Local News - Issue 264

Chiefs Announce New Signings Headlined by Xulu
Kaizer Chiefs have confirmed the signings of Siyanda Xulu, Bongani Ndulula, Camaldine Abraw, Daniel Cardoso and Keegan Ritchie. Xulu, a former Mamelodi Sundowns defender, was previously plying his trade at Russian side FC Rostov. Ndulula led the line at AmaZulu last season, while fellow striker Abraw and the versatile Cardoso were at Free State Stars. Left-back Ritchie returns to the Glamour Boys after a spell with Bloemfontein Celtic. Lucky Baloyi, who was on loan at Moroka Swallows in 2014/15, is also back with the Soweto giants. Meanwhile, Sbongiseni Ngcobo and Andisile Ntsila have been promoted from the development structures. Amakhosi announced the deals at a press conference at Naturena on Tuesday morning, where it was also revealed that Matthew Rusike is closing in on a move to an unnamed team in Portugal. The Absa Premiership champions further disclosed Ugandan attacking midfielder Sula Matovu is on trial at the club. Kaizer Motaung also previously stated that bids for Sibusiso Vilakazi and Cole Alexander were rejected by Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City. He further added that George Lebese has signed a three-year contract extension.

Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung says Itumeleng Khune and Mandla Masango arrived for training yesterday and could yet stay at the club. Chairman Kaizer Motaung announced earlier this month that the duo would not have their contracts renewed after ‘holding the club to ransom’. Khune has been linked with a move to Orlando Pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns, while Masango has been tipped to join Mpumalanga Black Aces or even follow former coach Stuart Baxter to Turkey. But Bobby Motaung says the two were at Naturena yesterday for a ‘heart-to-heart chat. "Itu and Mandla came here yesterday; both players are still not sure of what they want. We had a heart to heart chat and it's only fair for them to take time off. When they are ready and they know what they want, they can come and talk to us.”

Newly promoted PSL side Jomo Cosmos will be playing their home games at Fezile Dabi Stadium in Parys, Free State, this coming season. The Tumahole community welcomed Ezenkosi last Thursday and Cosmos boss Jomo Sono says he is delighted to have a stable home and expressed confidence that the pitch will be ready by the start of the campaign. “The pitch is not ready. They are going to re-do the whole pitch and put in a new turf. It will be ready before our first match on the 15th [of August],” Sono said. The 15 000-seater stadium took three years to complete and is named after anti-apartheid struggle hero Fezile Dabi. Cosmos played their games at Makhulong and Isak Steyl stadiums during their National First Division days.

Kaizer Chiefs centre-back Mulomowandau Mathoho has been ruled out of the Carling Black Label Cup, following the results of recent fitness tests conducted at Naturena. Mathoho underwent surgery on a broken toe at the end of the season, and after reporting back to club training to undergo a series of fitness tests, has been ruled out of the pre-season spectacle against his Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates. The towering centre-back was lying second in the Carling Black label Cup voting stakes for Kaizer Chiefs, with a little over 27 000 votes, with fans now having to test their coaching skills in voting in a replacement. Other options for the Amakhosi faithful include Uganda international Ivan Bukenya, young rising star Lourenzo Gordinho and possibly a move for Siboniso Gaxa from right-back to the centre. The first Soweto Derby of the new season, in the form of the Carling Black Label Cup, is set to take place at FNB Stadium on 1 August.

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits defender Thomas Sweswe’s life ban from Zimbabwean football has finally been lifted. Sweswe had been handed the ban in October 2012 by the Zimbabwe Football Association for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal. But following a protracted three-year appeal process, that cost US$6000, the 33-year-old has reason to smile again. The suspension was only restricted to football activities governed by Zifa which is why Sweswe was still able to continue with his career in South Africa as the sanction was never endorsed by Fifa. Sweswe confirmed that he has already been handed the letter from ZIFA clearing his name and allowing him to revive a career that has been frozen back home since his brief spell with Black Leopards last season. Also already cleared is former Free State Stars and Leopards coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who has already taken up a new job at Zimbabwe PSL club ZPC Kariba. Asiagate – which happened between 2007 and 2009 – involved players that went on tours to Asia where they were allegedly paid to ‘throw’ matches. Officials were also implicated in the scandal that made global headlines.

SuperSport United are set to offload attacking midfielders Lebohang Manyama and Benett Chenene to accommodate new players for the 2015/16 season. Chenene is back at United after spending last season on loan to University of Pretoria, with his next destination yet to be established. Manyama could be headed to Mpumalanga Black Aces, where he would re-unite with his former coach at Ajax Cape Town, Muhsin Ertugral. According to a source close to the deal, Matsatsantsa and AmaZayoni are locked in negotiations to finalise a transfer for Manyama before the end of this week.

Maritzburg United have warned Kaizer Chiefs to pay compensation for Steve Komphela – or he must report for duty in KZN. Komphela was appointed Amakhosi’s new coach earlier this month, having handed in his resignation with the Team of Choice. However, Maritzburg chairman Farouk Kadodia said they are still waiting on payment from Chiefs. “I’ve given Tim Sukazi the ultimatum that if we don’t get settlement within the next day then Steve must report back to Maritzburg until the end of July,” said Kadodia. “The notice period ends at the end of July, the contract only ends at the end of June next year. So the contractual settlement is what Chiefs and Tim Sukazi are supposed to be taking responsibility for. We made an ultimatum that this thing is dragging on now and we need it settled in the next day otherwise Steve must report for duty at Maritzburg and serve his notice period at Maritzburg.”

Orlando Pirates are minus suspended duo Rooi Mahamutsa and Thamsanqa Gabuza for Saturday's CAF Confederation Cup clash with AC Leopards in the Republic of Congo. The pair are serving a one-match ban after picking up two yellow cards apiece at the competition. Striker Gabuza has been in especially fine form in the tournament, netting three goals in four starts, while he also scored in Bafana Bafana's 3-0 victory over Mauritius in a CHAN qualifier this past weekend. Veteran defender Lucky Lekgwathi, who has not played a single game in 2014/15, is also unavailable for the group stage tie due to injury. The Buccaneers will depart on Thursday morning, and will fly for just over four hours before taking a three-hour bus ride to Dolisie. The game will start at 16h00 (SA time) at the Denis Sassou Nguesso Stadium. Pirates are due back in South Africa at 18h30 next Monday.

Bloemfontein Celtic are currently dealing with the issue concerning Togolese striker Camaldine Abraw. Celtic claim to have signed the 24-year-old on a three-year contract and the chairman of the club, Max Tshabalala, was quoted on their website last week saying he is “dismayed” at reports that Abraw is joining Kaizer Chiefs. “We are completely baffled by the alleged interest in Abraw by Chiefs. After being identified by our technical team as one of the players to be signed for this season (2015/16), he was approached and subsequent to that we made an offer that he accepted and signed at our offices,” Tshabalala said last week. However, Abraw has joined Chiefs. Apparently, Celtic signed him without following “correct procedure” because he still belonged to Stars. According to our sources, Celtic thought the player’s contract with Stars was due to expire at the end of June, hence they signed him as a free agent. As it turns out, though, Stars apparently had a one-year option on his contract and when Chiefs followed the correct procedure, they were given permission to speak to the player and concluded a deal with him.

AmaZulu have confirmed that midfielder Paul Were has left the club following its relegation to the National First Division. A number of players are expected to leave Usuthu, but the club’s team manager Japhet Zwane said that it is currently difficult to confirm those that are leaving because some may renegotiate to stay.  For example, Mbulelo Mabizela’s contract expires at the end of June but he may negotiate a new deal. “Paul has already left,” Zwane confirms. “We’ve been receiving a lot of calls [for the players],” he says. Were is expected to join Kenyan champions Gor Mahia. Other players who may be leaving include S’fiso Hlanti who has been linked with Kaizer Chiefs and Marc van Heerden, who is apparently wanted by SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and Platinum Stars. Midfielder Khulekani Madondo could be on his way to neighbours Golden Arrows and Bongani Ndulula, whose contract with AmaZulu was also coming to an end this month, is set for a move to Kaizer Chiefs.

Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Felipe Ovono has arrived in the country to join Orlando Pirates. The 21-year-old arrived on onday and was immediately picked up. The news broke in March that Ovono had signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Buccaneers, but he left to return home and there was uncertainty over the deal. However, it is now seemingly only a matter of time before Pirates officially announce he is their player.

Defender Siyabonga Shoyisa is surprised that he is not in University of Pretoria’s plans for next season despite racking up the most appearances by any of their outfield players last term. Shoyisa played 29 games in all competitions in 2014/15 – only second to goalkeeper Washington Arubi – but has now been placed on the transfer list and is available for sale to any club interested in his services. “I spoke to the coach [Sammy Troughton] on the phone and he told me that they have new plans for the new season so they need someone new in my position,” Shoyisa said. “I never got a hint that I will not be wanted next season through the whole of the past season when I was playing regularly. How I have imagined that I will then be placed on transfer when I played so many games including the last game of the season against Mamelodi Sundowns? Maybe this could have been better if they had informed me about their decision well in advance. Right now they have told me that they are looking for a team to sell me to since I still have a season remaining on my contract with them. I am also still at home for now waiting for the club and my manager to work something out,” explained Shoyisa. Shoyisa has been with AmaTuks since arriving from Nathi Lions in 2011.

Chippa United are reportedly set to swoop on midfielder Mark Mayambela. Mayambela has spent the past six months with National First Division outfit Royal Eagles following a spell at Swedish side Djurgardens IF. According to a source close to Mayambela, Eagles are keen to retain the ex-Orlando Pirates playmaker but United have offered a slightly more favourable contract. Meanwhile, Eagles are keen on signing defender Method Mwanjali, who is currently back home in Zimbabwe after losing favour at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus has defended his decision to snub a last-minute call-up to the South Africa squad, stating he felt disrespected. A fortnight ago, Erasmus courted controversy when he rebuffed Bafana Bafana duty to replace striker Tokelo Rantie, who was forced to withdraw due to a personal commitment. Erasmus then took to Twitter to express: "I'm no back-up player". Thamsanqa Gabuza would eventually heed the Bafana call for their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia, which ended in a goalless draw. Former Feyenoord youth player Erasmus has since revealed the storm that brewed after the refusal to honour his country. "I stand up for what I believe. I'm not going to be a replacement for another player who doesn't pitch up," Erasmus said. "If the coach wanted me to be a part of the national team, I'd be one of the first players selected as part of the striking force, not because someone didn't turn up. It's disrespect and that's why I tweeted what I did. I've got my values and I've got my pride - I stand up for what I believe in. It's sad.”

Former Bafana Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett has applied for Maritzburg United’s head coach position. The Team of Choice is looking to fill the void left by Steve Komphela. Bartlett, who guided Golden Arrows to PSL promotion but has been replaced by Serame Letsoaka, confirms that he has sent his CV to Maritzburg United to be considered for the job. Maritzburg finished the 2014/15 season in the top eight for the first time in their history with Komphela in charge.

Former University of Pretoria midfielder Mpho Matsi has revealed that joining Mpumalanga Black Aces has left a sweet and sour taste in his mouth. Still, he is looking forward to the challenge and believes he has what it takes to excel at the club. The Pretoria-born man has joined AmaZayoni on a two-year deal and is set to join Muhsin Ertugral’s side this week. Matsi has been with Tuks since 2008 and says leaving his home is a bit emotional, but is ready to face the new challenge head on. “It’s true, I’m leaving Tuks and joining Aces, I’m happy but there’s this feeling, how do I put it? It’s sad, but I’m happy as well for obvious reasons,” said Matsi. “It’s a new challenge, and I received advice from Dipsy Selolwane when we played with him: he said that if an opportunity arises, I need to consider it. I think working with Muhsin will teach me a lot and take my game to the next level. He’s a coach who’ll teach me new lessons in football.”

Craig Rosslee has decided to leave Moroka Swallows as he is not willing to go down to the National First Division with the club. This after he failed to save Swallows from relegation this past season and boss Leon Prins has since confirmed that the 45-year-old is leaving the club. "Look, we wanted to keep him at the club as we felt he has done well since he took over," Prins said. "But he decided to go and we are currently talking to other coaches which I can't reveal now. We will make a decision once we finalise everything and we will let everyone know once we finalise our plans." Swallows also lost Vuyisile Wana and Lentshene Phalane both to Bloemfontein Celtic, while they decided not to retain the services of Tsietsi Mahoa and Mthokozisi Yende.

Bloemfontein Celtic will release Zambian defender Davies Nkausu upon his return from his loan spell at University of Pretoria. Nkausu spent the last half of 2014/15 on loan at AmaTuks, where he started just two games. Khumbulani Konco, the Celtic CEO, confirms that they will be releasing Nkausu, who they only signed in January last year. “We will be releasing him to another club, even though he still has a running contract with us,” Konco said. Celtic have also since settled the outstanding money that they owed the 29-year-old as part of his signing-on fees.

Everton and former Bafana Bafana star Steven Pienaar was delighted to host yet another successful edition of the annual Steven Pienaar Community Tournament, as the Rebels claimed honours after defeating Yebo Yes by 5-4 on penalties in the showpiece Seniors’ final. This year the tournament attracted 132 entries across categories, from under eight to under 20 with Seniors and Masters categories available for senior players. The incentive is greater than local bragging rights, with R12 000 up for grabs for the winners in the age categories and R7 000 going to the runner-up team. Prize money in the Seniors category is R50 000 for the winners with R25 000 going to the losing finalists. Returning to support and visit his old neighbourhood Pienaar chatted to young footballers on the sidelines and even took the time to display some trickery with the ball, which was met by enthusiastic applause. “I want to get a new Steven Pienaar out of this community, not a lot of people come around here and look for talent and this is a platform for the children to show their skills,” the winger said. Pienaar was happy to give back to his home community, and lauded the social aspect that the tournament brings to the people of Westbury. “People want to play in this tournament because it’s not only about football, you make new friends,” he said. “There are teams from all around Johannesburg, so you meet new people and maybe they will invite teams from Westbury to come play in their tournament. For the fans there’s music, there’s food. It’s a nice day out for the family.” The Everton midfielder and former Bafana Bafana star has sponsored the tournament for the past 10 years along with his personal sponsor Puma, who came on board in 2012 and sponsored new kits to all the quarter-finalists across all divisions. Puma Marketing Manager Brett Bellinger commented: “It is great to see how the tournament continues to grow in size and popularity. We are very proud to be a sponsor of Steven and this great initiative and hope to see some of these young players in our provincial and national team one day.”

Katlego Mphela is looking for a new club – and may find it China or the United Arab Emirates. ‘Killer’ is a free agent after being released by Kaizer Chiefs earlier this month, with some reports suggesting he could join Bidvest Wits or SuperSport United. The striker’s agent, Glyn Binkin, says they have options both at home and abroad, and confirms that “there is interest from both China and UAE”. The 30-year-old made just four league appearances during the past season. Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung revealed that Mphela was let go after he was "called into a disciplinary hearing for failing to attend a number of important events", but the player has since denied that.

Legendary AmaZulu striker Joel Faya says he is hurting after being shown the door at the club. Usuthu have started clearing out following their relegation from the Absa Premiership, with the chief scout one of those having to make way. "I'm feeling bad as you know. I have been part of the club for a very long time now," Faya said. "I played and worked for the club in various positions, so it hurts that I'm the one who has been released as there are so many things I have done for the club. But it is one of those things. I understand the club must work according to what they will earn in the NFD as the financial grant from the PSL is not the same as in the top division.”

Bongani Khumalo is not returning to South Africa, according to his business manager. The former Bafana Bafana defender’s contract at Tottenham Hotspur recently expired, leaving him on the lookout for new employment. There have been reports in the media of a return to the PSL with SuperSport United, but Glyn Binkin insists that is not the case. “He is remaining in Europe. We have several options, but at the moment I can’t reveal the names of the teams,” Binkin said.

The South African Football Players Union will host an eight-team winter tournament for its out of contract members. This is the first of its kind in the country and it is aimed at giving the players a second chance to resurrect their careers. The tournament will comprise of the players from both the NFD and the PSL. The teams will be coming from the following parts of Greater Gauteng: Ekurhuleni, Pretoria, Alexander, Soweto, Ramsig, Daveyton, Florida and Tembisa. The tournament will take place in Auckland Park on June 19 and 20. On the first day there is going to be a financial education workshop for the players. The invitation is extended to all the coaches from the NFD and PSL, as well as the scouts. On the last day of the tournament former and current players will be playing a curtain-raiser game for the final.

Former Orlando Pirates striker Rudolf Bester is training with Maritzburg United with the hope of getting a contract. The Namibia international spent last season at Free State Stars before he was released after failing to impress. Bester, who previously played for Maritzburg as well as Golden Arrows, started training with United last Tuesday. The Team of Choice are also negotiating with midfielder Kurt Lentjies regarding renewing his contract.

New Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has suggested that he would have no problem working with Doctor Khumalo despite claims that the latter may be uncomfortable continuing as an assistant. Khumalo served as an assistant during Stuart Baxter’s three years at the club and Chiefs confirmed that there would be no further changes to their technical team, meaning Khumalo is likely to continue in the same role under Komphela. The former Maritzburg United coach explains that he was disturbed by a report that indicated he and Khumalo could not work together, and wanted to clear the air with the Amakhosi playing legend.“[This] may talk to what happens from now on henceforth. I was on my way from Maritzburg and I landed at OR Tambo [international airport] and as I was getting to the parking lot, I received this call then I can see that wait a minute I know this number. And as I pick up the phone, he says ‘He ndoda, bathini kanti [what are they saying?]. They say that we can’t work together. This person who is calling says they say we can’t work together. There is a guy who wrote the story and it was so pleasing to receive that call. We had a chat and I said to the person who was talking to me, ‘I’m sure you and I know each other. We come a long way. We’ve been through a lot of education [coaching courses] and whatever. I wouldn’t even have believed that even if you said it, because I know how you behave and treat me’. “We went through that conversation and it was done. If you were to ask me who that caller was, it was Doctor. It was so pleasing. So just trying to ease waters, with Doctor when I first got an opportunity to coach here from Mr Motaung [as an assistant] Doctor was playing here under Muhsin [Ertugral] and Doctor had a sense of respect to work with us. “We went to coaching courses together and I’m friends with him,” he added.

Mamelodi Sundowns star Teko Modise said that the Premier Soccer League players are not the “Messis” of this world in terms of their financial situation. ‘The Navigator’ believes there is a misconception about local players that they earn big money. In all fairness, you can't live the same way you've been living when you were a footballer after you retire,” he said. “I think the mistake people make and don't talk about in South Africa is that when you are still playing they think you're getting a salary so high that when you retire you will be fine, but we're not like your Messis who get 100 000 per game.”  The 32-year-old also points out that many players are late starters in terms of professional football, meaning that they don’t have enough time to make enough money to have a decent retirement.  "Things are different in SA and you must understand that most footballers in SA get to play in the PSL at 27 and they need to buy their own houses and, as black people, we need to start at home first and those are the difficulties we face and not many people talk about it,” Modise said. However, the 2015 Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament also acknowledges that the players are partly to blame. "You just need to surround yourself with good people and hopefully get good advice because most of the time we make bad decisions and then those are the things that kill us.”

AmaZulu have decided against exercising their option of a further year on Roscoe Pietersen’s loan deal from SuperSport United after the club’s relegation to the first division. Pietersen joined AmaZulu on a six-month loan deal during the January transfer window, with an option of a further year which was dependant on whether the club stayed up. However, with Usuthu having been demoted, Pietersen will be returning to his parent club. Pietersen started six games, and came on as a substitute only once during his stay at the Durban-side.

If reports are anything to go by, Stuart Baxter could be quite at home when he starts his new job at Turkish club Genclerbirligi. The Englishman left Kaizer Chiefs earlier this month after three successful seasons, and immediately a number of Amakhosi players were tipped to follow. Mandla Masango, who Kaizer Motaung said would leave the club after refusing a new contract, was first to be linked to follow his former coach.  And earlier last week Baxter was quoted as saying that Genclerbirligi were ‘aware’ of the situation of Itumeleng Khune, who is also leaving Chiefs after turning down a new deal. There were also reports that George Lebese is also being linked with a move to Turkey.

Limpopo side Polokwane City has confirmed the signing of three players, including Punch
Masenamela. The former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns defender has signed for Rise and Shine on a two-year contract with an option for a further year. The club has also confirmed the capture of Nazier Jacobs from Milano United and Randy Ngobe from Witbank Spurs. Randy is the younger brother of former Bafana Bafana midfielder Dumisa Ngobe.

Kaizer Motaung says he was “blown away” by Steve Komphela's successful bid for the Kaizer Chiefs job. “Three weeks ago we bid farewell to an extraordinary coach,” Motaung said. “We got a lot of CVs from all over but mainly from the national team coaches. I look at Steve as a coach, not as a black coach. His presentation blew me away. I am fully confident, that with the experience he's gathered over the years, he deserves this platform. We welcome him back to the Kaizer Chiefs Village, he was once a player and also an assistant coach. The mandate is to continue the Kaizer Chiefs' legacy of winning.” The club's football manager Bobby Motaung added: “We had about 25 to 30 applicants [for the job] ... Steve Komphela was tops in terms of the criteria.” Komphela represented Chiefs in defence during his playing days, while he was an assistant coach to Muhsin Ertugral at Naturena from 2000 to 2002. The 47-year-old has also had stints in charge of Free State Stars, Platinum Stars and Bafana Bafana (caretaker boss in 2012).

Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande and ex-striker Knowledge Musona escaped unhurt following a vehicle accident in Harare. The Zimbabwe skipper and his vice-captain Musona, along with Zimbabwe national team coach Kalisto Pasuwa, were travelling in a car that overturned on their way to the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) Village. The vehicle was being driven by Zifa president Cuthbert Dube, who also escaped unhurt, although the car was extensively damaged. Dube lost control of the vehicle before it overturned. The travelling party were on their way to resolve a sticking issue regarding bonuses from their 2-1 African Nations Cup qualifying win over Malawi on Saturday. The Warriors have not been paid for the win and Zifa claim they do not have the money to pay the players and have thrown the bucket to the government, whom they say should be responsible for the national team. "We are broke and the national team is the responsibility of the government. They have pledged to assist and we hope they will fulfil that promise," says Zifa CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze.

Township Rollers have announced the appointment of Mark Harrison as their new head coach. The Englishman recently left Zimbabwe side CAPS United, having only been in charge for 13 matches, before landing the job in Botswana. Harrison has extensive coaching experience in the PSL, having worked at Mpumalanga Black Aces, Chippa United and Golden Arrows. Among others.

Orlando Pirates fullback Happy Jele says facing Zamalek and AC Leopards Caf Confederation Cup will be a daunting task after Bucs previously eliminated them from the Champions League. In 2013, the Buccaneers defeated both Zamalek and AC Leopards to finish second, behind Al Ahly, in their group, and effectively eliminated the two sides from the competition. Jele expects Zamalek and AC Leopards to be highly motivated when they meet in the upcoming group matches of the Confederatins Cup. “We lost in the final of the Champions League (to Al Ahly in 2013), so we want to make sure we get this one (Confed Cup)," says Jele. "If you can remember, we played against Zamalek and AC Leopards in the Champions League so we know them but they know us as well. We can’t tell ourselves we are ahead of them because we beat them and they would want revenge. It is a hectic group, but we must unite and play as a team." Bucs will play their first group match against AC Leopards on June 26 in Congo followed by a home clash against Zamalek on July 10. The other team in Group B alongside Pirates, Leopards and Zamalek, is CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.

Veteran defender Dominic Isaacs says he has thrown his latest spell at Ajax Cape Town behind him and has his focus on continuing his career elsewhere next season. The 32-year-old confirmed that he has been informed by the club that his contract will not be renewed following a difficult season in which he spent more time on the bench and in the stands than on the field due to a calf injury. “The bosses called me in and told me that they will not be renewing my contract, and I have already accepted that from the first of July I will be a free agent,” Isaacs said.  In his first spell with Ajax, Isaacs amassed close to 160 games stretching over eight years, but his second one-year stint included just four starts and four substitute appearances. Rumours suggest Isaacs could be heading to either Mpumalanga Black Aces or BidVest Wits next season.

Veteran defender Tsietsi Mahoa has joined the growing list of players that will not be with Moroka Swallows next season following revelations that the club is not keen on retaining him for next season. Mahoa started 14 games last season for Swallows – 12 of which came in the opening 14 league matches – and then disappeared when Shere Lekgothoane eventually became the preferred choice at left-back.  Mahoa and his handlers have since been informed that the club will not be taking up the option of another year on his contract. This development effectively means that the 32-year-old will be free next month. With Swallows relegated to the National First Division, the club is faced up with the challenge of a major overhaul which will be necessitated by the budgetary constraints and age-limit rules in the second tier. The club has already indicated that they will not be retaining Mthokozisi Yende, while Vuyisile Wana and Lantshene Phalane have joined Bloemfontein Celtic.

Thanda Royal Zulu have appointed Thami Ngubane as their new coach, despite having left the club last season. The previously-ousted coach has confirmed that he was joined the club as head coach once more. "Yes, I have joined Thanda and I have started working with the team," he said. "I'm going back home to the club I know pretty well, since at the time I left we were third on the log.” Ngubane says he hopes to guide the KZN outfit back into the PSL under his tenure. "I'm not saying I'm happy, it is my job to coach the club which I called home,” he said. "The decision was a no-brainer to come back at the club and I hope that this time we reach our mission to take the club to PSL." Ngubane was recently the coach of Royal Eagles, and has since been replaced by Vladislav Heric. Eagles has also announced Bheka Phakathi as their assistant coach for next season.

Siphelele Ntshangase has told Black Leopards that he is looking for a new challenge and is hoping a transfer will be concluded soon. That is the word from the player’s agent, Mandla Mthembu, who also insists that Kaizer Chiefs are not in the picture to sign the 22-year-old, who took the First Division by storm this past season. Rumour is that the two clubs who are currently fighting it out to sign Ntshangase are Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.

Statistics from the past season reveal that Kaizer Chiefs doubled up their title-winning campaign by also being the league’s cleanest team. Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who is leaving the club upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the month, was the only player sent off for Amakhosi as they raked up 37 yellow cards all season, the least cautions for any team. Khune was shown the red card in the 1-0 victory over AmaZulu in game number 25 and never played after that, with Reyaad Pieterse the preferred choice between the goalposts for the finish. Siboniso Gaxa received the most yellow cards at Chiefs with six cautions in 30 league starts. The right-back went on to serve his suspensions in the cup games from the cards accumulated in the league games. At the other end, SuperSport United will not find pride in having piled up 57 yellow cards along with having four players shown the red card, which contributed to many of their players regularly being suspended. Matsatsantsa had Roscoe Pietersen, Thuso Phala, Prince Nxumalo and Michael Morton all sent off along the way, while their skipper Clayton Daniels was yellow carded nine times – the most in the league. Daniels shared that unpleasant stat with Moroka Swallows defender Luvhengo Mungomeni, who accounted for just under a fifth of all the cautions handed to Swallows players. Forty-six red cards were issued to 43 players in the 240 league matches played through the course of the season, with University of Pretoria receiving six of those. University of Pretoria defender-cum-midfielder Vuyisile Ntombayithethi was the league’s dirtiest player with seven yellow cards plus two red cards, while Chippa United midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni wasn’t far off with five cautions and two sending offs. The only other player sent off twice this past season was Siyabonga Ngubane of AmaTuks. Though Platinum Stars didn’t have the best of seasons they kept it clean with just 35 yellow cards, the least in the League, a disciplinary aspect that Cavin Johnson will surely want to hold on to next season. As expected, the players with the most cautions at each of the 16 clubs play in defensive positions except for Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Bongani Zungu (6 yellow cards), Black Aces forward Collins Mbesuma (6 yellow cards), Orlando Pirates skipper Oupa Manyisa (5 yellow cards), and the Polokwane City pair of Puleng Tlolane and Lebohang Motumi (four yellow cards).

SuperSport United 57 (yellow cards), 4 red cards), 73 (Ill-discipline points)
Chippa United 53, 4, 69
Mpumalanga Black Aces 52, 4, 68             
AmaZulu 54, 3, 63
Free State Stars 47, 4, 63
University of Pretoria 40, 6, 58
Maritzburg United 48, 3, 57
Moroka Swallows 48, 3, 57
BidVest Wits 50, 2, 56
Bloemfontein Celtic 48, 2, 54
Ajax Cape Town 49, 1, 52
Mamelodi Sundowns 41, 3, 50
Polokwane City 41, 2, 47
Orlando Pirates 40, 2, 46
Platinum Stars 35, 2, 41      
Kaizer Chiefs 37, 1, 40
*Yellow card worth one point
*Red card worth three points
*A yellow card issued prior to a second booking in the same match is swallowed into the eventual red card handed