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Unsporting behaviour

In the wake of former Springbok rugby captain Joost van der Westhuizen’s admission in a new book that he took drugs and had ”sexual relations” with a woman other than his wife, we’ve racked our brains and come up with a list of some other scandals in the South African sporting world.

Here they are, in no particular order.

  • Sergio Motsoeneng and his twin brother, Arnold, achieved a place in the sports hall of shame by attempting to dupe Comrades Marathon organisers into thinking they were one runner. It was only after Beeld published photographs of the runners wearing different coloured watches that the pair were conclusively unmasked as cheats.
  • Hansie Cronje, the deceased ex-captain of the South African cricket team, rocked the world when he tearfully admitted influencing games for sums of cash. After initially denying his role in such under-handed exploits to a disbelieving public, he booked his place in history by revealing details of his misadventures.
  • Jabu Mahlangu‘s off-field behaviour since making a name for himself at Kaizer Chiefs has led to him picking up the moniker ”Ngwana wa Tshwenya” — literally ”troublesome child”. He was twice sent for rehabilitation to battle his alcohol and drug problems and was famously let go by Austrian club SV Mattersburg after being arrested for sleeping in his car alongside a highway.
  • Perennial bad boy Herschelle Gibbs has made an art form of being in the news for the wrong reason. Whether smoking spliff in the West Indies, facing drunken-driving charges, or being fingered in the Hansie Cronje match-fixing affair (where, incredibly, he cocked-up his role in cocking up the game), the reportedly now-reformed Gibbs became a poster boy for scandals. Hasn’t stopped the crowds loving him, though.
  • World Cup-winning centre Japie Mulder stumbled off his pedestal of public adoration in 2007 when he admitted that he had indecently assaulted an underage girl. In terms of a plea bargain that he reached with the state, he faced a R120 000 fine, or three years in jail. The fine was suspended for five years. Mulder was a star performer in Francois Pienaar’s vintage 1995 Springbok team. The girl, the daughter of one of Mulder’s friends, was 15 at the time of indecent assaults. Mulder has largely been off the public radar since then.
  • Former Bafana Bafana defender and captain OJ Mabizela‘s career has been mired in controversy. Disciplinary problems have resulted in him losing a lucrative contract at English giants Tottenham Hotspur and being stripped of the Bafana captaincy. He was also banned from the game for six months for drug use.
  • Bok scrummie Ricky Januarie was nicked for drunken driving last year. Last we heard, there was an arrest warrant issued after he failed to show up in court. And now he’s lost his place in the Bok touring squad for the end of the year trip to Europe.
  • Kamp Staaldraad is probably the low-water mark of South African rugby. Under the genius of former coach Rudolph Straeuli, Bok players were forced to take part in a pre-World Cup bootcamp that subjected them to inhumane treatment, which included being stripped naked, and also being made to fight each other. Images of the naked Bok players were splashed in the media and the incident became one of international embarrassment for South African rugby.
  • Do you have any to add to this list?

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