17 November 2014
The Boks beat England by 31-28 at Twickenham in London on Saturday, 15 November. (Image: SARU)
It was a weekend of wins for South Africa’s finest in Durban, London and Perth where Bafana Bafana, the Springboks and the Proteas all claimed victory.
Starting with a crucial game for Bafana Bafana against Sudan at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon, new captain Dean Furman revelled in “one of the proudest moments” of his life by leading the team to qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Shakes Mashaba’s side beat Sudan 2-1, with goals in each half from Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie placing Bafana Bafana in the top spot in Group A. In winning a spot in Equatorial Guinea, the team paid tribute to their late captain, Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead on 26 October. A moment of silence was held by the 30 000-plus crowd before kickoff.
“We dedicate that win to Senzo,” said Furman, who was only named captain of the squad on Friday night. “He was in our minds the whole week. It was an incredibly emotional week. The spirit in the camp has been high and I was lucky enough to be selected the captain by the coach, but I can tell you now there’s many leaders out there on the pitch. For me it was probably the biggest honour and one of the proudest moments in not just my career, but my life, to lead my country,” Furman added.
The Doncaster Rovers midfielder is based in England.
Before his death, Meyiwa, who was also Orlando Pirates’s goalkeeper, took the country to the brink of qualification with clean sheets in the four group matches in which he had played.
With 11 points, Bafana Bafana cannot be caught by either second-placed Nigeria or Congo. Their final qualifier is against Nigeria in Uyo.
Just as Bafana’s game ended, the Boks took on England at Twickenham in London, where they have not lost to the hosts since 2006. And Saturday’s game was another win at 31-28, taking the Boks’ unbeaten lead over England to 12 games. It was a welcome showing following their humiliation by Ireland in their last match.
And then, on Sunday at the Waca in Perth, the Proteas made a sound comeback with a three-wicket victory in the second one-day international (ODI) against Australia, following Friday’s loss in their first ODI against the hosts. They thrashed Australia by three wickets with more than 22 overs to spare. Paceman Morne Morkel crushed the Australians, who were all out for just 154.
The third ODI will be played in Canberra on Wednesday.
A fine sporting weekend was wrapped up in Joburg on Sunday, where Namibia’s Till Drobisch saw off a strong field to secure his Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge maiden victory in the men’s race. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, uncontested as the greatest cyclist of her generation, won the women’s race. The annual race had a tougher new route that toured the history of the City of Gold, and over 30 000 riders, a record number of entries for the race.