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Team SA end on a high

Team South Africa’s Zone VI Games campaign came to a successful end in Swaziland on Saturday, writes Mark Etheridge.

And it was another day of success with two final medals, following a week of medal-grabbing across the seven codes of competition in these Under-20 youth games featuring the 10 southern African region countries.

Late on Friday night our boxers were rewarded with two silvers on a night delayed by strike action through officials. The two boxers were both defeated but won silver by virtue of the fact that they had reached the finals.

But William Bankisi’s medal in the 64kg class came at a painful price as he dislocated his right shoulder and the referee stopped the contest immediately. He was taken to hospital and is expected to spend six weeks recovering. The other boxer in the final was Edward Kokame who went down 13-17 in the 54kg category.

Another late medal on Friday was the men’s basketball side who took a bronze medal.

That meant that Team SA started the final day with 104 medals. It was up to the soccer sides to equal if not better SA’s haul of 105 medals at the last Zone VI games hosted in Potchefstroom in 2008.

This they did with gutsy displays. First the plucky women’s side held Zimbabwe to 1-1 after extra time before going down on penalties. Then the men’s side, who had lost 4-1 to Angola in Friday’s semi-finals, beat the host nation Swaziland 2-1 to secure the bronze medal.

There was another injury casualty for South Africa in their semi-final as Nkululeko Tshangane suffered a hairline fracture of his tibia and also faces at least a six-weak spell on the sidelines.

Should the medal count be ratified by Zone VI  authorities, South Africa will have improved on their 2008 medal haul by one medal, and this on foreign soil at a tournament that saw the team facing a tough task in terms of organisation and accommodation issues, especially early in the tournament.


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