‘Warrior’ Springboks parade World Cup through streets of Soweto

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi holds up the Web Ellis trophy as the World Cup winning team parades through the streets of Soweto. (AFP)
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Captain Siya Kolisi holds up the Webb Ellis trophy as rugby fans surround the bus carrying the South African Springbok rugby players during a victory parade in Soweto. (AP Photo)
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The Springboks parade through the streets of Johannesburg with the Web Ellis trophy. (AFP)
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Springbok supporters cheer as the South African Rugby team parade through the streets of Pretoria. (AFP)
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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, left, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with the Web Ellis trophy, in Pretoria. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

‘Warrior’ Springboks parade World Cup through streets of Soweto

  • The Springboks’ 32-12 victory against England in Japan has been greeted with joy in South Africa, where rugby was once the preserve of the white minority population
  • Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, held the Webb Ellis trophy aloft aboard an open-top bus emblazoned with Rugby World Cup Champions

SOWETO, South Africa: World Cup winners South Africa began their homecoming tour on Thursday with a victory parade steeped in symbolism through the streets of Soweto, the township near Johannesburg where they were once reviled.
The Springboks’ 32-12 victory against England in Japan has been greeted with joy in South Africa, where rugby was once the preserve of the white minority population.
Thousands of South Africans came out to cheer the national team that three decades ago was viewed as a symbol of white aggression as black nationalists fought the brutality of the apartheid regime.
Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, held the Webb Ellis trophy aloft aboard an open-top bus emblazoned with “Rugby World Cup Champions.”
“Sport is the real tool that can bring all people together,” Vusi Cele told AFP, watching his “heroes” parade before him.
“We have all races here today,” the out-of-work 42-year-old added.
“If we can support each other through sport, nothing will stand in front of us. We are together as one for ever and ever.”
Another Soweto resident, Elizabeth, aged 80, said: “Today we are one. There is no hatred. I pray it will stay like that.”
Soweto is the home of two of south Africa’s biggest football clubs — (Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates). It was also the former home of Nelson Mandela.
Earlier the victorious Springboks — bar one notable exception — had been to Pretoria where President Cyril Ramaphosa joked he was less popular than Kolisi.
After welcoming the team to Union Buildings, Ramaphosa thanked “our warriors” on behalf of a grateful nation and reflected on the huge popularity of Kolisi.
“They’ve been at war, they won and they brought the World Cup back to South Africa where it belongs,” the president said.
“They put us on the world map. We thank them for the impact that this victory has had in our country ... you’ve lifted the spirit in many people in our country.
“It’s good we don’t have an election, I would have to compete with Siya Kolisi ... (he) could have been the president.”
The one man missing from the first day of the parade was Handre Pollard, the fly-half who contributed 22 of South Africa’s 32 points in last Saturday’s final in Yokohama.
Pollard had to watch the celebrations from his hospital bed where he is being treated for a fractured eye socket sustained in the win over England.
The 25-year-old posted a picture on social media of himself with a badly swollen left eye socket and an oxygen tube attached to his nose.
“The reception from the public was unbelievable. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine so many South Africans would turn up on a working day to greet the team.”
After Soweto, the Springboks’ homecoming tour will take in Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, with the final leg in Cape Town on Monday.


Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

  • Prince Faisal said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup winner Mosaad Al-Dossary was the kind of role model young players should be looking to emulate, according to the Kingdom’s esports gaming chief.

President of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronics and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, told Arab News he was “proud” of Al-Dossary for his esports achievements and for showing “his class as a human being.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum, in Riyadh, the prince said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

Equating esports to traditional sports, he stressed it was important that young people moderated their time playing video competitions. 

“Moderation in everything,” he quoted his father as telling him.

“Everything has its positives, within reason. I don’t expect our professional (esports) players to be playing for 18 hours a day. What we advocate is having good mental health, social health as well as good physical health.”

Prince Faisal said it was important that youth chose their heroes carefully, and Al-Dossary was an example of the perfect role model. 

“I’m proud of him for all of his many accomplishments in gaming, but I’m prouder of who he is as a person.”

He noted that during Al-Dossary’s winning participation in the Manchester FUT Champions Cup, in the UK, one of the tournament’s young competitors had fallen ill and was taken to hospital. Al-Dossary had ducked out of victory celebrations to go and visit his sick opponent, taking with him the green scarf awarded to world cup qualifiers which he left on the young man’s bedside table as a gift.

“I’m prouder of him for doing that, brightening up his opponent’s day, than I am of him winning the world cup,” the prince said. 

“He showed his class as a human being, not as an esports player. And that’s what we expect of all of our athletes and all of our young kids across all industries and sports.

“That’s the caliber of person that we have in Saudi, in our communities and that’s what I want to showcase to the world.”

Prince Faisal admitted that online harassment could be a problem, but said it was a global issue that could only be solved through education.

“There are errors, and esports and gaming is a new era, and it’s a new era of accessibility. Along with that comes a learning curve and an education curve,”he added.