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One boxing win for SA and netballers win too

By Mark Etheridge
in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Team South Africa’s boxing code almost ended their first day of action with   a bloodied nose at the African Region 5 Games here on Saturday.
The code lost three of their four bouts, and one result certainly looked to defy the laws of nature in it’s one-sidedness.
South Africa’s first bout was fought by Kamogelo Radebe in the 49kg light-flyweight division and he came up against local boy Ndodana Ncube.
Manager Pretty Tsotetsi and the rest of the squad provided vocal support although it was all but drowned out by a vociferous local crowd. And despite a brave showing he went down 2-1 on a split decision.
Two bouts later and it was the turn of Cedrick Hlungwane who took on Botswana boxer Kutlano Ogaketsi in the 52kg flyweight category.
And the blue-vested Limpopo boxer looked a cut above the rest as he bobbed and weaved and fought a most competent fight. But when the judges announced the decision it was a blue-day for Hlungwane as the verdict was a unaminous 3-0 result to Botswana.
So shocked was Hlungwane that he collapsed to the ground as if the result was a straight KO.
Then came Bamanye Damoyi in the 56kg bantamweight division. He was the first SA boxer to wear the red-vested corner but unfortunately the luck didn’t show for Team SA as the Eastern Cape pugilist went down 3-0 to Zambian Emmanuel Ngoma, despite getting stronger as the fight went on.
The last bout saw welterweight Sinamiso Ntuli take on another Zimbabwean Lancelot Moyo in the 64kg division and he put a smile on the face of the SA entourage as he took honours. ‘He had a lot of power but just couldn’t knock out his opponent and won on points,’ said manager Pretty Tsotetsi.
Afterwards manager Happy Mngqibisi took a philosophical view of proceedings.
‘We must remember that these youngsters have never fought at this level. They have fought at nationals but this is obviously a step up.
‘Also we didn’t have a training camp and had just four days to bond with the guys, which we did well.
‘Hadebe was very short compared to his opponent and also underweight, he was 46kg in a 49kg division but took the punches well and impressed.
‘Cedric did his absolute best and in my mind he won that fight but the judges just didn’t see it that way.
‘As for Damoyi, he was too relaxed and made many mistakes. He dropped his guard and all he had to do was move his upper body more but he didn’t, against who I thought was an easy opponent.
‘But all in all I think we performed well on the first day.’
In the final tennis match of the day involving SA players, Johannesburg’s Caitlin Herb had a comfortable win over Botswana opponent Nthabiseng Mogopodi of Botswana.
Meanwhile on the basketball court the SA men opened their Games campaign with a 71-88 defeat to Angola. The game was played on the practice court as the match court is still to be constructed after transport delays. The men put up a brave showing against an extremely talented Angolan outfit at the ZITF Hall.
Later the women’s side went down 25-85, also to Angola.
And the women’s netball, South Africa beat Botswana 55-25 in their opening fixture at White City.
All sports, excepting for women’s football where the SA youngsters take on host nation Zimbabwe, take a break on Sunday for the official opening ceremony.