SPORTS DAY: No stress, Stuart - just win the damn thing
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
No mandate for Baxter at Nations’ Cup: Ledwaba
Jubilant scenes greeted Bafana Bafana when they arrived at OR Tambo Airport on Tuesday after qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations. Coach Stuart Baxter was further boosted by the SA Football Association’s declaration that he would not be burdened with a mandate at the continental event in Egypt in June. “We are not going to say we don’t want to win the tournament‚” said Safa vice-president Ria Ledwaba. “That will be good for South Africa but we are not going to put any kind of mandate to say ‘go to the final’.”
Monday night football for PSL
Monday night football was invented by the Americans for the gridiron game almost 50 years ago and has become a social institution. The Premier League in England adopted it, as did La Liga in Spain. Now‚ Monday night football has arrived in SA … but in an inadvertent way as the under-pressure Premier Soccer League have had to schedule the top-of-the-table clash between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns to the Orlando Stadium on Monday April 1.
Southgate condemns racism
Gareth Southgate has called for education to stamp out racism in football as European governing body Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro following abuse aimed at black England players during his side’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifier win in Podgorica. Raheem Sterling celebrated the fifth goal on Monday by cupping his ears towards the home fans as a sign of defiance, while Callum Hudson-Odoi said he and Danny Rose heard monkey noises aimed at them.
European clubs reiterate refusal
The umbrella organisation representing more than 200 European clubs reiterated on Tuesday that its members would not take part in Fifa’s planned 2021 Club World Cup under current circumstances. However, the European Club Association said it would contemplate changing its position if Fifa sat down and discussed changes to the international match calendar.
Amla is part of SA’s World Cup plans
SA coach Ottis Gibson says Hashim Amla is still part of his plans for the ICC World Cup in England in May. “He is still very much part of the plan for the World Cup‚” said Gibson. “Obviously he is nursing his sick father and until there are changes with regards to his family situation we won’t know.”
Ashwin faces backlash over Mankad run-out
Spin legend Shane Warne led criticism of India’s Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday after a controversial run-out which put cricket’s unloved “Mankad” dismissal in the spotlight. Warne was among a number of leading figures to fault the Kings XI Punjab captain who, coming into bowl in the Indian Premier League, checked his run as Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler left his crease, and whipped off his bails.
Kings on PRO 14 tightrope
The Southern Kings will look to drastically improve performances next season to ensure their PRO 14 survival by signing a few high profile players and bolstering the coaching staff. “There is an expectation that we will throw money at a whole bunch of marquee players. But that’s not the case‚” said Loyiso Dotwana‚ chairman of The Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World‚ which bought a 74% stake in the outfit last month. “Obviously we are looking for a few big names to bolster the side‚ but the plan is steady growth and improvement.”
Relief as Vermeulen cleared to face Sharks
Influential No 8 Duane Vermeulen has been cleared to play for the Bulls in their Super Rugby derby against the Sharks on Saturday, news which will also please Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus. Vermeulen limped off during the first half of last weekend’s humiliating 56-20 home defeat to the Waikato Chiefs, and there had been fears he could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
Uncertainty reigns as McGregor retires
Conor McGregor’s announcement that he is to retire from mixed martial arts sent shock waves around the sporting world on Tuesday, but in a sport that seldom plays by normal rules it could mean his comeback is closer than ever. As recently as Monday on an American TV chat show, the 30-year-old former two-weight Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder said he was in negotiations to fight in July. Only a few hours after that broadcast, the Irishman took to social media to announce he was walking away from the sport.
Mick Schumacher to test Ferrari F1 car
Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, will make his Formula 1 test debut with Ferrari in Bahrain on April 2, the Italian team announced on Tuesday. Schumacher will then take the wheel of Alfa Romeo’s vehicle the next day.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE