Local News - Issue 213

Still No Contract For Lekgwathi
Veteran defender Lucky Lekgwathi has continued to show his loyalty to Orlando Pirates by training at the club without a contract. The 37-year-old's previous contract expired on Monday. However, he is still waiting for clarity on his future from Bucs chairman Irvin Khoza, who is currently in Brazil for the World Cup. Meanwhile, defender Siyabonga Sangweni has snubbed the Sea Robbers' ongoing pre-season camp in Nelspruit as he also awaits word from Khoza on a new deal.

Bafana Bafana right-back Anele Ngcongca has extended his stay with Genk until 2018. This is after he was offered a new contract by the Belgian team amid interest in his services from Bundesliga side Hannover 96 and Turkish pair Fernerbahce and Galatasaray. Genk moved swiftly to offer Ngcongca better terms after meeting with his representatives from Prosport International in Belgium on Monday. The Cape Town-born defender has scored four goals in 133 appearances for Genk.

Bidvest Wits' new signing Giorgi Nergadze has confirmed Bloemfontein Celtic were also interested in his services but says his desire to stay in Johannesburg influenced his career move. Nergadze recently penned a two-year deal at Wits with an option of a further year after leaving Moroka Swallows on a free transfer following a four-year stay with The Birds. “Celtic is a good team with a massive following at home but the fact that Wits is a team based in Johannesburg influenced my decision to join them,” Nergadze said. “My wife is still going to be in the same job and my kids will still be attending the same crèche because I am still going to be staying in the same area. Considering the needs of my family it made sense to join a Johannesburg team because if I had moved to another town my family would have been greatly affected. My family is well settled in this city and they are happy.” The Georgian adds that there was also interest from his former club FC Torpedo Kutaisi but he turned down their contract offer.

University of Pretoria insist they will only be making just two further signings after completing the signing of former Golden Arrows defender-cum-midfielder Vuyisile Ntombayithethi and left-back Sfiso Nzimande from Witbank Spurs. Ntombayithethi has put pen on paper on a two year deal just three weeks after being handed his clearance at Arrows while Nzimande has been snapped on a long term contract.

Chippa United owner Chippa Mpengesi has revealed that he will not be returning to Cape Town anytime soon once the club has left for Port Elizabeth. United are all set and ready to start their new adventure in the Eastern Cape after announcing last week that they will be relocating to PE.  The squad is currently still in the Mother City and is set to leave in the next three weeks. Thereafter the players will move to Johannesburg for a mini-camp before relocating to Port Elizabeth just before the season starts. Mpengesi says his team won't come back to Cape Town for the foreseeable future, even if they are relegated to the First Division again.

Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, previously coach of Malawi, has started his job at Free State Stars. The 41-year-old played football between 1983 to 1997 before becoming a football manager at the tender age of 24 and he was until recently head coach of the Malawian national team. Duncan Lechesa is back at the club as assistant coach, while Kinnah Phiri takes over as the technical director. Themba Sithole is apparently assuming the role of head scout.

Black Leopards will be replacing Kosta Papic with another Serbian coach Vladislav Heric ahead of the new season. Ironically, Papic replaced Heric at Chippa United. Heric has previously been in charge of Leopards.

Maritzburg United are in talks with Rodney Ramagalela, Abel Mabaso and Kwanda Mngonyana as they look to plug the gaps left by several player departures. Club chairman Farouk Kadodia says that he will be unveiling “six or seven” new players by next month in the wake of a defensive shortage after Mario Booysen and Rheece Evans signed for Mamelodi Sundowns. Three of those could be loan players from Sundowns, who have made striker Ramagalela and defenders Mabaso and Mngonyana available for discussions with Maritzburg. “Those are three who we are interested in and we are currently in negotiations with them,” Kadodia said. Mabaso and Mngonyama spent last season on loan at Mpumalanga Black Aces and Bidvest Wits respectively, while Ramagalela would give coach Steve Komphela some much-needed strength and an extra option up front, where Maritzburg were desperately thin in the 2013/14 campaign. Maritzburg have also brought in Steve Komphela’s previous fitness trainer from Free State Stars, releasing Michael Kemp. Maritzburg United have also whisked Ghanaian striker Yakubu Mohammed back to his former club Ashanti Gold SC after just a season with the KZN club. Mohammed had been placed on United’s transfer list last month following a season in which he battled to make any impact.

Mamelodi Sundowns will be heading to Nigeria for a pre-season camp. Before the beginning of last season, the PSL champions spent a few weeks preparing in Ghana, while they went to Zambia during the December/January mid-season break. According to Sundowns communications co-ordinator Thulani Thuswa, moving around the continent will help Downs better prepare for the new season. “We want to move around the continent so we can be familiar with football cultures around the continent,” Thuswa said. “Last year we were in Ghana and now we are going to another country. But first we will be heading to Limpopo where we will spend a week.” Thuswa also confirmed the Brazilians have captured Bongi Ntuli and Siyanda Zwane from Golden Arrows on long-term deals. “Yes, we can confirm that both players have signed five-year contracts.”

Kaizer Chiefs have confirmed the signing of Siphelele Mthembu on a three-year deal. ‘Shaka Zulu’ joins Amakhosi as a free agent after his deal with Platinum Stars expired on June 30. The 26-year-old started 27 games for Dikwena in all competitions last season and scored nine goals. He also came off the bench six times.

Chiefs have also signed Levy Mokgothu from Moroka Swallows.Abel Mabaso looks set to move to Maritzburg United as part of the deal that saw Mario Booysen and Rheece Evans join Mamelodi Sundowns. Despite interest from Ajax Cape Town, Mabaso is set to join Maritzburg as a make-weight in the deal that saw Booysen and Evans join the Brazilians on five-year contracts. According to a source close to the Chloorkop-based side, Sundowns and United have agreed on the transfer and it is only left for Mabaso to agree financial terms with the Team of Choice.

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Rashid Sumaila has attracted the interest of Turkish Super Lig club Akhisar Belediyespor – straight after Thamsanqa Sangweni’s proposed trial at the same club fell through due to a calf injury. Sumaila has just completed international duty with Ghana at the World Cup, and his solid showing for the Brazilians last season has ignited interest. As previously reported, the 21-year-old is also wanted in Belgium. Sangweni was actually supposed to have left on Tuesday night for a trial that would have run up to July 8, but will now stay on to recover from his calf strain. With Sumaila, Sundowns are understood to be willing to listen to European offers, with the player having already indicated his willingness to move abroad.

South African midfielder Lebogang Phiri is set to face Liverpool on 16 July as part of his club Brondby IF's pre-season programme. The Danish side, who will host the Reds in Copenhagen, have started their preparations for the new campaign with a camp in Germany.

Themba Zwane will be playing for Mamelodi Sundowns next season rather than join another club on loan. ‘Mshishi’ spent the 2013/14 campaign at Mpumalanga Black Aces, where he made the starting line-up 27 times in all competitions. For the new season, though, the Brazilians are keeping him.

Philani Shange is officially an AmaZulu player after penning a three-year contract with the club. Meanwhile, AmaZulu also confirmed the club are still talking to striker Lucky Nguzana with a view to offering him a new contract.

Former AmaZulu goalkeeper Philani Zikalala has completed his move to Orlando Pirates. Meanwhile, Pirates are also expected to shortly finalise the capture of midfielder Edgar Manaka from Black Leopards. Manaka has turned down an offer from Polokwane City in favour of joining the Sea Robbers.

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi is now being assessed by French side AS Monaco. The 20-year-old signed with the PSL champions during the January transfer window, but spent the remainder of the season on loan at Zimbabwe Highlanders. And he may leave before kicking a ball for Sundowns if he is successful during his trial with Monaco. Initially, the trial was set for after the World Cup but Mahachi is already in France and has started training.

Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates are in talks regarding potential swaps deals involving the likes of Urban Warriors star Keagan Dolly. There's a possibility that Dolly or his teammate Abbubaker Mobara could join Pirates, with Bucs trio Aubrey Ngoma, Manti Moholo and William Twala going the other way. Ajax coach Roger de Sa has made it clear that nothing has been finalised at this stage but discussions are ongoing between his club's CEO Ari Efstathiou and Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza. "There's been chairman-to-chairman talks about Pirates players coming to us. We are waiting to hear if they are going to be released or not," De Sa said. “There's also talks of Manti Moholo, William Twala and Aubrey Ngoma coming here. Also there's talks of Dolly or Mobara going that side but at this moment in time it's just talks and nothing certain."

Moroka Swallows have completed the signing of Kenyan midfielder Kevin Omondi on a two-year contract. The 23-year-old, who was on trial at Ajax Cape Town in May, is expected to link up with his new teammates next week. Omondi was previously attached to the Nairobi-based FISI Academy, but has been on loan at top Premier League side Gor Mahia since 2012. Swallows recently recruited Lucky Baloyi and Philani Cele on loan from Kaizer Chiefs, with Swallows revealing more signings are on the way.

Bidvest Wits have welcomed the former Maritzburg United duo of Robyn Johannes and Dillon Sheppard to training. The two players – released by Maritzburg at the end of last season – are both free agents and joined the club for training this week. Johannes might be encouraged that Wits are in desperate need of centre-backs following the release of Kofi Dankwae and Thomas Sweswe, Matthew Booth retiring, Musa Bilankulu moving permanently to Bloemfontein Celtic and Kwanda Mngonyama moving back to Mamelodi Sundowns. Wits have S’boniso Gumede and new signing Thulani Hlatshwayo as the only options on their books for the centre-back position.