Forget all the worries over security for the 2010 World Cup players in South Africa.
Their biggest threat will probably come from the type of hooligan supporters who pelted Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy with a bottle and other missiles on Wednesday night.
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness recently said that allowing SA to host the football spectacular was a big mistake because of the security issue, adding the problem was highlighted when gunmen opened fire at the Togolese soccer team in Angola.
Excuse me? That’s like saying Germany was an unsafe tourist destination because of the Serbian conflict. What happened in Angola has nothing to do with South Africa.
These two countries are separated by quite a distance. One of the sandwiched nations, Namibia, runs some 2,000km north to south.
I concede that players and tourists will have to watch out for South African crooks when out on the streets – and as long as they don’t dress like tourists and remain vigilant, they should be fine (don’t wear moonbags, don’t examine a map in a busy street, etc).
But hopefully players won’t have to endure the type of thugs who went to Old Trafford.
South African cricket looks to be in a crisis, if you ask me.
Nobody had a problem with Mickey Arthur resigning as national coach. It was one of those things. Fine.
But today we’ve found out that the selection committee, including convenor Mike Procter, have been canned (and that there’s even more upheaval at Gauteng where a bunch of directors have been booted out!).
The new selectors are caretaker coach Corrie van Zyl, former captain Kepler Wessels and Cricket SA CEO Gerald Majola!!!! Majola is the convenor.
Maybe I’m naive, but why is an administrator getting involved in team selection?
Is it for transformation reasons? If so, why hasn’t his federation done more to transform sport so he doesn’t have to try window-dressing the national team?
Maybe he, or the CSA board, just want more control of team selection.
Perhaps there’s another reason altogether, but whatever it is, administrators should not get involved in picking the team.
As CEO does Majola have the time to watch the players at net practice?
This is not a good omen for SA cricket.
If Alex Ferguson had preferred cricket to football and found himself coaching the Proteas in 2010, one has to wonder if Graeme Smith would have ousted him like he did Mickey Arthur.
I don’t want to get into an examination of whether Arthur was a good coach or not, but the issue of power, as raised by The Times’ cricket columnist Alex Parker, is an interesting one. He believes that the captain should hold the power in a team.
But what happens if a captain becomes too powerful, as apparently happened to Hansie Cronje before his fall from grace over match-fixing claims?
And if the captain has the power, who will drop him when his own form dips? Can he be expected to make an objective decision if he stands to lose a fortune in salary if he drops himself? I doubt it.
Remember the outcry when then Springbok coach dumped skipper Gary Teichmann before the 1999 Rugby World Cup? Teichmann was certainly aggrieved, and he clearly wouldn’t have dropped himself had the decision been his.
But Mallett was perfectly correct in his decision – Teichman proved he was way off his best playing for the losing Sharks side in the Currie Cup final against the Lions – but the coach’s mistake was the replacements he chose for eighthman.
Equally, there are times when an all-powerful coach is a bad thing – like Rudolf Straeuli piling his team into Kamp Staaldraad before the 2003 World Cup. Captain Corne Krige lacked the character to stand up to him at the time!
Captain versus coach? Is cricket different to football or rugby?
Ideally, they should work together as a team (that’s what team sports are about, after all).
But in the end I would think that a coach should always have the final say. After all, you always need someone to drop the captain – and that’s a job that should never be left to administrators.
There’s a heck of a row brewing over an anti-abortion advert scheduled to be flighted during Super Bowl Sunday.
The offending spot will reportedly feature star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mom, who fell ill when she was pregnant with him and at the time rejected medical advice to have an abortion.
As a pro-choicer myself, I have always believed in the right of free speech and choice, so I find it odd that supposedly liberal-minded people are objecting to the advert. Even if the advert is being funded by a conservative lobby, it still raises an important issue that constantly needs to be debated.
Some of those objecting to the advert say it shouldn’t be aired during a major sporting event. Why not? Nobody complained when Arsenal players William Gallas and Bacary Sagna displayed a t-shirt on the field highlighting the Haiti earthquake disaster.
Why not use the opportunity of the Super Bowl? After all, it’s watched by millions of people, all of whom will have to return to real-life issues the moment the match ends (admittedly they won’t all be abortion-related).
So where does one draw the line? I would argue that we should draw it at blatant misinformation, which Two Oceans wines appear to be doing.
On Saturday night I happened to see a tv advert for the company. The volume on the set was down (we do that in the advert breaks), so I couldn’t hear what was being said. But they did show the Cape Peninsula growing out of the sea.
For me, this risks perpetuating the myth that the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at Cape Point, the southern most tip of the Peninsula – when in fact they meet at Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa.
What are Two Oceans wines trying to do? Make the population stupid? Surely their product can do that to customers who overindulge without the additional burden of having Cape Town propaganda rammed down their throats?
Anyway, I went onto the Two Oceans wines website and found they have a whole blurb on the “debate” over where the oceans meet, adding that they believe the oceans come together in the Western Cape (so why do they feature pictures of Cape Point with their product?).
Let me tell you now that there is no debate. Over the years I have spoken to two professors at the University of Cape Town’s oceanography department (to settle arguments I have had with misinformed people), and they clearly stated – without any of the ambiguity that Two Oceans claim to exist – that the oceans meet at the latitude that runs through Agulhas. And if you still don’t believe me, go check out Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Think about it – oceans are man-made concepts, comprising many, many seas and currents etc. It makes sense that where they meet is man-made too. The Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, or rather, along that latitude.
Likewise, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet at Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America. As far as I know, there’s no debate about that.
Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Capetonians who would love the chance of adding the Pacific into a three-way meeting spot at Cape Point. It is the ignorant – or is it the disingenuous? – of Cape Town who probably created the myth: perhaps that explains why we have the inaptly named Two Oceans Marathon. That’s probably why a teacher in junior school told my class that we have two oceans there.
Luckily my parents and grandparents – all Capetonians through and through – happened to know better, but I wonder how many of my classmates from 1977 still incorrectly believe Cape Point to be the meeting point? It would be a bummer if any of them got that question while playing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
By the way, some Cape tourism companies are also stretching the length of the Garden Route, which I grew up being told runs from Swellendam to Tsitsikamma. But I’ve heard some Capetonians say it extends as far west as Somerset West! Others, showing a tad more restraint, insist it’s Hermanus. That sounds more anus than Hermanus to me, although I must admit that I haven’t contacted any academics to ask their advice on this one.
The two oceans issue is a personal bugbear of mine, and while many people may not care, I take a dim view of the manner in which Two Oceans wines are confusing the issue.
For now I’d rather watch Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion advert – even in prime sports time – unless it turns out to contain misinformation.
The mediator in the failed arbitration for the proposed bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather jnr has issued a statement in reaction to incorrect reports about the mediation. According to Golden Boy Promotions, these were made by the Pacquiao camp.
Anyway, here is the statement by retired judge Daniel Weinstein:
“1. Various articles have appeared in the press purporting to characterize the substance and outcome of the Mayweather-Pacquiao mediation and the negotiations between the parties. Many of the reports are incorrect.
“2. The mediation was a confidential proceeding. Any comments to the press or public by participants in the mediation purporting to report the substance or details of the mediation are violations of the strict confidentiality to which the parties and their representatives agreed and which they authorized the Mediator to enforce.
“3. The parties and their representatives authorized that, if misinformation was disclosed to the press by either side, the Mediator would correct any erroneous information.
“The Mediator corrects the erroneous reports to the press as follows:
“a. Both parties participated in the mediation in good faith. Both parties participated in many hours of negotiation, with a number of proposals issued by each side and carefully considered by the parties and their representatives.
“b. The Mediator himself did not formulate, recommend or issue a Mediator’s Proposal. The Mediator did not make an evaluation or finding that any one of the many proposals considered by the parties was the correct protocol.
“c. Any attempt to characterize the mediation process as an acceptance or rejection by any of the parties of a mediator’s or an arbiter’s proposal or of any specific proposal is false.
“d. In the end, the parties could not agree on a testing protocol acceptable to all.”
So the Manny Pacquiao v Floyd Mayweather jnr bout is off.
The stumbling block has been Mayweather’s insistence to adhere to the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s methods of testing. Usada is one of many national anti-doping agencies who are members of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), who lead the fight against drugs in sport.
Wada requires that athletes submit urine and blood samples before and after their events – and the tests can be conducted randomly. The blood can reveal use of certain performance-enhancing drugs not detectable in urine samples. Furthermore, blood samples allow for testers to create what they call a biological passport for all athletes, thereby allowing them to detect illegal drug use with more ease.
The blood samples and also be stored for several years and retested with new methods in the future, which could allow them to find a substance that may be currently undetectable.
Every Olympic athlete must give their consent to submit both urine and blood samples if they want to compete at the Games (as well as many other international and national events). The 15 athletes who represented the Philippines at the 2008 Beijing Olympics would have been subjected to the same rules (Philippines is also a member of Wada, by the way). As a matter of interest, Pacquiao was the flagbearer for the team, although he didn’t compete there and therefore wouldn’t have undergone any of the tests.
The importance of random testing is that it allows testers to get to the athletes out of competition, which is when drug cheats are more likely to be using illegal substances. There is no reason why Pacquiao should be exempt from the rule of random testing.
Pacman, the only boxer to have won world titles at seven weights, has complained that submitting a blood sample before the fight would weaken him.
One has to assume that Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt would have given blood samples before some of his record-breaking feats of the past two years. He certainly didn’t complain about being weakened. The same is true of many other world sporting heroes, including Michael Phelps and Roger Federer. Admittedly, Lance Armstrong had a little whinge about the timing of the testing during last year’s Tour de France, but he got on with the job.
As it happens, I spoke to an anti-doping doctor before the Beijing Olympics asking him if taking blood would weaken an athlete, and he replied that it wouldn’t because the sample was too small (a few millilitres, apparently).
And if Pacman is going to be weakened by giving the blood sample, then so too will Mayweather!
I have also seen reports stating that Pacquiao is superstitious about giving blood too close before a fight. Tough luck – these are the rules to combat drug cheating, and it’s far more important to fight dopers than it is to uphold one boxer’s personal belief.
I can’t see any logical reason for Pacman’s refusal to use Usada, except that professional boxing is one sport that is not a signatory to Wada (apart from countries signing up, sporting federations are also individual members of Wada). If the various organisations that litter professional boxing were all signatories, Pacman wouldn’t have a choice.
Wada demands a two-year ban for testing positive for steroids, but boxers like James Toney and Roy Jones jnr have escaped with relative wrist-slaps for steroid infringements. So far, no professional boxer I know of has ever been suspended for two years for such an offence.
Quite honestly, I applaud Mayweather for demanding Usada supervision (because it’s time for professional boxing to enter the 21st century), and I blame Pacquiao for scuppering the fight.
The sad thing is that I believe Pacquiao would have won the fight.
This is potentially the biggest bout of all time and boxing fans deserve it. Pacquiao should not have the right to wreck it.