SPORTS DAY: More ructions as Chippa coach sees his chips
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Mpengesi fires coach number four in one season
Notoriously trigger-happy Chippa United boss Chippa Mpengesi is believed to have fired coach Joel Masutha and replaced him with former Bafana Bafana player Clinton Larsen. Larsen‚ who parted ways with Golden Arrows in late December‚ will become Chippa’s fifth coach of the premiership season‚ which has only passed its halfway stage. Vladislav Heric was appointed ahead of the start of the campaign but was fired without taking charge of a game. He was replaced by Dan Malesela‚ who himself later gave way to Eric Tinkler. Masutha took over from Tinkler in early December and was only in charge as an interim coach for five games‚ none of which he managed to win.
Thembi Kgatlana has the world at her feet
At 22‚ Thembi Kgatlana has the world at her feet following her Women’s Player of the Year and Goal of the Year prizes at the 2018 Caf Awards‚ says former Banyana Banyana coach Fran Hilton-Smith. Kgatlana – rubbing shoulders with Men’s Player of the Year Mohamed Salah and legends George Weah‚ Samuel Eto-o and Didier Drogba at the ceremony in Dakar‚ Senegal on Tuesday night – was the only recipient of two awards. She became the second South African‚ after Noko Matlou in 2008‚ to win the Women’s Player award. Banyana collected three awards‚ with coach Desiree Ellis scooping Coach of the Year.
Salah seals great day for Egypt
Mohamed Salah completed a memorable day for Egyptian football by retaining his African Player of the Year award in Senegal on Tuesday. The 26-year-old Liverpool star finished first with club mate Senegalese Sadio Mane and Arsenal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the other finalists. “I have dreamt of winning this award since I was a child and now I have done so twice in a row,” Salah said. Egypt crushed sole rivals SA 16-1 earlier on Tuesday in a CAF executive committee vote in Dakar to decide which country succeeded Cameroon as 2019 Cup of Nations hosts.
Higuain poised to complete Chelsea move
AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain has “agreed terms” and is set for an imminent move to Premier League club Chelsea. Higuain joined Milan on a season-long loan from Juventus in July with an option to make the deal permanent, but he has struggled to settle at San Siro, scoring eight goals in all competitions. The 31-year-old Argentina international reportedly wants to join his former Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri at the English club, who would take over Milan’s option to eventually make the deal permanent. Milan paid €18m to sign him on loan, with a clause to make the deal permanent for a further 36 million euros. Higuain had his most successful season under Sarri, breaking the Serie A goalscoring record with 36 goals in the 2015/16 campaign.
Elgar confirmed as Proteas stand-in captain
Dean Elgar has been confirmed as stand-in captain for the Proteas in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday. Elgar‚ who led the team against England at Lord’s in 2017‚ takes over the leadership role in the absence of Faf du Plessis‚ who is suspended for this match because of his team’s slow over rate in their win over Pakistan in Cape Town. The selectors have put uncapped Cape Cobras opening batsman Pieter Malan on standby as cover for Aiden Markram who will undergo a late fitness test on Thursday as a result of a thigh injury he sustained while fielding at Newlands.
Albie Morkel retires from all forms of cricket
The familiar sight of Albie Morkel is now in the past after the highly respected and former Proteas allrounder announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Wednesday. The giant Titans all-rounder and captain‚ who is the elder brother of retired Proteas fast bowler Morne‚ played one Test‚ 58 ODIs and 50 T20s for SA between 2004 and 2014 where he took a combined 77 wickets, said: “Time has run out for me on the cricket field.”
Pandya’s ‘misogynist’ comments spark anger
India cricket chiefs have ordered star allrounder Hardik Pandya to explain sexist comments made on a TV chat show after the remarks sparked social media outrage and prompted the player to apologise. Pandya said he “got a bit carried away” as he explained his bragging about his prowess with women on the show on Sunday. Pandya and batsman Lokesh Rahul, who also took part in the interview, have both been ordered to explain their comments. Both are currently on India’s tour of Australia.
Brits must be the senior head of inconsistent Bulls
Newly acquired Bulls hooker Schalk Brits finds himself in a wonderfully weird place where some of his teammates were toddlers when he started his professional career. He’s going to have to be the senior head in a very talented but equally inconsistent Bulls outfit that comes fresh with a new coaching group. The 37-year-old Brits‚ who has 11 Springbok caps spread across 10 years‚ came across as more excited than his younger colleagues. “Well‚ not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be getting a professional contract at this age. I got my first professional contract in 1999 and some of the players here actually matriculated in 2015 and 2016. It’s a different group of players but I’ve been called ‘oom’ (uncle in Afrikaans) in the Bok squad by some characters‚” Brits said.
Halep and Stephens bundled out in Sydney
World number one Simona Halep’s preparations for next week’s Australian Open suffered a huge setback Wednesday when she was bundled out of the Sydney International, along with fourth seed Sloane Stephens. The Romanian was no match for fast-rising Australian Ashleigh Barty, who scored the biggest win of her career 6-4, 6-4. American world number five Stephens slumped out to Kazak qualifier Yulia Putintseva.
Trick serve gives Tomic advantage over Kyrgios
Bernard Tomic won the battle of Australia’s tennis bad boys with a comical trick serve through his legs at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday, as he and opponent Nick Kyrgios both talked up their chances at the Australian Open. The world number 83’s good-natured 6-3, 6-4 victory over his longtime friend Kyrgios ended with a flourish when he sent down the sneaky serve, while bouncing another ball, on match point. It caught the relaxed Kyrgios completely off guard, and left him laughing and shaking his head.
- TimesLIVE, Reuters, AFP