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Living the dream: Livingstone lands huge Super League deal in SA2 min read

He is joined in South Africa by countrymen Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Tom Curran.

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Liam Livingstone gets huge SA deal

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone was a surprise first-round pick in the draft for South Africa’s Mzansi Super League on Tuesday. Livingstone, 26, a hard-hitting batsman and leg-spin bowler, was bought by the Cape Town Blitz franchise for a million rand.

Although his international experience is limited to two Twenty20 internationals for England in 2017, Livingstone has played in the Indian and Pakistan Twenty20 leagues with the Rajasthan Royals and Karachi Kings respectively.

He is joined in South Africa by countrymen Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Tom Curran, who had previously been named as international marquee players, earning R1.2-million each, for the Durban Heat, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants and Tshwane Spartans.

Pay Attention: Touch down: the ICC Cricket World Cup in Cape Town for SA tour

English players dominated the foreign signings for the six franchises. Veteran batsman Ravi Bopara was bought by Durban Heat for R750,000 while England World Cup-winning squad member James Vince went to the Paarl Rocks for R350,000.

Liam Livinstone gets picked in draft first round
Rajasthan Royals cricketer Liam Livingstone walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi on May 4, 2019. (Photo by XAVIER GALIANA / AFP)

West Indian Chris Gayle was again signed as a marquee player for Jozi Stars, the defending champions, while Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz was assigned to the Cape Town Blitz and Isuru Udana of Sri Lanka joined the Paarl Rocks.

Jozi Stars retained Australian all-rounder Dan Christian while fellow Australian Ben Dunk was bought by Nelson Mandela Bay Giants. Pakistanis Asif Ali and Mohammad Nawaz were retained by Cape Town Blitz.

Seventeen-year-old Afghanistan left-arm wrist spinner Waqar Salamkheil, who took four wickets on his Test debut against Ireland in March, will join the Tshwane Spartans. He was a ninth-round choice for a fee of R180,000.

Related News: Mamelodi Sundowns top SA premiership table

Cricket South Africa said 184 foreign or South African Kolpak players had put their names forward for the draft. The overseas players will join South Africa’s leading cricketers, including some such as AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel who are unlikely to play any other cricket in their home country during the season.

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Siya Kolisi: Trying For Greatness

The captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.

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Siya Kolisi, 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.

Siya Kolisi, captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.
South Africa’s flanker Siya Kolisi (L) and South Africa’s fly-half Handre Pollard take part in a training session at Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu on October 30, 2019, ahead of their Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

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.
Siya Kolisi, captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.
South Africa’s flanker Siya Kolisi takes part in a training session at Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu on October 30, 2019, ahead of their Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

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.

Siya Kolisi, captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.

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.”

Siya Kolisi, captaincy of sports teams all over the world is a big issue and a big deal.
South Africa’s flanker Siya Kolisi (L) and South Africa’s prop Frans Malherbe take part in a training session at Arcs Urayasu Park in Urayasu on October 30, 2019, ahead of their Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

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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Southern Africa

South Africa suspends three cricket top officials

Three top officials have been placed on suspension by Cricket South Africa

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South Africa suspends three cricket top officials
South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis (C) celebrates with teammates after India's Rohit Sharma has been dismissed during the second day of the third and final Test match between India and South Africa at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) stadium in Ranchi on October 20, 2019. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

Cricket South Africa said Wednesday it had placed three top officials on “precautionary suspension”.

No names were given but South African media reported that they included Corrie van Zyl, the interim director of cricket, who was seen as a front-runner for the full-time role which holds responsibility for the national team.

The suspensions came less than two months before South Africa host England in a four-Test series, with the key positions of director of cricket and team director yet to be filled.

CSA said in a statement the suspensions were related to a dispute over unpaid fees to players following the Mzansi Super League T20 tournament last year. The 2019 version of the tournament starts on November 8.

The other officials reportedly suspended are chief operating officer Naasei Appiah and sponsorship head Clive Eksteen.

The suspensions came a week after the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), which represents professional players, declared a dispute with CSA over money it said was due to the players for commercial rights relating to the MSL 2018.

CSA said it was investigating whether the suspended officials were “derelict in fulfilling their duties” and that disciplinary action could follow. It said all fees due to the players would be paid to SACA immediately.

South Africa's Anrich Nortje reacts after losing to India at the end of the third and final Test match between India and South Africa
South Africa’s Anrich Nortje reacts after losing to India at the end of the third and final Test match between India and South Africa at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) stadium in Ranchi on October 22, 2019. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

The latest upheavals come at a time when the national team appears to be in disarray. Ottis Gibson and his coaching staff were fired after a poor World Cup campaign and a new structure was announced, with a team director to be appointed who would report to the director of cricket.

Van Zyl, a long-time employee of CSA, was appointed an interim director of cricket and Enoch Nkwe was made appointed interim team director following a successful season as coach of the Lions franchise.

Nkwe was in charge of the team that suffered three heavy defeats in three Tests in India earlier this month.

Applications for the permanent posts close tomorrow. The first Test against England starts on December 26.

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Nigeria and South Africa to clash in Olympics football qualifying

Nigeria and South Africa were placed in the same group when the draw for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying tournament was made Wednesday in Egyptian city Alexandria.

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Nigeria and South Africa were placed in the same group when the draw for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying tournament was made Wednesday in Egyptian city Alexandria.

Read Also: Ex-South African footballer Marc Batchelor killed in drive-by shooting

Nigeria and South Africa are in Group B for the November 8-22 championship with the Ivory Coast and Zambia, while Group A comprises hosts Egypt, Mali, Cameroon and Ghana.

Teams are restricted to under-23 footballers and the finalists and the winners of the third-place play-off will represent Africa in Japan, where teams can use three ‘over-age’ players.

Nigeria have won gold (1996) and silver (2008) at Olympic football tournaments, Cameroon gold (2000) and Ghana bronze (1992).

South Africa and Nigeria stood out during a three-round qualifying competition for the tournament in Egypt, with all matches scheduled for Cairo.

Read Also: FIFA bans ex-Nigeria football coach for match fixing

The South Africans twice scored three goals against Angola and banged five past Zimbabwe in Soweto as they chase a second successive appearance at the Olympics.

Although lacking Samuel Chukwueze and Victor Osimhen, who were on senior national team duty, Nigeria crushed Sudan 5-0 last month after losing the first leg by a solitary goal.

The tournament doubles as the Africa U23 Cup of Nations and the previous two editions were won by Gabon (2011) in Morocco and Nigeria (2015) in Senegal.

Group A

Egypt (hosts), Mali, Cameroon, Ghana

Group B

Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Zambia

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