South Africa captain Faf du Plessis admitted his team were comprehensively outplayed by England in their Cricket World Cup opener on Thursday but found plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the tournament.
Hosts England made 311 for eight after being sent into bat by Du Plessis before bowling out the South Africans for 207 to start their campaign with an emphatic 104-run victory at The Oval.
“Today England were better in all three facets of the game,” Du Plessis told reporters.
“But it’s a league comp, as disappointed as we were with our performance you have to learn from it and put every single doubt to bed as you have to play cricket again.”
South Africa bowled and fielded tightly, restricting England’s usually free-scoring batsmen to only three sixes in the innings and a modest 76 runs from the last 10 overs.
Although Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes made fifties, none were able to go on to three figures.
“I thought we did a good job with the ball,” Du Plessis said. “England bat longer than anyone else so if you can stop them you are doing a great job. As few runs as they got in the last 15 overs – but it was a big score.”
South Africa’s reply was hampered by an injury to Hashim Amla who was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the helmet by a short ball from fast bowler Jofra Archer.
“The flow of the innings was affected with Hashim coming off, chasing a big score you need a good start, settled partnerships,” Du Plessis said.
“Pitch was good enough, Archer bowled well with the new ball, it will take time for international players to get used to his action and that’s why he’s such an X-factor bowler – he broke through our opening three.”
Du Plessis was pleased with his tactic of opening the bowling with leg-spinner Imran Tahir who dismissed Jonny Bairstow with the second ball of the match to give South Africa a flying start.
“It was something we thought about a year ago,” Du Plessis said. “It’s something different. My gut said Imran had a big chance of getting a wicket – he’s been practising with the new ball for a couple of weeks.”
South Africa’s next match is against Bangladesh at the same venue on Sunday.
South Africa pulls out of race to host 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
SAFA says it intends to focus on developing the women’s game in the country, alongside the South Africa Women’s Football League
The South Africa Football Association (SAFA) will not be making a bid to FIFA ahead of Friday’s deadline to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
SAFA says it intends to focus on developing the women’s game in the country, alongside the South Africa Women’s Football League.
Last month, South Africa turned down an invitation from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to be emergency hosts for next year’s Women’s African Cup of Nations tournament.
And the 2010 World Cup hosts – the only African country to host the men’s version of FIFA’s biggest tournament, also says it will not be biding to host another major international competition.
But recent problems facing the South African economy have been viewed as a key factor behind the move.
According to SAFA’s acting Chief Executive Officer Hay Mokoena:
“We resolved that as an association, we should not proceed with the bid. We want to strengthen our women’s national league first before we invite the world to come and play. Definitely, we will consider doing 2027 and we think by that time, we will have a stronger women’s league and a much stronger women’s national team”.
Earlier this year, the South African Women’s football team Bayana Bayana participated for the first time in Women’s World Cup which was held in France but failed to make it beyond the group phase.
An announcement is expected to be made in May on which country will host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Japan, South Korea (who may have a possible joint bid with North Korea) and New Zealand so far still in the race.
Namibia begins vote-counting after Wednesday’s general polls
The electoral commission has refused to state when provisional results will be released
Vote counting is underway in Namibia after polling ran on late into the night in a general election expected to loosen the ruling party’s hold on power.
Namibians went to the polls on Wednesday for its presidential and legislative elections.
President Hage Geingob’s South West Africa People’s (SWAPO) party has ruled the country since independence from South Africa in 1990.
Though the ruling party SWAPO still enjoys massive popularity, President Geingob is predicted to lose votes to an independent candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula who himself was a member of SWAPO.
The breakaway candidate is particularly popular among the Namibian youths seeking for a change in government.
The electoral commission has refused to state when provisional results will be released.
But in the last election in 2014, provisional results were announced one day after voting.
By late Thursday morning, parliamentary results started appearing on the electoral commission of Namibia website – showing only four out of 121 constituencies.
In 2014, Geingob won a sweeping 87 per cent of the vote, while runner-up and second-time runner McHenry Venaani racked up less than five per cent.
Streets were quiet in Namibia’s capital Windhoek as residents slowly went back to their daily occupations.
Although election day was peaceful, the voting process was slow and had people queueing outside for hours.
Polling stations remained open late into the night to process voters who had arrived before the 9 pm cut-off time.
“Frustratingly slow”, blasted the front page of the Namibian Sun. “Election littered with glitches.”
“Faulty EVMs, delays as Namibia votes”, echoed The Namibian.
Several voters complained about the delays.
“Everything went well, but it’s only that most people…were complaining about the EVM,” said 52-year old bank employee Alfred Siukuta, buying a newspaper on his way to work.
“We are used to voting normally, crossing out on paper and all that,” he told media, adding that he waited all afternoon and only voted after 11 pm (2100 GMT).
Some, like street vendor Eunike Ijonda gave up and went home.
“People voted until two o’clock, but me because I have small kids at home I can’t,” said the 38-year old, peeling onions behind her makeshift stall.
Ijonda said she stood in line for three hours without moving after one of the machines at her polling station broke down.
“The other year was faster,” she added.
“I am disappointed, I want the government to change and make voting two days.”
Around 1.4 million of Namibia’s 2.45 million inhabitants were registered to vote. Half were under 37 and around a third born after 1990.
Average voter turnout for past elections is around 76 per cent.
Siya Kolisi: Trying For Greatness
The captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.
“Some people stop me in the street and others just come to the house to congratulate us on his achievement,” he said.
“It is unbelievable. The phone has also been ringing non-stop.”
Those were the words of Fezakele Kolisi after his son was appointed as the 61st captain of South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks. The captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal. Countless newspaper columns and hours of airtime are usually devoted to the role and the person holding the position.
If it is vacant, even more, media space is involved in discussing the implications of the vacancy and the possible candidates and eventually, the subsequent recipient. Take everything just described and multiply it by a million. The answer will give you a small insight into just how important the captaincy of the Springboks is to the people of South Africa. And how significant Siya Kolisi has become.
The story of South Africa is one which is well known throughout the world. A rich, beautiful, strategically located land with a proud African heritage. A nation whose land was stolen from its native peoples, who were subsequently enslaved and brutally worked to provide wealth and power for Dutch and British colonisers.
These colonial masters created an abominable political and social system called apartheid. It was a policy that governed relations between the country’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites. It had existed for centuries but was formally started and enforced in 1948 after the National Party gained power.
Under apartheid, the sport was also divided along racial lines. In a South African society, rugby was long considered a white sport, soccer a black one. And like most other institutions in South Africa, the South African rugby bodies followed suit. There was:
- The South African Rugby Board (SARB) for whites only
- The South African Rugby Federation (SARF) for “coloureds” i.e. people considered to be of mixed race.
- The South African Rugby Association (SARA) (originally the South African African Rugby Board) for blacks. There was also the South African Rugby Union (SARU), which was a non-racial body, with a considerable membership. However, only the SARB had any say in international tours, and they alone chose the national team.
For over a century, the Springboks, as the national team of South Africa were known, were regarded as a symbol of white oppression of the native peoples of South Africa and a shining banner of the Apartheid policy. From 1891 when the first international was played, till 1995, the team did not have a single black player.
The world turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the racial discrimination in South Africa until 1976, when the Soweto riots attracted international condemnation and 28 countries boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in protest, and the next year, in 1977, the Commonwealth signed the Gleneagles Agreement, which discouraged any sporting contact with South Africa.
In response to the growing pressure, the segregated South African rugby unions merged in 1977. Four years later Errol Tobias would become the first non-white South African to represent his country when he took the field against Ireland. A planned 1979 Springbok tour of France was stopped by the French government, who announced that it was inappropriate for South African teams to tour France.
From 1990 to 1991 the legal apparatus of apartheid was abolished, and the Springboks were readmitted to international rugby in 1992. But things really began to look up after the country was awarded the hosting rights for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and there was a remarkable surge of support for the Springboks among the white and black communities in the lead-up to the tournament.
The black people of South Africa really got behind the team winger Chester Williams was selected for the Springboks, the only non-white person on the entire team. Nicknamed “The Black Pearl”, Williams was selected in the initial squad but had to withdraw before the tournament began due to injury. He was later called back into the squad after another player was suspended for a brawl and played in the quarter-final, scoring four tries. He also featured in the semi-final win over France as well as in the final against New Zealand.
Nelson Mandela, who had taken office as South Africa’s first democratically elected president a year earlier, had embraced the Springboks — long a symbol of repression to most nonwhites — signalling that there was a place for white South Africans in the new order.
Wearing a Springboks jersey and cap, Mandela visited the players in the locker room before they took the field in the final where they defeated the All Blacks 15-12. The image of Madiba lifting the trophy with Francois Pienaar, the team’s Afrikaaner captain, at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium was a poignant one. But one that masked some still-festering racial sores in the country’s rugby fraternity.
Instead of the victory accelerating racial integration in the Springboks, things stagnated. Twelve years later when the team won their second World Cup, there were only two black players. But today, things are much different. In the starting XV that beat Wales in the semi-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, there were six black players: wingers S’busiso Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi, centre Lukhanyo Am, prop Tendai Mtawarira, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, and captain Siya Kolisi. Of Rassie Erasmus’s squad of 31, 11 are black.
Kolisi represents a poignant bridge between the dark past and the brighter future of South Africa. Born on June 16 1991, one day before the repeal of apartheid, Kolisi has overcome a humble background in the poor township of Zwide, just outside Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape, where he was brought up by his grandmother, who cleaned kitchens to make ends meet. At the age of 12, he impressed scouts at a youth tournament in Mossel Bay and was offered a scholarship at Grey Junior in Port Elizabeth. He was subsequently offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School. But tragedy struck when he was 15 when his mother died and his grandmother shortly afterwards.
He made his Springbok debut on 15 June 2013 against Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit becoming the 851st player in the history of the team. He replaced the injured Arno Botha in the 5th minute and was named as Man of the Match as his side won 30–17. 9 further substitute appearances followed during the 2013 international season as he firmly established himself as a regular member of the national squad.
Kolisi played two matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, against Japan and Samoa. He was selected as the new captain of the Springboks on 28 May 2018, becoming the team’s first black captain in its 127-year history. Bryan Habana, former Springbok and of mixed race, praised Kolisi’s appointment saying “It’s a monumental moment for South African rugby and a moment in South African history.” His appointment has been well received by all his teammates. Both white and black alike.
But despite everything he has achieved, Kolisi is still said to be very humble and grounded. “His story is unique,” Hanyani Shimange, former Springboks prop, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
“Previous generations of black rugby players were not given the same opportunities, purely because of South Africa’s laws. He’s living the dream of people who weren’t given the same opportunities as him.
“He’s grabbed those opportunities. He’s a good man, a humble individual.
“He’s got a lot of time for people, probably too much time in some instances. But he’s the same Siya he was six years ago. He loves rugby, and the team loves him.”
Chester Williams died in September 2019 and his image was on the shirts the Springboks team wore for their 2019 World Cup opener against the All Blacks. This weekend, Kolisi will not need any reminding how much of a monumental occasion the World Cup final against England represents. His father Fezakele Kolisi will be in the crowd alongside 75,000 other fans. It will be the 50-year-old’s first trip outside South Africa and it could not come at a better time. Also in the crowd will be Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, who also grasps the significance of the occasion.
He has the chance to join Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki as the third president of The Rainbow Nation to lift the trophy. But this time is remarkably different. His predecessors were handed the iconic Webb Ellis Cup by Afrikaaners. If South Africa wins, the records will forever show that it was two black men who lifted the trophy together. One born just as apartheid died. And the other who fought alongside other heroes to end the apartheid abomination.
Kolisi stands on the brink of history. He has the chance to go where no black man in history has gone before. But he will not go alone. Not only will ten other black men go with him, not only will his entire thirty-one man team follow him, not only does he have his nation behind him, but the whole of Africa will also spur him on.
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