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Dark horses col­lide in Cape Town Ned­bank Cup fi­nal

In Mar­itzburg United and Free State Stars we have two teams that cap­ture the ethos of the Ned­bank Cup —a com­pe­ti­tion mar­keted as a field on which the un­der­dog can stretch his legs and dig up some gold.

Both shat­tered the glass ceil­ing of their sta­tion in the PSL. Both con­quered famed op­po­nents in the semi­fi­nals to ruin dreams of a “glam­our fi­nal”. Now, they face each other for knock­out glory. Who­ever wins will have the per­fect tan­gi­ble ac­com­pa­ni­ment to mark their sea­son a suc­cess.

Even now, ru­mours em­a­nat­ing from larger clubs have cast shade over the game. Or­lando Pirates re­port­edly want Mar­itzburg’s star young­ster Siphelele Ndlovu and Bel­gian striker An­drea Filec­cia — two con­stants in the suc­cess of the Team of Choice. Ea Lla Koto coach Luc Ey­mael, mean­while, is sup­pos­edly be­ing courted by sur­vival­clinch­ing Su­perS­port United and suf­fer­ing Kaizer Chiefs.

Not that these mur­murs will bother him or his coun­ter­part Fadlu Davids. Both coaches have sig­nif­i­cantly boosted their re­spec­tive rep­u­ta­tions by do­ing things their way this sea­son and it’s un­likely we’ll get any­thing less in Cape Town. It’s a first Ned­bank Cup fi­nal for the Mother City and could be a mo­men­tous marker for two ever-bright­en­ing lights of South African foot­ball. root in the early stages of the game.

Sure, for­tune may favour the brave, but fi­nals favour Mour­inho. We await to see whether Conte can break what is fast be­com­ing an English tra­di­tion.

Ar­gen­tine ‘guide to flirt­ing’ at World Cup causes stir

Ar­gentina’s Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (AFA) apol­o­gised on Wed­nes­day for is­su­ing a World Cup hand­book fea­tur­ing a sec­tion on how to flirt with Rus­sian women, ad­mit­ting to an “un­in­ten­tional er­ror” fol­low­ing the out­cry.

Un­der a page en­ti­tled “How to stand a chance with a Rus­sian girl?”, the man­ual high­lighted that “Rus­sian women don’t like to be treated as ob­jects”.

“Lots of men, be­cause Rus­sian women are beau­ti­ful, just want to take them to bed. Maybe they want it too, but they are peo­ple who want to feel im­por­tant and unique,” the hand­book added.

“Lots of Rus­sian women, like other women, pay close at­ten­tion to if you are clean, smell good and are well dressed. The first im­pres­sion is very im­por­tant for them, pay at­ten­tion to your im­age.”

These recommendations, ahead of the June 14 to July 15 tour­na­ment, were passed on to a gath­er­ing of about 40 jour­nal­ists dur­ing a course on Rus­sian lan­guage and cul­ture, and were then posted on so­cial me­dia.

Fac­ing heavy crit­i­cism, the AFA later ad­mit­ted this les­son in se­duc­tion was an “un­in­ten­tional er­ror”, and even though it was in­cluded in the man­ual, “it was never part of the train­ing”.

In a state­ment, the AFA said it had led “an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in re­spect to yes­ter­day’s events dur­ing the Rus­sian lan­guage and cul­ture course, and it has been con­cluded that the ma­te­ri­als dis­trib­uted were er­ro­neously printed”, adding that “ad­min­is­tra­tive per­son­nel re­moved the man­u­als im­me­di­ately”.

Clau­dio Pres­man, the head of the Na­tional In­sti­tute against Dis­crima­tion, Xeno­pho­bia and Racism, spoke out against the “sex­ist” con­tent in the guide­book.

“We got in touch with the AFA to ask for ex­pla­na­tions. This text is stig­ma­tis­ing for women,” he said.

The ed­u­ca­tional course held at AFA head­quar­ters in Buenos Aires was in­tended for “ex­ec­u­tives, play­ers, coaches and jour­nal­ists who will be at the World Cup”, the fed­er­a­tion said. Ac­cord­ing to the course’s teacher, Ed­uardo Pen­nisi, in quotes pub­lished by Ar­gen­tine daily Clarin, the AFA had “ap­proved” the ma­te­rial a month ago. — AFP


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