SOWETAN | Downs win bodes well for the future
We are hopeful that, this week, our cricketers can add to the euphoria
It’s been three weeks of celebration in SA on the sporting front, after Mamelodi Sundowns’ momentous victory in the African Football League on Sunday.
Sundowns overcame a deficit to beat Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in the final of this new competition at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, their win coming a week after two South Africans – Irvette van Zyl and Ntsindiso Mphakathi – had claimed the Soweto Marathon.
Just before that, Siya Kolisi’s Springboks had provided SA with the biggest celebrations by retaining the Rugby World Cup.
We are now hopeful that, this week, our cricketers can add to the euphoria by not just reaching the final, but also winning the ICC Cricket World Cup which will conclude in India on Sunday.
Temba Bavuma’s cricket team will take on Australia in the semifinal on Thursday, aiming to continue their dominance which saw them beat the Aussies in the one-day international series before they departed to India. The Proteas also convincingly beat the Australians in a pool match at this World Cup, but as we all know, knockout games are different altogether. We hope our cricketers hold their nerve in Thursday’s match and pass the troublesome semifinal hurdle.
Sundowns, meanwhile, will be embarking on the CAF Champions League after their AFL exploits. They last won the biggest club competition on the continent in 2016, but we agree with coach Rulani Mokwena that the AFL win bodes well for the future.
Sundowns’ triumph should not be dismissed as meaningless. They had to face a tough team in Petro Atletico, of Angola, in the first elimination match, before taking on Egypt’s Al-Ahly, whom they beat 1-0 over two hard-fought legs. They lost to Wydad in the first leg last weekend, and had to find courage to overcome them at Loftus on Sunday in a match attended by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, among others.
Infantino, in particular, should have only good stories to tell about his experience of attending football games in SA, after he graced the sold-out Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
We congratulate Sundowns on their great win but now hope that the Proteas will continue with this momentum into the next week.
In a country bereft of positive news, it would indeed be great if we were to celebrate a very first Cricket World Cup championship so soon after the Springboks succeeded in France. The events of the past three weeks have made us dream and yearn for more.
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