SPORTS DAY: SA steps up for African Nations Cup

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SPORTS DAY: SA steps up for African Nations Cup

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sports editor


SOCCER
SA steps in as African Nations Cup emergency hosts
The South African Football Association (Safa) has decided to accept the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) request to step in as emergency host of next year’s African Nations Cup. Caf’s desperate SOS to SA came just days after the continental body stripped Cameroon of the hosting rights‚ citing fears over security and delays in preparations for the event. The request was discussed at great length at the Safa AGM in Sandton on Sunday afternoon and a decision was taken to express interest in taking over the event. Safa president Danny Jordaan said while they are keen to welcome the continent’s best teams to SA in 2019‚ the decision is dependent on the development of a business case and on getting the SA government’s approval and support.
BOXING
Wilder draws with Fury to retain heavyweight title
American Deontay Wilder retained his WBC heavyweight title after a thrilling split decision draw with Britain’s Tyson Fury at Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Saturday, leaving both fighters talking up a rematch. The hard-hitting Wilder knocked Fury down twice, including a brutal right-left combination that sent the towering Fury to the canvas in the 12th in what initially looked to be the end of the fight. But the “Gypsy King” willed himself to his feet and held on to send the fight to the judges, who rewarded him for controlling much of the fight behind his long jab, precise footwork and slippery defence. One judge scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, another 114-112 to Fury and the third had it 113-113. The scorecards showed that Wilder benefited greatly from his two knockdowns in the ninth and the 12th, which all three judges scored 10-8 in favour of the champion. In all the other rounds the fighters were separated by a single point.
BULL RACING
Mud bull races not for the faint of heart
Waves of muddy water slosh over the jockey as he hangs on to the tails of a pair of bulls galloping across the rice paddy. It’s a wet and wild ride in this remote pocket of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, where traditional bull racing, known as Pacu Jawi, is serious business. The centuries-old races once heralded the end of the rice-harvesting season when the emerald paddies had been cleared. Nowadays, hundreds turn up to cheer on fearless jockeys who can net a bull worth as much as 15 million rupiah (R14,500) if they win a month-end tournament. The rules are simple. Jockeys grab on to the bulls’ tails and race one at a time down the paddy as fast as they can. Sometimes a pre-race bite to the tail gets the animals in a galloping mood. Riders have to stay upright for the 250m race or it’s all over. Injuries are part of the job.
GOLF
Woods among sports greats remembering Bush
Tiger Woods has recalled George H W Bush as a passionate golfer and a “class act”, as many across the sports world mourned the death of the 41st US president. “I met Mr President back when I was an amateur, so back when we were practising in Houston, so it’s been a long time,” 14-time major champion Woods said at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where many in the 18-man field remembered Bush with the number “41” on their caps. “I met him on numerous occasions. He was fantastic to be around. He was just one of the smartest people I’ve ever been around, and so down to earth,” said Woods, who played a number of rounds with Bush while in Houston. “We’d play one of those very quick rounds, 18 holes in probably under two and a half hours,” Woods said.
SOCCER
Have Chippa United axed Eric Tinkler?
Chippa United are remaining tight-lipped regarding rumours of the alleged sacking of the club’s head coach Eric Tinkler. On Sunday morning news of Tinkler’s axing did the rounds on social media, but the Chilli Boys’ chief executive officer Peter Koutroulis said he had no knowledge of an axing. “I don’t know anything, please call someone else at the club‚ not me. I am at church now. You can call around‚ maybe someone knows‚” he said. Asked if he himself was still part of Chippa United‚ Koutroulis said: “Yes.” Attempts to get comments from club boss Siviwe Mpengesi and the team’s chief operations officer Lukhanyo Mzinzi proved fruitless. The news of Tinker’s alleged sacking comes after the team’s 1-0 loss to AmaZulu at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
CRICKET
Bangladesh’s Shakib, Tamim back for Windies ODIs
Bangladesh selectors recalled Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan to a full-strength squad on Sunday for the one-day international series against the West Indies. The pair missed the Tigers’ last ODI series against Zimbabwe in October due to injury, but were deemed fit for the upcoming three-match contest in Bangladesh. All-rounder Shakib has captained Bangladesh during their wins in both Tests over West Indies – their first series victory in four years. Opening batsman Tamim has not played since injuring his wrist during the Asia Cup opener against Sri Lanka in September. He was expected to return for the Test series but a rib injury delayed his comeback. The three-match ODI series will be held from December 9 to 14 in Dhaka and Sylhet.
GOLF
Smith holds off Leishman to defend Australian title
Cameron Smith edged Marc Leishman by two strokes in a see-saw final round to defend his Australian PGA Championship title on Sunday. Australian Smith, 25, made two bogeys in the first four holes as his three-shot overnight lead over compatriot Leishman evaporated, but fought back brilliantly over the back nine to claim victory at the European Tour co-sanctioned event. Smith’s final round of two-under-par 70 took him to 16-under as he became the first player to successfully defend the title since Robert Allenby in 2001. Leishman finished on a total of 14-under after his final round of 69. His challenge faded with dropped shots on the 14th and 16th holes.
SOCCER
Chelsea return to winning ways against Fulham
Chelsea bounced back from their first Premier League defeat of the season to see off local rivals Fulham 2-0 on Sunday, with goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek putting the gloss on a mixed performance. The home side dominated possession at Stamford Bridge and scored early through Spanish forward Pedro, but struggled to find their rhythm and looked shaky until substitute Loftus-Cheek settled their nerves with a late second. Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri enjoyed a dream start to his tenure in England but a chastening 3-1 defeat to Tottenham last week stung him badly, prompting a series of autopsies with individual players. Sunday’s hard-fought win lifted Chelsea into third place above Spurs, in action against Arsenal later in the day.
BOXING
Gvozdyk flattens Stevenson to win WBC title
Oleksandr Gvozdyk knocked out Adonis Stevenson with 13 seconds remaining in the 11th round to capture the World Boxing Council light heavyweight championship in Quebec City on Saturday. The unbeaten 31-year-old Gvozdyk unloaded a barrage of rights and lefts that sent the Canadian champion reeling. He then finished Stevenson off with a crushing right hand, leaving him leaning awkwardly against the corner ropes. Gvozdyk claimed the belt in his first shot at a major title and he did it by making the trip to Canada to face Stevenson on his home soil. Gvozdyk, who won an Olympic bronze medal for Ukraine at the 2012 Games, improved to 16-0 with 13 knockouts. Stevenson, 41, showed his age in the later rounds, looking tired and lacking power. He suffered just the second defeat of his career, dropping to 29-2-1 overall.
CRICKET
Smiling Aussies ‘will still be fierce opponents’
Australia will be as fired up as ever against India despite their new vow to play with a smile, captain Tim Paine said on Sunday, while warning his pace attack not to get “too emotional”. The teams meet in the first of four Tests at Adelaide from Thursday in the wake of a scathing review of the ball-tampering scandal in SA which criticised Australian cricketers for “playing the mongrel” against opponents. In response, the team produced a so-called Players’ Pact, urging Australians to “compete with us, smile with us, fight with us, dream with us”. Paine has also pledged to shake opponents’ hands before each match as a mark of respect in a bid to change the culture within the side. The move to tone down their infamous abrasive attitude was criticised by former skipper Michael Clarke last week, but Paine insisted the aggression would still be on show.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE

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