South African Sports News – 21 April
Bafana shrug off the cold in Germany
Bafana Bafana spent the latter half of last week adjusting to cold weather in Germany and building on their Brazil training camp in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. After training for nearly a month in summer temperatures in South America, the South African squad trained in rainy and chilly conditions in the town of Herzogenaurach.
“We cannot complain much. You have to understand that when the World Cup starts, it will be winter as well. So we can get used to it this way as well,” said South African midfielder Teko Modise (pictured) following Thursday morning’s training session. Coach Carlos Albert Parreira has so far concentrated on building up his team’s fitness after their camp in Brazil.
“I don’t think there is any difference (between the two camps),” said Orlando Pirates star Modise, who was 2008 and 2009 South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) Footballer of the Year. “We are doing the same things we have been doing. I think there is just more emphasis now and focusing on the fitness of the players. So I think we will be doing more fitness than anything else,” he added.
Modise hopes Bafana can capitalise on their lengthy preparations ahead of the World Cup – even if their top players in Europe are not given permission by their respective clubs to participate in the German training camp. “Fortunately we have a lot more time to prepare than other teams, but I hope that with all the time we have had to prepare for the World Cup, the team will bring the results,” said the 27-year-old, who has earned 40 caps for South Africa and scored nine goals.
The highlight of South Africa’s training camp, which runs until April 30, will be their friendly match against China on April 28 at an as yet undecided venue. Thirty-two-year-old veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvete was all smiles in Herzogenaurach despite the miserable weather. Nomvete was recalled to the South African national side after last playing for Bafana in October 2007.
“I am very happy to join the team, especially after being away for the last two years. I am very proud about this,” said Nomvete, whose recent good run of form in the PSL and other domestic competitions earned him the recall. “The important thing is to work really hard with the guys, to keep the concentration, because we still have a long way to go,” he added.
Nomvete, who has notched up 15 goals for his country, including the goal in South Africa’s 1-0 victory over Slovenia at the 2002 World Cup, downplayed any high hopes of his return. “I know a lot of people are expecting a lot of things, but the only thing I want to say is we have to work hard and concentrate. I cannot think about something that is said on the outside,” explained Nomvete.
Bafana play the first game of their German training camp when they take on Bundesliga side FC Nuremberg in Herzogenaurach on Thursday. Kick off is at 3.30pm.
Usuthu pip United at the post
AmaZulu moved into the next round of the Nedbank Cup when they narrowly defeated Maritzburg United 1-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday evening. Brad Riston broke the deadlock in the last minute of injury time to give his side their second successive Cup victory over the Team of Choice after Usuthu beat their KwaZulu-Natal neighbours in the opening round of the Telkom Knockout last month.
The match was a lacklustre affair with neither side producing the standard of football they are capable of, but Ritson gave the Usuthu supporters something to shout about with a late tap-in that sealed United’s fate. The Team of Choice enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half, but lacked the physical presence up front to seriously threaten the Usuthu goalmouth and were clearly affected by the absence of leading scorer Fadlu Davids.
The only real threats to AmaZulu’s goal in the first half came from set pieces, but poor finishing meant United were unable to find the back of their opponent’s net. Usuthu also had some chances to score near the end of the first half, but Litha Ngxabi’s shot sailed over the crossbar and Ayanda Dlamini (pictured) failed to get onto the end of a good knock-down from strike partner Ritson.
The visitors began their second half strongly and Dlamini almost scored in the opening minute, glancing a header just wide after Pere Ariweriyai had won the flick-on at the near post. Eight minutes later the ball broke kindly for Kurt Lentjies in the AmaZulu penalty area, but an excellent block from Siphiwe Mkhonza prevented the United midfielder from scoring.
United continued to pressure the visitors and soon began to dominate proceedings – the introduction of a more conventional striker – Brice Aka – greatly increasing their potency in attack. With just 15 minutes of regulation time left, the Team of Choice produced a sweeping move that ended with Musa Nyatama’s strike being deflected just wide of the target.
With just one minute of injury time left it seemed as though the match was destined to be decided on penalties, but Usuthu ensured that wasn’t going to be the case when they scored in the third minute of stoppage time. Substitute Sthembiso Dlamini put his namesake Ayanda in behind the United defence and the striker in turn squared the ball for Ritson to score a tap-in and send Amazulu into the last 16.
Other results (From left to right)
Platinum Stars 2 – Als Puk Tawana 3 – Olen Park
Thanda Royal Zulu 2 – Peace Lovers FC (Safa) 1 – Chatsworth Stadium
Orlando Pirates 2 – Bloemfontein Celtic 1 – Orlando Stadium
Nathi Lions 2 – Bidvest Wits 3 – Chatsworth Stadium
Ajax Cape Town 5 – Wings United 0 – Newlands Stadium
Santos 1 – Jomo Cosmos 1 – Boland Rugby Stadium
M Tigers FC 1 – Black Leopards 2 – Mehlareng Stadium
University of Pretoria 5 – Vasco Da Gama 1 – LC De Villiers
Tower United 1 – Free State Stars 6 – Botshabelo Stadium
Moroka Swallows 2 – Golden Arrows 0 – Dobsonville Stadium
Mr Price Parkhurst 1 – Winners Park 3 – Erica Park
Island FC 1 – Sundowns 3 – Ulundi Stadium
SuperSport United 1 – Kaizer Chiefs 2 – Rand Stadium
Ikapa Sporting 1 – FC Cape Town 2 – Ajax Ikamva
FC Royals 2 – MP Black Aces 2 – Sisa Dukashe Mdantsane
Last 16 matchups
Ajax Cape Town vs Free State Stars – Coetzenburg Stadium 3pm
Moroka Swallows vs AmaZulu Dobsonville Stadium 8.15pm
FC Cape Town vs Kaizer Chiefs – Botshabelo Stadium 3pm
Jomo Cosmos vs University of Pretoria – Rand Stadium 3pm
Bidvest Wits vs Thanda Royal Zulu – Bidvest Stadium 3pm
Orlando Pirates vs Als Puk Tawana – Orlando Stadium 8.15pm
Sundowns vs Black Leopards – Rand Stadium 3pm
Winners Park vs MP Black Aces – University of Limpopo 3pm
Sharks make it four in a row – but only just
The Sharks continued their Super 14 resurgence when they held on to defeat a determined Lions outfit 32-28 at Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg on Friday night. Although the visitors undoubtedly deserved their win, they were pushed all the way by a Lions side who were desperate to record their first win of what has been a wretched campaign for them thus far.
The KwaZulu-Natalians notched up four tries to take maximum points for the fixture, but found the going tough against a motivated home side who will be bitterly disappointed at not being able to get the win, although securing a bonus point for finishing within seven points will at least be of some consolation.
The Lions opened the scoring with a penalty from flyhalf Herkie Kruger, but the visitors quickly replied with a well-worked try from Patrick Lambie (pictured) who capitalised on an overlap to waltz over the line unattended. Right wing Odwa Ndungane then scored another try for the Sharks after they worked their way up field before sending the ball down the backline for the speedy No 14 to round off the movement.
Bismarck du Plessis then got a third try for the visitors soon afterwards. Skipper John Smit had been held up just short of the line, but was able to offload to the powerful hooker who crashed over the line from close range. With the home side now 19-6 down and looking disconsolate, it seemed as though the floodgates might open.
This was not to be the case however, as the Lions hit back with a try from Michael Killian; the winger latching onto a well-timed pass from Kruger to sprint 40m and dot down near the uprights. The score seemed to spark the Lions into action, and two minutes later they added another try after Franco van der Merwe and Killian combined nicely before the big lock crashed over for an excellent score. The Lions were now within a point of the Sharks, but Ruan Pienaar extended the visitors’ lead to four shortly before half time with a penalty goal.
The Sharks came out smoking early in the second half and found space on the left wing to create an overlap for Jacques Botes to score their fourth and final try. The Lions quickly replied with a penalty from Kruger only for the Sharks to extend their lead with another three pointer from Pienaar.
However, the Lions remained positive and competitive and a strong counter attack resulted in the ball being spread wide to Killian, who drew a defender and sent flanker Derick Minnie sprinting down the touchline for their third try. The Lions were now within four of levelling matters and had the momentum going into the final quarter.
But despite looking exhausted, the Sharks managed to hold their nerve and repel wave after wave of desperate attacks to run out deserved winners although they looked relieved rather than happy when the whistle sounded. It was the Sharks’ fourth win in a row and moved them to ninth on the log, five places clear of the bottom placed Lions who must be wondering what they have to do to secure a win in the competition.
Although the Sharks undoubtedly deserved their win on Saturday, it would be something of a miracle if they were to reach the semi-finals. Three of the their remaining four games are against the Blues, the Bulls and the Stormers, all of whom will be favoured to beat the KwaZulu-Natalians given their excellent form in the competition thus far.
A loss against anyone of these teams would more than likely spell doom for the Sharks’ semi-final aspirations and even the most optimistic of their supporters must surely realise that it would be a very tall order indeed for the Sharks to reach the last four.
Losing your opening five games is not the kind of start any team wants, let alone one having championship aspirations, and realistically the Sharks would do well to finish in the top six before the competition is out. However, stranger things have happened in rugby and John Smit’s men will be hoping that lady luck smiles upon them as they enter the last phase of the competition.
Lions 28 – Tries: Michael Killian, Franco van der Merwe, Derick Minnie. Conversions: Herkie Kruger (2). Penalties: Kruger (3).
Sharks 32 – Tries: Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndugane, Bismarck du Plessis, Jacques Botes. Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3). Penalties: Pienaar (2).
Other results (From left to right; SA teams in bold)
Chiefs 15 – Stormers 49 – Hamilton
Brumbies 13 – Hurricanes 23 – Canberra
Blues 38 – Western Force 17 – Auckland
Crusaders 45 – Cheetahs 6 – Christchurch
Reds 19 – Bulls 12 – Brisbane
As the competition heads into the closing stages, the Bulls and the Stormers are well placed to secure semi-final berths while the rest of the South African teams, with the possible exception of the Sharks, are out of contention. The Stormers face the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday and a win against the Australians will undoubtedly leave the Cape outfit as one of the firm favourites to lift the trophy this season.
The Reds handed the Bulls only their second defeat of the competition over the weekend and are very difficult to beat at home, but the Stormers have the firepower to defeat even the best Super 14 teams and an intense struggle is likely to be on the cards.
Other fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Chiefs vs Cheetahs – Hamilton – 9.35am
Western Force vs Crusaders – Perth – 1.45pm
Highlanders vs Hurricanes – Dunedin – 9.35am
Waratahs vs Brumbies – Sydney – 11.40am
Bulls vs Lions – Loftus Versveld, Pretoria – 3pm
The Sharks vs Blues – The Absa Stadium, Durban – 5.05pm
Tshepo retains South African title in style
Veteran Tshepo ‘De La Hoya’ Mashego (pictured right) easily retained his South African junior middleweight title when he scored a second technical knockout victory over four-fight novice Johannes Salie in Witbank on Friday night. Mashego, from Mpumalanga, was making the first defence of the title he won from Vincent Vuma in June last year.
Salie, of Paarl, lacked the experience and boxing skills to pose a serious threat to Mashego (69.04 kg) and was dominated by the champion from the opening bell. A hard left hook to the side of the head put Salie (69.72kg) on the canvas midway through the opening round, but the challenger managed to get to his feet before referee Ismail Koali reached the count of 10.
Salie, 33, survived the rest of the round by clutching and holding although he did make a second trip to the canvas just before the final bell after eating a hard left jab. The misery continued for the challenger early in the next round when Mashego, 31, trapped him against the ropes and knocked him down for a third time with a series of powerful lefts and rights. Koali had seen enough and promptly stopped the fight 2 min and 29 sec into the round.
The champion improved his record to 19-10 (11 KO’s) with the win while Salie slid to a dismal 1-3 (1 KO). Indeed, Salie was every bit as poor as his record suggested and the South African Boxing Commission’s decision to let him challenge for a national title must be questioned.
(W = points victory; KO = knockout; TKO = technical knockout)
Lwazi Mzolisa KO 2 Bonganani Ndou (bantamweights)
Sydney Milanzi TKO 2 Sibusiso Mkhwanazi (junior welterweights)
Collin Mayisela W6 Welcome Ntshingila (welterweights)
Mpumalanga Boxing Promotions presented the tournament at the Witbank Civic Centre.
Unbeaten and highly touted Warren ‘The Warrior’ Joubert (16-0-1; 10 KO’s) gets his first crack at a national title when he challenges Sipho ‘Tsunami’ Taliwe (10-2; 9 KO’s) for his South African junior lightweight championship at the Wembley Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Friday night.
Joubert is considered by many pundits to have all the qualities of a future world champion, but he will have his hands full with the hard-hitting Taliwe who carries dynamite in either hand. Nine of the champion’s 10 wins have come via knockout (within six rounds or less) and although Joubert will start as a slight favourite in this fight, he will well advised to keep his hands up at all times.
The fight will be televised live on SABC 2 from 10pm.
Ninth Boston win for brilliant Ernst
South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk won his ninth Boston Marathon men’s wheelchair title on Monday when he beat former countryman Krige Schabort and Japan’s Kota Hokinoue into second and third places respectively.
The 37-year-old Van Dyk, the proverbial Bruce Fordyce of wheelchair marathon events, made a strong start and opened up a large gap on his pursuers, but by the halfway mark the pack had reeled him in. However, Van Dyk managed to stay in contention and with the finishing line in sight, he surged past Schabort, now competing for the United States, to take the win.
“The pack was going strong and by halfway I could see them coming like a train,” said Van Dyk. “Krige broke away and I tried to remain comfortable, but I was in fourth place for a long time. I slowly reeled them back in one by one, and I caught Krige with about a mile to go. I know I can sprint well and I got it,” added a thrilled Van Dyk.
The Paralympic hand cycling gold medallist won the Boston Marathon six times in succession between 2001 and 2006 and, after finishing third in 2007, he returned to win the race another three years in a row. Van Dyk crossed the line in 1:26.53, with Schabort taking second in 1:26.57 and Hokinoue coming home third in 1:27.05.
Van Dyk will now concentrate on winning this Sunday’s London Marathon for the first time and if he displays the type of form he showed this past Saturday, there’s little doubt that he will be victorious once again.
Valiant Van der Merwe falls at last hurdle
Jamaican Dustin Brown comfortably defeated South Africa’s Izak van der Merwe (pictured) to win the Soweto Open men’s singles title at a baking Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Van der Merwe had enjoyed an excellent run in the tournament and produced some outstanding tennis to reach the finals. However, the 24-year-old Brown’s blend of power and skill proved too much for Van Der Merwe, 26, who stated that he had felt “a little flat” after his impressive form leading up to the final.
In front of an enthusiastic 1,800 strong crowd, Brown out-served his South African opponent and also unsettled him with subtle changes of pace and power. The Jamaican’s most potent weapon was his powerful serve. He served 11 aces to Van der Merwe’s four and on the rare occasions he got into difficulty, he could always rely on the weapon to bail him of trouble.
The match was evenly poised at 6-6 in the opening set until Brown produced a tiebreaker out of the top drawer to win the set and take control of the match. The Jamaican, who shouted “c’mon” every time he produced something extraordinary, then went from strength to strength to take the second set and the match 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.
It was the biggest win of Brown’s career thus far and he could not hide his joy as he threw his racket towards the heavens in jubilation. However, to his credit, Van der Merwe made Brown work hard for his victory in a match that lasted an hour and 16 minutes.
After dropping his opening service game in the second set, it seemed as though the South African’s challenge would fade away, but he kept on trying and came very close to breaking back on two occasions. However, it was not to be and Brown made no mistake in closing out the match.
The Jamaican earned R105 000 in prize money and 110 ATP points for his efforts, and his world ranking should improve from 127th in the world to around the 100 mark by the end of the week. Unseeded Russian Nina Bratchikova won the women’s singles event by edging out second seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 7-5 7-6 (7-4). She received R110 000 for her efforts.
Host of South African swimmers qualify for Delhi games
The South African National Senior Swimming Championships were concluded in Durban on Saturday night and the results meant that no fewer than 14 local swimmers have qualified for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in October.
The 14 swimmers are:
(IM = Individual medley)
Chad le Clos (KZN, 200m butterfly final)
Jean Basson (CG, 200m freestyle)
Roland Schoeman (NT, 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle)
Cameron van der Burgh (NT, 100m breaststroke)
Wendy Trott (WP, 800m freestyle and 400m freestyle)
Natalie du Toit – pictured (CG, disabled S9 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly)
Chanelle van Wyk (NT, 50m backstroke)
Riaan Schoeman (KZN, 400m IM)
Gideon Louw (NT, 50m freestyle)
Darian Townsend (KZN, 200m IM)
Sebastien Rosseau (WP, 200m IM)
Neil Versfeld (KZN, 200m breaststroke)
Heerden Herman (WP, 1500m freestyle)
Mark Randall (BOR, 1500m freestyle).