A belated very happy, safe and prosperous 2011 to all RI subscribers and readers! Let’s pull together and make this year special!

After a glorious year 2010 couldn’t have ended on a sadder note for anyone who has ever visited Mandeville Sports & Social Club. We received the terrible news that our great friend (1st) and barman (2nd), Lucas (Luke) Moyo, had taken ill and passed away in Zimbabwe . Ever smiling, cheerful and pleasant Luke was the heartbeat of Mandeville where he worked for 15 years. He had the memory of an elephant, “order one drink from me buddy” walk in a year later and before you can say “Luke”, your drink of choice would be in front of you – “same as last time”! Goodbye friend, confidant, legend and King of Mandeville! You will be sorely missed by everyone who knew you, I can’t find the words! It’s early January and, as I write this article, Manchester United have soared to the top of the English Premiership at the halfway stage – may they go on to win it in honour and memory of this great man who was their staunchest supporter. (That took a lot for a Liverpool supporter to say – so you know I mean it!)

The 2010 Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City in December was a great showcase for South Africa - both from a sporting and a tourism perspective. How special to have the world’s greatest golfers in our own back yard, even more-so as the world’s number one ranked golfer, Lee Westwood, won it by a country mile - showing just how proficient he is and confi rming that world golf has been commandeered by Europe and the rest away from the Americans. The NGC falls within my portfolio (as Head of sponsorships at Nedbank) and what a privilege it is to meet and chat with these great golfers, international commentators and celebrities and regulars who came to Sun City to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of this iconic event.

Disabled golf champ, Iglin Grobbelaar, was invited by Nedbank to play in the Pro Am as a part of his prize for winning the 2010 Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Championship. This worthy champion held his head high, played fabulous golf and was a great ambassador for SADGA!

Straight after the NGC my family and I, and some great friends visiting from the UK, took refuge at the Sabi River Sun, Hazyview, near the Kruger Park. We visited the park daily - entering via the Phabeni Gate. The park was spectacular with its inhabitants in abundance and in pristine condition after the great rains that had recently blessed this special place. We had daily sightings of rhino though I must admit to a huge lump in my throat and sheer anger at the thought of these majestic, placid and prehistoric giants being slaughtered due to the Eastern myth that their spectacularly obtrusive horns are aphrodisiacs. I know exactly where I would like to shove those horns, preferably still attached to the snout of the glorious beasts in question! That would put a whole new meaning on “feeling horny!” In addition to the photographed brazen baboons we saw the most regal lion ever. He was reclining next to the road near Skukuza with his huge mane gently waving in the wind with his fire orange eyes transfixed. There was no question in my mind as to who really rules the jungle and in an instant I was transformed into a mere - and very fragile - human. Oh yes! The park is a great place to bring you back to reality.

 Another power shift in sport? For decades the Aussies ruled, dictated and wreaked havoc on the ovals of the world. Then came the almost simultaneous retirement of a string of Aussie legends: Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden, Glen McGrath, Justin Langer and. more recently, Brett Lee - all hanging up their bats, boxes and gloves and leaving the cupboard bare! Were they that good or are the others just catching up? Players don’t last forever and King Lucas is dead, long live the King! Off the Aussie must be wondering what’s happened to their development program. The Poms (South Africa ‘B’) played fantastic and committed cricket to retain the Ashes down under.

I enjoyed the SA vs India series though I feel that jugular opportunities were missed. Sad to say but cricket is not in great shape and the ICC must be in a quandary. They seem so spineless in resisting changes that are so obviously required for the advancement of the game. How can it be optional for teams to make use of available technology? Surely, if it’s available and being used, it should be mandatory?The game is fl oundering amidst betting scandals, bum decisions and dishonest players (on fi eld) and is rapidly becoming an alternate viewing option to farcical wrestling (Raw, WWF etc) that is watched for entertainment only as the results are meaningless. Watching the bland broadcast of the Proteas vs Pakistan in Dubai late last year, I could not understand how the ICC could deny that betting is killing the game. I mean, all of those men (no ladies) with cell phones stuck to their ears were obviously phoning home to find out what was for dinner... yeah right!