SPORTS DAY: SA stunned by loss of ‘giant’ Masinga
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Football world mourns death of legend Masinga
The football world mourned the shock passing of Bafana Bafana legend Phil “Chippa” Masinga on Sunday. The 49-year-old lost a long battle with cancer in a Johannesburg hospital on Sunday morning. A stunned SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan described the likeable and popular former player’s passing as a sad day for the sport. “We have lost a giant of South African Football‚ this is a sad day for our football‚” he said. Masinga was admitted in Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp last month before being transferred to a Johannesburg hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer. Jordaan visited him with members of his executive committee last week before flying out to Dakar‚ Senegal‚ and said he didn’t look too well but didn’t expect him to “leave us so soon”.
De Kock, Steyn put SA on course
A century by Quinton de Kock and a double strike by Dale Steyn kept SA on course to complete a series clean sweep on the third day of the third and final Test against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday. Set to make a daunting 381 to win, Pakistan were 153 for three at the close, needing another 228 runs. De Kock made an imperious 129, equalling his highest Test score, before SA were bowled out for 303. Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood got Pakistan off to their best start of the series, putting on 67 for the first wicket. Both batsmen looked comfortable on a pitch which played easier on Sunday than the first two days. But a change of ends brought immediate results for Steyn. Bowling from the southern, Corlett Drive end for the first time in the match, he had Imam caught behind for 35 with a superb delivery that moved away from the batsman just enough to find the edge.
Chiefs’ Confed Cup spot hanging by a thread
Khama Billiat was on target but Kaizer Chiefs succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Zesco United at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Sunday to leave their participation in the 2018-19 African Confederation Cup hanging by a thread. Kenyan forward Jesse Were scored a brace for the home side in the first leg of their play-off round tie‚ one from the penalty spot‚ and Lazarous Kambole got the other as Zesco proved full value for their win, leaving Chiefs with a mountain to climb in Saturday’s second leg if they are to reach the pool stages. Chiefs’ only previous visit to Zambia for a competitive fixture was in 2000 when they were ousted from the now defunct CAF Cup by Nchanga Rangers‚ who won 2-0 in Soweto and then held the AmaKhosi to a 0-0 away draw.
Federer ‘shocked’, Djokovic ‘hurt’ by Murray bomb
Roger Federer admitted on Sunday he was shocked that tennis was to lose “legend” Andy Murray this year, while longtime friend Novak Djokovic said the bombshell news had “hurt” him. Both paid tribute to the former world No 1 on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam, with Federer adding that the Scot should be “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved. Murray admitted on Friday that his chronic hip injury had not been eased by surgery a year ago. He then broke down as he revealed he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but the Australian Open, beginning Monday, could be his last event because the constant pain was so bad. “I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point,” Federer said.
WADA poised to decide fate of Russian agency
A long-running doping scandal could be heading towards a conclusion when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) receives a report from their Compliance Review Committee (CRC) next week that could confirm Russia’s conditional reinstatement. Having, after much stalling, allowed a WADA inspection team access to data in a tainted Moscow laboratory on Thursday, Russian authorities will no doubt say they have met the final demand laid out in a Roadmap to Compliance and call for the conditional status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to be lifted. The CRC will meet members of the inspection teams at WADA’s Montreal headquarters on Monday and Tuesday, then submit a report to the executive committee recommending whether RUSADA be declared compliant or be slapped with new sanctions.
Griffin dominates Clippers in return to LA
Blake Griffin took advantage of the first opportunity to show his former fans what they’re missing, scoring 44 points on Saturday afternoon to lead the visiting Detroit Pistons to a 109-104 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin was drafted No 1 overall by the Clippers in 2009 and spent his first eight seasons with them, helping the team reach the play-offs in six straight years from 2012-17. He was traded to Detroit in January 2018. Detroit centre Andre Drummond added 20 points and 21 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Reggie Bullock, another former first-round pick of the Clippers, scored 17 points for the Pistons, who had lost nine of 11.
Serena ready to claim first Slam as a mum: coach
Serena Williams is ready to win her first Grand Slam title as a mother, having arrived at the Australian Open in her best condition since coming back from maternity leave, according to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Frenchman Mouratoglou, who has guided Williams to the last 10 of her 23 Grand Slam titles, felt the American great was in “decent shape” when she reached 2018’s finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. However, her fitness had since gone up a notch and Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles may well be in peril at Melbourne Park, he said.
Man City resume title quest against Wolves
Pep Guardiola’s rejuvenated Manchester City face a potentially tricky challenge at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday as they continue their Premier League title defence. But the early days of 2019 suggest their uncharacteristic December collapse is firmly behind them. In the final month of last year City lost successive league games, against relatively modest opposition in Crystal Palace and Leicester City, following an end to their unbeaten domestic start to the campaign at the beginning of December. But a victory over leaders Liverpool to kick off the new year completely rejuvenated the mood at Etihad Stadium after City had been denied the services of injured playmaker Kevin de Bruyne for most of the first half of the campaign. And two stunning cup victories in four days – albeit against lower league clubs Rotherham and Burton Albion – suggested the clinical, cutting edge that characterised City’s play during last season’s record-breaking title-winning campaign was back.
India name Pandya, Rahul replacements
All-rounder Vijay Shankar and batsman Shubman Gill will replace the suspended KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya in India’s limited overs team, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has said. Rahul and Pandya were suspended pending an investigation into comments they made about women on a TV show this week which have been condemned as sexist and inappropriate. “With KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya set to return from Australia, the All-India Senior Selection Committee has decided to send all-rounder Vijay Shankar and batsman Shubman Gill as replacements,” acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary said. Shankar, who has played five Twenty20 internationals, will join the team before Tuesday’s one-day match in Adelaide where India will bid to level the series, having lost in Sydney by 34 runs on Saturday. He will remain with the team for the tour of New Zealand where India are scheduled to play five one-dayers and three Twenty20 Internationals. Gill, 19, has been selected only for the tour of New Zealand, beginning with a one-dayer in Napier on January 23. SOCCER
Griezmann the saviour for Atletico again
Antoine Griezmann came to the rescue again as Atletico Madrid kept the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga on Sunday by edging past Levante. Griezmann has now scored all of Atletico’s last six goals and this latest one, from the penalty spot, was all that separated the teams in a cagey contest at the Wanda Metropolitano. A 1-0 victory for Diego Simeone’s side cuts the gap from five points to two behind Barca, who will restore their advantage with a win over Eibar later on Sunday. Levante, who have not win in the league since December 3, sit 11th. Atletico had 19 shots and, unusually for them, dominated possession but they continue to rely on Griezmann’s excellent scoring run for points. His six goals in their past five games and have now earned Atletico wins over Levante, Real Valladolid and Espanyol, while sparing them defeats away to Sevilla and Girona.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE