Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comedy Spots: South African Players Practice "Safe" Football

Mandla Mnyakama wrote for iol.co.za about football players in South Africa finding a creative way to keep their socks up:

As part of their pre-match kitting up, some Cape Town soccer players are slipping on condoms on their feet, so that their socks can stay up longer during matches.These creative sportsmen have discovered an innovative way of using condoms to secure and keep up their football socks, in the absence of expensive soccer socks, elastic or rubber bands.

Condoms strewn on sportsfields in informal settlements have, of late, become a common sight.That they can be obtained free is an added bonus.

Bandile Nginingini, 20, of the Young Cosmos Football Club, said he always popped in at a shop to grab four condoms before weekend soccer matches."I wish that we could get proper soccer kit support so that we can stop this and let the condoms be used for its real purpose," he said.

You can check the full article here.

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Spartak Moscow defender, Radoslac Kovac, fouls a streaker and gets a yellow card:


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Federer Avoids Dethroning Himself; Squeezes Past Ginepri

PHEW! That must be exactly what Roger Federer is thinking right now. The Swiss star avoided a second round defeat to American, Robby Ginepri, at the Cincinnati Masters where he happens to be defending his title as he squeezed past Ginepri 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.

Okay some might say that a bagel in the third set is hardly a scare but in fact, Federer was down a set and a break when Ginepri served for the match at 6-5, but the top seed managed to break back and grab the second set tiebreak 7-5 to force a decider.

Had Federer lost that match, he would have almost given Nadal the number 1 spot in the world rankings on a silver platter, as he would have lost a shitload of points and all Nadal had to do was win a few matches.

Federer however moved on to the third round and the number 1 spot remains in his grip. If Federer loses before the semis and Nadal wins the title, the Spaniard could overtake Federer in the rankings.

Next up for Fed is Croatian giant, Ivo Karlovic, while Rafa starts his Cincy campaign against Florent Serra.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Comedy Spots: Some Lines from Early Doors

I've been out of town for about a month now and since I just came back, I decided to brush up on what I've missed on the Early Doors blog on Eurosport. Those guys never fail to crack me up!

Here are a few random lines from some of their recent posts:

“Many of this morning's papers feature front-page pictures of both Barack Obama and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose skin tone rather calls into question whether Obama can really be described as 'black'.”

Looking at Ronaldo's recent photos that have flooded the internet whether he is parading his super hot ex-gf in Sardinia or just lounging by the pool in LA, the Portuguese phenomenon is reaching new highs in the freakishly tanned/skin cancer prone department.

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“Luiz Felipe Scolari has taken to English football like an ex-pro to Scotch. Since taking over at Chelsea, Big Phil has quickly made himself part of the furniture - metaphorically not literally, as was the case with the wooden Avram Grant.”

Haha... I just can't overlook an Avram Grant joke.

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“And finally on no-news day is the revelation that Manchester United and Portsmouth will continue to take malaria tablets after Kolo Toure contracted the disease.

You see, Toure was in the Ivory when he was bitten by a mosquito, and United and Pompey are also in Africa which clearly, in the mind of the average tabloid, is just one big country.

Never mind that Abidjan is over 3,000 miles from Cape Town, where United played inexplicably award-winning indie-rock band Kaizer Chiefs the other day.”

Cheers :)

SUMMER SPOTTING: Ballack Weds Simone Lambe, Ana Takes a Stroll in Mallorca

Novak Djokovic spends time with girlfriend Jelena in the Appennine Mountains in Italy

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A dangerously brown Cristiano Ronaldo lies baking in the sun in LA, where he attended the ESPY awards

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Michael Ballack finally weds long-time GF Simone Lambe at Bayerischer Yacht-Club on the shores of Lake Starnberg in Starnberg, Germany on July 15th





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Ana Ivanovic takes a trip to Mallorca, where she spent some time lounging by the pool as well as hanging out with Rafael Nadal

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It All Comes Down to Cincy !!

World number two, Rafael Nadal, inched ever so close to Roger Federer in the rankings when he beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2, in the Toronto Masters final on Sunday, to clinch his 30th ATP title, which also happens to be the Spaniard's 12th Masters Series shield and 7th title of the season.

Nadal is on an astonishing roll as he managed to notch victories in his last 29 matches dating back to mid-May when the Hamburg Masters kicked off. The 22-year-old has not lost since the second round in Rome (May 7th) and has been grabbing titles left and right ever since... And not just any titles, but 2 juicy Grand Slams and 2 Masters Series shields to add to his collection.

Federer, who is under an insane amount of pressure with Nadal breathing down his back in the rankings, helped Nadal when he failed to defend his points in Toronto where he lost in the final last year, by losing in the second round to Gilles Simon, allowing Nadal to diminish the point difference to merely 300 points.

The reigning French Open and Wimbledon champion now has a chance to dethrone Federer from his top spot next week in Cincinnati, if he wins the tournament and Federer loses before the semis. The change in the points and rankings resulting from Toronto and Cincy will be reflected on August 18th when the official rankings will be announced after the Olympics.

I can't wait to celebrate on August 18th; Rafa just needs to keep doing what he's doing... Focus on one match at a time and forget about the number 1 spot. He knows he'll get there whether it's now or later this season.

Along Rafa's path to the Cincy final are players like Youzhny, Ferrer, Wawrinka or Djokovic.

Cincy First Round Match to Watch:

Marat Safin vs. Dmitry Tursunov

In an all-Russian battle, Safin will be looking to avenge his sole loss to his good friend and Davis Cup team-mate in hopes to finding his form on American hard-courts prior to the Olympics and the US Open.

Safin has some real tough hurdles if he gets past Tursunov that come in the likes of Gasquet, Murray, Andreev or Davydenko.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nadal Finally Leaves England With a Cup Not a Plate :)

World number two, Rafael Nadal, endured 3 rain delays interrupting almost 5 hours of play, an incredible fightback from the world number one, Roger Federer, lots of gusty wind, and looming darkness during the last few games, to capture his first ever Wimbledon title and end Federer's 5 year reign at the All England Club with a tight 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7 win.

The 22-year-old Spaniard made history by grabbing the Wimbledon trophy following his French Open success last month to become only the second player in the Open Era to win both Grand Slams in the same year; a feat only the great Bjorn Borg had managed to achieve.

The match is arguably the best final ever to take place at Wimbledon as both players pushed each other to their limits. Nadal had raced to a 2-set lead over the Swiss and by the time the third set was nearing it's final stages, we all thought the Spaniard was gonna make it before a rain delay came to Federer's aid, who came back with a vengeance, acing his way through the third-set tiebreak to force a fourth set.

Again the fourth set saw no service breaks but Federer managed to turn around a 1-4 scoreline in the tiebreak to force a decider, saving 2 championships points on the way.

The fifth set had us all at the edge of our seats as Federer kept saving breakpoint after breakpoint denying Nadal a chance to serve for the match until the crucial break came at 7-7 for the Spaniard who capitalized on his break and served the match out in what was close to sheer darkness, to throw himself to the ground and relish in his first Wimbledon victory and his first win over Federer on grass.

The Spaniard now is a mere 545 points away from the summit of the world rankings and has a strong chance of catching up with Federer if he manages to do well on American hardcourts.

This title also makes him the most successful Spaniard in Grand Slam history as he surpassed Manuel Santana's 4 Grand Slams record.

If Federer claimed he didn't have a Nadal complex before this match, I won't blame him if he really does now. Nadal has snapped Federer's 65-match winning streak on grass; a streak dating back to 2002. I guess it was payback for Federer's win at Hamburg last year over Rafa, who was on an 81-match winning streak before he fell to the Swiss.

I can't wait to see what happens next but something tells me that just like there's a new king in town at the All England Club, there's gonna be a new face at the top of the rankings pretty soon.

Cheers and Vamos Rafa :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Can Safin Pull Off a Historic Upset?

The semifinals of Wimbledon take place on Friday and first up on Centre Court are five-time defending champion, Roger Federer, and a man who has surprised himself as well as everyone remotely interested in tennis by making it to the semis, Marat Safin.

I have been hoping for this day from the moment Safin stunned Djokovic out of the second round. I remember Safin's epic semifinal against Federer in the 2005 Australian Open where Safin came through in five sets, 9-7 in the fifth, and I can't help but wonder if the Russian could pull it off again, but this time at the All England Club on Center Court where Federer has been lifting the trophy for 5 years straight.

It seems like an impossible task, which Safin admitted himself in his post-quarterfinal press conference but I don't buy it. Safin has managed to eliminate the world number 3, Djokovic, to post victories over players he poor records against, like Wawrinka (world number 9) and Feliciano Lopez, and to reach his very first Wimbledon semifinal on a surface he says he least prefers. If anyone knows the kind of tennis player Marat Safin is, they'd agree that an upset is not that farfetched. The guy can beat anyone especially when he's acting like he doesn't care.

Am rooting for a Rafa-Safin final... Rafa has reached new highs with his complete demolition of Andy Murray in the quarters. I don't think Schuettler will be a problem for him at all. While a three-peat of a Rafa-Fed final makes more sense, I'm hoping Marat makes it instead.

Let's wait and see...

Cheers and as always... Vamos Rafa :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Funny Moments from the Last 16

Murray celebrated his unbelievable comeback against Gasquet by showing off his biceps to the crowd. I hope he keeps his biceps hidden against his next opponent, Rafael Nadal, cuz we all know how ridiculous that's gonna look compared to the mighty Spaniard's.

"It was still black and white television the last time I made the last eight here," Safin jokes after his fourth round win over Stanislas Wawrinka. Safin's only previous appearance at the quarters in Wimbledon was in 2001.



The eccentric-looking Frenchman, Arnaud Clement, never fails to crack me up with his hideous headbands and shades. Nevertheless, he did manage to defeat young Croat, Marin Cilic, and book himself a spot in the last 8.

Is this the Cutest Thing Ever or What ... ?



A little girl interviews Rafa at Wimbledon.