneeb Josephs was almost caught out with a quick free kick from Bafana Bafana team-mate Tshabalala that whistled over the crossbar. Buccaneers substitute Tlou Segolela then threatened to add to the score line with a terrific shot that produced a spectacular save from Bartman.
With Bennett blowing his whistle to signal the end of regulation time, the match went to penalties and it was Chiefs who prevailed after Pirates’ Phenyo Mongala fired his side’s final kick high over the bar to hand the Amakhosi a narrow 4-3 victory. The win will be an excellent confidence booster for Chiefs as they prepare for another long season which will stretch all the way into the early part of next year.
Two flops in a row for South African fighters
World Boxing Association (WBA) Inter-Continental bantamweight champion Tshifhiwe ‘The Atomic Spider’ Munyai (pictured right) failed in his bid to capture the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) silver bantamweight crown when he dropped a 12-round decision to Christian ‘Italiano’ Esquivel in Mexico City on Saturday night. The 23-year-old Mexican’s superior work rate enabled him to carve out a unanimous decision victory over the 25-year-old South African who suffered only his second loss as a professional against 20 wins and a draw.
Munyai’s handlers decided to take the fight eventhough their charge had fought just 10 days before, knocking out Ghanaian Prosper Ankrah in three rounds at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park. However, the move backfired as Munyai was soundly beaten by Esquivel who controlled the action with a powerful left jab and punishing right cross.
Esquivel, who hails from Temoaya in Mexico, moved his record to 20-2 (14 KO’s) with the win and is now first in line to challenge countrymen Fernando Montiel for the WBC bantamweight title. Munyai, on the other hand, drops down the WBC rankings and must have regreted making the long trip to Mexico. However, the fighter’s promoter, Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves, defended the decicion to put his charge in with Esquivel at such short notice saying the sudden opportunity was “just too good for Munyai to turn down”.
“The fight against Ankrah was little more than a sparring session, so it was not a case of Munyai over-exerting himself in a short space of time,” explained Berman. “Had he been involved in a tough, gruelling 10-rounder, we would not have suggested the fight in Mexico City on Saturday night,” added the Golden Gloves boss.
Munyai’s defeat was the second loss for a top-level South African fighter in as many weeks after Juan Alberto Rosas relieved Simphiwe ‘The Golden Master’ Nongqayi of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title in Tepic, Mexico last Saturday evening. As they say in the fight game going into someone’s back yard and coming away with a win is always a tough ask, and in the case of both Nongqayi and Munyai that assignment proved too much to handle.
Meanwhile, the IBF junior lightweight title fight between local contenders Cassius ‘Mr Shy Guy’ Baloyi and Mzonke ‘The Rose of Khayelitsha’ Fana which was supposed to have taken place on Friday night, has been rescheduled for August 27 in Johannesburg. The 35-year-old Baloyi will enter the ring with a record of 37-4-1 (19 KO’s) against the 36-year-old Fana (29-4; 12 KO’s) and must be favoured to win after out pointing his compatriot in an April 2008 bout.
Cameron comes up tops in Pietermaritzburg
Cameron van der Burgh (pictured) won the 100m breaststroke title at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday when he pulled away in the final 25m to clock 58.28 secs, beating his 58.99 set in the semi-final. William Diering, who captured the 200m breaststroke title, took silver in 1:00.84, with Neil Versfeld rounding off the podium in 1:01.27.
The men’s 100m individual medley title went to Gerhard Zandberg with Darian Townsend and Graeme Moore finishing second and third respectively. Moore clocked an impressive 54.81 in the semi-finals only to lose his way in the final after a poor third leg. Zandberg’s winning time of 53.57 and Townsend’s 54.62 were both within World Short Course Championship qualifying markers.
Moore was able to win the men’s 100m freestyle title ahead of Lyndon Ferns when he clocked 48.69 to Ferns’ 48.76, while teenager Vanessa Mohr narrowly edged out veteran Mandy Loots in the ladies 50m butterfly final (27.54 to 27.77). Loots made up for the defeat by winning the 100m individual medley ahead of Kathryn Meaklim. Wendy Trott was firing on all cylinders when she added the 400m freestyle title to the 800m freestyle title she had won on Saturday. Trott’s time of 4:06.26 was two seconds inside the required 4:08.90 set by Swim SA as a qualifier for the World Short Course Championships.
Natalie du Toit broke another world record in her disability category when she recorded a fast 1:07.80 for the 100m butterfly to better the old record by almost five seconds. The 26-year-old Du Toit departs local shores for the IPC World Para-Olympic Championships in Eindhoven in Holland later this week.