Local News - Issue 237

Larsen Back At Celtic As Middendorp Gets The Boot

Bloemfontein Celtic have announced the sacking of Ernst Middendorp, with Clinton Larsen back in charge. Siwelele were held to a goalless draw by Moroka Swallows today – a result which saw them slip down to 10th place in the Absa Premiership standings. It was also their fourth consecutive game without scoring. Middendorp took over at Celtic last year, having also coached Kaizer Chiefs, Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United in South Africa. Larsen now takes over, with Lehlohonolo Seema his assistant and Simon Gopane the goalkeeper coach.

AmaZulu goalkeeper Siya Mngoma faces a spell on the sidelines with a suspected fractured right arm. Mngoma, who joined Usuthu from Thanda Royal Zulu on a three-year deal in June, hurt himself when punching a ball in his side's 1-1 draw with KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United on Friday. The 26-year-old admits the setback is hard to take after being handed his club debut ahead of Tapuwa Kapini, who conceded three goals against Mpumalanga Black Aces the weekend before. Mngoma, however, has vowed to come back strongly and regain the trust of coach Steve Barker. Mngoma joins John Arwuah and Marc van Heerden on the treatment table at the Durban-based oufit.

Cape Town Roses were crowned 2014 Sasol League National champions on Sunday, 14 December 2014 at the Isaac Wolfson stadium in Port Elizabeth. Roses beat three times champions, Palace Super Falcons 2-1 to clinch the title for the first time. The team from Cape Town put on an impressive display on the day. A second half brace by former Banyana Banyana player, Nocawe Skiti handed Roses the trophy, while second half substitution, Gugu Gabuza got the goal for Falcons. Both teams had not lost in any of their matches leading to the final.

Bafana Bafana will start their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations preparations with a friendly against Zambia on January 4. The match will be played at Orlando Stadium and will give coach Shakes Mashaba a better idea of what his team will look like for the showpiece tournament in Equatorial Guinea. Bafana last played Chipolopolo in July 2013 in the Cosafa Cup. After a 0-0 draw, the South Africans lost 5-3 on penalties. Zambia famously beat Ivory Coast in the Final of the 2012 Nations Cup.

Moroka Swallows have signed former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mthokozisi Yende. The 30-year-
old had been on trial at the club, but the move looked to have fallen through due to financial disagreements. It all seems to have worked out well though, with Yende now being free to play for the struggling Birds. He was last in action for Free State Stars, having also featured for Tembisa Classic, University of Pretoria, Chiefs and Maritzburg United.

Ajax Cape Town have rejected talk that on-loan winger Keagan Dolly will return to Mamelodi Sundowns in January – despite the powers-that-be at Chloorkop believing that is the case. A Sundowns official revealed that the 21-year-old – who signed for the Brazilians earlier in the season before being loaned back – would report for duty in Tshwane in January. However, Ajax boss Ari Efstathiou insists that is not the case.

Wilfred Mugeyi has confirmed his departure from AmaZulu following the appointment of Steve Barker as the new coach.
Mugeyi initially served as assistant coach to Craig Rosslee before taking over for six games on a caretaker basis when Rosslee was fired as Usuthu’s struggles continued. However, with Barker’s appointment Mugeyi was moved aside and has now left the club. Barker has been working with Ronnie Moroka as his assistant since his arrival at the end of last month.

Former Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits defender Thando Mdluli has joined First Division club Highlands Park. Since leaving Pirates three years Mdluli’s career hasn't progressed much with most of his time spent having trials. Steve Haupt, the Highlands coach, confirmed the signing of Mdluli along with Serbian-born Dino Ramic.

Free State Stars striker Abdul Adam Basit hopes to make his return in the club's final game of the year against Platinum Stars at Goble Park on 20 December.
Basit, who is nursing a muscle strain, has been limited to only three substitute outings this season due to a combination of injury and illness. The Ghanaian has nevertheless scored twice courtesy of a brace against Moroka Swallows, and naturally he is hungry for more game-time.

Zimbabwean striker Nyasha Mushekwi is back training with Mamelodi Sundowns’ first team after recovering from injury, but is hoping for a move away from the club in the January transfer window. Mushekwi picked up a knee ligament injury during a loan spell at Belgian outfit KV Oostende last season, and was not registered by Sundowns due to the foreign quota limitation. The 27-year-old will therefore not see any game-time this season as the club has already exhausted its foreign quota with five foreigners already registered. Word is that Sundowns want to entice Mushekwi into a new deal which stretches beyond his current contract running out in June, before allowing him to leave in January, preferably on loan. Mushekwi still has another option of possibly returning to Belgium being pursued by his handlers. The striker has an impressive record of 40 goals in 53 starts for The Brazilians.

Shakes Mashaba will be hoping the Estadio de Mongomo in Equatorial Guinea will undergo some major improvement before the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off next month. Bafana Bafana play all three their Group C matches at the venue – against Algeria (January 19), Senegal (January 23) and Ghana (January 27). However, a look at the stadium and pitch reiterates the concerns that were raised when the country was first announced as the replacement hosts. When Equatorial Guinea co-hosted the tournament in 2012, only two venues were used, but Mongomo was added this time around to accommodate the 16 teams.

Platinum Stars have broken the bank to land the signature of highly-rated Zambian Reynold Kampamba.
The Chipolopolo striker was also on the wanted list of SuperSport United and two teams from both Israel and France, but Dikwena have done enough to convince Kampamba to relocate to South Africa next year January. According to a source close to the deal, the 22-year-old’s team Nkana FC have accepted Stars’ offer. The 22-year-old has scored 19 goals in all competitions for Nkana this year and was the 2013 FAZ Super Division Golden Boot winner with 18 goals last year.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have cancelled Mbulelo Mabizela's contract after the defender suffered a fall-out with head coach Clive Barker. Aces severed ties with Mabizela based on the recommendations of a disciplinary enquiry held on 28 October. Aces chairman Mario Morfou expressed disappointment at the turn of events. The former Bafana Bafana captain only played in the club's first game of the season, a 4-0 MTN8 loss to eventual cup champions Kaizer Chiefs.

Mamelodi Sundowns’ unwanted defender Method Mwanjali remains in the dark at Chloorkop, and this time Eskom are not to blame. Mwanjali was pushed to train alone in the gym after failing to clinch a move away from the club prior to the closure of the previous transfer window after it became apparent that he was not in the plans for this season. The 31-year-old spent last season at Mpumalanga Black Aces, playing 21 games. The steady defender still has a contract with the Brazilians up to the end of the season but is keen on a move away in January which Sundowns should naturally be open to.

Bidvest Wits have handed Zimbabwean striker Fransisco Zekumbawire a trial as they look at the possibility of bolstering their forward line.
Zekumbawire is currently training with the Clever Boys with intention to impress coach Gavin Hunt. The striker is currently on the books of Harare City. Mike Ngobeni, who brought Zekumbawire to South Africa, confirms the presence of the player at Wits training. Meanwhile, Wits have decided against selling their captain Sibusiso Vilakazi, who will remain with the club until the end of the season. Vilakazi had been linked with a number of teams overseas, including Portugal. However, the Bafana Bafana midfielder has opted to remain with Wits until the end of the season.

Kaizer Chiefs have set the record for the highest points tally at the halfway stage of the season since the league was narrowed down to 16 teams in 2002/03. They have now surpassed their own mark of 36 points set in the first 15 games of the 2003/04 season, on their way to being crowned champions with 63 points under Ted Dumitru. Amakhosi have also overtaken Orlando Pirates, who had 33 points under Kosta Papic after 15 games during the 2004/05 season, having won nine and drawing six during an unbeaten run which eventually stretched to 17 games.

Former Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates striker Terror Fanteni is now training with Moroka Swallows. The 30-year-old was until recently training with Maritzburg United, but he wasn’t offered a deal and he has now moved on to the Dube Birds to try out for a contract. Meanwhile, former Under-17 national team coach Simon Ngomane is apparently set to become a part of Swallows’ technical team to assist Fani Madida, but the club has confirmed nothing at this stage.

Bidvest Wits CEO Jose Ferreira has lashed out at local agents for linking certain players with a move to his club with the intention of increasing their market value. The Students have been linked with a number of players ahead of the January transfer window, including Black Leopards midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase and Polokwane City striker Puleng Tlolane. But Ferreira assures says that they have not spoken to any clubs or agents.

Despite Safa announcing that they have agreed to retain Vera Pauw as the Banyana Banyana coach, the Dutch coach has yet to agree terms and put pen to paper. Pauw was appointed as the Banyana coach in March this year and led the team to a fourth-placed finish at the recent Africa Women's Championship held in Namibia; falling just short of qualifying for the Fifa Women’s World Cup. Despite this, the Safa national executive committee agreed in a meeting held on Saturday, 6 December to retain the services of the former Netherlands international. It has been established that Pauw has yet to put pen to paper. The 51-year-old is currently in the Netherlands and will be meeting Safa before the end of this week to solely discuss her “working conditions” before deciding whether to sign a new contract. If both parties do not agree terms they could still part ways.

Forgotten defender Joseph Henyekane insists he still hasn’t given up on reviving his professional career despite currently playing for the SAPS. Henyekane is being forced to sweat it out in the amateur ranks with a South African Police Service team back home in Kimberley. The 30-year-old has faced up to some difficulties in recent times with his last contract having been at Roses United last season following his return from a self-imposed sabbatical. Joseph is the younger brother of Free State Stars forward Richard Henyekane.

Mpumalanga Black Aces goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane will be hosting his annual soccer tournament in his home village of Moletjie Ga-Rametloana, Limpopo. The tournament will see 16 teams in total; eight Under-17 and eight senior teams challenging each other in a round-robin format.  Rather than the focus being on winning, Mabokgwane seeks to foster community participation while providing exposure and mentorship to local youth.  The former School of Excellence product, who earned his first international cap for Bafana Bafana during the recent Nelson Mandela Challenge, gave credit to his club for supporting his initiative this year.
Jackson Mabokgwane Soccer Tournament
Date: 25-28 December 2014
Venue: All Stars FC sports ground, Moletjie Ga-Rametloana
Entrance: R10

South African winger Sive Phekezela has parted ways with Swedish top-flight side Gefle, bringing to an end a disappointing spell at the club.
The 22-year-old has had a season ravaged by injury in 2014 and the club have decided not to extend his contract. Phekezela, who came through the ASD Academy at the same time as Ayanda Patosi, did not make a single appearance in the recently completed season as he battled with a succession of injuries. In all he made just three starts and a further 12 substitute appearances while at Gefle, though he did get to play in the UEFA Europa League in the 2013/14 installment of that competition. The Swedish club was Phekezela’s second in Europe, he also had a spell at Belgian side Germinal Beerschot but did not make any first team appearances for them. Born in Gugulethu, Phekezela has also been on the junior books of Vasco da Gama and FC Cape Town.

South African players abroad
Dean Furman missed Doncaster Rovers’ League One loss to Gillngham through injury, though it is not thought to be serious and he should be back for Saturday’s trip to Swindon Town.
Darren Keet ended his run of over 400 minutes without conceding a goal when he let in three against Genk to lose 3-0.
Anele Ngcongca won the bragging rights over Bafana teammate Keet when his Genk side ended the excellent run of Kortrijk in the Belgian league on Saturday with a 3-0 success. And he was quick to let the world know on Twitter too...
Thulani Serero scored his first goal of the season when he grabbed the opener for Ajax Amsterdam in an easy 3-1 success over Utrecht.
Not a good week for Andile Jali whose Oostende side were well beaten 3-0 by Anderlecht. He played the full game.
Kamohelo Mokotjo played in Sunday’s 2-0 away loss to PSV Eindhoven that just about ends FC Twente’s title hopes for this season before Christmas.
Ayanda Patosi played the full game as Lokeren were disappointingly beaten 1-0 at Zulte-Waregem.
Dani Amos, the Hapoel Tel Aviv goalkeeper, who hopes to play for Bafana, returned from three weeks out injured to play in Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Kgosi Ntlhe played for Peterborough United as they won 2-1 at Leyton Orient – their first victory in seven games.
Nhlakanipho Ntuli
came off late for Jong FC Twente (youth) on Friday night as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Sparta Rotterdam.
Andrew Surman played for Bournemouth as they moved to the top of the English Championship with a 5-3 win over Kagisho Dikgacoi’s Cardiff City. Neither the latter nor Tokelo Rantie of Bournemouth played in the game through injury.
Michael Travis made his debut for new club Montrose in the Scottish fourth tier as they lost 2-1 at home to Queen’s Park. It is the third side he has played for this season after being released by Arbroath and then being fielded as a trialist by Forfar Athletic.