Boeta: At home in broadcasting
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
There must have been incredulous guffaws in South African living rooms a few years ago when loud-mouthed Tony Greig, that much-travelled Anglo-Aussie-via-SA television commentator and former Test captain, referred to an already well-known, then-international batsman as “Dippe Boetenaar”.
Of course the vast majority of cricket enthusiasts on our shores know him much more commonly and correctly as Boeta Dippenaar, and the ever-opinionated and brash, excitable Greigy had presumably just got his verbal knickers in a knot.
Former Eagles/Knights favourite Dippenaar, now 35 and retired from all forms of the game, made more than 140 appearances for the Proteas across the various codes, and his name remains in pretty strong public profile because of his burgeoning (it certainly seems) fresh career as a SuperSport TV critic, among other strings to his post-playing bow.
He offers his television employers useful versatility through his bilingual credentials, meaning that he can safely be slotted in as a studio panellist on both of ‘Inside Edge’ and the Afrikaans ‘BVP’ chat show equivalent.
Dippenaar was on the former show on Tuesday night (SS2), and I thought he dovetailed nicely with former Lions and Cobras coach Shukri Conrad - both exude a suitably comfortable body language - as guests of stalwart anchor Mpumelelo Mbangwa.
All forms of cricket-specific media (I speak through embattled experience in the magazine landscape!) are pretty tricky to sustain these days, and Inside Edge does its survival no harm by shuffling its guest cards as much as possible so that trusty regulars like Kepler Wessels, HD Ackerman and Robin Jackman are not over-exposed ... that’s a phenomenon that applies worldwide, I’m sure.
Boeta’s had a ready (some might say immovable!) smile throughout his cricket life but it doesn’t stop him from making serious and astute observations, as you might expect from someone who has a key role with the SA Cricketers’ Association and knows more than just cricket – he has well-established business interests and is a licensed helicopter pilot into the bargain.
A near-irrelevant criticism is that when speaking quickly he struggles to get out “South Africa” so that it sounds much more like “SiAfrica” -- no train smash, nevertheless.
Plus I’ve never, ever heard him get Tony Greig’s name tongue-twisted ...Rob’s Awesome Foursome1. Poland v South Africa, international soccer friendly
Warsaw, Friday 20:45, SABC1
Up against strong European opposition – when are the Poles ever a walkover, to anyone? – this third Bafana match with Gordon Igesund pulling the tactical strings, before an anticipated crowd of some 40,000 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, will be a genuine test of progress by South Africa under the new gaffer. It will also be an early examination of life in a post-Steven Pienaar environment, the tenacious little midfielder sadly having “retired” from international football at the age of only 30. I wouldn’t bet against a comeback for the Evertonian at some stage, but at the same time there can also be unexpected seeds of fresh promise when a keynote figure suddenly departs, can’t there? 2. Titans v Perth Scorchers, Champions League T20 cricket
Centurion, Saturday 13:30, SS2 & SH2
It’s an appetising enough “SA v Oz” duel to launch the tourney-proper: the Western Australians sport such recognisable surnames as North, Gibbs, Collingwood, Katich and Marsh, whilst the Titans, doubtless ruing the absence from their own ranks of such stars as injured AB de Villiers and Chennai Super Kings-committed Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis, should nevertheless mount a credible challenge through the likes of Messrs Behardien, Davids, Kuhn, Rudolph, Harris, Mbhalati and Van der Merwe. The later game on the double-header bill sees Kolkata Knight Riders tackle Delhi Daredevils in an all-IPL affair. 3. Western Province v Cheetahs, Currie Cup rugby
Cape Town, Saturday 17:05, M-Net, SS1 & SHD
This one gets my nod for prime attraction on a high-stakes last round robin weekend for at least five sides -- and with various Springboks likely to bolster ailing gates – if only because the later Highveld derby between the Lions and Bulls probably won’t have anything at stake for the Lions (very likely to end second, come what may). Defeat for either Province or the Cheetahs, of course, could lead to the “unthinkable”: promotion/relegation scraps against the EP Kings. But victory in either case should ensure semis participation, by pleasurable contrast. The odds probably favour WP, with so many Boks back ... but might that actually be a hazard, given fatigue possibilities in several cases?4. IRB Sevens World Series rugby
Gold Coast, Saturday/Sunday various times, SS1
After a sub-standard 2011/12 season, in which they could only finish fifth, the BlitzBokke get back on the bike for a new campaign as Australia opens the road-show. South Africa should get off to cobwebs-eliminating wins against Canada on Saturday (04:30) and then the United States (07:36), before they run into that seemingly immovable object: defending champions New Zealand. It would be refreshing for our broadly tattered rugby pride if they could knock them over, but just don’t count on it too heavily. The Cup final is on Sunday at 11:04.