Sports News Briefs 7/4/06

Gretna and Sheringham celebrate

While little Gretna were hitting the headlines for a second successive weekend, "golden oldie" Teddy Sheringham celebrated his 40th birthday amid the cut and thrust of the English Premiership. The West Ham and ex-England strike

r, now in his 25th season with 349 goals in the locker, was denied a storybook late winner when his close-range shot was somehow kept out in a 0-0 home stalemate with Charlton. Meantime, Manchester United closed to within seven points of Chelsea at the top. Ruud van Nistelrooy clinched United’s 2-1 win at Bolton as Chelsea, at one time 17 points clear, shared a goalless draw at Birmingham. Goal-machine Thierry Henry was on target twice in Arsenal’s 5-0 rout of visitors Aston Villa. And Portsmouth’s hopes of cheating relegation rose with a third win on the trot, Zimbabwe forward Benjani Mwaruwari creating their first two goals in a 3-1 scoreline at Fulham. Reading, already promoted to the Premiership, wrapped up the Championship title with a thumping 5-0 home win over Derby watched by a 23,000 crowd. Two veteran frontmen were in League One news. Dean Windass, back from a five-match ban, hit a hat-trick for Bradford on his 37th birthday in a 4-2 home win over Scunthorpe and the much-travelled Steve Claridge, 40 next Monday, made his Walsall debut–his 16th club–in a 2-0 loss at Blackpool. In Scotland, new Division 2 champions Gretna stormed into the Tennents Scottish Cup Final by beating First Division Dundee 3-0 just four years after stepping up from English non-League football. Gretna will now face Hearts, lying second in the Premier, at Hampden Park, Glasgow on May 13, Scotland midfielder Paul Hartley scoring three times as Hibernian were swept aside 4-0 in the all-Edinburgh semi-final.
* Manchester United feature in the top match this weekend.They host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Shonhayi dies in Cape Town

BULAWAYO – One of Zimbabwe’s finest football players to ever captain the Warriors, Francis Shonhayi, has died at the age of just 39 years. Newly elected Zimbabwe Football Association chairman Wellington Nyatanga broke the sad news last week that the former national team skipper had died in Cape Town, where he had been based since he hung up his boots five years ago owing to injury. “On behalf of the Zifa Board, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family of Francis Shonhayi,” read part of the statement from the Zifa chairman. Nyatanga described the former tough tackling Zimbabwe and Dynamos defender as a special component in the famed Dream Team that was coached by German mentor Reinhard Fabisch in the early and mid 1990s. “Shonhayi was a vital cog of the legendary Dream Team when he set the football stage alight with his exquisite skill and commitment. He was an exemplary leader who never wanted his team to lose. He would stand firm in defence and upon unveiling the Hall of Fame, Shonhayi shall be knighted as a rare defender of all time”, wrote Nyatanga. Indeed Shonhayi was a rare breed and he was the leader of that great team which took the game to new heights in Zimbabwe. He was the captain of a team that had some of the best talent ever to wear the Warriors jersey – such as Bruce Grobbelaar, the late Mercedes Sibanda, Willard Mashinkila Khumalo, Ephraim Chawanda, Vitalis Takawira, John Phiri,Agent Sawu, Paul Gundani, the late Benjamini Nkonjera, Norman Mapeza, Moses Chunga, Rahman Gumbo, Henry McKop, the Ndlovu brothers Madinda, Adam and Peter. – CAJ News

Apology: Last week we carried a headline saying Wellington Nyatanga had been elected Chairman of FIFA – instead of ZIFA. The error is regretted.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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