DURBAN – It sure is a time to be merry, with a lot that has been going on this year of 2018.
From World Cup Sevens winners to World Cup Banyana qualifiers, Wimbledon finals to Super Rugby finals, and the pride of Mkhokheli (Kaptein) Kolisi to massive efforts in Wellington, 2018 has shown off – even in a sticky political and financial climate.
This is proof that sports and a bietjie gambling are always in order to release the stress. This weekend will be no different, with an array of entertainment on the go.
And a lot of it is locally lekker, ek sê!
Kicking off with the beautiful game, there is the big matter of the Telkom Knockout final between Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates in the Windy City.
Port Elizabeth provides us with a killer setting in a magnificent stadium, which should produce an equally spectacular atmosphere and match-up between two diski disciple teams.
The books show us that Baroka have yet to concede a goal in this tournament. They have been dubbed the giant-slayers after downing the likes of Sundowns and Wits on their journey to this final.
Pirates, on the other hand, are looking quite the article this season – especially in the last couple of weeks. They are coming off a Soweto Sangoma derby double, which the Bones told you about.
It’s almost impossible to call a final like this, with a side that likes to score goals and a cup final virgin frolicking in the reefs of clean-sheet football.
I’m tempted to say Baroka will finally concede a goal, but they will not lay down here – even deep into the game.
However, this cup usually brings along surprises ahead of the festive season.
I call this year to be different and the ‘Sea Robbers’ to take this, even if it takes a little extra. Besides, Pirates normally plunder when they play close to the sea.
In other football action across the pond, we have some tasty portions after some lovely matches midweek.
Manchester United play Fulham at Old Trafford ntambama (this afternoon), after playing to a home draw against Arsenal on Wednesday.
The London teams in the Hammers and Arsenal are also in home action against Crystal Palace and Huddersfield respectively.
Then the real sauce comes later on when Manchester City are playing in a high stakes game against Chelsea, out of London – clearly the city to be in this weekend!
Before today, City were sitting at the top of the table, just two points clear of a charging Liverpool. However, I suspect that before the City game kicks off, the Scousers will be enjoying being top of the pops – even if for a couple of hours.
Watch out for their fans brandishing screen shots of the league table, as they do like cheap thrills. So I am told.
Chelski, on the other hand, are sitting fourth and could really do with a home victory. It’s three weeks out from the Christmas/New Year spin, where things are likely to be shaken up by the fatso with the white beard.
I see both teams scoring in this game – and I suspect a Chelsea win!
In the others, go with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham all to win at home.
Watch out for undercover bangers in Burnley versus Brighton, and Leicester hosting Tottenham. Giving you a through-ball and saying look away for the shibobo.
Then, in a very welcome tournament, in our backyard, it’s the lovely game of golf. The SA Open is on the go, out of Randpark Ridge in Johannesburg, which started ngoLwesine (Thursday).
The 240 professional-golfer size of the field resembles the size of an Olympic village of athletes.
No wonder they are using two courses! Luckily, when you start watching today, it will be a smaller field and over one course.
FYI, Haydn Porteous klapped a 597-yard par-five with a driver and sand wedge. And tapped in for eagle.
Weekend hackers at Papwa and the like – put that in your 16 handicap pipe and smoke it!
These boytjies are good, hey! The Bones suspect a home victory – and by home, we mean Africa! There’s a cheeky Muthiya from Zambia, but to call him a dark horse would be stating the bleeding obvious!
In the oval-ball stuff, we are playing hosts to the second leg of the Sevens World Series, after a bitterly disappointing last weekend showdown in the east.
Kaapstad plays hosts in what should be a festive weekend. These kinds of events get outta hand, with dress-ups and all sorts of debauchery! Enjoy, kinders!
However, some of us care about what happens between the sticks and where our money is at. The bookies show the Blitzboks at 5/1 for the trophy, which is a generous price at home.
The tournament will be decided in the big matches, of course, which are the last pool games – between Blitzboks and last week’s champions New Zealand. The other biggie is England against Fiji in their last pool game.
The big question is can die Blitzboks win with a home crowd? Ask Oom Johann Rupert, who may say as long as they stay away from Cubana...
I say they could, but probably not. Look into Fiji or a New Zealand double.
In the Mzansi Super League cricket, it’s crunch-time for all and sundry, and some will upset the apple cart. As much as I have tried to follow it, the time of year has been tricky – and the coverage one has been subjected to has been, er, different.
That is proof that we should actually go watch it live again. I am backing that team met n’ ou named Reeza, to go and lift the trophy, ek sê.
As for Durban Heat, wow! Load-shedding is clearly not just for Eskom! If it wasn’t for the rain-outs, we might not even know they were in the tournament!
Eish, anyway. Next year... same time, different faces!
Independent on Saturday