Local News - Issue 250

Swallows Sack Madida
Moroka Swallows have parted ways with head coach Fani Madida. The Dube Birds, who have won just one of their last seven matches, are languishing in 15th place in the Premiership standings, just five above bottom-placed AmaZulu. A meeting was held on Monday night involving club boss Leon Prins and coach Fani Madida who has now been asked to step down. Madida won just 13 points of a possible 45 since taking over from Zeca Marques, and leaves the side in a precarious position in the league standings. It is unclear who will be in charge of the side who take on league leaders Kaizer Chiefs in their next fixture on Wednesday evening, with assistant coach Goodman Mazibuko the assumed replacement for the time being.

Jomo Cosmos boss Jomo Sono says he won't prioritise the Nedbank Cup as his eyes are firmly set on gaining promotion to the PSL next season. Cosmos will face Mpumalanga Black Aces this weekend in their Last 16 tie, yet ‘Brah J’ says he will use his B-team for the clash, insisting the Cup is far from his side’s priorities this season. "To be honest with you, I will prefer to lose and I don't mind that. I don't care about it. I can even put my under-23 team and lose. We are not interested in the Nedbank Cup." Sono added the main priority is promotion to the PSL: "It wasn't the league, it is still the league." The former Orlando Pirates great says his side will bounce back after yet another loss, this time a narrow 3-2 to defeat to Santos.  The result leaves Cosmos third in the NFD standings, five points adrift of leaders Golden Arrows, yet Sono remains defiant. "I have done it before - we lost to Milano United in the first round by 3-0 and we ended up top of the log, so it’s an easy job," he says. Cosmos face Black Aces on Saturday afternoon, before taking on second-from-bottom Garankuwa United on 4 April.

Golden Arrows coach Shaun Bartlett was naturally pleased his table-topping side saw off the challenge of Garankuwa United last Saturday. Abafana Bes'thende extended their lead at the NFD summit to three points courtesy of goals from Andile Fikizolo and Mabhuti Khenyeza at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria. "Playing teams that are not in direct competition with us for the league title are always more difficult to play as you need to motivate your players much more," Bartlett told Arrows' official website. "A very hot Pretoria welcomed us and we knew that we needed to apply our normal possession game to reserve energy and be patient to expose Garankuwa's defence. Defending has been our strength this season and we proved it by staying compact and dealing with all the attacks on our goal,” said Bartlett. "Now onto the Nedbank Cup tie with Natal United next week Sunday at Chatsworth and a well-deserved break from the league for two weeks, added Bartlett. 

Orlando Pirates have explained why Oupa Manyisa and Kermit Erasmus wore retired jersey numbers in the club's CAF Confederation Cup tie with Uganda Revenue Authority on Saturday. Manyisa played with number 10 on his back, following in the footsteps of Bucs legends such as Chippa Moloi and Jomo Sono. Erasmus did duty in the number 22 jersey, which was previously adorned by the late Lesley Manyathela. Sea Robbers official Floyd Mbele said the club was merely complying with the rules of the continental competition. He told Pirates' website: “The rules are fairly simple on this matter. Rule 6.5 of the regulations states that the jerseys of the players must be numbered from 1 to 30, and they must be identical to the numbers indicated on the players’ licenses for the whole duration of the competition. It’s not just in CAF games, even the World Cup has rules where players must wear 1 to 23.
Pirates' registered players and numbers for the CAF Confederation Cup: (1) Brighton Mhlongo; (2) Ayanda Gcaba; (3) Patrick Phungwayo; (4) Happy Jele; (5) Mpho Makola; (6) Thandani Ntshumayelo; (7) Daine Klate (pre-registered ahead of transfer); (8) Thabo Matlaba; (9) Lehlohonolo Majoro; (10) Oupa Manyisa; (11) Sifiso Myeni; (12) Lehlogonolo Masalesa; (13) Ntsikelelo Nyauza; (14) Lucky Lekgwathi; (15) Thabo Qalinge; (16) Philani Zikalala; (17) Lennox Bacela; (18) Issa Sarr; (21) Siyabonga Sangweni; (22) Kermit Erasmus; (23) Helder Pelembe; (24) Khethokwakhe Masuku; (25) Thabo Rakhale; (28) Rooi Mahamutsa; (30) Thamsangqa Gabuza.

The South African Under-23 team beat their Palestine counterparts 2-1 at the Dura Stadium in Palestine on Saturday afternoon. It was the Olympic team’s first match in some time, and Owen da Gama’s first in charge, but goals from Abednigo Mosiatlhaga and Yazan Iwaiwi ensured a winning return. SA were awarded gold medals and a floating trophy, with the FA President hinting that they wish to extend yet another invitation next year.  For Da Gama, this was a perfect exercise to indicate whether he needs to strengthen the team or not ahead of Saturday’s All Africa Games qualifier against Sudan in Khartoum.

Mamelodi Sundowns have claimed Q3 honours as they show intent to chase down log leaders Kaizer Chiefs. The Brazilians, who beat TP Mazembe 1-0 in the CAF Champions League on the weekend, moved within touching distance of the award with their 5-0 thrashing of Polokwane City last week. Their closest challengers for the quarterly prize, Bloemfontein Celtic, needed to beat the same opponents by the same scoreline on Saturday. However, Rise and Shine inflicted a 3-0 drubbing on Phunya Sele Sele, ensuring Downs pick up the cash reward of R1.5-million.

The South Africa U-20 side ended their CAF Youth Championship campaign with a 5-2 victory over Zambia in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday night. Brazil based Tyrone Sandows bagged a hat-trick to go with a brace from Dumisani Zuma, while Junior Chipolpolo scored via Charles Zulu and an own goal from Kabelo Seriba at the Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor. Thabo Senong's charges were earlier knocked out of the competition - which serves as a qualifier for the Fifa U-20 World Cup - following losses to Ghana (2-0) and Mali (2-1). 
Amajita XI: Sibongiseni Mkhize, Kabelo Seriba, Bongane Mathabela, Chaz Williams, Tobogo Moerane, Tyroane Sandows, Dumisani Zuma, Pule Maraisane, Motjeka Madisha (c), Tshidiso Monamodi, Siphelele Luthuli.
Subs: Mpho Mathekga, Morne Nel, Haashim Domingo, Thami Masiya, Dumisani Msibi, Keamogetswe Boikanyo, Aubrey Modiba, Siyanda Ngubo, Tlotlo Leepile, Ayabulela Magqwaka.

Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler was disappointed with the manner in which his side conceded a goal in their 2-1 win over Uganda Revenue Authority in the Confederation Cup. Bucs conceded an own goal in injury time through defender Happy Jele at Orlando Stadium on Saturday - much to Tinkler's annoyance. “We were disappointed that we conceded the goal in the dying minutes of the game,” Tinkler said. We were retaining position well at that stage, probably inexperience from Jomo Rakhale who looked to make another pass when in those moments you should be looking to waste time. That comes from his inexperience of playing in this type of competition. Hopefully, he learns from that. I have had a conversation with him. It was vitally important for us to have kept a clean sheet.” However, Tinkler believes his side can get the job done in the return leg in Kampala on April 4. “2-1, yes not what we wanted but we have to go to Kampala and defend that result. It is vitally important that we go there with a positive attitude and not look to defend. It is vitally important that we get a goal because that will change the complexion.”

Raja Casablanca coach Jose Romao is predicting a tough return leg for his charges after edging Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in their CAF Champions League clash on Saturday night. Raja scored a crucial away goal from a Christain Ighadaro header at the back post after just six minutes, with the Moroccans managing to hold on to their lead as they take a slender first leg lead back home for the return fixture. Despite the away victory, Casablanca coach Jose Romao is expecting a tough second leg tie, insisting there is still a lot to play for. "It was a very tough game from both teams; Kaizer Chiefs is a big club and we had to close all the gaps, we had to close and defend well," he said at the post-match press conference. We are going back to Casablanca very comfortable, but it is still going to a be tough one and there is still a lot to play for." Romao is not under-estimating his opponents ahead of the second showdown, believing Chiefs can still pose them a number of problems. "I think it is still open; so far it is not over yet as we just played the first half," he said. "The big teams can win away so it is still open but we will see what happen in Casablanca.” The return leg at the Stade Mohamed V in Morocco is set for 4 April.

Bongani Khumalo has joined League One side Colchester United on loan for the remainder of the season. The former Bafana Bafana captain has been appearing for Tottenham Hotspur’s Under-21s as he works his way back from a long-term knee injury. However, he is seemingly far from Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino’s thinking, and with his contract expiring in June, the club has now shipped him out on loan. Colchester tweeted: “#ColU have added to their squad before today's game with the arrival of South African international Bongani Khumalo!” Colchester are currently down in the relegation zone in League One, in 22nd place and three points from safety.

Banyana Banyana coach Vera Pauw has announced a squad of 18 players that will travel to Botswana for an All Africa Games qualifier. The match takes place on Friday, with kick-off set for 18h00. Pauw has retained the bulk of the team that travelled for Cyprus Women’s Cup . Of the 23 that travelled to Europe, only five have been released from camp. There are two additions to the remaining 16 – Durban Ladies defender Zama Cele and USA-based Kaylin Swart to bring the Botswana-bound squad to 18 players. The players who will not be part of the next camp are Disebo Mametja (University of Johannesburg), Tshepiso Olga Mokabane (FC Union Nove Zamky, Slovakia), Mputle Tshetsana, (Titans Ladies, North West), Rhoda Mulaudzi (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Kelso Peskin (Tyler Junior College, USA - exams), Mamello Makhabane Palace Super Falcons, Johannesburg - ankle injury) and Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns FC - knee injury).
Banyana squad
Goalkeepers: Roxanne Barker, Kaylin Swart
Defenders: Nothando Vilakazi, Janine van Wyk, Noko Matlou, Zama Cele, Lerato Kgasago, Lebogang Ramalepe
Midfielders: Amanda Dlamini, Leandra Smeda, Alocia Thoboka, Refiloe Jane, Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Slindile Ngubane
Strikers: Shiwe Nongwanya, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Portia Modise, Sanah Mollo

Mpumalanga Black Aces have confirmed that Clive Barker has been relieved of his duties as head coach, but will now move into a managerial role elsewhere in the club. Barker had a meeting with club management during which it was decided that it would be in the best interests of the club to find a new head coach and move Barker into a different role. Aces have offered the 70-year-old a new two-year contract, essentially as head of youth development. "Clive Barker is both a terrific person and coach who we regard with the highest respect and we have offered him a new two-year role going forward," Aces chairman Mario Morfou tells the club's website. "Sadly given the results not coming our way we were forced into changing the helm of the team. We value Clive Barker and believe he has a more critical role to play to the benefit of Aces. Our academy and feeder PSL reserve ‘Diski’ team as well as crucial scouting remains our future and we firmly believe that Barker will be best suited to head this role." Aces also confirmed that the club will meet with assistant coach Johnny Ferreria and keeper coach Ernest Mabouka early next week to discuss their future … but all other technical members will remain in their positions. Current technical director Jacob Sakala will assume the caretaker coach position and the experienced Calvin Marlin has been promoted to goalkeeper coach. Barker added: "I feel it was a sensible decision by both parties. The results in the new year have unfortunately not gone our way and we wish the incoming coach and his technical team all the best for the remainder of the season. I have no doubt that if the club continues to play the quality of football that they have served up over the past 18 months, that they will survive this awkward period." Barker took over at Aces in 2013 and led them to a seventh-placed finish last season.

Equatorial Guinean goalkeeper Felipe Ovono has completed his move to Orlando Pirates. According to an official at the club, the 21-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal. Ovono impressed at the Africa Cup of Nations, where his team reached the semi-finals, and will now fight for the number one jersey with the likes of Brighton Mhlongo, Siyabonga Mpontshane and Philani Zikalala.

SA players abroad round-up:
Mokotjo played as FC Twente ended their run of poor form in the Dutch Eredivisie to beat PEC Zwolle 2-0.
Jali played the full game as KV Oostende ended their Belgian regular season with a thumping 4-1 win at Zulte-Waregem.
Tokelo Rantie was a late substitute for English Championship side Bournemouth as they defeated bottom club Blackpool 4-0 to maintain their position at the top of the table.
Furman was pulled off in the final 10 minutes as his Doncaster Rovers side lost 2-0 at home to Peterborough United.
On the bench. Again.
Ngcongca played in Genk’s 1-0 loss at Standard Liege that saw them drop out of the Championship playoffs.
Ntlhe played almost the full game as his Peterborough United side claimed a 2-0 success at Doncaster Rovers to boost their promotion play-off hopes.
Patosi came off the bench for Lokeren in their 0-0 draw at Waasland-Beveren that was essentially a dead rubber with Lokeren into the bottom-half play-offs.
Phiri played for Brondby as they won their first game of 2015 with a 2-0 success over OB.

Fowler played for Finnish second-tier side FC Haka as they advanced to the fifth round of the country’s knockout cup competition with a 1-0 win at Töölön Taisto.