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Posted on: Wednesday, 5 May 2010

South African Sports News – 5 May

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Morgan Gould

Morgan Gould

Parreira names 29-man squad as 2010 countdown looms
Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira named a 29-man provisional squad on Friday as the national team began to finalise their preparations for the 2010 World Cup, which starts on June 11 when Bafana face Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

There were hardly any surprises at the announcement of the squad with the 67-year-old coach retaining most of his tried and tested players – including European-based players such as Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, captain Aaron Mokoena of Portsmouth, Benni McCarthy, who plays for West Ham United, and midfield anchorman Kagisho Dikgacoi of Fulham. The only real eyebrow raiser was the omission of Spanish-based defender Nasief Morris …

Fifa rules require that the squad be reduced to 23 players on or before June 1, leaving Parreira with the tough decision as to who to omit before the deadline. However, the vastly experienced and wily Parreira has left the door open to include players such as SuperSport United central defender Morgan Gould (pictured), who is recovering from injury.

The coach has also included German-based goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, who plays in the Second Division for Arminia Bielefeld, but has been troubled by injuries for the past season. “The bulk of the 23 players for the World Cup will come from these 29 players, but maybe we get injuries or loss of form, which is why I have left the door open,” explained Parreira.

Bafana are scheduled to play four friendly matches in Gauteng in the build-up to the tournament. The South Africans have confirmed friendlies against Colombia on May 27 and Denmark on June 6, but also hope to face Bulgaria on May 24 and a country yet to be finalised on May 16.

“We will finalise the Bulgaria clash by Monday and tie up the game for May 16,” said SA Football Association chief executive Leslie Sedibe on Friday. “These four friendly matches will give me the chance to shape the squad and fine tune our preparations for the World Cup,” explained Parreira.

Bafana returned home last week after undergoing a three-week training camp in Germany where they were unbeaten after drawing 0-0 with North Korea and defeating Jamaica 2-0 last Wednesday. The result against Jamaica is definite proof that Bafana have improved under Parreira’s tutorship.

The South Africans laboured to a 0-0 draw against the Reggae Boyz last November when former coach Joel Santana was still at the helm, but were a different team this time round. Parreira will be hoping that his team can improve even further by putting together a series of impressive performances with the 2010 spectacle just over five weeks away.

“We head into the final stage of preparation with our confidence high,” said Parreira. “The spirit is growing but I am not going to put my boys under pressure by saying we can reach the final. What I can say is that we will grow more as a team with the country and everyone behind us,” he added.

The local-based players in the squad joined the camp again yesterday and the overseas-based players will join them once their respective clubs release them. Parreira, however, emphasised that star playmaker Pienaar will be given an additional period to rest.

“Pienaar has played 27 matches for Everton during the past 23 weeks,” Parreira said. “He will be given five or six days to rest before joining the Bafana camp. I need a fresh and fit Pienaar and he has earned his break,” explained Parreira.

In addition to their World Cup opener against Mexico, Bafana will play Uruguay at Loftus Versfeld on June 16 and France at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on June 22 in their final Group A match. The squad will have their first training session back on home soil at Milpark on Friday.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Shu-Aib Walters (Maritzburg United), Rowen Fernandez (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany).

Defenders: Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Innocent Mdledle (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth, England), Bryce Moon (PAOK, Greece), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows), Lucas Thwala (Pirates).

Midfielders: Surprise Moriri, Franklin Cale (both Sundowns), Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), Andile Jali, Teko Modise (both Pirates), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala (both Kaizer Chiefs), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia).

Strikers: Benni MaCarthy (West Ham United, England), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Siyabonga Nomvethe (Moroka Swallows), Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland).

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers

Rampaging Raina sinks South Africa in St Lucia
A brilliant knock of 101 off just 60 balls from Suresh Raina helped India to a convincing 14 run victory over South Africa in their ICC World Twenty20 match at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia on Sunday. India made a poor start to their innings, losing openers Dinesh Karthik (16) and Murali Vijay (0) early to leave them tottering on 32/2 after 5.3 overs.

Yuvraj Singh (37 off 30 balls) then joined Raina at the crease and the pair set about repairing the damage with an 88 run partnership that took India to 120 before Graeme Smith caught Singh at wide mid-on off the bowling of medium pacer Rory Kleinveldt. By that stage however, Raina was already in full cry, dispatching the Proteas bowlers to all corners of the park with consummate ease.

The left-handed Raina’s knock included nine fours and five sixes and was only the third century recorded in Twenty20 internationals. It couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the Indians, who knew they would need something special to defeat the Proteas. However, as brilliant as Raina’s innings undoubtedly was, the South African fielders will be kicking themselves for squandering a number of opportunities to run him out, while lanky paceman Morne Morkel committed the cardinal sin of having Raina caught off a no-ball when he had just five.

The Indian hero was eventually dismissed with the total on 178 after holing out to AB de Villiers (pictured) off the bowling of Albie Morkel, but it was of little consolation to the Proteas as by that stage the damage had already been done. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni then added insult to injury with a quick-fire 16 off just six balls, which included one six and one four, to help his team to their imposing total.

In response, the Proteas could only muster 172/5 with Jacques Kallis top scoring with a typically measured 73 off 54 balls while Smith provided support with 36 off 28 deliveries. De Villiers got the Proteas reasonably close to their target with a rapid fire 31 off just 15 balls, but in the end it was not enough as the South Africans fell well short of their target.

The Proteas ultimately paid the price for a slow start – Loots Bosman and Kallis only managing to take 17 off the opening four overs. Bosman laboured to eight off 14 balls before he danced down the pitch to slow bowler Yusuf Pathan and spooned a catch to Piyush Chawla at cover.

Smith then joined Kallis at the crease and the pair added 97 as the Proteas entered the last five overs just a single run behind where India were at the same stage. However, just when it looked as though the duo would take their side through to victory, skipper Smith commented the cardinal error of ambling back for a second run allowing Praveen Kumar to run him out with an excellent throw from the deep.

Kallis joined Smith in the dugout in the next over, holing out to Ravindra Jadeja off the bowling of leg spinner Chawla. At that stage the Proteas needed 58 off 21 balls for victory – a tough ask considering that their top three batsmen were already in the hut.

De Villiers gave the Proteas a glimmer of hope with his quick-fire innings which included three sixes and a four, but he was left with too much to do and when he succumbed to a catch from Chawla off the bowling of left arm seamer Ashish Nehra, the writing was on the wall.

There was just simply no way that Mark Boucher and JP Duminy could get 20 runs off the last two balls for victory and so the Proteas ended on a disappointing 172/5 – still 14 runs shy of victory.

The result means that Smith’s men will have to win today’s game against new comers Afghanistan in order to qualify for a place in the Super Eight stage. The Proteas should have far too many guns for the Afghans, but will be wise not to underestimate their opponents who have swept all before them in the lower echelons of world cricket.

Other results
Friday
New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by two wickets.
West Indies beat Ireland by 70 runs.
Saturday
India beat Afghanistan by seven wickets.
Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 21 runs.
Sunday
Australia beat Pakistan by 34 runs.
Monday
Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by 14 runs (Duckworth Lewis method).
West Indies beat England by eight wickets (Duckworth Lewis method).
Yesterday
New Zealand beat Zimbabwe by seven runs (Duckworth Lewis method).
England vs Ireland (No result).

Upcoming fixtures
Today
Australia vs Bangladesh – Bridgetown, Barbados – 3.30pm
Afghanistan vs South Africa – Bridgetown, Barbados – 7.30pm

Zane Kirchner

Zane Kirchner

Bulls too strong for courageous Sharks
The Vodacom Bulls recovered from a slow start to defeat the Sharks 27-19 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and in the process virtually booked their place in the playoff rounds of the Vodacom Super 14 this year.  The victory was the Bulls’ 17th consecutive win at Loftus and kept them at the top of the standings on 43 points – five clear of the second placed Stormers who thumped the third placed Crusaders 42-14 in Cape Town the previous evening.

Victor Matfield’s men are just three points away from securing a home semi-final and must be favourites to retain the title they won by defeating the Chiefs at Loftus last year. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the men in blue on Saturday as the Sharks produced a determined first half effort to go 12-3 ahead at the break.

The visitors were more clinical on both attack and defence in the opening 40 minutes and took full advantage of their opportunities with flyhalf Andy Goode slotting four penalties to give the Sharks a measure of confidence in the driving rain. Sharks flanker Jean Deysel was particularly impressive in the appalling conditions as he put in some storming runs, which had the Bulls defence working overtime.

It was a different story in the second half however, as the Bulls turned up the heat to overpower the visitors and end any hopes the KwaZulu-Natalians may have had of qualifying for the semi-finals. The home side racked up 24 unanswered points – 18 of them between the 51st and 66th minutes – that knocked the stuffing out of the Sharks and put the Bulls that much closer to defending their Super 14 title.

The man who dealt the Sharks the killer blow was none other than Jacques-Louis Potgieter, the same player who put John Smit’s men out of last year’s Absa Currie Cup with a last-gasp drop goal. As fate would have it, the Bulls had just drawn level (12-12) and began a counter attack from their own half, which was initiated by Potgieter.

The stocky centre first put Wynand Olivier into a gap, and then collected a pass back from fullback Zane Kirchner (pictured) on the outside to canter over for the try that turned the game in the Bulls favour. Flyhalf Morné Steyn then banged over the conversion to make it 19-12 to the home side and one sensed the Bulls had taken command of the match.

Steyn stretched the Bulls lead to 10 points when he slotted the last of his five penalties and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez then sealed the victory for the visitors when his clever cross kick created havoc in the Sharks defence, resulting in wing Gerhard van den Heever diving over in the corner to give the Bulls an unassailable 27-12 lead. Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott did manage to score a consolation try for the visitors, but it was too little, too late as the Bulls ran out deserved winners.

Scorers
Vodacom Bulls 27 – Tries: Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Gerhard van den Heever. Conversion: Morné Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (5).
The Sharks 19 – Try: Rory Kockott. Conversion: Ruan Pienaar. Penalties: Andy Goode (4).

Other results (From left to right; SA teams in bold)
Friday
Highlanders 26 – Waratahs 10 – Invercargill
Saturday
Hurricanes 33 – Chiefs 27 – Wellington
Brumbies 32 – Reds 12 – Canberra
Cheetahs 36 – Blues 32 – Bloemfontein
Lions 12 – Western Force 33 – Johannesburg

The Sharks could be in line for more disappointment this Saturday when they host the rampant Stormers in Durban. The Cape outfit were in superb form against the Crusaders over the weekend and it’s highly unlikely that the weary Sharks would be able to pose much of a threat to Schalk Burger’s men.

However, stranger things have happened in the competition thus far and it wouldn’t be that surprising if the Sharks pulled of the upset. The KwaZulu-Natalians are a proud team and will be determined not to go down without a fight against the Stormers, despite having absolutely no chance of reaching the semi-finals. Kick-off at the Absa Stadium is at 7.10pm.

Other fixtures (SA teams in bold)
Friday
Hurricanes vs Reds – Wellington – 9.35am
Bulls vs Crusaders – Loftus Versfeld – 7.10pm
Saturday
Chiefs vs Waratahs – Hamilton – 9.35am
Brumbies vs Highlanders – Canberra – 11.40am
Lions vs Blues – Johannesburg – 3.00pm
Cheetahs vs Western Force – Bloemfontein – 5.05pm

Dikgang Mabalane

Dikgang Mabalane

Four-goal Buccaneers cruise into Nedbank quarters
Orlando Pirates waltzed into the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals when they recorded an emphatic 4-0 victory over Als Puk Tawana at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening. The Buccaneers outplayed their opponents in all departments of the game and were especially dominant in the first half where they scored all their goals.

The visitors came into the match on a high after defeating Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Platinum Stars to reach the last 16, but were outclassed by Pirates who went 1-0 up after just nine minutes. A silly mistake saw the visitors concede a corner and Josephy Kamwendo teed up the ball perfectly for Thulasizwe Mbuyane, who blasted it past Tawana keeper Marosha from close range.

Tawana, needing to find an equaliser, pressed forward and were able to create space for striker Ramahuma to have a crack at goal, but his long-range effort was well saved by Pirates keeper Senzo Meyiwa. The Buccaneers then counter- attacked, but poor finishing from Man of the Match Dikgang Mabalane (pictured) and Mbuyane resulted in missed goal scoring opportunities.

However, Pirates achieved success again in the 22nd minute when Mbuyane was able to steer the ball through the legs of Tawana defender Letlabika to Phenyo Mongala waiting unmarked to his left. Mongala made no mistake with his close range shot to put Pirates 2-0 ahead.

The Buccaneers added a third goal in the 34th minute when a long ball put Mabalane clear on the right; he in turn floated the ball perfectly on to the head of Ndumiso Mabena, who jumped up and headed the ball downwards against the post. The ball hit Marosha, who tried to prevent it from crossing the line, but the power of the header saw the ball go over the line for a goal.

Pirates went further ahead in first half injury time when Mabalane cleverly beat two defenders and drove the ball wide of Marosha for goal number four. With Pirates now 4-0 up and clearly in command, it seemed highly unlikely that Tawana would be able to get back into the match.

This assessment proved to be correct as the visitors were unable to penetrate Pirates’ tight defence in the second half resulting in a comfortable victory for the home side. In fact, the Buccaneers could have won this match by a rugby score had they not been let down by poor finishing, which saw them miss a host of goal scoring opportunities in the second half.

Other results
Bidvest Wits 4 – Thanda Royal Zulu 1 – Bidvest Stadium
Sundowns 1 – Black Leopards 0 – Rand Stadium
Winners Park 0 – MP Black Aces 1 – University of Limpopo

Pirates now face PSL rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at Kings Park Stadium on Sunday in a quarter-final match up that is likely to produce plenty of fireworks. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Other quarter-final fixtures
Saturday
Bidvest Wits vs FC Cape Town – Bidvest Stadium – 3.00pm
AmaZulu vs University of Pretoria – Harry Gwala Stadium – 8.15pm
Sunday
Free State Stars vs MP Black Aces – Charles Mopeli Stadium – 3.00pm

Thomas Oosthuizen

Thomas Oosthuizen

‘Tommy Gunn’ KO’s Roman in eight
South African super-middleweight boxing sensation Thomas ‘Tommy Gunn’ Oosthuizen (pictured) took a big step towards world title honours when he knocked out experienced Mexican Saul Roman at the Emperors Palace Casino in Kempton Park last Tuesday evening.

The heavy-handed Oosthuizen (76kg) survived a rocky fifth round to dispatch the plucky Roman (76.20kg) at 35 seconds of round eight and remain unbeaten in 11 professional fights. It was the Boksburg youngster’s eighth knockout in the paid ranks.

Oosthuizen, fighting arguably his toughest opponent since turning professional in July 2008, was very impressive as he peppered the 29-year-old Roman with combinations to the head through the first four rounds. Despite absorbing tremendous punishment however, the courageous Roman hung on grimly and nearly turned the fight around when he stunned Oosthuizen with a powerful overhand right in the fifth.

Nevertheless, Oosthuizen managed to shrug off the effects of the punch and used a spear like right jab and punishing left cross to regain control of proceedings in the sixth and seventh rounds. With just seconds gone in the eighth, a crushing blow to the side of the Mexican’s head sent him crashing to the canvas where he was promptly counted out by referee Thabo Spampool. The defeat was Roman’s seventh against 32 wins (27 KO’s) in a career that has spanned 10 years.

It was an excellent win for the 23-year-old Oosthuizen especially when you consider that Roman boasts a victory over former world light middleweight champion Kassim Ouma and has shared a ring with current World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

Martinez is considered to be one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters following his recent dethroning of American Kelly Pavlik and yet Roman was able to last four rounds with the Argentine in their April 2007 light middleweight title eliminator before succumbing to a wicked body punch.

Oosthuizen’s win over Roman compares favourably with Martinez’s and is a clear indication that ‘Tommy Gunn’ has made a name for himself on the international boxing scene. It is now critical that Oosthuizen’s handlers increase the level of his competition in order to ensure the possibility of a world title crack within the next year or two.

The power punching Boksburg resident has all the trademarks of a future world champion and is undoubtedly the most marketable young fighter to come out of local shores in many a year. Let’s hope he can bring home a world title belt – and soon.

Undercard results
(W = points victory; D= draw; KO = knockout; TKO = technical knockout)
Zolani Marali W10 Kgotla Baeti (lightweights)
Bongani Dlamini TKO 3 Takalani Dangala (lightweights)
Chas Wasserman TKO 1 Benny Nkanyane (super-middleweights)
Flo Simba TKO 6 Wiseman Dlomo (heavyweights)
Johnny Muller W6 Papy Mongenda (heavyweights)
Jeff Ellis of African Ring, in conjunction with Golden Gloves Promotions, presented the tournament.

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