Festive season a good time for reminiscing

Sports Sermon


With this being the last Sports Sermon for 2023, I would like to wish our readers a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. Part of my last scripture for the year is to urge everyone to be safe on the roads, to be responsible when they indulge in the merriments of the festive season and to continue behaving in an exemplary manner.

For those who will be taking a rest, like coach Pitso Mosimane, who has made it clear that he wants to spend Christmas with his family and children after an energy-sapping escapade in the UAE, I say it is well-deserved and may they enjoy their break so that they can come back charged up and rejuvenated in the new year.

It has been a rather bizarre and busy year with a total of four World Cup tournaments across the globe, something that has not happened previously. Banyana Banyana left Mzansi to play in their second Fifa Women’s World Cup under a cloud. Their bonus negotiations had not been finalised before they flew to Australia and New Zealand, who co-hosted the 2023 edition of the tournament. The girls, besides the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, delivered and made history, advancing to the knock-out stages of the world cup.

But sadly, even today, six months after the tournament, professional football structures for women in the country are still a pipe dream. Even in other sporting codes, women’s participation is still semi-professional, meaning that they still have to go about their daily 9-5 jobs and then moonlight as sportswomen after hours.

This is a far cry to their pampered and overpaid male counterparts. As a comparison, Bafana have not achieved anything significant in the last 20 years, but the players and the officials continue to draw massive salaries.

In another drawn out battle, the fight for the soul of Safa has still not been resolved. Ria Ledwaba and Solly Mohlabeng, who were pummelled by Danny Jordaan in last year’s electoral congress, are still challenging the outcome of the result. They have filed court papers applying for arbitration because they say Safa did not follow its constitution during the election process. The judge has reserved judgment.

And as we look back to the year, we must not forget about our fallen heroes & heroines. The country was sent into a state of shock when former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker died due to cancer. Alex “Goldfingers” Shakoane, the flamboyant and charismatic Mamelodi Sundowns public relations officer was also fetched by the angels earlier this year.

Retired defender Papi Khomane was killed in a tragic car accident together with his mom Rita. AmaZulu lost one of their trusted gunslingers in Bongi Ntuli after he passed on, also due to cancer. Former SuperSport United muscular goalkeeper George Chigova also lost his life due to heart failure.

In March, Richards Bay star Siphamandla Mtolo also sent shock waves when he died suddenly and tragically after collapsing during a training session. Earlier in the year, Stellenbosch FC midfielder Oshwin Andries was murdered after a stabbing incident. He was only 19 years old and also the
skipper for the SA Under-20 side, Amajita.

Pirates legend and former Bafana team manager Phil “Mr Jones” Setshedi, ex-Springbok Hannes Strydom and retired former Sowetan news editor and icon Sello Rabothata, are some of the icons who ascended to the Pearly Gates this year. May their souls rest in peace!

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