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Sascoc Has To Be Better For South Africa Athletes To Perform

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Sascoc Has To Be Better For South Africa Athletes To Perform

What is the point of Sascoc? If that organisation didn’t exist, would anyone miss it? South African athletes perform, well or not, in spite of and not because of Sascoc.

It’s been that way for a while. Current Minister for Sport (and Arts and Culture) Nathi Mthethwa, for all his many faults – just ask anyone in the arts industry what they think of Mthethwa – has tried really hard to give Sascoc an authoritative role in SA sport, and Sascoc has failed dismally.

“Failed dismally” were the very words used by Mthethwa earlier this year to describe Sascoc’s attempts at intervening in the problems that beset Cricket SA’s administration in the last few years. Sascoc president Barry Hendricks has occasionally earned the ire of Mthethwa.

In a radio interview in April, as the crisis at CSA deepened, Mthethwa described Sascoc and Hendricks’ antics at the Special General Meeting in the following way: “The problem with sport is that you have individuals whose parochial interests supersede the national interest.

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Sascoc was presented as a paragon of correctness and uprightness (at the special meeting) which they are not. If they were, they would have dealt with this matter, now they want to come through the backdoor.”

And now we have this issue over the bonuses for medallists at the Olympics. That controversy has, for now, clouded the fact that there were just two medallists for Team SA in Tokyo. There are plenty of mitigating factors – the most obvious one being the Covid-19 pandemic – but it’s not a good return for Team SA and does not reflect very well on Sascoc.

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The organisation will have to account for that, according to Mthethwa’s department, which on Tuesday, in a long winded statement about the bonuses, also said that Sascoc would have to explain the overall performance of the Olympic team as it is “Sascoc’s task to coordinate the team, including the selection process”.

Mthethwa was also unhappy about the racial composition of the team that represented SA in Tokyo, although there is a whole lot his own ministry will have to account for on that front.

Hendricks’ comment that he and Sascoc did not want to get into discussions about bonuses before the Games because “we wanted the athletes to concentrate on their performances without distraction” is simply ridiculous. The previous three summer Olympics and Paralympics all saw Sascoc make a real song and dance about bonuses for medallists, which certainly didn’t cause a distraction for the nine athletes who won six medals in London, nor the nine athletes and Blitzboks who won 10 medals in Rio – South Africa’s best medal haul since the country’s return to the Olympics in 1992. The bonuses were hardly a “distraction”.

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The only thing that appears to be a distraction for athletes and SA sport in general is Sascoc’s inability to properly oversee sport in SA.

It’s been through a change of leadership, which was enforced following a commission of inquiry.

What it needs is better leadership that won’t go looking for excuses, or saying things like athletes will be distracted by talk of bonuses.

Surely we have better sports administrators who can make Sascoc into an entity that benefits and prioritises athletes.

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Benni McCarthy’s Outburst Par For The Course In This Game

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Benni McCarthy Slams Officiating In AmaZulu's Draw With SuperSport United

The general reaction of outrage to Benni McCarthy’s touchline verbal jostle with Kaitano Tembo last week was typically South African, wasn’t it?

Getting our knickers in a twist over what is nothing more than an overflow of emotions in a highly competitive sport renowned for not being too kind on coaches, has become some form of pastime for us local football fans.

It is as if we ourselves don’t ever throw expletives towards the opposition team, the officials and even our own clubs when things go pear-shaped during a match.

Damn, I can bet you that many of those who called McCarthy out have had to be restrained from totally losing it when watching a football match!

Such is the nature of this beautiful game that we love so much.

The AmaZulu coach was vilified in many quarters, termed abusive, temperamental and even a spoilt brat who doesn’t have respect for the sport.

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And all for what really, standing up for himself?

When McCarthy said he had lost every bit of respect he used to have for Tembo before referring to the SuperSport United coach as being broke, it wasn’t just out of malice. At least from what he said, one could deduce that Benni had been sworn at by his adversary and he felt a need to retaliate.

What should he have done? Sat on his bench and kept quiet Turned the other cheek?

Some coaches perhaps, but not Benni. I’ve been around a number of guys from the Cape Flats – even the meekest ones – to know that you don’t call them a c*** and expect them to just walk away.

Many felt he went below the belt in referring to Tembo as broke and asked how he knew that. He probably did. But all fair in war, is it not?

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The reality is that when attacked, we all have our go-to defensive mode – one we believe will prove us superior to our opponents. And anyone who has followed Benni’s career would know that the man from Hanover Park is not shy to let anyone who pushes him feel that they are inferior to him when it comes to achievements.

Sure it might come across as him being pompous and lacking in humility, but he does that only when pushed – it is his defensive mechanism.

A boy from the very dangerous Cape Flats who, thanks to football, survived a life that could easily have seen him involved in the drug wars that have messed up many of his peers, McCarthy is very proud of his achievements in the game.

That success has ensured he is financially sound and he has not hidden that fact. I remember when we went to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt back in 2006, the Safa head of delegation then, Mubarak Mohamed, no doubt working on a tight budget, rationed the players on how much they could eat on an outing.

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Benni stood up and told his teammates they could eat as much as they liked and he would pay. Mohamed felt undermined, but Benni meant no harm then, just a loaded young man wanting his mates to have a good time.

There was also that incident when he was involved in a post-match scuffle with the Bidvest Wits technical team of Roger de Sa and Eric Tinkler, the then Orlando Pirates striker reminding the duo that he’d won more trophies and made more money than both of them combined. Ouch!

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Benni McCarthy Slams Officiating In AmaZulu’s Draw With SuperSport United

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Benni McCarthy Slams Officiating In AmaZulu's Draw With SuperSport United

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy blasted the officiating in his side’s 0-0 stalemate with SuperSport United at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on Tuesday night.

The physical encounter ended in frustration for both teams as both made a hash of the chances they had and ended the game with ten players apiece.

“The referee (Thando Ndzandzeka) could not really control the game and he did not have it under control. It was one-way traffic with everything going in favour of one team. Our frustrations grew and tackles came flying in,” said McCarthy.

AmaZulu’s Tercious Malepe was given his marching orders in the 73rd minute following a challenge on Jamie Webber. McCarthy believes the decision to send off his player was wrong while also blasting the behaviour of opposition player Webber whom he feels overreacted to the situation.

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“I thought it was a clean challenge from Tercious (Malepe) as he won possession without touching the player (Webber). If that’s what the mentality of our players these days is, it makes them mediocre and average. He (Webber) rolled over like his leg was broken when he was not touched. The referee fell for it. The fourth official saw it and was telling the referee which way to go when we committed a foul,” said McCarthy.

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Despite his side now winless from five games in all competitions, McCarthy believes that his men did show “grit” when they were reduced to ten men.

“We showed heart and determination with ten men to stay in the game. We did not let them create one chance to win the game. I think that the fight we showed was superb and we even looked to win the game,” said McCarthy.

AmaZulu have clearly struggled in front of goal without the presence of the injured Augustine Mulenga as they have so far scored just one goal in all competitions so far this season. McCarthy conceded that the lack of efficiency in the final third by his men is a concern.

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“Our lack of goalmouth action is a concern. Our players don’t seem to want to score goals. We create chances but are not scoring them. It’s a big problem. My biggest quest was to sign a striker and maybe it caused our current strikers to lose confidence because I said it publicly.

We need an additional option to give us something different when we go to games. It’s not the best situation but we can’t complain about getting a point from the game,” said McCarthy.

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’Beautiful Memories’ But Hlompho Kekana’s Mamelodi Sundowns Adventure About To End

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’Beautiful Memories’ But Hlompho Kekana’s Mamelodi Sundowns Adventure About To End

Mamelodi Sundowns legend Hlompho Kekana is not part of the club’s plans for this season and is expected to leave, according to reports.

According to speculation from South African media, Sundowns have offered the former Bafana Bafana midfielder two options.

He can either be integrated into the club’s coaching structure which would entail him retiring from playing professionally or they are willing to sanction a loan move if he wants to continue playing the game.

Kekana was a fringe player for Masandawana last season as he made just 15 appearances in all competitions under the coaching trio of Rhulani Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela.

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Kekana is one of the most decorated players in Premier Soccer League history having won a total of eight domestic Premiership titles. He was a key component of the Pitso Mosimane led Sundowns team that dominated South African football for almost a decade and won the 2016 CAF Champions League title.

He was also a key player for the Gavin Hunt led SuperSport United side that dominated South African football between 2007-2010.

“Today marks the 10th anniversary of me signing with Sundowns. In 2011, the opportunity to play for the team was one I couldn’t let pass me by. This past decade has reminded me what is meant by “the sky is the limit” and the success on the field is something that as a little boy, playing soccer on the streets of ZB, I could only dream off,” said Kekana in a statement released on social media.

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“There have been some beautiful memories, adventures and stories that the people who shared the journey alongside me have lived. Airplanes and busses, time spent in airports the opportunity to interact with people from the continent and beyond, I’ve gotten to see what Mamelodi Sundowns means to people,” he added.

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Bafana Coach Hugo Broos Cautious About His Team’s Chances In World Cup Qualifiers

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Bafana Coach Hugo Broos Cautious About His Team's Chances In World Cup Qualifiers

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says it remains his ambition to inspire the national team to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, although that might not be possible given the fact that the team is currently undergoing a rebuilding phase.

On Thursday noon, Broos announced a 31-man preliminary squad that will face Zimbabwe and Ghana in the global showpiece qualifiers next month away and at home respectively. Broos said he’ll announce the final 23-squad in due course.

Since taking over the reins in May, this will be the first time that the 69-year-old will be in charge for a match, given that he was absent for Bafana’s international friendly against Uganda and the Cosafa Cup that was hosted in Gqeberha in July.

But the Belgian coach kept the bulky of the squad that won the Cosafa Cup, while he also called up some of the Under-23 players that played in the Tokyo Olympic Games. And that’s why his selection consisted of young players, mostly.

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“Let me be clear, for once and always, I want to go to Qatar. Don’t let there be a misunderstanding. I’d like to be in Afcon in 2023. I want to go to the World Cup in 2026. This is my ambition and I want to put it in my team,” Broos explained.

“But again, as you see, for example the qualification for the World Cup as an African country, it’s extremely difficult. There are 10 groups of four teams and that makes 40 teams and only five of them can qualify for the World Cup next year.”

He continued: “Compared to European teams, there are more chances for them to qualify. But the ambition is to go there. But because we are rebuilding and making a young team, maybe it might happen and we don’t have to be disappointed.”

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With domestic and international campaigns having only commenced for the new season, Broos conceded it’s been difficult to make some of the selections. But based on what he’s seen in the last few months, he’s confident about his team.

However, the fact that some of the integral figures in his team are not getting game-time at club level that has made his job a little bit difficult. As a result, he since advised talisman Percy Tau to leave Brighton & Hove Albion and join Egyptian side Al Ahly.

Since returning to Brighton early this year, Tau has failed to become a regular in the team. As a result his former coach Pitso Mosimane has expressed his intentions to reunite with him in Egypt. Broos has since endorsed the reunion between the two.

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“We have players abroad and they don’t pay, and that’s really a problem. But that they had pre-season preparations with the clubs, means that they are physically okay. But you can train as much as you want but if you don’t play, it’s not good,” he said.

“This will mean that they don’t have the rhythm of the game. And I hope that the players in Europe are playing. Percy Tau, I hope that he can leave Brighton and go to Egypt, and reunite with Pitso who’s at Al Ahly. It will be a very good thing for him.”

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Boks Beat Argentina In Rugby Championship Opener As Depth Is Tested In Gqeberha

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Boks Beat Argentina In Rugby Championship Opener As Depth Is Tested In Gqeberha

The significance of this 32-12 Springbok demolition of Argentina cannot be underestimated and it confirms after the recent Lions series that Siya Kolisi’s men are indeed the real deal and have the depth and organisation to potentially dominate the world stage.

During the week, this match had “banana skin” written all over given it took place just seven days after the physically and mentally exacting Lions finale.

This necessitated ten changes to the Bok starting line-up while the Pumas had picked their strongest side and were fresh from an ideal warm-up series against Wales.

Never before in the history of the 26-year-old Rugby Championship has a team had to play an opening-round match a week after having played a Test match, and certainly not straight after a seismic Lions series.

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Incidentally, in 2009, the Boks had a month’s break from the third Lions Test before they played their first Tri-Nations match.

So the Boks would have been forgiven if they had stuttered at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium as a new combination found its feet against an opposition that boasted most of the players that beat the All Blacks a year ago.

Instead, the Boks hit the ground running and a gulf in class was soon apparent, notably upfront where the Pumas were heavily outgunned.

It was noteworthy to see the famed Argentine set scrum in reverse all evening, and in general the abrasive South African forwards ensured the Pumas played the game behind the advantage line.

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The South American also could not deal with the precise aerial bombardment and almost every time the Boks hoisted the ball, some kind of advantage for them accrued.

The Bok halfback pairing of Elton Jantjies and Cobus Reinach enjoyed a fruitful evening, Jantjies kicking accurately for posts and Reinach displaying his delightful menace on the attack.

After Jantjies had settled his nerves with a difficult penalty after just three minutes, Reinach pounced on a spilled Pumas pass in his 22 and then hurtled down the touchline for a spectacular score, one that would have made his late father — a blisteringly fast Springbok wing in the ‘80s — extremely proud.

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The Boks’ second try, just minutes later, was also top drawer, this time a pin-point Janjties kick-pass to the corner setting up Aphelele Fassi for a deft catch-and-finish in the corner.

The Boks led 21-9 at halftime, the Pumas points coming via the boot of Nicolas Sanchez, and after half time they steam-rolled on, never allowing the Pumas to put together phases and crushing them at the breakdown.

Two minutes from the end, the Bok scoring was poignantly concluded when the oldest player on the field, Frans Steyn (34) gave a try-making pass to the youngest, 21-year-old Jaden Hendrikse, who on debut brilliantly scored in the corner.

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