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Vaccinated fans helped Bafana Bafana through moments of suffering, says Hugo Broos – IOL

It was clear that the trip to Ethiopia over the weekend, where Bafana managed a 3-1 victory, had taken its toll on the players. Despite Broos making a couple of changes in the midfield in a bid to bring in fresh legs, the Ethiopians controlled large passages of play and possession.

However, with 2000 vaccinated spectators allowed inside a sports stadium for the first time in South African since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country back in March, Bafana were not going to let their fans return home disappointed with a character-filled display.

ALSO READ: Bafana Bafana ratings: Bongokuhle Hlongwane maturing into a top player


“We had an awful trip last week to Ethiopia, but what the boys did there in Ethiopia in terms of character and mentality was fantastic. We tried it today also, but the trip was in the legs of the boys and we saw it. We were not fresh. We did not neutralise the midfield, but I can’t blame them for the way they fought for 90 minutes and they wanted that victory, I have to congratulate them,” Broos told reporters post-match.

“The fans … we really hope that for the next game against Zimbabwe we can see even more fans because in games like this when we are suffering, then you have the fans behind you, that gives you energy. Let’s hope that today we had 2000, maybe next time we have 10 times more. It should be fantastic.”

Although the performance lacked the energy that was on display in Ethiopia, the defensive structure was much better at FNB Stadium as Bafana kept yet another clean sheet.

“We gave them too much freedom in the midfield. They are all good players. My colleague had a fantastic midfield. All the players can keep the ball and give passes. We tried to put pressure on them but we couldn’t succeed and that’s why we suffered throughout the game,” the Belgian said.

“But we had a clean sheet and that’s very important because before the game starts we already have one point. And maybe if you can score, you win the game like we did today. We can keep a clean sheet and that’s a very good quality. In Ethiopia, we could count on Rowen (Williams), he had two fantastic saves, otherwise we were not in the match anymore at that moment, but he did it. Today the defence was good and there were not so many chances. Our defence was very strong.”

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'I was born a fighter': the champion boxer changing young lives in Zimbabwe – NewsDay

Beneath a corrugated iron roof in the Harare suburb of Mbare, a group of boys darts back and forth across a smooth concrete floor, firing a series of rapid punches into the air.

A wiry older man, dressed in low-slung tracksuit bottoms and flip-flops, watches their moves, encouraging them to “Jab! Jab! Jab!”.

It’s a long way from a glamorous black-tie occasion in Glasgow in January 1998, when Arifonso Zvenyika beat Scotland’s Paul Weir to take the Commonwealth flyweight title for Zimbabwe.

Young boxers training at the Mosquito school. They lack gloves, headgear and punchbags, but levels of enthusiasm remain high. Photograph: Nichole Sobecki/VII

Nicknamed “Mosquito” – reflecting his 50kg fighting weight and his deadly skills – Zvenyika is one of the country’s most successful boxers.

However, there is little to show for those early triumphs. Now 45, Zvenyika lives hand to mouth, like so many others in a country where up to 90% of working-age adults are not formally employed.

When he’s not struggling to put food on the table for his own family, he trains young people for nothing at the Mosquito Boxing School of Excellence.

“I grew up without anything – even now I don’t have anything, but I can share boxing with less privileged children,” says Zvenyika, who is proud to have been born and raised in Mbare.

“The champions always come from the ghetto,” he says.

Three times a week, up to 20 young people – aged from eight to their early 20s – gather for fitness training and to develop their technical skills.

Children playing in Mbare, Harare’s first high-density suburb, which was established in 1907. Today the buildings are dilapidated and overcrowded. Photograph: Nichole Sobecki/VII

Zvenyika says that he particularly focuses on boys and young men who struggle to remain in school and spend time on the streets.

“Some of the kids are totally poor and not even going to school. Some draw back from training as they don’t have shoes,” says Zvenyika.

One of the boys, 16-year-old Noel Sunday, says: “Both my parents are unemployed. I only did four years of school. I haven’t done my O-levels.”

A chalkboard in the gym reminds the young boxers to “Go hard or go home” and lists 10 rules. Eating, smoking and even laughing and jokes during sessions are prohibited.

“Boxing not only teaches discipline, but also positive values. It’s a low-cost, high-impact sport,” says David Mutambara, a former chair of Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission.

“But there is a scarcity of resources in this country. We get people who have natural, raw talent. The skills development needed to polish that raw talent is lacking.”

Zvenyika is reliant on others to provide training space, and is constantly on the hunt for more equipment. The school is short of gloves, pads, punchbags and headgear.

The rest of the time he spends looking for work.

“I’m shy to say it, but I can’t afford to feed my family properly,” he says. “We eat bread without butter, we drink tea without milk.”

A few miles from the centre of Harare, Mbare is chaotic and densely populated. It’s a first stop for arrivals to the capital who come looking for work.

“My family makes money running around the marketplace and helping to carry people’s luggage,” says Tatenda Kachepa, 22, who has trained with Zvenyika for five years and is one of the club’s star boxers.

The pandemic pushed many people already struggling to earn a living into desperation.

“We are now 15 people living together at my father’s place,” says Kachepa, who is still trying to complete his schooling. “During Covid, we haven’t made any money. It’s been a dog-eat-dog situation.”

Substance abuse has become endemic in Harare’s low income areas. Illicit alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamine – better known as crystal meth or by its street name mutoriro – are all popular among young people.

“I’ve been there myself,” says Zvenyika. “It hurts me to see these young kids doping. I’m trying to find ways to stop them.”

Zvenyika’s story is a familiar one – from rags to riches, followed by a slide into bad choices and prison.

“My mother tried her best, but she didn’t have money to send me to school,” says Zvenyika, who turned professional at 17. “I took up boxing as something to resolve my pain and calm me down.”

After his talent took him to Zambia and Australia, as well as to Scotland, Zvenyika crashed back down to a very different reality.

Accused by a neighbour of stealing a radio – Zvenyika insists he was framed – in 2000, the boxing champion was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

A young boxer in training at the Mosquito Boxing School of Excellence in Harare. Former Commonwealth flyweight champion Arifonso Zvenyika wants to nurture Zimbabwe’s future champions. Photograph: Nichole Sobecki/VII

Zvenyika’s imprisonment – and a stroke while in jail – effectively ended his professional career.

“I’ve been in prison, in hospital, in a hooligan’s cell. I don’t want others to fall into that pit,” says Zvenyika. “I’m trying to move them to be good people.”

And Mbare’s younger generation has sporting potential: “People paint a bad picture of Mbare, but it’s a talent hub. Young guys can get into bad things, but training keeps them busy.”

Lockdowns closed the club for much of the past 18 months, but as of last month Zvenyika has welcomed back his students.

He is determined to keep the Mosquito boxing school open, despite the challenges.

“I was born a fighter and I’ll die a fighter,” he says. “Boxing might leave me, but I’ll never leave boxing.” – The Guardian

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Patrick Vieira frustrated after Crystal Palace throw away win against Arsenal – The Zimbabwe Mail

Patrick Vieira

London – Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was disappointed after a last-gasp equaliser from substitute Alexandre Lacazette denied them a win against his former club Arsenal in a pulsating Premier League clash on Monday.

Having fallen behind to an early Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang goal, Palace stormed back through Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard before Lacazette struck with the last kick of the game.

Vieira, who won three league titles and four FA cups with Arsenal as a player, said Palace needed to stop conceding late goals in order to turn draws into wins.

“It was so close but we have been saying that a little bit too often,” he told Sky Sports. “We have to learn from the games we played previously. I am really disappointed because the way the team came back in the second half, they deserved to win.

“I am frustrated for them, they were brave and showed character. We have to put our sleeves up and put our bodies on the line. We were really unlucky today, it is the way it is but I believe there is more to come.

“The players were really frustrated because we threw away two points. To concede a goal like that is really difficult to accept but these games will make us stronger.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta criticised his players for switching off after taking the lead.

“We started the game very well but after the goal we didn’t manage it enough,” he told the BBC. “We didn’t have composure or control. The game was stretched. You have uncertainty, you have to defend deep.

“We gave the ball away two times for the two goals. It (the dip in performance) was for a long period which is worrying. We gave cheap goals away.

“The most positive thing is we kept going. They kept believing until the end and that’s how we managed to get a point.”


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Jamie Carragher: Man United need a better manager – Futaa

Manchester United, according to former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, need a “better manager” to consistently fight for silverware.

Despite spending heavily in the summer transfer window on Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Red Devils have only picked up one point from their previous three Premier League games, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being blamed.

Despite the fact that United have no plans to remove Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite the club’s poor form, Carragher believes that change is necessary if the Red Devils are to have a chance at Premier League glory.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Carragher said: “You can’t play five attacking players, you can’t. Pogba’s got to come out of central midfield. He’s playing there and it comes back to the Ronaldo signing.

“As soon as Ronaldo comes in, Pogba has to play center midfield to fit all the players in. I’m not saying (Pogba) should be out of the team, but he’s not a center midfield in a United shirt.

“What does Ole do? What’s your idea? I don’t see it in terms of a plan. If you’re going to press, everyone presses. Are they a high pressing team? Not really, not with Ronaldo in the team. This (lack of intensity) wouldn’t be accepted with a Pep or Klopp or Tuchel team. It’s both (a manager and a player’s problem).

“Ole will not win a league title or a Champions League at Manchester United. Ole hasn’t got the experience. This team is a good team, a great collection of individuals. Manchester United need to have a better manager, they need a manager who can compete with other big teams in the league.”

Man United are presently in sixth place in the Premier League table and will look to get back on track in the Champions League against Atalanta BC on Wednesday.

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