The week that was in SA sport
1 CAN MASHABA ‘SHAKE’ THINGS UP?
THE SOUTH AFRICAN national football team has seen 24 coaching changes in 22 years – no wonder the players always look confused.
Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba is once again the Bafana Bafana coach.
Give credit to the South Africa Football Association (Safa) for appointing a local coach, but was it not time to appoint somebody new with no Safa history? This will be Mashaba’s fourth stint as Bafana coach. Gavin Hunt, current coach of Premier Soccer League club Bidvest Wits, would have been my first choice, but maybe that’s why I’m not on the Safa technical committee, which voted unanimously for Mashaba. Can we now qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup? A former Bafana Bafana player recently said that the nation- al team shouldn’t even worry about 2018 and should really be focusing on 2022. I would be inclined to agree. From 2010 to 2014, SA football has gone backwards.
It could take eight years to fix the damage and see the fruits of any development.
Let’s hope we’re wrong and t hat Mashaba is able to ‘shake’ things up quickly.
2 PROTEAS BACK TO NUMBER ONE
A NEW MENTAL character and toughness was evident in the Proteas again in the second test against Sri Lanka – the first time being after the ODI series.
For a team to bat out 94 overs on the final day and hold on for a draw says a lot.
The Proteas accomplished a dual objective of winning a Test series in Sri Lanka for the first time since 1993 and regained the status as the No 1 ICC World Test ranked side – a dream start for new South African captain Hashim Amla.
3 TWO FOR TIM
TIM CLARK WON his second PGA tour title with a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk at the Canadian Open.
Furyk started the final round with a three-shot lead but Clark reeled him in with a back nine of 30 to finish on 17 under par for the tournament.
South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen finished tied for 12th, nine shots behind the winner.
The win is a big confidence boost for Clark, who previously made just 10 cuts in 20 events.
“It’s certainly one I’ve wanted to win for a long time. Any national championship to me is special, particularly to the people from that country. It’s an honour for me to be the Open champion,” said Clark.
4 NO SHARK BITE
IT WAS ALWAYS going to be a tall order to win in Christchurch, New Zealand, again but the Sharks lacked any bite in the Super 15 semi-final against the Crusaders. The final score of 38-6 tells the whole story. The Sharks will be the first to admit they didn’t play well and let themselves down.
But there will be a South African in the final as Craig Joubert gets to referee the big game again when the Waratahs host the Crusaders.
Overall, a very disappointing campaign for the SA sides with four of them finishing in the bottom seven on the combined log.
5 BLITZBOKKE GOLD
HOWEVER, THAT RUGBY disappointment was quickly forgotten on Sunday night as the Blitzbokke won Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow, Scotland.
They beat the four time champions New Zealand 17-12 in the final.
It’s also great to see sporting codes like bowls and judo adding to SA’s gold medal tally at the Commonwealth Games.
These are sports that live on scraps when it comes to funding, so one wonders what they could do if given appropriate resources.
6 DISGUST AND ANGER
MEANWHILE, THERE’S DISGUST and anger as to why SA had no competitors in the marathon and the men’s 5 000m in Glasgow.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascoc’s) so-called selection criteria of having to be ranked in the top five of the Commonwealth Games is an absolute joke.
So, if the Australian winner of the men’s Commonwealth marathon was South African, he wouldn’t have been there.
Just as well Josiah Thugwane, the first black athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for SA at the 1996 Summer Olympics, wasn’t running in this Sascoc era.
I would have put my head on the block that Elroy Gelant would have won a medal for SA in the 5 000m.
Celtic Park, Glasgow