SPORTS DAY: Bafana and Baxter need a favour from PSL

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SPORTS DAY: Bafana and Baxter need a favour from PSL

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Journalist


SOCCER
Safa ask for PSL postponement
Safa have written to the PSL to ask for a postponement of matches on the weekend of March 15-17 so that Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter can assemble the squad early ahead of the crunch African Nations Cup qualifier against Libya. Bafana need only to draw the game, but it promises to be an intimidating affair against a Libyan side who are mainly home-based and therefore able to hold an extensive camp before the encounter.
Ertugral fired by Maritzburg United
Maritzburg United have parted ways with coach Muhsin Ertugral. Ertugral‚ who joined the Team of Choice in December to replace Fadlu Davids‚ failed spectacularly at the relegation-haunted club as he oversaw a poor run of four successive loses in the league against Golden Arrows‚ Free State Stars‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United.
Pirates focus on trophies
Orlando Pirates must throw all their energy and focus into winning the Caf Champions League and Absa Premiership‚ coach Milutin Sredojevic said after their defeat by Black Leopards in the Nedbank Cup first round. Bucs‚ now approaching five seasons without a trophy‚ have the Champions League where they have had a good start in the group stage and the league to fight for to end their silverware drought.
‘China’s Maradona’ signs for Espanyol
Prolific forward Wu Lei, dubbed “the Chinese Maradona”, has signed for Espanyol in La Liga, the Spanish club and Shanghai SIPG said on Monday. The 27-year-old was top scorer in the Chinese Super League (CSL) last season, hitting 27 goals to play a major part in SIPG’s maiden title success.
Iraq footballers in probe over night out Iraq’s football federation is investigating whether national team players in Abu Dhabi for the Asian Cup this month snuck out of their hotel to party at a nightclub. Reports alleged that after their draw last week against Iran, some Iraqi players travelled to nearby Dubai for a night out. If the allegations prove to be correct, the federation would consider legal action for “defamation” and harming Iraq’s reputation, its media head Mohammad Khalaf said. RUGBY
Players unhappy over Treu contract
Stormers players reportedly held a crisis meeting on Sunday to discuss the disruption surrounding the deployment of Paul Treu at the union. Treu’s allegations last year that he was a victim of discrimination were dismissed after an independent investigation. Players are unhappy that Treu, the former Blitzbok coach, is still employed at the union with one player saying that “99% of us want him out”. ‘England must win to reassert dominance’
England must beat Ireland in their Six Nations opener on Saturday if they are to regain their status as Europe’s dominant force ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, lock Maro Itoje has said. England have not recorded a victory in Dublin since 2013 but Itoje said they were ready for the challenge.
CRICKET
Faf learning from ODI series
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said the current Pakistan ODI series is providing him with lessons that could be crucial at the World Cup. “I’m learning a number of lessons and things are becoming clear to me in terms of the balance of our batting line-up in terms of the people who are missing and those we have in the team. I assume the younger guys are getting a lot of experience but even after the result [Sunday’s defeat]‚ I have clarity in terms of us moving forward as a team‚” Du Plessis said.
India take unassailable lead in series
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma forged a century-plus partnership as India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the third one-dayer on Monday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series and signal their preparedness for this year’s World Cup.
TENNIS
Osaka leaps to No 1
Naomi Osaka, winner of the Australian Open, has jumped to the top of women’s tennis with her beaten opponent Petra Kvitova rising to second in Monday’s WTA rankings. Serena Williams, who fell to 491 after her maternity break last year, continued her rise, gaining five places to 11th. On the AFP rankings,  Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal stayed remained in the top two spots, but Roger Federer slipped from third to sixth place.
Djokovic motivated by matching Federer’s 20
Novak Djokovic has designs on Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam crowns after completing a record-breaking Australian Open victory. Djokovic won his 15th Grand Slam title, and third in a row after Wimbledon and the US Open, when he thrashed Rafael Nadal on Sunday. “I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special. Of course, it motivates me,” he said. “It’s still far,” he added.
GOLF
Rose claims PGA win No 10
World No 1 Justin Rose described his victory as a “win-and-a-half” after carding a three-under-par 69 to beat Adam Scott by two shots at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Sunday. The Englishman’s latest victory was his 10th on the PGA Tour, matching the tally of Spaniard Sergio Garcia and giving him one more than Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (14) is the only European player with more wins on the Tour since 1945.
SWIMMING
Malaysia stripped of championships
The International Paralympic Committee has stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 world para swimming championships after the country banned Israeli athletes from participating.​
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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