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New Era Newspaper Monday July 10, 2017

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22 SPORT Monday, July 10 2017 | NEW ERA Regional champs... Zimbabwe defeated Zambia 3-1 to claim a record fifth COSAFA Castle Cup at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Rustenburg yesterday. Zim claim fifth Cosafa Cup title Zimbabwe claimed a record fifth COSAFA Castle Cup with a deserved 3-1 victory over Zambia in the final played at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Rustenburg yesterday. Zimbabwe have been the best team in the tournament, playing six matches in 14 days and scoring an impressive 19 goals in the process. It was tough on Zambia, who entered the competition at the quarterfinal stage and had an impressive campaign, but could not contain the confident Zimbabweans in the decider. The final was surprisingly open for a decider, with 35 chances at goal from both sides, and it was Zimbabwe who took the lead. Knox Mutizwa scored his fifth goal of the tournament when he headed the ball home midway through the first half, but any hopes of going into halftime ahead were dashed. Lubinda Mundia had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds as a substitute, but he headed home to draw Zambia level. Mutizwa had an excellent chance to restore the Zimbabwe lead when he found himself oneon-one with Allan Chibwe in the second period, and the Zambian goalkeeper came out on top. But Zimbabwe continued to put pressure on the Zambian goal and it was no surprise when they took the lead once more as Talent Chawapiwa drilled the ball low into the back of the net. And 10 minutes later it was 3-1 as Mashure bagged a fourth goal of the campaign with a fine finish from the edge of the box. Zimbabwe endured a few scares after that, but goalkeeper George Chigova was in fine form and stopped everything Zambia could throw at him. Zimbabwe now lead in COSAFA Castle Cup titles with five, one more than Zambia and South Africa. For the Zambians, it is a record fifth defeat in the final of the regional showpiece tournament. Zimbabwe skipper Ovidy Karuru finished as top scorer in the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup with six goals, one more than compatriot Knox Mutizwa. Zimbabwe collect R500 000 as winners of the competition, while Zambia take home R250 000. Tanzania finished third at this year’s tournament, while hosts South Africa picked up the Plate trophy. - Female boxers to go pound for pound in Omuthiya For equality… Omuthiya Boxing Academy coach Maria Ileka Obrein Simasiku Omuthiya The second edition of the annual Omuthiya Women Boxing Bonanza which was to take place over the weekend has been shifted to this coming weekend at the multiple national events arena in Omtuthiya. The boxing bonanza is organised by the Oshikoto Boxing Academy where female boxers from different regions are to grill each other in their respective weight categories. According to coach Maria Ileka, the objective of the academy is to mould women into mean boxers while motivating them to join the traditionally male dominated sporting discipline. “We want to stimulate gender equality in boxing and women to be well represented so that they can in future represent the region and the country at international level,” stated Ileka. Ikela urged her male counterparts to always treat women with respect during training sessions. “There is a practice whereby male coaches sideline women when it comes to training – this tendency must stop,” said Ileka. She stressed that the academy and female boxers in particular are being disadvantaged by the current economic downturn in the country. Nonetheless, she vowed that the academy will not waver and will continue pursuing boxing at whatever cost in the best interest of women empowerment. Fifa suspends Sudan FA Fifa has suspended the Sudan Football Association (SFA) until further notice, according to a letter signed by Secretary General Fatma Samoura on Thursday. In light of the endless chaos in the East African nation in the past four months, Fifa has declared its stand on the matter following government intervention. Elections to determine the new SFA president were held in April instead of October 2017 as advised by Fifa with Abdel- Rahman Sir Elkhatim emerging the winner but the incumbent Mutasim Gaafar dismissed the results. The Ministry of Justice took it upon itself to order the Sudan Police to take over the SFA Offices and have Elkhatim take over, a move that Gaafar reported to Fifa. Fifa then sent a delegation to find a lasting solution between the two rival groups but this was to no avail, forcing Fifa to deal its last card and suspend the SFA. The letter stated that, “We inform you that based on the decision taken by the Bureau of the Fifa Council on 27 June 2017, the Sudan Football Association (SFA) has been suspended according to Article 16 of the Fifa Statutes until further notice. “Consequently, the SFA loses all its membership rights as defined in article 13 of the Fifa Statutes. The SFA representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted. “This also means that neither the SFA nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programme, course or training from Fifa or the Confederation of African Football (Caf). “Moreover, in accordance with article 16 part 3 of the Fifa Statutes, we remind you and your members not to entertain any sporting contact with the SFA and/or its teams during suspension. “Finally, please be informed that the Bureau of the Fifa Council or the Fifa Council may lift this suspension at any time before the next Fifa Congress, in which event we will inform you accordingly.” The suspension has affected Al Hilal Obeid, who had secured a place in the Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinals while El Merreikh were in contention for a place in the last eight of the Caf Champions League. Caf is yet to make a statement on whether they will postpone this tie as was the case in 2013 when they postponed the match between Coton Sport and Ivorian club Sewe Sport following Cameroon’s suspension for government intervention. -

Monday, July 10 2017| NEW ERA SPORT 23 On the rise... Namibia’s undefeated WBO and IBF Africa middleweight champion Walter ‘The Executioner’ Kautondokwa (left) is hoping to secure a mega fight anytime soon. Kautondokwa looks ahead after Saunders fight fails Fingers were crossed for Namibia’s undefeated WBO and IBF Africa middleweight champion Walter ‘The Executioner’ Kautondokwa and his trainer-cumpromoter Nestor Tobias in the last couple of weeks as they had hoped to secure a world title fight against British WBO world champion Billy Joe Saunders in September. Saunders was originally scheduled to face WBO interim titlist Avtandil Khurtsidze before the Georgian fighter’s unexpected incarceration by police last month and that subsequenlty led to an array of rumors about Sanders next opponent for the September 16 date. Speculations were however finally put to bed on Thursday when it was announced that Saunders’ next opponent will be Willie Monroe Jr - dashing the hopes of the hard-hitting Kautondokwa. “I am not surprised, I can understand that it is difficult for anybody in the top 15 including the champion to say let me go and fight Walter and risk losing [my momentum and] my title. I respect that thought because it is reality,” said a disappointed Kautondokwa to Tobias, who used to be a professional fighter himself in the 1990’s for over six years, knows how the business works. The promoter understands the decision of the Saunders camp though he admit decisions like this really shows something about the character of a champion. “It determines what kind of champion you are: when you have the choice of selecting between an undefeated and dangerous opponent and one that has been defeated twice and you go for the easier one. Some champions will choose the most dangerous opponent to prove a point and allow the fight to bring out the best in them,” stated Tobias. “Saunders is the champion and it is of course within his [and his team’s] right to select an opponent of their choice and also play it safe because Kautondokwa is understandably a risky and dangerous opponent for the champion.” The next step would logically be to keep facing quality opponents on international level to get experience before the ultimate title fight. “We will keep Walter busy, but will now target fighters in the top 15. We have made so many offers to about 80% of the fighters in the top 15 and most of them turned down the opportunity to face Walter. If this continues, we will keep him busy with African opponents, and improve his ranking. They can avoid him now but not forever,” said the Namibian promoter. Tobias also sends a message to Billy Joe and offers him to make decisions that could clarify his true image to the world of boxing. “First we wish him all the best in his next fight against Monroe Jr and I also have a message to him. We have Kautondokwa who is eager to fight you, he is well conditioned, powerful and skillful; fighting him will prove your critics wrong who many a time suggest that you always go for easy fights instead of tough ones. We will be watching your fight closely and hopefully we will fight you next time around.” - Mannetti, Baxter’s contrasting views on Cosafa Maqonda Ndlovu Moruleng Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti and his counterpart, Stuart Baxter of South Africa, differ on how the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) can be used to optimally benefit member associations. The two coaches were speaking to the media in Moruleng on Friday evening, following their sides’ Cosafa Plate Final, which South Africa won one-nil. Following a question from Nampa on how the two think the tournament should be structured and played to reap increased benefits from it, Baxter said while he is fine with the current format, he would like the regional association to sit down with its members and see if they can come up with some improvements. “For a long time this tournament has been called a developmental competition. So why can we not have the associations say to their Don’t agree… Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter (L) and Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti during a media conference. coaches, lets develop players instead of going all out to win? Even now, they are using ‘developmental referees’ at this competition,” said Baxter. He added that for him, it will be a proper platform to develop players who can one day say they passed through the Cosafa on their way to playing the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup matches. Mannetti was of a different opinion, saying it will not work well with Namibia for several reasons, one of them being the limited personnel and financial resources. “We are different from other countries when it comes to depth. Zimbabwe can do that, South Africa too. Maybe the word development differs from country to country in this case,” Mannetti said. He used Zimbabwe as an example of depth, saying they have three sets of national teams and players, while Namibia has one for men and another for women. He said countries like Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho hardly qualify for major tournaments, and doing well in Cosafa is a good measurement of success. Mannetti noted that for Namibia, Cosafa is used to test combinations in the competitive environment, as well as help players feel the standard of international football. Speculation amongst football officials and fans in the region suggest a relook at the model of the Cosafa Cup. Some countries have in the past withdrawn from participating, while some players have requested their team coaches not to select them. Other associations like those in Angola and South Africa have in the past and present used under-20 and under-23 players at the tournament, which is intentionally reserved for senior national teams. The tournament itself has in the past produced gifted players from the region, who have gone on to achieve wonderful things in their careers on the continent and internationally. These include Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou of Namibia, Brian Baloyi of South Africa, Dipsy Selolwane of Botswana, Chris Katongo of Zambia, Manuel ‘Tico-Tico’ Bucuane of Mozambique and Peter Ndlovu of Zimbabwe amongst others. - Nampa

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167