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Springbok Pollard Faces Lenghty Spell Out With Ruptured ACL2 minutes read

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South Africa international fly half Handre Pollard faces a lengthy spell on the treatment table after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament on Friday 11 September while playing for his French Top 14 side Montpellier.

He has played just two games since the lockdown, as the 2019-20 Top 14 season was cancelled and the 2020-21 season has only recently begun.

Pollard who was a key part of the Sprinboks team who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup, was stretchered off the pitch during the 41-17 loss to Racing 92 and scans have now revealed the extent of the damage.

“Following the match last Friday evening between our Cistes and Racing 92 players at La Paris Défense Aréna, the club formalizes the absence for several months of Handré Pollard, victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligaments,” Montpellier said in a statement.

“We wish him a quick recovery.”

It is the second time that Pollard has ruptured his ligaments, suffering a similar injury during a training session with the Vodacom Bulls in 2016. Then, he was forced to miss around nine months of action.

This means that the 6ft 2in Springbok, 96kg star is ruled out of the Rugby Championship scheduled to be played in Australia from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, and will significantly cut his preparation time for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa that starts in July 2021

Pollard has played 48 Tests for South Africa since making his international debut in 2014 and his control at fly-half is key to the Boks’ game-plan. However his injury will provide his deputy in the team, Elton Jantjies, a chance to stake a claim for the No. 10 jersey against the Lions.

Golden Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who was used at the World Cup as a secondary 10 option, has maintained a 76-78 percent goal kicking rate over the last few seasons, and ran the Lions’ attack into three Super Rugby finals.

With 37 Test caps to his name, Jantjies is the next most experienced flyhalf the Springboks have at their disposal. However, his on-field game time under the new coaching staff has been sporadic.

The world champions were already dealing with the loss of locks RG Snyman, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager to injury.

Southern Africa Sports

Ajax Amsterdam End 21-Year Association With Ajax Cape Town

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Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam have ended their ties with Glad Africa Championship side Ajax Cape Town with immediate effect.

In a statement released on Monday evening, the Urban Warriors said Cape Town Stars, who own 49 per cent of the shares, will take control of the franchise effective from October 1. This follows Ajax Cape Town’s failure to win promotion back to the DStv Premiership from the GladAfrica Championship for a second season running.

“Cape Town Stars, the South African minority shareholder of Ajax Cape Town has reached an agreement to take control of the franchise,” the statement read.

“Cape Town Stars, the 49% shareholder of Ajax Cape Town, is pleased to announce they have reached an agreement to acquire the 51% share of the GladAfrica Championship franchise from Ajax Amsterdam with effect from 1 October.”

“After 21 years of partnership with their Dutch counterparts, Cape Town Stars will be acquiring full control of the South African club.

“Cape Town Stars will shortly be in a position to advise on the way forward with regards to the future of the franchise.”

Meanwhile, in their own statement, Ajax Amsterdam stated that it will shift focus to other markets.

“AFC Ajax NV has reached an agreement for the sale of 51% of its shares in Ajax Cape Town to the minority shareholders. The transaction is set to be completed on or before October 1‚” the Ajax Amsterdam statement read.

“After the strategic reorientation‚ which was reported in February 2020 during the presentation of the half-year figures‚ Ajax concluded that the ambitions and results in Amsterdam are in too great a contrast to the development of the football market in South Africa.

“Ajax has expressed the ambition to reach the top of European football and in recent years the South African football market has not produced enough talent at the level that Ajax strives for.

“Moreover‚ Ajax does not see sufficient potential for the future.

“The club has shifted its focus to other markets. Ajax Amsterdam has been a 51% shareholder of Ajax Cape Town since 1999.”

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Southern Africa Sports

Durban To Host 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships

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History was made yesterday when South African city Durban was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals after Member Associations voted for it during the 2020 ITTF AGM held on Monday 28 September 28.

It will be the first time in history that the ITTF’s most prestigious event is being held in South Africa and the first time on the African continent since Cairo played host to the competition way back in 1939.

Durban won 90 votes to ward off competition from the other candidate city and 2017 hosts Düsseldorf in Germany, who garnered 39 votes during the AGM.

ITTF President Thomas Weikert was unable to travel to Doha after being placed in quarantine after coming in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient last week. However, Deputy President Al Mohannadi was quick to offer his congratulations to Durban for their successful bid.

“Congratulations to both South Africa and Germany on presenting very strong bids to host the 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals. We are continuing to see benefits from the forthcoming changes to the format of the World Championships Finals, which will be introduced from next year onwards, leading to more countries bidding from different regions of the world,” he said.

“This also reflects the ever-increasing international appeal of table tennis, which is extremely pleasing to see as we continue to work hard to make the sport more global in the future,” he added.

South Africa will also play host to the 2023 Netball World Cup, with Cape Town having won that bid last year.

The AGM also featured a special report on the impact of COVID-19 on global table tennis, as the sport prepares for a return to action via the #RESTART series that gets under way from November.

The #RESTART will feature three of the most prestigious ITTF events, namely the 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup, 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup and the 2020 ITTF Finals. All three events will be held in China with the Women’s World Cup from November 8-10 followed by the men’s event from November 13-15 and the ITTF Finals from November 19-22.

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PSL unveil DStv as new title sponsor

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Africa’s foremost broadcast organization DStv has been unveiled as the new headline sponsor of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. MultiChoice and the Premier Soccer League announced on Thursday 24 September that DStv has signed a five-year deal to become the new title sponsor of the league. They replace South African banking giants ABSA who ended their 13-year sponsorship at the end of the 2019/20 season.

According to PSL chairman Dr. Irvin Khoza, the establishment of the DStv Premiership is a natural evolution to the relationship and will be a powerful synergy, in what it brings for the football supporters.

“As the PSL continues to innovate with a quest to improve its product, it will have a full backing of DStv, whose offering require an abundance of local content,” he said.

“There is no ‘them and us’. We are joined at the hip to produce enhanced consumption of the best product for our deserving supporters.”

“This affiliation is special because it is the only affiliation that is as appealing to the young as it is to the old. It is the only affiliation that cuts across race, gender, creed, culture and political affiliations in the manner that it does. It creates equal conversations between people irrespective of their educational backgrounds and social strata.

“Through the DStv Premiership, we are expanding football’s reach deeper and wider in partnership with the PSL. This league is for every South African and every community represented in our uniquely diverse nation.” Mawela emphasizes. “With more games televised than ever before, we are deliberately creating space for all South Africans to call this competition their own,” he concluded.

MultiChoice Group CEO, Calvo Mawela believes the deal between DStv and the Premier Soccer League speaks to the essence of who and what the two organizations represent.“The DStv Premiership is the coming together of two brands that connect South Africans emotionally”, says Mawela. “Whether you are watching the best of local football or the best local entertainment, the passion for both is unmatched.

“Over the years the PSL has created stars on the field of play that have brought joy to millions. So too has DStv, creating platforms for stars to flourish and entertain. Football and entertainment are entrenched in the South African experience.

“As part of this new chapter in South African football, the DStv Premiership strives to reach every community in South Africa, both existing PSL loyalists and emerging new groups. Babize Bonke is our call to all South Africans to come together in the experience of a common passion.”

With the new PSL season scheduled to begin in October, speculations continue to swirl around the future of SuperSport United. Matsatsantsa are owned by SuperSport which is a South African Pan-Africa group of television channels carried on the DStv satellite platform.

SuperSport United are one of the top teams in South African football having been originally known as Pretoria City. The club was purchased by SuperSport in 1994 and the club got approval from the National Soccer League (NSL) and the club was renamed.

The Tshwane giants became the second team after their city rivals Mamelodi Sundowns to win three successive PSL titles, between 2008 and 2010. They have also won Nedbank Cups, three MTN8 titles and one Telkom Knockout Cup. They are also the reigning MTN8 champions having defeated Highlands Park in last year’s final.

Reports say the club is considering selling their PSL status like Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park recently did, as the newly announced sponsorship between their parent company and the PSL will raise questions about the integrity of the competition.

However, SuperSport Utd management released a statement earlier in the week refuting any plans to sell the franchise.

“We have been made aware of the rumours and speculation regarding the potential sale of the club,” a club statement read.

“These are untrue. We can categorically state that there have been no such approaches and, more importantly, the club is not up for sale.”

Wits have been purchased by National First Division (NFD) side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and the club is set to relocate to Limpopo. Wits were due to celebrate their 100th anniversary next season having been founded in 1921, but instead, will now cease to exist.

On their part, Highlands Park sold their top-flight status to NFD outfit TS Galaxy and are expected to relocate to Mpumalanga.

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