Local News - Issue 241

Pirates Waiting On SuperSport For Williams

SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams is faced with a possibility of leaving the club, with early indications suggesting that he might land up at Orlando Pirates. SuperSport have already been approached by two big clubs, one of which is Pirates, for the services of Williams, who despite still being 22 is already into his fifth season in the PSL. SuperSport are said to now be weighing up their options while waiting to see how the goalkeeping puzzle at Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs – where Itumeleng Khune is out of contract at the end of the season – pans out. The former League champions have already made plans to bring goalkeeper Boafela Pule back from his loan spell at Bidvest Wits, while the return of unsettled Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands also remains a possibility if Williams leaves. Though settled at SuperSport, Williams is aware that moving south of the N1 will enhance his chances of establishing himself further in the national team.

Free State Stars will travel to Lesotho to play a friendly against the country's national side on Sunday. Stars, like their Absa Premiership rivals, recently returned to training as they gear up for their next league assignment against SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on February 11.

Platinum Stars are willing to sell Siyabonga Mpontshane in the current transfer window after the two parties failed to agree on a new contract for the goalkeeper. Mpontshane's existing deal expires in June, with Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United believed to be interested in acquiring his services.

League leaders Kaizer Chiefs have already started searching for striker Kingston Nkhatha’s replacement at Naturena. Nkatha will trade Johannesburg for Pretoria at the end of the season after signing a pre-contract with Supersport United. The Zimbabwean striker's contract with the Phefeni Glamour Boys runs out at the end the current season, and he chose not to extend his stay but rather join Gauteng rivals Matsatsantsa. Amakhosi Football Manager Bobby Motaung has revealed that his team is already looking for a striker to replace Nkahtha. A possible replacement upfront could be Mamelodi Sundowns’ Anthony Laffor, whose contract with the Brazilians runs out in June. Chiefs are said to be closely observing the Liberian international, who has been given the green light to speak to any clubs interested in his services.

Two former Golden Arrows midfielders Njabulo Manqana and Thokozani Mshengu are currently on trial with Limpopo outfit Polokwane City. Manqana was a Royal Eagles' player last year but terminated his contract in December, after activating a clause which allowed him to do so should a possible move to a PSL team arise. Mshengu was last on the books of AmaZulu but was released due to ill-discipline in November 2013 after contravening the players' rules at the club. Manqana was also at AmaZulu last season but after his contract came to an end, he unsuccessfully trialled at Free State Stars in June before joining Royal Eagles in a one-year deal. Mshengu and Manqana’s talent came to fore in 2009 when Abafana Besthende annihilated Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the MTN8 Final at Orlando Stadium. Manqana scored twice in that match, while Mshengu added his name to the scoresheet as well to complete the KZN side’s victory.

Kaizer Chiefs have officially announced the signing of Chippa United and Bafana Bafana striker David Zulu. There was news back in October that Zulu would be a Phefenu Glamour Boy this year, and the club has finally unveiled the player. Zulu strengthens the attacking department at the club, who are still expected to sign another striker to replace SuperSport United-bound Kingston Nkhatha. Before Chippa United, the 28-year-old played for Black Leopards and Pimville Youngsters. He has one international cap and one goal, scored on his debut towards the end of last year against Ivory Coast in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

Striker Lerato Manzini has returned to Bloemfontein Celtic after a disappointing loan spell with SuperSport United. Phunya Sele Sele were considering bringing the 23-year-old back to the Free State and the club has now confirmed the move via their official Twitter account: "@Bloem_Celtic confirms the return of striker #LeratoManzini. #Siwelele"

Ajax Cape Town CEO Ari Efstathiou says the club will exercise the two-year option they have on goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola. The Finland international is currently contracted to Ajax until the end of the season but the Urban Warriors have expressed their interest in extending his stay. Jaakkola has been an instrumental part of Ajax and was nominated for PSL Goalkeeper of the Season last year.

The South Africa U-20 (Amajita) and U-17 (Amajimbos) teams will this week continue with their preparations for respective CAF competitions. Amajita will play in the Under-20 Youth Championships in Senegal in March, while Amajimbos will do duty in a similar-styled event in Niger next month. Amajita, who lost 3-1 to Qatar this past weekend, are currently in Russia to take part in the 2015 Commonwealth Cup, which will run in St Petersburg from 15-25 January. The team, which is coached by David Notoane on an interim basis as Thabo Senong is with Bafana Bafana, are in Group C together with Lithuania, Tjikistan and Kazakhstan. The South Africans open their Group C account with a match against Lithuania on Saturday before rounding off their tight programme with matches against Tajikistan the following day and Kazakhstan on 20 January. Meanwhile, Amajimbos will be on the road again on Thursday following their credible 1-1 draw against Zambia in Lusaka in a friendly last Saturday. This time they are off to Nigeria where they will play the hosts on Saturday (Kick-off 16h00).

Commonwealth Cup Group Draw:
Group A                 Group B         Group C
1. Belarus               1. Moldova      1. RSA
2. Turkmenistan   2. Kirgizstan     2. Lithuania
3. Estonia               3. Russia           3. Tajikistan
4. Finland               4. Latvia            4. Kazakhstan

A few days after signing Oupa Manyisa, PUMA has added another Orlando Pirates player to their stable in the shape of Lehlohonolo Majoro. The 28-year-old striker, who has netted eight goals this season, will wear PUMA’s evoPOWER boot this season, and will be supplied with PUMA performance and lifestyle gear. Majoro joins a host of South African stars like Steven Pienaar, Themba Zwane and Tokelo Rantie in sporting PUMA.

Alex Youth Tournament is an independent organization working hand in hand with professional footballers to inspire future football stars and to groom them in sports. Together with Lebo Manyama of SuperSport United, AYT will be hosting a tournament on the 31 January in Alex. This tournament is mainly to uplift the youth and inspire those who are looking to build their sports careers.

Ethiopian striker Fikru Tefera has surfaced at Bidvest Wits following his release by Indian Super League club Atletico de Kolkata at the end of last year. Fikru started training with Wits on Monday morning as the Clever Boys got back to work after the festive break.  The forceful forward spent the second half of 2014 in India but was then reportedly allowed to leave Kolkata due to a hamstring injury. The temperamental striker, however, made a huge impression on the sub-continent after scoring the lucrative league's first ever goal. Prior to his move to India, Fikru briefly spent time at NFD club Milano United after his departure from University of Pretoria. The 29-year-old holds South African permanent residency which allows him to be registered as a non-foreigner by local clubs.

Midfielder Danny Venter is staying with Free State Stars after agreeing on a new three-year contract. Venter's existing deal is expiring in June, but the player's manager Tim Sukazi confirms his client will remain in Bethlehem.

Platinum Stars have made a move to tie down the future of midfielder Tintswalo Tshabalala. Tshabalala's contract expires in June, but Dikwena have offered him a new three-year deal. Platinum Stars also poured cold water on reports linking highly-rated Malawian Robert Ng'ambi away from the club.

AmaZulu hope to complete at least two signings this week, according to the club's marketing manager Lunga Sokhela. Usuthu are eager to strengthen their options in the January transfer window as they are propping up the Absa Premiership standings with nine points from 16 games - eight points behind nearest side Platinum Stars. Mamelodi Sundowns trio Punch Masenamela, Bryce Moon and Bonginkosi Ntuli are among those who have been linked with a move to the coastal outfit, while striker Bongani Ndulula's future in Durban is expected to be resolved after Afcon. Meanwhile, Sokhela says the club's management held a meeting which included discussions on the players they want to keep.

Substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi came off the bench to score a well-taken goal as Bafana Bafana secured a 1-1 draw with African giants Cameroon on Saturday evening. Danger man Vincent Aboubakar took the resulting free-kick, curling a well-taken effort past Brilliant Khuzwayo in the Bafana Bafana goal to hand the Indomitable Lions the lead. Bafana’s equalizer came in the 76th minute as substitute Sibusiso Vilakazi, a half-time change for Bernard Parker, gathered the ball on the edge of the area, smartly getting past the defender before poking the ball home to level proceedings. Bafana Bafana look forward to one last friendly, against Mali on Wednesday, to finalise their preparations for Afcon 2015.

Ajax Cape Town have placed a 'not for sale' tag on Rivaldo Coetzee, who is reportedly on the radar of Mamelodi Sundwons and Orlando Pirates. Coetzee's stock has risen immensely since he burst onto the international scene during the African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The defender, whose contract with the Urban Warriors runs until 2017, has impressed Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, who again thrust him into the starting line-up for Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Cameroon. De Sa, who is aware of the huge interest in Coetzee, says that Ajax will reject any local offers for the defender. De Sa explains that Ajax are grooming the young defender for a future beyond the country's borders, preferably in Europe.

Ayanda Gcaba has replaced the injured Patrick Phungwayo in the Bafana Bafana squad. Phungwayo returned home to South Africa on Saturday night (10 January) after undergoing an MRI scan which revealed that he had a tear that needed time to heal.

Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona bagged a brace in his first match for new Belgian club KV Oostende on Friday. The Zimbabwean forward, who signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Belgian Pro League side after finding game-time difficult to come by at Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, scored both goals for his new team in a friendly 2-0 win over Dutch first division club NEC. Musona was particularly pleased at opening his account in his first match with his new side. Oostende, who South Africa’s Andile Jali also turns out for, currently lie ninth in the Belgian League standings, 16 points adrift of leaders Club Brugge.

Ajax Cape Town defender Dominic Isaacs is in good spirits as he nears a return to competitive action. The former Kaizer Chiefs man has missed a large chunk of the season due to a hamstring injury but is on the mend, along with teammates Keagan Dolly and Noah Sadaoui. Ajax, who will resume their Absa Premiership campaign against Polokwane City on 11 February, have lined up a friendly against Dutch side PEC Zwolle at Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday night (kick-off: 19h00).

Kaizer Chiefs will play Bundesliga side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in a friendly at FNB Stadium on 16 January. Hoffenheim are in South Africa for a mid-season training camp. Tickets for the match can be purchased at Computicket and Checkers/Shoprite at a cost of R40 and R10 for adults and children under 12 respectively. Amakhosi, who are 15 points clear at the Absa Premiership summit, will resume their League campaign against Bloemfontein Celtic at Free State Stadium on 11 February.

Tlou Segolela's exclusion from Orlando Pirates' CAF Confederation Cup squad has recast the spotlight on the fan-favourite's future at Parktown. Segolela has struggled for regular game-time, or even to make the bench, this season - prompting talk he could be on the way out of the club. The speculation intensified this week after Pirates released their squad for continental duty, with Segolela a notable absentee. The winger's agent Tim Sukazi, though, is reluctant to make assumptions. Segolela was linked with a switch to Mpumalanga Black Aces at the start of the campaign. And while Sukazi says the 26-year-old remains a Buccaneer, he did not rule out a move in the current transfer window. Segolela signed a three-year deal with Pirates in July 2013.

Former Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques is set to take over at Black Leopards, according to a source at the NFD club. Marques is poised to replace Mark Harrison, who switched alliances to Zimbabwean giants CAPS United earlier this week.

Platinum Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns have smoked the peace-pipe after allegations that the Brazilians had illegally approached Tshepo Gumede. Dikwena chairman Ratanang Nke told this website on Wednesday that they would be taking Mamelodi Sundowns to the PSL DRC for illegally approaching the player. However, Nke now says that, after a meeting with Downs officials, everything has been smoothed out. Stars have since put Gumede up for sale after failing to agree a new contract with the player.

New CAPS United coach Mark Harrison appears unfazed that Black Leopards have threatened legal action over his exit from the National First Division side. Harrison was unveiled as United's boss on Wednesday, barely 24 hours after resigning from Lidoda Duvha. Leopards on Tuesday released a statement on their website, which read: "Mark Harrison has today tendered his resignation as Black Leopards FC coach with immediate effect. Harrison, however, believes the law is on his side. Harrison has developed a journeyman reputation, having also had stints at Mpumalanga Black Aces, African Warriors, Chippa United, Bay Stars and Golden Arrows in recent years. He feels too many South African clubs expect "instant results" and are too quick to fire the coach.

Mike Makaab says his ProSport International team are working around the clock to secure Bryce Moon a move away from Mamelodi Sundowns in January. The former Bafana Bafana wingback has fallen way down the pecking order at Chloorkop and has not even featured once for the Brazilians this season. His contract expires in June, but Makaab says they won’t renew should an offer be forthcoming. Makaab adds that they are on the verge of agreeing a new deal for Lebohang Mokoena.  ‘Cheeseboy’ has been plagued by injuries recently, but Makaab says both parties are happy and are likely to extend his stay.

Former AmaZulu striker Archie 'Juluka' Radebe has passed on at the age of 55. Radebe, who also coached Manzini Wanderers in Swaziland, died of an illness at a hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday. He was a hit with Usuthu in the 80s, playing alongside Joel Faya, Neil Tovey, Owen Nzimande, Special Sithole and Julius Chirwa to name a few.

Chippa United have loaned Thabo ‘China’ Maselwa to ambitious First Division club Royal Eagles. The promising left-back has only played a single match for The Chilli Boys since arriving from Thanda Royal Zulu at the beginning of the season, and has now been afforded a chance of more game-time in Durban.

Former AmaZulu and Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder Ruzaigh Gamildien has joined Milano United in the National First Division. Gamildien was dismissed from AmaZulu at the end of October last year due to disciplinary issues but has now found a new club in the second tier.

Mamelodi Sundowns will travel to the Seychelles to take on St Michel United in their first CAF Champions League tie on February 14. Sundowns qualified for Africa's premier club competition after finishing the 2013/14 season as Absa Premiership champions. Kaizer Chiefs is the other participant from the PSL after they ended as runners-up. St Michel have won their domestic league 12 times in their short history, having been formed only in 1996. They have also won the Seychelles FA Cup 10 times, the League Cup five times, and the President’s Cup 10 times. The Brazilians will use the January break for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to prepare for their Champions League journey by playing a series of friendlies in Nelspruit, Tanzania and the DRC. Sundowns last played in the Champions League in 2001 when they reached the final, losing 4-1 on aggregate to Egyptian giants Al Ahly after a 1-1 draw at home and 3-0 loss in Cairo. Orlando Pirates are the only South African club to have won the competition (1995) and reached the 2013 Final where they lost to Al Ahly.

Mamelodi Sundowns will hold onto striker Rodney Ramagalela, despite him having barely featured for the Brazilians since his arrival. The 25-year-old joined from Black Leopards at the start of 2013/14, but managed only four starts in his first season. This campaign has been even worse, with the former Under-23 international making just two substitute appearances in the Absa Premiership. However, Sundowns insist he has a role to play going forward. Sundowns start their CAF Champions League campaign against St Michel from the Seychelles on 13 February.

Orlando Pirates have confirmed the squad that will do duty in the CAF Confederation Cup this season.
 Pirates, who were given a bye for the preliminary round of the event, will start their campaign against either Elgeco Plus of Madagascar or Uganda Revenue Authority on the weekend of 13-15 March. Bidvest Wits are also in the tournament, and have been drawn to host Swazi outfit Royal Leopards on 13-15 February, with the return duel set for 27/28 February and 01 March.

Pirates Confed Cup squad:
 Brighton Mhlongo, Philani Zikalala.
Defenders: Siyabonga Sangweni, Rooi Mahamutsa, Ayanda Gcaba, Patrick Phungwayo, Happy Jele, Thabo Matlaba, Ntsikeleli Nyauza, Lucky Lekgwathi.
Midfielders: Issa Sarr, Khethokwake Masuku, Thabo Rakhale, Mpho Makola, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Daine Klate, Oupa Manyisa, Sifiso Myeni, Lehlogonolo Masalesa, Thabo Qalinge.
Strikers: Lennox Bacela, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Kermit Erasmus, Helder Pelembe, Lehlohonolo Majoro.

Siphiwe Tshabalala has been offered a new two-year deal by Kaizer Chiefs and is likely to put pen to paper in the next few days. Shabba’s manager Jazzman Mahlakgane confirms that talks have progressed smoothly for a new deal to be activated. The deal will take Tshabalala through to 2017, meaning he will join an exclusive class of players to spend a decade at one club. In fact, he will reach the 10-year mark smiling to the ‘Amakhosi 4 Life’ slogan at the end of next year, having arrived from Free State Stars in January 2007, though he didn’t play during his first six months at the club due to injury. Since then Shabba’s value has amplified to levels of standing him as being not only one of the better remunerated footballers in the PSL, but also one of the most influential in the domestic game.

Bidvest Wits have completed the signing of University of Pretoria goalkeeper Thakasani Mbanjwa on a pre-contract. Mbanjwa’s deal with Wits will come into effect on July 1 once his current contract with AmaTuks is up. The signing of Mbanjwa throws the biggest signal that Boafela Pule’s loan deal will definitely not be extended at the end of the season. The other keepers that Wits have are first-choice Moeneeb Josephs, veteran Rowen Fernandez and the youthful pair of Noah Cohen and Jethren Barr.

South African players abroad
Bongani Khumalo 
captained Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-21 side to a 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Friday night, his third match since returning from long-term knee injury.
Kgosi Ntlhe returned to the Peterborough United side for their 2-0 home loss to Colchester United and was criticized for his performance by the club chairman afterwards.
Steven Pienaar was again missing for Everton with a knee injury as they held champions Manchester City 1-1.
Devon Jacobs played in the 3-0 win for Berwick Rangers over Clyde that moves them into the promotion play-off positions in the Scottish fourth tier.
Kyle and Keaghan Jacobs both played for Livingston as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Championship.