South African Sports News – 14 April
Parreira concerned about fitness levels ahead of 2010
With the 2010 World Cup less than 60 days away Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is generally happy with the progress of his team although he admits their general fitness levels are not where they should be at this stage of proceedings. The 67-year-old coach has recently returned from Brazil, where he held a training camp for the national side, which saw them win most of their games against local league sides.
“The one thing that we achieved at the training camp in Brazil was to identify a style of playing for the national team,” said Parreira. “The side now have a shape and the players know what is required from them. However, the physical fitness should be much higher than where it is now,” he added …
“Right now the bottle is half full because we are halfway ready towards being fully prepared for the World Cup. I say half full instead of half empty because I am optimistic about the way we are preparing for the World Cup,” said Parreira.
“So far, the Brazil camp was a positive start and it doesn’t matter what team we played against there because even a second division team in Brazil can give a good challenge to any team from anywhere in the world,” he added.
The Bafana squad left for Germany on Monday where they will play a series of matches against Bundesliga sides on April 20, 22 and 24 before tackling China on April 28. They are scheduled to return to South Africa on April 30 where they will begin their final training camp, which is scheduled to begin on May 5.
“The match against China is just what the side needs to go higher in their performance level,” said Parreira. “China has great fighting spirit, speed and acceleration and I would have liked more friendlies against teams like that,” he added.
A number of overseas-based players are expected to join the Bafana training camp in May and Parreira said that once they arrive there will be a vast improvement in the performance of the squad. “Those players overseas bring experience to the squad and we’ll see a higher level of performance just as we saw in the Confederations Cup last year,” exclaimed Parreira.
South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Leslie Sedibe said in addition to the games against China on April 28 and Denmark on June 5, he hoped to secure a friendly against Argentina before Bafana kick off their World Cup campaign against Mexico in Johannesburg on June 11. “We are working hard to get Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and other South American countries to play us before the World Cup,” explained Sedibe.
About 13 or so of the players who were in Brazil should make the final World Cup squad.
Current Bafana squad
Goalkeepers: Moeneeb Josephs, Itumeleng Khune, Shu-Aib Walters.
Defenders: Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Siyanda Xulu, Innocent Mdledle, Bongani Khumalo, Thabo Nthethe, Siyabonga Sangweni, Lucas Thwala.
Midfielders: Franklyn Cale, Surprise Moriri, Lebohang Mokoena, Daylon Claasen, Lance Davids, Andile Jali, Teko Modise, Thanduyise Khuboni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Strikers: Gert Schalkwyk, Katlego Mashego, Katlego Mphela and Siyabonga Nomvete (pictured right).
Chiefs down Ajax to clinch Telkom cup
Kaizer Chiefs made the most of their opportunities to record a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town in the Telkom Knockout final in Durban on Saturday. Strikes from Mandla Masango and Knowledge Musona (pictured) secured victory for the Amakhosi while Ajax could only muster a late goal from Diyo Sibisi in reply.
The match could by no means be described as an action packed spectacle with both teams making a lot of mistakes and producing some rather ordinary football at times, but the majority of fans at the Absa Stadium, most of them Chiefs supporters, would not be unhappy with the result.
Ajax applied pressure early, obviously with the intent of forcing mistakes thereby creating opportunities for a quick goal. Demonstrating plenty of pace and purpose in attack, the Urban Warriors should have opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, but Dipsy Selolwane’s powerful shot was tipped over the crossbar by Chiefs keeper Arthur Bartman who had an excellent game and scooped the man of the match award.
The Urban Warriors had another opportunity to go in front shortly afterwards, but Denis Ivanovs somehow managed to push his header wide with the goal at his mercy. A superb pass from George Maluleka then set up Selolwane on goal, but the nippy striker took too long to unleash his shot allowing the athletic Bartman time to get in line and block his effort.
Although Chiefs had barely mustered an attack in the opening minutes of the game they took the lead in the 20th minute when a potent shot from Punch Masenamela was parried by Hans Vonk straight into the path of Mandla Masango, who slammed the ball into the back of the net from eight yards out.
One-nil to Chiefs was how it stayed till the interval, but the Soweto outfit came out smoking in the second half and went 2-0 up shortly after the restart when Musona clinically punished a blunder from Ajax defender Clayton Daniels. The Urban Warriors had another chance to pull one back 10 minutes later, but Ivanovs squandered the chance when he made a mess of another header.
The Amakhosi then had an excellent opportunity to go 3-0 ahead when a picture perfect cross from Jimmy Tau found Masango on goal. However, the striker somehow managed to put the ball over the bar from less than five yards out.
Sensing that the door was still open for them to stage a fight-back, Ajax threw everything they had into attack and Diyo Sibisi finally opened their account in the 85th minute when he rifled the ball home after Bartman failed to hold onto a cross. The Urban Warriors then tried desperately to find the equaliser, but the Chiefs defence held firm to secure them the trophy.
Although the Professional Soccer League (PSL) and the Telkom Knockout competitions are now over, the action continues when the Nedbank Cup gets underway today with three matches being played in various parts of the country. PSL champions SuperSport United must start as favourites for the tournament although they will face stiff competition from the likes of Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Ajax.
Platinum Stars vs Als Puk Tawana – Olen Park – 7.30pm
Thanda Royal Zulu vs Peace Lovers FC (Safa) – Chatsworth Stadium – 7.30pm
Orlando Pirates vs Bloemfontein Celtic – Orlando Stadium – 7.30pm
Nathi Lions vs Bidvest Wits – Chatsworth Stadium – 8pm
Ajax Cape Town vs Wings United – Newlands Stadium – 3pm
Santos vs Jomo Cosmos – Boland Rugby Stadium – 3pm
M Tigers FC vs Black Leopards – Mehlareng Stadium – 3pm
University of Pretoria vs Vasco Da Gama – LC De Villiers – 3pm
Tower United vs Free State Stars – Botshabelo Stadium – 6pm
Maritzburg United vs AmaZulu – Harry Gwala Stadium – 8.15pm
Moroka Swallows vs Golden Arrows – Dobsonville Stadium – 8.15pm
Mr Price Parkhurst vs Winners Park – Erica Park – 3pm
Island FC vs Sundowns – Ulundi Stadium – 3pm
SuperSport United vs Kaizer Chiefs – Rand Stadium – 3pm
Ikapa Sporting vs FC Cape Town – Ajax Ikamva – 3pm
FC Royals vs MP Black Aces – Dutywa Stadium/TBC – 3pm
Stormers steady ship with win over Blues
The Vodacom Stormers bounced back from their narrow 16-15 loss to the Western Force in their previous Super 14 outing with a well-deserved 33-21 victory over the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
Although the Cape outfit were somewhat shaky in defence and conceded more than two tries in a match for the first time this season, their excellent pack of forwards laid the foundation for their win as they moved to fourth position on the log. They are now two points clear of the Reds who outclassed the hapless Lions 41-26 in Johannesburg on the same day.
The Stormers raced to a 20-0 lead after 30 minutes and after that they were never less than nine points ahead of the Blues. Not only did the Stormers do well up front they also dominated the lineout with their towering lock Andries Bekker (pictured far right) standing out with a commanding display.
The Cape side also reigned supreme at the breakdowns with captain Schalk Burger, flanker Francois Louw and eighth man Duane Vermeulen all playing vital roles in ensuring that many Blues attacking opportunities ended up turning into go-forward ball for the visitors.
Early pressure from the Stormers resulted in the home team conceded a penalty which was duly slotted by flyhalf Peter Grant to make it 3-0 after just five minutes. Stormers fullback Gio Aplon then got into the action by igniting a counter-attack in which several players handled the ball before centre Jaque Fourie wriggled through to score a converted try.
The visitors were now 10-0 up after almost as many minutes and then went further ahead when Dewaldt Duvenage dotted down after they had won yet another lineout. Grant’s conversion made it 17-0 after 20 minutes and then 20-0 a few minutes later when he added a penalty, and it looked as though the Stormers were gearing up to steamroll their New Zealand opponents.
However, the Blues had a surprise in store for the Stormers when Isaiah Toeava counter attacked from deep inside his own half and then offloaded to Serge Lilo who dotted down for an excellent try. The score appeared to give the Blues the confidence they were lacking earlier on in the game, and they started to play with more freedom against the visitors. Nevertheless the Stormers kept their composure go into the interval with a commanding 20-7 advantage.
The Blues really needed to score first in the second half if they hoped to seriously threaten the Stormers but it was the Cape outfit who struck first with another penalty from Grant, to make the score 23-7. Luke McAlister then took advantage of an overlap to score a converted try for the home side, and suddenly the deficit had been reduced to just nine points after 51 minutes.
McAlister’s try seemed to swing the momentum in favour of the Blues but when their flyhalf Stephen Brett missed a relatively simple penalty kick, one sensed this just wasn’t going to be the Blues’ day. The Stormers then extended their lead to 16 points when replacement lock Anton van Zyl ran 30m to score in the corner after latching onto a loose ball.
With time running out and the Blues forced to play catch up rugby, the result was never in doubt although the home side did hit back with an excellent try from wing Joe Rocokoco with 15 minutes still to play. However, the ever-accurate Grant banged over another penalty five minutes later to create a 12-point buffer and thereafter there was simply no way back for the Blues as the Stormers retained possession to shut them out in the final 10 minutes.
Stormers 33: Tries – Jaque Fourie, Dewaldt Duvenhage, Anton van Zyl. Conversions – Peter Grant (3). Penalties – Grant (4).
Blues 21: Tries – Serge Lilo, Luke McAlister, Joe Rokocoko. Conversions – Stephen Brett (3).
Other results (From left to right; SA teams in bold)
Chiefs 19 – Vodacom Bulls 33 – Hamilton
Highlanders 27 – Western Force 41 – Queenstown
Crusaders 20 – Waratahs 13 – Christchurch
Brumbies 61 – Vodacom Cheetahs 15
They are some very interesting Super 14 clashes coming up this weekend with the Stormers taking on the seventh placed Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday, and the top of the table Bulls doing battle with the fifth paced Reds in Brisbane on Saturday. Both the Stormers and the Bulls have done South Africa proud in the competition thus far, but will be up against stiff opposition in the form of the Reds and the Chiefs who have also enjoyed good campaigns this year.
However, the same cannot be said for the rest of the South African Super 14 teams with the Lions, Cheetahs and Sharks currently lying in 14th, 13th and 10th places respectively. The Cheetahs and Lions have been in abysmal form this season, while the Sharks are on a three game winning streak after losing their opening five matches.
Upcoming fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Chiefs vs Stormers – Hamilton – 9.35am
Brumbies vs Hurricanes – Canberra – 11.40am
Blues vs Western Force – Auckland – 7.30am
Crusaders vs Cheetahs – Christchurch – 9.35am
Reds vs Bulls – Brisbane – 11.40am
Lions vs The Sharks – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg – 5.05pm
Simphiwe clings onto IBF belt with draw
South African Simphiwe ‘The Golden Master’ Nongqayi (pictured right) retained his International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title when he drew with Frenchamn Malik Bouziane in Massy, France, on Friday night. Judges Neville Holz and Klaus Griesel both scored the exciting bout 114-114 while judge Alfred Asaro had it 115-113 for the Frenchman.
Bouziane increased the tempo in the later rounds and Nongqayi had to pull out all the stops to survive and hang onto his title. There were no knockdowns during the course of the 12 round bout.
The crafty Nongqayi, 38, caused a major upset in Mexico in September last year when he defeated Mexican legend Jorge Arce on points to capture the vacant belt. His record now stands at 16-0-1 (6 KO’s) while the 32-year-old Bouzianne slipped to 13-1-1 with just one early win.
In other international fight action, Francois ‘The White Buffalo’ Botha suffered only the fifth defeat of his career when former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield stopped him in the eighth round in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The 47-year-old Holyfield, who turned professional way back in 1984, was behind on two of the three judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Botha, 41, was having his first outing of the year after battling to a draw with Pedro Carrion of Cuba in his last fight in October. The gutsy South African was doing well against his more illustrious opponent until he was visibly shaken by a solid combination from Holyfield in the seventh round.
Holyfield, sensing that the fight was his for the taking, turned up the heat early in the next round and when a vicious right to the chin sent Botha crumpling to the canvas, referee Russell Mora was forced to wave proceedings over at 55 seconds of the round. It was a courageous, but ultimately futile effort from Botha who has been boxing as a professional for 20 years and once held the IBF heavyweight title in 1995.
“Holyfield has got the skills. He’s got the determination,” said Botha. “He landed his shots. He’s a true warrior. I didn’t feel ashamed losing to a great champion like him,” he added. Holyfield, who is probably only still fighting because of his well-documented financial problems, improved to 43-10-2 with 28 knockouts while Botha sunk to 47-5-3, also with 28 wins via the short route.
The ‘Real Deal’ said after the fight that he plans to become undisputed heavyweight champion once again although this is very unlikely given his largely unimpressive performance against Botha, who is not in the same league as any of the recognised heavyweight champions. Wladimir Klitschko (WBO and IBF), Vitali Klitschko (WBC) and David Haye (WBA) would all be too much for Holyfield to handle at this stage of his career and he would be well advised to retire before he risks serious injury.
Holyfield’s victory earned him the lightly regarded World Boxing Federation (WBF) belt, but it was only his eighth win in his last 17 fights and his first since June 2007 when he was awarded a unanimous points decision over journeymen Lou Saverese. The American legend then lost decisions to former world heavyweight champions Sultan Ibragimov and Nikolay Valuev before defeating Botha.
Meanwhile, in fight action which took place on local shores, Xola Sifama was crowned South African flyweight champion when he knocked out Anele Makhwelo in the sixth round in East London on Friday night. Sifama, who hails from nearby Duncan Village, launched a furious attack on the previously unbeaten Makwhelo prompting referee Siya Vabuza to wave the contest over at 55 seconds of the round.
Makhwelo was holding his own against Sifama at the time of the stoppage and had won at least two of the first five rounds, but in the end it was Sifama’s harder punches that brought the fight to an early conclusion. Both boxers demonstrated good speed, movement and balance during the contest and the enthusiastic crowd certainly got their money’s worth.
The title used to belong to Moruti Mthalane, but he relinquished it after winning the IBF flyweight belt in November last year. Makhwelo’s record dropped to 9-1 with four knockouts while the new champion improved to 8-2-1 with five early wins.
Parreira concerned about fitness levels ahead of 2010 – Photo – Siyabonga Nomvethe – Source – south-africa-tours-and-travel.com
Chiefs down Ajax to clinch Telkom cup – Photo – Knowledge Musona – Source – kaizerchiefs.com
Stormers steady ship with win over Blues – Photo – Andries Bekker – Source – abc.net.au
Simphiwe clings onto IBF belt with draw – Photo – Simphiwe Nongqayi – Source – life.com