Bathi Heeepiii, bangani bami (Happy New Year, my friends)! All the betting best for 2019, the year of ingulube – that’s pig, for my non-Zulu people.
Wow, what a banger couple of weeks we have been treated to over the festive season. We had an absolute classic played just over 24 hours ago, with a top-of-the-table clash in the English Premier League.
The game lived up to the hype and, dare I say it, Liverpool were 11 millimetres away from possibly securing their first league title in 27 years.
It’s the inches, they say, kids. All about them inches.
Unfortunately this weekend, the league is not on and it’s “cup-set” time in the United Kingdom, with the FA Cup on the go.
Last night it was Tranmere Rovers from Merseyside hosting Tottenham Hotspur. Hope you took the visitors on the handicap, according to my muthi source Dez B, bafethu.
In the rest of the games, we have to fly through them like the number of over-priced golf balls we went through at Mount Edgecombe CC, in a ‘House of York’ golf outing.
Burnley v Barnsley, Manchester United v Reading and West Ham play Birmingham. Then there is Chelsea hosting Forest and Everton against Lincoln. These are all the top games featuring Premier League spanne, and are the most likely to be televised this weekend.
All the home teams should do the business. But this is the cup, so we punt at our peril.
In some local shandiz, Kaizer Chiefs host Mamelodi Sundowns in the big game at Soccer City. Then Polokwane tackle Usuthu, AmaZulu, and Highlands play host to Orlando Pirates.
In the Chiefs against Patrice Motsepe’s millionaires spectacle, expect more pain for the Glamour Boys, especially with Itu Khune missing in action.
In fact, unlike the English FA Cup games I spoke of earlier, I am backing all the visitors to land-grab the three points in the local-and-lekker stuff.
Then we have the best and original form of cricket on the go at the minute, with all of the southern hemisphere boytjies in action at home.
The Black Caps and the Proteas should do much of the same and wrap up their respective series tomorrow, but India have spoilt the clean sweep – as per the Bones’ pre-Christmas call.
A man named Che Pujara has been the revolutionary for India, and I hope that all of your 2019 missions are done with the same dedicated attitude shown by the man of the series, who hails from Rajkot.
What’s more, he doesn’t even chow the meat we chowed on all December.
He prefers his buffet to be of the bowling variety, and he has feasted royally on Aussie pavlova pitches.
This man has spent more time with me than his family in the last month. Thanks @patrickfarhart for all your help in keeping me up and running. Cheers to all the long evening sessions 🤗 pic.twitter.com/bWTvsZiVdO— cheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1) January 4, 2019
Kudos must also go out to Virat Kohli for the unapologetic leadership he shows and his consistency as the best batsman in the world. Hands down, baba.
He is a thorn in any side, whatever format, and you have to get through him to win the World Cup.
This year may well be Mzansi’s best chance of bringing the trophy back and rid ourselves of the Choker Label, but good luck putting your money on them.
That sterling rate ain’t cheap, and we are hardly in the pound seats when it comes to ODI cricket.
Talking World Cups, let’s move on to the oval-shaped ball. This is truly the year of World Cups... and the pig, apparently!
The William Webb Ellis will be hosted in Japan for the very first time, showing just how much the game has grown.
For me, this year’s edition has the potential to be the best Rugby World Cup, followed by New Zealand 2011 and South Africa ’95. In that order.
The next seven months becomes hell-of-a-crucial for the big nations in the build-up to the crunch in the east. There are as many as six teams who could win this, and that is a tantalising prospect.
In domestic fare, we have the English and French leagues on the go and halfway through, while the PRO14 is also back on this weekend.
The weekend’s highlight for us locals is the boys from Bloemfontein, who you should bank on upsetting Zebre.
Halala, Sangoma out!@shabsgunner
Independent On Saturday