Thursday, May 31, 2007

Benni can take his ball, we’ll get over it

One wonders whether Carlos Alberto Parreira, Bafana Bafana’s Brazilian mentor, will understand this, but most South Africans probably will identify with the story.

Years back, as far as one can remember, township urchins used to engage in “four-pal”, “challenge”, “chiallance” or whatever the matches were referred to in different parts of the country.

That was what every normal boy (those were the days before the gender equity political correctness) in the neighbourhood would do growing up. Unlike today, when some
youngsters show no interest in the game whatsoever, even from an early age, we had no choice.

There were those who were referred to as dikgomo, inkomo (a cow) because they just could not play the game. The ones we used to say had two left feet and whose brains were not coordinated for the game of billions.

Almost all of this rare species always owned the ball and had to play – otherwise no game. He would easily take his ball home and call his favourite (read tolerant) friend to play in his own yard.

That would be when we would get up to other mischief. Besinga ncqengi... In those games we used to have guys you would regard as football “magicians”.

They could do any trick with the ball (one is trying hard to be modest here by talking of others) and that’s why our generation must be perhaps the last one that believes in skills and flair while the modern ones tell us there is no time for that.

Football is big business. Goals are what matters and that’s it.

Which brings us to the situation we presently find ourselves in.

Bafana Bafana have a big game coming up at the weekend. This is an Afcon 2008 qualifier and it doesn’t matter that Chad are ranked on the other side of 130 on the world standings, it is still very important.

Having said that, how are our preparations coming along? Not many of us know because we are caught up in the same old malaise. We are again victims of Benni McCarthy’s success and goalscoring prowess in his debut season with Blackburn
Rovers in the English FA.

That McCarthy is among the best is without question and South Africans are typically happy for him.

But, do we have to forget the bigger picture, all because of his no-show antics? Please!

Back to our street games. We, in Matlaisane Street in Wattville, used to have Sonwabo Khalipa, aka Soweto, who could make the ball talk any language he wanted.

The only problem with Soweto was he couldn’t play comfortably with soccer boots on so he couldn’t feature much in the more organised amateur association games. He was also irabella. He used to be moody and wanted to be pampered (o ne a tefa).

When he couldn’t get his way with us, he would go join the guys in either Mathibedi, Moni or Mamkele streets.

Every time he did so, which was often, his new team would challenge us thinking he would destroy us. But, we were made of sterner stuff and never lost a game against any opponents he played for. He would always rejoin us and tell us how he regretted joining those “cows”.

The reason we always beat teams that Soweto joined was because we always said let him go, asimnqcengi (we don’t beg him).

The other day I heard Parreira say: “I won’t beg Benni.”

If I heard right, I know the guys in Matlaisane Street will agree with him 100 percent.

There should be life after Benni for South African soccer. Let him be and he will make a final decision at some stage. We just hope the country will be there for him!

Sports Indaba: Sello Rabothata

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kaizer Jr dominates at glittering awards

Amakhosi striker Kaizer Motaung Junior was the kingpin on Monday evening as he picked up five awards as well as three players of the month awards at the Standard Bank sponsored annual Kaizer Chiefs Players’ Awards ceremony held at the luxurious Monte Casino complex in Fourways in Johannesburg.

The young Chiefs striker had been nominated for six of the nine categories and part of his five trophy haul was the coveted prize for player of the season which came with a R75 000 prize money and a new Nissan X-Trail.

The evening kicked off in grand style with The Amakhosi Shakers, the first act up on stage entertaining the crowd with a scintillating dance routine and once the formalities were over the business end of the ceremony began.

First up the players who were the outstanding players of the month through out the season received their prizes, with Siyabonga Nkosi getting the nod for the August player of the month. Rowen Fernandez followed him on to the podium collecting awards for his outstanding performances in September 2006 and January 2007, Kaizer Junior edged out Fernandez in this category as he won the prizes for the December 2006, February 2007 and March 2007 player of the month.

Veteran Chiefs midfielder Thabo Mooki defended the best dressed award which he won at the end of the 2005-2006 award ceremony, when he was once again announced as the best dressed player. Mooki, well known for his dazzling trickery on the field of play, has often been praised for his suave fashion sense.

Fernandez was back up on the podium. The Chiefs goalkeeper collected the Fair Play award and donated his R10 000 cheque to the Red Cross Children’s Fund, the big hearted Fernandez giving thanks for his blessings which earlier in the day saw him sign a lucrative three-year deal with German Bundesliga team Arminia Bielefeld.

Siyabonga Nkosi added the Discovery of the year prize to his August Player of the month award. Kaizer Motaung Junior thereafter began his regular track to the podium collecting his fourth prize of the evening in the goal of the season category for his 85th minute sizzler against Jomo Cosmos back in September last year. With Chiefs trailing 2-1 at the FNB Stadium, Motaung found himself on the edge of the Cosmos penalty area and from some distance out was able to send the ball across goal around the Cosmos keeper and into the net.

Kaizer Jr was back again shortly after that collecting the top goal scorer of the year prize, he was then voted as the players’ player of the year. There was one category where he was nominated but did not win the award instead Serge Djiehoua who ended the season strongly with three goals in his last three league outings, piped Kaizer Junior to the award for the most improved player.

In between the awards ceremony Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung took the podium and in his address to the crowd which included a number of politicians and famous sporting personality the likes of Jonty Rhodes and Lucas Radebe.

He said; “The 2006-2007 season might have presented more misfortunes than successes for us; we need to use this experience to rise above what has happened and come back stronger in the new campaigner”. He then called up on the stage chief executive of the Premier Soccer League Trevor Phillips and handed him a special Chairman’s appreciation award. The outgoing CEO was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the development of football in South Africa.

It was left till last but most would have expected him to walk away with the all important Player of the year prize. Kaizer Motaung Jr was able to fend off the challenge of Shaun Bartlett and Rowen Fernandez to add his name on to the celebrated list of Kaizer Chiefs players of the season winners.

In an enigmatic and enthusiastic victory speech the man who came out of his shell during the 2006-2007 finding twelve goals along the way, said of his multiple award winning evening. “Firstly I must thank the All Mighty for giving me the strength to play well all season long, then I must thank Ernst Middendorp for playing me in the beginning part. Thereafter to Kosta Papic for keeping the faith with me and continuing to play me, most importantly to all my team mates as without their help I could not have scored the goals I have and played the way I did without them.”

With that the curtain came down on the 2006-2007 Kaizer Chiefs Players’ Awards ceremony, with the Chiefs first team players going on leave from Tuesday until late in June when The Amakhosi return for their preseason preparations. A number of the Chiefs players will be aiming to have the PSL trophy on display the next time The Amakhosi gather for their annual player of the year awards.

The Chiefs awards may be over but Kaizer Motaung Junior, who swept the table clean on Monday evening, will be hoping he can repeat the performance on Wednesday evening at the PSL Awards ceremony where he has been nominated along with Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Godfrey Sapula and Surprise Moriri for the PSL Player of the season prize.

All the nominees and winners from Monday Nights Awards

1. Best Dressed Award sponsored by Nike:

Shaun Bartlett
Thabo Mooki
Jimmy Tau
Winner: Thabo Mooki

2. Fair Play
Rowen Fernandez
Patrick Mayo
Siyabonga Nkosi
Winner: Rowen Fernandez

3. Amakhosi Magazine Readers Choice Awards
Kaizer Motaung Junior
Jimmy Tau
Shaun Bartlett
Winner: Kaizer Motaung Junior

4. Player’s player of the year
Rowen Fernandez
Patrick Mayo
Kaizer Motaung Junior
Winner: Kaizer Motaung Junior

5. Goal of the year
Serge Djiehoua (Orlando Pirates Vs Kaizer Chiefs 28 – 04 – 07)
Kaizer Motaung Junior (Kaizer Chiefs Vs Jomo Cosmos 13 – 09 – 06)
Derrick Spencer (Lamontville Golden Arrows Vs Kaizer Chiefs 01 – 10 – 06)
Winner: Kaizer Motaung Junior (Kaizer Chiefs Vs Jomo Cosmos 13 – 09 – 06)

6. Top Goal Scorer
Kaizer Motaung Junior

7. Discovery of they year
Itumeleng Khune
Rotson Kilambe
Siyabonga Nkosi
Winner: Siyabonga Nkosi

8. Most Improved Player
Serge Djiehoua
Kaizer Motaung Junior
Derrick Spencer
Winner: Kaizer Motaung Junior

9. Player of the year
Kaizer Motaung Junior
Rowen Fernandez
Shaun Bartlett
Winner: Kaizer Motaung Junior

Players of the month winners
August: Siyabonga Nkosi
September: Rowen Fernandez
October: Rotson Kilambe
November: Shaun Bartlett
December: Kaizer Motaung Junior
January: Rowen Fernandez
February: Kaizer Motaung Junior
March: Kaizer Motaung Junior
April: Serge Djiehoua
May: Jimmy Tau

Chairman’s special appreciation award: Trevor Phillips

Standard Bank appreciation award: Entire Kaizer Chiefs first team given Portable DVD Players by Standard Bank

Kosta Papic’s contract is not renewed

Kosta Papic © Gallo Images

Following a meeting of Kaizer Chiefs Management this morning, the club has decided not to renew the contract of their head coach Kostadin Papic for the time being, whose contract comes to an end on the 04th of June 2007.

Management instead opted to cast its net wide to lure a prospective coach whose immediate responsibility would be to restore the Amakhosi back into its former glory.

Contact with local and foreign coaches has been pursued with a final announcement likely to follow soon.

The South African braai (bbq)