Local News - Issue 208

Sangweni Set To Leave Pirates For Sundowns
Siyabonga Sangweni's future with Orlando Pirates looks bleak after contract negotiations between both parties reached a deadlock. The 32-year-old's contract with Pirates is set to expire at the end of June and he is already rumoured to be joining Mamelodi Sundowns next season. The KwaZulu-Natal-born defender has not been part of Bucs' starting line-up in recent weeks to fuel speculation of his imminent departure from Parktown. According to a Pirates club official, Bucs chairman Irvin Khoza has had a series of meetings with Sangweni in a bid to convince him to stay at Pirates. "The chairman has had several meetings with Sangweni. He was even offered a job after his playing days at Pirates but it looks like his mind is already somewhere else," said the official.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says he is looking to sign "four or five players" ahead of next season but only if they can add value in Chloorkop. The Brazilians have already captured the signatures of Lindokuhle Mbatha from Platinum Stars and Luyolo Nomandela from Free State Stars, while they are interested in the services of Knowledge Musona. “Players who will come at Sundowns are those who are better than what we have,” said Mosimane, who won the PSL Coach of the Season award. “Why should we weaken the team, we need to strengthen the team. So we need to bring something stronger. If it is not stronger then we will not bring anybody.”

Kermit Erasmus struck twice as Orlando Pirates claimed Nedbank Cup honours with a 3-1 win over Bidvest Wits in Durban on Saturday afternoon. In a combative final, Wits scored first through Jabulani Shongwe, but Bucs hit back after the interval via efforts from Man of the Match Erasmus and ex-Students ace Sifiso Myeni at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The Buccaneers were under heavy pressure to deliver after stumbling at the last hurdle of the CAF Champions League, the Telkom Knockout and MTN8 earlier in the campaign.

AmaZulu have confirmed they are likely to exercise the option on Bongani Ndulula's contract before it expires at the end of the month. Usuthu general manager Peter O’Connor said: “We have an option on his contract which we must finalise and that has to be done by the end of the month on May 31. We are confirming some details with the coaches but it will probably happen.” O’Connor adds that inspirational goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini is also staying put at the club.

Siyabulela Shai says he is still in the dark as to whether he will be representing Chippa United or Mamelodi Sundowns next season. Shai, the son of Sundowns legend Isaac Shai, has spent the past campaign on loan at Chippa from Downs. “At the moment I don’t know what will happen but we will find out when I go back to Sundowns,” he says. The 21-year-old made 26 outings for the Chilli Boys during their run to National First Division honours, and he feels his game has developed in Philippi. “I think it was really an improvement for me, and I have grown a lot football-wise.”

Ajax Cape Town have completed the signing of Zimbabwean left-back Milton Ncube. Ncube, who has penned a two-year contract at Ikamva, was formerly on the books of Highlanders in his home country. "He has signed a two-year, plus another two-year option," Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou confirmed. Ncube is expected to join the Urban Warriors for pre-season training next month.

Platinum Stars’ bid to rope in striker Ndumiso Mabena could be scuttled by Orlando Pirates, who have indicated they are unwilling to part ways with the Groblersdal-born player. Stars coach Allan Freese says that he is waiting for “the outcome of discussions” between the parties involved in the Rustenburg-based club’s attempts to recruit Mabena. Dikwena – who will be without midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha next season – are looking for offensive players to boost their ranks. However, Pirates spokesman Mickey Modisane says the Soweto-based giants are unlikely to release Mabena.

Coach Mark Harrison says he is ready to listen to offers in the PSL for next season. The ex-Chippa United mentor, who is currently holidaying in Europe, ended the 2013/14 campaign as an assistant to Kinnah Phiri at Free State Stars. Ea Lla Koto are yet to indicate whether Harrison will be offered a new contract. "I am still waiting for Free State Stars," says Harrison. "They said they will come back to me but I am still waiting.”I am currently in Europe and will be back next week. I am available for offers," he added.

Mamelodi Sundowns have taken up the option of a further year on the contract of Themba Zwane. Zwane spent the past season on loan at Mpumalanga Black Aces where he excelled, going as far as winning a call up to the Bafana Bafana squad that is due to play in Australia and New Zealand. Jazzman Mahlakgane, the player’s agent, confirms Sundowns have retained the midfielder's services. “We have already received a letter from the club (Sundowns) informing us that they are taking up the option of another year on Themba’s contract,” said Mahlakgane. This effectively means that Zwane will remain a Downs player for at least another year. However, Aces have already raised a hand of interest for another season-long loan deal.

Bidvest Wits forward Calvin Kadi will need to undergo surgery after a scan revealed that the anterior cruciate ligament on his knee is damaged. Kadi clashed with Happy Jele in a harmless looking challenge but came out severely injured just before half-time during the Nedbank Cup Final against Orlando Pirates on Saturday at Moses Mabhida Stadium. “It is bad because I did a scan yesterday and established that the ACL is damaged which means I will now have to do an operation next week once the swelling has gone down,” said Kadi.

Ajax Cape Town midfielder Koen van de Laak is considering hanging up his boots when his contract comes to an end next month. The 31-year-old has failed to live up to expectations since he arrived at Ikamva two years ago. Long-term injuries to his knee did not help the cause and now it is understood that the Dutchman is thinking about ending his career

Mamelodi Sundowns are trying to hijack Kaizer Chiefs’ hopes of bringing Knowledge Musona back to Naturena on a permanent basis. The Zimbabwean international spent the past season on loan with Chiefs from German side Hoffenheim, and while he was not as prolific as during his first stint with Amakhosi – when he netted 20 goals in all competitions – he did score 16 goals in 25 starts before injury ended his campaign. He is currently back in Germany, and with Chiefs hoping to get him back on a full-time basis, Sundowns have now also joined the race. “Sundowns are ready to break the bank for Musona,” a source reveals. “They are talking to the relevant parties and Sundowns’ offer is an enticing one.”

Platinum Stars midfielder Solomon Mathe has extended his stay in Rustenburg by another two years while Besnon Mhlongo is set to leave. Mathe's previous deal was set to expire in June. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean striker Takesure Chinyama has since joined defender Mhlongo and Henrico Botes on the list of players leaving Dikwena next month. The story broke on Monday morning that Mhlongo is no longer in Stars coach Allan Freese's plans.

Chippa United chairman Siviwe ‘Chippa’ Mpengesi has expanded on the club's failed attempts to relocate to Port Elizabeth. The Premiership returnees recently announced they would be staying in Cape Town following a series of meetings with the Nelson Mandela Metro and Stadium Management South Africa. “We will no longer be relocating the team to Port Elizabeth as we had earlier anticipated and it was reported in some sections of the media,” Mpengesi said in a statement. “It was obvious that our proposal was appealing to the people of the Eastern Cape who had interest to see us playing at Nelson Mandela Stadium. It was never about money or competition, our move was motivated by the interest we have in the development of football in the Eastern Cape. “We felt we also had to respect the process that was already underway as far as negotiations between the Metro and the other clubs are concerned. It is of course a sad announcement to the people of the Eastern Cape but because of the true value of football and the commitment we've made to those close to us, we will not be all lost in the Eastern Cape; there will be plans of bringing the club to the province soon one way or another. “We are committed in expanding our footprint to the Eastern Cape,” said Mpengesi, who was born in the Eastern Cape before moving to the Western Cape in 1996. Mpengesi said he has now redirected his focus on preparing for next season.

Mamelodi Sundowns have joined the race for Golden Arrows defender Siyanda Zwane. Orlando Pirates are reportedly keen on the 28-year-old, who suffered relegation with Abafana Best’hende this season. Pirates are also keen on Arrows striker Bongi Ntuli, but it seems they will face a fight from the newly-crowned PSL champions for Zwane. “Pirates are interested, but now Sundowns have also joined the race,” a source confirmed.

Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula has attempted to defuse the long-standing feud between him and Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs. Mbalula singled out Josephs for extraordinary criticism following Bafana Bafana’s CHAN exit in the group stages in January, comments that led to massive criticism for the minister. Still, he refused to apologise, and Josephs admitted after his Man of the Match performance in the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Kaizer Chiefs two weeks ago that it took a lot of support and encouragement to get him back on track. But at the PSL Awards on Sunday night, Mbalula took the opportunity to explain his outburst. “I want to strike a personal note: Moeneeb Josephs, you are my personal hero,” he said. “When I pushed you and what I said, it was not to degrade you. It was to push you, to come up, and you have done that. You have proven that you are solid, you are a man of substance, and that you can never be dampened. I salute you.” During the original outburst in January, Mbalula also labeled Bafana a ‘bunch of losers’, but again he sought to explain those comments. “To all the players, I love you all. When I push you and all what I said, why I did not apologise is because the love of the game. And I say to you, South Africa, PSL, SAFA …let’s grow this game and let’s make South Africa proud.”

Bidvest Wits midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi was the big winner on Sunday as the Premier Soccer League honoured 2013/14's top achievers. Vilakazi walked away with the Footballer of the Season award (R250 000), the Player’s Player of the Season award (R150 000) and the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament award (R150 000) – banking a total of R550 000! The Footballer of the Season award is voted by the Premier Division coaches. Other notable winners were Pitso Mosimane, who was named Coach of the Season, while Ajax Cape Town's Keagan Dolly was voted Young Player of the Season. Itumeleng Khune was named Goalkeeper of the Season, while Hlompho Kekana’s long-range strike against Orlando Pirates in February was voted as the Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Season.

Banyana Banyana lost 1-0 to Ghana in an international friendly at Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday. It was coach Vera Pauw’s second game in charge, having drawn 2-2 with Zimbabwe in her first assignment at the same venue last month. A second half free-kick from Portia Boakye separated the two sides in a match that was attended by Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula, SASCOC President Gideon Sam and SAFA President Danny Jordaan.

Maboke Matlakala scored the winner as Black Leopards beat Milano United 2-1 in a promotion play-off at Giyani Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Taariq Fielies had scored at both ends in the first half before Matlakala got the winner in the 53rd minute.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt claims his team will make a big comeback next season and get over 60 points in the league. The Students finished third on the log this season with 56 points and, further compounding their woes is the fact that they were beaten 3-1 in the Nedbank Cup final by Orlando Pirates on Saturday in Durban. If Hunt's words are anything to go by, Wits will go one better in challenging for League honours next season. “We are going to add 10 points to what we got this season. We are going to have 65 points next season, for sure,” he vows. “This season has obviously been disappointing.”

Bloemfontein Celtic have announced the signing of Ruben Cloete from Maritzburg United. The 31-year-old left-back joined the KZN side two seasons ago after falling out of favour at Orlando Pirates. He has also played for Santos and Free State Stars. Cloete is the second player Maritzburg have lost, with Michael Morton having already signed a pre-contract to join SuperSport United next season.

The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) have announced that Josta Dladla has pleaded guilty to the doping charge against him and made a plea in mitigation for a reduced sentence at a tribunal hearing on 13 May 2014. Dladla was tested at a Premier Soccer League match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on 26 October 2013. The Institute’s CEO Khalid Galant says that the independent tribunal credited Josta Dladla for the period of four months that he served his provisional suspension as “time served”. His doping suspension has therefore expired. “We have to stress that Josta Dladla has not been acquitted of any charges. The tribunal took into account that he pleaded guilty. He was provisionally suspended when he was charged with a doping offence from 9 January 2014 with the suspension being lifted on the 13 May 2014, therefore he has served a period of four months.” According to the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport this is the first positive out of 184 tests conducted from January 2013 to December 2013 in the domestic football league.

Golden Arrows are set to part ways with striker Norman Smith and midfielder Lebohang Mothibantwa after the club were relegated to the NFD. Smith and Mothibantwa are set to join goalkeeper Ryan Harrison and Ghanaian defender Seth Owusu, whose contracts will not be renewed by Abafana Bes'thende.

University of Pretoria have started reshuffling and have not renewed the contracts of Dipsy Selolwane, Ayo Oluwafemi, Warren Bishop and Charly Moussono-Moussono. The four players’ contracts with the club all expire at the end of June. The club has also paved the way for Lantshene Phalane to return to his mother club Platinum Stars following the expiry of his loan deal. AmaTuks coach Steve Barker reveals the latest developments. “At this stage we will not be renewing the contracts of Ayo, Dipsy, Warren and Charly, which means they will not be with us next season," said Barker. "We are grateful for the contribution that they have made at the club over the last two years and we wish them all the best for the future."

Bloemfontein Celtic have started a major clearout to accommodate new players, with Johannes Motlhaping and Tsietsi Mahoa the first to leave. Celtic have since announced the signing of left-back Ruben Cloete from Maritzburg United and are expected to make another signing of an unnamed striker. Defender Motlhaping has joined left-back Mahoa out of the exit door at Phunya Sele Sele and a few more players are set to to follow suit.

While most PSL clubs are on vacation, newly crowned champions Mamelodi Sundowns are off to Namibia to participate in a one-day tournament. The competition will take place on Sunday, 25 May in honour of Namibia Prime Minister Dr. Hage Geingob. “This will be a four-team tournament, three teams from Namibia and Sundowns,” said Sundowns communications co-ordinator Thulani Thuswa.

Lindokuhle Mbatha looks set to play for Mamelodi Sundowns next season after agreeing on financial terms with the Brazilians. The 28-year-old has been one of Platinum Stars’ shining lights this season, and also broke into the Bafana Bafana set-up. It was reported last month that contact had been made, and now it seems it will only be a matter of time before the three-year deal is announced.

Chippa United look to have beaten Platinum Stars for the services of Black Leopards striker David Zulu. The 28-year-old, who finished the season as the National First Division’s leading scorer with 16 goals, has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Chilli Boys. “He is gone; it’s a done deal and he will be officially unveiled as a Chippa United player very soon,” a source says. Efforts to get hold of Chilli Boys boss Chippa Mpengesi failed, but the player’s agent, Abbie Rasimphi from Liberate Resources, confirms the offer. “Chippa came up with an offer that was difficult to resist,” he said.

The Premier Soccer League have charged Pitso Mosimane and Mamelodi Sundowns following a Disciplinary Committee hearing. ‘Jingles’ and his club were charged with bringing the League and its sponsors into disrepute following comments after the 1-0 Nedbank Cup win against Ajax Cape Town on February 21. Mosimane questioned the referee’s handling of the match and his handing out of a number of yellow cards, adding: “The referee could do better. He’s a good referee but he’s emotional … very, very emotional.” Mosimane was fined R60 000 and the club R30 000, both of which has been suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to address a letter of apology to the match official involved, as well as the league. Both parties were ordered to pay the costs of the sitting.

SA players abroad
Andile Jali closed his maiden season in Belgium with a penalty shoot-out success against Darren Keet’s Kortrijk in the UEFA Europa League playoffs. Though despite the victory, Jali's KV Oostende team will not be able to take part in the European club competition next season. This is because Oostende’s coach Frederik Vanderbiest does not have the UEFA Pro Licence required to lead the team in the tournament. After the game had finished 2-2 and 4-4 on aggregate, it went to a penalty shoot-out with Jali stepping up first for Oostende and easily converting. They would go on to win 7-6. Keet was not in goal for Kortrijk as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Anele Ngcongca completed his season at Genk with a 1-0 loss to Standard Liege, his 49th appearance of the season for the club, while Ayanda Patosi played potentially his last game for Lokeren in 3-1 defeat at Anderlecht.
In the Belgian second-tier promotion playoffs, neither Ntuthuko Radebe nor Phakase Mngadi played for Eupen as they were held 2-2 by Sint Truiden. Eupen must now better the result of Mouscron-Peruwelz in their final round-robin clash on Thursday when they take on already relegated OH Leuven. Mouscron-Péruwelz are at Sint Truiden, who could still be promoted if they win and Eupen don’t pick up full points.
Daylon Claasen came on for the final 20 or so minutes as Lech Poznan lost 2-1 at Lechia Gdansk to effectively end their hopes of winning the league title in Poland. Lech trail leaders Legia Warsaw by eight points with three matches remaining.
And finally Siyanda Xulu came off the bench on 25 minutes in FC Rostov’s final game of the season, a 3-2 loss at Tom' Tomsk. Xulu has missed the last month through injury, but got back on the pitch for his 16th appearance of the season for Rostov, who finish a credible seventh.