- Ant Sims
When it comes to selecting sporting sides in South Africa, it’s not often that even the most notorious comments sections are mostly in agreement. Yet, somehow, despite all the doom and gloom currently surrounding South African rugby, Allister Coetzee has managed to keep almost everyone pretty happy. That’s the first battle won. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Eddie Jones said some of the Super Rugby fixtures puts him to sleep. Richard Loe called the South African derbies “as boring as goat shit”, stadium attendances have been declining year after year and the pay-TV view means that the audience for Super Rugby has probably reached its saturation in a number of countries. As a product to sell to sponsors, the competition is at risk of suffering a serious identity crisis if it doesn’t engage with fans better. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura became not just the first woman, but the first non-European to be appointed as a senior executive in Fifa’s structures. The new Fifa Secretary General has quite a task on her hands and while she might not have any experience in sport, she certainly has the diplomacy credentials to usher in a new dawn. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Elite sport is in a constant state of turmoil between searching for new ideas and remaining true to the universal truths that have existed since competition began. There are certain variables that are not quantifiable and yet still undoubtedly constitute the make-up of competition. Variables such as hard work, passion, determination. One such variable is pressure. By DANIEL GALLAN for CONQA SPORT.
Domenico Scala, Fifa’s head of auditing and compliance and one of the architects of reform at the embattled organisation, resigned in a huff at the weekend following a decision taken by the Fifa Council which seemingly gives Gianni Infantino more power than Sepp Blatter ever had. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
The World Series Sevens might be coming to an end, but preparation for Rio is only just beginning. Seabelo Senatla was the shining light for the Blitzboks at the weekend, but against a physical Samoan side, South Africa came up well short. It might be just the wake-up call they need to know what part of their game needs some tinkering as Rio begins to loom ever larger. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
In the tiny rural village of Ga-Sekororo in Limpopo, against a breathtaking backdrop of rolling hills, The Oaks Cricket Club has been playing cricket on concrete pitches for two decades. They hope to raise funds to visit the Eastern Cape – where the players will get to see the ocean for the first time – and make a documentary of their journey as they play their part in transforming the South African sporting landscape. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Last week, the Jozi Cats, Africa’s first gay and inclusive rugby club, launched a provocative recruitment campaign that made headlines across the world. The campaign has started a critical conversation that is long overdue in South Africa and the rest of the continent and their journey could play a critical role in attitudes towards homosexuality in sport. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport only reduced Michel Platini’s ban from six years to four and rapped Fifa over the knuckles for failing to act on the irregular payment before the independent ethics committee opened an investigation into it, despite knowing about its existence. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Patrick Ekeng, a 26-year-old Cameroonian footballer who was playing in Romania, died after collapsing on the pitch at the weekend. Medical staff at the hospital say he arrived without having received proper first aid. An investigation is being launched to determine if that’s the case, but whatever the outcome, it is another reminder that sporting bodies must provide a higher duty of care to players and ensure frequent and adequate screening in order to prevent incidents such as these. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Cricket South Africa launched the 2016 Africa Cup without too much fanfare on Wednesday. There was much talk of “identity” and “opportunities”. It might sound like marketing waffle, but there’s a chance to capture the market of the often-forgotten smaller cricketing grounds across the country. By ANTOINETTE MULLER
When South Africa’s swimmers go to compete at the Fina World Championships later this year, a number of them will have to dig into their own pockets to make up the shortfall in costs. Meanwhile, Sascoc is offering an all-expenses-paid business class trip to three lucky South African MPs. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Transformation, despite what many seem to fear, is not about taking sport X or Y “away from white people” and it’s certainly not crying over the loss of Kevin Pietersen or Grant Elliott. Transformation is crying over every Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada and Siya Kolisi we haven’t found. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Fikile Mbalula’s radical action to ban four of South Africa’s sporting federations from hosting or bidding for international events after failing to meet their targets might be a wake-up call, but unless holistic action is taken, it will remain nothing but a plaster over a gaping wound. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Rugby League, the 13-man jamboree which prides itself on speed and power and which is immensely popular in Australia, New Zealand and England, is struggling to find an identity in South Africa because of Sascoc’s refusal to accept the sport as something different to rugby union, the traditional 15-man code. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
On Tuesday, Oregan Hoskins hinted at the possibility of excluding overseas-based players from playing for the Boks. This comes barely a week after he had sat next to new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, who said that he would like to pick players who are based abroad. In the modern-day era of professional sport, it is staggering that we are even having this conversation. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
The South African players have kicked against the idea of playing a day-night Test against Australia later this year. Having not had any experience playing under lights with the pink ball is one of the chief reasons for their reluctance, but what are some of the pros and cons of the radical reinvention of the traditional format? By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
Over the weekend, the first ever professional rugby league launched in America. While the league is still in its infancy, its owner is making all the right noises to lead you to believe that this has the potential to grow into something intriguing, not just for local talent in the US but for players across the world searching for career opportunities in sport. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
In the space of about four hours on Saturday, Caster Semenya sent a strong message to Olympics competitors. With a personal best time in the 400m and an impressive run in both the 800m and 1,500m, Semenya looks well on track for delivering her best performance yet at the Olympics later this year. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.
When it comes to having a nuanced understanding of transformation, few coaches are as versed in the resolve as newly appointed Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. But with the number of black players coming through the system remaining marginal, he faces an uphill struggle, just like his predecessors. By ANTIONETTE MULLER.