Local News - Issue 214

Paintsil Signs For Maritzburg
Maritzburg United have confirmed the signing of former Ghanaian international John Paintsil. The 33-year-old was training with Chippa United but it turns out the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement for a deal. Paintsil, who played for Santos last season, has since put pen to paper with Maritzburg.

With just over two weeks before top-flight domestic football returns, the PSL have confirmed the 2014/15 MTN8 fixtures. The MTN8 tournament will usher in the 2014/15 season – with the first game scheduled for the first weekend of August 2014. Tickets are now on sale at Computicket and Shoprite Checkers countrywide at R40 for adults and R10 for children under the age of 12.
MTN8 Fixtures:
Friday, 1 August
Bidvest Wits vs Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Stadium (20h00)
Saturday, 2 August
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium (15h00)
Orlando Pirates vs SuperSport United, Orlando Stadium (20h15)
Sunday, 3 August
Kaizer Chiefs vs Black Aces, FNB Stadium (15h00)

The driver of Maritzburg United’s ex-player Orlando Smeekes appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for a charge of murder. The driver is being charged with the murder of 23-year-old Jake Smith after an incident at the KFC drive-through in Pietermaritzburg early on Sunday. He was placed under arrest on Sunday afternoon after he handed himself over to police. Smeekes, Maritzburg United’s imported Dutch star, declined to comment on the details of the incident, but was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Smith’s murder and extended his condolences to Smith’s loved ones. Smith was stabbed to death in front of a crowd of people at the KFC, allegedly after an altercation with Smeekes and his driver. Smeekes accused Smith of jumping the queue  by foot when the fracas began. Smeekes, who was a passenger in another car, allegedly jumped out of his vehicle and approached Smith and Volmink, accusing them of cutting the line. Smith allegedly denied the accusation and a verbal argument between the two men ensued. The verbal altercation escalated into a physical one when Smith and his friend followed Smeekes to his car and pulled him out,during which Smeekes’ driver allegedly joined the fray, armed with a knife. That is when Smith was stabbed and fell to the ground. The driver allegedly sped off in the car, leaving Smeekes at the scene. Police confirmed that Smeekes had co-operated fully with investigations and has not been charged.

The South African Football Association would like to clarify further insinuations that the Association has offered Stephen Keshi the job as Bafana Bafana coach. Reports coming through and carried out by several media outlets are quoting Mr Keshi alleging he has an offer on the table from SAFA. “There is no iota of truth in this statement. SAFA has not offered any coach the Bafana Bafana coaching job and we don’t take kindly to such rumours,” said SAFA president Danny Jordaan from Brazil. “It is not true because SAFA has not entered into a discussion with any coach or a representative of any coach,” he added.

Forgotten striker Diyo Sibisi is back in the country following a brief spell in Vietnam and aims to compete domestically for the next four months before returning to Asia in November. Sibisi has been playing for Vietnamese V.League 2 club Tay Ninh with whom he says he will be returning to play for when that country’s football league starts. “I have just come back from Vietnam where I have been playing for the past four months,” Sibisi said. Sibisi scored twice in the four games that he played for the struggling club who finished bottom but will, however, not be relegated as the eight-team V.League 2 will have more clubs next season. “When I arrived the team was struggling but in the few games that I played I made a difference and they are so happy with me that I am going back again,” Sibisi said. “They were actually saying they wish I had been with them earlier. However, now that I have seen what their football is all about I will definitely make a difference when I go back there. For now my intention is to play here because the league in Vietnam will only be starting again in November. I need to continue playing while I am here.”  The 32-year-old last played locally during the second half of the 2012-13 season while on loan at Mpumalanga Black Aces from University of Pretoria. He has also represented Maritzburg United, Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns and Free State Stars.

Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung insists there has been no contact from the South African Football Association with regards to Stuart Baxter. SAFA have reportedly earmarked the Amakhosi coach, as well as Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela, for the Bafana Bafana technical director role, which will work hand-in-hand with the new national team coach. Baxter has supposedly been given until Friday to make up his mind, but Motaung says that Chiefs have not been notified.  Chiefs and Baxter are currently in pre-season, preparing for the season-opening Carling Black Label Cup on July 26 against Orlando Pirates.

CAF have confirmed that South Africa will now have two clubs representing the country in the Champions League instead of one. Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns and runners-up Kaizer Chiefs qualify to play in the event this year. The same applies to the Confederation Cup, which means Nedbank Cup winners Orlando Pirates and third-placed League finishers Bidvest Wits qualify for the competition. All four clubs have been asked to confirm their participation. CAF granted the extra spots by virtue of South Africa being rated as one of the top 12 African countries as far as club competitions are concerned.

Kaizer Chiefs’ utility player Josta Dladla has renewed his contract with the club for another year, as has Siyabonga Nkosi. ‘JD’, as the former is affectionately known, signs a new deal following the expiry of his ban for using the banned substance Methylhexaneamine. He was suspended for four months earlier this year after pleading guilty to the charge, though he maintains it was in error and his sentence expired in May. Dladla, who turns 35 on July 13, has not played for Amakhosi since starting in the 4-1 victory over AmaZulu last December but he is available for the start of the 2014/15 season.

Meanwhile, midfielder Nkosi has also penned a one-year extension in Naturena. Nkosi’s previous deal likewise expired at the end of June and he had been locked in negotiations with the club for the past few weeks. The Glamour Boys today confirmed an agreement has been reached. The 32-year-old made 15 starts for Chiefs in all competitions last season.

Maritzburg United are still frantically trying to replenish their troops ahead of the 2014/15 PSL campaign, and they are a step closer with the acquisitions of defender Kwanda Mngonyama and midfielder Sibusiso Kumalo from Mamelodi Sundowns now confirmed. The players arrive at Harry Gwala Stadium on season-long loans, and are unlikely to be the last Downs players captured by the Team of Choice ahead of the new season. Negotiations for Downs defender Abel Mabaso have hit a stumbling block but are still ongoing, and Maritzburg are confident that they will have their man by the end of the week. Then there is Sundowns striker Rodney Ramagalela, who the club says might still end up in Maritzburg. Coach Steve Komphela was also looking at Zimbabwean left-back Khumbulani Banda as a possible replacement for Ruben Cloete, but no decisions had been made yet.

Duncan Lechesa is set to hand in his resignation as Free State Stars’ assistant coach barely two weeks after returning to the club. Lechesa, who captained Stars during his playing days, was returning to Ea Lla Koto to serve as an assistant coach and a week later, the club confirmed his return. However, Lechesa is now set to quit the job in favour of a move to National First Division side Royal Eagles in Durban. Ironically, Eagles have parted ways with their coach David Bright after just a month. Despite numerous attempts, Lechesa couldn’t be reached for comment. Stars recently appointed Belgian Tom Saintfiet as their new head coach, with Kinnah Phiri shifted to a technical director role.

Mamelodi Sundowns look to hold all the aces over Orlando Pirates when it comes to the race to sign Ajax Cape Town winger Keagan Dolly. The 21-year-old is the hottest property on the local transfer market, and while he had previously said that he would prefer to stay in Cape Town and get regular game-time, the club looks likely to cash in on the player. Both Pirates and Sundowns have tabled offers, but that the Brazilians’ is by far the more enticing for the Urban Warriors. Firstly they have offered more money than the Buccaneers and secondly, and arguably most importantly, their deal includes loaning Dolly back to Ajax for the 2014/15 season. The deal has dragged on with club boss Ari Efstathiou attending the World Cup, but with him now back in South Africa, it seems likely that Sundowns could land their man.

Reigning PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns will play Moroka Swallows in the Gauteng Cup following the draw in Rosebank on Wednesday. Now in its third year, the Gauteng Cup will take place in Atterridgeville, Pretoria, on July 19 at Lucas Moripe Stadium and tickets are available at Computicket for R35. Kaizer Chiefs won the first two editions of the tournament, but will not be taking part this year. The winners will take home R500 000.
Moroka Swallows vs Mamelodi Sundowns
University of Pretoria vs SuperSport United
The first match is scheduled for 10h00 and the second match at 12h00 with the Final set for 16h00.

Kaizer Chiefs and Nike have revealed their new home and away kits for the 2014/15 PSL season. Nike have retained the majority of the gold from last season's home jersey and added a black strip on the shoulder, and removed the black collar and trim on the sleeves. Amakhosi fans should be pleased with the redesigned away strip, which is arguably a lot sleeker than last season's one and does away with the black stripes.

Matthew Booth believes his latest NGO venture, Educating Athletes, is the perfect initiative to help aspiring players find a balance between football, education and lifestyle. The 37-year-old has recently paired up with former Ajax Cape Town and African Soccer Development (ASD) mental skills coach and counselling therapist Chantelle De Abreu to start the new initiative, for which he is the brand ambassador. The project looks to give underprivileged, talented athletes the opportunity to pursue their dreams of becoming professional athletes without having to give up their schooling. 

Orlando Pirates will hold their end-of-season awards in Johannesburg on July 23. Pirates finished the past season on a high note after winning the Nedbank Cup Final against Bidvest Wits, having lost the deciders in the CAF Champions League, Telkom Knockout Cup and the MTN 8. Midfielder Oupa Manyisa, goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and defender Thabo Matlaba are vying for the Player of the Season award, while Lennox Bacela is set to take home the top goal scorer award. Meanwhile, Daine Klate, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Tlou Segolela and Matlaba are contesting the DSTV Goal of the Season award.

South African players abroad round-up: Daylon Claasen made his second appearance for new club 1860 Munich as the side upped their pre-season preparations in Austria. After debuting in the 2-1 victory over Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow in his first game, this time Claasen was on the end of a 1-0 defeat to second-tier club Austria Lustenau. The Bafana Bafana midfielder played the first 67 minutes before being replaced having played the first half against Lokomotiv.
Thulani Serero, who only returned to training last week after being given an extended break by Ajax Amsterdam, played the second half as the Dutch club defeated Wacker Innsbruck 5-1 in Austria. Serero, who recently extended his contract with the Dutch giants to June 2017, played the full second half.
Austria is a popular destination for pre-season because clubs are able to train at high altitude that in theory allows player to reach peak fitness quicker. 
Meanwhile, PEC Zwolle, without their South African duo of Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Patricio, cantered to an 18-0 victory over local amateurs DOS Kampen.
Ayanda Patosi was missing for Belgian side Lokeren as they won 5-0 over local side Red Devils, but Darren Keet played for Kortrijk as they beat fellow top-flight side Lierse 2-0.
Andile Jali also missed KV Oostende’s 1-1 draw at KSV Roeselare for unspecified reasons.
Finally, Lebogang Phiri was on the bench for Danish side Brondby as they won 2-0 at Czech Republic side Slovan Liberec. Phiri will hope to be in the starting line-up when Brondby host English giants Liverpool on July