Local News - Issue 233

Bafana To Host Ivory Coast In Nelson Mandela Challenge
SAFA says they are talking to all the clubs involved to ensure Bafana Bafana field their strongest possible line-up in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the end of the month. The national team are set to face the Ivory Coast on November 30, most likely at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in the annual match honouring Madiba. But with the fixture falling outside a Fifa date, there are fears that it could descend into a farce, with clubs not prepared to release their top players. However, SAFA spokesman Dominic Chimhavi says they are in negotiations with all parties involved.

Former Moroka Swallows midfielder Goodman Mazibuko has returned to the club as an assistant coach to current head coach Fani Madida. Mazibuko, who a few months ago was working towards a SAFA Level I coaching certificate, apparently started his job on Monday. The 39-year-old represented Free State Stars, Orlando Pirates and Swallows in the topflight and also played five matches for Bafana Bafana. Mazibuko and Madida couldn’t be reached for comment.

Orlando Stadium has emerged as a strong contender to host the Telkom Knockout Final between SuperSport United and Platinum Stars on November 29. According to a source close to the PSL, Gauteng will stage the showpiece decider, with Orlando Stadium and Dobsonville Stadium earmarked as possible venues. PSL spokesman Luxolo September refused to be drawn on the matter, only going as far as to say "the venue will be announced on Wednesday". United beat Orlando Pirates 2-0 at Orlando Stadium in the last-four, while cup holders Stars edged out Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in their semi-final tie.

Bidvest Wits have handed North West University striker Tshenolo Machwisa a trial. Machwisa attracted attention from a few other PSL teams, including Platinum Stars, after his superb form during the Varsity Cup tournament. However, the Clever Boys looked to have stolen a march on their rivals and are taking a look at the striker who scored a hat-trick against University of Cape Town earlier this year.

SAFA has lauded the country’s national teams, calling 2014 a historic year in terms of teams’ successes. Four of the national teams – Banyana Banyana, Under-20, Under-17 and Bafana Bafana – qualified for continental competitions in their respective areas, something which is a first for the country. Banyana, under coach Vera Pauw, qualified for the African Women Championships in Namibia and narrowly missed out on the spot at the 2015 World Cup. The Under-20 team drew with African powerhouse Cameroon 1-1 in the first leg before overcoming them 2-1 in Polokwane in the second leg to seal a berth in the African Junior Championships scheduled for Senegal next year. Then it was the turn of the Under-17s to shine on the continent as they beat Egypt 2-1 in the first leg, before holding the North Africans to a famous 2-2 draw in Cairo to complete a 4-3 aggregate win and book a place in the CAF Youth Championships which will take place in Niger next year. If Amajita finish among the top four teams in Senegal they will qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand, and if Amajimbos emulate the same feat in Niger, they will qualify for the World Cup in Chile. Both the U20 and U17 World Cups will take place next year. On Saturday at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Bafana stormed into the 2015 Nations Cup finals, finishing top of Group A with a game to spare. Apart from the success on the field, SAFA made remarkable achievements on its commercial aspect in which it completed a number of sponsorship deals with Nike, Avis, Motsepe Foundation, EY, GPI/Burger King in addition to long term existing partners such as Castle/SAB, SASOL, TigerBrands, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Tsogo Sun. The Association also concluded a massive R1-billion sponsorship deal with new entrant Siyaya TV for all its future broadcasting activities. Only last week, SAFA acquired a R100-million Technical Centre which will be the National Football Centre for the country, housing the training, education and research facilities. The centre will benefit everyone involved in the game at every level.

Nyasha Mushekwi is looking out for a January transfer window move but Mamelodi Sundowns remain keen on extending his contract which expires at the end of the season. Mushekwi has been stuck at Sundowns since returning injured from his loan spell at Belgium club KV Oostende, with the PSL champions choosing not to register him for this season due to foreign quota issues. Apparently Sundowns want to make sure that if Mushekwi leaves in January then they will already have enticed him into an extension stretching beyond his current deal with the club. There is apparently interest in the Zimbabwean striker who is back ready to play again in the new year with a January transfer window exit his immediate target. Two Gauteng-based PSL clubs are sniffing around for his services for the January transfer window while another two – outside Gauteng – are willing to commit into pre-contracts for next season considering that he is out of contract with Sundowns in June. The two clubs outside Gauteng have already exhausted their foreign quotas for this season and can only register him for next term. However, the two Gauteng clubs have the foreign space and can use him right away when the League resumes in February.

Former Durban Bush Bucks and Orlando Pirates midfielder Sipho Christopher Mazibuko has passed away. Mazibuko collapsed at his home in Dube, Soweto Sunday afternoon before being rushed to hospital and was later confirmed dead at 19h30. Mazibuko also played for Moroka Swallows before retiring from football. Former Pirates midfielder Alfred 'Shakes' Gwabeni confirms the passing away of his close friend and former teammate at the Mighty Buccaneers.

AmaZulu will pull out all the stops to convince Bongani Ndulula to sign a new contract with them. The Bafana Bafana marksman has a contract with Usuthu until the end of June 2015, and while teams like Kaizer Chiefs are reportedly interested in him, AmaZulu will put up a fight. The 24-year-old is part of the Bafana Bafana team that qualified for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Thanda Royal Zulu have confirmed that Asanda Mvalo will stand in as caretaker coach following the surprise resignation of Thami Ngubane.
Ngubane handed in his resignation letter on Friday and has since taken over as head coach at Royal Eagles, leaving Thanda stranded and forced to look elsewhere for a new coach. Mvalo – who has been working as assistant at Thanda – will take charge in the meantime until a new coach arrives, possibly before Saturday’s home match against African Warriors. Pierre Delvaux – the Thanda chairman – says Mvalo has taken over with immediate effect. Mvalo (33) previously played for the club as a centre-back and also had stints with Bush Bucks, Bay United and Jomo Cosmos in the PSL.

Royal Eagles have named Thami Ngubane as their new coach, joining from fellow First Division club Thanda Royal Zulu on a long-term deal. Ngubane will be introduced to the players this morning after agreeing terms with the ambitious Durban-based club on Friday. He replaces John Tlale, who has been standing in as caretaker coach since the departure of Duncan Lechesa. Tlale will revert back to his substantive position as goalkeeper coach with Jomo Ntuli staying put as assistant while Khabo Zondo will continue as the technical advisor. Richard Makhoba, the general manager at Eagles, confirms the new appointment. Eagles have so far also had Major David Bright and David Notoane stand in as coaches this season. The appointment of Ngubane puts an end to the club’s pursuit of Jacob Sakala, who has chosen to remain as technical advisor at Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Mamelodi Sundowns are set to welcome back goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene when they take on Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday. Mweene missed the last two games for Sundowns due to a groin injury. However, the Zambia goalkeeper was back in goal for Chipolopolo as they beat Mozambique 1-0 to increase their chances of qualifying for the African Nations Cup finals next year. Mweene was instrumental for Zambia against the Black Mambas and saved a penalty from Elias Pelembe in the second half to keep Chipolopolo's hopes of going to Equatorial Guinea alive. However, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane now faces a headache after deputy goalkeeper Denis Onyango also put in a superb performance to help Uganda beat Ghana 1-0 in Kampala. Onyango has only conceded one goal in the last two games for the Brazilians.

Dean Furman says he is honoured by the support both he and his team received from the Durban faithful on Saturday. The midfielder captained his country for the first time in the 2-1 win against Sudan which also saw South Africa make it to the Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea next year. Furman’s every touch was met by calls of ‘Mluuuungu’ and 'Deeeean' – reminiscent of the days when fans took to Matthew Booth. And the 26-year-old from Doncaster Rovers said he is humbled by the experience and is boosted by the support Bafana gets everywhere the team goes.

Orlando Pirates and Manchester Football Legends played out to a thrilling 2-2 draw at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors going on to win the match on a penalty shootout.  Pirates got the opener on 36 minutes, and it was the hero of 95, ‘Legs of Thunder’, who again did the business. He headed home after a delightful chip from Steve Lekoelea. Sikhosana almost made it 2-0 on 52 minutes when he smashed a volley at goal, only for Baloyi to turn it around the post for a corner. It was a sign of things to come though, as Pirates extended their lead on 58 minutes through Andries Sebola, who buried a pass from Joseph Ngake. Okpara saved well at Louis Saha’s feet soon after before the Manchester Legends pulled one back courtesy of Saha on 77 minutes. Four minutes later Sikhosana almost restored the lead, but his shot came back off the woodwork, allowing Saha to score a dramatic late equaliser, before the visitors won 5-4 on penalties.

Nike South Africa marketing manager Seruscka Naidoo has issued reassurance that the new Bafana Bafana jersey will be launched by the end of November. The current Nike jersey that the national teams have been using was launched earlier this year in February, and was not made available to the public. Nike said that the 2014 jersey was only made for the players and technical staff of each national team. However, Naidoo has says that Bafana's new jersey will immediately be made available for purchase to the public, upon its launch at the end of this month. In the past sponsors’ have been criticised for their lack of creativity as the national team kits have had similar designs to local and/or international club kits, which previously faced public criticism. This time, however, Nike has promised a completely unique design for the South African national teams.

Former SAFA Referee Clifford Malgas was on Friday convicted and sentenced on two counts of corruption and perjury related to his role in attempted match fixing during the 2011 SAFA Second Division play-offs. Malgas was sentenced to two years for corruption and another two years for perjury, bringing the total sentence to four years in prison. None of the sentences were suspended and he will therefore serve an effective four years behind bars. The court convicted the disgraced official following overwhelming evidence that he colluded with convicted criminal, Philemon Setshedi, who himself was convicted and sentenced for corruption in 2013. In her judgment, the magistrate said the act of compromising the integrity of sport was a very serious offence that warranted a custodial sentence. The South African Football Association is working very closely with the South African Police Services and National Prosecutions Authority to pursue the persons who are implicated in wrong-doing during the SAFA Second Division Playoffs in 2011 and corruption in football generally. The Association, SAPS and NPA will leave no stone unturned to ensure that all corrupt elements within football are brought to book.

Absa Premiership title hopefuls Ajax Cape Town have received a blow after Keagan Dolly was ruled out for four to six weeks with a broken toe. The winger sustained the injury during a training ground collision with Franklin Cale on Wednesday, with team physio Jantu Greyling initially assessing the injury as minor. However, following the results of a scan, Dolly has undergone surgery on the fifth phalanx (little toe) on his right foot. Dolly is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks, meaning he could miss up to six or seven matches during a busy November and December period and may only return next year.

Amid talks that Siyabonga Mpontshane is linked with a move to Orlando Pirates, Platinum Stars have offered the player a new contract. Pirates are understood to be lining up Mpontshane as their new first-choice keeper following the tragic death of Senzo Meyiwa last month. Club chairman Advocate Ratanang Nke says that the 28-year-old goalkeeper has been offered a new deal following his elevated status as an international player.

Cape Town All Stars midfielder Mihlali Mabhuti Mayambela wants to emulate his older brother Mark and create his own history in South African football. The junior Mayambela, 18, has signed a two-year deal with All Stars but will only join the team for full-time training after his Matric exams on November 26. The Cape Town-born midfielder can't wait to finish his studies and start to concentrate on his soccer career.

Royal Eagles have secured the services of Njabulo Manqana as the winds of change continue to sweep through the ambitious First Division club’s dressing room.
Manqana – who has finally given up on his hopes of continuing in the Premiership this season – has signed a deal running to the end of the season. The stylish midfielder has previously played for Golden Arrows, Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu but saw trials at several clubs bring him no joy at the beginning of this season before settling for Eagles.

Golden Arrows striker Vusimuzi Vilakazi is happy to be back in action after coming out of retirement. Vilakazi has dusted off his soccer boots after retiring from football three years ago when he went on to serve as the Communications Manager for Arrows. The KwaZulu-Natal-born striker scored on his return to football when Abafana Besithende beat Maluti FET College 4-2 last time out. Arrows are currently sitting on top of the standings in the National First Division and look on course to gain promotion to the PSL next season. Arrows are yet to lose a game this season, with the Durban-based club having scored eight goals in their last two encounters. They currently lie three points ahead of Milano United on the NFD table, and will face Royal Eagles in their next fixture when League action resumes on 22 November.

Siyanda Xulu’s coach at FC Rostov in Russia has received a five-match ban for his racist comments that caused an uproar around the world. Igor Gamula was handed the ban by the Russian Football Union on Wednesday and said he accepted it without making any further comment. It follows a stormy period for the club in which their African players initially refused to work under the Ukraine-born tactician, before relenting and featuring in a 0-0 draw at the weekend. Xulu is one of the club’s African stars, along with players from Angola, Cote d’Ivoure, Gabon and Mali. Gamula also threw a joke about the Ebola virus into his comments, saying after five of his players had reported fevers, "I am already worrying its Ebola" before later saying he was joking. Gamula later said it was a private conversation between himself and the journalist, and after some cajoling later apologised to the club’s African stars. Rostov could hardly use the bad publicity, they are currently 14th out of 16 in the Russian Premier League in the relegation play-off positions.

Chippa United have put a price tag of R12-million for the services of midfielder Andile Mbenyane, who is reportedly on the wanted-list of the 'top three' PSL clubs. Mbenyane could be the second player to leave United as David Zulu is reportedly on his way to Naturena to join Kaizer Chiefs next year in January. The Chilli Boys will now also find it hard to hold onto their most prized asset. United boss Chippa Mpengesi confirms the interest in Mbenyane but says the 26-year-old will only leave for a substantial transfer fee.

George Maluleka has resumed full training ahead of Kaizer Chiefs' clash with Mamelodi Sundowns next Saturday, while captain Itumeleng Khune has started "limited training on the pitch". Amakhosi on their website provided an injury update on their players, saying they are "hoping for a clean medical room in the next two weeks". Midfielder Maluleka has recovered from the groin strain that he sustained in Chiefs' 1-0 win at Ajax Cape Town on 19 October. Veteran utility player Josta Dladla is also training at full tilt again following a spell out with a troublesome Achilles tendon. However, Khune is still making his way back from an ankle complaint, with the goalkeeper last playing in a 2-0 League win over SuperSport United on 30 August. Meanwhile, ex-Downs striker Katlego Mphela has started running again after hurting his foot in a MTN8 semi-final defeat of Platinum Stars on 24 August.

Mpumalanga Black Aces midfielder Clifford Ngobeni has started light training following his Achilles injury. The former Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates player suffered the injury against Kaizer Chiefs back in August and was only expected back next month, but Aces media liaison Gordon Masondo shares the good news. However, Aces have suffered a blow with the news that Dennis Masina will be sidelined with a calf injury he picked up during training. AmaZayoni’s next fixture is at home to Polokwane City on November 22 at the Mbombela Stadium.

Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mthokozisi Yende looks set to find a new home with Moroka Swallows. The 30-year-old has been training with the Birds for the past four weeks and has reportedly done enough to earn himself a contract. Yende is currently a free agent after parting ways with Free State Stars at the end of last season. Swallows are in desperate need of some new blood as they languish down in 13th position in the Absa Premiership standings with 10 points from 10 games.

SAFA has moved swiftly and barred midfielder May Mahlangu from being considered for any future Bafana Bafana duties. The midfielder last Monday stunned the country by announcing that he would want to be excused from the current national team camp, citing fatigue as the reason. The move angered coach Shakes Mashaba, who threatened never to consider the player again. SAFA have now weighed in by announcing that Mahlangu had ‘literally retired himself from international duty’ following his move not to make himself available for the Sudan and Nigeria Afcon qualifiers.

It’s still early days, but Polokwane City are currently leading the race in the second Q-Innovation race. Kaizer Chiefs comfortably won Q1, but find themselves in a five-way tie in second place, with only Kosta Papic’s team having managed full points from two games. Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars join big-spending Bidvest Wits in last place with zero points, but they have only played one match in Q2, with the Students currently in a poor run of form. Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns are on two points, having only managed draws against Chippa United and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

The matter between Mamelodi Sundowns and Edward Manqele has been finally settled and the striker can now be registered and start playing for his new club Chippa United. Manqele took Sundowns to the PSL Dispute and Resolution Chamber for an alleged breach of contract which included outstanding signing on fees and salaries. According to the PSL media and broadcasting manager Luxolo September the issue has now been resolved. As per PSL rules, when a player is cleared to play by the DRC he can be registered and get back on the field. Manqele’s business manager Josiah Mophono says his client has been paid all his outstanding monies.

Free State Stars PRO Lebohang Maketa says the team are not on the lookout for a new coach.  Ea Lla Kota are without a head coach following Tom Saintfiet’s dismissal, with Kinnah Phiri currently in charge as a caretaker coach. Stars are 11th in the Absa Premiership standings, seven points clear of bottom-placed AmaZulu.