Lady luck turns her back on Nqweni
There’s very little we can say other than to express our immense sadness and offer support to Solo Nqweni. The 26-year-old all-rounder from the Eastern Cape, tweeted this week about his latest health struggle. “So last year I got GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome - a rapid-onset muscle weakness) and have been battling this disease for the past 10 months and I’m only half way through my recovery. I got TB, my liver failed and my kidney failed. Now today I tested positive for coronavirus. I don’t understand why all of this is happening to me.”
Nqweni had been playing in Scotland, for Aberdeenshire Cricket Club when he suddenly felt tired. Later he would be diagnosed with GBS. His plight was highlighted by the England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes who visited him in hospital. A fund was set up to get Nqweni home, and there was lots of support, including from the South African team through the SA Cricketers Association which enabled Nqweni to get home.
Lots of support again came in for Nqweni through social media from much of the South African cricket fraternity. Injury Time would like to join those many voices in wishing Nqweni as quick a recovery as is possible. Cricketers often bemoan their luck, but there is no cricketer in this country that deserves some good fortune to go his way right now.
SET A NEW STANDARD
It’s been just over a week, since they ended their relationship with Cricket South Africa and from Injury Time perspective we’d also like to give our thanks to Standard Bank for their support of the sport in this country. The glamorous stuff everyone got to see - the emblem on the Proteas’ shirt - but they were an innovative sponsor, who gave a lot to grassroots and created sustainable aid for the development of the sport.
They also backed the original domestic T20 tournament in this country - The Pro20 Series - had dancers, and flame machines 15 years ago when no one had thought of such things at cricket matches. They gave SA legendary mascots like Stan the Duck (who’s in a house in western Johannesburg we hear, but can’t confirm) and Hardy - the little fellow with the hard hat who had his own golf buggy and was once unfortunately pelted with rubber balls at the Wanderers after a game ( probably not the best idea to give the crowd rubber balls and then beer afterwards). Cricket lost a truly great partner in Standard Bank. At Injury Time we are grateful for all social gatherings and we can guarantee that many stories will continue to be swapped for years to come.
The Germans have set May 15 as the date for the resumption of the Bundeliga, but one football league did get started last week - the K-League in South Korea. The opening match featured the current league champions Jeonbuk Motors against Suwon Bluewings. Jeonbuk have Lars Veldwijk on their books. Who? He’s a striker who’s earned seven caps for Bafana Bafana. But he didn’t play on Friday because of a thigh injury, picked up in warm-ups. The K-League was able to start - two months late - because of South Korea’s stringent testing procedures.
All 1100 players and staff in the K-League were tested and cleared for Covid-19. No fans were allowed in the stadium and in addition there were no handshakes, conversation between players and officials was restricted, and coaches had to wear face masks. Players were also advised “excessive spitting or blowing of the nose is prohibited”.
So that’s how big sport will look for the foreseeable future. And for the record Jeonbuk won 1-0, thanks to a goal by the 41-year-old Lee Dong-Gook. Lee was not picked for South Korea’s 2002 World Cup side - which made the semi-final, because the side’s Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, thought he was unfit. Lee admitted later, that he spent his days drinking and did not watch a single game that took place during the 2002 World Cup.