Opinion / 14 December 2019, 09:00am / sanele tshabalala
South African sport is abuzz with golf, a soccer final and rugby sevens.
It’s the Presidents Cup over in Australia at Royal Melbourne, with our very own Ernie Els leading the International team who got off to an early lead - four points to one, on day one in the fourballs. On day two however, the USA team were able to get half of the points on offer in the foursomes, giving them a total of three and a half points to the International team’s six and a half.
This is the one year where many a golfing fan thinks this may be the year in which the Internationals could have a chance of repeating their solitary win from 1998.
Tiger Woods’s USA may have been trailing after the first two rounds, but are still strong favourites to win once again - and make it a 11-1-1 record in the Cup's history.
My suspicion is that in the singles the Stars and Stripes players will have more experience and may sneak a win, or find us facing a repeat of Fancourt South Africa with a draw.
Then in oval ball action, in the short form of the game, it's Round Two of the Rugby Sevens. The second leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series started izolo (yesterday) in our own backyard, Cape Town.
South Africa got out the blocks well last week in Dubai, when they lifted the trophy, placing themselves as favourites for this home leg of the series. Past champions Fiji failed to make the Cup quarter-finals a week ago, and will surely rectify that in Kaapstad. Other teams I see competing are New Zealand (who are strongly supported in die Kaap ek se), Australia and the USA - who have looked good in recent seasons.
Over to some football action.
Mzansi soccer buzz is coming from Ethekwini, where it’s the Telkom Cup final, pitting ‘The Team of Choice' - Maritzburg United - against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Maritzburg is the home team, and should have a decent KZN crowd to back them but Masandawana go in as strong favourites.
Sundowns can be expected to lift their first cup competition trophy since 2015. This however can be undone if they don’t get up early against a resilient Burra team, who will gain confidence should they go into the second half still in it.
Oorkant in the EPL it’s a full roster of games, with many teams playing their third game within the past week. This may take a toll on performances. Liverpool host Watford, in what is expected to be an easy win for the log leaders who are touted as 2019/2020 title holders before even Santa Claus has arrived.
The other games of interest today are Burnley playing Newcastle, Chelsea versus Bournemouth, Leicester facing Norwich, and Sheffield United against Aston Villa.
The home teams in all of the above fixtures is where I’m going to put my money. Take your pick of the right teams and who knows, you may get an early Christmas too?
Last up tonight, it’s Pellegrini who is massively under the pump. His Hammers team face a resurgent Southampton. West Ham must travel to Southampton, where they hope to improve their latest run, of only one win in their last five games. Tomorrow Manuel Pellegrini may be no more! - which would make him the fifth sacking of this season so far.
It’s a big Mixed Martial Arts weekend, with a UFC blockbuster bout on the cards early bells Sunday morning. Kamara Usman faces Colby Covington in the main bout at UFC 245. From the one in the know - my man Van says the Nigerian Nightmare is going to get beaten by the Chaos of Covington. Ballie Berks thinks otherwise, but I back Colby.