Local News - Issue 256



Chiefs Wrap-Up League Title
Kaizer Chiefs clinched the 2014/15 Absa Premiership title last week to lift the 68th trophy of their 45-year existence. Amakhosi clinched the title with three games to spare following a 4-1 win against Polokwane City last week Wednesday. They are South Africa’s most successful club, having amassed by far the most trophies in domestic football. Having started the season on 66, Chiefs clinched the first trophy on offer, the MTN8 Cup, before securing their fourth PSL title with three matches to spare. It was their 12th League title overall, having also won the NPSL five times (1974, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1984) and the NSL First Division three times (1989, 1991 and 1992). Second on the list for the most titles are Orlando Pirates, who have 34, while Mamelodi Sundowns come in third place with 18.

AFC Bournemouth all but secured their promotion to England’s top-flight on Monday night, meaning South African striker Tokelo Rantie could feature in the Premier League next season. The Cherries beat Bolton 3-0 at home on Monday night to cement second spot in the Championship, with third placed Middlesbrough needing to overcome a goal difference of 19 to overhaul them with just one match left in the season. Bournemouth will join Watford as the two automatically-promoted sides to the Premier League for next season. It however remains to be seen whether or not the club will retain the services of Bafana Bafana forward Tokelo Rantie, who was not in the squad in last night’s victory. The 24-year-old, who was the club’s record signing two years ago, has only played a bit-part role this season, scoring twice in 12 League matches. Rantie still has another two years left on his contract with the club, after signing an initial four-year deal when he joined in 2013.

Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Eric Tinkler has expressed his desire to take the job as coach of the Buccaneers on a permanent basis. Tinkler's tenure as caretaker coach is set to come to an end next month after he took over the coaching reins from Vladimir Vermezovic in December last year. Maritzburg United coach Steve Kompela has already been linked with a move to Parktown next season, but Tinkler says he has all the qualifications to manage a big team like Pirates. "I would like the job on a permanent basis," Tinkler declared. "It's always been my ambition to become a head coach and that's why I have done all the courses when I was finishing my playing career because it's always been my ambition to be a head coach. It will be a huge honour for me. To be able to do that at a big team like Pirates would make me proud of what I have achieved." Tinkler says having been with the Buccaneers for the past three years as assistant coach has taught him a lot of things about the club. "I know the massive responsibility. I know that because I've been three years with the club and I know the responsibility that goes behind it. I feel confident in my ability to do that," he adds.

Discarded Mamelodi Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi was on target in the Swedish League to help Djurgardens IF to a comfortable 2-0 win over GIF Sundsvall.  The 27-year-old, who is on loan to the Swedish side from Sundowns, struck in the 63rd minute of the match as Djurgardens collected all three points. The result thrust Mushekwi’s team to eighth on the log standings with seven points after five matches. The goal was Mushekwi's third strike in five matches since he moved to the club at the beginning of the Allsvenskan season. Mushekwi had an unrivalled scoring record for Sundowns before he suffered a long-term injury and fell down the pecking order at Chloorkop. He has also recently spent time on loan at Belgian club KV Oostendse, who currently employ Andile Jali and Knowledge Musona.

Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay stadium has been confirmed as the host of the 2015 Nedbank Cup final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town. The draw for the Nedbank Cup final home team took place earlier today after Mamelodi Sundowns beat Vasco Da Gama at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. The Brazilians were drawn as the home team, which means they will get advantage in terms of kit, dressing room and training time selection. Ajax will however be please that they will make a relatively short trip along the coast to the 'Friendly City', where the wind may well play to their advantage. Tickets for the clash go on sale on Thursday, April 30.

Knowledge Musona scored his fifth goal in eight games as KV Oostende won 2-1 in their Belgian Playoff game at Westerlo on Saturday night. The former Kaizer Chiefs striker opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before Mbaye Diagne equalised for Westerlo just after half-time. John Jairo Ruiz scored the winner for Oostende in the 90th minute as Andile Jali's side moved to six points in their Europa League playoff group. At the end of the league campaign, Oostende are playing off against Ayanda Patosi's Lokeren, Mouscron-Peruwelz and Westerlo for a place the Europa League next season. After four games Lokeren are on 10 points, Mouscron-Peruwelz on six and Oostende on six, with Westerlo only managing one point in fourth place. There are two games remaining in the group phase.

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has been fined R50 000 – R25 000 of which is suspended on certain conditions – for his rant about referees on Twitter. Below is a statement from the PSL regarding outcome of Disciplinary Committee hearings this week. Itumeleng Khune: Mr. Khune was found guilty of bringing the League into disrepute by reason of statements made on social network Twitter. Mr. Khune was fined R50 000.00 of which R25 000.00 was suspended for 12 months on condition that he was not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension. He was also ordered to pay the costs of the sitting of the Disciplinary Committee.
Bobby Motaung: Mr. Motaung was found guilty of insulting a match official. He was sentenced to a fine of R20 000.00 suspended for 12 months on condition that he was not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension. Mr. Motaung was also ordered to pay the costs of the sitting of the Disciplinary Committee.

Kaizer Chiefs and Stuart Baxter: The club and Mr. Baxter were found guilty of disregarding a PSL directive concerning the participation of suspended club officials in official football activities. Mr Baxter was sentenced to a fine of R20 000.00 suspended for 12 months on condition that he was not found guilty of a similar offence during the period of suspension. The club was fined R 50 000.00 and was ordered to pay the costs of the sitting of the DC.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is hoping Mogakolodi Ngele can maintain his good form when he wears the yellow jersey next season. The midfielder signed for the Brazilians at the start of the campaign, but was loaned back to Platinum Stars for the entire 2014/15 season. Ngele has flourished since the return of Cavin Johnson as coach, netting a hat-trick against Orlando Pirates two weeks ago and then a spectacular free-kick equalizer against Sundowns in midweek. “I hope he can continue to score such goals for us next year,” Mosimane says of Ngele. “It’s good that he scored against us. I am happy for him to score goals like that. It shows that I have invested in a good player.”
 
Polokwane City have warned any potential suitor that star midfielder Cole Alexander is not for sale at any price. Alexander has been the Citizens’ best player by some way this season, having arrived at the start of the campaign from Ajax Cape Town, where he battled for game-time. Orlando Pirates are thought to be keen on bringing the player on board, but club official Costa Bellos is adamant that won’t happen. "There is no such thing; he's got a long-term contract with us, he's our player and he's part of our plans at this point and he is going nowhere," Bellos said. "We want to keep our players and we want to build for next season and we know what we got and we know what we need and we are planning to build." Polokwane City are aiming to finish in the top 8 – one place better than where they currently find themselves. They host Mpumalanga Black Aces on Wednesday at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium and looking to end a three-match losing streak.

Vasco da Gama coach Tony De Nobrega has slammed the Under-23 rule in the National First Division and says it is killing the standard of football in the second tier. De Nobrega was speaking after watching his team beaten 1-0 after putting on an inspiring performance against Mamelodi Sundowns during their Nedbank Cup semifinal in Tshwane yesterday. The Vasco coach says the Under-23 rule that forces them to start with five Under-23 players in the NFD had an effect on their result against Sundowns. "It's a ridiculous decision the Under-23 rule we have in the NFD. It makes no sense to be forced to play with only five players at any given time to start a match and development should not be done at the NFD level," says De Nobrega. "I don't know how we are going to continue with this rule because since it started the standard of football in the NFD has dropped. There is no-one coming through. We are pushing guys sometimes that are not ready to play at that level and dragging the standard down. Common sense must prevail if we are talking about the future of South African football. Being one step away from PSL, it doesn't make sense to be forced to start with five players under 23." De Nobrega also expressed his disappointed that there is not much scouting of the players in the NFD for the South Africa Under-23 national team. "We are going back again to the league on Wednesday. We are going to start again with players who don't deserve to be in the team and those who deserve it are going to sit on the bench. It doesn't make sense and makes no progression," he adds. "We saw recently with the Under-23s picked for the game against Sudan, only two players who are under 23 from the whole NFD got selected and I think both sat on the bench."

Zambian forward Clifford Mulenga will leave Ajax Cape Town upon the expiry of his contract at the end of June after struggling to make an impact. Mulenga joined Ajax in August last year on a season-long deal but hasn’t found as much joy as he would have liked in the Mother City. The 27-year-old has started just a single game – the opening League fixture against AmaZulu last August – and made a further nine substitute appearances, prompting the Urban Warriors to make a decision not to retain him further than June. “We are not renewing Clifford’s contract when it expires at the end of the season,” says Ari Efstathiou, the Ajax CEO. “We were hoping that he would play more than he has done this season so we are not taking the option to extend.  Actually, the average age of our squad is going to drop down next season with the departure of some players,” he adds. Mulenga has grown to be a nomad of note with Ajax the eighth club he has played for since arriving in South Africa just over a decade ago.

Royal Eagles have released Thembimkosi 'Terror' Fanteni due to fitness issues but are set to look at him again in June. The former Ajax Cape Town striker has been training with Eagles since the turn of the year as he is hoping to earn a contract. But the likelihood of the player regaining his form seems to be remote as the club has decided to release him. He has not played competitive football for the past two years. Eagles official Thami Ngunani says that Fanteni is no longer part of the club but he will be recalled in June. "No, Terror we have released him and we said he must go home and we will call him back in June," Ngubani confirmed. "He will return when we start the pre-season. We realised that the gap in terms of his fitness is far behind to the players that we have currently. Terror has not played football as I said to you last time out, for two years, but he left here convinced that we will be able to recall him to have a close look at him again, where we won't have congestion of matches."

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has not ruled out the possibility of re-signing Siyanda Xulu. The defender, who started his professional career at Chloorkop, is rumoured to be leaving Russian club FC Rostov at the end of the season, with a return to the PSL on the cards. Should that be the case, Mosimane believes there is only one club Xulu will join. “I don’t want to jump the gun,” he says. “We will see when the time arrives. At the moment he is a player that belongs to a Russian team … he is not our player.” Mosimane adds: “He is a good boy. He comes from Chloorkop and he knows how I think about him. I think he will come back home if the situation allows him. I am not worried about any competition with Siyanda. I am certain about him.” The Brazilians are on the lookout for a replacement for captain Alje Schut, who is heading back to the Netherlands at the end of the season.

The national Under-23s have been given a timely boost by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. CAF has revised the team’s fixtures following the withdrawal of DR Congo as hosts. South Africa was scheduled to face the tough Senegal side in the second round of qualifiers next month, but now the Senegalese have replaced DR Congo in hosting the final tournament next month. This means Senegal will no longer be participating in the qualifiers, giving Owen Da Gama’s charges a passage into the third and final round where they will play against the winner of the 2nd round clash between Zimbabwe and Swaziland. The 3rd round fixture – home and away - will now take place in July, with the first leg pencilled in for the weekend of 17-19 July and the return leg two weeks later. The CAF U-23 Championship will take place from 28 November to 12 December. The top three countries – the finalists and winners of 3rd/4th place - among the eight nations in Senegal will represent Africa in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Turkish side Genclerbirligi have paid tribute to the late Bafana Bafana midfielder John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu. Moshoeu, who died at age 49 last week, played for Genclerbirligi between 1993 and 1995, before he went on to play for other Turkish sides such as Fenerbahce. Genclerbirligi released a statement on their official website that says Moshoeu was an “exemplary” footballer during his time at the club and that he played well in the 58 League games that he featured in their red and black jersey. Fenerbahce, too, are also on record saying that it was with “great sadness” when they heard of the death of Moshoeu after a long battle with cancer.

Kaizer Chiefs captain Tefu Mashamaite has dedicated their Absa Premiership title to the late John 'Shoes' Moshoeu, who passed away on Tuesday. Amakhosi clinched the title with three games to spare following a 4-1 win against Polokwane City, and afterwards Mashamaite paid tribute to the late Chiefs and Bafana Bafana midfielder.  "First of all I just want to send my condolences to the Moshoeu family and to all South Africans. We lost the legend. He was a childhood hero for many of the current generation. I watched him when he displayed his talents in 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. He went to France and he continued to shine. I think Shoes was one of those unsung heroes of South African football and he will be dearly missed. He came back from overseas and still contributed at an old age in football. He has achieved so many things that so many people won't achieve. Coming back and winning the title, we can dedicate to him. I think he was one of the members of 2003 and 2004 who won the League. I think we can dedicate this title to him.

Ajax Cape Town have exercised the option of a further two years on the contract of Finnish goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola. The 28-year-old joined Ajax at the beginning of last season and quickly established himself as the first-choice. “We have already exercised the option of two years on Anssi’s contract,” says Ari Efstathiou, the Ajax boss. Jaakkola will now stay on at Ajax until at least June 2017. Meanwhile, the club is yet to decide on the contract extensions of the veteran pair of Dominic Isaacs and Nathan Paulse, whose contracts are up for renewal. Paulse has featured regularly, but Isaacs has spent most of this season on the sidelines battling injury and has started just two games.

Free State Stars have given each of their players a R15 000 bonus for beating Ajax Cape Town 1-0 last Tuesday. Ea Lla Koto are now five points clear of the relegation zone following their win over the Urban Warriors at Goble Park and as a result, the players are now smiling all the way to the bank. “They each got R5 000 for beating Polokwane City (3-2) and now they have received R15 000 each for beating Ajax. They are all happy,” a source has said. Stars are currently 14th on the standings with 28 points with four games remaining. They have three remaining matches at home against Bidvest Wits, Chippa United and Black Aces, as well as a trip to Bloemfontein Celtic. They escaped relegation on the last day of the past season.

Kaizer Chiefs will likely get away without a fine after their fans invaded the pitch following their championship-clinching win over Polokwane City at FNB Stadium. This is because the PSL has yet to resolve an old case involving Orlando Pirates. In May and December 2011 Pirates were fined for two pitch invasions after their team claimed the 2010/11 League title as well as the Telkom Knockout. However, Pirates appealed the sanction by challenging the interpretation of the National Soccer League rules, which state a club is liable for the conduct of their spectators. Bucs argued that they should not always be held responsible for their fans' conduct, especially during matches at stadiums where they are not in charge of security. In October 2012 Pirates lost their appeal but the matter is yet to be settled and that is why Chiefs are also unlikely to face action at this stage. It is the same reason why Mamelodi Sundowns escaped a fine last season after their supporters invaded the pitch following their league triumph. In January, 2011 Pirates were handed a suspended fine of R50 000 after a fan threw porridge at a match official during a 2-0 win over Golden Arrows in Durban.

Lance Davids will call time on his career at the end of the season, with Ajax Cape Town confirming they will not be taking up the option of another year on his contract. The 30-year-old has battled for game-time this season, starting just two games plus seven substitute appearances, and agent Rob Moore reveals to this website that the player will retire from playing at the end of the season. Ajax also confirm that they have already reached a mutual agreement to part ways with Davids, who has enjoyed two separate spells at the club. Davids – who has been capped at all levels of international football and has also played in Germany, Sweden and Belgium – holds a Sports Management qualification that he is now expected to make use of.  The holding midfielder’s second spell with Ajax has not been what he expected as he has started just 18 games since returning at the beginning of 2013.

Bloemfontein Celtic will return to the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium next season. The stadium has undergone refurbishment after being deemed unsafe to host PSL games a few years ago. However, Celtic coach Clinton Larsen says it’s all systems goes to return to the place they call their own ‘slaughterhouse’. "I can confirm that we are returning to the stadium,” he said, “and everyone is looking forward to it. "A lot of teams get intimidated when they go to play in the township rather than the big rugby stadiums. The excellent atmosphere gets the players to perform to their highest level.” Celtic have been using the Free State Stadium as their home ground and Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium in Botshabelo as an alternative.

Roger de Sa is excited that Ajax Cape Town will meet Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup Final. Aside from Sundowns being a club he starred for, the Ajax coach has happy memories of beating them 5-1 in a cup final. De Sa was Moroka Swallows’ goalkeeper when The Birds trounced The Brazilians 5-1 in the 1989 Bob Save Super Bowl Final replay. It was a result that sent shock waves around football – Swallows were a good side, but Downs were a team at their swaggering best and for them to lose by such a margin was difficult to comprehend. Now, more than a quarter-century down the line, Ajax will face Sundowns in this year’s Cup Final, the same competition that was once known as the Super Bowl. “That Final was 26 years ago but I still remember it vividly,” De Sa said. “The first match we did well, but conceded a silly goal which set up a replay. We were one up in the final minute when Goodman Hlongwane tried to head the ball back to me, but it fell short – between us – and Andries Chitja nipped in to score. “After the match, which was played on a Saturday, our coach, the late Eddie Lewis said: ‘Okay guys, I will see you at the team hotel on Tuesday’. “We were surprised because it meant we didn’t train on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, the day before the match Owen da Gama showed us videos of himself playing in Ireland as a striker. Afterwards, Eddie said, ‘right lets try Owen up front’ … he switched him from midfield to striker and dropped Les Grobler to midfield. On match-day, Sundowns were confused. Their defender was following Les into midfield … we managed to beat them 5-1.” 'Beat them' is an understatement – Swallows walloped Downs. Da Gama was inspirational, and scored twice while Grobler also got on the scoresheet, despite his midfield role.

Pitso Mosimane is unhappy with the choice of Port Elizabeth as venue for the Nedbank Cup Final. The Mamelodi Sundowns coach expressed his disappointment with the Premier Soccer League’s choice of Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth as the venue for the Final between Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town. “If you ask my opinion, I wouldn't like to go to PE, but I have to go … I would like to go Durban,” Mosimane says, speaking shortly after Sundowns beat Vasco Da Gama 1-0 in Tshwane in the semi-final. “I think the conditions in PE suit Ajax. That’s my opinion. But the issue of venue is out of our hands, we don't control that. Whether we like it or not, we have to go there.” Mosimane adds that it will also be difficult for Sundowns supporters to travel to Port Elizabeth to cheer their team in the Final because of the distance. “It’s difficult for our people to go there. It’s difficult for Mamelodi Sundowns. I don't know who made the decision…” he says.

SA players abroad round-up:
DAYLON CLAASEN
Claasen was again not involved for Bundesliga II side 1860 Munich and looks to be on his way out of the club in the next transfer window.
 KAGISHO DIKGACOI
Despite a return to fitness and a match for the reserves, there was no Dikgacoi for Cardiff City this past weekend.
 CHEYNE FOWLER
Fowler played as his second-tier side lost 3-1 to former club HJK Helsinki in the Finnish Cup.
 DEAN FURMAN
Furman played in the 2-1 away loss to Notts County with Doncaster Rovers’ season long over.
 DARREN HOLDEN
Holden did not feature for Hartlepool, who confirmed they would remain in the football league after a miraculous escape from relegation. They looked certainties for the drop from League Two just a few months ago.
 KEAGHAN JACOBS
Jacobs was replaced in the second half as Livingston recorded a remarkable 4-0 win over Raith Rovers to move off the bottom of the Scottish Championship.
 KYLE JACOBS
Jacobs played the full game for Livingston in their thumping away win at Raith.
 ANDILE JALI
Jali played the full match for Belgian side KV Oostende as they won 2-1 at Westerlo, with Knowledge Musona on the scoresheet.
DARREN KEET
Keet = bench … again.
 BONGANI KHUMALO
Khumalo helped Colchester keep their hopes of survival alive with a 3-2 win at Fleetwood Town in the English League One. They will probably need to win both their remaining games to stay up.
MAY MAHLANGU
Mahlangu was back from injury for Turkish side Konyaspor, but did not make it off the bench.
 KAMOHELO MOKOTJO
Mokotjo played in a 2-0 home loss to AZ Alkmaar as FC Twente’s season fizzles out into nothing.
 AYANDA NKILI
Nkili was replaced in the second half as Orebero’s nightmare start to the new Swedish league season continued with a 3-0 loss to AIK. They are bottom of the table with just a single point from five games.
AYANDA PATOSI
Patosi was replaced late on in Lokeren’s 2-1 home win over Mouscron-Péruwelz that keeps them top of their UEFA Europa League playoff pool in Belgium.
STEVEN PIENAAR
Pienaar continued to suffer muscular fatigue and missed Everton’s thumping 3-0 win over Manchester United.
THULANI SERERO
Serero was back in the Ajax starting lineup as they needed a late goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at PEC Zwolle. The point at least secured second place and UEFA Champions League football next season.
SIYANDA XULU
Xulu = bench … again.