Two days and then it is the end of another year. 2009 will be remembered as the year that the SA cricket team beat Australia in Australia only to come home and get put back in their place very quickly.
The mighty Springboks that beat the British and Irish Lions, go on to win the Tri-Nation and the only trophy that the Boks could not get their hands on is the Six-Nations as we may not play in it. The Blue Bull dominated Super Rugby and Currie Cup this year and was without doubt the best provincial outfit in World Rugby for 2009.
2010 is going to be a massive year for every single South African living in the fantastic country. God’s country with the world's greatest sporting event: (forget the Olympics) the FIFA World Cup. What more could one ask for beside halfway line tickets for the final? I have put my name down for the lottery for "Spain vs. Switzerland" and "Brazil vs. Portugal."
I have also applied for the semi final, but that could be anybody’s guess who plays in that one. One team that won’t be there is Bafana. Sorry to say this but they do not have the professional set up or the players to complete with the world's best.
Unless players start showing maturity like the Springboks and start taking accountability like the Springboks, they will never succeed on the world stage (want to put down a side wager that they will threaten to strike in order to get more money to play in the World Cup?). Guess what I would pay FIFA just so that I could run out for MY country to say, “I was there.”
Our cricket team is getting their backsides kicked to all parts of Durban and if the team stays as they are they will get the same treatment in Cape Town. There was a stage when rumor had it that Hansie and Bob ruled with an iron fist. What they said was law and bringing in new blood was not that easy.
I have some questions for you to ponder on. Where are the selectors? Why are they not picking current players on form? We have not played test cricket since March this year, so our form would be determined by the Super Sport Series, would it not?
Quinton Friend has taken 36 wickets this season at an average of 16. Morne Morkel has got 18 at an average of 23 and Paul Harris has got 23 at an average of 29. No other bowler is mentioned in the top 20 that is playing in the second test. Fridel De Wet is also in the top 20 but with 20 wickets at an average of 32.
No Ntini or Steyn to be found anywhere although to be fair to Dale Steyn he is ranked No. 1 test bowler in the world. It is time that Ntini goes. He has served us well but if he does not bow out gracefully he will go being hated by many fans.
We are looking for opening batsmen—two of them. OK, Smith has hit a bad patch but he should be put on notice. Prince is not an opening batsman and should never have been put in this role. He can drop back to six and play in the role of JP Duminy that has done nothing since Australia last year. Riley Rossouw and Steven Cook are the leading opening bats in South Africa at the moment.
Cook has scored 830 runs at an average of 64 and Rossouw has scored 683 at an average of 46. There is only one other batsman in the top 20 and this is Prince with an average of 40. If you want to change Duminy for an all-rounder then you need to look no further than Albie Morkel who has scored 302 runs at an average of 50 and taken 13 wickets at an average of 25.
Smith and Arthur have far too much say with regards to selection. The bottom line is if you do not select players on form they will leave our shores. Look no further than Trot and Peterson. They will become COLPAC players and then, when they are scoring runs like superstars, you can’t use them.
Players are far too relaxed and it is not that important if they fail because they don't get dropped. This needs to change. It is not an "old boy club," it is our national team and, like our mighty Springboks, we expect nothing but the best.
Athletics South Africa got a rude awaking this year with the whole Caster Semeya debacle. “He is a woman.” The board knew about the fact that there was something wrong with her chromosome count but dismissed it because of the pressure to ensure that South Africa won some medals at the World Championship.
Caster did win gold, and also smashed a game record by plenty and nearly broke a 40-year-old world record. The IAAF was not happy; something did not seem right. The world was not convinced so testing was required. Instead of this becoming an issue with gender testing, our very own ASA declared it as a racial action by the IAAF.
Typical South African logic: When you pick on a black person it is racial. So they made complete and utter fools of South Africa, our athletes, and of course, themselves. Hopefully with the intervention of Ray Mali things will start to change for the better.
Our swimmers again were on center stage at the FINA World Championships, winning gold and breaking world records. Look out for the youngsters by the names of Cameron van der Berg and Darian Townsend that each broke three world records at the games. These guys are fast and have a very bright future ahead of them.
Until next year and hopefully it will be a year that will be full of adventure for all sports fans, starting with Dakar on the first. Enjoy. Stay fit and safe.