Football: Grobbelaar is bee's knees

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The Independent Online
Bruce Grobbelaar survived a swarm of bees, a furious onslaught from one of Africa's leading strikers and a frantic airport dash to keep a clean sheet for Zimbabwe in their draw against Ghana in their African Nations' Cup qualifying match in Harare on Sunday.

The game had to be halted just before half-time when a swarm of bees flew over the ground, forcing the players to crawl off the pitch with the shirts over their faces to avoid being stung.

Grobbelaar, standing trial in Britain on charges of match-fixing, was granted permission by the judge at the crown court in Winchester to go to Harare for the vital game. The 39-year-old goalkeeper arrived on Saturday and flew back immediately after the match, dashing from the National Stadium on the outskirts of the city to the airport to catch his plane.

He made some vital late saves from the Ghanaian captain, Abedi Pele, to salvage a draw after his Zimbabwean team-mates had missed some good early chances.

Before the match, a crowd of 50,000 filled the Harare National Sports Stadium and cheered Grobbelaar onto the field. Some waved banners that said "Viva Bruce" and "Long live Bruce."

"We were worried Bruce wouldn't be mentally and physically fit after his tribulations in England, but he proved he's big enough for it," commentator Kelvin Sifelani, of the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, said.

The draw put Ghana firmly in the lead in Group One.