South Africa A will field not one but two NMMU stars when they face Australia A in the first of two four-day cricket tests Down Under next week. Mecer Madibaz and Chevrolet Warriors opening batsman David White will make his debut for the national squad alongside teammate Simon Harmer, who has become a regular fixture in the line-up. "Representing your country in any form is a massive honour and to play Australia in Australia is about as good as it gets," said White, who was also formerly part of the SA Schools XI and the national U19 team for the World Cup in New Zealand in 2010. "I'm just going to soak up the experience and hopefully come back a stronger player for it. It's a very good chance to measure myself as a batsman." The right-hander has been hard at work preparing for the fast pace of the Queensland pitches. "I've been doing a lot of my preparations indoors and inland to try and mimic the Australian conditions as closely as possible. "I believe they'll suit me as all four of my first-class hundreds this season were scored up-country on the faster wickets." White, who made his first-class debut for Eastern Province against Boland in 2010, will take up his familiar position at the top of the order. "It's a tough and specialised position but I really enjoy it," said the 23-year-old. "Although, at times I would prefer more than a 10-minute changeover after more than a hundred overs in the field!" White caught the selectors' attention this season with consistently impressive performances, including three centuries and five half-centuries in the Sunfoil Series. "I enjoyed a good season with the bat," he said. "My tally of 882 runs in 10 matches was a record for the most runs in a season by a Warriors batsman, which I'm very proud of." His results are a far cry from the disappointment of fracturing his hand in his first outing for the provincial outfit back in early 2012. "I had to wait 18 months before I was selected . . .
The NMMU Madibaz are determined to bounce back after losing out to Varsity Football minnows the University of Johannesburg in their first away game of the tournament on Monday night. According to Madibaz head coach Graeme Harrison, his team put up a valiant defence before going down 3-0 in front of a large and vocal UJ crowd. "In the first half we were quite competitive," said Harrison. "UJ actually had the major share of the possession but we held out." After going into half-time without any points on the board, a resurgent UJ dominated in the second half. "They created chances and eventually scored and we just couldn't come back from that. We had an opportunity or two but unfortunately couldn't convert them." Bolstered by the home support, the Gauteng-based outfit broke through the Madibaz defences to push through two more goals. "They were simply the better team on the day," said Harrison, adding that the crowd had played a vital role in spurring UJ on. "They really got behind their players – it was like having a 12th man on the field." The Madibaz on the other hand were whittled down to nine men in the closing minutes after two of their players sustained injuries. Striker Cloudius Sagandira had to be stretchered off with a concussion, while substitute Cornelius Matuoane tore ligaments in his knee. "That was after I'd already made my three permitted changes, so for the last six or seven minutes we had to play with nine men." Harrison said Sagandira and Matuoane would undergo further testing this week to determine the extent of the injuries. But, said the coach, it was certainly not all doom and gloom and that his relatively young squad were determined to improve throughout the nine-week tournament. "It's only the second game. If you look at the history of the competition, last year's champions, Tuks, lost their first two games and managed to make it to the semi-finals and then go on to win the competition. "We just need . . .
NMMU Madibaz captain Kurt Duff led by example to scoop the FNB Man of the Match award in the opening game of the Varsity Football tournament against NWU in Port Elizabeth on Monday evening. Duff, who steered his squad into the finals of last year's inaugural tournament, said he had no doubt that his team could win the tournament this time around. The centre midfielder, who has been part of the Madibaz set-up for five years, said the tournament had set a new benchmark for student football. "I think the standard of Varsity Football is very high and it is one of the most competitive leagues in South Africa." After matriculating from Victoria Park High School, Duff went on trial at the Dunfermline Athletic Football Club in Scotland but returned to South Africa after being denied a work permit. "Fortunately, NMMU football manager Mark Tommy had been following my career progress since school and he offered me a bursary to study and play football for this brilliant institution." Duff went on to obtain his BCom Honours degree in accounting and is currently completing a diploma in management studies. The 24-year-old maintains a rigorous schedule that involves juggling a job, academics and his commitment to football. "Time management and discipline are the keys to balancing my career, studies and sport. "Now that I'm working, I train once a day, most days of the week, excluding match days. We have a biokineticist who regulates our training programme to ensure that we stay in top shape." He said his commitment and organisational abilities were his most important strengths on the field. "I always try to give my all and make sure I have my team well organised." Duff was born and raised in Woodlands, Port Elizabeth, where his love for football started. "I've been playing since I was five years old, kicking around with my dad in the backyard," he said. His hero, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, has served as his professional inspiration because . . .
The NMMU Madibaz will field a full-strength attack when they face newcomers the University of Johannesburg in their first away game of the Varsity Football tournament on Monday night. Head coach Graeme Harrison has made just one change to the line-up that secured a 2-2 draw against last year's semi-finalists NWU in Port Elizabeth earlier this week. Replacement striker Simamkele Thobi will take an enforced rest following a thigh injury, while his spot on the bench will be occupied by fellow striker Reginald Mabokane. "I feel Reginald will bring a different dimension to our game because of his skills," said Harrison. "We want to be more attack-minded, therefore we have been working hard in training to improve our ball possession and sharpen up our goal-scoring skills." Although Madibaz striker Kieran Koert put two goals into the back of the net to take a 2-1 lead at halftime against NWU, the home side were driven onto the back foot in the second half until the opposition broke through their defences for the equaliser in the 77th minute. He said his players were determined to rectify their mistakes from the previous game and would not be making a further error in judgement by underestimating UJ. "It's their first year in Varsity Football, so they will want to make an impact on the competition, especially on home soil. "We expect a tough, physical game but we are ready for the challenge and whatever they throw at us. We are determined to win the game." Last year, the PE-based outfit were unbeaten in their march to the finals before losing the inaugural champion's trophy to Tuks. "There is a fantastic team spirit in the group and the confidence is sky high," said Harrison. "Every player is determined to put in a good performance so that we can achieve our goal by taking all three points on offer." The match kicks off at 6pm at UJ's Bunting Road Campus in Auckland Park. Visit www.sport.nmmu.ac.za or find Madibaz4U on Facebook and . . .
20-year old Khule Ngubane will be skating his heart out at the Kimberley Diamond Cup Grand Slam at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday, 26 July. Coming fresh off his wild card victory in George and as the 2013 defending champion, Ngubane is super excited to hit the ramps at the iconic stadium, built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. “I promise you some amazing skateboarding is going to go down on Saturday. I’ll be skating my hardest and I expect no less from my peers. It will be fun not to get kicked out of the stadium for trying to skate there,” laughs Ngubane. The Durban Grand Slam is the third in the series of KDC events, each which carries a whopping prize purse of R50 000 as well as the opportunity to score a wild card entry into the world skateboarding championships in Kimberley in October. One lucky team will also qualify for the Rider Cup team contest, where they’ll compete against the best 4-man team from the States. The action will start from 10h00 with qualifier rounds before the finals in the various age categories, the team contest and the best trick jam. Ngubane has been skating since his granddad bought him his first skateboard for his twelfth birthday. He found a natural aptitude for the sport and soon left his beloved basketball and golf to take up skateboarding full-time. “I have literally been living the dream since I received my first skateboard. We lived in Westville and we always used to skate at the Pavilion shopping mall and skateboarding took over my life. It just came naturally and pretty soon I was starting to do well in contests and managed to catch the eye of some sponsors. Once you start winning contests, it creates hype and other kids want to own the same shoes or boards as you, which attracts sponsors,” explains Ngubane. According to Ngubane, the Kimberley Diamond Cup has definitely helped him financially as the various contests taking place throughout the year create more opportunities. “They are consistently hosting . . .
The NMMU Madibaz held NWU to a hard-fought 2-2 draw in their opening game of the Varsity Football campaign in Port Elizabeth on Monday night. Madibaz coach Graeme Harrison said his team gave a good account of themselves in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at the Madibaz Stadium. "Naturally we would have wanted a win but I was satisfied with the team's performance and happy to come away with one point for the draw," said Harrison. The visitors' Sandile Mbatha drew first blood in the 28th minute when he got a direct shot past goalkeeper Lyndsay Jennings. Madibaz striker Kieran Koert fired back four minutes later with an equaliser, followed swiftly by a second goal, to take a 2-1 lead at halftime. "The boys showed a lot of character," said Harrison. "They went from a goal down to scoring two goals in quick succession." He said it was a particularly welcome return to form for Koert, who earned the Samsung Super Striker award. "He's really come back strongly after being injured last season. We've been looking after him and nurturing him to ensure that he was ready for this competition." In the second half, a motivated NWU took the game to their hosts, who responded strongly in defence. "Our players really showed tenacity in holding NWU at bay. Our opponents were losing, so they had to throw caution to the wind and go on the attack." Harrison said Madibaz captain and FNB Man of the Match Kurt Duff had led by example to rally his team. "As defensive midfielder he's a solid rock. He's an excellent leader and organiser and has earned the guys' respect." He attributed Sifiso Ngwenya's equaliser in the 77th minute to a possible lapse in concentration towards the end by the home team. "We have a lot of new players in the side and after this first game I think they'll understand the rigours of this competition better and also what is expected of them." The Port Elizabeth-based team were unbeaten on their march to last year's final, . . .
JC Nel showed his all-round climbing and sprinting ability to claim his maiden classic victory in the 32nd Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique in the Mpumalanga Lowveld on Saturday. Nel, 22, also claimed the king of the mountains title in what is billed as South Africa's toughest one-day road race. The young Westvaal-BMC rider gritted his teeth in the finishing sprints on stage one and two to hang on to the runner-up spot behind the winners. On stage three, he finished safely in the bunch at the Mbombela Stadium near Nelspruit to secure the overall win in the 151km race in a time of 3:58:41. James Fourie of Europcar SA and Willie Smit of Vini Fantini-Nippo were second and third respectively in the same time of 3:59:04. "This is one of the toughest races on the South African calendar and to win this is something I always wanted to do growing up," said Nel. "So to come out here and win this today was something of a dream come true." The Johannesburg resident said it was a welcome return to form for him after a disappointing early season and that it was a promising precursor to the upcoming Clover Lowveld Cycle Tour. "I'm really happy to have my form back. The team did a superb job of keeping everything together for me on the last stage and I'm really happy that I could manage the win for them today." Nel and Smit were the first to go on the attack on the 43km opening stage from Nelspruit to White River. Fourie, Peter-Lee Jeffries of Inter-Active and Clint Hendricks of Bonitas immediately gave chase and quickly reeled them in. The five-man breakaway then worked together to open up a minute lead over the chasing bunch, which they maintained throughout the stage. On the Heidel Eggs climb at the 40km mark, Nel claimed the first king of the mountains hotspot and then it all came down to a sprint finish at Rob Ferreira High School. There was drama in the closing metres as early leader Smit broke his cleat to put him out of contention in the . . .
University of Johannesburg head coach Bradley Carnell was cautiously optimistic ahead of his team's debut performance at the national Varsity Football tournament on Monday night. Carnell said he was delighted that his institution was among the eight qualifying universities for the second edition of the nine-week competition. UJ has jumped nine places to seventh on the University Sport South Africa (Ussa) rankings since the former Bafana Bafana defender took the helm in early 2013. Carnell, who also made his name in the German Bundesliga, said if his team stuck to their strengths they had the ability to be competitive. "At this point in time, our aim is to do the best we can. At the end of the campaign, we'll reflect and see where the road is taking UJ Football." As the new kids on the block, UJ will take on the University of the Western Cape in their first game of the tournament. Carnell said the onus was on his squad to give a good account of themselves in their first fixture and to build their reputation and be good representatives of UJ Football. "We are relishing the fact that we've qualified in such a short space of time," said Carnell. "It has always been a long-term plan to build something sustainable in the next three to five years." As the proverbial new broom, Carnell has made sweeping changes in line with this vision. "We only have about three players left from the squad I inherited. It's been a huge clean-up, which was long overdue." One season on and his efforts appear to have paid off. UJ are the current Ussa Gauteng league champions and have gained promotion to the Castle League, where they finished in the top three in their debut season. As a talent identification platform, he said, the televised Varsity Football format filled an important gap in the development of South African soccer. "From what we saw last year, some PSL teams would love the attendance that was registered on a regular basis. "It has been . . .
DF Malan High School got off to a great start to the 2014 Spur School Mountain Bike League and accumulated an impressive 384 points at the first Western Cape league race of the 2014 season hosted recently at Willowbridge to put them top of the log. Attendance figures were up 35% on last year with a total of 365 riders taking to track for the first event of the season. Parel Vallei High School is sitting in a close second with 371 points, with Paul Roos Gimnasium in third position overall, but comfortably leading the boys’ category with 339 points followed by Montana High School in fourth with a total of 326 points. Primary schools making their mark in the Nipper’s and Sprog’s races hosted as part of the league meetings, were Kenridge Primary School with a total of 251 points followed by Totius Primary School with 242 points and Kinetic in third with 116 points. In a tight sub-junior boy’s race it was Michard Meets of Parel Vallei High School who finished first with Calla De Vos of Paul Roos Gimnasium second and Daniel Van der Walt of Kenridge Primary in third place. Andrew Sparks of Reddam House won the youth men 16 division with Matthew Keyser of Parel Vallei in second place and Edward Boshoff of Montana in third. The yougth men 15 was won by Johann Trotzky of Montana with Rossouw Bekker of Paul Roos Gimnasium second and Joshua De Freitas of Parel Vallei High School in third position. The sub-junior girls’ was won by Sonique Louw of D F Malan High School followed by Juarnett West of Montana second and Carla Hollander of Kenridge Primary School in third place. Allison Mortonof Westerford High finished first in the youth women category, followed by Petra Lategan of BBloemhof second and Jessi Nixon of Fishhoek High School in third place. In a tightly contested youth women’s race it was Marga Janse van Rensburg of Montana who took first place with Mire Herbst of Durbanville High School second, Lieze Van Heerden of Parel Vallei third and Sune Van Zyl . . .
The University of Johannesburg is gearing up to host its first ever fixtures in the national Varsity Football tournament in the wake of the Fifa World Cup. The second edition of the nine-week tournament, which starts on July 21, will see the top eight footballing universities do battle on grounds across the country. UJ will host three home games on July 28, August 18 and September 1. The first and last of these will be played at the AW Muller Stadium on the Auckland Park Bunting Road campus, while the second match will be televised live from the Soweto Campus sports complex. According to UJ's sports marketing co-ordinator Tanya Naude, football played a critical role in uniting the institution's diverse student population. "We're particularly excited to see the football culture unwrapping among the students as the tournament draws closer. "With the soccer world cup atmosphere still in the air, we cannot ask for a better time to take on Varsity Football." The UJ women's team – featuring Banyana stars like Amanda Dlamini, Noko Matlou and Disebo Mametja – won last year's inaugural tournament, while the men's side are currently ranked seventh overall after qualifying at the University Sport South Africa (Ussa) championships last year. Naude said organisers were looking forward to capacity home crowds at each of the 2 000-seater stadiums. "We will do what UJ does best – create an amazing atmosphere, with the UJ Samsung cheerleaders, fireworks, halftime giveaways, music and emcees. We continuously strive to create the ultimate student sporting experience!" She said the institution had successfully hosted various other codes in the Varsity Sports stable, including hockey and athletics, as well as the high-profile Varsity Cup rugby competition. UJ sports events manager Niamh Faherty added that the university had previously also held the Ussa tournament, which acts as the qualifying event for Varsity Football. "That was a week long and there . . .