Local News - Issue 209

Pirates Sign Senegalese Midfielder Sarr
Orlando Pirates have announced the signing of Issa Sarr from Platinum Stars. The Senegalese midfielder has penned a three-year deal with Pirates. “I am happy to have signed with Orlando Pirates,” Sarr is quoted as saying on Bucs' official website. “I look forward to joining my new teammates ahead of the start of the 2014/15 season and aim to have a successful stay at the club.”

Bloemfontein Celtic have signed new three-year sponsorship deals with Kappa and B3 Funerals and Insurance respectively. Italian company Kappa replace Reebok as the team's technical supplier, while Celtic now have a sleeve sponsor for the first time in years courtesy of B3 Funerals and Insurance. “Kappa is one of the most well-known football brands worldwide and they are very creative and experienced at their game, so we know we are in good hands,” Phunya Sele Sele CEO Khumbulani Konco said at a function in Rosebank on Monday. “B3 is a perfect fit for the bulk of our incredible supporters and we know that they are an ambitious, well-known brand, with incredible passion." Kappa also sponsor Bidvest Wits, AmaZulu and SuperSport United.

Thandani Ntshumayelo has apologized to his Orlando Pirates teammates after posting a less than flattering picture of them after the Nedbank Cup Final on Instagram. The picture, which shows a group of naked Buccaneers in the shower with the Nedbank Cup trophy, went viral last night and was widely condemned – even from other Pirates players like Lennox Bacela and Aubrey Ngoma. Ntshumayelo took to his Twitter account to apologise for his actions. “I would like to apologize to everyone the club the sponsors and all the people for posting that picture on instagram...  “At the time I thought it was a joke sorry to my teammates...  I sincerely apologize....bibo.”

Mamelodi Sundowns players have each received R450 000 for winning the league title as well as Q1, Q3 and Q4. The Brazilians won the league for the first time since the 2007/08 season, making it six PSL titles overall. The team received prize money of R10-million for winning the league as well as R4.5-million for winning three Q-Innovation quarters, making it R14.5-million overall.  It is well known that Sundowns give their prize money to the players. “Yes, the players each received R450.000 for winning the league,” said a Sundowns official. “After deductions, each player took home R380 000. It’s good because they have worked hard for it.”

Bafana Bafana held World Cup-bound Australia to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly played in Sydney on Monday. Ayanda Patosi gave Bafana the advantage on 11 minutes, before all-time Australian top goal-scorer Tim Cahill headed home just a minute later.

AmaZulu are preparing a bid for Golden Arrows centre-back Nkanyiso Mngwengwe, who impressed in his first season in the PSL in 2013/14. The 24-year-old joined Arrows from the lower leagues at the start of the campaign. And after a slow start, he impressed in the second half of the season, starting all of the club's final 11 games. And while Abafana Bes'thende are reluctant to part ways with Mngwengwe, their relegation to the National First Division could make Usuthu's interest especially enticing for the player. AmaZulu are looking for cover at the back following Tamsanqa Teyise's departure to SuperSport United.

Mamelodi Sundowns have handed a trial to former Jomo Cosmos youth player Flavio Bento. Bento was on the bench for the Brazilians during their 1-0 win over Namibian side African Stars in the inaugural Dr Hage Heingob Cup at the weekend. He recently returned to South Africa after spending a few years at Academica de Coimbra in Portugal. Meanwhile, midfielder Luyolo Nomandela also travelled with the Downs squad to Windhoek following his move from Free State Stars.

The first phase of the Nedbank Ke Yona Team Search concluded in an exciting two-day search at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday and Sunday. Nedbank’s search for the country’s next football heroes got underway on 21 April at Peter Mokaba Stadium and has since travelled across Polokwane, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Western Cape, culminating in Gauteng.

Bidvest Wits have finally confirmed the departure of Matthew Pattison, revealing that the former Newcastle United and Norwich City midfielder asked to be released from his contract. Pattison has since returned to England where his family is based. Jose Ferreira, the Wits CEO, explains the 27 year-old’s exit: “He (Pattison) has left because he asked to be released from his contract citing family reasons so he will not be with us next season.”

South Africa are two matches away from qualifying for the 2015 Africa Youth Championships in Senegal after defeating Ethiopia 1-0 (3-0 on aggregate) on Sunday at the Dobsonville Stadium. Amajita won 2-0 in Addis Ababa a fortnight ago. They will now face Cameroon in the third and final round of the qualifiers. The first match will be played on the weekend of 15-17 August while the return leg take place two weeks later on the weekend of 29-31 August. The winner will qualify for the 19th edition of the African Youth Championships which will be held in Senegal from 8 – 22 March in 2015.The semi-finalists at the AYC will represent Africa at the 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup tournament in New Zealand.

Bafana Bafana defender Mulomowandau Mathoho travelled back to South Africa immediately after taking part in Monday's international friendly against Australia, to attend the funeral of his cousin, who passed away last weekend.
The sad news reached the Kaizer Chiefs defender in Sydney on Sunday, on the eve of Bafana's friendly international clash with World Cup-bound Socceroos. As a result, Mathoho will not join the rest of the squad in New Zealand for their international friendly in Auckland. No replacement will be called up to replace the defender.

Polokwane City ended Milano United’s hopes of promotion into the Premiership after second half goals from Sphesihle Nzimande and Thabo Rakhale handed them a 2-0 win over the Cape-based club on Sunday afternoon. It was certainly not the most exciting game inside the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, but Polokwane did enough to get the win that sees them on seven points in the promotion/relegation mini-league play-off, four ahead of Black Leopards and consequently ended Milano’s promotion hopes.

Platinum Stars have signed 22-year-old Zimbabwean striker Patrick Kaunda on a two-year deal. Sources close to the player said that the forward will take part in the team’s pre-season preparations. “Patrick is now a Platinum Stars player. He signed a two-year contract with the club. Stars have a one-year option, under the terms of the contract,” the source said. Kaunda made his mark this past season while playing for Santos FC in the Botswana Premier League. He scored 20 goals – finishing the campaign as the country’s top marksman.

Mpumalanga Black Aces striker Tendai Ndoro is set to undergo trials with Premier League side Crystal Palace. Reports from Bulawayo say Ndoro will be at Palace for one week in early June in a move which, if successful, will make him the fourth Zimbabwean after Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari to play in England's topflight. Ndoro’s agent, Gibson Mahachi, confirmed his client would be going to England for the trials, adding that there are also a number of other European and South African clubs who have shown an interest in the Warriors forward. Ndoro joined Aces on a one-year deal, with an option to renew, after finishing as the top goalscorer in the Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League when playing for Bulawayo side Chicken Inn. He was also selected among the 11 soccer stars of the year. Ndoro, who signed for AmaZayoni last year, only joined them in January as he could not get his international clearance in time. Nevertheless he impressed, scoring seven goals for AmaZayoni. The in-demand striker is back in Zimbabwe for the offseason break and is part of the Warriors squad that will play Tanzania in the second leg of the preliminary round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Zimbabwe lost the first leg 1-0.

The national women's team demolished Comoros 13-0 in the first leg of an African Women’s Championship qualifier at the Stade Said Mohamed Cheikh Stadium on Friday. Portia Modise and Leandra Smeda scored four goals apiece on the day, while Sanah Mollo registered two goals. Mamello Makhabane, Nomathemba Ntsibande and Shiwe Nogwanya slotted home a goal each. Coach Vera Pauw made no changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Black Queens of Ghana in the international friendly. The return leg will be played in South Africa on the first weekend of June.

Golden Arrows goalkeeper Ryan Harrison has revealed he might return to Europe if he does not stay on at the NFD-bound club. Harrison says there is interest in his services from Greece and Holland, but he first wants to discuss his future with Abafana Bes'thende boss Mato Madlala. “I am still to sit down with the club boss because she requested, after our last game of the season, that we don’t get in touch with her until she is done with what she is busy with,” says Harrison, who holds an European Union passport, which reduces the hassles of him moving to that continent.

Ajax Cape Town have parted ways with a host of players, including Stelio Ernesto, Koen van de Laak, Karl Lark, Eleazar Rodgers and Thami Sangweni. Goalkeeper Andre Petim and Ndumiso Vezi have also left the coastal outfit. The Urban Warriors have, though, opted to exercise the option on striker Nathan Paulse's contract, while new signing Milton Ncube is due to arrive at Ikamva in June. Taarieq Fielies, Matthew Rowell, Michael Kwong and George Akpabio are also scheduled to return from their respective loan spells, although Chippa United are eager to hold onto Akpabio.

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Edward Manqele, who spent a season on loan at Moroka Swallows, could be on the way out of Chloorkop before the new campaign gets underway. Manqele joined the Brazilians during the 2012/13 season after netting 14 goals for Free State Stars. But after a disappointing first season, the 25-year-old was farmed out to Swallows where he finished the season with 12 goals. However, the player is unlikely to stay at Sundowns when he returns next month.

In-demand Ajax Cape Town attacking midfielder Keagan Dolly says he would rather join Kaizer Chiefs than Mamelodi Sundowns as the race for his signature continues. The 21-year-old says if he were to consider a move, he would rather join Amakhosi than the Brazilians as he believes he will get more opportunities to play at Naturena than at Chloorkop. Downs are understood to be leading the race to sign the talented midfielder, who was once on their books as a youth product, but Dolly is not keen to rejoin his former team.

The promotion dream for South African youngsters Ntuthuko Radebe and Phakase Mngadi in Belgium came to an end on Thursday night. The Eupen pair had to win their final play-off fixture against OH Leuven and hope that Mouscron-Péruwelz either dropped points at Sint Truiden or their victory would be handsome enough to go top of the table on goal-difference. In the end neither happened as Eupen lost 2-1 and Mouscron-Péruwelz claimed a 4-2 success to win their place in next season’s Belgian topflight, despite finishing fourth in the second tier this season.

Platinum Stars and Chippa United are battling for the signature of highly-rated Thanda Royal Zulu midfielder Mhlengi Cele. The player, who mesmerised Orlando Pirates' defence in Nedbank Cup action this past season, is also on Bucs' radar, according to a source close to the Thanda camp."Pirates are also interested but they have not been communicating directly to the team but sending representatives," said a source. Amabhubesi manager Thabani Gumede has confirmed PSL clubs are interested in Cele."There is great interest on Mhlengi Cele," Gumede said. "We will be meeting with the club chairman next week to discuss the offers."

AmaZulu have retained the services of striker Bongani Ndulula after exercising their option on his contract. Ndulula's deal with Usuthu was due to expire in June, but the former Orlando Pirates frontman is ready to continue for another season in Durban. “We have exercised the option on Ndulula’s contract,” AmaZulu general manager Peter O’Connor said on the club's website. Meanwhile, defender Keamogetse Wolff has returned to parent club Bidvest Wits after the club decided not to extend his six-month loan. Midfielders Lunga Zondi and Pinehas Jacob have had their contracts terminated while goalkeeper Philani Zikalala is also leaving the club.

Ajax Cape Town have declared that they are not interested in listening to offers for their youthful midfielder Abbubakar Mobara. Mobara has only just completed his first full season in the PSL but interest in his services is already pouring in, with Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs reportedly leading the cast of clubs that have made early enquiries for the young star. The 20-year-old was named Ajax’s Young Player of the Year at the club’s end-of-season awards. The youth international was also nominated for the PSL Young Player of the Season following an impressive campaign in which he proved his versatility, starting 23 matches. In light of the enquiries that have come in, Ajax executive director Ari Efstathiou emphasised that they are not keen on letting the player go.

Zimbabwean striker Nyasha Mushekwi could be back in South Africa soon after bidding farewell to KV Oostende fans. Mushekwi spent last season on loan with the Belgian side from Mamelodi Sundowns but picked up a knee ligament injury that will still keep him sidelined until the end of the year. The 26-year-old has one year left on his contract at Chloorkop after the club took up an option and was heavily linked with Orlando Pirates in January this year. Mushekwi confirmed having played his last game for Oostende after he tweeted a farewell to club's fans.

New Mamelodi Sundowns signing Kudakwashe Mahachi has been granted permission to go for a trial at French club Monaco, despite having never played a match for the Brazilians. The 20-year-old Zimbabwean international was signed in January, but spent the rest of the season on loan at Zimbabwe Highlanders. However, his impressive showings at CHAN 2014 attracted interest from all over, including Monaco, where he will now spend a week trying to impress the technical team. Sundowns have also confirmed the signings of Lindokuhle Mbatha, Luyolo Nomandela and Zama Dlamini, while stating that all players currently on loan need to report back to the club when their loan contracts expire.

Kaizer Chiefs are chasing Ugandan national team striker Dan Sserunkuma. Amakhosi are on the lookout for new blood following a trophyless 2013/14 season – and also because Mamelodi Sundowns are looking to hi-jack a deal to bring Knowledge Musona back to Naturena. Sserunkuma plays for Kenyan Premier League side Gor Mahia and has represented his country at all levels. The 20-year-old, who was named the 2012 Kenyan Premier League Player of the Year and 2013 and 2014 Uganda Sports Press Association Player of the Year, has been compared to Chelsea and Italian legend Gianfranco Zola.

Orlando Pirates have officially made an offer to Platinum Stars for the services of midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele. The Botswana international, who has a year left on his contract, has attracted widescale interest, according to Dikwena football manager Senzo Mazingisa. Mazingisa, however, would not disclose the identity of Ngele's suitors. "I can't reveal names, except that there is wide interest," Mazingisa said.

Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic met with the club's management to take stock of the concluded 2013/14 season and discuss the team's plans for next campaign. It has been decided that Bucs' players - who claimed Nedbank Cup honours at the weekend - will start a month-long break on 30 May, but will still be required to follow a personal training routine aimed at maintaining their fitness levels. 

Global football icon Ryan Giggs heads up a stellar cast of analysts and experts for SuperSport’s coverage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup. The Manchester United legend will be a studio analyst for the World of Champions, offering his insight during build-ups, halftime and post-game, starting in June. Recently retired Giggs is the most decorated player in English football history and is fresh off his recent assignment as interim manager of Manchester United. His staggering football CV includes 34 career trophies and 963 appearances for Manchester United dating back to his debut in March 1991. He is the most decorated player the Premier League has produced. “We have contracted a world class player for a world class event,” said Alvin Naicker, Head of Production of SuperSport. “Ryan Giggs represents the very best of football. He is in a class of his own. Ryan is a massively popular figure on the continent and we expect his expert views will be much anticipated and enjoyed during this coming World Cup.”

SuperSport United defender Bevan Fransman is set to leave the club, director of football Stan Matthews has confirmed. Fransman, 30, managed just 14 league appearances for Matsatsantsa this season as the team struggled to find any consistency, especially since the start of 2014. The former Kaizer Chiefs defender is now looking to move on, and Matthews has revealed that the club is already actively seeking replacements. “Sibusiso Zuma and Fransman will be leaving us, so we have to move quickly and find players to replace them,” says Matthews.

In a surprise move, Platinum Stars have dumped youth international striker Thabani Mthembu. Mthembu rose to prominence with Amajita where he scored five goals in his fledgling national team career, prompting Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town to chase after his services a few years ago. The 19-year-old was handed just one league start and nine substitute appearances – 268 minutes of Premiership football – by Dikwena this season. The KwaZulu-Natal-born player has now joined the likes of Benson Mhlongo, Henrico Botes and Takesure Chinyama out of the exit door. Meanwhile defender Gift Sithole has agreed to extend his stay with Platinum Stars for a further two years. Sithole's initial contract was set to expire at the end of June this year.

SuperSport United have completed the signing of Andile Fikizolo from First Division side Thanda Royal Zulu. The midfielder scored twice in the Nedbank Cup last 32 to shock Orlando Pirates in the first half of their clash on February 22, but Pirates stormed back to end the game 3-3 before winning on penalties. Fikizolo's representative Tim Sukazi has confirmed that the 20-year-old right-winger has signed for SuperSport after penning a three-year deal.

Maritzburg United will not retain the services of injury-prone Curacaoan midfielder Orlando Smeekes and long-serving defender Peter Petersen. The club has also placed Ghanaian striker Yakubu Mohammed on the transfer list, while exercising the options of extensions on the contracts of Terrence Mandaza, Philani Zulu and Heinrich Isaacks. Maritzburg chairman Farook Kadodia confirmed all the latest developments on Monday. “We are not renewing the contracts of Orlando and Peter and we have placed our striker from Ghana on the transfer list,” he said.

Chippa United have joined the race to sign both William Twala and Manti Moholo from Orlando Pirates. Twala, who impressed at United during their ill-fated PSL campaign in 2012/13, has also been linked with Platinum Stars. Fellow midfielder Moholo spent the past season on loan at NFD-bound Golden Arrows. "I am back at Pirates. I am still left with one year on my contract," says Moholo. "I haven't been told anything about my future in the club."

Platinum Stars have signed Marothi Diale from United FC. Diale, who is comfortable playing at right or left wing, joins the North West side on a three-year deal.

Bloemfontein Celtic have snapped up Musa Bilankulu on a permanent transfer from Bidvest Wits. Celtic have taken up the option to buy Bilankulu outright from BidVest Wits after initially joining Phunya Sele Sele on loan in January. Wits officials have confirmed that they have cleared Bilankulu's move to Celtic after the Free State side signalled their intention to exercise the option of a permanent transfer, which was part of the deal when the 29-year-old moved down to the City of Roses. Bilankulu has agreed a three-year deal with Celtic, where he is needed at centre-back after the club released Johannes Motlhaping and Clayton Daniels signed a pre-contract with SuperSport United. Celtic are actually three central defenders fewer than they were a year ago as former captain Thabo Nthethe also left for Mamelodi Sundowns in January.

SA players abroad
Daylon Claasen
played the full 90 minutes for Polish side Lech Poznan at the weekend as their season petered out with a 0-0 draw against Pogon Szczecin. With two games remaining Lech are almost certain to finish in second place in the league, enough for UEFA Europa League qualification. Claasen still has much to play for though as he seeks to convince the club to extend his one-year contract for a further two years.
Keegan Ritchie was again missing for Czech side Slavia Prague as they were held 1-1 by Slovacko. Ritchie has been missing for over a month with an ankle problem and looks unlikely to feature in the final game of the season that Slavia must win against Baník Ostrava to ensure they remain in the topflight next season. A draw would probably also be enough, while even defeat could see them stay up if other results go their way.
May Mahlangu sat out a second successive match for Swedish side Goteborg as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Norrkoping. It is a blow for the Bafana Bafana midfielder, who was just beginning to find form after nine months on the sidelines with an Achilles problem.
Ayanda Nkili did feature for Orebro in their fixture against Elfsborg, but the defender was disappointed with a 1-0 defeat away from home. It was worse for Bradley Ralani in the second tier as his struggling Landskrona side were thumped 6-2 by Jonkoping Sodra.

Finally in the USA, there was no sign in the match day squad of former ASD Academy skipper Ethan Sampson for Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS, but winger Tiya Shipalane was a second half substitute for Carolina Railhawks in their 0-0 draw at Minnesota United.