Sunday Thoughts: The Week In Sports
Nicklaus Kruger, 25 October 2020
Look, we know. It’s confusing enough trying to keep track of the latest COVID-19 statistics, the state of the economy, what you are (and aren’t) allowed to do during lockdown, and where you left your mask. How can you be expected to keep up with what’s happening in your favourite sports as well?
Not to worry – we’ve got you covered. Every 10 000 minutes or so, we take a look around and round up the most interesting sports writings out there – just for you.
Here’s what we found out in the last week …
Golf: Honouring Legends, Opening SA
South African golfers aren’t doing too badly at the moment, with Louis Oosthuizen currently ranked among the world’s top 20 golfers, Dean Burmester chasing a win at the Italian Open, and the ever-legendary Ernie Els – four-time major champion and former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking – being one of four of golf’s great champions to have accepted invitations to become Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
But we’re not just sending South Africans to international golf – we’re also bringing international golf back to SA after nine months of coronavirus-induced suspensions, with the reintroduction of the Joburg Open. Co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour, the Open will tee off at Randpark Golf Club from 19 to 22 November 2020. And speaking of legends, Tiger Woods is back on form – and the co-record-holder for 82 US PGA titles is trying for lucky number 83. And if you’re looking for the next masters, just check out GolfRSA’s Ring Stars series, featuring teen talent like Zinan Maimane and Filip Sakota.
Football: PSL Awards, A New Era & TV Troubles
The 2020 Premier Soccer League awards honoured the top performers virtually this year – and none were more honoured than Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane, who bagged the Absa Premiership Midfielder of the Season award, PSL Player’s Player of the Season award and the coveted PSL Player of the Season award…and a cool R500 000 in prize money.
All this as a new era of South African football has begun, with DStv taking over as the Premier league’s sponsor as Absa withdraws. No biobubble this time, as players will be travelling back and forth; still no spectators at the stadiums, though. Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana’s recent matches were aired only on SuperSport channels – which seems to have upset South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan (already not exactly BFFs with PSL supremo Irvin Khoza). They’re looking into it, okay? And looking across the seas, five young SA players are on the verge of featuring in the English Premier League (EPL), hoping to join the legendary likes of Lucas Radebe and Benni McCarthy, who achieved great things in ye olde England. Good luck, guys.
Athletics: Back In Business – But Watch Your Shoes (And #LetHerRun)
South Africa’s athletes are taking back to the track – according to Athletics South Africa, ASA will resume training and controlled competition activity from 1 November 2020 (with suitable COVID-19 regulations and compliance, naturally). A maximum of 500 athletes and officials will be allowed at events, including track and field, road running and trail running competitions, but with no spectators. It’s welcome news for top athletes like long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and runner Wayde van Niekerk, who’ve had to fly to Europe to compete in events over the last few months. Meanwhile, World Athletics continues to contemplate the way shoe technology is changing sport.
And speaking of World Athletics – there’s a whole movement supporting Caster Semenya and denouncing WA’s attempt to force women athletes into a particular mold…so #LetHerRun, okay? Parkrun organisers are determined to relaunch as well – preferably by the end of the year, but they’ve got some way to go. Oh, and the 95th Comrades Marathon is for 13 June 2021. Best start getting ready…
Canoeing: River Racing, Paddling Probs – And Safety First
Also making a return to the training and competition scene: Canoeing South Africa (CSA). The sporting federation has wasted no time, making up for lost time with a series of (suitably safe and socially distanced) events. St Francis hosted the SA Surfski Champs as part of the P.W Harvey St Francis Paddle Fest 2020, giving paddlers three consecutive days on which they can challenge for national honours, Durban training partners Hank McGregor and Hamish Lovemore dominated the SA Marathon Champs. And the Orange Descent Canoe Marathon – the pride of the Northern Cape and the famous Orange River – will be hosting the 2020 K1 and K2 River Marathon Championships from 7 to 8 November 2020 (with a few tweaks).
CSA President Kim Pople has praised clubs for their compliance with all the requirements to allow their registered members to get back onto the water, and urged paddlers to keep safe. Case in point: Canoeing SA has joined the growing international Safeguarding in Sport movement. Safety first, folks.
Cricket: Um, Yeah
Turning to that other CSA…okay, let’s start with the good news first, as usual. So the Health Ministry has given the green light for England to tour South Africa in November 2020, playing three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 Internationals in a Western Cape bio-bubble including Newlands and Paarl. England hosted successful Test and ODI series against the West Indies, Pakistan and Australia earlier this year, so the ECB has some experience to share.
And money, too – Cricket South Africa stands to earn R75-million from the England tour. But the current CSA board won’t be experiencing much of that – following the release of the Fundudzi forensic report into governance failures at CSA, and the endless ongoing shenanigans over at the association, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa officially gave notice of his intention for the government to take over the running of CSA. Meanwhile the Members Council — which comprises representatives of CSA’s 14 provincial affiliates — asked the entire board to relinquish their positions. But the board isn’t giving up that easily…
And that’s the week in sport.
Did we miss anything? Any interesting developments we should be talking about? Why not let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org? And if you want to know more about what’s been happening in sport, just check out the latest issue of the Cape At 6 magazine.