Monday, 6 August 2012

A buzzing capital city, a sold-out stadium, a rousing triumph: Usain Bolt is not alone

Fastest man on the planet: Usain Bolt on Sunday night
What a showdown: a sold-out stadium in the capital with support split evenly between the two big guns of their sporting sphere. The long-awaited clash of the titans. And almost from the start, just one dominating force; unstoppable, devastating. In the end it was a no-contest, a crushing victory which will live in the sporting memory for years to come.
But perhaps we should leave Kaizer Chiefs to lick their wounds rather then re-live the events of Loftus Versfeld on Sunday, where big-spending Mamelodi Sundowns cruised to an emphatic 4-1 win over the mighty Amakhosi.
With Thamsanqa Sangweni, Tebogo Langerman, Lebohang Mokoena and the impressive Edward Manqele all scoring before the 37th minute, many were considering calling in the army to protect the senseless slaughter of the hapless Zebras.
Yes, the season-opening MTN8 quarter-final – which also produced wins for Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows and SuperSport United – was quite something.
As I predicted last week, Sundowns’ Dutch coach Johan Neeskens left new Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter clutching at straws like this: “If we could have kept it in reach when we came in at half-time, we could have turned a few things around and maybe would have had a chance in the second-half.
"This result tells you that we have a lot of work to do. We'll lick our wounds, we'll sharpen our knives again and we'll get back to the job. It's certainly not going to be a pleasant evening."
In fact, for most sports lovers, it was a very pleasant evening as we went on to that other clash of the titans in another capital – London, which is in the midst of a ridiculously entertaining 30th summer Olympics.
In the sparkling new stadium in run-down Stratford, South Africans were riveted by the men’s 100m final which saw the showman Usain Bolt justify his arrogant pre-race antics with a sensational victory over fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake. To have confidence like that, the bloke has to be running world records at every training session, despite his recent injury problems.
Whilst proving lightning Bolts CAN strike twice, Bolt’s first-ever successful defence of the defining event of the modern Olympiad saw a record SEVEN men break the 10 second barrier.
Bolt’s time of 9.63secs was a new Olympic record but just a stride short of his world record 9.58. That wasn’t the point: "I’m one step closer to become a legend,” he said, “This means a lot, because some people were doubting. A lot of people were saying I wasn't going to win, I didn't look good. There was a lot of talk.
"It's an even greater feeling to come out here and defend my title and show the world I'm still No. 1. So I'm happy with myself."
Bolt isn’t entirely content though. Here’s what he said about the security in London: “I was in the line, we were waiting to run and the guy was telling me to line up straight. I was like, ‘Really? We’re about to run and they are going to make me stand in a straight line?’ There are just some weird rules here.
“Then they saw my skipping rope. They said I can’t bring it in, and I asked, ‘Why?” They just said, ‘It is the rules.’ So if I have a rubber band that I need to stretch, I can’t take it in. And when I asked why, they say, ‘It’s just the rules.’ It’s just some weird small rules that don’t make any sense to me, personally.”
And so ended another weekend of frantic Olympic gold mining. South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first amputee to compete in the Olympics, Kenya did the traditional thing in the 3,000m steeple-chase, Great Britain’s Andy Murray crushed Roger Federer to win gold at Wimbledon, the drunken fan who threw a bottle at the 100m starters was soundly thumped by Dutch judoka bronze medallist Edith Bosch, who tweeted: “Een dronken gast voor mij gooit een flesje op de baan!! IK HEB HEM GESLAGEN. Ongelofelijk!!”
Most South Africans will understand that to mean: “One drunken guest in front of me threw a bottle on the track. I WHACKED HIM! Unbelievable.”
And after translation, a little lesson in spelling. Note the difference between the following two sentences: South Africa has won gold. Australia has one gold.
In fact, South Africa has a record-equalling three golds and one silver so far. And we still have Richard Murray (triathlon, today), Sunette Viljoen (javelin, Thursday), Bridgitte Hartley (women’s K1 500, Thursday), Siphiso “Skizo” Nhlapo (BMX, Friday), Caster Semenya (800m, Saturday) and Bury Stander (mountain biking, Sunday) to come.
Yes, Team South Africa have pleny to look forward to. And I offer the estimated 15 million devastated Amakhosi this: “Khosi 4-1 life!”


  1. On the official website, captain Itumeleng Khune has apologised to the Amakhosi following the 4-1 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarterfinals of MTN8 on Sunday.

    Khune said: “The players are as humiliated as fans by this result. I would like to apologise to the fans that have been through thick and thin with this team.

    “They once again came in numbers to support the team and we have to give something back to them starting against AmaZulu this coming weekend.

    “Things did not go our way against Sundowns but it is not the end of the world for us. We have a long season ahead of us. We are disappointed by the result but we know for sure that we can bounce back from this type of defeat.

    “The opening stages of the game were a bit of a nightmare for us. We looked like we had switched off a little bit. We lost all the balls in the air. We let ourselves down but we have to bounce back as the team.

    “We have a good Technical Team and great squad of both experienced and young players. We know exactly what is expected from us. We need to redeem ourselves with a win against AmaZulu.

    “Great teams respond to defeat and we have to do it in the best possible way. Our objectives to turn things around as the team have not changed – it is a setback to be knocked out of MTN8 but the belief is still there that we can stand up and be counted come May 2013."

  2. How about Chiefs do an Arsenal and refund their fans for watching that hammering, eh? ;-)

  3. We are the Champions!