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Ken Borland

CSA & anti-corruption unit have been methodical & efficient 0

Posted on December 26, 2016 by Ken


Cricket South Africa and the chairman of their anti-corruption unit, former Judge President Bernard Ngoepe, need to be congratulated for the methodical and efficient manner in which they have dealt with the attempts to fix matches during last season’s T20 competition, resulting this week in Alviro Petersen joining ringleader Gulam Bodi and Jean Symes, Pumelela Matshikwe, Ethy Mbhalati and Thami Tsolekile as players who have received bans.

Petersen accepted a ban of two years this week and his was the most complex of the cases, the former Proteas batsman being both whistleblower and conspirator, both helpful and obstructive to the investigators.

That half-a-dozen players have now successfully been prosecuted – with just one more high-profile name believed to be on the radar – points to the systematic, detailed work of Ngoepe’s anti-corruption unit. There had been pressure on them early on in the investigations to speed up the process and some of the guilty were also politically-sensitive figures, but they ensured they followed due process every step of the way, even if it meant there was no news for a baying public for periods of time.

The acquittal of former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns on matchfixing charges last November really upped the ante in terms of the evidence required by cricket administrators looking to pursue successful prosecutions of those involved in corruption and CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat and Ngoepe and his staff have handled the latest South African case with the delicacy and precision of a surgeon.

While Petersen claims he raised the alarm about the nefarious activities Bodi was putting into play, the investigators always had questions about the 36-year-old’s continued involvement in the scheme. Did he pull out because he wasn’t going to get enough money out of the scam?

Petersen was implicated by the evidence of his co-accused as well as his actions in destroying key evidence, believed to be his cellphone records, and has basically been found guilty of that and of not immediately reporting the suspicious activities. Perhaps by trying to be the hero and bypassing the rules which all cricketers should know, he has probably ended his professional career.

It is fair to say Petersen is not well-liked by most of his team-mates, I have heard him referred to as “Lord Voldemort”, and, probably due to a really tough upbringing in the Port Elizabeth township of Gelvandale, he is a bristly, difficult character, always on the defensive.

Coming from a really poor background, perhaps the drive to make “easy” money was too strong; or perhaps his desire to be the hero and singlehandedly destroy Bodi’s matchfixing ring turned into hubris.

Perhaps he is guilty of merely showing poor judgement, something all of us suffer from at times, but he has paid a terrible price in his name being tarnished and losing two of his twilight years as a player, particularly in English county cricket, where he has been a prolific and highly-valued run-scorer for Lancashire.

But that’s the penalty under a system that rightly operates under a zero tolerance principle and no professional cricketer can claim that they are uneducated about the anti-corruption measures.

Petersen’s punishment is par for the course for what he did and thankfully he has accepted it without the need for protracted hearings and appeals. This frees up the anti-corruption unit to now zoom in on a former international pace bowler with especially strong political connections.

Perhaps they have left the toughest case to last.

Ruthless Southern Gauteng claim title in emphatic fashion 0

Posted on May 04, 2016 by Ken


Southern Gauteng claimed the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals men’s title in the most emphatic manner with a ruthlessly efficient 5-1 victory over the SA U21s in the final at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.


The greater experience of the Southern Gauteng team was shown by their tremendous composure in defence, the SA U21s certainly threatening more than the scoreline would suggest. Up front, the home team were clinical, with Stuart Spooner and Julian Hykes taking full advantage of what were no more than half-chances for their goals.


Both teams took a while to settle down in a nervy first quarter, that finished goalless, with just one short-corner to Southern Gauteng.

Spooner opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an impressive reverse-sticks shot from an angle, but there is such talent in this SA U21 side that it was not much of a surprise when they equalised moments later, the hard-working Matthew de Sousa setting up a short-corner and then managing to get the ball past the daunting frame of national goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse with a clever deflection.

But Southern Gauteng were extremely dangerous on the break and less than a minute had passed when they were back in front, Clinton Panther rounding the defence and flipping the ball back for Brad Venter to pop it into goal.


When Hykes was gifted the ball at the top of the SA U21 circle by a foolish mistake but blasted his shot over the goal, it went down as a potentially crucial moment as Southern Gauteng went into halftime 2-1 up.


But the mark of a champion team has often been described as the ability to lift their performance by a notch under pressure and Southern Gauteng did just that as they came out for the third quarter and blew the SA U21s away with three goals.

A strong run by Brandon Panther set up a short-corner, from which Gareth Heyns gave a perfect example of a drag-flick into the top right of the net.


Southern Gauteng then gave a masterclass in exerting pressure as they squeezed the SA U21s into the left corner, eventually forcing the defence to gift possession away. Clinton Panther pounced, found Hykes, who crossed for Brynn Cleak to slot the fourth goal.


A pinpoint, perfectly-struck reverse-sticks shot by Hykes in the 42nd minute brought the fifth and final goal.

Southern Gauteng, patient and composed, structurally aware and able to read the game so well, were the worthiest of champions.

Sam makes trumpet call against bloated sports department 0

Posted on May 18, 2015 by Ken


Sascoc president Gideon Sam has made a trumpet call for Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula to forge a more efficient administration in the fight for sporting transformation.

Sam, speaking at the Highveld Lions awards dinner this week, said Mbalula was presiding over a bloated administration that was deflecting money away from the effort to clear “historical backlogs” in sport.

“The minister of sport has a very small budget, hardly a billion rand, and that’s for his administration too. Each minister of sport inherits a huge staff and, because of the power of the unions, he dare not touch that staff. I compare it to Sascoc and I wonder why there are so many people in the department of sport and recreation? It has to be asked. It’s very hard for the minister to work people out and usually he brings in more of his own people as well.

“Politicians want to use sport for ‘social cohesion’, but that phrase is not in my dictionary. How can sport, which is so impoverished, do that? The truth is, if you really go into it, South African sport is not structured correctly. We’re not giving impoverished sportspeople, black and white, a fair chance,” Sam said.

Sam suggested the debate over World Cup selection was “deliberate, to try and throw stones at the administration and it takes us nowhere”, but he did acknowledge that there was growing frustration at much of the bureaucracy that surrounds transformation and funding.

“The federations apply, they fill in all those forms and they don’t even get an acknowledgement so they get fed up with the battle. Why should they concern themselves with transformation policy when they have to foot the bill themselves?”

The Sascoc president said the club player who could “afford a plane ticket and the price of accommodation in a hotel” was always going to make a team ahead of competitors who could not afford to travel to tournaments.


Knights beat Titans to stay top of log 0

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Ken

The Chevrolet Knights ensured that they will remain on top of the RamSlam T20 Challenge log as they beat the Unlimited Titans by 35 runs in efficient fashion at SuperSport Park last night.

Even though they finished terribly, losing five wickets and scoring just 21 runs in the last three overs, the Knights managed to post a competitive 179 for seven in their 20 overs after being sent in to bat, and they then bowled superbly as they restricted the Titans to 144 for five.

Rudi Second ensured that they were off to a brisk start as he struck 44 off 26 balls, with seven fours and a six, while fellow opener Gerhardt Abrahams made a more workmanlike 44 off 40 deliveries.

Opening the bowling with left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe did not work for the Titans on this occasion as Second hit him off his lengths, taking 25 off his two overs up front, but a superb display on debut from former SA U19 paceman Corbin Bosch pegged back the Knights.

He had Second caught at third man in his first over and then returned at the death to showcase his brilliant skills, finishing with one for 26 from his four overs.

The Knights were grateful for a vital contribution from West Indian pro Andre Russell for their eventual total, the lanky Jamaican striking some great blows as he belted 48 off 21 balls, with eight fours and two sixes.

Fellow West Indian Darren Sammy produced an inspired 18th over in which he claimed three wickets, but sadly for the Titans he could not pull off a miracle with the bat.

Dean Elgar anchored the Titans chase with 65 not out off 64 balls, but was unable to find an extra gear, while Sammy failed to perform the power-hitting role so desperately needed by the Titans as he scored 23 off 17 balls.

Captain Henry Davids scored a breezy 29 off 18 balls up front to give the Titans a promising start, but Russell produced an outstanding display with the ball to stop the momentum. He produced a beautiful dipping, slower-ball yorker to bowl Davids and then conceded just 14 runs in the 17th and 19th overs to kill off the Titans’ slim hopes.

Opening bowler Dillon du Preez was unable to take a wicket, but bowled with excellent control to concede just 31 runs in his four overs, while Malusi Siboto (4-0-27-1) and Shadley van Schalkwyk (4-0-31-2) also contributed greatly to the Titans being strangled.

*In Cape Town, the Cape Cobras thrashed the Dolphins by eight wickets with 26 balls remaining. Mthokozisi Shezi, playing against his former franchise, and Sybrand Engelbrecht claimed three wickets apiece as the Dolphins were restricted to 127 for nine. Richard Levi (44) and Andrew Puttick (48*) then helped themselves to a dozen boundaries between them as they broke the back of the run-chase.

*Chris Gayle ensured that the Highveld Lions gave the Warriors a proper hiding down in East London as he thrashed 108 not out off 55 balls to complete a 10-wicket victory in the 15th over. The Warriors chose to bat first but could only muster 144 for six as Lions bowlers Lonwabo Tsotsobe (4-0-13-1), Dwaine Pretorius (4-0-21-1) and spinner Eddie Leie (4-0-19-3) kept things extremely tidy with the ball. Overseas pro Craig Kieswetter led the Warriors batting with 82 not out off 64 balls.



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