Opinion / 18 January 2020, 08:19am / sanele tshabalala
Let's start this week with a bit of sport from Trump Nation, something a little different - like Faf’s dubious choice of opening the bowling with Dane Paterson.
In the USA, besides possible impeachment, there is a lot of sport to look forward to. From no rules boxing to football championship games - it’s all happening.
The UFC is back in Twenty Plenty with a bang! 'The Notorious' Connor McGregor dares to return to the hexagon, to face a mean Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone. The camaraderie between the two is rare to see in this combat sport, where they will be smashing each other’s faces. Each man controls his own destiny, and the winner will set up their year for great opportunities. My call is 'Cowboy'!
It’s also the NFL play-offs, with the NFC and AFC Championship games, playing late tomorrow and Monday morning SA time. Kansas City Chiefs (3/10) host Tennessee Titans (22/10), and San Francisco 49ers (1/4) play Green Bay Packers (5/2). Kansas and the 49ers are heavy favourites, but you never know. One of these teams could come up short. The Titans have to shut down Patrick Mahomey, like they did Tom Brady. Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is likely to be robbed of a second Superbowl at the hands of the 49ers.
Onto the more commonly known version of football, ibhola (soccer).
Today’s EPL’s top games are Watford hosting Spurs, West Ham versus Everton, Manchester City up against Crystal Palace and Arsenal playing Sheffield United. Watford and Sheffield may prove slippery encounters for the favoured Spurs and Gunners sides.
Then on to tomorrow with the real saucy games. First up it’s Burnley versus Leicester. This will be a test for the visitors, who sit third on the log halfway through the season. Will this be where The Foxes slip up?
Thereafter it’s the biggest match of the weekend, high flying Liverpool at Anfield against Man United. Jurgen Klopp's team are unbeaten this season. Surely they're not about to slip up? United have players out injured, and my call is Liverpool by two goals.
In the local PSL, Black Leopards play Chiefs, Pirates host Highlands Park and Cape Town City take on Bidvest Wits, all this afternoon.
Tomorrow SuperSport face Sundowns, Polokwane take on Golden Arrows and Bloemfontein Celtic play Chippa United to wrap up the weekend. I think all the visiting teams will be in with a chance, and half of them to collect points.
In the cricket it’s the third Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. England chose to bat after Faf lost his sixth toss in a row, which is up there amongst the worst. The record holders are watching on in Graeme Smith (8) and Nasser Hussain (10). Faf’s tosses are as bad as the Proteas' chances of winning this game and the series at home. They are in the doldrums.
There’s golf in Abu Dhabi with Louis Oosthuizen, Zander Lombard and Branden Grace the best placed South Africans, although several shots off the lead. Should Grace have a round like last week’s final round 62 in the SA Open en route to victory, then he may be a good man on which to take a punt on. Either a steady Louis or one of the Spaniards could do the trick.
Last up it’s Super Hero Sunday at FNB stadium in Soweto. The fans (majority kids and some daring adults) will be kitted out in their best Super Hero regalia.
These matches are a warm-up for the Super Rugby season, which kicks off on January 31. It is hard to call a winner in any of these games, so just sit back and enjoy as we see what our local franchises have to offer for 2020.
Look out for the Australian Open starting Monday morning, Djokovic and Serena are my picks.