SPORTS DAY: More pain as Bafana’s Achilles heel exposed

Sport

SPORTS DAY: More pain as Bafana’s Achilles heel exposed

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Journalist


SOCCER
Vilakazi joins Bafana’s injury parade
Sundowns forward Sibusiso Vilakazi has pulled up with an Achilles injury in yet another blow to Bafana Bafana ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles at FNB Stadium on Saturday. Vilakazi, who sustained his injury as Bafana beat SuperSport United 1-0 in a training match on Wednesday, is out of the weekend game. 
Croatia disappears behind closed doors
Croatia’s first fixture back on home soil after reaching the World Cup final  is against England on Friday with no fans permitted into the stadium. The hosts are completing a UEFA sanction to play two games behind closed doors after a swastika symbol was carved into the pitch during a Euro 2016 qualifier against Italy in June 2015.
Police raids in seven countries
Police carried out raids in seven countries on Wednesday as Belgian prosecutors targeted the country’s most illustrious football clubs as part of an investigation into fraud and match-fixing.  A total of 220 police officers carried out 44 house searches across Belgium as well as in France, Luxemburg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, Belgian prosecutors said.
CYCLING
Tour de France trophy stolen
The Tour de France trophy won by Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas earlier this year has been stolen during a cycle show in Birmingham, the British team said on Wednesday.  “It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it, but means a lot to me and to the team,” Thomas said. “Hopefully whoever took it will have the good grace to return it.”
RUGBY
Jantjies back for Lions
New Lions captain Nic Groom will have Elton Jantjies as halfback partner in Friday’s crucial Currie Cup clash against the Pumas in Nelspruit. Lock Franco Mostert‚ however‚ will miss the clash as he has been earmarked for mandatory rest after his exertions for the Springboks in the Rugby Championships.
WP youngsters undaunted
Western Province youngsters Herschel Jantjies and Ernst van Rhyn are not daunted by the prospect of their first senior Currie Cup outings at Loftus Versfeld against the Blue Bulls this weekend. “I played at Loftus a few times as a junior – twice I think at under-19 and under-21 – and both times we came away with narrow wins,” said Van Rhyn.
World Rugby backs Test shake-up
World Rugby has backed a proposal to dramatically revamp the Test calendar and introduce a “league of nations” competition featuring the sport’s top 12 national teams. World Rugby boss Brett Gosper said the governing body supported the plan, which is aimed at boosting revenues generated by the international game, provided it passed a feasibility study.
Cane set to make full recovery after surgery
Flanker Sam Cane is up and walking around after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his neck and is expected to make a full recovery, the All Blacks said on Wednesday.
MOTOR SPORT
New all-female series aims to get women to F1
A new all-female racing series, launched on Wednesday and supported by former grand prix driver David Coulthard and top designer Adrian Newey, is aiming to help women racers get to Formula One.  No woman has competed in F1 since 1976 but organisers of the ‘W Series’ hope to provide a platform for them to develop skills. The series, with a prize fund of $1.5m, is scheduled to start in May next year. 
GOLF
Westwood out of Ryder Cup captaincy
Lee Westwood has ruled himself out of the running to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, leaving Padraig Harrington as the favourite to succeed the victorious Thomas Bjorn. Westwood said he would “wait until Rome” hosts the biennial contest in 2022 to make his bid for the role.
ATHLETICS
Bolt ready to play for his footballing future
Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt is set to start up front for the Central Coast Mariners in a trial match on Friday and the Jamaican said his future as a soccer player could be on the line. “This will determine ... [what] the club want to do with my career,” said Bolt, who in his previous appearance, against an amateur side, came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute and appeared to lack match sharpness and the touch and skill required for a professional.
BOXING
Saunders denied licence to fight in Boston  
British WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who failed a doping test in August, has been denied a licence by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission to face American Demetrius Andrade in Boston this month. Saunders had tested positive for oxilofrine, but denied any wrongdoing, saying it was the result of using a common decongestant nasal spray.
CAGE FIGHTING
Nurmagomedov won’t be stripped 
Unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov will not be stripped of his UFC lightweight title despite his role in a brawl after he’d defeated Conor McGregor on Saturday, said UFC president Dana White. Any punishment for the melee after UFC 229 would likely come from the Nevada Athletic Commission, not the UFC, he said.
AXE THROWING
New sport takes aim at sunny Los Angeles  
Axe throwing may not seem to have a place in Los Angeles, where sun and surf reign supreme, but the city’s first venue featuring the niche sport is counting on people to ditch the waves for steel hatchets.  LA Ax’s resident “axepert” Carly Chalom said the venue was getting a wide variety of clientele, from people on first dates to those who have been unlucky in love.  “The latest request we’ve gotten is for divorce parties,” she said.  While the venue tries to be accommodating, they also aim to keep things civil. “The most common question that we get asked is can we put a face on our targets, to which I have to politely say no.”​
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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