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Ken Borland



SA hockey heads into 2017 without stalwart Mangisa 0

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Ken

 

The South African women’s team will head into the rest of 2017 without the calming, stabilising presence of one of their greatest goalkeepers, as Sanani Mangisa announced her retirement from international hockey on Tuesday, 24th January 2017.

The 29-year-old Mangisa is into her 10th year of representing South Africa and has decided the time is right for her to concentrate on her career in the sports industry and helping to create opportunities, similar to the ones she enjoyed, for the next generation.

“I always love the freshness and optimism that comes with a new year and it is with that same freshness and optimism that I have decided to retire from international hockey. On 30th December 2006, I made my debut in Stellenbosch as a young 19-year-old and 10 years on it has been an immense honour to represent South Africa at the highest level.

“However, it’s time for me to focus on some passion projects, making sure other young players have the same opportunities I did and a job that I am enjoying. Hockey chose me and I will forever be grateful,” Mangisa said.

The South African women’s team will head into the rest of 2017 without the calming, stabilising presence of one of their greatest goalkeepers as Sanani Mangisa announced her retirement from international hockey on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Mangisa is into her 10th year of representing South Africa and has decided the time is right for her to concentrate on her career in the sports industry and helping to create opportunities, similar to the ones she enjoyed, for the next generation.

“I always love the freshness and optimism that comes with a new year and it is with that same freshness and optimism that I have decided to retire from international hockey. On December 30, 2006, I made my debut in Stellenbosch as a young 19-year-old and 10 years on it has been an immense honour to represent South Africa at the highest level.

“But it’s time for me to focus on some passion projects, making sure other kids have the same opportunities I did, and a job that I am enjoying. Hockey chose me and I will forever be grateful,” Mangisa said.

Mangisa thanked the South African Hockey Association and all other stakeholders in the game who have supported her in the last decade.

“Thank you to SA hockey for all the opportunities they allowed me to represent my country and wear the Green and Gold. Thank you to the different team-mates I have played with over the years – we shared a common goal and always worked hard towards achieving it. Thank you also to the coaches and trainers who always challenged me to be better.

“Thanks too to all the different sponsors, you believed in a kid, long before I believed in myself, and to the media – journalists and broadcasters – that feature hockey, I have to thank you specifically for working endlessly to highlight our sport. I hope everyone keeps supporting women’s sport not just because it’s women’s sport, but because we are breaking moulds and doing some cool stuff.

“And to my family, you have always been the grounding factor. Your support has been immense. Enkosi,” Mangisa said.

The Umtata-born Mangisa leaves the game with rich memories as one of South Africa’s most decorated players, having earned 112 international caps and appearing in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She also represented South Africa at the 2007 Indoor World Cup and played locally for the University of Pretoria and Northerns, before moving to Southern Gauteng.

Marissa Langeni, the CEO of the South African Hockey Association, paid tribute to Mangisa.

“We have followed Sanani’s progress over the years and she has truly been a remarkable player, doing an amazing job in goal for South Africa. She enjoyed so many highlights on the field, but she was also a great ambassador for South African hockey. We wish her all the best,” Langeni said.

http://www.sahockey.co.za/tournaments/ipt-women/276-sanani-mangisa-announces-her-retirement-from-international-hockey

Fisher Junior has excellent chance for greatest triumph 0

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Ken

 

Trevor Fisher Junior is an ex-South African Open leading amateur and he has been in strong contention in co-sanctioned events before, but he stands poised for his greatest triumph yet as he goes into the final round of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club with a two-shot lead.

Fisher Junior fired a magnificent nine-under-par 63 with seven birdies and an eagle on Saturday to vault to 16-under-par, a near-faultless display of precision golf in tricky, windy conditions.

The 35-year-old will be chased in the final round by second-round leader Matt Ford, who recovered well from a double-bogey on the par-four eighth to post a solid three-under-par 69, leaving him on 14-under for the tournament, and Jaco van Zyl, who played well but just could not sink enough putts to turn his 68 into something even better, leaving him on 12-under and four shots back.

Fisher Junior, who started the day three shots behind Ford, was off to a fast start as he birdied the first hole and then nailed a long eagle putt on the third.

The South African picked up a birdie on the eighth too, before a top-class display of golf on the back 10 saw him come home in five-under-par 34.

“It was really nice, a big surprise in fact because I didn’t think I would shoot a 63. But I just stayed in the moment and didn’t count my shots, I stayed really focused and everything just went right. I hit the ball well but I also sank some crucial putts and that’s the difference between shooting four-under and nine-under,” Fisher Junior said.

The reigning Chase to the Investec Cup champion claimed the lead when he sank a monster 65-foot birdie putt on the par-four 13th, Ford having just dropped two shots on the eighth when he found the bunker with his approach, hit his third over the green, was short with his fourth, on for five and then putted for a six.

Fisher Junior sealed the deal with three birdies in his last four holes and he said he will just go out and enjoy the experience of leading in Sunday’s final round.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to have a smile on my face. When you’re younger, you tend to try too hard, but now that I’m more mature I realise that it’s just a game and I’m lucky to be playing it. Having kids also gives you a whole new perspective, and I’m just going to enjoy the view tomorrow,” Fisher Junior said.

The Modderfontein golfer tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and has six other top-10 finishes in co-sanctioned events (including a tied-fourth in the Africa Open in 2010), and when he overtook George Coetzee to win the Investec Cup and claim the R3.5 million bonus pool, it gave him the belief that he could also win on the European Tour.

“You learn from every experience but the Investec Cup was invaluable and I now know how to handle the pressure of trying to win on the final day. It’s about managing your game, where to be and where not to be. But you also have to hit the ball well and putt well,” Fisher Junior said.

Three birdies in the first seven holes had kept Ford comfortably in the lead until the disaster on the eighth, but the composure the European Tour rookie showed in rebounding from that was impressive.

“I’ve been working on the mental side for a while and it’s always good to bounce back. It was a roller-coaster round, there were quite a few emotions and I’m a bit drained now,” Ford said after his round.

“I would have taken three-under at the beginning of the round and there were more good shots than bad. Like a swan, it might look calm on the outside, but the feet are going mad underneath. But I try not to get too involved in the emotional side because you can’t play good golf with too much emotion,” Ford said.

The 36-year-old also sank an enormous putt for birdie on the 13th, but then dropped a shot on the par-four 14th before coming to the clubhouse with pars.

Van Zyl has had to beat double knee-surgery and off-course travails in the last year and has done so in amazing fashion. The only ills that were worrying him on Saturday were judging the wind and reading the lines when putting.

Like his compatriot Fisher Junior, Van Zyl started his round with a birdie at the first and an eagle on the third, but he failed to build on that, only managing to post pars before he dropped a shot at the ninth. Birdies on the 10th and 12th holes were then followed by another run of pars.

“I got off to a flying start, but then I battled to see the lines from 13 on. I was rolling the ball nicely and I gave myself lots of opportunities, but I was always wondering about the lines. Anyway, I’m really enjoying being in the mix,” Van Zyl said.

The other leading South African, Erik van Rooyen, was undone by three bogeys on the front nine and was on six-under after a 74.

Morten Orum Madsen, the 2014 SA Open champion, was the other big mover on the third day, shooting a 64 to climb to 10-under par with Jorge Campillo, John Parry and Edoardo de la Riva, but the brilliance of Fisher Junior meant the Dane was six shots off the pace.

 

Smit wants to hear the applause at King’s Park this year 0

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Ken

 

Sharks CEO John Smit is hoping to regularly hear the applause of 30 000 people at Kings Park this year as his team mount a strong SuperRugby challenge, but he’s hoping too that other South African franchises are also pushing hard for the title because that will be the greatest benefit to the Springboks’ World Cup campaign.

Smit told The Citizen that there are enormous benefits to be gained from SuperRugby for the Springboks, remembering how crucial the tournament was in 2007 when he led South Africa to the World Cup crown in Paris. Earlier that year, the Bulls and Sharks had competed in the SuperRugby final, with the Bulls snatching a dramatic Bryan Habana-inspired one-point victory.

“The big thing in 2007 was that the Bulls and Sharks had such successful campaigns and so we were very well prepared for the World Cup. If you’ve got a SuperRugby title-chase to focus on, then the World Cup doesn’t become a distraction and SuperRugby was the best platform and preparation for our win in France.

“I hope it’s the same case this year and we have two or three teams right up there because you’re playing against the guys you have to beat at the World Cup. The players should go out intending to win SuperRugby this year and your best-performing players should be the Springboks. That’s what happened in 2007, we had the guys to win the World Cup and they were confident and well-prepared from SuperRugby,” Smit said.

The former Springbok captain is also hoping that Sharks rugby emerges from an unhappy 2013 in which crowd numbers dropped dramatically at King’s Park in response to an unpopular non-possession based game plan employed by Jake White.

“We’re still 14% behind on our season ticket sales but I’d like to see more than 30 000 people at King’s Park on Saturday for our opening game against the Cheetahs. Time will tell, it’s a big challenge, but we’ve been working hard on our marketing, getting the fans closer to the players, having open days and more interaction, whereas they were removed before.

“We had a good squad last year and we could have won the competition, but the environment possibly wasn’t good enough. This year we have an even better squad and a better environment,” Smit said.

The “better environment” is mostly due to Smit letting go of White in what must have been a tough decision for South Africa’s longest-serving Test captain to make; fortunately he has found a top-class replacement in Gary Gold, a former Springbok assistant coach.

“It’s been a pretty seamless transition and Gary has put in place such instrumental plans. He, Brendan Venter and defence coach Michael Horak were all at London Irish together and Gary has fitted in as if he’s been here the whole time.

“So there’s nothing too new happening with the team, Gary understood the vision and his arrival has certainly been a positive,” Smit said.

In terms of the Sharks’ SuperRugby rivals, Smit expects a fierce derby against the Cheetahs this weekend, even though their small pool of players means they will find it hard to maintain a challenge throughout the competition, while the Stormers have a history of success behind them.

But Smit is most concerned by the Bulls, who he says have been able to gather a powerful squad together in Pretoria.

“The Bulls are going to pose a far bigger challenge this year. In the last two or three years, they’ve come a long way, quietly going about their business, and they’ve made some key signings, especially those three Free Staters who will have a massive impact in the pack.

“Pierre Spies is back off the bench and, in the meantime, Victor Matfield will captain the side. Not too many squads have that sort of depth of leadership,” Smit said.

 

Can the Springboks use ProteaFire? 0

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Ken

The Springboks versus All Blacks rugby Test at Ellis Park last weekend counted as one of the greatest sports events I have been to and I felt immensely proud not just because our national rugby team won, but also because of the way they played and the way they carried themselves after the long-awaited triumph over their greatest rivals.

Even if one is not impressed by the way New Zealand and South Africa are steering rugby in a bright new direction of high-tempo play, the wonderful spirit shown between the two teams and the obviously high respect they hold each other in, must gladden the heart of all who love sport for the character-building effects it can have.

The wonderful gesture made by the All Blacks in Wellington when Richie McCaw handed over gifts to Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers for playing their 100th Tests will live long in the memory. The fact that nothing of that sort happened in Australia probably says more about the special relationship between the Springboks and All Blacks rather than any deficiencies on the Wallabies’ part.

But if the Springboks are going to win over even more hearts and minds – it is clear that still not everyone in South Africa believes they represent them – then perhaps they should take a leaf out of the book of their cricket counterparts who launched their ProteaFire campaign this week to some fanfare.

A huge part of the Proteas’ success in recent years has been due to the calibre of people in the team – the likes of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are all fantastic human beings – and the Springboks also have some fantastic leaders of men in their ranks, Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen springing readily to mind.

Rugby will be facing their own World Cup challenge next year, but they will also be tested off the field with sponsors cutting back and transformation issues still bedevilling them.

Whether ProteaFire will help the cricketers finally win their World Cup remains to be seen but what is certain is that most of the population will be firmly behind them.

ProteaFire emphasises the importance of putting the team ahead of the individual and the concept of Ubuntu is a key part of Graeme Smith’s vision that started in 2007. Cricket is often, because of its tradition of statistics, a very individual game and one would have thought rugby, perhaps the greatest of team sports, would have been quicker to implement this sort of mission statement of what playing for the national side really means.

For the cricketers, their diversity will be their strength and rugby probably isn’t quite there yet.

Another important aspect of ProteaFire is that it is almost a contract the national team have signed with their supporters in terms of what is expected of them, on and off the field. As Hashim Amla pointed out, this does not mean treating players like babies.

“On the field, emotions can run high and nobody’s perfect. It’s not about having 15 saints, everybody’s different and it’s about getting the strengths of all 15 players together and dealing with any fallouts,” Amla said.

One cannot help but come to the conclusion that the current turmoil wreaking havoc in English cricket is born out of their failure to deal properly with issues of team culture and identity.

Kevin Pietersen can be a brat, but there have been difficult cricketers before who have been allowed to enjoy the middle of the spotlight while still contributing to the team success.

Last Saturday night at Ellis Park and Thursday night in the SuperSport studios were two proud evenings because it showed South African sports teams are getting it right.



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