Local News - Issue 258

Shakes Names Makeshift Bafana Squad For Cosafa Cup

Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba has named his squad for the upcoming Cosafa Cup tournament. South Africa will face Botswana in the quarter-final of the competition on Sunday, 24 May at Moruleng Stadium in the North West Province. Fourteen of the players ply their trade in the Premier Soccer League, while the rest are from the National First Division, the ABC Motsepe League and academies. There are no overseas-based players in the squad. “This was perhaps one of the most difficult squads to announce due to a number of reasons. The end of the domestic league programme always poses a challenge for the national team as it is not easily clear which players will be available. And when you look down the NFD and ABC Motsepe Leagues, you find some of the players you have earmarked for a tournament of this nature are involved in play-offs,” said Mashaba adding the squad selected will compete. We will have three warm-up matches before the start of the tournament as there are many new players in the set-up and that exercise will help a great deal. The good thing about this squad is that we are increasing our base of national team players because the bigger the base, the more the fight for places in the squad, which makes for a strong Bafana Bafana. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the clubs who have released their players for national team duty.” Bafana Bafana go into camp on Sunday, 10 May in Johannesburg, and will have training sessions on Monday and Tuesday. The next day (Wednesday, 13 May) the teams travels to Lesotho to play two training matches against the host nation on Thursday, 14 May and Saturday, 16 May. They have also scheduled another training match against neighbours Malawi which will be played on Friday, 22 May in Rustenburg at a venue yet to be confirmed.

Full Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Mondle Mphoto (SuperSport FC), Ricardo Goss (Golden Arrows)
Defenders: Madisha Modjeka (M.Tigers FC), Subisiso Mxoyana (Vasco da Gama), Marc Van Heerden (AmaZulu FC), Siyabonga Nhlapho (Bidvest Wits), Kwanda Mngonyama (Maritzburg United), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport FC), Sibusiso Khumalo (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielders: Cole Alexander (Polokwane City), Thapelo Morena (Bloemfontein Celtic), Thamsanqa Sangweni (Chippa United), Carl Lark (Santos FC), Athenkhosi Dlala (SuperSport FC), Hendrick Ekstein (Kaizer Chiefs), Mzikayise Mashaba (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Strikers: Puleng Tlolane (Polokwane City), Phumelele Bhengu (Thanda Royal Zulu), Gift Matupa (Baroka FC), Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars)

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has urged players to join the South African Football Players Union to protect their rights. Mbalula made the plea at the launch of a partnership between SAFPU and Old Mutual - aimed at helping professional footballers manage their finances - in Rosebank on Thursday. "This is brilliant initiative for our players," said Mbalula. "I believe that the players union can be strong if players take their own union very seriously. They must join the union in big numbers. It is nice if you are earning a couple thousands not to think about the union. You can imagine if all players in the PSL are unionised what would happen. There would be strikes sometimes and it will make the bosses to think right. It will instil to players the concept of an injury to one, an injury to all. I think even in Europe when players are well paid, players are unionised or belong to an association. To belong to a union as a player is not criminal but the right thing to do to protect your rights and fight exploitation in the workplace." The South African Football Players Union are set to launch a new programme to educate local footballers on how to manage their finances.

Orlando Pirates have confirmed they will face AS Kaloum in the CAF Confederation Cup in Mali on May 15. The play-off round tie will start at 17h00 local time at the Stade Modibo Keita Stadium in Bamako. Pirates beat CF Mounana 5-2 in the previous round of the continental competition.

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will join Mbabane Swallows and Royal Leopards in the inaugural Kings Super Cup next month. Bucs administrative officer Floyd Mbele says the one-day tournament in Swaziland will fall within their pre-season plans and so a strong side can be expected.

On Wednesday night, Heineken delivered more than beer to PDL Car Wash in Soweto.  When a
truck bearing a branded container and booming the UEFA Champions League anthem pulled up outside the venue, little did soccer supporters who had gathered to enjoy the semi-finals match know that they were in for a legendary match night. On opening the container, ecstatic fans found themselves face to face with UEFA Champions League legend Deco (one of the few players to have won the UEFA Champions League with two different clubs – FC Porto in 2004 and FC Barcelona in 2006), local comedian David Kau and DJ Euphonik. As long-time global sponsor of UEFA Champions League, Heineken knows that UEFA Champions League is about so much more than the game alone – it’s about the experience. The global celebrity trio took to the green couch inside the specially decked out container to host a live, social-media driven talk-show. They commentated on the game, engaged with fans and other international UCL legends via the @Heineken_SA account as part of the global #ChampionTheMatch sessions that have captured the globe’s imagination throughout the championship.

Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker, Teko Modise has explained why his overseas move never happened and says it “kills” him that he couldn’t leave Orlando Pirates at the time despite lots of interest. The 32-year-old says he had offers from the likes of Panathinaikos, West Bromwich and Stoke City, among others, but ended up joining Masandawana because he didn't have a release clause at the time. “A buy-out clause in my contract didn’t exist at the time. There was no concrete number and there was just speculation. You know what these European teams are like – they lose interest if you mess them around. They’ll only chase you for a certain time. We tried everything we could! Playing overseas was one of my biggest ambitions. The fact that I could have made it there is what kills me. Even at Pirates some big European teams came through with offers. So many teams came through with offers – Panathinaikos, West Brom and Stoke City. There were others from smaller countries like Denmark as well," Modise said. 'Donadoni' further explained how hard his failed move abroad hit him and how he struggled to remain focussed on playing for Pirates. “I just wanted an opportunity, even if I’d failed! None of the teams that came through said I must come for trials. They just wanted me to come, do a medical and sign. I was a different player. I had to ask myself, ‘How can I be loyal when no one appreciates me?’ I’ve done the best that I can, so why can’t I get a chance!?” In your head you know this is happening, but then you’ve got to go out and play for Bucs on the weekend like nothing is happening. It was a problem!”

A football supporter died in a scuffle with a policeman on Saturday, marring the final round of South African Premiership matches in which famed Durban club AmaZulu were relegated. The death occurred in southern city Port Elizabeth during a post-match pitch invasion after champions Kaizer Chiefs completed the season with a 2-0 victory at lowly Chippa United. As spectators poured on to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium pitch to celebrate a title success clinched 17 days ago, one of them reportedly tried to grab the gun of a police officer. In the ensuing scuffle, the gun of the officer accidentally went off, fatally wounding the supporter, a police spokesman said. "A man tried to take the gun of a police officer and it went off during the scuffle, fatally wounding him," spokesman Johan Rheeder told reporters. A Premiership official later confirmed the death. AmaZulu, formed in 1932 and among the oldest South African football clubs, lost 2-1 at home to Maritzburg United and finished bottom of the 16-club standings.A win would have guaranteed survival. But after equalising 17 minutes from time in Indian Ocean city Durban, they were beaten by a late Mohau Mokate goal. Victory meant Maritzburg finished in the all important eighth spot. Moroka Swallows, who began the final round below AmaZulu on goal difference, won 1-0 at home to Bloemfontein Celtic though a second-half goal from veteran Siyabonga Nomvethe. But the Soweto club are not assured of top-flight football next season as they must face two second division clubs in a mini-league with the winners earning Premiership status. Wits clinched a 2016 CAF Confederation Cup place by edging Platinum Stars 1-0 in Johannesburg through a Vincent Pule goal. Qualification for Africa offers the 'Clever Boys' a chance to atone for a humiliating preliminary-round exit to Swaziland police outfit Royal Leopard in the same competition this year. Former African champions Orlando Pirates, who entered the final round ahead of Wits on goal difference, had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at Ajax Cape Town. Menzi Masuku struck twice within seven minutes early in the second half after goals from Thabiso Nkoana and Riyaad Norodien had given the hosts a two-goal half-time advantage.

Lerato Chabangu has signed a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits for next season, ending his five-year stay with Moroka Swallows. The 29-year-old will join Gavin Hunt's ambitious side having opted not to renew his contract with The Birds. Swallows CEO Leon Prins told Sowetan he hoped to retain the services of the former Bafana Bafana international, but those hopes appear dashed. "I would definitely like to keep him, there is no doubt about that," Prins said. "But all I can say now is that he is giving his all for the team. He is fully focused on Swallows and helping us in this relegation battle." Chabangu has had a roller-coaster ride of a career with well-documented off-field problems. Having played for the juniors at SuperSport United, he made his professional debut with University of Pretoria in the National First Division before joining Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2004-05 season. There he remained for the next six campaigns, bar a loan spell at SuperSport which netted him a PSL winners medal in 2008-09 as he helped Hunt's team to the championship. But the following year he barely featured at all for Sundowns, and looked consigned to the scrap-heap as off-field issues saw him sidelined. While at Sundowns, he won the league championship in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, the latter under coach Gordon Igesund, and scored the winner in the 2008 Nedbank Cup final. After being dumped by Sundowns, Swallows took a chance on him and was revived under Igesund.

True to his word, Bloemfontein Celtic chairman Max Tshabalala cancelled the player awards after their defeat to Moroka Swallows on Saturday afternoon. Tshabalala made the threat earlier in the week, and stayed true to that after the Birds beat them 1-0 today. “Unfortunately we are left with no option but to cancel rewarding players after a string of poor performances and failing to reach the target set for them,” he told the club’s official website. “It will be a travesty of justice to reward them for not committing and showing supporters appreciation. We are calling on supporters to a meeting next week firstly to apologise in person and subsequently tell them plans for the new season.”  The awards were due to take place on Sunday night.

Former Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo had personal items stolen from his hotel room in Colchester, Essex on Sunday night. The 28-year-old, who is on loan at Colchester United from Tottenham Hotspur, discovered the theft on returning to his room from a night out with his teammates. The team was celebrating preserving their League One status on the final day of the season. “All my possessions had been taken including some sentimental items, one being a Bible that my late mother left me,” Khumalo told Tottenham’s official website. “It still had her notes and everything – that was always something that I’ve held dear to me. I don’t know – if there’s any universe where someone would find the good nature to just leave it back at the hotel or something. I’d be so grateful because that’s something that can’t be replaced.” Bafana legend Benni McCarthy was also the recent victim of crime, getting held up at gun-point in Melrose North, Johannesburg last Tuesday.

Free State Stars striker Moeketsi Sekola has won the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award for the 2014/15 Absa Premiership season. The 26-year-old netted on the final day as Stars drew 2-2 with Mpumalanga Black Aces to take his tally to 14 goals, pipping Lerato Lamola to the award after Bloemfontein Celtic lost 1-0 to Moroka Swallows. Polokwane City’s Puleng Tlolane, who was leading the standings at the turn of the year, finished on 11, while Cuthbert Malajila (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Kermit Erasmus (Orlando Pirates) were the other players to reach double figures. SuperSport United’s New Zealand international, Jeremey Brockie, finishes with eight goals, despite only playing his first match in February.

Absa Premiership top scorers:
14 – Moeketsi Sekola
13 – Lerato Lamola
11 – Puleng Tlolane
10 – Cuthbert Malajila, Kermit Erasmus
8 – Geofrey Massa, Jeremy Brockie, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Ndumiso Mabena

The PSL's most prolific marksman Siyabonga Nomvete has confirmed that he will continue playing next season. Nomvete rescued Moroka Swallows at the weekend with a 68th minute header against Bloemfontein Celtic that meant The Dube Birds moved off the bottom of the table into 15th place and thus head into the Promotional Play-Offs. “I will definitely be playing next season. I will be there 100 percent,” said Nomvete. Nomvete – who turns 38 later this year – is out of contract at Swallows at the end of June. The veteran forward is the PSL all-time top scorer with 120 goals despite having spent seven-and-a-half years of his career playing in Europe. Nomvete has scored seven goals this season.

Bafana Bafana defender Daniel Cardoso has pulled out of the Cosafa Cup squad due to a shin injury. Cardoso received his second call-up to feature for Shakes Mashaba’s side during the Southern African showpiece that will start in Rustenburg this weekend.

SuperSport United defender Clayton Daniels has been handed a R50 000 fine for assault, misbehaviour and unsporting behaviour by the Premier Soccer League. The former Ajax Cape Town defender appeared before the PSL Disciplinary Committee on Thursday afternoon where he received his sanction. Daniels was charged by the PSL for assault, misbehaviour and unsporting behaviour for an incident during SuperSport United's 1-1 draw with Moroka Swallows last month.  The Matsatsantsa captain was seen shoving The Dube Birds coach Craig Rosslee over on the touchline, while trying to get the ball for a throw-in. Daniels has now been sanctioned to a R50 000 fine, R25 000 of which is suspended, and was made to apologise to Rosslee, who was present during the hearing.

Mamelodi Sundowns are ready to swoop for Burundian striker Fiston Abdul Razak, who was on trial with the club recently. Razak spent a few days at Chloorkop where it is reported he did well to impress coach Pitso Mosimane. The 23-year-old striker is currently on the books of Sofapaka in Kenya. Mosimane has since confirmed his club's interest in Razak. "He is a good footballer. We like him. We came over, we assessed him. He is more of a Malajila kind of player, he scores goals. He is young, he is 23 years old. We are interested. We will see how it goes. The generals [points at the presence of Trot Moloto, Mike Ntombela and Alex Tshakoane] are here. Those are the people who give us direction."

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter and Bloemfontein Celtic forward Lerato Lamola have been named the PSL's manager and player of the month respectively for April/May. Baxter, who claimed five victories out of six in the relevant period, saw off stiff competition from Free State Stars mentor Kinnah Phiri, who has led Ea Lla Koto's remarkable rise to top-eight contention. Golden Boot hopeful Lamola was recognised for netting four goals and providing two assists for Phunya Sele Sele. Mamelodi Sundowns pair Pitso Mosimane and Cuthbert Malajila won the awards for February/March.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says the club will be in search of a top striker for next season. Despite Amakhosi’s League and MTN8 success this season, Baxter admits that the fact that none of Chiefs’ attackers are on double figures in terms of goals scored means he must look at other options. Chiefs’ top scorer is Mandla Masango, who has scored eight goals in all competitions. Losing our top striker [Kingston Nkhatha] halfway into the season made things difficult… We need to get a striker who can get us 10/15 goals next season,” Baxter says.

South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi will be sent on a personalised boot camp programme in order to be fit for next season. This season’s Cardiff City signing has played just 74 minutes in the league for his Welsh club since making the move from Crystal Palace, owing to a number of muscle problems that have left him on the sidelines.  Yet after initial reports suggesting the 30-year-old will be let go at the end of the season, Cardiff boss Russell Slade has revealed the Bafana Bafana international will be given the chance to prove his worth by attending a European summer boot camp in north England. "It’s been frustrating because we haven’t seen anything of him,” the Bluebirds boss told Walesonline. “Clearly, he had a major injury problem and also got himself into a situation where fitness was also an issue. We are working on that through the summer and he needs to take ownership for that. He is going to a boot camp in the north of England, the Lake District, in mid-June. No phones, no nothing. Just a sweat jacket and hard work.” Dikgacoi has just over a month to prove himself before returning to his club’s training headquarters. After going to the north he will report back to our training ground in the middle of June, earlier than the main group," Slade added. It remains to be seen whether or not the club will keep the former Golden Arrows reinforce, with two years left on his contract in Wales.

The National First Division teams participating in the Promotion Play-Offs this year can do so without age restrictions.  As per the rules, NFD teams must start games with five U-23 players but this regulation will not be enforced on the NFD teams during the Play-Offs. As per usual, the Play-Offs will be played in a mini-league format, home and away, and the team with the most points will win promotion.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter admits he has no idea whether goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune will stay or go, saying negotiations are still cordial at this stage. The 27-year-old has been strongly linked with Mamelodi Sundowns and also Orlando Pirates, but Baxter says as far as he knows there is no “impasse” between Chiefs and Khune. “I'm not part of the management and therefore I'm not privy on the stages of negotiations that are ongoing. My information is that the negotiations are still on and both parties are still trying to find a solution,” Baxter said. Baxter, though, is satisfied that Khune is still showing commitment despite the uncertainty over his future.

Orlando Pirates striker Thamsanqa Gabuza says he felt like he was "playing for his future at Pirates" in the game against CF Mounana over the weekend. The 27-year-old made his first start at Orlando Stadium and put in an impressive performance capped off by an assist for Kermit Erasmus' hat-trick goal. "I was happy to finally get a chance to start for my team. I was actually given my first opportunity to start this season when we played Mounana away in Gabon, which was a real honour for me but to start at home in front of our supporters, it was a very special moment," he told the club’s website. "I guess it was emotional because going into the match I felt it was a life-or-death situation for me. I knew that if I played badly people would criticise me and say I was sidelined because I did not deserve to play, but if I played well I know the comments would be positive like why have I not been playing before or when am I going to play next. Therefore I felt I was playing for my future at Pirates." The former Golden Arrows man reveals that club chairman Irvin Khoza has been very influential in his hardworking approach to the game. "I would like to thank the chairman for that, he made me understand the game by pointing out my strengths and weaknesses. He explained that he acquired my services because I am tall, physical, I drop deep to collect the ball and that I am full of energy. So when I played I tried to incorporate all of the above.”

Thanda Royal Zulu striker Phumelele Bhengu has finished the National First Division season with 22 goals – the highest total in at least 10 years. The former national Under-23 player, now 25, propelled Thanda to a fourth-place finish in the NFD this season as they narrowly missed out on the promotion playoffs. Charlton Mashumba scored 17 League goals as Jomo Cosmos qualified for the playoffs, finishing in second place seven points behind NFD champions Golden Arrows.  Cape Town All Stars, who lost 2-0 at home to Thanda in the final game of the season, were also in the playoff reckoning this season thanks in large part to Amigo Memela's 15 goals but missed out in the end.  Roggert Nyundu of Black Leopards – most famously remembered this season for scoring the goal that knocked Kaizer Chiefs out of the Nedbank Cup in the last 16 – also scored 13 league goals for Black Leopards, who join Cosmos and Moroka Swallows in the playoffs.

NFD top scorers (2014/15):
Phumelele Bhengu (Thanda Royal Zulu) - 22
Charlton Mashumba (Jomo Cosmos) - 17
Amigo Memela (Cape Town All Stars) - 15
Roggert Nyundu (Black Leopards) - 13
Brice Aka (Jomo Cosmos) - 11
Walter Maponyane (Royal Eagles) - 11

They might not have had the best of seasons, but Orlando Pirates have again managed to preserve the pride of being the only team to always finish in the top 8 through all of the 19 years of the PSL. Fourth place was disappointing for Pirates, but they will know that they have at least guarded a measure of precious consistency that is not matched by any other club in domestic football. Actually, across all 19 years of the PSL, Bucs hold the highest average position of 3.05, despite some seasons when they haven’t been up to scratch, like this past season. The second most consistent team in the PSL is Kaizer Chiefs, whose average position stands at 3.36, with that mark spoiled by the fact they have twice finished outside the top eight – ending up ninth in 2001/02 and 2006/07. Six-time champions Sundowns, who have a tendency of putting up sub-standard runs and have finished outside the top eight on four occasions, have ironed out 4.10 as their average position.

NFD champions Golden Arrows finished their season in style on Sunday, while Jomo Cosmos and Black Leopards booked a spot in the Promotion Play-Offs alongside Moroka Swallows. Arrows took their season tally to 60 points with a 2-1 win over Highlands Park. Sibusiso Sibeko and Prince Nxumalo got the goals for Arrows, while Teboho Kalake netted for the hosts. Moroka Swallows will battle Jomo Cosmos and Black Leopards in the Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs.

Steve Barker insists he does not regret his decision to join AmaZulu, and says he is prepared to coach in the NFD. Usuthu were relegated after a 2-1 loss to neighbours Maritzburg United in Durban on Saturday, with Barker joining the team in November following a lengthy stint at University of Pretoria. "I am willing to go with the club, in fact preparations need to start as early as Monday so that we know which direction we are taking. I don’t regret my decision of being with the club," Barker told AmaZulu's website. "I believe we have what it takes to bounce back to the PSL in years to come and become a competitive team." He added: "I am happy with the progress that we made, there were some positives, but again disappointed that I could not achieve my main objective which was to save the club from being relegated."

PSL title winners Kaizer Chiefs were crowned as Absa Premiership Q4 winners, bagging an addition R1.5 million in their back pockets. Amakhosi’s 2-0 victory over Chippa United secured the last of the quarterly prizes, adding to the Q1 they won earlier in the season. Stuart Baxter’s men were pushed all the way by a resurgent Free State Stars, who finished just two points behind, yet were unable to earn maximum points against Mpumalanga Black Aces in their last fixture of the season while Chiefs were comfortable winners in Port Elizabeth.

Orlando Pirates communication manager Mickey Modisane has confirmed his resignation. Modisane tendered his resignation letter to Pirates chairman, Irvin Khoza with the intention to join the Ministry of Sport and Recreation where he is set to serve as spokesperson for Minister, Fikile Mbalula.

Ajax Cape Town coach Roger de Sa is looking forward to taking his young side into the CAF Confederation Cup next season. Ajax’s qualification means no place in African competition for Orlando Pirates next year – unless they win the CAF Confederations Cup this year. The Urban Warriors have already qualified for the CAF tournament by reaching the Nedbank Cup Final – win or lose against Mamelodi Sundowns in next weekend’s final in Port Elizabeth, the Urban Warriors qualify because Sundowns are runners-up in the Absa Premiership and will join champions Kaizer Chiefs in the CAF Champions League. Bidvest Wits finished third and will the other side taking part in CAF Confederations Cup with Ajax Cape Town. “We have spoken to the players about playing in Africa and we are looking forward to it,” De Sa said. “I have also spoken to the management about having a slightly different squad. We need players to play in Africa, a couple of strong players. It’s not like playing in the PSL … it’s quite different.” De Sa speaks from experience, having led Pirates to the Champions League Final in 2013. “It will be a nice challenge for the youngsters to step up to. This will be the closest they could get to playing for the national team,” he says. “It is going to be a great opportunity for them and they should learn from it.”

SA players abroad round-up: Ayanda Patosi provided three assists to outshine Bafana Bafana teammate Andile Jali.
Patosi was in sparkling form for the 65 minutes he was on the pitch, laying on three assists in a 6-1 rout of Jali's KV Oostende that saw Lokeren move a step closer to competing in the UEFA Europa League. The result ensured Lokeren finished at the top of Playoff II Group B to set up a two-legged tie against Group A winners KV Mechelen. The Playoff II winner then plays a home-and-away tie against either the fourth-placed or fifth-placed team from the Playoff I for a Europa League place.
Mokotjo missed FC Twente’s 3-0 win over Dordrecht with a toe injury.
Fowler played for Finnish second-tier side Haka as they lost 3-2 at PS Kemi.
Mahlangu played for Turkish side Konyaspor as they lost 1-0 at giants Galatasaray.
Ngcongca was suspended as Genk won 3-2 at Zulte-Waregem but finished second in their UEFA Europa League qualification pool. His season is now over.
Nkili came on at halftime as Orebro’s disastrous start to the new Swedish league season continued with 2-0 away loss to Hacken.
Nunes played for Polish club Pogon Szczecin in their 3-1 loss to Lechia Gdansk in the championship playoffs.
Phiri came off late for Brondby as they were held 1-1 at home by Aalborg in Denmark.
Serero played in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Cambuur that was the penultimate match of the season for Ajax Amsterdam.
Travis played for Scottish third-tier side Forfar Athletic as they won through to the final of the League One promotion play-offs with a 1-1 draw at Stranraer that handed them a 4-1 aggregate victory. They will now meet Championship side Alloa Athletic over two legs in the final.