Local News - Issue 217

Downs Boost Title Credentials With Signing Of Niang
Mamelodi Sundowns have signed Mame Niang from SuperSport United on a three-year deal.  The transfer will also see Togo international Dove Wome move in the opposite direction on loan, with an option to buy outright. Sundowns have also announced that veteran midfielder Surprise Moriri has signed a new two-year contract.

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Xolani Mdaki is about to sign a short-term deal with Swedish club Djurgardens.
Mdaki, who was on loan at Santos last season, started training with Djurgardens on July 7 and he has impressed the club’s technical team, who in turn are now prepared to offer him a deal. “Djurgardens will take him on loan until the end of the Swedish season which is in November,” a source reveals. The 22-year-old can play both defensively and as an attacking midfielder. Djurgardens, who play in Sweden’s top league the Allsvenskan, are home to another South African midfielder Mark Mayambela. Moroka Swallows striker Siyabonga Nomvethe also previously played for the club.

Ex-AmaZulu midfielder Thokozani Mshengu and former University of Pretoria defender Warren Bishop are both on trial at Mpumalanga Black Aces. Mshengu parted ways with Usuthu last season, while Bishop was dumped by AmaTuks in the off-season. AmaZayoni have been busy in the transfer market of late, having signed Edwin Gyimah, Collins Mbesuma, Thanduyise Khuboni and Bhongolethu Jayiya to name but a few.

Polokwane City have swooped on defender Jabulani 'Master' Dladla from Mbombela United. Dladla is the second player to leave United for a PSL side in the off-season after defender Itumeleng Tlali signed with Orlando Pirates. Both players made a great impression during a Nedbank Cup game against Moroka Swallows played in Johannesburg last season.

Ajax Cape Town are set to sign Bidvest Wits defender Katlego Pule pending the results of a medical. “We are waiting on the results of his medical, depending on the results we are going to sign him,” confirms Ajax coach Roger de Sa. The 23-year-old Pule made four league starts for the Clever Boys last season.

Veteran goalkeeper Arthur Bartman has confirmed that he has retired from playing professional football, stating that this time it is for good.
Bartman, 42, has since taken over as the new goalkeeper coach at National First Division club Golden Arrows replacing Paulo Evangelista. “I am done with playing and this time it is for good,” says Bartman. Bartman had actually retired prior to the start of the past season and had taken up a post as goalkeeper coach at Maritzburg United before then deciding to come out of retirement to join Arrows at the beginning of the year. Bartman retires having built up a reputation of being a journeyman after playing for Arrows, Kaizer Chiefs, Bay United, Free State Stars, Dynamos, Moroka Swallows, SuperSport United, Bush Bucks, African Wanderers plus several other lower division clubs like Maritzburg City, Crystal Brains, Rebels FC, Royal Tigers, MBO Lions and Real Taj.

Safa have appointed Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba as the new Bafana Bafana coach. Mashaba returns  He was one of the favourites for the job along with Carlos Queiroz and Stephen Keshi. "The appointment of Shakes Mashaba was a unanimous decision by the NEC," said Safa president Danny Jordaan at a press conference on Saturday. Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula added: "We support Safa's decision to appoint Shakes Mashaba as Bafana coach." Mashaba previously managed Bafana in 19 matches, recording 12 wins, five draws and two defeats. 
to the hotseat to replace Gordon Igesund.

Chippa United have confirmed the signing of Siyabulela Shai on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns for another season. Shai spent the past season on loan at Chippa and the PSL returnees have now managed to re-negotiate an extension of his stay at the club. Peter Koutroulis, the CEO at Chippa, confirms the acquisition of Shai, adding that they are still in talks with Sundowns over Doctor Mampuru. Chippa have also loaned out Philani Dlamini to Royal Eagles while Petrus Ngebo (formerly Mahlatsi) has also moved on to the same club on a free transfer.

Former Jomo Cosmos captain Gladwin Shitolo has joined Orlando Pirates.
The former Under-23 international’s move to the Buccaneers has been confirmed by his former team Cosmos on their Twitter page. “Gladwin had taken Cosmos to the PSL DRC [Dispute Resolution Chamber] to get his clearance because he believed that he is a free agent, and he is now free to join a club of his choice. That is Orlando Pirates and he has signed with them,” a source reveals. Shitolo was linked with Polokwane City recently, but as it turns out he will be playing in Bucs’ black and white colours in the new season.

Former Free State Stars defender Mbhuyiselo Sambu has become Chippa United’s 15th signing ahead of the new season. Sambu had been at the Chilli Boys for an assessment in the past few weeks and he has now put pen to paper on a one-year deal, according to his representative Ratshibvumo Mulovhedzi of Rush Hour Sports.

Duncan Lechesa is the new coach of National First Division side Royal Eagles. Lechesa was set to resign as Free State Stars’ assistant coach just two weeks into the job in favour of joining Eagles. After leaving Ea Lla Koto, Lechesa has now indeed taken over at Eagles.

Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda is staying with Orlando Pirates for the new season, as far as Bucs official Floyd Mbele is concerned. Dauda, who has played second fiddle to Senzo Meyiwa since arriving at Mayfair a year ago, is reportedly being chased by an unnamed Egyptian club. However, Mbele says the Buccaneers have not received any offers for the 29-year-old. Dauda made just  two starts and one substitute appearance for the Soweto giants in 2013/14.

With Shakes Mashaba taking over as Bafana Bafana coach, Serame Letsoaka has now been linked with the national Under-20 job. Currently Letsoaka has been tasked to lead the national Under-19s in a tournament which also features Sporting Lisbon from Portugal, Boca Juniors from Argentina, Everton from England, Feyenoord from Netherlands, Roma from Italy, Santos from Brazil, as well as Hoy Park Sports Development Centre Academy XI from Kwa-Zulu Natal. The tournament will be held in Durban from 31 July to 9 August.

Chippa United have beaten Platinum Stars for the services of striker Mhlengi Cele from Thanda Royal Zulu. Cele was on the wanted list of both PSL clubs after his great showing in a Nedbank Cup game against Orlando Pirates in Richards Bay last season. However, the Chilli Boys have moved to capture the former Nongama Citizens man on a three-year contract. Meanwhile, Chippa also recently recruited Chris Komane from Thanda.

Ajax Cape Town coach Roger de Sa says he has been impressed with Thabiso Nkoana, who is on a week-long trial at Ikamva. The SuperSport United striker scored in a 3-2 pre-season friendly defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns, and Ajax management will now decide whether or not he deserves a contract.

Free State Stars have completed the signing of Richard Henyekane from Mamelodi Sundowns. The striker spent last season on loan at Stars, making 18 League appearances and scoring seven goals in the process. He had been linked with a move to Platinum Stars, but has now joined Ea Lla Kota on a permanent deal.

Good news for Orlando Pirates fans is that Happy Jele’s injury is not serious. The defender was substituted in the second half of their Carling Black Label Cup win against Kaizer Chiefs after struggling to breath, but team doctor Jakes Mathebula tells the club’s official website it was just precautionary.

Orlando Pirates have decided to keep midfielder Thabo Rakhale for this coming season after he impressed coach Vladimir Vermezovic during the pre-season. The 24-year-old midfielder previously played for Sivutsa Stars before he was sent on loan to Polokwane City last season. Rakhale's manager, Mandla Mthembu of New Generation says that his client is staying with Bucs for the 2014/15 campaign.

Apollo XI failed in their quest to gain promotion to the NFD after drawing 0-0 with Angavu Stars in a ABC Motsepe League playoff game at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday. The Mpumalanga outfit side finished their Group A campaign on eight points, one point behind Cape Town All Stars, who will be promoted to the NFD along with Group A winners Highlands Park. In another Group A game, played simultaneously on the King Zwelithini outer fields, North West side Shining Stars finished their play-off campaign in fine fashion, hammering Free State side Sibanye Golden Stars 7-2.

Polokwane City have agreed to a three-year deal with former Black Leopards goalkeeper Dino Visser. Visser was recently training with Mpumalanga Black Aces with a view to earning a contract. However, City have moved to recruit the ex-Bloemfontein Celtic man's services.

Limpopo side Black Leopards have found a new coach from Ireland. Lidoda Duvha have appointed Sean Connor, who will be assisted by Solly Luvhengo and Ashwin Sutton. Connor has some African experience having coached Caps United in Zimbabwe. Other changes at the club include at management level where the new team manager is Lawrence Okwaba and Bryge Wachipa will serve as the new CEO. Club boss David Thidiela says the main objective for the club is winning promotion. “The aim is to win the League and gain promotion to the Premier Soccer League,” he says. The club’s headquarters remain in Polokwane, but the club will play their matches in Thohoyandou.

Mamelodi Sundowns winger Lebohang Mokoena will miss the start of the season with a shoulder injury, while veteran midfielder Surprise Moriri is also carrying a knock. 'Cheeseboy' has been nursing his complaint since last term and has sought the surgeon's knife to rectify the damage. Moriri will likewise play no part in Downs' MTN8 opener against Platinum Stars next Saturday due to a knee problem.

Goodman Dlamini was in tears after being named AmaZulu's player of the 2013/14 season at a function at Suncoast Casino in Durban last Thursday night. The 26-year-old was also named the club's most improved player, while he picked up a 'Suncoast Moment of Brilliance' prize, as voted for by fans. "I'm very happy and it's unexplainable the joy I have at this moment," said Dlamini after receiving his accolades from Usuthu legend Fred Mfeka. Usuthu captain Carlington Nyadombo picked up the players' player of the season prize.

It was a dismal night for South Africans competing in the UEFA Europa League last week, though May Mahlangu’s Goteborg did advance to the next stage despite a home defeat. Mahlangu started for the Swedish side as they lost 1-0 to the 10 men of Hungarian side Gyor, but having done the hard work with a 3-0 away win in the first leg, they still advanced to the third round. There they will meet Portuguese side Rio Ave with the first leg at home on July 31. Goteborg are one of four Swedish sides remaining in the competition. Out go Joel Untersee and his Lichtenstein side FC Vaduz, who were held 0-0 at home by Polish club Ruch Chorzow to slip to a 3-2 aggregate defeat. Untersee, on loan for another season from Italian giants Juventus, started again for Vaduz, who will now concentrate on their campaign in the Swiss top-flight. Also out go Dani Amos’s Israeli side Hapoel Tel Aviv, who beat Kazakshtan club Astana 1-0 but bow out 3-1 on aggregate. Goalkeeper Amos was dropped to the bench for the second leg, which was played in Cyprus due to the ongoing military situation in Israel.

The chances of Knowledge Musona returning to Kaizer Chiefs are looking stronger as he continues to recover from injury. The Zimbabwean is back at his German parent club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after spending last season on loan at Amakhosi. However, they are looking to offload the 24-year-old, and he is struggling to find a European club who will take a chance on him while he is injured. This paves the way for a return to Naturena for at least another six months. Bobby Motaung did confirm that Chiefs have tabled an offer to take the striker back, either on loan or on a permanent transfer. Amakhosi have also been given assurances by Hoffenheim that if no European club tables a better offer by the end of the month, Musona will be allowed to return to Chiefs. Hoffenheim want to cash in on the Zimbabwean – who still has two years remaining on his contract – and they want around 1-million Euros (R11-million) for him.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have announced the signing of Edwin Gyimah from SuperSport United. The 23-year-old Ghanaian had been linked with a move to Europe after three seasons with Matsatsantsa, but will now join Aces as they continue to build on a squad capable of improving on last season’s eighth-place finish.

Platinum Stars chairman Ratanang Nke has dismissed talk that the club may be sold this coming season. Telkom Knockout and MTN8 holders are struggling financially and this influenced their decision to sell key players like Issa Sarr and Lindokuhle Mbatha, while star midfielder Mogakolodi ‘Tso’ Ngele could also be on the way out of Rustenberg. North West businessman Thapelo Tshepe is understood to be a potential buyer of Stars but attempts to get him to comment proved fruitless. However according to Nke, Dikwena is not for sale. “There is no substance whatsoever to the story that Platinum Stars is for sale,” says Nke.

Ajax Cape Town have confirmed the signing of American attacker Noah Sadaoui on a long-term deal. The Morocco-born winger started his career at Wydad Casablanca, before moving to America at the age of 11 to join the youth team of New York Red Bulls and ended up at the PDA Academy. Last year Sadaoui signed with Maccabi Haifa, but due to international player restrictions was unable to make his official debut.  Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou said of Sadaoui's capture: “Noah impressed the technical team and we are very happy to have secured his signature. He is a versatile player and the coach will be able to use him in a number of positions if called upon.” The Urban Warriors have also secured the services of former Platinum Stars defender James Mofokeng on a two-year contract. Coach Roger de Sa has also promoted attacking midfielder Ziyaad Eksteen to the first team from the development ranks, and Efstathiou is confident the 18-year-old will make his mark at senior level.

Ajax Cape Town have completed the signing of defender James Mofokeng. The former Platinum Stars player completed his move to Ikamva last Wednesday evening after impressing coach Roger de Sa while on trial. The 22-year-old will hope the move finally kick-starts a promising career that has so far failed to get out of first gear. The SAFA School of Excellence product joined Dikwena two years ago, but made just a single appearance for the side in two seasons, ironically against Ajax as Stars were trounced 4-1 in Cape Town in August 2012. Mofokeng became the fourth signing for Ajax in this transfer window after Zimbabwean midfielder Milton Ncube, Malawi international Robin Ngalande and winger Phathizwe Sacolo. 

Kaizer Chiefs have ended their pursuit of Bidvest Wits captain Sibusiso Vilakazi. For some time now, Chiefs have been after the midfielder but Amakhosi’s football manager Bobby Motaung admitted that the player is no longer on their radar. “Wits said no, so that won’t be happening,” Motaung says. Wits insisted in the past that Vilakazi - the PSL Footballer of the Season in 2013/14 - will only leave the club for an overseas outfit.

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Tiyani Mabunda has resurfaced at Mpumalanga Black Aces in the hope of earning a deal with the club. Mabunda struggled with game-time at Sundowns last season but is now hoping for a chance to revive his career at Amazayoni. The former Black Leopards midfielder is set to join Aces on loan from the Brazilians. According to a source close to Sundowns, midfielder Sean Ledwaba has also been given permission to train with Aces.

SuperSport United have confirmed the signing of former Platinum Stars striker Thabani Mthembu. The 20-year-old was handed just one league start and nine substitute appearances – 268 minutes of Premiership football – by Dikwena last season and as a result, he parted ways with Stars.

Kaizer Chiefs are still deciding on whether they will participate in the CAF Champions League this year. Amakhosi, by virtue of finishing runners-up in the Absa Premiership, qualified for Africa’s premier club competition for a second year running, but rumours have been doing the rounds that they will not take up the challenge. Chiefs director Jessica Motaung poured further fuel on the fire at a press conference when she said: “We have received the invitation to play in the CAF Champions League. We will announce in due course.” Should Chiefs decide not to play, it remains to be seen whether another PSL team gets the nod, or whether the spot will be forfeited.

Maritzburg United turned down a multi-million rand move to Port Elizabeth because they received a counter offer from the Maritzburg municipality. Maritzburg United were offered a chance to relocate to PE but rejected the offer and instead newly promoted Chippa United took the reported R35 million deal. A word from inside Maritzburg United's camp is that the club received a counter offer which is worth more or less the same as Chippa's, and decided to stay. “The club was going to move to PE but they received an offer from the Maritzburg municipality and they quickly jumped at it. That is why the club decided to stay but of course they are not saying anything about it,” says a source inside the club.

Muhsin Ertugral says he hopes to be back in South Africa in September. The 54-year-old resigned from Ajax Cape Town in late January following the death of his foster father Adnan Senses, and has been in Turkey ever since to take care of family affairs. But, despite offers in Europe, Ertugral says he is keen to return to the Premier Soccer League, where he has also coached Kaizer Chiefs, Santos and Golden Arrows. “I would love to come back very soon, but for now I am still in Turkey and looking after the family,” he says.

Maritzburg United striker Terrance Mandaza could miss the start of the new league season after getting stuck in Zimbabwe due to work permit issues. Mandaza is currently missing at training with United while the rest of his team are hard at work preparing for the new campaign.  However, Team of Choice manager Quinton Jetto is hoping that the Zimbabwean striker's papers will be sorted out very soon.

SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is back in the country after training with German Bundesliga team Hannover 96. Williams was afforded the opportunity to gain some valuable life experience after being allowed to train with Hannover for a week. The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper has since returned to the country. His agent Rob Moore says the player's trip to Germany was successful.