SPORTS DAY: Innocent is the only Pirate in Bafana squad

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SPORTS DAY: Innocent is the only Pirate in Bafana squad

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

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SOCCER
Chiefs, Bucs no longer dominate Bafana call-ups
There was a time when it was taken for granted that any Bafana Bafana squad would be dominated by Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players. Well‚ not anymore. The number of Bafana players drawn from from the Soweto giants continued to fall on Tuesday as Stuart Baxter named his 22-man squad to face Libya in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on September 8. In the latest squad only three players – goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and right-back Ramahlwe Mphahlele from Chiefs‚ and left-back Innocent Maela from Pirates – were named from the country’s two biggest teams. Replacing these teams in terms of dominance in the latest squad were league champions Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United‚ who all had four players each in Baxter’s squad.
Chiefs coach wants a sweeper-keeper
Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas is working on a new playing system that will see Itumeleng Khune used as a sweeper-keeper. With the evolution of football in recent years‚ most coaches are encouraging goalkeepers to play with the ball at their feet to initiate buildups from the back and Solinas said this is the philosophy he is imparting to his players at Naturena.
Neville urges United to stick with Mourinho
Manchester United must stick with manager Jose Mourinho despite the club’s dismal start to the Premier League campaign, former defender Gary Neville has said. “I accept these are different times and I accept the difficulties and challenges, but my honest view as I stand here now is that (owner) Ed Woodward gave him a contract last season ... he should see that contract through to the end and do the job. You can’t keep jumping around with managers... ”
Bolt struggling with football paceSprint superstar Usain Bolt admitted on Tuesday he was struggling with the tempo of professional football but is working hard to raise his fitness levels ahead of his first trial match for Australia’s Central Coast Mariners this week. “The most challenging thing for me is the stop and go because I’m not used to picking up speed, going back down, then back again,” he said.
Shabba off to Turkey
Kaizer Chiefs have confirmed that their long-serving midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala will jet off to Turkey to join his new club Super Lig side BB Erzurumspor. The 33-year-old‚ who has been with Chiefs since 2007‚ was not part of the squad that played to a 2-2 draw against SuperSport United on Sunday in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinals at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
TENNIS
‘Serena attitude defused dress code row’
French Open director Guy Forget says Serena Williams’ attitude defused a potential row over an up-coming dress code that he insists will be far less strict than the one at Wimbledon. The idea he said would be to establish a certain level of elegance or as he put it “a Roland Garros style”. The move comes hot on the heels of a furore following French tennis federation chief Bernard Giudicelli describing the “Black Panther” catsuit US star Williams wore at the French Open in May as “going too far”. Williams at the time took the announcement in her stride, describing her relationship with the French Open organisers as wonderful.
RUGBY
Kumbirai wants to make loosehead coolWestern Province tighthead prop Michael Kumbirai would like to make the least glamorous position on the field “cool” during the 2018 Currie Cup campaign. Last weekend in a torrential downpour the former St Albans College pupil was an anchor for the WP scrum in conditions that required a boat rather than boots. And he was impressive both in the tight and the loose.
Misfiring Wallabies not fit enough: Dwyer
The misfiring Wallabies are not fit enough, World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer said on Tuesday, blaming the players and not the coaching set-up for their dismal run of defeats. “We were getting comments out of the Wallaby camp that fitness had definitely improved and skill level had improved. Well, that didn’t appear to be the case,” said Dwyer, who led Australia to their first rugby World Cup title in 1991.
Cheika safe despite ‘unacceptable’ performances
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has Rugby Australia’s backing through to next year’s Rugby World Cup despite disappointing performances against the All Blacks, the governing body’s CEO Raelene Castle has said. “He is contracted through to the World Cup and he has a plan – we are across that plan and we are comfortable with it. But clearly you can’t just ignore the performances – they’re not acceptable.”
CRICKET
ICC wants footage from new graft documentary
The Al Jazeera TV news channel is planning a follow-up documentary about alleged corruption in cricket, Australian and global cricket chiefs revealed Tuesday, appealing for access to unedited footage to properly investigate the claims. The Qatar-based broadcaster made a series of spot-fixing allegations in a first documentary entitled “Cricket’s Match-Fixers” earlier this year involving unidentified current and former players.
ASIAN GAMES
North Koreans win hearts
North Korea’s athletes are not only scooping record numbers of medals at the Asian Games, they are winning hearts with an unprecedented charm offensive and will go home as heroes — rewarded with new cars and houses. At the weightlifting competition which concluded on Monday with an eighth gold — smashing North Korea’s previous best of four in 2014 — the team’s attitude has been the polar opposite from Incheon four years ago. There, every medallist trotted out a well-worn script of thanking leader Kim Jong Un for his inspiration to reporters before being whisked away.  But over eight days at the Jakarta International Expo their athletes have gone off-piste to talk frankly about their nerves, fears, emotions and life back home while mingling freely with spectators and reporters.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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