SPORTS DAY: It's hope and play for Bafana coach

Sport

SPORTS DAY: It's hope and play for Bafana coach

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor and columnist: Sunday Times

SOCCER
Club vs country tensions worry Bafana boss
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is keeping his fingers crossed that there are no club versus country tensions when he announces the squad to play in the Cosafa Cup in Polokwane between May 27 and June 9. South Africa‚ who were one of six seeded teams‚ will enter competition in the quarterfinal stage and will face whoever wins Group A‚ which includes Madagascar‚ Comoros‚ Seychelles and unpredictable Mozambique. “I don’t know if it’s direct reluctance to release the players but I think that clubs are still concentrated on relegation battles‚ winning championships and qualifying for the top eight‚” said Baxter after the Cosafa Cup draw on Wednesday.
Lack of defending keeps Ntshangase on Chiefs bench
Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has told January signing Siphelele Ntshangase that it is his lack of defending that is keeping the playmaker out of Amakhosi’s starting XI‚ the player has said. Ntshangase‚ a headline signing from Baroka FC alongside Colombian striker Leonardo Castro from Sundowns‚ made an early impact in some impressive performances‚ mostly from the bench‚ but has remained on the bench‚ with only one start among seven substitutes’ apperances.
BOXING
Pacquiao to launch own cryptocurrency
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao said on Wednesday he will launch a cryptocurrency to connect with fans, but also backed the regulation of virtual currencies. Pacquiao is the latest athlete to launch a virtual currency, following Floyd Mayweather and former England striker Michael Owen. The Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange, in which Pacquiao has invested, said it would unveil the “PAC Token” later this year, which would allow fans to buy the Filipino star’s merchandise and interact with him via live-streaming.
The Rock to box Bolotniks
Awkward left-handed boxer Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu will now meet Ricards Bolotniks of Latvia in the Golden Gloves tournament at Emperors Palace in Gauteng on June 23, promoter Rodney Berman has announced. Thulani “Evolution” Mbenge will put his WBC International welterweight title on the line in one of the bouts that will form part of “Bombs Away” programme. Berman will announce Mbenge’s opponent in the coming weeks.
RUGBY
Malherbe boost for StormersThe embattled Stormers have received a boost with the news that Springbok tighthead prop Frans Malherbe is set to make his first appearance of the campaign this weekend. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and former Bok wing JJ Engelbrecht are also set to return for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks in Durban‚ which is a must-win game for the Cape Town side. The Stormers have lost five out of eight matches in 2018 and need to earn some valuable away points before a run of five home games.
Staples suspended for after positive steroid test
Yorkshire Carnegie’s South African flanker Brandon Staples has been banned from all sport for four years after testing positive for three steroids, England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Wednesday. Staples, 20, was tested on August 9 2017 and provisionally suspended on September 7 after his sample returned an adverse analytical finding. He is the first player to test positive for a performance-enhancing substance in English professional rugby since 2011, the RFU said. Staples said the adverse finding was the result of him consuming a nutritional drink while on holiday.
Border Rugby liquidated, staff stranded
The Border Rugby Union (BRU) was placed into provisional liquidation on Tuesday‚ which has not only left 24 contracted players potentially without livelihoods‚ but also all the union’s support staff. Justice John Smith granted a sequestration order for the provisional liquidation of the BRU in the Bhisho High Court. Border are due to play their first competitive match of the season‚ a SuperSport Rugby Challenge match against Boland, in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. That fixture is now in doubt since it is in the hands of the liquidator.
TENNIS
Nadal thrashes Bedene in Monte CarloWorld No 1 Rafael Nadal started his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-1, 6-3 second-round victory over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene on Wednesday. The 16-time Grand Slam winner, like Novak Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title, and will take on big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov in the last 16. Nadal brought up set point in the opener with a trademark, curling forehand up the line, before sealing the set with a drop shot. He remains on course for a possible quarterfinal showdown with Djokovic, who needed 10 match points to see off Borna Coric.
CRICKET
Kohli keen on country stint before England tour
Virat Kohli says he is keen to play county cricket to get used to conditions on English soil before India’s tour of the country later this year. The Indian skipper – the second-ranked Test batsman in the world and the best in one-day internationals – had an uncharacteristically ordinary spell during the England tour in 2014. He managed just 134 runs in 10 innings, a far cry from the average 53.40 over 66 Tests, including 21 centuries, that earned him the moniker “King Kohli”.
CYCLING
O'Connor wins Alps third stage
Australian Ben O’Connor won the third stage of the Tour of the Alps on Wednesday with Britain’s four-time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, finishing sixth. Dimension Data rider O’Connor crossed alone five seconds ahead of Thibaut Pinto of FDJ with the French rider taking the overall race lead, after the 138.3km ride from Ora to Merano in northern Italy. Overnight leader Ivan Sosa of Colombia crashed out on the final descent.
– TimesLive, Reuters and AFP

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