Local News - Issue 245

Vilakazi Makes AFCON Dream Team
Bafana Bafana attacker Sibusiso Vilakazi has been picked in CAF's 'Dream Team' for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The Bidvest Wits midfielder got the nod despite only starting two games at the showpiece, as Bafana exited in the group stages. The triumphant Ivorians dominated the side, contributing five players, including the Toure brothers Yaya and Kolo, as well as Manchester City newcomer Wilfried Bony. Beaten finalists Ghana were represented by the tournament's top scorer Andre Ayew and defender Jonathan Mensah. But bizzarely Black Stars winger Christian Atsu - who was named player of the tournament - was omitted. CAF's Technical Committee selected the Dream Team on Monday.

AFCON 2015 Dream Team:
Goalkeeper: Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia)
Defenders: Aissa Mandi (Algeria), Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast) Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) and Henri Bedimo (Cameroon)
Midfielders: Geoffrey Serey Die (Ivory Coast), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast) and Sibusiso Vilakazi (South Africa)
Forwards: Gervinho (Ivory Coast), Andre Ayew (Ghana) and Wilfried Bony (Ivory Coast)

Polokwane City coach Kosta Papic has confirmed the signing of midfielder Jabulani Nene on a free transfer. The 26-year-old is reunited with Papic who signed him during the short stint he had at Chippa United at the start of the season, where Nene made 12 appearances. Nene, before joining the Chilli Boys, played for Golden Arrows last season and left Abafana Bes'thende after the club was relegated for the first time in 14 years. He will be joining the travelling players of Rise and Shine when they visit Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday evening at Cape Town Stadium.

University of Pretoria striker Thabo Mnyamane and Polokwane City boss Kosta Papic have been named the PSL's coach and player of the month for November/December respectively. The pair received their prizes in Johannesburg on Monday. "It was a team effort, I could never have won this award without the players' contribution," Papic said. Mnyamane has netted six League goals for AmaTuks this season - two less than joint-top scorers Moeketsi Sekola and Puleng Tlolane. City are sixth in the standings with 24 points from 17 matches.

The South Africa U-17 team have arrived in Niamey, Niger to compete at the 2015 African Youth Championships. The competition - which serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup - will run from February 15 to March 1, with Amajimbos paired in Group B alongside Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Cameroon. Amajimbos will open their account against the Ivorians on February 16 at the Municipal Stadium. Group A consists of Niger, Guinea, Nigeria and Zambia. "We knew that it would be blazing hot here, that is why we decided to travel almost a week ahead of the tournament to acclimatise," said Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki on arrival on Sunday. "During the qualifiers, we did experience this type of hot weather. We did play in some really scorching countries like Tanzania and Egypt but this heat here takes some beating," added Ntseki. The top four finishers at the tournament earn a spot at the U-17 World Cup, taking place in Chile from October 17 to November 8.

Moroka Swallows have shown confidence in Fani Madida by appointing him as their head coach after a few months in a caretaker role. The former Kaizer Chiefs took over as caretaker from Zeca Marques when the latter resigned in October, but Madida is now officially the head coach of the club. A statement on the club’s website reads: “Considering the work he has put in preparing the squad for the second half of the season and the excellent spirit and work ethic he has instilled in the players, there was no need to delay such a decision. The squad has trained very hard during the break and we look forward to a successful second round. We wish Fani all the best.” Since Madida took over Swallows have won two, lost three and drew four in nine games.

Polokwane City coach Kosta Papic was left distressed after thieves broke into his home last week, stealing valuables as well as important documentation. The Rise and Shine mentor fortunately slept through the entire incident, which took place on Thursday evening. “They came to my house and stole everything,” Papic said. “I was sleeping upstairs and did not hear anything. When I woke up in the morning, I saw that my house was emptied. “I’m just happy that they didn’t come upstairs.” The Serbian coach’s biggest worry is the fact that the criminals stole important documentation, including his passport. “My biggest problem now is that they’ve stolen my passport,” he says. “I don’t know how to work. I know they can’t do anything with it, but for me it’s very important, as well as my other documents. Life is like that, but I need my passport for work.” Papic, who was named Coach of the Month for November/December and led City to the Q2-Innovation prize, will now however need to switch focus back onto football matters, with the resumption of the league this week. “Nothing is going to change, we have to perform, with or without this,” he says.

Maritzburg United have announced the sale of Ghana defender Mohammed Awal to Saudi side Al-Shabab FC - ending talk he was destined for Orlando Pirates. Awal, who joined the Team of Choice in 2012, will link up with his new employers after the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. Reports from Ghana previously suggested Awal was heading to Pirates. “We would like to thank the player for his outstanding contribution at Maritzburg United and wish him all the best for his future,” United team manager Quintin Jettoo told the club's official website. “We signed Mohammed as a relatively unknown player and we are proud to have been able to help in his development as he went on to become a regular in the Ghana national team, which naturally has brought a lot of interest in him. We will certainly miss Mohammed in the team, but we are fortunate to have a fair amount of depth in the centre-back position and we are confident that the players we have will use the opportunity to step up and stake a regular place in the starting eleven.”

Following the sitting of the SAFA Disciplinary Committee, the two outstanding clubs that will participate in the 2014/15 Nedbank Cup Last 32 stage have been confirmed. Free State’s Roses United and Gauteng’s Edu Sport were the last two teams confirmed for this year’s tournament following a draw conducted in Johannesburg, and will join six other clubs from the Safa structures. They are: Tornado FC (Eastern Cape – ABC Motsepe League), The Magic FC (Western Cape – ABC Motsepe League), Natal United (KwaZulu Natal – ABC Motsepe League), Bellevue Winners Park (Limpopo – ABC Motsepe League), Phiva Young Stars (Mpumalanga – ABC Motsepe League) and Mainstay United (Northern Cape – SAB League). Edu Sport will face Kaizer Chiefs while Roses United will play against Bloemfontein Celtic, while Cup holders Orlando Pirates face Eastern Cape-based Tornado FC. The Last 32 clashes of this year’s competition begin next week Wednesday, and are spread out over a week’s duration until 25 February.

Nedbank Cup Last 32 fixtures:
18/02/15 MP Aces vs Maritzburg
18/02/15 Pirates vs Tornado FC
20/02/15 AmaZulu vs Arrows
21/02/15 Win Park vs Vasco
21/02/15 Chiefs vs Edu Sport
21/02/15 Chippa vs Natal United
21/02/15 Leopards vs FC CT
21/02/15 Phiva Young Stars vs Cosmos
21/02/15 Sundowns vs Thanda
21/02/15 Wits vs FS Stars
22/02/15 Platinum Stars vs The Magic FC
22/02/15 Mainstay vs Ajax CT
22/02/15 Celtic vs Roses
22/02/15 Warriors vs Maluti
25/02/15 SuperSport vs Polokwane City
25/02/15 AmaTuks vs Swallows

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi is reportedly poised to join Danish Super League side Hobro IK FC on a six-month loan deal. "Subject to registration he can start kicking the ball," the player's agent Ralph Nkomo is quoted as saying in the Daily Sun. Mushekwi, whose contract with Sundowns expires in June, recently returned from a lengthy layoff after sustaining a serious injury on loan at Belgian side KV Oostende. However, Downs did not register the Zimbabwean for the current PSL season, with the club exhausting their foreign quota.

SA Players Abroad: Ayanda Patosi won the battle of the South Africans as he helped Lokeren defeat Andile Jali’s KV Oostende, while May Mahlangu featured for new club Konyaspor in European action on the weekend.

Discarded Bafana Bafana winger Patosi laid on an assist for the only goal of the game, scored by Koen Persoons. He was replaced on 79 minutes, while Jali played the full game.
Mahlangu played the final 13 minutes for his Turkish employers Konyaspor as they picked up a 1-0 win at bottom side Balikesirspor.
Serero was again missing for Ajax Amsterdam with a groin injury in their fortuitous 2-1 win at Go Ahead Eagles.
Mokotjo was replaced midway through the second period as FC Twente slumped to a 3-1 loss at home to Excelsior Rotterdam, their second defeat in a week.
Ngcongca played the full match for Belgian side Genk as they moved into the top six with a 1-0 win over Waasland-Beveren on Sunday.
Rantie had to settle for a place on the bench as English Championship side Bournemouth continued their promotion push with a 3-1 win at Wigan Athletic. 
Ntlhe did not make it off the bench for Peterborough United in their 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town in England's League One.
Schenkel was replaced at half-time of the 1-1 draw for FC Thun at home to Aarau as the Swiss League resumed after the winter break. Schenkel is only just back from injury having last played in July.