SPORTS DAY: What a crock ... more injuries bedevil Baxter

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SPORTS DAY: What a crock ... more injuries bedevil Baxter

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

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SOCCER
Baxter forced to make more changes
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has called up Cape Town City right-back Thamsanqa Mkhize and Orlando Pirates winger Thembinkosi Lorch as replacements for injured Thapelo Morena and Vincent Pule for his squad to meet the Seychelles. Baxter had said in his opening press conference on Monday that Pirates winger Pule and Mamelodi Sundowns right-back Morena (quad muscle) were to undergo scans to evaluate their fitness. Evidently both had to be withdrawn from the squad.
‘The only pressure I feel is from God’
Orlando Pirates’ Serbian coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic is adamant that he does not feel under pressure despite having nothing to show on the trophy cabinet in his second season in charge of the Buccaneers. “First of all the only pressure I feel in my life is the pressure from God‚” said Sredojevic. “In every competition we are in we are coming with the highest possible ambition to go all the way and win and that is the identity of this great that I’m blessed to be its head coach.” It has been four seasons since the Buccaneers tasted victory in a cup competition.
Rooney demands more from United players
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has become an easy target for criticism after his club’s slow start to the season, but the players themselves must take more responsibility, according to former Reds striker Wayne Rooney. “I said a few weeks ago, the players have to stand up. They have to be counted and they have to be better. The manager can do so much, but then it is down to the players on the pitch to produce and probably collectively. It [the poor run of form] is a bit of everything coming together but Jose is an easy target.”  
RUGBY
Bok stars return for WP
Western Province will be boosted with the return of several Springboks for this weekend’s final Currie Cup pool match against the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday. Non-contracted Boks such as Damian Willemse‚ Wilco Louw‚ Bongi Mbonambi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe will be in the selection mix this weekend. The defending champions only need a point to finish top of the standings.
Straeuli to stay at Ellis Park
Despite enthusiastic overtures from the Blue Bulls‚ Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli will stay put at Ellis Park. The Bulls had approached him to apply for the position that will be vacated by Barend van Graan at the end of January next year. “I never applied for that job. They approached me‚” Straeuli said.
CAGE FIGHTING
Nurmagomedov blasts ‘dimwit’ McGregor
Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov said he had “shut up that dimwit” Conor McGregor as he lapped up a hero’s welcome on his return to his native Dagestan following the successful defence of his UFC lightweight crown against the Irishman. “Khabib! Khabib!” a crowd of some 20,000 fans chanted to welcome the unbeaten champion in an arena in the town of Kaspiysk, 14km from Dagestan’s main city of Makhachkala. “I wanted to shut up that dimwit up to prove the difference between our people and his people. Nobody can break us, our people have a great history,” he boasted. 
HORSE RACING
Torchlight protest at racing ad 
Hundreds of Australians flickered torches on Tuesday at the sails of Sydney’s Opera House, aiming the light rays to disrupt horse-racing advertisements projected on its facade, in a protest against the use of the building to promote gambling. A firestorm of criticism erupted after the government of the state of New South Wales overruled the management of the World Heritage listed building to allow the advertisements for the A$13m Everest Cup.
MOTOR SPORT
Hamilton defends Vettel 
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has defended Sebastian Vettel after the Ferrari driver’s title hopes effectively ended in Japan at the weekend. “I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” Hamilton wrote at the end of an Instagram story from a fashion show in Tokyo. The Briton stands on the brink of securing his fifth championship after winning six of the past seven races for Mercedes to lead his German rival by 67 points with four races remaining.
TENNIS
Tip-top Federer ‘where I want to be’
Roger Federer warned Novak Djokovic and his other Shanghai Masters rivals on Tuesday that he was in prime condition even as another long season approaches its climax. “The good thing is after feeling good in practice I played a good Laver Cup, have had also some rest after the US Open,” said Federer, who has been carefully managing his schedule in recent years. The Swiss great’s prime threats in Shanghai are likely to come from world number three Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.
Aussie organisers working on coaching rule 
Australian Open organisers are working to determine whether coaching will be allowed during the Grand Slam tournament in an effort to end the controversy that led to Serena Williams’s outburst over a code violation during the US Open final. “We’re getting the global governing bodies – the ATP, WTA and ITF – and the grand slams together to talk about our approach to coaching,” Tiley said at an event for next year’s opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park. “I think it’s really important that it’s consistent so fans and players don’t get confused on it, so hopefully in the coming weeks we are able to make an announcement on our position.”  
Umpires get life bans for fixing, betting  
Three tennis umpires from Thailand have been handed life bans for match fixing and betting offences, including manipulating the official scoring system during matches, the sport’s anti-corruption body said. All three admitted betting on matches at which they were officiating during lower-tier ITF Futures tournaments in 2017. They also manipulated scores inputted into the electronic scoring system “for betting-related purposes and personal profit”.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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