SPORTS DAY: ‘Just a blip,’ says Liverpool’s Andy Robertson
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Liverpool not feeling title heat: Robertson
Andy Robertson has dismissed suggestions Liverpool are starting to feel the pressure of being Premier League leaders, saying they are experiencing no more than a “blip” in their pursuit of their first title for 29 years. Jurgen Klopp’s side drew 1-1 with West Ham on Monday after failing to beat Leicester last week, meaning they lead Manchester City by just three points with 13 games to go instead of a potential seven.
Leopards owner banned and fined
Black Leopards owner David Thidiela has been banned from football for a year and slapped with a R1m fine as punishment for the rant he directed at referee Victor Hlungwani that included apparent threats and tribal references last year. The Premier Soccer League disciplinary hearing found him guilty of bringing the league into disrepute after the tirade he directed at Hlungwani after his side lost a premiership match 0-1 against Bloemfontein Celtic in Thohoyandou in September.
Mourinho fined for tax fraud in Spain
Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has accepted a one-year prison sentence for defrauding the Spanish state of €3.3m, although the Portuguese will not serve any jail time. The tax ministry and Mourinho’s defence team agreed to exchange the 12-month prison sentence with a daily fine of €250 for 24 months, equivalent to €182,500.
Ngidi unfazed by choker’s tag
Proteas speedster Lungi Ngidi says he’s not worried about the chokers tag that’s normally associated with SA ahead of ICC tournaments. “I’ve never played in a team that has been labelled that way and personally‚ I’ve never thought of the Proteas in that way. I personally can’t associate the chokers tag nor be worried about. The squad we have is a young one that’s fearless.”
Sri Lanka drop captain for SA tour Sri Lanka have dropped out-of-form test captain Dinesh Chandimal ahead of their tour of SA and appointed Dimuth Karunaratne as stand-in skipper. Chandimal scored just 24 runs as Sri Lanka suffered a 2-0 test series defeat in Australia, extending the team’s winless run to seven matches.
Sarfraz to captain Pakistan at World Cup
Sarfraz Ahmed will continue as Pakistan captain at the World Cup in May despite serving a suspension for breaching the anti-racism code, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani said on Tuesday.
Harris breaks into top 100
SA’s “other” men’s singles player Lloyd Harris made a significant career breakthrough this week when he moved into the top 100 on the ATP tour rankings. A year ago he was ranked in the 300s. It’s the first time in 15 years two South Africans have been in the top 100, when Wayne Ferreira was at 47 and Wesley Moodie at 88. Harris‚ 21‚ claimed his third ATP Challenger Tour title with victory at the Launceston Open in Tasmania on Sunday.
Brown breaks record
Blitzbok stalwart Kyle Brown, who turns 31 on Wednesday, set a new benchmark in Sydney last weekend‚ becoming the most capped SA Sevens player of all time when he appeared in his 69th tournament. Brown surpassed the record he shared with Frankie Horne‚ the tough as teak forward who incredibly played 68 consecutive tournaments.
Five-a-side on its way: report
World Rugby has given its approval for a new five-a-side version of the sport with an international tournament likely to be held in London this year. The sport’s world governing body is hopeful the shortened version – Rugby X – can improve the game’s finances and boost its international appeal.
Hansen mocks ‘Mickey Mouse’ Cheika
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has reportedly kicked off his World Cup sledging campaign early by likening under-fire Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika to Mickey Mouse. News website Stuff reported that Hansen made the remarks after being questioned about Australian great Mark Ella’s comment in 2016 that “Mickey Mouse could coach the All Blacks to victory” given the quality of New Zealand’s players. “They’ve got Mickey Mouse coaching Aussie,” said Hansen.
Injured Itoje ruled out
Saracens lock Maro Itoje will miss England’s Six Nations matches against France and Wales as he is suffering from a knee ligament injury, the Rugby Football Union said on Tuesday.
Champion trainer faces shock ban
Leading Australian trainer Darren Weir faces a lengthy ban from racing after deciding not to fight charges of possessing devices used to deliver electric shocks to horses, officials said on Tuesday. Weir, renowned for training the Prince of Penzance, which female jockey Michelle Payne rode to victory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, told a hearing he would not contest three charges of possessing the Taser-like “jiggers”, which are used to prompt a horse to perform better on the track.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE