Please kick politics out of our football
Despite being given a welcome from hell, Youri Kalenga has settled into South Africa and is confident of beating Kevin Lerena at Emperors Palace on September 9.
The DRC-born Kalenga was met at OR Tambo airport on Friday by a panga-wielding crowd of Congolese, who were divided into two factions. A fight broke out and one of the mob was hacked across his chest before police moved in and subdued the bedlam with teargas.
Furious promoter Rodney Berman condemned the violence and promised to bolster security throughout Kalenga’s visit.
The muscled cruiserweight hit the road early on Saturday for a training run, admitting that the altitude was a struggle. Having trained at Big Bear for his fight against Denis Lebedev, he knows that the pressure on his chest will ease after a few days.
“It’s exactly why we came in early,” explained Irish manager Gary Hyde. “Two weeks will allow Youri all the time he needs.”
Being based at Emperors suits them, especially as the casino is in close proximity to Harold Volbrecht’s gym, where he will work out. He will have his first sparring session today with the fast and resilient southpaw Tommy Oosthuizen on hand.
“I’ve seen Lerena. No problem, I’m ready. Lerena is easy for me,” Kalenga said.
The South African’s southpaw stance holds no fears for the France-based fighter as two of his last four opponents were southpaws – Roberto Bolonti and Lebedev.
Having twice fallen short in championship fights, he is adamant he’ll be third time lucky as he chases down the IBO crown.
At 29, ambition still runs through him and he knows this is a shortcut to a ranking across the various organisations.
“We know Lerena’s style,” said Hyde. “He’s very good technically, but Youri will be too ferocious for him, too explosive. Lerena has never fought anyone of his ilk.”
Hyde, who promoted former two-time Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in eight bouts, praised Kalenga as the fighter he most enjoyed working with. “If I called him up and said he was fighting King Kong, he’d say, ‘okay, get me good sparring’. He’s just a pleasure to deal with.”
Kalenga’s trainer is Romain Jacob, until recently the European super-featherweight champion and son of ex-WBC super-bantamweight champion Thierry Jacob. – ANA
Apparently Dr George Magwende has been seen conversing with the leader of the opposition United Party for National Development Hakainde Hichilema at a prison and now the ruling party wants him fired!
This seems to be putting unnecessary political pressure on Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga, who does not personally need football for his upkeep but is aware that football needs government to survive.
How do they expect Kamanga, a successful businessman in his own right, to fire someone not due to incompetence but because some political figurehead wants the medical man fired for his conversations with an opposition leader!
I commend the South African Football Association as well as the Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan and Algerian federations for successfully lobbying corporate sponsors to partner their respective organisations, which has enabled them to independently run their affairs without pressure of selfish government officials.
Colombia are second in the standings on 24 points, while Uruguay and Chile occupy the other two automatic spots on 23 points.
It means that fifth-placed Argentina have little margin for error as they head to Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario for the latest instalment of their historic rivalry with the Uruguayans.
Argentina have spluttered their way through the qualifiers so far, notching only six wins in 14 games, but have