Keep Dreaming, Keep Believing: Rugby skipper Kolisi tells South African children

Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the Springboks’ tries in Saturday’s final against England, were among the first group of players to land at OR Tambo Airport.

King Kolisi arrives



South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi urged underprivileged children in the country to “keep dreaming and keep believing” as he carried the Webb Ellis trophy through thousands of fans on the team’s return home on Tuesday.



Kolisi led the Springboks to victory in Japan when they beat England 32-12 in the final in Yokohama on Saturday, a third title for the country after 1995 and 2007, and the first under a black captain.



His rags-to-riches tale has been inspirational for many, and the raucous welcome the side received showcased the full range of the Rainbow Nation as fans from all walks of life spent hours waiting for a glimpse of the players as they emerged in groups from different flights.



The biggest cheer was reserved for Kolisi, who grew up in an impoverished township and has written his name not only into rugby folklore but also into the history of South Africa as a beacon of hope for those who face a bleak future.



“The kids must keep dreaming and keep believing,” he told reporters. “Anything can be overcome. When I was young, I was just focused on going to training each day, preparing myself for the opportunity just in case it ever came.



“I am proof it can be done. We don’t want it to be so tough for anybody else, we want to make it easier in the future.”



Kolisi said the players felt the support from back home during their time in Japan, with a TV screen in their hotel constantly replaying videos from fans, or images of ordinary South Africans celebrating their victories.



First batch arrives



Members of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning team arrived home on Tuesday and thousands greeted them with a huge cheer at Johannesburg’s international airport.



Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the Springboks’ tries in Saturday’s final against England, were among the first group of players to land at OR Tambo Airport.



As he emerged into view in the arrivals hall, Mapimpi held his hands up and clasped them together as the crowd roared. Kolbe was recording the scenes on his cellphone.



Teammate Damien de Allende, with his gold medal draped round his neck, pumped his arms in the air in front of the fans wearing Springboks jerseys who packed the hall. Duane Vermeulen, the player of the match in the final, dished out high fives to fans.



People were also crammed together on the balconies overlooking the arrivals area — there was no room to move anywhere — and a giant South African flag hung on one wall. The smiling players had to be shepherded through the crowd by a police escort.



Mapimpi’s inspirational story



Mapimpi, like Kolisi, provided one of the heartwarming stories for the South Africa team. He grew up poor, went to an unfashionable school, and was overlooked for all of South Africa’s youth teams and only made his international debut last year at the age of 27.



He scored six tries at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the second-highest number at the tournament, including South Africa’s first in a final.



“It’s amazing for me. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of the South African people, I’m proud of my fans, I’m proud of my family,” Mapimpi said. “I don’t have a lot of words. I don’t know what I can say. It’s amazing.”



Flanked by South Africa’s minister of sports at the official arrival news conference, Mapimpi also made the politician gasp — and his teammates chuckle — when he uttered an expletive on live TV while remembering a grueling fitness session in the buildup to the World Cup.



Springboks receive support from stars



He added that the team had also been inspired by messages from tennis great Roger Federer, whose mother was born in South Africa, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.



“I am a huge Federer fan, so when he sent the message it was special. Tom Brady as well, that was amazing for us as a team.”



What next



The Boks’ next encounter will be against an as yet unnamed opponent in the 2020 June International window, and Kolisi is hopeful that the core of the World Cup-winning side will be kept together.



“We would love to stay together as a team, but that will be down to the coach. A lot of us have committed to staying in South Africa for that,” Kolisi said.



Inspired by the story of Kolisi, who rose from a poor township to lift rugby’s biggest prize, the Springboks of 2019 have been compared to the team of 1995, which won South Africa’s first World Cup at home in front of Nelson Mandela nearly a quarter of a century ago. South Africa also won the World Cup in France in 2007.



Kolisi’s team has returned home to countrywide celebrations and will take the World Cup on a five-day tour of the nation starting on Thursday.



Agencies

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Tennis star Sharapova's Africa trip: beautiful Botswana, riveting Rwanda

The trip which started on November 8 and spanned till the 14th was largely one that had a strong and rich connection to nature and wildlife.

Russian tennis star, Maria Sharapova, recently embarked on an African tour which took her to Botswana in southern Africa and Rwanda in East Africa.

The trip which started on November 8 and spanned till the 14th was largely one that had a strong and rich connection to nature and wildlife.

The Botswana mission was largely in one of the country’s famed natural parks which attracts thousands of tourists year in an out, it also had a fair share of savoring wildlife at close range – from the lions, rhinos, squirrels etc.

She wrote about Botswana: “Love at first sight! The closest I’ve ever come to a safari was locking eyes with a squirrel. But not anymoooore! The Lion’s roaring in the video? That was within 30mins of our first game drive overlooking the sunset at Weare wilderness Vumbura Plains.

She also spent time at the Okavango Delta also in the plains before sharing her time at the Little Mombo Safari where she encountered leopards, buffaloes, elephants and zebras.

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Botswana, Africa ??? !! Love at first sight! The closest I’ve ever come to a safari was locking eyes with a squirrel ?. But not anymoooore! The ?’s roaring in the video? That was within 30mins of our first game drive overlooking the sunset at wearewilderness Vumbura Plains. Which animal should we look for next?? ??????</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/mariasharapova/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Maria Sharapova</a> (mariasharapova) on

Over in Rwanda, it was more of a gorilla mission but dotted at a point with a meeting with the First Family and taking time off to meet with children and enjoy sporty action – not tennis.

Her first instagram post on arrival in Rwanda had photos of her visit to the Volcanoes National Park on a gorilla hunt.

“Silverback gorillas!! We have fallen in love with your country. Truly! Early morning treks to locate the gorillas, getting caught in a rainforest downpour, witnessing a silverback big daddy of all big daddies walk right past us without a care in the world ( thankfully!!) ..so special!!” her post read.

She visited the Bisate hills from where she posted about her morning view from the volcanic mountain. “Nestled inside the #Rwanda , the view from our little teletubbie- like cabins made the long journey worth every minute,” she added.

Meeting with President Kagame was in mid-week (November 13) before she rounded up the trip with a visit to a local community school for a sporty interaction with the children.

'I picked Ivory Coast over Chelsea' - Drogba's shot at FA presidency goal

According to the 41-year-old, he had picked Ivorian football ahead of an offer to have taken a role at his former club, English Premier League side, Chelsea.

Ivorian and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba, on Thursday confirmed his intention to contest the presidency of the country’s football federation.

According to the 41-year-old, he had picked Ivorian football ahead of an offer to have taken a role at his former club, English Premier League side, Chelsea.

“ I could’ve decided to stay at Chelsea where all conditions are perfect, but I’ve decided to invest in local (national) football because I love Ivory Coast,” he is quoted to have said.

In August 2019, local media outlets reported that Drogba was due to contest for the top leadership post of the Ivorian Football Federation, FIF.

The former Chelsea man was reported to have filed his application at the time. All things being equal, he will face competition from among others, a former playing colleague turned politician Bonaventure Kalou, who was in October 2018 elected mayor of the municipality of Vavoua.

Incumbent FIF president Augustin Sidy Diallo, will be another candidate to beat. He has been in the role since 2011.

Drogba retired from football in 2018 and was on record to have voiced ambitions of heading the football federation in the West African country.

“It’s something that interests me: I want to get more involved. I think more and more about it. I know Ivorian football, I have played in selection for years and I invested in Ivorian football lately …

“I have not made my decision yet, but, if all conditions are met, why not?” he said in an interview on French broadcaster, RFI.

AFCON 2021 qualifiers: Gambia, CAR, Namibia off to winning starts

Qualifiers which started on Wednesday (November 13) continue with matches every day until next Tuesday (November 19), by which time each of the 48 participating countries will have played two games ea

Senegal showed their teeth on the opening day of qualifiers for the 2021 African Cup of Nations but other continental heavyweights struggled to find form on Wednesday.

Nigeria could only scrape a 2-1 home win over neighbours Benin while Cameroon were held to an embarrassing home draw by the Cape Verde Islands.

Cameroon are hosts of the next finals but are also participating in the qualifying competition.

Assan Cessay scored two goals in two minutes for the Gambia, who went on to cause an upset by winning 3-1 in Angola to secure their first away victory in a Cup of Nations or World Cup qualifier.

There were also wins for the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Namibia and Sudan and a potential valuable away point for the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho, who drew 1-1 in Sierra Leone.

Senegal, runners-up in this year’s Nations Cup in Egypt, beat Congo 2-0 at home with first-half goals from Sidy Sarr and Habib Diallo as Sadio Mane provided an assist.

Nigeria went behind after nine minutes in Uyo where Stephane Sessegnon scored for Benin but a penalty from Victor Osimhen and the winner from Samuel Kalu ensured a narrow win.

It is the fourth time in five games that goal-shy Cameroon have played out a goalless draw in a stuttering start for new coach Toni Conceição.

Angola were ahead after two minutes through Wilson Eduardo but were hit by a double from FC Zurich striker Cessay before Sulayman Marreh added a third for Gambia on the stroke of fulltime.

Gambia had not won in 39 previous away qualifiers, including losing in Luanda two months ago in the 2022 World Cup preliminaries.

Qualifiers continue with matches every day until next Tuesday, by which time each of the 48 participating countries will have played two games each.

REUTERS

Salah ruled out of Egypt's AFCON qualifiers against Kenya, Comoros

Salah has an ankle injury and was ruled out of the Egyptian squad for games against Kenya on Thursday and Comoros on Monday.

Egypt’s soccer federation says Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will miss two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Salah has an ankle injury and was ruled out of the Egyptian squad for games against Kenya on Thursday and Comoros on Monday.

The federation’s statement says Egypt coach Hossam el-Badry met with Salah, who stressed his commitment to play for the Pharaohs. That’s despite occasionally strained relations with the federation that go back to the World Cup in Russia last year.

Salah watched his teammates train near Alexandria on Tuesday with the federation tweeting a photo of Salah wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

The 27-year-old Salah has struggled with a nagging ankle injury the last month. He started and scored in Premier League leader Liverpool’s 3-1 win over defending champion Manchester City on Sunday, coming off in the 87th minute.

Egypt is in Group G, which also includes Togo.

AP

FIFA slaps 10-year ban on ex-Tanzania football chief for 'misspending'

Malinzi also received $55,000 in prize money earned by Tanzania’s under-17 team at the African youth championship in 2017.

FIFA has banned a former soccer official for 10 years for mismanaging “a significant amount” of money from the governing body.

FIFA says former Tanzanian soccer federation president Jamal Malinzi received $528,000 over four years to repay alleged loans he made that “lack proper justification or explanation.”

Malinzi also received $55,000 in prize money earned by Tanzania’s under-17 team at the African youth championship in 2017.

FIFA says Malinzi was a member of its development committee — allocating project funds worldwide — and its fair play and social responsibility committee from 2013-17 when he was taking money.

Malinzi was also fined 500,000 Swiss francs ($503,000).

AP