SPORTS DAY: Arsenal’s transfer frenzy and the other day’s stories
David Isaacson rounds up the sports news you need to know
Aubameyang joins Arsenal in record transfer
Arsenal have signed striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.UK media reported that the deal was around £56-million, eclipsing the £46.5-million paid to French side Olympique Lyonnais for forward Alexandre Lacazette last year. Meanwhile, Mesut Özil finally agreed a new contract which will see him become the highest-paid player in Arsenal’s history, according to the BBC. The broadcaster reports that the 29-year-old playmaker signed a three-and-a-half year contract and will earn around £350,000 (R5.88-million) a week. Aubameyang has scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for the German side and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club.The 28-year-old is Gabon’s all-time top goalscorer with 23 goals from 56 matches and was named the African Footballer of the Year in 2015.
‘Hopefully the pitch talk’s done now’
Five days after their intense Test series ended at the Wanderers‚ South Africa and India will clash again at Kingsmead on Thursday. This time the ball will be white‚ the kit coloured‚ and the pitch flat. “One-day cricket should be about good wickets. Always. Hopefully the pitch talk’s done now.” That was Faf du Plessis at his press conference on Wednesday‚ curtly but politely trying to put to bed the justifiable fuss over a Wanderers Test pitch that the International Cricket Council labelled “poor” on Tuesday. Not that the heat will be off the Indians‚ who have won only five of the 26 completed ODIs they have played against South Africa in this country.WINTER OLYMPICS
Tongan pin-up makes ‘crazy’ Olympics return
Pita Taufatofua captured global attention as Tonga’s oiled and topless flagbearer at the Rio Olympics, but he won’t dress the same for the Winter Games ceremony in Pyeongchang. Taufatofua, Brisbane-born but fiercely proud of his Tongan heritage, was determined to reach Pyeongchang after his Summer Games experience in Rio in 2016. He travelled to Brazil as a taekwondo fighter, losing in the first round. After a number of falls and equipment failures preparing for cross-country skiing, he appeared set to miss out before dramatically clinching a place this month at the final qualifying round in Iceland. “It feels like a miracle. It feels like a gold medal just to qualify,” he said.
All Blacks, Australia to clash in Japan
World champions New Zealand will play fierce rivals Australia later this year in Japan, both sides announced on Wednesday, as the Japanese seek to build support ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The third Bledisloe Cup match between the two Southern Hemisphere superpowers will take place on October 27 at the 72,000-seater International Stadium in Yokohama near Tokyo, where the Rugby World Cup final will be staged on November 2 2019.
Probe into soft dismissals
The International Cricket Council is investigating a private Twenty20 league in the United Arab Emirates, the sport’s global governing body has said, after footage of some farcical dismissals went viral on social media. A match in the Ajman All Stars League, which is not sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board, saw several batsmen appear to throw their wickets in bizarre fashion, by running themselves out or getting stumped without trying to return to the crease, even when the wicketkeeper fumbled.
Nepal’s ‘Shane Warne’ keen to soak up IPL experience
Legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane says his breakthrough Indian Premier League deal will give him the chance to play alongside the cricketing elite and promote the sport back at home. Lamichhane, 17, became an overnight hero after becoming Nepal’s first cricketer to enter the lucrative IPL, with Delhi Daredevils picking him in a mega auction Sunday. His name was splashed across front pages of national newspapers and thousands took to social media to express their excitement. “If you get the chance to play in the IPL, lots of players will be there who are very experienced guys and I think I will learn a lot,” said Lamichhane, the son of a railway worker. His teammates will include Kagiso Rabada.
Advertisers to avoid politics
After politics seeped onto the football field during the regular season, Super Bowl advertisers are opting to stay far away from anything divisive when they pitch to the year’s biggest television audience on Sunday. Makers of cars, snacks and electronics are favouring heart-warming and humorous approaches to grab viewers’ attention during the US football championship between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Advertisers are likely to stick with proven strategies, such as comedy or positive emotions rather than controversies such as athletes kneeling during the national anthem, marketing experts said, adding protests over racial inequality drove some viewers away.
Tomic has ‘huge wake-up call’ after SA visit
Australian tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic said he had a “huge wake-up call” after taking part in a reality TV show, leaving early to return to the sporting world. Tomic, 25, has been pilloried for his poor attitude during a season to forget in 2017 where he admitted he was bored. He then took part in commercial broadcaster Channel Ten’s reality show I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!, held in South Africa, but pulled out after just three days. “I don’t want to spend half my time depressed here and thinking about how I played the last year and where I should be,” Tomic said on the programme aired late on Tuesday as he explained his departure to other participants.