SPORTS DAY: ‘Africa won the World Cup, not France’

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SPORTS DAY: ‘Africa won the World Cup, not France’

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor

SOCCER
‘Africa are the real World Cup winners, not France’
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro believes Africa and not France are the true winners of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Moscow with a team featuring many players of African heritage. “The French team seems like the African team; in reality Africa won, the African immigrants who arrived in France,” Maduro said. Two of France’s goalscorers against Croatia have African roots: Paul Pogba’s parents are from Guinea while Kylian Mbappe’s parents are Cameroonian and Algerian. Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon, Blaise Matuidi’s parents are Angolan and Congolese, and N’Golo Kante’s parents are Malian. Of the 23-man squad, 16 have African roots of some sort.
Unfazed Ajax preparing for battle royale against PSL
Ajax Cape Town will launch an interdict to have the start of the new Premier Soccer League (PSL) season‚ scheduled for  August 3-5‚ halted while the matter involving Tendai Ndoro is still before the courts. It is also opposing the PSL’s application for leave to appeal Judge Denise Fisher’s setting aside of an arbitration ruling in the eligibility case of Ndoro that had seen Ajax relegated at the end of last season. Fisher ruled that the correct forum to hear the matter was Fifa’s Player Status Committee. Club CEO Ari Efstathiou said if the matter is sent to Fifa‚ they will again return it to the PSL’s Dispute Resolution Chamber‚ which originally found in favour of Ajax in the matter. “Ajax have stated time again that we are willing to sit around the table and discuss a solution with all the interested parties‚ but this has been rebuffed‚” Efstathiou said.
Sundowns Champions League campaign hits new low
Mamelodi Sundowns’ stuttering African Champions League campaign hit a new low in Lome on Tuesday when they slipped to a disappointing 1-0 Group C loss to AS Togo-Port to continue their winless streak in West Africa. The South African champions were desperately poor as they showed little urgency at times and were far too wasteful in possession, their fate sealed by a first half strike from Ayi Hunlede.  Sundowns have just two points from their opening three matches in the pool and next host Togo-Port in Pretoria on July 27, a fixture that will be a must-win if they are to keep their fading hopes of a quarterfinal place alive.
GOLF
Jovan and ‘Oom’ Ernie tee it up at the OpenWhen Ernie Els hears himself being called “oom” at this week’s 147th Open Championship it’s because his nephew‚ Jovan Rebula is a rival challenger at Carnoustie. The 20-year-old Rebula‚ the son of Els’ sister Carina‚ is in the field for the season’s third major by virtue of winning the British Amateur title at Royal Aberdeen last month. Rebula was the first South African to win the prestigious amateur title since Bobby Cole in 1966. One of the prizes for winning was automatic qualification for the Open‚ a well as the 2019 Masters and US Open. Els‚ 48‚ is playing in his 28th Open Championship and his third at Carnoustie. Rebula will be soaking up lessons‚ especially as he is staying in the same house as his experienced uncle.
CYCLING
Van Vleuten retains La Course by Le Tour title
Annemiek van Vleuten followed up on her Giro Rosa victory when she prevailed in the one-day La Course by Le Tour race for the second year in a row on Tuesday, crossing the line first in Le Grand Bornand hours before the men’s Tour de France stage 10 finish. The Dutchwoman, who wrapped up her Tour of Italy title on Sunday, still had the strongest legs as she chased down Olympic champion and compatriot Anna van der Breggen after being dropped in the last climb up the Col de la Colombiere. South African Ashleigh Moolman, second overall in the July 6-15 Giro Rosa, took third place, one minute 22 seconds off the pace.
RUGBY
Lions lose Groom for rest of Super Rugby seasonLions scrumhalf Nic Groom has been ruled out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season as he undergoes surgery on an injured hand. The Lions are now thin on options in the number nine jersey behind Springbok Ross Cronje as they prepare to host the Jaguares from Argentina in their quarterfinal at Ellis Park on Saturday. The Lions side signed Groom from English side Northampton Saints in early April to add depth to their scrumhalf options.
CRICKET
CSA won’t say why they rejected $70m for T20 league
Not only did Cricket South Africa (CSA) reject an offer to earn $70-million for 11 years from their troubled T20 league‚ they didn’t say why. Instead‚ CSA are trying to reinvent the competition and have acquired SuperSport as a minority shareholder in that cause. No other details on the new tournament‚ which was to have been played last November and December and was postponed for a year when CSA discovered it would lose millions because of the lack of a broadcaster and sponsors‚ have been revealed. One of the eight owners of the original franchises, Hiren Bhanu of the Pretoria Mavericks‚ told TimesLIVE he proposed to pay CSA $70-million (R926-million) to own and run the league for 11 years. CSA would thus bear none of the financial risks. Bhanu‚ a UK-based Indian businessman‚ made his offer in March‚ but he says he was never given the chance to make a presentation to the board in person.
ASIAN GAMES
Pollution the big bugbear for Indonesia
As Indonesia prepares to host thousands of competitors and fans at next month’s Asian Games, pollution concerns have flared in Jakarta and forest fire hotspots near the second venue, Palembang in South Sumatra. Traffic congestion in Indonesia’s sprawling capital of 10 million consistently ranks among the world’s worst, and it has long struggled to boost air quality, regularly rated as unsafe by the World Health Organisation. Organisers of the Games, set to run from August 18 to September 2, drawing nearly 17,000 athletes and officials and more than 100,000 spectators, said they were working with city officials to tackle the pollution.
FORMULA ONE
Mercedes still fastest despite lost points
Formula One champions Mercedes made mistakes in the last three back-to-back races but they still have the fastest car, according to team boss Toto Wolff. World champion Lewis Hamilton won in France last month but suffered his first retirement in two years at the following race in Austria and was second in his home British Grand Prix after going from pole position to last. The Briton heads to Hockenheim for this weekend’s German Grand Prix with an eight-point gap to make up on Ferrari’s four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, who will be racing in front of his home crowd.
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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