Local News - Issue 239

Bafana Set To Face Cameroon In Final Afcon Warm Up Match
The Cameroon Football Federation has confirmed they will take on Bafana Bafana in a friendly international in Gabon on January 11. The match will be played in Libreville, where both countries are in camp ahead of the 2015 African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea, and comes two days after Bafana play Mali in the Gabonese city of Bitam. It will likely be the final friendly game for Shakes Mashaba’s side, with another fixture against Zambia scheduled for January 4 in Orlando. Bafana had been hoping to face a team from North Africa ahead of the continental finals in preparation for their opening Group C clash with Algeria on January 19, but a strong Cameroon side with all their European-based players in place will also serve as excellent preparation. A number of sides are using Gabon as a camp ahead of the tournament because the conditions are similar to those of Equatorial Guinea, which it borders to the west.

Former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Jacob Mokhasi aims to return to the PSL in the new year after parting ways with NFD side Black Leopards. Mokhasi, who also had a spell with Dedebit FC in Ethiopia, received his clearance from Lidoda Duvha at the weekend. "I have terminated my contract with Black Leopards. I am a free agent now," says Mokhasi. "I can't go into details about what happened between me and Leopards except that I am currently talking to a few teams with view of returning back to the PSL in the New Year," adds the ex-South Africa U-23 keeper.

Mamelodi Sundowns will hone their preparations for the CAF Champions League by competing in a tournament alongside DR Congo giants TP Mazembe next month. Mazembe's feeder club Don Bosco and Zesco United of Zambia will also participate in the competition, which is scheduled for the second week of January in the Congo. Downs publicist Kabelo Mosito says he is yet to be furnished with the details of the event. The Brazilians have been drawn to face St. Michel from the Seychelles in the preliminary round of the Champions League. The first leg is set for 13/14/15 February, with the return duel slated for 27/28 February and 1 March. Should Pitso Mosimane's men advance they will next face TP Mazembe.

Kaizer Chiefs hardman Willard Katsande is giving back to the community by hosting a football tournament over the holidays. The 28-year-old has forked out R70 000 for the Willard Katsande Under 18 soccer tournament, to be contested for 20 teams in his home area of Manicaland province. Katsande’s Kaizer Chiefs team mates Kingstone Nkata and Ovidy Karuru will grace the occasion that will see teams from Panhalonga, Chipinge and Mutare battle for honours in the two-day competition. This is the third year running that Katsande who grew up in Mutare is sponsoring the competition and the Warriors midfielder has pledged to continue doing so as long as he can afford to. Katsande began his career in Manicaland with Frontier Steel before moving to Feruka where he was discovered by Premiership side Highway. He moved to Harare to play for Gunners before embarking on his South African journey to join Ajax Cape Town. He left Ajax Cape Town for Kaizer Chiefs in 2011.

Bafana Bafana captain Dean Furman could miss the friendly against Zambia on January 4 due to his club commitments with English side Doncaster Rovers. Bafana will play the Copper Bullets as part of their preparations for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, taking place in Equatorial Guinea from January 17 to February 8. However, Furman will only be arriving in South Africa on the day of the match as Doncaster are in action over the festive period. Bafana started a mini training camp on Friday, with 27 players of the 34-man squad reporting for national team duty in Johannesburg. All the overseas-based players are yet to arrive as they still have matches for their respective clubs. Ajax Amsterdam star Thulani Serero will, like Furman, only link up with Shakes Mashaba's squad in the new year owing to club duties, albeit earlier on January 2. The 27 players in camp were taken for medical assessment in Pretoria on Saturday as required for the CAF tournament. Mashaba and his technical team will trim the squad down to 23 players on Tuesday. South Africa has been drawn against Algeria, Senegal and Ghana in their Afcon group.

Bafana Bafana players have assembled in Johannesburg as part of a mini-camp in preparation for the upcoming African Cup of Nations tournament next month. The 34-man preliminary squad have started arriving for the camp. The training took place in Dobsonville at 10am on Sunday morning, and was open for public viewing. Coach Shakes Mashaba will use the next few days to analyse his players, before trimming 11 of them to the required 23-man squad that will travel to Equatorial Guinea for the continental showpiece, which will start on 17 January 2015. South Africa have been drawn in Group C alongside Algeria, Senegal and Ghana, and face Africa’s number one ranked team Algeria in their opening encounter on Monday, 19 January.

South Africa's 34-man preliminary squad for Afcon 2015:
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet, Jackson Mabokgwane, Siyabonga Mpontshane, Brilliant Khuzwayo.
Defenders: Siyabonga Nhlapo, Patrick Phungwayo, Anele Ngconcga, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Kwanda Mngonyama, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Mulomowandau Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thabo Matlaba, Mzikayise Mashaba.
Midfielders: Themba Zwane, Andile Jali, Asavele Mbekile, Vuyisile Wana, Jabulani Shongwe, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bongani Zungu, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Dean Furman, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Oupa Manyisa, Mondi Cele, Mandla Masango, Thulani Serero, Thuso Phala.
Strikers: Ayanda Patosi, Bernard Parker, David Zulu, Tokelo Rantie, Bongani Ndulula.

SuperSport United midfielder Enocent Mkhabela was reportedly unhurt after being involved in a car accident while heading home for Christmas. The incident took place on the N4 highway as the 25-year-old was driving back to his home in Nelspruit for Christmas. SuperSport United’s spokesman David Skosana confirmed the Matsastansta player had been involved in the crash, yet emerged unscathed. Mkhabela has not enjoyed the best of times on South African roads this year, having been arrested for a short period earlier in October for allegedly resisting arrest and failing to produce a driver’s licence.

Botswana Premiership side Township Rollers are already looking forward to their CAF Champions League match against Kaizer Chiefs. Rollers, who have former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Manqoba Ngwenya, have been pitted against high-riding Amakhosi in what promises to be one of the most exciting fixtures in the Champions League preliminary rounds. Rollers boss Summerset Gobuiwang says people in Botswana are very excited about the prospect of watching Amakhosi in their own backyard. Gobiuwang also revealed that his team would count on the experience of Ngwenya in their encounter against the Soweto-based side.

AmaZulu look set to delve into the transfer market in a bid to revive their lagging fortunes. Usuthu are facing the threat of relegation, as they prop up the Absa Premiership standings with nine points from 16 games - nine points shy of escaping the drop zone. And team manager Japhet Zwane has indicated they will try "beef up the squad" available to coach Steve Barker. Barker's men will resume their campaign against high-flying Orlando Pirates on 11 February at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Mamelodi Sundowns defender Rashid Sumaila remains stranded in Ghana with the league back in his homeland yet to kick-off, two months after his loan move back to his former club Asante Kotoko. The Ghana Premier League was supposed to have kicked off back in August, but a long standing court case by King Faisal FC – who are challenging their relegation – has delayed the start of the new campaign which is now only expected to get underway sometime next year. The delay in the start of the league in Ghana has meant Sumaila will have to wait until next year to play competitive football again, with the only football that he has played, since returning home, being mere friendly matches. Sumaila now appears likely to only start playing competitive football in February when Asante Kotoko – who finished as champions last season – start playing in the 2015 CAF Champions League, with his loan deal set to end in June. The 22 year-old was forced to head back home after The Brazilians chose not to register him as one of the five foreign players at the club this season. Sumaila has since lost his place in the national team and will not be part of The Black Stars squad at the AFCON finals.

SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is set to be out of action for the next five weeks after a successful operation on his facial injury. Williams injured his cheekbone during United’s Absa Preiership match against Bidvest Wits recently, and the former under-20 national team goalkeeper had to be rushed to hospital after colliding with Sameehg Doutie. Matsatsantsa goalkeeper coach Alex Hereida confirmed that Williams has since been discharged from hospital after undergoing a successful operation.

Swaziland side Royal Leopards’ coach Sfiso Ntiwane has welcomed their draw against Bidvest Wits in the CAF Confederations Cup preliminary round game set for February next year. Leopards, a police-force team in Swaziland, are currently the most feared team in the Mountain Kingdom after they won all the domestic tournaments last season.  'Igwe Mabalabala', as Leopards are popularly known in Swaziland, are currently number one on the league table, with 30 points from 13 games. Ntiwane has admitted a tough draw, but says his side have an advantage over The Clever Boys, with the PSL being broadcasted in Swaziland. Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Sbusiso Dlamini last played for Royal Leopards, before he crossed the border to play for Black Leopards a few years ago.

Out-of-favour Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands has indicated his desire to leave the club in the January transfer window. Sandilands has fallen down the pecking order at Sundowns this season with just three appearances to his name in 2014/15, with Denis Onyango having overtaken him in deputising for Kennedy Mweene. Glyn Binkin, who manages the 31-year-old, says that they are looking at ‘doing something’ in January. Since the arrival of Mweene at Downs at the beginning of last season Sandilands has played just eight games, and recent speculation has linked him with a move to Orlando Pirates.

Bafana Bafana will not be the only South African representatives at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea next year. Referee Victor Gomes and assistant referee Zakhele Siwela will also be flying the country’s flag at the continental showpiece after the duo were invited to officiate at the tournament. They will join an elite panel of 44 African referees at the event, which runs from 17 January to 8 February.

David Notoane and Wendell Robinson will take charge of the national U-20 team on a tour of Qatar and Russia as part of the squad’s preparations for the CAF Youth Championships in Senegal. Amajita will travel to the Middle East on 7 January where they will play a Qatar select side on 10 January before heading for Russia where the squad will compete in a Russian Commonwealth tournament that will run from 15 to 26 January. Making the announcement, U-20 coach Thabo Senong, who will not be able to travel with the team due to Bafana Bafana commitments, said both Notoane and Robinson were capable individuals who were already part of the U-20 system. Amajita have been drawn in Group B together with Ghana, Mali and Zambia while Group A consists of hosts Senegal, Nigeria, Congo and Cote d’Ivoire. After the two assignments, Notoane will remain the U-20 assistant coach to Senong, while Robinson will be the goalkeeper coach. Amajita will go into camp on Saturday in Johannesburg and will train at the School of Excellence before leaving for Qatar. They will leave for St Petersburg, Russia on 11 January.

There is a three-way tie at the top of the Q3 Q-Innovation standings going into the festive season break. Bidvest Wits, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns are all on seven points, with the Students on top by virtue of a superior goal-difference. University of Pretoria and Moroka Swallows are on four points, but have played a game less. Orlando Pirates are in fourth place on five points following a win and two draws while Polokwane City, who won Q2, are on three points from two matches. Maritzburg United and Mpumalanga Black Aces are yet to secure a point in Q3, while Ajax Cape Town, Chippa United and bottom-placed AmaZulu have one point each.

SAFA have lauded their achievements since president Danny Jordaan and his national executive committee were elected into office on 28 September 2013. SAFA released a document highlighting the challenges the organisation faced when Jordaan assumed his duties. The document read: 'We realised that immediate, urgent challenges confronted the association which required a focused and co-ordinated response.
These challenges included the following:
-SAFA recorded a total loss over the period 2012 / 2013 of over R100 million.
-Lost sponsorship of Absa and Puma of over R60 million.
-Faced the threat of more sponsors withdrawing.
-2013 no national team qualified for CAF and FIFA competitions.
-Technical plan existed on paper but no resources were allocated, no strategy for implementation  was started and no coordinated coherent context was finalised.
-The media profile was extremely negative.
-The relationship with the government and the Minister of Sport were strained.
-The relationship with CAF, FIFA, COSAFA were strained.
-The relationship with SASSCOC and the National Parliament were adversarial.
-Development and our junior national teams were neglected.'
In response SAFA adopted 'Vision 2022' in January 2014, which they explained as follows:
-Vision 2022 consists of key focus areas for the total reconstruction and development of South African football.
-Technical plan.
-Financial turnaround strategy.
-Commercial strategy.
-Communication strategy - rebuilding the SAFA and Bafana Bafana brands.
-Rebuilding and redeveloping stakeholder relationships.
-Rebuilding our structures - LFA, regions , Provinces .
-Building academies, national technical centre and nine provincial academies.
-Building an efficient world class administration.
-Integrate and align the work of the support structures - Legacy Trust , Development Agency,  Infrastructure Trust with Vision 2022.
-Review: the Provincial plans, the governance , statutes, funding models, revenue base, structures, legal framework of SAFA and align it to achieve maximum success in implementing Vision 2022.'
Since putting the plan in place, Safa listed their successes as follows: 'SAFA reported a financial surplus of R9.8million during the first year of the new NEC. This has been accomplished through new and retaining existing sponsorships, funding from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Trust and assistance form the SAFA Development Agency.
-We attracted various new sponsors, whilst also strengthening relationships with existing sponsors and bringing back old withdrawn sponsors.
-NIKE became the new technical sponsors for all national squads.
-Motsepe Foundation became the new sponsors for the ABC Motsepe Second Division League.
-Burger King/Grand Parade Investments became sponsors of the U-17 and U-19 boys /girls  Interprovincial Championships.
-AVIS returned to the SAFA fold as a vehicle supplier.
-SASOL renewed its sponsorship of Banyana Banyana and women’s football.
-SIYAYA – as a the new broadcast partner and effectively the overall game changer, will allow SAFA  to realise massive impact on its commercial properties and financial sustainability – as the  relationship becomes effective from June 2015.
Unprecedented successes of the national teams, through the change in focus on development, with the following teams reaching qualifiers and CAF competitions: Banyana Banyana: 2014 African Women Championship in Namibia.
-U-17 boys: African Youth Championship 2015 in Niger. The semi-finalists qualify for the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile (17/10 to 8/11 – 2015).
-U-20 boys: African Youth Championship 2015 in Senegal. Semi-finalists qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand (30/5 to 20/6 – 2015).
-Bafana Bafana qualifying unbeaten (and with one match to spare) for the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 – for the first time since 2008.
-And of course, U-20 boys winning the COSAFA tournament.'
SAFA also stated their targets for the national teams in 2015 as follows: 'U-17 boys team – qualification for the 2015 FIFA World Cup, Chile.
-U-20 boys team – qualification for the 2015 FIFA World Cup, New Zealand.
-U-23 men’s team – qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
'Banyana Banyana – qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
'Bafana Bafana – more competitive matches against top teams in the world.'

The Premier Soccer League has confirmed that the domestic January transfer window will open in 14 days’ time on 5 January, 2015. In terms of the NSL rules, the transfer window is the month of January, but with the League’s holiday office closure, registration will commence on 5 January 2015. The domestic window will close on Friday, 30 January 2014 at 5pm, again in terms of the rules which don’t allow registrations outside of office hours.

South Africa Players Abroad
Bafana skipper Dean Furman played two games in three days for English League One side Doncaster Rovers as they won 2-0 at home to Coventry on Friday and drew 0-0 at Peterborough on Sunday. Furman played the full 180 minutes.
Goalkeeper Darren Keet played for Kortrijk as they lost 3-2 at home to Gent in Belgium on Friday.
Anele Ngcongca and Andile Jali were meant to meet in the Belgian league at the weekend but their game was postponed due to heavy snow. Jali revealed afterwards he was injured and would not have played in any event.
Ayanda Patosi played the final 30 minutes for Lokeren as they lost 2-0 at Standard Liege to slip to eighth, a poor end to a horror December for the side.
Steven Pienaar was not involved in the match day squads for Everton for either of their defeats against Stoke City and Newcastle United. Perhaps those rumours of a move to Real Sociedad are true.
Tokelo Rantie made a return to the bench for Bournemouth on Sunday as they won 2-0 at Millwall to open up a four-point lead at the top of the Championship table. The Premier League beckons for Rantie next season … good news too for Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba.