What’s in City Press Sports: Downs won’t give up; Dax ready to fire; Uncertainty over return of SA rugby

City Press Sport
City Press Sport

Chiefs in an amazing comeback

While Orlando Pirates laboured to yet another goalless draw, Kaizer Chiefs got back to winning ways – extending their lead at the top of the league table to six points. Chiefs solidified their position on top of the log in the race to win the R15 million Absa Premiership title, while Pirates floundered in their first match at Ellis Park in more than a decade.

Downs won’t give up, warns Mosimane

Friday’s Absa Premiership fixtures set in motion what will be non-stop football action until August 25 – that’s 26 league games in 12 days. It is interesting how the revised fixtures to conclude the delayed season saw Mamelodi Sundowns play first, while the programme makes leaders Kaizer Chiefs appear as if they have to react to what their rivals do. Whether this will give the two giants an advantage is another story, more so as they are set to meet on August 27.

But Mosimane warned that the Brazilians won’t give up the fight in their bid to achieve a treble.

Dax ready to fire as Chiefs transfer ban hearing nears

The delayed restart of the 2019/20 campaign was a blessing in disguise for Kaizer Chiefs, who could soon become eligible to sign players again should they successfully appeal their transfer ban.

Chiefs were slapped with the ban by Fifa back in February for violating transfer regulations in signing Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana from Madagascan club Fosa Juniors in 2018. With September 22 to November 17 announced as the new transfer window ahead of the 2020/21 PSL season, Chiefs could be back in business in the transfer market.

Club icons at the helm

Ever more football clubs are entrusting their former players with coaching responsibilities. In a handful of cases, head coaches are being assisted by their former team-mates.

It’s a growing trend in the English Premiership in particular, where powerhouses Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all have their former players heading their respective technical teams.

Locally, only a handful of former professional players make up the head coach-assistant combination at the PSL clubs they used to play for – Black Leopards’ Morgan Shivambu and Mongezi Bobe recently became a rare set to take charge of their old club, albeit on a caretaker basis.

MDC players earn their minutes in the PSL bio-bubble

A week ago, renowned football development coach Augusto Palacios made a case for young players to be considered by PSL clubs in the final round of matches to complete the delayed season.

The veteran tactician made particular reference to the PSL side’s reserve team players who have been showing promise in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC), which was sadly cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As if in response to Palacios’s plea, Friday marked a special day for Mamelodi Sundowns’ Promise Mkhuma and Cape Town City’s Eyona Ndondo, who made their PSL debuts.

End of era for Barça

Following their 8-2 demolition of Barcelona on Friday night, Bayern Munich go into the semifinals as favourites to lift this year’s Uefa Champions League trophy. This was a grand statement by the German giants – one of only two clubs still in the competition who have won their domestic championship. Bayern handed Barcelona their heaviest defeat in the European cup competitions and the demolition was also the highest score in the Champions League knockout stage.

Rugby set for its own ‘Beer Cup’ after coronavirus

Carling Black Label may have had to call off its marquee soccer event in the money-spinning preseason Soweto derby due to the Covid-19 pandemic this week, but the brand is in line for a revival of sorts when it hopefully makes its bow as the new Currie Cup sponsor next month. Details of the length of the deal, or indeed the bits about how much AB InBev has paid for the right, are sketchy but City Press has reliably learnt from a handful of sources that, should the Currie Cup go ahead as planned this year, it will be sponsored by Carling.

Uncertainty over return of SA rugby

The relaxing of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to level 2 should signal yet another obstacle removed from rugby’s return to play, but the overall plan has so many moving parts that there are still more questions than answers.

Theoretically, the teams can now step up their programmes to include contact training as they push to be ready to play either on August 29 or September 12. But, on Monday they received correspondence from SA Rugby to hold their horses on that front.

Hamilton under pressure as Spain looms

Lewis Hamilton, in pole position for today’s race, is probably feeling the heat going into the Spanish Grand Prix. Not only will the race take place in the middle of a searing heatwave that has seen temperatures throughout Europe hit 30°C and higher, but the Mercedes driver also received a timely reminder last weekend that he is not the only kid on the block.


Tim Spirit Column: Pirates’ handling of Lorch, Shonga case sets a good example for all

Big ups to Orlando Pirates for once again leading the way and showing that no individual is bigger than the club. News of the club dropping star players Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga from the squad that reported for the bio bubble last Sunday, following a breach of the team’s Covid-19 protocols on the eve of their game against Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday, did not go down well with some. Timothy Molobi argues that this is the kind of leadership we need in the PSL.

Side Entry: Cricket revelations – hopefully someone’s taking notes

What with Thami Tsolekile alone needing a three-part mini-series to air his grievances with Cricket SA (CSA) and/or its director of cricket Graeme Smith, the allegations of racism or ill-treatment voiced by black former cricketers show no signs of abating. The disclosures have been of the finger-pointing variety and, at times, they have been laced with anger, resentment and downright hurt. One hopes that since poor Lungi Ngidi accidentally kicked all of this off with his #BlackLivesMatter comments, CSA has been listening with a pen and paper at hand and not an intention to defend itself, writes Simnikiwe Xabanisa.

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