Friday, 8 March 2013

Ntsimbi does not rust: Why Siya Sangweni not Benni McCarthy should be the focal point before Soweto Derby


Wounded Pirates: Benni McCarthy and Siya Sangweni

BENNI McCARTHY’S knee is dominating the headlines again, one day before the biggest crowd in the world gathers at Soccer City for the Soweto derby.

Orlando Pirates fans, with their champions going in to the 90,000-strong cauldron five points adrift of arch-rival Kaizer Chiefs, are understandably confused.

Last night on SportsTalk we dragged Buccaneers coach Roger de Sa out of his late afternoon nap and he told us quite clearly: “Benni is struggling with his knee. He can barely kick a ball.”

But this morning, with Talk Radio 702 running that damning statement as our promo for tonight’s show, Orlando Pirates released a statement from Benni himself saying: “I am back doing full training with the boys and so far all is good.

 “Everyone is working hard at training hoping to make it into the squad. The derby is the biggest match in the local sporting calendar, we all want to be a part of it.”

Attempts to reach Benni for clarification have proved impossible. The last update on his twitter account talks about his recent attachment to boxer Chris van Heerden’s camp at Sandton Convention centre last Saturday night. He says: “Hey everyone hope all is good? Big moment for SA Boxing when the Champ Chris van Heerden take on Hatton in Sandton 2nyt. Come and support “

Benni does concede on the Pirates website: “Obviously the team has been playing together for a while and I was out so, I cannot rush things. It’s up to the technical team. If selected to play I hope to be at my best but if not, then I have to push myself to get in the team for the next upcoming matches.”

For his part De Sa, who has been incredibly forthcoming on our show during the Sea Robbers’ mini-slump, says: "Benni is 35 and is not the same any more. He’s a good professional and we do miss him. We don't just miss him on the field but also in the dressing room.

"You got to understand the injuries take a lot longer to heal and he is more prone to injuries now. Benni has never been the ideal athlete. He is a phenomenal footballer with a great football brain.”

And then this: "His injuries are always genuine, the first one was a hamstring tear that he picked up while he was with Bafana Bafana. He tried to come back earlier and it strained again and so he had to sit out another two to three weeks.

"He came back from the Christmas break looking pretty sharp and we were excited that we will at least have Benni for the second half of the season. Then at one of the training sessions he twisted his knee and tore a ligament in that knee.”

My sources tell me that injury was sustained by a tackle from an over-enthusiastic player on trial at Pirates three weeks ago.

De Sa insists: "It happens. It is football and I will tell you that there is nothing behind it. A lot of people are thinking a lot of things but in this case you can see a scan and if you are a doctor you can read the scan and see what it is.”

With the 4-1 Nedbank Cup upset against Maluti FET College, the 3-2 defeat against Moroka Swallows and this week’s draw against Bloemfontein Celtic to deal with, De Sa is under enormous pressure. Defeat against the AmaKhosi would mean an EIGHT POINT GAP and, quite possibly, the end of a turbulent six-month reign for the Mocambique-born former goalkeeper who has, if nothing else, romped through the opening round of the African Champions League.

But Pirates fans would do well to consider the real injury problem in the Buccaneers’ camp. Siya Sangweni, unarguably the key player in Bafana’s African Cup of Nations campaign with two goals and barely a mistake at the back, is the real problem.

Forget Benni and Moeneeb Josephs, they have become peripheral figures. Both will probably head south for Cape Town Ajax at the end of the season, with leadership needed and a cash-injection from Amsterdam promised if McCarthy returns to the Cape, where it all started.

It’s Sangweni, the cattle-loving centre-back from northern Zululand, who is vital.

Just this minute I have received an SMS from De Sa. I asked him how “Ntsimbi” (“Iron” in Zulu) was in training today. He said: “Will assess tomorrow.”

Before Sangweni’s injury three weeks ago, Pirates were on a run of 13 games undefeated. New goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwe had not conceded in five games and they conceded their first PSL goal at the Orlando Stadium late in the game against Celtic on Wednesday.

Sangweni is VITAL to the Pirates. Both as their defensive lynchpin and a scorer of vital goals, in the marauding Pirates style.

When the world’s biggest crowd gather at Soccer City today, Benni McCarthy’s knee – a factor I raised after a chat with West Ham’s chief coach before the World Cup – will no longer be important.

So that’s it. A late fitness test on Ntsimbi – assuming the Iron does not rust - could decide the PSL title tomorrow.

SportsTalk with Udo Carelse airs every night on www.702.co.za at 8pm, we're on from 7-9pm on Fridays and Sundays.  Listen tonight for Vina Maphosa of Kaizer Chiefs and Mickey Modisane from Orlando Pirates going head-to-head before the derby. Follow my twitter updates on the show from @nealcol using the hashtag #sportstalk

34 comments:

  1. When I was just a little boy I asked my mum:
    Will I be Pirates or will I be Chiefs?
    This is what she said to me:
    Go wash your mouth with soap son,
    and go get you daddy's gun.
    Get out in the street and shoot that Khosi scum
    Shoot that Khosi scum
    Shoot that Khosi scum ........

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  2. AmaKhosi == AmaKrokoKroko

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  3. CHIEFS WILL WIN.

    Who cares about Ntsimbi and McFatty when you have Parker and Nkatha up front???

    Gould and Mathoho will make Sangeweni their bitch after the derby.

    Also:
    Kaizer Motaung will make Irvin Khoza his garden boy.
    Jessica Motaung will make Sonono Khoza her maid.
    Khune will adopt Meyiwa after De Sa finally tells him to fuck off.
    Parker will feel sorry and offer to pay for Myeni's dental surgery.
    And ... Shabba will give Pirates players a R25 fish-and-chips voucher each.

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  4. LMAO @khosi4life

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  5. LOL ... all the garden boys and maids won't work on Monday cos they are all PieRATS.

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  6. The sangoma told Meyiwa he must sleep with a goat tonight if he wants to have a good game tomorrow.

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  7. AmaKhosi will be thought a lesson tomorrow.
    They must borrow books and pens from Maluti boys and take notes.

    Orlando Pirates - ONLY SA Champions League winners

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  8. Orlando Pirates - ONLY SA Champions League winners
    Kaizer Chiefs - 11 time Charity Cup winners

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  9. "New goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwe had not conceded in five games and they conceded their first PSL goal at the Orlando Stadium late in the game against Celtic on Wednesday."Factually inaccurate(swallows 3-pirates 2#PSL),anyway may the best team win

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  10. What a bull? Pie-rats will be killed tomorrow with or without Sangweni. What difference will he make? With them facing the most potent strike force in PSL? Save us a break Neil. Pirates will be beaten. And Roger with his bat will be fired on monday.

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  11. I'm running a special at my shebeen tomorrow.
    Chiefs fans = 10% off. Pirates fans = FUCK OFF.

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  12. AIDS is the work of the Devil. The condom is the Devil's instrument.

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  13. Chiefs players eat Fish and Chips.
    Pirates players eat RAT and Chips.

    [Up the Bucs]

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  14. the glamour boy8 March 2013 at 15:55

    mfethu ... makes no difference if your dear 'Ntsimbi' Sangweni plays or not.
    They can't handle Parker and Nkhatha. One of them will still score.
    Khune vs Meyiwa? No contest.

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  15. the glamour boy8 March 2013 at 16:00

    @peter.roebuck AWE ... Ma se kind. Thought you died. LOL.
    Why were u playing with the boys bums?

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  16. Chiefs players are from the pizza & macaronni generation.
    Pirates players are from the generation of PAP.

    Form is temporary. Class is permanent.

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  17. jou ma se ....8 March 2013 at 16:21

    @anonymous 16:03

    CORRECTION:

    Chiefs players eat pizza and maccaronnie.
    Pirates players eat pap and RAT.

    Chiefs players drive BMW.
    Pirates players drive Toyota Hi-Ace.

    Chiefs players live in brick house.
    Pirates players live in tin shack.

    Chiefs players use BlackBerry and iPhone.
    Pirates players use Nokia 3310 and Telkom line.

    Chiefs players bath with LUX soap.
    Pirates players use LifeBouy.

    Chiefs players use a toilet.
    Pirates players use a bucket.

    Chiefs players spray deodarent
    Pirates players roll in cow dung.

    Chiefs players read Hustler and Playboy.
    Pirates players browse Sondeza.

    Kaizer Chiefs - It's more than a club ... it's a lifestyle.

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  18. Pirates fans .... look in the fridge for something to eat. Find a RAT and think it's a treat.

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  19. Up the BUCS.

    Without us there will be no Chiefs.

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  20. LOL .. I don't support Chiefs or Pirates, but I just love reading 'fan' comments on articles.

    Think it will be a 1-1 or 2-2 draw.

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  21. Chiefs fans think a PAP SMEAR means that you must smear pap on your vagina.

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  22. Baxter betta start rewriting his CV (and remove all the lies this time!!!) if Khosi lose to PieRATS.
    I drive him to the airport myself if we lose.

    Fuck the league. We want RAT blood first.

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  23. must tell sangweni that when he retire i want 2 hire him to graze my cattle.

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  24. chincha guluva8 March 2013 at 16:57

    ParCOW will shit his brief when he sees NTSIMBI tomorrow.

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  25. These comments are funny, you guys are hilarious.

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  26. When DR Khoza opens his cheque book, it is only to sign star players - like Benni McCarthy.

    When Motaung opens his cheque book, it is to sign makwerekwere Zimbabweans.

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  27. Parker must play well in the game and help the Khosi rise!!

    I will reward him very well.
    I already have a girl organized for him to 'celebrate' with and I will offer her to him if he does well and Chiefs win.

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  28. @king thobela

    What are you smoking???

    Motaung signed Parker, Masilela, Gaxa, Gould, Mathoho - all Bafana internationals.

    All Khoza did was sign an unpatriotic boastful fat striker who is past his prime.

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  29. As a Chiefs fan, I would to dedicate our victory over PieRATS in advance to HUGO CHAVEZ.
    He is our brother from another mother.

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  30. LOL .. I'm telling u - this Neal Collins has an OBSESSION with Sangweni.
    I bet you he has BIG erection whenever he sees Sangweni play.

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  31. LOL @sonoface. I was thinking the same thing.

    @thebz I think that is a great idea to dedicate the win to our brother from Venezuela.

    @jou_ma_se no comment. LOL

    @slim.charles heard that song before ... think it was for Arsenal/Spurs

    @king_thobela Motuang's daughter helps run the family club whereas Khoza's daughter has a child with a married man (a.k.a president JZ)

    @dumela where is your shebeen my bru? LOL

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  32. I am so sad that we have let Hugo Chavez down.
    We will now have to dedicate the league title to him.

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  33. The match was a blast no doubt. I really enjoyed watching this. I am a big fan of soccer so I time to time organize youth soccer Camps. So that I can enjoy. You all can also click on Youth Soccer Camps to see more.

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