Local News - Issue 269

Moutang Not Interested In Khune And Masango’s “Games”
Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung says it could take a trip to church for Itumeleng Khune and Mandla Masango to “find themselves”. The out-of-contract pair left Amakhosi at the end of last season amid demands for higher wages but are now “on the streets” according to Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. Motaung gave the clearest indication yet in this past weekend’s Sowetan that Khune and Masango will not return to the club before the start of next season. “We have been talking to the players and they have been playing hardball and making ridiculous demands. In life you must humble yourself and also be clear about what you want as a person,” said Motaung. “A contract is a contract. I don't know whether they are taking chances or whether they are trying their luck. This club has been there for them for so many years. They are playing mind games or trying to play hardball, but it is affecting them, not us. I told them, ‘Go home, find some perspective and even go to church to find yourself.’” Motaung confirmed that Khune and Masango intend to meet with the club again to discuss possible returns, but stressed that Chiefs have to continue to look ahead to next season. “They have attempted to meet with us but we are in camp, we are in pre-season. We are moving on as an organisation, we have a team that needs to be prepared. If they come here, they must have an understanding of what they want … they are free, they don't have contracts, so if there are clubs out there, why don't they sign them?”

Veteran defender Joseph Musonda is heading back home to Zambia to join former club Nkana FC. Musonda left Polokwane City at the beginning of the month after his contract was not renewed and hasn’t wasted time in finding a new home. The 38-year-old has confirmed he will be heading back to his former club to help them climb the Zambian Super League table – Nkana are currently 12th, with just four wins from their 17 games. “I have joined Nkana because I want to help them until the end of the season since they are not in a good position,” Musonda said. Musonda joined City at the beginning of last season and went on to be the first-choice left-back, starting 22 games and going on to become the League’s oldest most-active player at 38. The 2012 Afcon winner had already declared that he would be continuing his playing career that has seen him turn out for Free State Stars and Golden Arrows.

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar will miss the start of the 2015/16 season after suffering a hamstring injury in training. The South African had featured in his club’s friendly encounters against Swindon Town and Stoke City earlier this month, yet was forced to sit on the sidelines on Sunday as the Toffees beat Hearts 3-1 in another pre-season warm-up. Everton coach Roberto Martinez has now revealed the extent of the injury the winger picked up in training, lamenting the fact that he will now miss the opening stages of the club’s Premier League campaign. “Obviously it was a really sad moment for all of us when Stevie picked up that injury in training,” Martinez told his club’s website. “We were very, very down about that situation and we hope to get Stevie back as soon as we can. He’s gone back now to be fully assessed by our medical team at Finch Farm and we’ll get the results very soon. But it does seem it’s a problem with his hamstring and clearly he’s going to miss the start of the season, which is a real shame because Stevie worked with fantastic results and fantastic signs over the first three weeks or pre-season.” The 33-year-old endured an injury-plagues season last term, as he made just 11 appearances for his club as they finished 11th in the Premier League standings.

Kaizer Chiefs have received some good news on the injury front as a number of players make their way back. Mulumowandau Mathoho is back in training after a toe injury and is busy regaining match fitness. Two other defenders, Morgan Gould and Daniel Cardoso, are expected back in September. Gould ruptured his Achilles tendon four months ago, while Cardoso arrived with an injury after joining from Free State Stars. Simphiwe Mtsweni is also expected back in September after undergoing surgery on a foot injury, while Lucky Baloyi will be back in three weeks after hurting himself in a pre-season match.

Orlando Pirates' CAF Confederation Cup opponents Zamalek are on the brink of winning the championship in Egypt and ending the long-standing dominance of their arch rivals Al Ahly. The White Knights need just one point from their last two games of the season to quench a long-standing drought and add back a competitive edge to their bitter rivalry with Al Ahly, who won a record 37th championship at the end of last season. A draw away at Al Geish, behind closed doors at Cairo’s Air Defence Stadium, will give Zamalek their first league success since 2004. Zamalek, coached by the Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, could have sewn up the title last week but lost their derby to Al Ahly, who have won eight titles in the last decade with two seasons not completed because of the civil interest in the country. This year’s championship has run over after being suspended for just over a month after 22 people were killed in a stampede on February 8 when police fired teargas and birdshot at Zamalek supporters trying to force their way into the Air Defence Stadium. Football matches have often been a flashpoint for violence in Egypt where 72 Al Ahly fans were killed in Port Said in February 2012, prompting a halt to club football for almost a year.

Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon won the inaugural Cape Town Cup with a 2-0 victory over Premier League opponents Crystal Palace in Sunday afternoon’s final at Cape Town Stadium. Colombia’s Fredy Montero scored twice in the second half to secure the victory for his side, who had progressed to the final following a penalty shootout victory over hosts Ajax Cape Town on Friday evening after a 2-2 draw. Crystal Palace hammered SuperSport United 4-0 in their semi-final. SuperSportd and Ajax  shared third spot after drawing 2-2.

Mamelodi Sundowns retained the Dr Hage Geingob Cup by beating African Stars 1-0 at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia on the weekend. Veteran midfielder Surprise Moriri got the goal for the Brazilians. Sundowns won the inaugural edition of the event by defeating the same opponents with an identical scoreline last year. Pitso Mosimane's men edged Primeiro De Agosto of Angola 5-3 on penalties in their tournament opener earlier in the week following a 1-1 stalemate in regulation time. Downs have been busy in pre-season, recently clinching eTV Charity Showdown honours by beating Ajax Cape Town in the final. The Nedbank Cup champions were previously on tour in Zambia, defeating Zesco United and Mufulira Wanderers before concluding their trip by drawing with Nchanga Rangers on July 16.

Mbombela United were crowned ABC Motsepe League champions after beating Mthatha Bucks 2-1 in the final at De Beers Stadium in Kimberley on Sunday afternoon. Sikhumbuzo Mathebula's outfit ended the tournament unbeaten and were handed a cash prize of R1 million. Bucks earned R500 000 for their efforts, with both sides previously gaining promotion to the National First Division.

Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba says he is happy to meet Angola in the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary African Zone Round 2 qualifying rounds following the draw that was conducted in St Petersburg, Russia on Saturday. South Africa has played in three World Cups since the country’s readmission into international football in the early 1990s. “I think in all fairness, it was a fair draw. One could not have asked for a better draw than this one. We have played Angola on a number of occasions, although the outcomes were close, we have had an upper hand,” said Mashaba from Russia. It was more or less what we expected; you cannot reach the World Cup finals without facing tough teams. One thing for sure, we will prepare thoroughly against Angola; we won’t underestimate them,” added Mashaba. Angola will host Bafana in Luanda on October 11 with the return leg expected two weeks later. Round 2 winners from Africa will then be drawn into five groups of four in which the winner of each group qualifies for Russia 2018.

African Zone Draw
Round One
Match 1: Somalia-Niger
Match 2: South Sudan-Mauritania
Match 3: Gambia-Namibia
Match 4: Sao Tome e Principe-Ethiopia
Match 5: Chad-Sierra Leone
Match 6: Comoros-Lesotho
Match 7: Djibouti-Swaziland
Match 8: Eritrea-Botswana
Match 9: Seychelles-Burundi
Match 10: Liberia-Guinea-Bissau
Match 11: Central African Republic-Madagascar
Match 12: Mauritius-Kenya
Match 13: Tanzania-Malawi
Round Two
Match 1: Winner (Match 1)-Cameroon
Match 2: Winner (Match 2)-Tunisia
Match 3: Winner (Match 3)-Guinea
Match 4: Winner (Match 4)-Congo
Match 5: Winner (Match 5)-Egypt
Match 6: Winner (Match 6)-Ghana
Match 7: Winner (Match 7)-Nigeria
Match 8: Winner (Match 8)-Mali
Match 9: Winner (Match 9)-Congo DR
Match 10: Winner (Match 10)-Cote d’Ivoire
Match 11: Winner (Match 11)-Senegal
Match 12: Winner (Match 12)-Cape Verde Islands
Match 13: Winner (Match 13)-Algeria
Match 14: Sudan-Zambia
Match 15: Libya-Rwanda
Match 16: Morocco-Equatorial Guinea
Match 17: Mozambique-Gabon
Match 18: Benin-Burkina Faso
Match 19: Togo-Uganda
Match 20: Angola-South Africa

SuperSport United coach Gordon Igesund admits he was at fault following his side’s defeat against Crystal Palace on Friday evening. Matsatsantsa were beaten 4-0 by the Barclays Premiership side, conceding four first half goals with a new-look defensive line that included former Bafana bafana defender Bongani Khumalo and new signing Michael Boxall. Boxall had only landed in the country following work permit delays the day before the game, and endured a tough baptism of fire against the English club, and Igesund admits he was at fault for fielding the New Zealand international in the first place. “Boxall only arrived on Thursday – obviously he’s not fit and all the travelling caught up with him, and he wasn’t what I expected of him on the day,” Igesund said in the post-match press conference. But that’s my fault for throwing him in of course. I thought I would throw him in and give him a chance and have a look at him, but we then conceded three other goals – it was a bit of a shambles in the first half.”

Matthew Rusike has parted ways with Portuguese side CD Nacional in favour of a move to Swedish Allvenskan outfit Halmstads BK. Rusike left Kaizer Chiefs recently to move to Portugal, but his agent Micky Paiva from Luso Africa Player Management has said that the striker has mutually come to an agreement to move on. “Matthew has signed an 18-month deal with Halmstads following a mutual termination of his contract with CD Nacional,” he said.

Igesund is hoping Bongani Khumalo will sign on the dotted line for SuperSport despite his unconvincing display against Crystal Palace. The former Bafana Bafana captain has been on trial with Matsastansta for a month. The 28-year-old, who was out of contract with Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur having never featured in their first team in four years, was part of a new-look United backline that had never played alongside each other. “We all know Bongani – he’s steady, wins balls in the air and I thought he did an okay job in the second half. In the first half it was quite difficult for him because I had three defenders at the back that played for the first time together,” Igesund told reporters. The SuperSport coach confirmed that he intends to sign Khumalo, who spent three successful years at the club between 2007 and 2010, and insists he is poised to become a key member of the squad. “We know what Bongani can do, he’s got a history with our club and I am looking forward to maybe signing him. It hasn’t been completed yet, we are still hoping to do that. But he will add a lot of value to our team,” he added.

Stuart Baxter seems to be working his magic at Genclerbirligi already after they thrashed Kamohelo Mokotjo’s FC Twente 5-0 in a pre-season friendly. Baxter left Kaizer Chiefs at the end of last season after a successful spell in charge of the PSL heavyweights and was replaced by Steve Komphela. The Briton has now taken up the challenge of turning around the fortunes of his new Turkish club, who ended ninth last season. All five goals were scored before half-time. Mokotjo started the game but was replaced after half-time.

Mpumalanga Black Aces won the inaugural Mbombela Football Spectacular after beating Platinum Stars 4-1 on penalties in the final. Dikwena looked to be heading to victory and were leading 2-1 right until deep into stoppage time, when Judas Moseamedi netted to make it 2-2 and take the game straight to penalties. Stars opened the scoring just after half-time courtesy of new loan signing Bongi Ntuli after he knocked in a Shu-Aib Walters save on the rebound. Aces hit back through Given Mashikinya right on the hour-mark as he deftly chipped the goalkeeper to make it 1-1. But just a few minutes later Stars had the lead again when Moroka Swallows defender Ashraf Hendricks – who is looking to move and hoping to earn a deal with Aces – tried to block a free-kick but his miscued block sailed past Walters. Dikwena could have been home and dry in the 71st minute but hit the upright and it came back to bite them as Moseamedi grabbed a late equaliser. Walters saved one Platinum Stars penalty and another hit the crossbar as Aces won 4-1 on spot-kicks to complete a successful pre-season tournament.
Aces XI: Walters, Mashikinya, Mwesiga, Modiba, Ngubane, Moseamedi, Nodada, Mtsweni, Tukane, A Hendricks, S Masina
Stars XI: Mzimela, Semenya, Tshikovhi, Nhlapo, Tshabalala, Baloyi, Khumalo, Kodisang, Hadebe, Segolela, Rodgers

Maritzburg United have completed the signing of Evans Rusike. The Zimbabwean striker has signed on a two-year contract from Hwange FC.

New Santos coach Zeca Marques has explained his sudden departure from Limpopo-based side Black Leopards as he embarks on his new adventure in captain. Marques was officially announced as the People’s Team’s new head coach last Thursday, joining from National First Division rivals Leopards after guiding Lidoda Duvha to a third-place finish last season. Despite recently signing a new deal at Leopards, Marques cited transport issues as the main reason for his switch. “The transport was getting to us as a family … travelling up and down to Polokwane was very expensive,” he said. “You can fly down to Cape Town at half the price you would to get to Polokwane. And it’s Cape Town – everyone’s comfortable, everyone enjoys Cape Town, and from the football side you couldn’t get a better lifestyle than that: Santos and Cape Town is a winning combination,” he adds. “So it was definitely the travelling aspect that I based my decision on.” The former Moroka Swallows insists there are no hard feelings between him and the Leopards management. “I have massive respect for everyone there [at Leopards]; there is no animosity – it was just a career choice, a career decision,” he says.

Negotiations between Chippa United and Burkina Faso international striker Aristide Bance have broken down, and he will now try his luck with Bidvest Wits. The 30-year-old striker flew down to Cape Town recently with the hope of clinching a deal with the Chilli Boys. However, the parties seem to have failed to agree on personal terms. Bance’s representative Dennis Idrissa has confirmed that his client is now exploring different options. “Our negotiations have broken down. We are now in contact with Bidvest Wits,” he adds. Bance has most recently played for clubs in Finland and Kazakhstan but raised his profile at the 2013 African Nations Cup in South Africa.

Free State Stars have confirmed the signing of 12 new players ahead of the 2015/16 Premier Soccer League season. Ea Lla Koto have brought in two foreigners in Tanzanian striker Mrisho Ngassa and Zimbabwean defender Liberty Chakoroma, as well as ex-Polokwane City defender Sifiso Mbhele, to go with their new players from South Africa’s lower divisions.
New Signings:
Mrisho Alfani Ngasa (Young Africans, Tanzania, Striker)
Lucky Mohomi (Garankuwa United, Midfielder)
Sinethemba Jantjie (Mbombela United, Midfielder)
Thabo Moseki (Orbit College FC, Midfielder)
Inmawell Shelembe (Natal United FC, Right Back)
Liberty Chakoroma (Buffaloes FC, Zimbabwe, Defender/Midfielder)
Sizwe Nkambule (Witbank Spurs, Goalkeeper)
Mpho Thulo (Orbit College FC, Goalkeeper)
Tshepo Mothipa (Polokwane City Rovers FC, Midfielder)
Cebo Masena (Milano United, Midfielder)
Joseph Mhlongo (FC Cape Town, Striker)
Sifiso Mbhele (Polokwane City, Defender).

Joel Mogorosi’s search for a new club continues after his move to University of Pretoria fell through. The Botswana international is a free agent after being released at Bloemfontein Celtic, and was hoping to win a contract with AmaTuks. However, Sammy Troughton’s men opted for Lennox Bacela instead, though Mogorosi’s agent, Lizwe Mthethwa of Aftesec Sport Group, says they still have a few options. "He won't join AmaTuks; we couldn't agree with them after they decided to sign Bacela," Mthethwa said. "Having said that, we are in talks with another PSL club; the only problem is that Joel is still playing as a foreigner and they also have full quota. I'm working around the clock to get him the SA ID." Early indications are that Jomo Cosmos are another club interested in the winger. 

The MTN8 quarter-final fixtures, dates and times have been confirmed. Chiefs face Orlando The season proper officially starts on Tuesday, August 4, when Bidvest Wits host SuperSport United at Bidvest Stadium, while Orlando Pirates entertain Ajax Cape Town at the same time. On Wednesday, Mamelodi Sundowns host Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe, while Maritzburg United travel to FNB Stadium to take on Kaizer Chiefs. All the matches start at 19h30.
Pirates in the Carling Black Label Cup this weekend, before facing Maritzburg United in the MTN8 on August 5. The match-ups were decided at the end of last season already, but the league have now confirmed the dates and times.

Marc van Heerden, Goodman Dlamini and S'fiso Hlanti are all looking likely to stay at AmaZulu next season to aid their NFD campaign. All three players have been linked to various other clubs following Usuthu’s relegation at the end of last season. Van Heerden was linked to Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United were after Dlamini until talks cooled, but all three now look likely to remain with the club. Usuthu have already seen Bongani Ndulula, Kulegani Madondo, Philani Shange, Nkosinathi Mthiyane, Willem Mwedihanga, Ruzaigh Gamildien and Nhlanhla Shabalala jump ship, with Mbulelo Mabizela talking to a number of other clubs. But club spokesperson Brilliant Mkhathini says all three players are still training with the team, and that the club is also assessing a few players from ABC Motsepe League feeder team Durban Warriors. AmaZulu are currently assessing Rueben Thebakang, who has been training with the team for almost two weeks with no decision yet made. A deal for Thebakang is believed to be dependent on whether or not Hlanti or Van Heerden move on before the end of the transfer window.

Steve Komphela has promised that Kaizer Chiefs will not only play winning football, but also do so in an attractive way. The former Bafana Bafana coach has a tough ask following in the footsteps of Stuart Baxter and his trophy-winning ways, but as expected he is saying all the right things as the start of the season approaches. “Kaizer Chiefs falls into a category where we say, ‘we have to win’. This team has a traditional culture of winning, and we also want to be part of that legacy,” Komphela said. “Our winning should not be naked. Our winning should be dressed sensibly; a win that pleases the eye; a win that attracts so that if we had 20 000 fans on the night, if we had to play the next day, there should be 20 001 – someone must have been attracted. It’s a show, and people have to enjoy the show. I hardly watch teams that just play football. I watch teams that are artistic and, given an opportunity to have players who have the ability to be artistic in their performances, why not then trigger that? Attractive, attacking football is key.”

Polokwane City will reinforce their defence with the imminent signing of former Witbank Spurs captain Sibusiso Mbonani. Mbonani – who has been a key figure in the Spurs defence over the last four years and is highly respected in the National First Division – has already proven his worth during the time that he has spent training with Polokwane. The 28-year-old played against his own Spurs teammates during a friendly on Wednesday, leaving Rise and Shine coach Kosta Papic impressed. “We now need to just wrap up the deal and we have asked the player to sort out some paperwork-related issues before everything is completed,” Papic said. Papic adds that even after they bring in Mbonani, they will remain in the hunt for another central defender and a striker. “Last season we conceded way too many goals, but we also missed way too many chances, so both ends need to be strengthened because our style will remain the same. We will still be attacking as our intention is to be a stable team that can be recognised for the kind of football that we play.” City will spend this week in Johannesburg, where they are said to be assessing an unnamed Senegalese striker during their week-long camp.

Gauteng police say they are close to finally catching the killer of Senzo Meyiwa. The Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalie was gunned down in Vosloorus last October and, despite a few leads, nothing concrete has turned up. However, police now insist that it is only a matter of time before they catch the killer.  “We are busy investigating and getting overwhelming evidence,” Gauteng deputy provincial commissioner for detective services Major General Vincent Leshabane says. "The only thing left is to link the suspect with the crime.”

Ghana midfielder Mumuni Abubakar has joined First Division club Vasco da Gama following two years at Black Leopards. Abubakar is already in Cape Town and has sealed a deal that will keep him in the country’s second tier for a third year running. The 21-year-old initially signed for Mamelodi Sundowns upon his arrival in the country three years ago, but he never got any game-time at Chloorkop in the season he spent there before he was then pushed out to Leopards in 2013. Abubakar joins Vasco on a free transfer after the expiry of his contract with Lidoda Duvha. Vasco confirm the acquisition of one of their biggest catches of the current transfer window on a one-year deal with an option of another year, and joins other new arrivals in Zimbabwean midfielder Lionel Mutizwa and Botswana striker Omaatla Kebatho. Abubakar had earlier indicated his desire to move up the ladder to the PSL, but failed to win a move at Free State Stars where he spent time training recently. Vasco also have Clifford Ngobeni training with them following the expiry of his contract at Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Bidvest Wits CEO Jose Ferreira has confirmed being approached by a host of PSL teams for the services of attacking midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi. Mamelodi Sundowns have made the last bid to capture the signature of the highly sought-after Bafana Bafana midfielder. However Ferreira has maintained his club’s position with regards Vilakazi. “Yes, we have been approached, and not only by one team,” says Ferreira. “Our position at the moment is still the same. He is not for sale.” Kaizer Chiefs’ interest in the player was palmed away last month.

The shake-up at Moroka Swallows is continuing with Brazilian midfielder Thiago Rodrigo Dos Santos heading back home, while Giulio Giuricich is training alone following the expiry of his contract. Dos Santos was brought in early last season while Zeca Marques was still in charge. However, he never made any impact finishing the campaign with just two starts and two substitute appearances, with his departure no surprise. Giuricich signed at the beginning of last term on a one-year deal after he failed to play during his initial run at the club during the 2012-13 season due to injury. Last season the 25-year-old started six games (plus three substitute appearances) as The Birds eventually went down to the First Division. Giuricich – who operates as a left-back and is equally at home in midfield – has previously played in the Italian lower leagues.  Swallows have already had Bosnia and Herzegovina defender Boris Savic go back home, while Shere Lekgothoane, Lucky Baloyi, Tshwarelo Bereng, Lerato Chabangu, Anver Esterhuizen, Sandile Sibande, Felix Obada, Lantshene Phalane and Vuyisile Wana are among the players that will not be with the club this season for different reasons.

Dean Furman’s search for a new club continues after he failed to win a contract at English Championship side Blackburn Rovers. The Bafana Bafana captain is a free agent after his contract at Doncaster Rovers expired, and had been hoping to secure a deal at Ewood Park. However, Rovers manager Gary Bowyer says Furman, along with fellow trialist Giles Coke, have moved on after the club signed French pair Sacha Petschi and Bangaly Fode Koita. "Unfortunately they've been with us and obviously we had to come to a decision," Bowyer said. "We've made the decision not to go with either of them due to the restrictions that we're under. They're very similar to players that we already have, but the pair of them have been fantastic. If the circumstances had been different for us then it might have been different for them."

University of Pretoria have confirmed they have made eight signings, which includes the capture of Sphamandla Dlamini and Willem Mwendihanga. AmaTuks beat Free State Stars to the services of striker Dlamini, who was named Player of the Tournament at the recent SAFA/SAB Under-21 Championship in Soshanguve. This website on Monday also disclosed former AmaZulu defender Mwendihanga had penned a three-year deal with Sammy Troughton's side. Tuks have since released a statement listing their recruits as follows: Dlamini, Mwendihanga, Harry Edge, Kabelo Lichaba, Vukile Mngqibisa, Thabiso Nkoana, Lennoox Bacela and Sibusiso Mthethwa. The Tshwane outfit recently parted ways with Geofrey Massa, Siyabonga Ngubane and Mpho Matsi.

Polokwane City have completed the signing of goalkeeper George Chigova from SuperSport United. Chigova has penned a three-year contract with City, according to the Zimbabwean's agent Steve Kapeluschnik. "Polokwane City have been eyeing for a goalkeeper and when the opportunity availed itself we couldn't resist to sign," Kapeluschnik said.  "He is a goalkeeper of high quality and an international. I have no doubt he will add value to the club." Chigova is determined to prove his worth for Kosta Papic's side. "I wanted game-time and I believe this move will give me a chance to show my true potential," he says. Chigova provided cover to Ronwen Williams at SuperSport following his arrival from Harare-based Dynamos in February 2014. Rise and Shine recently parted ways with first-choice keeper Modiri Marumo.

Veteran midfielder Josta Dladla has surfaced at Moroka Swallows as he seeks to continue his career. Dladla’s contract with Kaizer Chiefs was not renewed upon its expiry at the end of June and he has indicated his desire to keep on playing despite battling for game-time last season. Steve Kapeluschnik, who represents Dladla, confirmed that the 36-year-old started training with Swallows. “Josta is training with Swallows as of today and we will see how it goes,” says Kapeluschnik. Dladla was only used as a substitute in just one game last season – coming on against his former club Bidvest Wits back in December – and spent most of his time playing in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge. Also training with Swallows is former Free State Stars striker Aleni Lebyane, who spent the past season at Vasco da Gama.

Kaizer Chiefs have unveiled their new away kit for the 2015/16 season. Chiefs will appear for the first time in their history in a striking anthracite and black away kit for the upcoming season. The new season will see the team turning out in an anthracite jersey, accentuated by black sleeves, with a subtle hint of thin gold trim to the crew neck collar and sleeve cuffs. Black shorts and anthracite socks complete the look of the new kit, which complements the recently unveiled gold and black striped home shirt. Traditionally, as an alternative to their iconic home colours, the club has always taken to the field in either a dark blue or white kit in their 45-year history, but Chiefs marketing director Jessica Motaung believes the new apparel will be a big hit amongst the Amakhosi faithful. "Our new away kit is a deviation from previous ones but, thanks to the creative innovation of our long-standing technical partners, Nike, we believe that we have come up with a design that looks most impressive on the players and will prove to be very popular with our loyal supporters." The away jersey will be available at leading retailers from July 30.

Orlando Pirates have agreed to release Philani Zikalala to PSL returnees Golden Arrows following successful negotiations between the two clubs. Zikalala is already training with Arrows as he seeks to revive a career that had frozen at Pirates as he failed to play any official match during the season that he spent there. Arrows have confirmed that Zikalala’s transfer is done after the two clubs reached an agreement. “Negotiations between Pirates and Arrows have been successful and Zikalala is already training with us,” says club spokesman Vusumuzi Vilakazi. The 32-year-old keeper is now the most experienced at Arrows where the relatively inexperienced trio of Ricardo Goss, Nkosingiphile Gumede and Namibian Maximilian Mbaevu were the three players on the club’s books last season. Also heading to Arrows from Pirates is the pair of Gladwin Shitolo and Tebogo Masaole. Masaole spent the past season on loan at Arrows.

Orlando Pirates left-back Thabo Matlaba will see a specialist in the week after injuring his hamstring against CS Sfaxien on Sunday night. Pirates beat their Tunisian hosts 1-0 in a CAF Confederation Cup Group B tie in Sfax, with Matlaba making way for Patrick Phungwayo in the 70th minute at Stade Taïeb Mhiri. Bucs' medical team said on the club's website: "Thabo suffered what appears to be a hamstring strain. He was treated immediately treated with the RICE Principle as well as an anti-inflammatory. He will go to a specialist during the course of the week to assess the full extent of his injury." The Sea Robbers were expected back in the country at 10h50 on Tuesday. Eric Tinkler's men next face arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the annual Carling Black Label Cup at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

SuperSport United defender Thabo September says Mthatha Bucks' resurgence is especially good for the people of the Eastern Cape, and he backs the club to regain their PSL status. Imbabala dropped to the lower leagues after suffering relegation from the topflight in 2006. However, Bucks are on the rise again following their recent promotion to the National First Division alongside ABC Motsepe League champions Mbombela United. The club, once known as Umtata Bucks and later Bush Bucks, twice won the Coca-Cola Cup (the equivalent of today’s Telkom Knockout) during their spell in the elite tier. "First of all, let me congratulate the team for their promotion to the NFD," says September of his former side. They worked so hard and deserve the promotion. This is great news for the people of Eastern Cape and to the history of the club. I say well done to Imbabala." The Knysna-born 32-year-old has faith Bucks can soon take their place among the country's premier outfits. Nothing is impossible in life if you work hard. Their success during the play-offs is enough to motivate the team to fight all the way to the PSL. The club has a great history in South African football and deserve to be back into the PSL soon."

SA players abroad round-up: Ayanda Patosi netted with a magnificent free-kick, Darren Keet, Andile Jali and Lebogang Phiri got game-time, but fellow South African Anele Ngcongca sat on the bench in Europe this past weekend.
Patosi slotted home a superb free-kick in Lokeren’s 3-1 loss to Zulte-Waregem, continuing his fine scoring form from pre-season. It was an absolute beauty.
Keet started for Kortrijk in their excellent 2-1 home win over Standard Liege and was only beaten from the penalty spot.
Jali played the full game for KV Oostende as they defeated Mechelen 3-1 in their opening match of the season.
Phiri started for Danish side Brondby as they lost 2-1 at home to OB, a second successive defeat at the start of the season.
Ngcongca was relegated to the bench and did not make it onto the pitch. A further sign he may be leaving.
Claasen started for German Bundesliga II side 1860 Munich in their 1-0 loss at Heidenheim that got their season under way.
Jacobs made a winning start for to life at Scottish Championship side Queen of the South as they won 2-0 at home to Stranraer in the Challenge Cup.
Veteran midfielder O’Brien made his debut for Alloa Athletic as they won 1-0 at Brora Rangers in the Challenge Cup.