What’s in City Press Sport: Last throw of the dice for Caster; Mokgobu ready to face Kipchoge

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In City Press sport June 6.
In City Press sport June 6.

SPORT


COLUMNS

Tim Spirit | PSL off-field drama steals limelight from real heroes

You know things are wrong in football when the off-field circus diverts the spotlight from the players. This is what has been happening in the PSL as boardroom politics have robbed the players of their moment of glory.

Not much has been said about Sunday night’s DStv Premiership awards because all eyes have been on the scramble to resolve the crowning of the GladAfrica Championship winners through the courts. There is also the matter of the relegation/promotion play-offs…

Side Entry | New ASA board has a mountain to climb

There was temptation to conclude that the “same old Athletics SA” was in town when its new board held its first press conference this week, especially when its communications manager began proceedings by mistakenly introducing Enoch Skhosana as Aleck, the recently ousted president. While it’s an unfair assumption to make from that Freudian slip, athletics in South Africa has specialised in being the biggest of the country’s sleeping giants, which would invite the notion that its leaders are doing the same things over and over again, and hoping for different results. What with the briefing held less than a month after new president James Moloi’s election, it’s obviously too soon to tell whether the soft-spoken former Central Gauteng Athletics boss will do things differently, but the signs are encouraging.

STORIES

Ecstasy, relief and so long Leopards

Kaizer Chiefs top-eight squeeze highlights PSL final day drama, but pending court case threatens promotional play-offs.

It hurts – Thidiela

Black Leopards’ relegation was a double blow for club owner David Thidiela. The 70-year-old lost his wife in January and, as a result, could not attend his club’s matches as he was observing the customary mourning period.

Fired today, hired tomorrow

The recently concluded DStv Premiership campaign once again showed how thankless a coaching job can be. Timothy Molobi reflects on the impact of coaching changes.

Sibisi embraces role in Bafana’s new chapter

Golden Arrows defender Nkosinathi Sibisi is blessed with natural leadership skills and a deft touch on the ball for a defender. It was only a matter of time before the 25-year-old got the recognition he deserves. Sibisi is part of the new generation of Bafana Bafana players taking the national team in a new direction under newly appointed head coach Hugo Broos, who has vowed to prioritise youngsters in the team.

A new-look European Championship for a different time

Nobody will argue that things have not been the same since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year. It is therefore not surprising that Euro 2020 is different from all others. Not only is last year’s Euro Championship being played this year, but the month-long tournament, which kicks off on Friday, is also being played in 11 cities, scattered around 11 countries, with the four-team finals being hosted at Wembley Stadium in London.

5 stars set to shine at Euro 2020

It’s likely that this year’s Euros will see a number of players appearing on such a big stage for the last time in their careers. Players such as 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, his Portuguese compatriot Pepe (38) and North Macedonia’s captain Goran Pandev (37) are almost at the end of their careers. But for every older player saying goodbye to the big stage, there is a youngster hoping to announce his arrival with some outstanding performances – just as a 19-year-old Ronaldo did in 2004.

Euro 2020: Missing from action

Although the finals of the Euros are, for the second time in the competition’s history, comprised of 24 teams and Uefa has increased the squad size by three players to 26, a number of top European players will not be at the competition.

Time runs low for SA Under-23s going to Tokyo

Ideally, national Under-23 coach David Notoane would have preferred to play warm-up matches against opponents with similar profiles as his team’s at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan. The Under-23s have been drawn in Group A with hosts Japan, France and 2012 champions Mexico. But, like many other Olympic-bound teams and athletes, Notoane’s preparations have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic – with six weeks to go before the team’s opening fixture against Japan.

Sti Sithole nearing the mountain top of unlikely career

The only time Sti Sithole ever allowed himself to think of an occupation other than rugby was when his mind fleetingly came up with the misguided idea of being involved in business. But so prohibitive were his marks for the course that the idea was shelved pretty much when he was still a teenager. If asked, many of those who witnessed the modest beginnings of the Lions loose head prop’s current profession may have come to the conclusion that his chances of making it in rugby were as slim as the odds were on a life as a businessperson.

‘Elgar the right man to lead Proteas’

Dean Elgar has compiled the vast majority of his 4 260 test runs (at 39.81) away from the spotlight, cussedly nudging and nurdling his way to 13 hundreds and 16 half centuries from 67 matches.

Match number 68, the first of the two-test series against the West Indies on Thursday, will offer no such relative anonymity. As the new captain of a team now ranked a lowly seventh in the world in a format they were once the pace-setters of, all eyes will be on Elgar as the long climb back to past glories begins in St Lucia.

Last throw of the dice for Caster

After two near-misses in her bid to qualify for the Olympic Games on these shores, there are still concerted efforts under way to help Caster Semenya attain her ticket to the multicoded showpiece in Japan.

Semenya is one of Team SA’s medallists from the previous Olympics in Brazil – alongside sprinter Wayde van Niekerk – who haven’t achieved their qualifying marks for Tokyo yet.

Her longtime overseas-based agent, Jukka Harkonen, told City Press this week that Europe could be the next stop for his client to launch what would be her last attempt to qualify for the 5 000m race ahead of the June 29 cut-off date.

Mokgobu ready to face Kipchoge and the Tokyo heat

South African marathon hopeful Desmond Mokgobu is leaning on his previous experience of racing under the normally unforgiving temperatures in Asia to take the heat in the Olympic marathon in a few weeks’ time.

The Olympics will be staged in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 to August 8 – a period that has good reason to be considered Japan’s hottest. Mokgobu regards Japan as home, as this is where he holds fond memories following his victory in the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon three years ago and a top-10 finish a year later.

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