Local News - Issue 223

SuperSport Confirm Igesund As Head Coach
SuperSport United have appointed Gordon Igesund as their new head coach with immediate effect, the club has announced. Igesund, 58, is the only man to coach four different top-flight teams to the Premier Soccer League title and recently worked as head coach of Bafana Bafana where he steered the team to a memorable win over number one-ranked Spain. SuperSport United chairman Khulu Sibiya said: "We are very pleased to welcome Gordon Igesund to the SuperSport United family as our Head Coach. Gordon has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a club and a national team coach. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this club." Igesund, a two-time PSL coach of the year, has been signed by Matsatsantsa on a two-year contract. The new mentor will be assisted by his former Bafana Bafana assistant and former SA Under-20 head coach Serame Letsoaka. The two have had a good working relationship with the national team and Letsoaka’s experience of working with young players will stand the club in good stead as they continue to produce a pipeline of talent from their successful Youth Academy.

Moroka Swallows have confirmed they will be signing Brazilian midfielder-cum-striker Thiago Rodrigo Dos Santos if they agree in on-going negotiations.
Rodrigo has made a huge impression on Swallows coach Zeca Marques during the past two-and-a-half weeks since he first joined the Dube Birds nest.“I like him and we are all in agreement that we need him in the team and we will have to sign him,” says Marques. The 28-year-old is a left-footed offensive player who was most recently with Brazilian club Atletico Cajazeirense de Desportos and has also played for Hai Phong FC in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Kenyan midfielder Kevin Omondi is yet to be registered but continues to train with the club. Omondi was signed on a two-year deal in June but there seems to be a cloud of uncertainty around whether he will be used this season. The 24-year-old joined from Kenyan Premier League leaders club Gor Mahia where he was on loan from FISA Academy.

Former Bidvest Wits striker Letsie Koapeng is set to sign a three-year contract with Orlando Pirates. Koapeng was recently on trial at Mpumalanga Black Aces but couldn’t get a deal although he impressed the coach Clive Barker. Reports that he could sign with Pirates came after the Diepkloof-born player was spotted at the Parktown-based club this past weekend during the match against the Nedbank Cup Ke Yona team. A source close to the player earlier revealed that the 22-year-old was poised to be given a deal at the Buccaneers after he impressed. Koapeng was formerly on the books of Bloemfontein Celtic on a loan deal from The Students, but only made two appearances before he was shipped out to Chippa United. However, at the end of last season, his contract expired at Wits and he was not offered fresh terms.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have made an offer for Raymond Monama. The midfielder is currently a free agent after terminating his contract with Mamelodi Sundowns just a few hours before the transfer window deadline. Monama spent last season on loan at University of Pretoria and he could now find a home at Aces after making contact with the player’s agent, Tim Sukazi.

Orlando Pirates beat the Nedbank Ke Yona team 2-0 at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Lennox Bacela and Letsie Koapeng were the goalscorers in a match pitting last season’s Nedbank Cup champions against a Ke Yona team search outfit compiled by the likes of Shakes Mashaba and Owen da Gama.

Orlando Pirates have snapped up former Amajita midfielder Menzi Masuku.  Masuku – who has played for Mpumalanga Black Aces, Jomo Cosmos and Dynamos – has signed a three-year contract with Pirates.  Bucs administrative official Floyd Mbele confirmed that the 21-year-old midfielder is now property of the Soweto giants.

Big-spending First Division club Royal Eagles have confirmed the signing of former Mpumalanga Black Aces midfielder Setjhaba Mmuso. Eagles, who have had a rough start to the season after losing their opening two games, have brought in the 27-year-old to widen the midfield options. Mmuso was released by Aces in January after battling for game-time. Meanwhile, there has been yet another shake-up in the club’s technical team with Professor Ngubane vacating his technical advisor role less than three months since joining the club. Ngubane has left citing family reasons and becomes the third coach to leave the club after Major David Bright (who was the first head coach) and David Notoane, who briefly worked as an assistant.

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Edward Manqele has stopped training with the Brazilians and is at home waiting to hear from the club about his future in football. Manqele remains a frustrated figure after he was meant to travel to Port Elizabeth this week to start training with Chippa United. However, Manqele's trip was cancelled - this after a loan move to the Chilli Boys on transfer deadline day hit a snag. Manqele's agent Josiah Mphono admits they are unsure on a way forward for the ex-Free State Stars man. Mphono confirmed that Kaizer Chiefs had made an offer to Sundowns for the services of Manqele.

Reigning champions University of Pretoria will face the University of Johannesburg in the final of this year’s Varsity Football tournament after both sides secured penalty shoot-out victories in their respective semi-finals. Tuks will be looking to retain their trophy next Monday after a tough spot-kick victory over the North West University in Mafikeng. The open and fast-paced encounter failed to produce any goals over the 90 minutes as the lottery of the penalty shoot-out loomed.

Golden Arrows’ PRO Vusumuzi Vilakazi believes the four players loaned from Orlando Pirates will have a major impact in the team’s squad in their maiden National First Division campaign. Vilakazi has confirmed that Orlando Pirates quartet Mashale Rantabane, Itumeleng Tlali, Tebogo Masoale and Zukile Mkhize have signed one-year loan deals, and are expected to add competition for places in Abafana Bes’thende’s squad in their mission to fight for a quick comeback to the Premiership. The four players joined Pirates during transfer period and had been part of Bucs’ preseason camp, but have been loaned to Arrows to get game-time as they are not part of coach Vladimir Vermezovic’s plans for this season. Twenty-four-year-old central defender Mashale Rantabane comes from NFD side Maluti FET College; Itumeleng Tlali, a 23-year-old right back, comes from Mpumalanga ABC Motsepe League side Mbombela United; 25-year-old striker Tebogo Masoale arrives from Santos in the NFD while Zukile Mkhize is a 19-year-old promising striker from KZN ABC Motsepe League side Blue Birds.

Kosta Papic has been appointed head coach of Polokwane City. Papic replaces Boebie Solomons, who was fired by City last week. Papic recently resigned from Chippa United, citing interference in team matters as his reason. City are second-from-bottom on the Absa Premiership standings with three points from five matches. They next host fellow strugglers AmaZulu on Saturday. 

Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium will host the MTN8 Final between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. The high-stakes Soweto Derby will take place on September 20, with kick-off set for 20h15. Tickets went on sale at 13h00 on Friday at Computicket and Shoprite from R80. About 30 000 tickets were sold in the first 90 minutes after going on sale and it wasn’t long after they were sold out. It has been confirmed that all 50 000 tickets have been snapped up.

The inaugural MultiChoice Diski Challenge will take place on Saturday at the King Zwelithini Stadium. The initiative was initially launched on August 12, but encountered some early issues when SAFA accused the league of exceeding its mandate on various issues, most notably the age-limit. However, with the issues now seemingly resolved, the league announced the inaugural fixtures, which will be televised on SuperSport 4 and the community TV stations on DStv. AmaZulu vs Orlando Pirates; Maritzburg United vs Kaizer Chiefs; Bloemfontein Celtic vs University of Pretoria; Bidvest Wits vs Platinum Stars. Festivities kick-off at 9am and include live music, food and various prizes.

Chippa United recruit Ugonna Uzochukwu has reportedly received his clearance from Nigerian club Enugu Rangers. The Chilli Boys signed the 21-year-old midfielder midway through July. Uzochukwu represented the Super Eagles at the African Nations Championship, which took place in South Africa earlier this year.

Chippa United have appointed Roger Sikhakhane as their caretaker coach following the departure of Kosta Papic. Chilli Boys spokesman Lukanyo Mzinzi confirms Sikhakhane has returned to the hotseat, while Joel Masutha will continue to serve as an assistant coach at the PE-based side. Mzinzi also says Chippa are in no rush to appoint a permanent successor to Papic.

Engen in partnership with SuperSport United last Tuesday launched the first ever Engen Champ of Champs tournament. The national championship will see the five regional Engen Under-17 winners, including the host club, face off against each other on the weekend of the 10th to 12th of October for the right to be named the best team in the country at the specific age level. The event will take place at the Nike Football Centre in Pimville, Soweto. The six teams that have made it through to the finals are Bidvest Wits, AmaZulu, African Sports Development, Port Elizabeth Sundowns, Harmony Academy and hosts SuperSport United.

Mamelodi Sundowns have decided against loaning out 19-year-old midfielder Flavio Bento despite the unlikelihood of him playing this season. Bento joined Sundowns after spending a few years at Academica de Coimbra in Portugal towards the end of last season and was set for a loan move away from Chloorkop to get more game-time. However, coach Pitso Mosimane seems to be very impressed with the youngster and has decided to keep him. Sundowns official Thulani Thuswa confirmed the South African-born player will be staying with Brazilians. The former Jomo Cosmos youth player was part of the Sundowns team that took part in a pre-season tournament in Cape Town.

South African players abroad round-up

Despite the international break there were still a number of South Africans in club action over the weekend, including a long-awaited debut. Former ASD Academy graduate Ethen Sampson finally made his bow in Major League Soccer after overcoming a knee injury to start for Vancouver Whitecaps in their 0-0 draw with Washington DC United. The Cape Town-born star signed a professional contract with the Canadian club in March, but has been sidelined since then with his knee complaint. The 20-year-old defender, a former teammate of Ayanda Patosi, lasted for 54 minutes before succumbing to cramps.

In the division below, Tiyiselani Shipalane scored his fifth goal of the season as Carolina Railhawks drew 2-2 away at another Canadian side, Ottawa Fury.
Darren Holden was a late substitute for English League Two side Hartlepool United as they won 2-0 at home to Shrewsbury Town.

And there were three South African-born players in the Livingston team that went through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup in Scotland with a 1-0 extra-time victory at Peterhead. The Jacobs brothers, Keaghan and Kyle, as well as Burton O’Brien, all started for Livi.

Finally, it was not such a good weekend for defender Ntuthuko Radebe, who played as his Belgian second-tier side Eupen lost 3-1 at Racing Mechelen.