SPORTS DAY: Hamza the surprise Proteas pick

PREMIUM

CRICKET
Special 100 milestone awaits Hamza
Cape Cobras batsman Zubayr Hamza is the surprise selection in the Proteas’ 13-man squad for the three Test series against Pakistan this month. Should the 23-year-old right-hander make his debut in the series that starts on Boxing Day at SuperSport Park in Centurion‚ he’ll be the 100th player to represent the Proteas since April 1992 when SA played their first Test since apartheid-enforced isolation began in 1970 against the West Indies in Bridgetown‚ Barbados. Hamza is part of Cape Cobras unit that is sitting pretty at the top of the Four-Day Franchise series table and has been a key cog in a young top-order that’s functioned fluently. Hamza‚ a product of Rondebosch Boy’s High School in Cape Town‚ made his First-Class debut for Western Province against KwaZulu-Natal Inland when he was still 18. He scored 29 and two in the drawn three-day game but in 50 subsequent outings‚ he’s made 3543 runs.
GOLF
Oosthuizen leads way at SA Open
He hardly looked up to check the leaderboard but by the time Louis Oosthuizen removed his cap for a handshake with his playing partners early on Thursday afternoon‚ he held a respectable lead after his opening round in the SA Open. He had blazed his way around the shorter but curvier Bushwillow lay-out‚ carding a blemish-free round of 62 that included nine birdies on the par-71 course. His lead was‚ however‚ trimmed in the late afternoon to just one shot as American Kurt Kitayama negotiated the more demanding Firethorn lay-out in a tied course record 63. Kitayama‚ last week’s winner of the Mauritius Open‚ has had an eventful few weeks having come through qualifying school‚ underperforming in Hong Kong‚ winning in Mauritius and shooting a course record at Firethorn on Thursday. Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya’s scorching outward six-under 29‚ helped lay the platform for his opening round 63.
RUGBY
Geduld recovers Justin time for Cape Town sevens
The Blitzboks were boosted by the news that kingpin playmaker Justin Geduld passed a fitness test and will play in the Cape Town leg of the of HSBC World Sevens Series this weekend. Geduld sustained a knock to the head in the season-opening Dubai tournament last week‚ and has been going through concussion protocols all week. He sat out training on Tuesday but was included in a defensive session on Thursday, and after more medical checks was declared ready. With a win crucial to the Blitzboks to ensure they don’t fall well behind early pacesetters New Zealand‚ who won in Dubai‚ having the best possible squad was vital. The Blitzboks have gone into the season without a host of regulars who helped win back-to-back World Series titles over the past two years.
SOCCER
Baroka not in final by mistake: Lorch
Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch has reiterated the club’s stance that they will not underestimate Baroka FC in the Telkom Knockout final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday. In the eyes of many soccer followers around the country‚ the Buccaneers are favourites to beat Baroka FC for their first trophy in four years, and their coach Milutin Sredojevic has already cautioned the players against complacency in Port Elizabeth. “Baroka are not in the final by mistake‚” Lorch said as they prepared for the final. “They deserve respect and that’s what we will give them if we are to achieve our dream of lifting the trophy on Saturday, because we know their players have ambitions to lift their first title in the club’s history. When you look at the teams that they defeated along the way‚ you can see this is a team that has earned its place in the final and this is a team that deserves our respect.”
Fifa blesses Chippa with R3.3m bonus
Chippa United have received a significant windfall from Fifa as the only Premier Soccer League club to send a player to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was part of the Super Eagles squad that exited in the first round and even though he did not get any playing time‚ Chippa will be paid $237‚720 (about R3.3m) just for having him there. It is part of $209m that is to be paid out to 416 clubs from 63 member associations who had players at the finals in Russia‚ which represents an almost 200% increase on 2014.
I understand why Lebese wants to go, says Ngoma
Aubrey Ngoma says he can understand why fellow left winger George Lebese wants out of Mamelodi Sundowns‚ but that he will stay and fight for his place. Like Lebese‚ Ngoma has struggled for game time this season with just two appearances – two as a substitute and one as a starter. He admitted that in a squad of Sundowns’ quality – where new arrivals such as Lebogang Maboe‚ Toni Silva‚ Jose Ali Meza and Phakamani Mahlambi have given coach Pitso Mosimane more toys to play with – finding game time can be extremely difficult. “Exactly. It’s quality all round‚” Ngoma said. “I mean we’ve got enough depth for every position in the team. It won’t be easy for any player. So you can feel for him [Lebese] when he says he wants to leave because it’s been difficult for him to break into the team. But also he’s a quality player. I know he’s got a strong mind. He’ll overcome the situation.”
Leicester City chopper ‘rotor pedals failed’
Disconnected cockpit pedals caused the helicopter crash that killed the Thai billionaire owner of Leicester City football club, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four others on October 28, a British investigation found on Thursday. The helicopter spun out of control on take-off moments after it cleared the stadium’s roof. Vichai attended most Leicester home matches, landing and taking off from the centre of the pitch. Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Branch said a series of cockpit pedals had somehow become disconnected from the rotor on the helicopter’s tail. “The loss of control of the helicopter resulted from the tail rotor actuator control shaft becoming disconnected from the actuator lever mechanism,” the eight-page report said. The helicopter began to spin uncontrollably to the right as a result.
IOC askes Senegal to co-operate in Diack probe
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has formally requested Senegal cooperates with French judicial authorities investigating corruption at the heart of international athletics, sources have said. Investigators are particularly keen that Papa Massa Diack, son of the former IAAF president Lamine Diack and himself a powerful marketing adviser to the federation, should answer questions. In a letter seen by AFP sent to the Senegalese President Macky Sall on November 16, Bach said that investigating magistrate, Renaud van Ruymbeke, “told us of the difficulties he has come up against in the execution of the two investigation letters addressed to the Minister of Justice of Senegal”. “The commitment of your government (...) would be particularly appreciated,” added Bach, who asked that action be taken as quickly as possible. Diack, known as PMD, is suspected of having received several million euros of bribes, either for sponsorship contracts or to favour the Rio and Tokyo nominations for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.
RIDING
Kids with cancer inspired Grand National champ
Bob Champion battled back from cancer to win the Grand National while record-breaking AP McCoy broke nearly all the bones in his body before finally triumphing in the world’s greatest steeplechase at his 15th attempt. Champion may be 70 now and his magical win on Aldaniti almost 40 years ago, but it still strikes a chord with aspiring jockeys who were not born at the time. Indeed, he and McCoy gave four young riders some advice at Ascot racecourse last week as they rode Shetland ponies over mini Grand National fences. Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1979 and was given six to eight months to live or a 35-40% chance of living if he underwent chemotherapy. However, even with the treatment he became so low he gave up the will to live. “I just didn’t want to live anymore because it was horrendous those days. I ended up walking through the children’s ward and saw all those children not making a fuss like I was. I was supposed to be grown up and they were children, and I thought, well, if they can go through with it, so can I.”
OLYMPICS
Russians appeal court’s doping decision
The Russian Olympic Committee appealed has against a Moscow court ruling that refused to recognise bobsledder Alexander Zubkov’s Olympic ban, saying it could cast doubt on Russia’s desire to fight against doping. Zubkov, who has retired from competition and currently serves as the president of Russia’s bobsleigh federation, was stripped of his two gold medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics over doping. Yet a Moscow court last month refused to acknowledge a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that confirmed a doping violation against Zubkov. The judgment has no effect outside the country, leaving the CAS ruling intact. The Russian Olympic Committee said the Moscow court ruling “could give reason to doubt that Russia truly recognises the basic principles of the fight against doping”. On Thursday, Zubkov said: “The Russian Olympic Committee has to defend its athletes ... but unfortunately our Olympic leaders don’t agree. They are taking the side of the International Olympic Committee.”
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLive..

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