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Posted on: Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Bafana go on a goal spree – and other SA Sports News – 19 May

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Katlego Mphela

Katlego Mphela

Bafana go on a goal spree
Bafana Bafana gave their fans and the country plenty to shout about on Sunday when they thumped Thailand 4-0 to celebrate the official opening of the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Bafana, on the whole, weren’t shy to pull the trigger as they mowed down their opponents in an impressive display which saw Katlego Mphela (pictured) bang in two goals to go with one apiece from Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker.

The Bafana team management and their fans must have been delighted with their teams’ effort, which equalled their best win at home – a 4-0 walloping of Chad three years ago in Durban. Bafana wrapped up the match inside the opening 45 minutes with three superb goals, which brought cheers of delight from the 30 000 strong crowd not to mention the deafening roar of what could have possibly been an equal number of vuvuzelas

Thailand seemed rattled by the intimidating atmosphere from the moment they entered the stadium, and Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will be hoping for more of the same from the home fans when his side open their World Cup campaign against Mexico at the 90 000 Soccer City Stadium on June 11.

Bafana opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Tshabalala’s powerful free kick found the back of the net to bring a roar from the crowd and shouts of joy from the Bafana bench. Thailand keeper Kawin Thamasatchanan denied Tshabalala a second goal with a brilliant save from a goal-bound missile on 29 minutes, but Mphela made no mistake from the resultant corner to make it 2-0. Mphela got his second goal four minutes later when he latched onto a clever through ball from Teko Modise to calmly slot the ball home to make it 3-0 and effectively end the match as a contest.

In fact, Bafana could have been ahead by a rugby score at that point had Mphela’s Mamelodi Sundowns teammate, Surprise Moriri, not wasted three goal scoring opportunities in the eighth, 10th and 16th minutes. Moriri refused to take responsibility for scoring; opting to pass when he should have taken shots at goal and his lack of confidence must be a big concern for Parreira.

The Bafana coach is well aware that both Mphela and Moriri will have to fire in order for the South Africans to reach the second round in the World Cup, but unless Moriri starts believing in himself, it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to find the back of the net against world class opposition.

Mphela also wasted a couple of chances to score in the 45th and 49th minutes, which could have bagged him four goals for the match. Thailand had an excellent chance to reduce the deficit in the 64th minute but Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune, who hardly had anything to do in the match up until that point, brilliantly saved Datsanorn Nontadel’s 20-metre free kick.

With South Africa out of danger Parreira decided to bench Khune and give his No 2 keeper Moeneeb Josephs a run out in the 67th minute. It was an encouraging demonstration of Parreira’s confidence in his side and bodes well for the World Cup, which is now just three weeks away.

Thailand, despite being thoroughly outclassed and outplayed, looked like getting off relatively lightly with the score still only 3-0 with just one minute left to play, but Parker put the icing on the Bafana cake with an excellent goal in the final minute to complete the scoring. Bafana now face Bulgaria on Monday at Soccer City in the second of their four home World Cup warm up games. The match kicks off at 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, in domestic action that took place over the weekend, AmaZulu and Bidvest Wits advanced to the finals of the Nedbank Cup when they recorded contrasting victories in their semi-final matches. Amazulu were deadlocked with Mamelodi Sundowns at 1-1 after full time at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday, but triumphed 4-3 in a tense penalty shoot out for the right to play Wits in the final at Soccer City this coming Saturday. Wits booked their spot in the final when they defeated Free State Stars 3-1 at Olen Park in the other semi. Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.

Mark Boucher

Mark Boucher

Boucher gets the chop
Veteran Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher (pictured right) has been dropped from the Twenty20 (T20) and one-day international (ODI) starting line-ups.  AB De Villiers will replace the 33-year-old Boucher behind the stumps for the first part of the limited-overs section of the Proteas’ tour of the West Indies.

Boucher’s axing was announced by Proteas’ captain Graeme Smith when he and his West Indies counterpart, Chris Gayle, addressed a joint media conference yesterday ahead of the two T20 matches to be played at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium, Antigua over the next two days. The matches will be followed by a series of five ODI’s, the first two of which will be played at the same venue on Sunday and Tuesday.

“AB will be starting with the gloves in the limited-overs matches,” remarked Smith. “There is a new selection committee and a few new ideas. We only have something like 15 ODI’s before we get to India for the World Cup (in 2011), so we have to make every one of them count.” Smith added that the loss of an experienced player like Boucher had to be weighed against other selection options.

“When a guy (like Boucher) has played over 300 ODI’s you are always going to miss that experience. He has been part of a core group of senior players who have performed regularly and the selectors have taken the decision now to look ahead at some new options and certainly having AB to keep allows you one or two extra options in the line-up.

“We will look at that. Andrew Hudson (the convener of selectors) arrived here yesterday and we will sit down together and select the team for the game,” added Smith.

The Proteas selectors have named a 14-man squad for today’s match. Left arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe arrived yesterday while Dolphins player David Miller is expected in the Caribbean either today or tomorrow. Hashim Amla, Alviro Petersen and Ryan McLaren all had their first practices in the Caribbean yesterday.

Although Boucher’s axing demonstrates the selectors have recognised there is a problem in the squad, it is doubtful if it is the correct decision. The main reason for the Proteas’ poor performance in the ICC T20 tournament was the inability of the top order to make runs.

The likes of Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis and Smith himself did not come to the party, which put enormous pressure on the middle order making it virtually impossible for them to post competitive totals. What is needed is a revamping of the T20 squad with many of the established top order batsmen making way for younger, fresher players like Loots Bosman, Miller and the prodigiously talented Colin Ingram.

Until that happens the results are unlikely to improve. The likes of Gibbs, Kallis and Smith should be retained for next year’s ODI World Cup where there experience will be invaluable, but to keep them in the T20 squad is a mistake. Johan Botha has already proven to be an excellent captain and will be the logical choice to captain the squad in the shortest version of the game.

However, the selectors have continued to be unkind to the 28-year-old spinner and lower order batsmen, dropping and then re-selecting him on numerous occasions. It’s clear that Boucher is being made a scapegoat for Smith and the other top order batsmen’s poor form and the selectors’ equally poor squad selection in the ICC T20 tournament. Hopefully logic will prevail with a revised T20 starting line up taking the field – and soon.

Jaque Fourie

Jaque Fourie

Stormers down Bulls to secure home semi
The Vodacom Stormers predictably beat what was effectively a Vodacom Bulls B team 38-10 at Newlands on Saturday afternoon to secure a home Super 14 semi-final against the fast finishing Waratahs this weekend. It was a clinical performance from Schalk Burger’s men who never gave their opponents a chance of causing an upset.

Wing Bryan Habana opened the scoring for the Stormers in the fourth minute when he slid over in the left hand corner for a well-worked try. Flyhalf Peter Grant banged over the conversion to make it 7-0 and it was clear the Bulls were in for a tough night against their highly motivated and pumped up opponents.

By the quarter hour mark the Cape outfit were effectively out of sight as Grant slotted two penalties to make it 13-0 with the Bulls yet to engage first gear. Habana dotted down again in the 24th minute and human skyscraper Andries Bekker was next on the scoresheet as the home side extended their lead to 25-3 after flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter’s had earlier slotted a penalty for the Bulls.

Grant was successful with another penalty on the stroke of half time to make it 28-3, and coach Allister Coetzee must have known that his side’s objective of securing a win to book a home semi had already been achieved. There is just no way you can expect to beat a side as good as the Stormers when you’re 25 points adrift at half time, and indeed this was the case as the Bulls never recovered from their first half battering.

Coetzee was so confident of victory that he rested star players such as Burger, Jaque Fourie (pictured) and Joe Pietersen in the final 20 minutes to keep them as fresh as possible for the semi-finals. The Stormers’ only second half try was a real beauty, with the Cape side running the ball from deep inside their own territory allowing the irrepressible Fourie to dot down for the bonus point score.

To their credit the Bulls never gave up trying despite being outplayed in almost every facet of the game, and were rewarded for their courage with a late consolation try from replacement Ruan Snyman. Francois Brummer added the conversion to get the visitors to double figures and add some respectability to the score.

The home side, although possibly not quite as solid as they hoped to be in the scrums, can approach their weekend encounter against the Waratahs with a lot of confidence. They hardly missed a beat on Saturday and if they can reproduce this kind of form against the Tahs, a berth in the final would surely be theirs.

The Stormers face the Tahs at Newlands at 7.10pm this Saturday while the Bulls host the Crusaders at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto at 5pm in the other semi. The Bulls, even though they will be bolstered by the return of their top players who were rested against the Stormers, will have to be at their very best to defeat the New Zealanders who outplayed the Brumbies 40-22 in Christchurch on Friday to squeeze into the last four.

Vodacom Stormers 38 – Tries: Bryan Habana (2), Andries Bekker, Jaque Fourie. Conversions: Peter Grant (3). Penalties: Grant (4).
Vodacom Bulls 10 – Try: Ruan Snyman. Conversion: Francois Brummer. Penalty: Jacques-Louis Potgieter.

Other final round results (from left to right; SA teams in bold)
Crusaders 40 – Brumbies 22 – Christchurch
Waratahs 32 – Hurricanes 16 – Sydney
The Sharks 27 – Western Force 22 – Durban
Blues 30 – Chiefs 20 – Auckland
Reds 38 – Highlanders 36 – Brisbane
Cheetahs 59 – Lions 10 – Bloemfontein

How they finished (SA teams in bold)
Pos      Team              Pts
1        Bulls 47
2        Stormers 44
3        Waratahs       43
4        Crusaders      41
5        Reds             39
6        Brumbies        37
7        Blues            37
8        Hurricanes     37
9        The Sharks 33
10      Cheetahs 26
11      Chiefs           26
12      Highlanders    19
13      Force            19
14      Lions 5

‘Macman’ gobbles up Lesiba in six
SA junior featherweight champion Macbute ‘Macman’ Sinyabi was at his usual explosive best when he stopped a game, but ultimately outgunned Themba Lesiba at the Nasrec Indoor Arena near Johannesburg on Friday night. In an entertaining slugfest, the 23-year-old titleholder was pushed all the way by the plucky challenger who put up a brave fight before being overpowered in the sixth round.

Both fighters got stuck into each other from the opening bell with Sinyabi landing some hard left hooks while Lesiba countered repeatedly with right crosses. The champion hit the deck early in the second round after swallowing a right, but was up quickly and in control of his senses.

He soon re-established control and, within the first minute of the third round, the fight looked to be over when Sinyabi landed a wicked left hook that caused Lesiba to turn his back on his foe. Referee Wally Snowball could have stopped the fight then and there as the challenger had failed to protect himself at all times – a golden rule in boxing. However, he chose to let the contest continue.

Sinyabi responded by whacking Lesiba to the back of the head, which sent the challenger crumpling into a heap near a corner post. Referee Snowball, instead of reprimanding the champion for the illegal blow, took up the count, but just before he reached ten, Lesiba rose to his feet. However, instead of going in for the kill, Sinyabi backed off, allowing the challenger time to regroup.

As the tempo slowed in the next round, Lesiba began to take control of the fight by landing some punishing blows, which rattled Sinyabi. However, the champion remained focused and was able to regroup and end the contest decisively in the sixth round. A punishing body blow sent Lesiba to the canvas for a second time and when Sinyabi scored another knockdown seconds later, the challenger’s corner threw in the towel. The stoppage came at one minute, 56 seconds of the round.

Sinyabi, who weighed in at 55.12 kg, improved his record to 14 wins against one defeat with all of his victories coming by way of knockout. Lesiba, 55.30kg, slid to 6-1-1 (2 KO’s) but put up a good performance against a man who was expected to blow him away early.

The champion was making the fourth defence of his title but showed he still has a lot to learn. He often neglected to use his jab to set up power punches and got caught with blows he shouldn’t have. At times Lesiba definitely looked like causing an upset, and a rematch should be a big crowd puller.

Undercard results
(W=points victory; D=draw; TKO=technical knockout, KO=knockout)
Sipho Nkadimeng D6 Bongani Siwisa (bantamweights)
Thami Mbonambi TKO 3 Lwazi Mzolisa (bantamweights)
Oupa Maimane W4 Jared Silverman (lightweights)
Nkululeko Mhlongo TKO 3 Theophilus Mpakane (junior middleweights)
Alan Young, of Knockout Promotions, presented the tournament.

Upcoming bouts
Friday, East London
Sabelo Jubata vs Marcel Jafta (South African featherweight title).
Live coverage on SABC 2 from 10pm.

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