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South African cricket legend Mike Procter dies

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South African cricket legend, Mike Procter, has died at the age of 77 after suffering complications during surgery, his family confirmed on Sunday.

The former all-rounder played seven Tests for South Africa before they were banned from international cricket in 1970 because of the country’s apartheid government, before spending 14 seasons with Gloucestershire, and later coaching South Africa on their return to international cricket.

A former teammate, David Graveney, who paid tribute to Procter, said:

“Mike was a fantastic player and quite rightly regarded as one of the best all-rounders that has ever represented Gloucestershire.

“I don’t think people realise that when Mike played, he was playing through great pain in his knee, but that didn’t stop him from performing at the level he did.

“The phase ‘Proctershire’ was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games.”

A South African news platform has this to say about the late legend:

Procter was on the winning side in six of the seven Tests he played – all against Australia – between 1967 and 1970 and took 41 wickets at an average of just 15.02 before his international career was cut short.

“His reputation as a formidable fast bowler was well earned and in 401 first-class games from 1965 to 1988, he took 1,417 wickets at 19.53, with a further 344 wickets at 18.76 in List A cricket.

“He won the Gillette Cup and the Benson and Hedges Cup in his time with Gloucestershire, captaining them to the latter, and in 2020 was voted the county’s greatest overseas player.

“Procter was Proteas coach from 1991 to 1994 and he led the side to the semi-finals of the 1992 World Cup and later became an International Cricket Council match referee.

“He forfeited the Oval Test between England and Pakistan in 2006 when the away side refused to return after the tea break having been penalised for ball-tampering by the umpires.”

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Top European, Asian clubs on alert as Super Eagles keeper set to make contract decision

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Some top clubs in Europe and Asia have been put on alert as Super Eagles and Chippa United goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, is reportedly getting set to make a decision on his future as he will be a free agent at the end of this season.

Nwabali who led Nigeria to the finals of the 2023 Afcon before losing to host Cote d’Ivoire, has been a subject of transfer speculations in his last year at the South African club.

Shortly after the Afcon, there were rumours that the former Katsina United safe hands who joined Chippa United in 2022 was on the verge of teaming up with a club in Saudi Arabia in a deal that was reported to be worth millions of dollars but the speculations died down as there was no concrete for him.

However, after some excellent showings at club level since the continental championship, the 27-year-old shot-stopper’s value has continued to rise and with his contract running out at the end of the current season, some big clubs in Europe and Asia have indicated interest in signing him.

According to reports from South Africa’s Soccer Laduma, Nwabali will not sign an extension with Chippa United at the end of the season, potentially making him available on a free transfer.

“This would be particularly appealing to clubs like Kaizer Chiefs, Queens Park Rangers, Union SG, and Al Ettifaq, who have all been credited with a move for the Nigerian,” the sports journal said.

“While a move to Saudi Arabia might present better financial incentives, Nwabali is reportedly keen on testing his talents in Europe and a move to Union SG or QPR could end up being the best option for him.”

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Ethiopia’s Lemma, Kenya’s Obiri give Africa double podium finish at Boston Marathon

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Ethiopia’s long distance runner, Sisay Lemma, and Kenyan female marathon sensation, Hellen Obiri, teamed up to give Africa a double podium standing at the 128th Boston Marathon which ended on Tuesday.

The Africans completely dominated the race with Lemma emerging victorious in the men’s race while Obiri nicked it in the women’s version which also had a plethora of African stars who also stood out in the races.

In the men’s race, the 33-year-old Lemma finished in a time of 2:06:17 which was a sort of redemption for him after missing out on two previous editions of the Marathon due to injury.

His compatriot, Mohamed Esa, finished second while Kenyan Evans Chebet finished third, with only one non-African, American CJ Albertson who finished in 7th place, making the top 10.

Speaking after the race, Lemma said:

“Previously, I hadn’t finished this race, so I wanted to redeem myself, which is why I came. Fortunately, I was able to redeem myself, so I’m happy.

“My plan was to beat the course record, but the hills at the end really tired me out.

“The reason I ran in Boston is that the course is similar to the Olympic one, so I hope it will be good preparation for the Paris Games.”

In the women’s race, it was a Kenyan affair as Obiri came out on top in a time of 2:22:37 to retain her title in the American city.

She was followed by two of her compatriots, Sharon Lokedi, 2:22:45 and Edna Kiplagat, 2:23:21.

Men top five results:

1- Sisay Lemma (ETH) 2:06:17

2- Mohamed Esa (ETH) 2:06:58

3- Evans Chebet (KEN) 2:07:22

4- John Korir (KEN) 2:07:40

5- Albert Korir (KEN ) 2:07:47

Women top five results:

1- Hellen Obiri (KEN) 2:22:37

2- Sharon Lokedi (KEN) 2:22:45

3- Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:23:21

4- Buze Diriba (ETH) 2:24:04

5- Senbere Teferi (ETH ) 2:24:04

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