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Posted on: Wednesday, 2 June 2010

No place for Benni in final Bafana squad and other South African Sports News – 2 June

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Benni McCarthy

Benni McCarthy

No place for Benni in final Bafana squad
All-time leading Bafana Bafana goalscorer Benni McCarthy (pictured) has predictably been left out of the final 23-man Bafana World Cup squad by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. The 67-year-old Parreira, who named the final squad yesterday, decided not to gamble on West Ham striker McCarthy whose fitness has been questionable since recovering from a recent knee injury.

The 32-year-old McCarthy, who has represented South Africa on 79 occasions with 32 goals to his credit, was one of five players who failed to survive Parreira’s final cut. McCarthy was recalled to national duty despite lingering concerns over his fitness and Parreira had hoped the player would improve given his international experience and goal-scoring abilities.

Ultimately is was down to the cold, hard realisation that McCarthy could not meet the standards required in the five key selection principles – physical conditioning, technical ability, discipline, team dynamics and tactical ability. To this end, McCarthy admitted there was little the national selectors could do but leave him out. “My fitness level came into question after weeks recovering from my knee injury, but the coach still believed in me, as did I and the rest of the team, and I am grateful for that,” said McCarthy. Together with the technical team McCarthy worked hard on his fitness, but unfortunately time was against him.

“No one’s place in the final squad is a given,” said McCarthy. “We all gave it our best and pushed ourselves to our limits to make the cut. In the end it comes down to a head count. I am proud to have been given the privilege to have been capped in the South African national squad, but unfortunately this time it was not to be,” he added.

Despite his disappointment at missing out on the 2010 spectacle, McCarthy had some words of consolation for the other four players who failed to make the cut. “All the players who made the national call-up should be proud. We did not fail, we just didn’t make the final 23; we are still a part of the team if not the squad,” said McCarthy. “We have a strong team everyone will be proud of and I am in no doubt we will make our mark with the ground swell of support the team has been receiving of late. My role now is to join in that support,” he added.

Bafana, who are in the final stages of wrapping up their preparations for the World Cup, were in ruthless form at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Monday evening when they crushed Guatemala 5-0. Two goals from Katlego Mphela, and one apiece from Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Surprise Moriri and Bernard Parker enabled Bafana to record their biggest ever win in international soccer.

It was an excellent performance from the South Africans whose final World Cup warm up game will be against Denmark at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium on Saturday. The match kicks off at 3pm.

Bafana squad
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Shu-Aib Walters.
Defenders: Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Bongani Khumalo, Tsepo Masilela, Aaron Mokoena, Anele Ngcongca, Siyabonga Sangweni, Lucas Thwala.
Midfielders: Surprise Moriri, Lance Davids, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Teko Modise, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thanduyise Khuboni, Steven Pienaar, Macbeth Sibaya.
Strikers: Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvete, Bernard Parker.

Francois Hougaard

Francois Hougaard

Clinical Bulls take Super 14 honours
The Vodacom Bulls secured their third Vodacom Super 14 title in four years when they defeated a courageous Vodacom Stormers outfit 25-17 in an enthralling final at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday. Despite being outcored by two tries to one, the Bulls thoroughly deserved their win.

As is usually the case their forward pack dominated proceedings and with captain Victor Matfield a tower of strength in the lineouts the Stormers were left with hardly any ball with which to launch any meaningful attacks. To make matters worse for the visitors the Bulls’ halfback pairing of Morné Steyn and Fourie Du Preez took full advantage of their team’s dominance up front to keep the Stormers pinned in their own half with some accurate touchfinders.

The homeside went ahead 9-0 early on courtesy of Steyn’s deadly accurate boot with the Bulls flyhalf slotting three penalties in quick succession to leave the visitors playing catch up rugby from then on. Du Preez then set up what what would prove to be a very important score for the Bulls when he slipped a perfect pass to a flying Francois Hougaard (pictured with ball in hand) to put the young winger clear with just one man to beat.

Hougaard made no mistake by stepping outside and slipping past a despairing Joe Pietersen to leave the Bulls 16 points clear and the Stormers with a mountain to climb. Hougaard’s try was an expert combination of technical excellence and perfect timing and was a typical example of the Bulls’ brilliance on attack this season.

With the visitors under pressure to hit back they shunned an opportunity for a three pointer, opting instead to kick for the touchline in the hope of setting up a try scoring opportunity. However, the Bulls defence held firm and the Stormers were left empty handed after camping out near their opponents line for a couple of minutes.

With the hooter sounding to signify the end of the first half the visitors found themselves trailing 16-3 after Peter Grant had earlier slotted a penalty to give his side their first points of the match. Shortly after the restart an uncharacteristic mistake from Steyn allowed the Stormers back into the match when in reality they should have been dead and buried.

Deciding to launch an attack from inside his own half Steyn threw a careless pass straight into the hands of a lurking Bryan Habana who gleefully accepted the early Christmas present to jog over the line and dot down. Grant made no mistake with the conversion to reduce the deficit to six points (16-10) and it looked as though the visitors might be in with a shout.

However, the Bulls responded by turning it up a notch, keeping the Stormers pinned in their own half and waiting for the openings. The subsequent pressure forced a string of errors from the Stormers, resulting in the adwarding of three penalties which Steyn duly converted.

The Bulls were now 25-10 ahead with just ten minutes to go and although the visitors scored a converted try from Pieter Louw in the 78th minute it was a case of too little, too late as the Bulls ran out deserved winners to clinch the trophy.  Despite their defeat however, the Stormers can be proud of their performance.

They made the Bulls work hard for their win and put in some big hits in a bruising encounter that left a number of players worse for wear after the 80 minutes. However, in the end the Bulls were just too clinical and polished for the Stormers who gave away too many penalties which the merciless Steyn made them pay dearly for.

Stormers captain Schalk Burger lamented after the match that referee Craig Joubert had applied “a different set of breakdown rules for each team”, which led to the awarding of the six penalties and ultimately the concession of 18 points to the Bulls. Stormers coach Allister Coetzee backed his captain and said that Joubert’s blowing of the breakdown had decided the contest.

“It was an area where the game was was won and lost. And, as Schalk said, he (Joubert) penalised one team and coached the other,” exclaimed Coetzee. Burger and Coetzee’s protests were disappointing to say the least and were clearly just a case of sour grapes as there was simply no evidence to back up their claims. The Bulls won this game fair and square and all credit must go to coach Frans Ludeke and his team for their brilliant performance in the competition this season.

Following their achievements in the Super 14 the darlings of Pretoria Accommodation must start as firm favourites for the upcoming Currie Cup, although the Stormers, and possibly the resurgent Sharks, will be in with a shout if they can stay disciplined when it counts most.

Bulls 25 – Try: Francois Hougaard. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (6).
Stormers 17 – Tries: Bryan Habana, Pieter Louw. Conversions: Peter Grant (2). Penalty: Grant.

Mpho Mbiyozo

Mpho Mbiyozo

Disappointing Blitsbokke bow out in quarters
South Africa’s disappointing campaign in the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series series continued on Sunday when they went down 19-0 to Samoa in the quarter-finals of the Edinburgh tournament on Sunday. The Blitsbokke, playing without injured forwards Frankie Horn and Mpho Mbiyozo (pictured left), were eliminated at the Cup quarter-final stage for the seventh time in eight tournaments as they failed to ignite against a committed Samoan outfit.

Paul Treu’s men reached last weekend’s final at Twickenham after eliminating Samoa in the semi-final, but were no match for the Pacific Islanders this time round as Reupena Lavasa, Alafoti Fa’osiliva and Uale Mai all scored tries to send the Boks packing. The South Africans then went down 19-14 to Scotland in the Plate semi-final to complete a weekend they would rather forget. Samoa went on to win the tournament by crushing a hapless Australian outfit 41-14 in the final.

Meanwhile, in the 15 man form of the game, the Springbok squad to face Wales in a one-off test in Cardiff this Saturday departed for the UK on Sunday although there were a few minor scares after the weekend’s bruising Vodacom Super 14 final between the Bulls and the Stormers.

Lock Andries Bekker (foot) and centre Juan de Jongh (bruised thigh) underwent scans on Sunday morning, but were given the go ahead to tour. Three of the five overseas-based players in the squad – Frans Steyn, Butch James and BJ Botha – assembled in Johannesburg while CJ van der Linde and Joe van Niekerk will join up with the squad on arrival in the UK.

“All the players are ready to tour,” said Bok coach Peter de Villiers. “We have a short and intense week but it’s a challenge we are looking forward to,” he added. The two newcomers – wing Gio Aplon and flank Francois Louw – were excited at the prospect of making their test debuts at the Millennium Stadium. “It’s a dream come true and I am looking forward to it,” said Aplon. Louw remarked: “It’s fantastic. It is great to be included and I am ready for the hard work that is ahead this week.” Saturday’s match kicks off at 3.40pm.

Farwa Mentoor

Farwa Mentoor

Muzhingi wins again, but SA men dominate Comrades top 10
Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi ran a clever tactical race to win his second consecutive Comrades Marathon in Durban on Sunday morning, albeit in a rather unspectacular time of five hours and 29 minutes. The 33-year-old Muzhingi was over five minutes slower than last year when he achieved the second fastest time in the history of the race, clocking a brilliant 5:23:27.

The 85th running of the epic ultramarathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban was a very successful one for South Africa with no less than eight local runners finishing in the top ten of the men’s race. Ludwick Mamabolo (5:35:28) and Sergio Motsoeneng tried hard to chase down Muzhingi and were rewarded for their efforts by finishing second and third respectively. Motsoeneng, who was disqualified for cheating in the 1999 Comrades, clocked 5:35:57.

Close to 19 000 athletes started the race, which got under way from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30am, and it was another Zimbabwean, Wellington Chidodo, who set the early pace only to fade away as he was reeled in by the pack. Hot favourite, American Josh Cox, received a harsh introduction to the hardships of ultra distance running in South Africa when he recorded a very ordinary 6:51:28 while Charles Tjiane, who led from just after halfway until Muzhingi stepped up his pace, finished in a disappointing 6:22:15.

The fortunes of the South African women in the race were in stark contrast to those of the men with only three local ladies managing a top ten finish. Farwa Mentoor (pictured), whose best finish was third in 2003, took fifth place in 6:38:40 while Lindsay van Aswegan (6:46:51) and Adinda Kruger (6:51:14) finished eighth and ninth respectively.

Elena Nurgalieva of Russia won her fifth Comrades in 6:13:03 and was followed a second later by her twin sister Olesya. Another Russian, Marina Myshlyanova, took third place in 6:26:02 with American Kami Semick fourth in 6:32:54.

Results (SA runners in bold)
1. Stephen Muzhingi (F1 Bluff Meats), Zimbabwe, 5:29:00
2. Ludwick Mamabolo (Mr Price), SA, 5:35:28
3. Sergio Motsoeneng (Discovery), SA, 5:35:57
4. Bongmusa Mthembu (Mr Price), SA, 5:37:48
5. Fanie Matshipa (Toyota), SA, 5:39:52
6. Fusi Nhlapo (Mr Price), SA, 5:40:25
7. Claude Moshiywa (Mr Price), SA, 5:43:03
8. Petros Sosibo (Mr Price), SA, 5:45:57
9. Peter Molapo (Nedbank), SA, 5:46:18
10. Leboka Noto (Mr Price), Lesotho, 5:48:44

1. Elena Nurgalieva (Mr Price), Russia, 6:13:03
2. Olesya Nurgalieva (Mr Price), Russia, 6:13:04
3. Marina Myshlyanova (Mr Price), Russia, 6:26:02
4. Kami Semick, US, 6:32:54
5. Farwa Mentoor (Bonitas), SA, 6:38:40
6. Lizzy Hawker, UK, 6:39:42
7. Irina Vishnevskaya (Nedbank), Russia, 6:44:26
8. Lindsay van Aswegan (Toyota), SA, 6:46:51
Adinda Kruger (Nedbank), SA, 6:51:14
10. Anna Pichtova (Mr Price), Poland, 6:51:33

Ryan McLaren

Ryan McLaren

Amla stars again as Proteas win thriller
The Proteas recorded a nail-biting seven-wicket victory over the West Indies at Windsor Park in Roseau, Dominica on Sunday to take a commanding 4-0 lead in the five match One Day International (ODI) series against Chris Gayle’s men.

It was a tough outing for the Proteas as the Windies posted a formidable 303/6 off their allotted 50 overs with Gayle (29 runs off 28 balls), Dean Richards (59 off 73), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (66 off 89), Dwayne Bravo (46 off 51), Darren Bravo (45 not out off 31) and Kieron Pollard (26 off 18) all weighing in with useful contributions.

All the South African bowlers, with the exception of seamer Ryan McLaren (pictured), were expensive. The 27-year-old McLaren maintained a consistent line and length to finish with 1/45 off 10 overs while the rest of the South African bowlers suffered as the Windies batsmen dispatched them to all corners of the park.

Left-arm seamer Lonwabe Tsotsobe (2/48 off eight overs), veteran swing bowler Charl Langeveldt (2/59 off eight overs) and speedster Morne Morkel (1/56 off eight overs) all got among the wickets, but failed to prevent the run rate from getting over six to the over.

The Proteas began their chase postively with captain Graeme Smith (23 off 29) and fellow opener Hashim Amla (129 off 115) putting on 59 for the first wicket before Smith had his stumps disturbed by Dwayne Bravo. His dismissal brough Jacques Kallis to the crease and the veteran all rounder proved to be the perfect partner for Amla as the pair took the score to 178 before Kallis was dismissed by Gayle for 51.

Kallis’ departure brought the in form AB de Villiers to the wicket and the fluent hitting youngster combined well with Amla to move the total to 224 before the exhausted opener spooned a delivery from medium-pacer Pollard to long-off. The 27-year-old Amla’s innings contained nine fours and two sixes and was a wonderful exhibition of batting as he utilised orthodox cricket shots to compile his runs.

With Amla in the pavillion and the Proteas still needing another 80 runs off 76 balls it was left to De Villiers and the out of form JP Duminy to take them through to victory. The duo were up to the task, however, it was not without drama as De Villiers (57 off 64) scrambled a single off the last ball to give South Africa the narrowest of victories. De Villiers was well supported by Duminy who hit 32 off 38 balls.

Dwayne Bravo was the pick of the West Indian bowlers recording figures of 1/41 off seven overs and almost won the game for his team when he bowled three dot balls in the final over to take the game right down to the wire. The fifth and final match of the series will be played at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad tomorrow. Play starts at 3.30pm.

The Proteas took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series when they beat the Windies by 67 runs at the same venue on Friday. The South Africans made 224 all out in that match while the home side were dismissed for 157 in reply. De Villiers top scored for South Africa with 70 and was named Man of the Match. 

Scores in brief
West Indies versus South Africa
Sunday, 30 May, Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica
West Indies: 303/6
South Africa: 304/3
Result: South Africa won by seven wickets
Man of the Match: Hashim Amla
Toss: West Indies elected to bat

Chanelle Scheepers

Chanelle Scheepers

Plucky Chanelle makes last 16 in Paris
Although South African number one Chanelle Scheepers (pictured) was knocked out of the French Open by fifth seed Elena Dementieva of Russia on Sunday, it was the first time a South African women has reached the fourth round of the event since Amanda Coetzer in 1997.

Scheepers, who had to go through the qualifiers to play at the tournament, said she learnt a great deal in her 6-1 6-3 defeat to Dementieva on Roland Garros’s famous Court Philippe Chatrier. “It was a great feeling, playing for the first time on that court,” said Scheepers, who is due to move into the top 90 in the world from her current 131 courtesy of her achievements in Paris.

“That’s really why you play tennis. It’s to see how you can improve and get to that level. I started out a little slow and maybe a little nervous and against a player like Dementieva you cannot really play yourself into the match,” explained Scheepers. “I think the second set, there were two games or so that went to deuce and it could have just as well gone my way. You always want to improve and hopefully I can take things out of there and improve on that,” added the 26-year-old.

Scheepers admitted that South Africans are not renowned for their love of tennis but hopes her exploits in Paris will help raise the sport’s profile in her homeland. She also wants the country’s junior players to be given the support they need to reach elite level.

“I know there’s maybe one or two juniors coming up that are doing pretty well and hopefully they can get the support that they need, because it’s really tough to do it without support,” explained Scheepers. Despite her excellent form in France and her vastly improved ranking, Scheepers will have to go through qualifying again at Wimbledon in a few weeks time to reach the main draw.

Nkqubela Gwazela

Nkqubela Gwazela

Gwazela gets the nod in brutal slugfest
Nkqubela Gwazela (pictured) captured the South African bantamweight title in East London on Saturday night when he dethroned former conqueror Klaas Mboyane in a fight that should be a strong contender for SA fight of the year. The 30-year-old Gwazela dug deep into his reserves to carve out out a deserved win over the rugged Mboyane who defeated Gwazela by an eleventh round technical knockout in August last year to capture the then vacant crown.

Gwazela, who hails from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, truimphed by scores of 118-112, 118-111 and 117-113 over 12 rounds in a brutal encounter which saw both men bloodied and bruised at the finish. The judges verdicts flattered the challenger somewhat as Mboyane was very competitive, rocking and backing up Gwazela on several occasions.

Mboyane, too, absorbed a lot of punishment as he slugged it out with Gwazela in a battle for supremacy that had the fans off their seats. With the opening rounds pretty much even, Gwazela opened up a lead from the sixth round onwards and never looked back as Mboyane failed to catch up.

The champion bled from a cut near his right eye for most of the bout and the challenger finished with a big knot on the side of his head, but the two warriors never stopped throwing punches in a fight that many fans will be talking about for years to come. Gwazela improved his record to 19 wins against seven defeats with 14 knockouts, while Mboyane fell to 12-7-2 with  seven of his wins coming via the short route.

It was an excellent win for the new champion who has revitilised his career after his loss to Mboyane last year. Gwazela beat the highly regarded Kenyan Nick Otieno on points in December last year and after Saturday night’s victory, his career is clearly moving in the right direction.

Gwazela, who turned professional in August 1999, won the South African flyweight title in December 2003 with a tenth round knockout of Ncedo Cecane.  He then made three successful defences of the crown before moving up in weight where he met with limited success, losing five of his next nine fights before his surprise victory over Otieno.

Mboyane began punching for pay in April 2005 and won the Gauteng bantamweight title in July 2009 when he knocked out Cleutus Mbhele in four rounds. He then beat Gwazela the following month and retained his newly won South African crown by defeating Mbhele for a second time in November last year.

However, he was unable to hold off the determined Gwazela the second time round and will have to go back to the drawing board to see where he can improve. Mzi Mnguni of Eyethu Boxing Promotions presented the well- attended tournament.

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2 comments about No place for Benni in final Bafana squad and other South African Sports News – 2 June
  1. June 3rd, 2010 at 09:08
    Jane says:

    Keep up the good work Guy.

  2. June 9th, 2010 at 14:35
    Guy Mortimer says:

    Thanks Jane.