It is that time of year again where we, the luckiest people on Earth – those who have been blessed with the love for sports – revel in the sight of the increasing number of sporting events that will grace our stadiums and indeed television screens.
That is because it is the month of August (my birthday month, just by the way) and that means the beginning of the football season in our beloved South Africa and in Europe. The latter boasts the best club sides and leagues in the world, of course, and football fans across the globe can be excused for starting to show signs of hysterical excitement.
I, being one of those millions of football fans, am excited about, among other competitions, our own Premier Soccer League. I’m excited about the season-opening MTN8 which starts on Friday when the defending champions, Bidvest Wits welcome Golden Arrows in Johannesburg. My beloved Mamelodi Sundowns will get their season underway on Sunday, when we tackle the ever-tricky Maritzburg United in the fourth and last quarter-final in the capital city.
But before that will be a big Currie Cup clash between my rugby franchise, the mighty Xerox Golden Lions, who will be hosting the ever-difficult Cell C Sharks, who I tweeted about just last weekend predicting that they will be one of the teams to beat this year. That is if their last two results (a 41-3 crushing of the Tafel Lager Griquas a week after routing the Steval Pumas 29-0) is anything to go by.
The contest at the Emirates Airline Park in Jo’burg is one not to be missed if you have any interest in rugby, particularly because the Golden Lions should be a much stronger side than that which lost to the Vodacom Blue Bulls last weekend, with the return of a few of their star players and new head coach, Swys de Bruyn, who were all on Super Rugby duty in the first three weeks of the competition.
And that is exactly why I will be at the stadium come Saturday night.
Also beginning this month is the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, where our Springboks will be going up against their fellow southern hemisphere counterparts – Argentina, Australia and New Zealand – in the annual four-nation competition. It should be interesting to see how we fare against the mighty All Blacks given what looked like a turning of the corner against France two months ago.
Even more football will come from abroad, with the English Premier League also starting on Friday. I must say that I have very little interest in the league these days but am very much interested in the progress of Manchester City, who are now coached by one of my favourite sports personalities of all time, Pep Guardiola.
My favourite European league, the La Liga Santander – which some describe as the greatest league in the world – starts a week later. That is where my beloved FC Barcelona will, of course, try to reclaim their relinquished league title. Before that though, they battle the current league holders, Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup over two legs starting on Sunday.
The 28th day of the month will mark the start of the US Open tennis tournament – the fourth and last Grand Slam of the year – which will, unfortunately, be without greats such as Novak Djokovic, defending men’s champion, Stanislas Wawrinka, and Serena Williams.
The former two are ruled out due to injuries while Serena has the small matter of the bun in the oven to worry about.
It still should be interesting given the unpredictability of the women’s game and the resurgence of the game’s greats in the men’s this year – Roger Federer, who many argue is the greatest player of all time, won his 18th and 19th Grand Slams earlier in the year, while the ‘king of clay’ Rafa Nadal won yet another title on clay at the Roland Garros.
Formula 1 will be back a day earlier (the main race, anyway) for the Belgian Grand Prix after their summer break, and I’ll be hoping that my newly-adopted Ferrari, with the help of more consistent podium appearances for Sebastian Vettel, stretches the lead at the top of the driver standings.
All of this while the athletics continue at the IAAF World Championships in London, where Team South Africa will be hoping to get a good number of medals for their efforts.
August, you beauty!
Khunulogo is crazy about sports and celebrates his birthday on the 22nd with Siyabonga Nkosi (former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder), Frederico Macheda (former Manchester United striker) and world no 26 German tennis player, Mischa Zverev.
Main picture taken from: sabreakingnews.co.za.